The fear of grace or reservations toward it, that are sometimes voiced in the church today, are unfounded. They are not based on a biblical understanding of grace. Grace is not and never will be a license to sin, nor does basking in it make the Christian want to sin. It is quite the contrary. As we realize that grace is not part of our relationship with God, but it is the entire basis of that relationship, our hearts are won over. As grace does it’s work in us, repentance flows. Repentance is the response of a grateful child, not a groveling one (Titus 2:11-12, Heb. 4:16). … Continue reading Don’t Fear Grace (A Gospel Meditation)
We who owed Him everything, came with nothing. He who owed us nothing, has given us everything. So now, we who came with nothing but received everything, hold back nothing from the One who gave us everything. Continue reading The Power of Grace
As Christians, we know that God is at work in us; making us more like Jesus. The title of this post is an excerpt from Romans 8:29 that says just that. But what exactly does that mean? I believe that we get this really wrong sometimes. This idea of being made into the image of Jesus is the often what fuels the fire of works righteousness. For whatever reason, in the 21st century west, we have latched onto the moral excellence of Jesus as the goal of our sanctification (being set apart for God) … Continue reading “… To be conformed to the image of His Son…”
We live in a society that values wholeness and the pursuit of it. Wholeness is a multi-billion dollar business and a national obsession. There are plenty of self-help books and television empires built on the back of this quest. Wholeness in the 21st century west means having all I need to be happy and fulfilled in myself and by myself. Being whole may include religion, but not necessarily. The irreducible minimum is that I am wholly self-sufficient and self-satisfied, independent of anyone or anything. All that I need I have in and of myself. I simply need to discover it. … Continue reading Wholeness through Brokenness
The great musical Les Miserables has made it to the cinema twice in the last few years – the Liam Neeson version and most recently with Hugh Jackman. It’s rare that a musical translates well onto the big screen, but this Victor Hugo novel turned musical turned major motion picture is the exception – and it is likely not the great acting or music that are the reason. It is most likely the story that captivates us. It is a story of redemption. The main character Jean Valjean is a prisoner on the run from the policeman Javert. Javert will … Continue reading The Prodigal Son – A Different Approach
Do you remember what character Michael Jackson played in the 1978 movie, the Wiz? He played the scarecrow. Maybe I am a product of pop culture of the late 70’s early 80’s, but when I hear someone refer to a straw man, I think of Michael Jackson dancing around in that tattered outfit. But I don’t want to talk about movies today. What I do want to talk about is another kind of straw man. The term straw man is used to describe a fallacy of logic which mischaracterizes your opponent’s argument, making it easier to oppose. Specifically what I … Continue reading Too Much Grace is a Straw Man.
The grace of God is a mine whose treasures can never be exhausted and whose depths can never be reached. As a pastor of 10+ years, a Christian of 20+ years and a soon to be seminary grad I must admit that I often struggle with the idea of grace. It seems too good to be true. But the more I study the Scriptures, the more I find that all of it is one single story; a story of a holy God who loves sinners enough to do something about it. That something is called the gospel and it was … Continue reading What I Learned About Grace from a 1st Grader. (Alternate Title: Some Christians Have Big Buts!)
“The Law of unintended consequences holds that almost all human actions have at least one unintended consequence. Unintended consequences are a common phenomenon, due to the complexity of the world and human over-confidence.” – Author Unknown The Law of Unintended Consequences, as defined above, is not a divine mandate, but more in line with proverbial wisdom, and is typically applied in sociology or economics. Inflation is an unintended consequence of economic prosperity, for instance. We will save discussions about the economy for another day. I actually want to talk about theology. Specifically, I want to talk about anthropology – the … Continue reading The Law of Unintended Consequences
I had the privilege of serving with Navy Seal Team 1 from 1989 to 1994, during Operation Desert Storm. I was a technician attached to the Communications/Electronics Department. I was not a SEAL. I say that because, understandably, the SEALs take exception to people claiming to be part of the most renowned fighting force in the world; and very publicly out people who do. I don’t want to be one of them. Having said that, those of us who were up for it had the opportunity to work out side by side with these guys, join in training exercises, and … Continue reading What the Navy Seals Taught me about Making Disciples
Let’s start with an excerpt from Tullian T’s blog. Then I will add some comments. _____________________________________ I am saddened when the very pack of people that God has unconditionally saved and continues to sustain by his free grace are the very ones who push back most violently against it. Some professing Christians sound like ungrateful children who can’t stop biting the very hand that feeds them. It amazes me that you will hear great concern from inside the church about “too much grace” but rarely will you ever hear great concern from inside the church about “too many rules.” Why? … Continue reading Don’t Grab the Glory.