Posts Tagged ‘Grace

18
Oct
10

Come as You Are; But You Won’t Stay That Way (Re-post)

As I was reviewing the statistics for this blog, I noticed the post that has received the most views of all was on February 9, 2010.  It was refreshing and powerful for me as I went back to read it again.  So, I thought I would re-post it today in hopes that it will be a powerful word of truth to someone today.

Jesus was a controversial figure in His day…during His earthly ministry.  He spent time around those whom the religious community considered the scum of the earth (Luke 5:29-32).  He reached out to them in love without expecting them to “clean up” before He would have anything to do with them.  This is where we get the idea for the old hymn, “Just as I am.”

I’m glad that we don’t have to get our act together before we come to Jesus.  His love and grace calls to us to come and experience His healing touch.  Contrary to some post-modern thinking, however, we don’t come to Jesus and stay the same.  It isn’t an “addition” of Jesus to our lifestyle.  He doesn’t accommodate His truth to our situation.  It is a transformation that takes place (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Actually, it would be a cruel thing for Christ to accept us and then leave us as we are…in our sins.

I am a new creation…and I’m becoming a new creation.  It is an event (salvation) and it is a process (sanctification).  Thank God it is real!

Check out the video below “Come as You Are” by Northland Church.  Celebrate your new life as you watch.  If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, go here to find out more.

15
Oct
10

An Easy Way to Make a Difference

The focus verse for Hydrate this week is James 2:18.

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Faith and works are inseparable for the true believer.  If we are the recipients of the tremendous grace of God through salvation, how can we help but want to share that grace with others?  Real salvation will result in real concern and love for others because we have experienced real love from the author of love:  God Himself!

We need to ask ourselves, “How am I expressing the love of God to those around me?”  Is there a way to make a difference in both the eternity and present  life of people with whom I have influence?  The love of Christ motivates us, the Spirit of Christ guides us to be intentional.  How will you let Him use you?

Look around you and pray for God to show you the needs of the community in which you live and the world beyond your locale.  Submit yourself to be used by God to meet these needs and open doors to share the life of Christ through the gospel.

If you want to take an easy first step of making a practical difference, click on the Blood:Water Mission link on my page and complete the activity.  The sponsoring business will make a donation to the organization which provides clean drinking water and AIDS care for people in Africa.  Let that activity then be the first step in a long list of ways you become involved in touching the world with the love of Christ and His gospel.

Celebrate!  Comment and share the ways and ministries through which you are making a difference.  I would love to hear all the ways God is at work through you.

15
Sep
10

Family

I’m attending the D6 Conference in Dallas this week.  Today, our lead pastor presented a lab on the Hydrate Model for taking faith back home.  He did a great job of making the case for the paradigm shift that is needed in our churches.  To open his presentation, he showed a video montage of his life with his (now) wife and the children with which they have been blessed.  I couldn’t help but tear up a little as I watched it…thinking about my own family and how important they are to me.  I’ve been blessed to be married to the same woman, my only wife, for 27 years and we have a wonderful daughter who is 21-years-old and loves God and endeavors to serve Him.  I am so blessed.

I have not been the perfect husband or dad.  I’ve made my share of mistakes and bad decisions over the years, but I realize how much I love and am loved as a part of this family God has given me.  So…today I celebrate my family and thank God for them.  Time passes too quickly and life tends to become a blurr.  Let’s endeavor to carefully choose how we spend our time so that we don’t miss all the opportunities we have to be together with those whom we love…to experience the blessing of family and to impact one another for God’s greater purpose of bringing glory to His name.

Thank you, Lord, for my family!!

Okay folks…all you lurkers out there…speak up!  Celebrate your family and share how they are a blessing to you!

02
Aug
10

Thankful for the Grace

I haven’t seen or heard Mark Lowry in a long time.  He is a funny man, but in this video he shares (in his own unique way) about the amazing grace of God.

I am amazed by the grace of God.  To think that He gave such a great sacrifice for me, and everyone else, is overwhelming.  That grace is available to all who will call upon His name…the name of Jesus.

How has the grace of God touched your life?

06
Apr
10

Keeping My Judgmental Heart at Bay

It is my privilege to share a guest post today from Justin Davis, a pastor on staff with Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN.  Reading his post reminds me that the only thing that keeps my judgmental heart in check is the grace that I’ve experienced from God and those in the community of faith who love me and walk with me through the issues of life.  I hope this will be a challenge and blessing to my readers.  You can read Justin’s blog here.

Judgmental People Make Me Sad by Justin Davis

I had coffee with a good friend a few weeks ago. He knew that I had taken some hits since returning to ministry. There are people who think that I shouldn’t be in ministry because I was unfaithful. There are some that think the restoration process we went through wasn’t long enough, exhaustive enough, rigorous enough. There are people who read our blog, or watch our video or listen to me speak and make a judgment about the condition of my heart, and they don’t even know me. He was angry about it, and wanted to encourage me and let me know that he not only believed in me, but he would defend me to anyone that judged me.

