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An Introduction to The Elephant Gospel Book

October 16, 2018

 

Introduction

The Elephant in the Room

There is an elephant in the room. Too large for the space it inhabits, it’s destroying its home from the inside out, crashing into mirrors and smashing into walls. Yet we usually don’t talk about it. We act like it doesn’t exist, though the damage persists and we find ourselves staring at it in hopelessness, wondering if we must deal with this forever, and alone.

In the church our elephants are our secrets or secret sins, the ones we rarely ever mention. The things too shameful for us to say:  things like sexual abuse, abortion, homosexuality, and addiction. In our culture, the elephants are the hot topics, sometimes used to bludgeon the church or force its silence. Jesus sets a higher example. (Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount set high standards. He taught us how to be blessed, to be salt and light, to be light-bearers, truth-givers, useful, to live generous lives for his Kingdom.) Yet, the church sometimes struggles to live this. When it does take a stand and talks about the elephant, it doesn’t always know how to help the people that have been affected by the elephants and to bring them to restoration. 

These elephants often wear masks to try to look more appealing and tolerant, but they can’t really hide. They are still elephants and they are still in the room. Often in the church, we are refusing to be honest with what is really going on and what our real story is—and that’s how an elephant in the room becomes a controlling skeleton in the closet. 

I can no longer live the charade. Pretending does not work, and it hinders the gospel.

 

In Sacred Secrets, Beth Moore wrote, “Secrets manifest.” And another of her quotes: “We are only as sick as our secrets.” 

Jesus knows all of our secrets. There are no secrets with him. He knows all about us and loves us completely. He does not want us in secrecy, shame,*or condemnation and has done everything to bring blessing and redemption through his sacrifice. 

I want to be genuine, to live real, so I will no longer hide or pretend. I have faced the truth and been to the cross, and I have appropriated Christ’s work by faith. I have begun to live authentically and this is where I will unmask, taking off the old man, with the skeleton of shame and disgrace and putting on the righteousness of Christ. 

This book is my story of how the gospel was first heralded to me and how Christ became life to me. It is the story of how I began to herald to others what I have received. 

 

Redemption in the Telling

Because I carried so much shame, initially it seemed impossible to write my story. I found it difficult to apply the gospel to my life effectively. Shame robbed the gospel of its power in my life.  I tried good works instead. I thought that if I tried harder, I would find hope. I never found hope or peace or joy because I was locked in shame by default—and habit. Shame became my identity, and it affected my relationships and every part of my life. I craved relief from myself—from trying to prove my value because I felt worthless. If you met me, you’d think I was self-assured and confident, which I used as a defense. I needed a deeper experience of God’s love and Christ’s cross.

 

To herald the gospel to the world more effectively, we must be sure that we have embraced the love of God, that we know the Truth of God, and that we have discovered the secret of hope found in Him. This process begins with Christ’s covenant story and our personal story. 

It continues with our being able to have true confidence in Christ’s story, knowing the *elephants cannot trample us: accepting the truth of the gospel and the need we have to herald it. Heralding the gospel, both to ourselves and to others, is a vital step on our way to healing.

Through the Gospel Lens

As I began committing the truths of God Word to my heart by writing and processing my past through the gospel lens and the Spirit’s work, the shame diminished more and more and the desire to share my story came through. My head knowledge is becoming heart functioning in gospel living. 

As one thinks in his heart so he is (Proverbs 23:7).

Paul said, “To live is Christ,” and Peter said, “strengthen the brethren.” These are my goals too. Oh how wonderful if the Lord would work in us, me and you, and by His Spirit, teach us to live like these first apostles in the Book of Acts. We too could turn the world upside down with the gospel!

Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NET).

 

Work in Progress

I am a work in progress, and it’s been messy. I am learning to accept myself and my past in the light of God’s grace and truth. Religion, or a set of rules to follow based on our own works, doesn’t work. But the experience of the true gospel based on the sacrifical death of Christ has opened my eyes to hope.

I have received God’s grace and mercy. Christ died to give me these unmerited favors. Though I have received them I have in the past poorly understood them and rarely applied their riches or utilized their gifts. Shame has hindered Christ’s forgiveness, truths, Spirit too long. I was deceived to think I could overcome shame by my own works. The realization of my dependence on works has been intense.* I continue to process my feelings and have begun to abide more fully in Christ. Now I have come to learn Christ and know only Christ’s blood overcomes shame and all sin and brings the victory.

 

As Travis Cottrell’s song says Jesus Blood Speaks for Me! I want to live from the TRUTH AND FREEDOM OF THE GOSPEL! Jesus paid it all, paid for my sins, my redemption. I want to use what I have learned from the Word and to live what I say I believe and what the Word clearly teaches. I want to share this process with you.

The process of breaking my silence and revealing my secrets as well as breaking out of legalistic religion has not been easy. It has been a slow kill inside of me. But in its death, new life has hope. I have been sick. {removed]I fully desire to overcome, (Revelation 12:11) worship in Spirit and in Truth, (John 4: 23-24) and live a life of abundance. (John 10:10; Eph 3:20) 

 

The Elephant Gospel

We are greatly loved and intimately known. The creator of the universe loves and cares about us, individually and specifically. His love is more than words and sentiment. His unconditional love is backed by action, the giving of his life. He knows us fully—our inner thoughts, feelings, and our outer actions, including every good or bad thing we have ever thought, said or have done. And yet He loves us. His love is infinite and is unaffected by our past.

 

His love gives us hope.

 

The saying goes that an elephant never forgets. It is ours, through the gospel, never to forget the hope that was won for us on the cross. The Elephant Gospel’s, collision with the death of Christ at the cross is truly the secret of our hope. 

The skeleton in the closet of my soul had not just controlled me but became the poison that was killing me little by little piece by piece. I needed an extraction and a resurrection! This book is part of that process! There is more than one way to come out of the closet!

 

My secrets now told will show the secret of hope, as I have discovered it. I am learning how to depend only on Christ to deliver me and take my old self to the cross and leave it there for good. No longer may it have a negative hold on me. The stronghold of shame is broken. My identity in Christ is secure. 

 

Hope from hopelessness. 

 

 

Prayer

 

Lord, lead us by your Spirit to give clear testimony of the completed redemptive work You have accomplished on our behalf. Give us clear words of testimony about how Christ’s blood purchased salvation. Open the eyes of the unsaved so they may see the truth of how sin separates us from You. Give grace so that each one can repent and put their faith in Christ. Show the difference between man’s work and Christ’s work. Fill us with Your Spirit, grace and joy. Draw us to You and in Your goodness and anointing we will recognize the best life is a willingness to offer our lives to be servants and witnesses for You, Your will be done in our lives,  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

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