GRACE!

Recently I wrote a book, and by the look of my Facebook page and messages the story seems to be getting across clear to those who read it, some people are thanking me for being honest about the struggles, and open about my “at times ill driven motives”, others are going all out on attack wondering why anyone would ever back work by someone as messed up as this. I want to kiss them! And then I want to write back with one word.

GRACE!

That is why we are all here, and if my story is just a bit to raw, and a bit to real that is because am sick and tired of christian leaders/authors who try to paint themselves as anything other than in desperate need of His grace.

We all are, isn’t it time we just came out there and said it?

Truly, the reason I wrote the book had nothing to do with trying to elevate myself because I had figured it all out, but rather to show that God uses messes like me to do things for his glory, it is those who admit our need for Him who can finally be filled with Him.

In a way faith is a lot like the culture here in Ethiopia. When we first arrived we asked a million questions, then a few months later we were pretty sure we had it all figured out. Then, three years later, we have come to realize that we know less now about the culture here than ever!

You see what I am saying here?

The journey that comes with having faith in Jesus is all about humility, all about pointing to Him as our source of life, and all about learning, learning and more learning. In the same way that no one person can fully grasp the culture of an entire country, we can never fully grasp the love of the one who created us. I am not saying that we can never rejoice in our faith, but when we do, what we are rejoicing in is His beauty, not our own accomplishments.

I heard an African proverb yesterday that I think fits well here.

“Truth is like a Baobab tree, it takes more than one person to wrap your arms around it.”

Several years ago Jessie and I both got a word tattooed on our backs.

“Truth”

It is written in handwriting script with little arrows pointing out each stroke of the pen on the letters, like a child’s school book. We had just gone through a horrible struggle in our lives, financially we were in ruins, my brother had just killed himself after a decades long struggle with drugs and alcohol, and we were beginning to climb back up onto God’s great big lap and ask Him to come in to the void that was left by all the pain. What we kept realizing in that time was that although we had once thought we understood the greatness that was God, we had hardly scratched the surface. Instead of thinking that we had it all together we needed instead to keep striving for truth, keep looking to understand more of him through his word.

If you get a chance I would be honored if you would read the book No Greater Love, but before you do I want you to know going in that this is not a story of someone who has it all together, but rather it is a story of hope that God can use anyone, no matter how much of a mess you (and I) are. In-fact I think He is looking for messes, so that He can be glorified through us.

Levi

7 thoughts on “GRACE!

  1. I have not read the book yet, but it is on the way and I am looking forward to reading it. Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were UNSCHOOLED, ORDINARY men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. These were the guys Jesus invested in, these are the kind of guys God has been using since the beginning. Christian does not mean you have it together, it means you know the only man that ever did, Jesus. True Christians fess up when they mess up, they don’t slide and hide. Keep up the good work Levi. Praying for you Bro and I hope to see you in Ethiopia one of these days.

  2. Your book has been sitting in my cart for a while now – NOW I know I must read it. I think this post was written JUST FOR ME! Thank you Levi for allowing God to use you and for basking in His Grace!

  3. Thank you for being real. I believe that is when God really can use us. Honesty and humility in us let the God story shine! God is indeed amazing. He is sovereign. To God be the Glory :)

  4. Levi, read the book in two days. Just loved it! Brutal honesty is hard to find these days, but that is what I read in your book. I’m so disappointed when people criticize others for being honest…for admitting that following Jesus is tough and we mess up, we make mistakes. Let’s face it, we were all broken, messed up people needing the unbelievable grace of Jesus. Your story with all its scars should be an example to everyone…take that first step, even when you don’t know for sure where you’re going. If God is calling you, answer that call with action…that’s what you and your family are doing. Thank you as well for your transparency, your humility, your faith in Jesus, your passion for the least of these, and your willingness to share your journey. Great book that everyone should read.

  5. Ahhhh…GRACE! Something God freely gives and we often withhold. Where would I be without His grace?

    “Truly, the reason I wrote the book had nothing to do with trying to elevate myself because I had figured it all out, but rather to show that God uses messes like me to do things for his glory, it is those who admit our need for Him who can finally be filled with Him.” ….And that is why I loved the book!

  6. I ordered the book the first day you announced it…. It is so good, inspiring, wonderful. I did not think twice about one trial or word of honesty that you shared. After over three decades of inner city ministry and knowing some of the best, brighest and most powerful leaders around the world, your challenges and struggles just seemed so normal and typical….the only difference being that you and your family have faced these challenges with more faith, hope and love than some of the strongest leaders I’ve known, and that under more severe and gut wrenching circumstances. You’re doing so, so well….good and faithful. “Take cheer, you shall overcome the world.” You are loved. We’ve got your backs. XX

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