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Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

What does it mean to be “radical” in everyday life? Is it possible to live a radical life for Jesus in the middle of daily chores, sports, parenting, school, etc…? Pastors, do you ever feel the weight of being someone you are not (in an age of celebrity pastors)? I have said before (or am I just ripping someone else off? can never be sure) that “radical” is living everyday, mundane life with gospel intentionality. Therefore I found this podcast very interesting. Give it a listen! You will find the LINK below. (Trust me, you will be ENCOURAGED!!)

ordinary

Join Michael Horton on Steve Brown, Etc. for a freeing discussion of his new book, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World. You just may find that God has called you to be exactly where you already are.

Michael Horton is host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The White Horse Inn. He’s also the author of more than 20 books and a professor at Westminster Seminary California.

Here is the LINK.

Have we lost our awe?

I was recently reading through the book of Colossians (a book saturated with the gospel in nearly every verse) and was struck with absolute amazement regarding this passage:

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. [19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

The way in which these two paragraphs are related is what brings me a sense of awe.

[21] And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, [22] he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, [23] if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:15-23 ESV)

This may be one of the most beautiful Christological passages in all of Scripture. In verses 15-20 Paul is singing the praise of Jesus; the image of God, first born of all creation, creator of the entire universe, preeminent over everything, all the fullness of God dwells in him and through the cross he will redeem the world that he created. Breathtaking…

Then Paul makes a transition in verse 21, “And you…” The connection that Paul makes is that Jesus, powerful beyond description, has come to earth, died on a cross so that he can make us “holy and blameless and above reproach…”

Jesus (preeminent Creator) has done this for me. For you. How does that make you feel? The way we answer that question may reveal, more than we know, the condition of our spiritual life.

I am glad to say that as I was reading this passage I was momentarily caught up with a sense of awe about Jesus coming to die for a sinner like me. Paul’s writing in Colossians made me think of something Paul Tripp wrote in his book “Dangerous Calling.”

“Awe of God must dominate my ministry, because of the of the central missional gifts of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to give people back their awe of God. A human being who is not living in a functional awe of God is profoundly disadvantaged human being. He is off the rails, trying to propel the train of his life in a meadow, and he may not even know it. The spiritual danger here is that when awe of God is absent, it is quickly replaced by our awe of ourselves. If you are not living for God, the only alternative is to live for yourself. So a central ministry of the church must be to do anything it can to be used of God to turn people back to the one thing for which they were created: to live in a sturdy, joyful, faithful awe of God.”

Allow me to be transparent for a moment, I find it to be incredibly challenging to live in this world with a deep sense of awe for God. There are things all around me that clamor for my affections, worship and awe. I do believe this is why it is so important for Christians to daily immerse their hearts and minds in the truth and power of the gospel. When we daily reflect on the gospel we are empowered to say no to idolatry and to live a life that truly reflects the immense value and worth of Jesus Christ.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” -Albert Einstein

Cageless Birds & Jonathan David Helser – East and West

The Implications Between The Gospel And Everyday Life

workplace

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus…” 2 Timothy 2:1

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Ephesians 5:2

“But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel…” Galatians 2:14

“Abide in me and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

Over the past few years I have been thinking quite a bit about the implications between the gospel and everyday life. Here is a list that I plan on updating periodically…