He asked for my thoughts…was I mad? I wasn’t mad…surprisingly, I was sad. I just told my friend that my heart was sad. I’m sad for them because they will never experience God’s grace the way that God longs for them to. The grace that cost Jesus everything, the mercy that placed Him on a Roman cross, the love that allowed Him to die in my place, is partially lost on the judgmental heart. That makes me sad.

As I was driving back to the office, I was feeling really spiritual. I was feeling so much more holy than all of those judgmental people. I don’t have a hard heart like them. I don’t try to limit and ration the grace of God in other people’s lives, like they do. Then it hit me.

I realized that I am “those people”. So often in my life, I am the judge and the jury. I judge by someone’s appearance or marital status, or body odor or skin color. I compare myself to others spiritual life, parenting style, decision-making, financial status. I make assumptions about others purely by outward appearances. That makes me sad.  Every time I choose to judge, I rob myself of experiencing God’s grace to its fullest.

The antidote to judgmentalism is gratitude. Being thankful and undone and overwhelmed by our desperate need for grace eliminates judgmentalism in our life.

Living in the truth that Jesus is my only hope; Walking in the reality that while I may look better than you on the outside, I am just as broken and fractured on the inside. Realizing that the ground is level at the foot of the Cross…allows judgment to die in my heart.

Maybe you aren’t experiencing the grace and mercy and wonder of God like you desire because you are robbing yourself of its gift by judging others.

What do you need to be thankful for that will allow you to be less judgmental?

04
Apr
10

Empty Cross + Empty Tomb ≠ An Empty Life

Our pastor made a statement in the Easter sermon this morning that has stuck with me, so I thought I would write a few thoughts about it here as this Easter Sunday comes to a close.  He said, “There’s an empty cross, an empty tomb, what about your life?  Is it empty?”

My immediate mental/worship response to this question was to rejoice in the reality that my life is NOT empty.  It has been, it could be, it deserves to be, but it is NOT!  In this brief post (mostly because I’m tired) I will share a few things that are significant to me about this thought.

  1. My life was empty at one time.  Although I came to faith in Christ at an early age (9 years), I was very aware of the emptiness in my life at that time.  Perhaps I wouldn’t have described it that way as a 9-year-old.  But that is exactly where I was.  I was empty of the life that I knew I could have in trusting Christ.  I knew I was devoid of life that would be eternally with God.  That was the emptiest empty I could have imagined at that time.  So…I placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8).
  2. My life has felt pretty empty at times since then.  One might ask, if you trusted in Jesus to fill the emptiness, why would you experience an emptiness since then?  The reason…my own failure to trust.  Though I have never ceased to trust in Jesus as my Savior, there have been times when I failed to fully trust Him for a struggle, a need, a fear or a desire.  When I have chosen to do things my way with myself at the center, I have disengaged from that dependent/trusting relationship that He has intended.  In turn, I have forfeited the presence and power of Jesus in my life, resulting in a feeling of emptiness (James 4:8-10).
  3. I am most aware of the fullness of the life Jesus has given me when I am in community with others.  My life is far from empty.  There is no despair when I am aware that I am in Christ and He is in me.  That relationship is energized and experienced as I live out life with those God has placed in my life…my wife, my family, my Lifegroup, my faith community…even the non-believers with whom I have the opportunity to rub elbows (Proverbs 27:9).

My life is anything but empty.  I rejoice this Easter that an empty cross and an empty tomb do not make for an empty life.  Instead, it is the fullest life that I could ever imagine (John 10:10).

How has God filled your life?  What relationships help you to see the fullness of life that God has given you?

02
Apr
10

Jesus Paid It All…That’s Enough

Today is Good Friday…reminding us of the sacrifice Chrsit made for the sins of all mankind.  This was an absolutely necessary thing for Jesus to do.  His entire life on earth was focused on fulfilling this requirement so that our sins could be forgiven and washed away (“…without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins].”  Hebrews 9:22).  One might ask, “Since this day commemorates death and suffering, why do we call it ‘good’?”  Fair question, and there is a good answer.

It is “good” because it demonstrates the goodness of God’s grace and love (Romans 5:8).  It is “good” because we benefit from His sacrifice in receiving eternal life through faith in Him (Psalm 34:8; Romans 10:13).  It is also “good” because we find that Jesus did all that was necessary to provide our salvation (Hebrews 10:10).  Nothing else is needed.  His sacrifice is ENOUGH!

This Good Friday, I’m rejoicing and worshiping the Lamb that was slain for the world…for me.  Jesus paid it all and that’s enough.  Even when I get caught up in trying to impress God or others, I must step back and remind myself, Jesus has paid it all.  I just want to follow Him and love like He did as He enables me to do so.  It really is a good Friday…every day.

Enjoy a time of worship as you watch Kristian Stanfill in this video:

Have you experienced the sufficient salvation purchased by the sufficient sacrifice of Jesus?  If so, rejoice!  If not, watch this.  Happy Good Friday!!




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