  • Salvation: When you think about the implications of the gospel you have to start here. Entering into the kingdom of God is not accomplished through religious activity (Ephesians 2:8). Instead, Jesus freely gave up his life on the cross and offers us the gift of eternal life.
  • The antidote to our over-active sin nature. Our souls are constantly seeking pleasure; something that will make us happy. The song “Constant Craving” by K.D. Lang comes to mind when I think about my old nature. If we are not daily feeding our soul with the Bread of life, Jesus Christ, then we will find pleasure in things that only bring pain, bondage and disillusionment.
  • Workplace: What role does the gospel have in the workplace? When I rededicated my life to the Lord at the age of 20 I would take my Bible to work (literally) and set it out in obvious places for people to see. Effective? Not so much. Was I a bit of a Bible-thumper back then? You bet. Taking the gospel to work does not mean we have to try to sneak Jesus into every conversation. The gospel is the foundation for how we see the workplace. I think this quote from Every Good Endeavor will explain what I mean: “While from the outside there might not be immediately noticeable differences between a well-run company reflecting a gospel world-view and one reflecting primarily the world-story of the marketplace, inside the differences could be very noticeable. The gospel-centered business would have a discernible vision for serving the customer in a unique way, a lack of adversarial relationships and exploitation, and extremely strong emphasis on excellence and product quality, and an ethical environment that goes “all the way down” to the bottom of the organizational chart and to all the realities of daily behavior, even when high ethics mean a loss of margin. In the business animated by the gospel worldview, profit is simply one of many important bottom lines.” P. 168
  • Everyday, routine, mundane life: Frequently you will hear people talk about how we should live radical lives for Jesus. Who can argue with that? Jesus has certainly called us to lay down everything in order to follow him. No question. Sometimes I believe that within this idea of living a radical life there is this subtle notion that radical means being a missionary overseas, working full-time in the church, or para-church ministry. What about the rest of us? What about the single mom who is balancing a job and taking care of three kids? The high school student who is trying to walk with Christ in a very secular environment? The business owner who is slugging it out in corporate America? Is it possible to live a radical life for these “ordinary people.” Absolutely. If we have our lives firmly grounded in the gospel then we will be living as salt and light in everyday life. We realize that in each context, of every day, that we are ambassadors for the good news of Jesus Christ. Because of the gospel everyday life has new meaning and purpose. Radical is living everyday life with gospel intentionality.
  • Community: Part of our gospel identity is that we have been saved into the family of God (Ephesians 2:19). We have to resist the tendency to see salvation as merely a private transaction between ourselves and God. We are more than saved individuals, we are now brothers and sisters living for the kingdom of God! Are we opening up our lives to deep, messy relationships within the church family? Community is part of our identity in Christ but it is also the greenhouse whereby discipleship flourishes.
  • Trials: Most of the time we seek ways, understandably so, to avoid pain in our lives. We want the pain to end or the circumstances to get better.  We only have to look at the way God used the suffering of Jesus on the cross to be reminded that every struggle we experience leaves us with the option of becoming bitter or more like Christ. In James 1:2-4 we read, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The “perfect” and “complete” that James writes about is his way of saying that the thorn in our flesh is there to make us more and more like Jesus Christ. We seek escape from our trials, God seeks our redemption.
  • Contentment: One of the most counter-cultural words I can think of is contentment. Our culture is absolutely rigged to leave us with the nagging feeling that we don’t have enough or that we don’t measure up. The gospel reminds us that we are so loved by Jesus that he laid down his life on the cross for us. We have the greatest gift that could ever be imagined; an ongoing, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. As we prayerfully reflect on these gospel truths we will find that we develop a deep sense of gratitude regardless of life’s circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13).
  • Marriage. I must admit, I am amazed by people who seem to have a strong marriage yet they do not know Christ. How do they do it? Thinking about the gospel on a daily basis reminds me to put the needs of my wife first.
  • Parenting/children: If I fail to give my children more grace than law I am making it a foregone conclusion that they will sin and rebel. Do we remember this during the daily grind of parenting? Law highlights sin, the good news of Jesus Christ is the remedy.
  • Politics: The gospel reminds me that although it is good to be involved in politics nothing has the power to change the heart or the world like the good news of Jesus Christ. Loving our neighbor is much more subversive than an angry political rant.
  • Preaching: Exhortations to greater obedience and to live radical lives will yield little lasting fruit if we are not continually pointing people to the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who empowers, inspires and sustains us into a new way of living. “Grace inspires what the law demands.”
  • Missional living: The passion to love our neighbors, care about social injustices and to see everyday life as our mission field only comes (and sustained) when we are amazed by the grace Jesus Christ has shown to us on the cross. Without heavy doses of the gospel we will crash and burn instead of living a life for the good of others.
  • Money and stewardship:  Reflect on the generosity of our heavenly Father sending his precious Son to a world that was going to reject and kill him. Meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus taking our sins upon himself, dying in our place so that we could have eternal life. As we make the gospel central to our daily thoughts we will increasingly become people of generosity in every area of our lives.
  • Training and equipping leaders: Are we equipping our ministry leaders to point others to the only one who can truly bring spiritual transformation? We want to equip our people to do more than give good advice, we want them to give the gospel. We need to listen, care and read the bible but we must always be speaking the truth in love. In John 14:6 Jesus makes it very clear that he is “the way, the TRUTH, and the life…” Our greatest spiritual need is always more Jesus.
  • Our house: Are we opening up our homes and our lives to our neighbors/strangers? By God’s grace some people will come to know the Lord by attending a worship service and hearing the Word of God. With that said, there are many people who will never show up to “church” but they are willing to share a meal with us. For many people in our post-Christian culture our house, our relationships with them, is the only place they may ever learn just how amazing Jesus is!
  • Curriculum in Children’s and Youth Ministry: Are we teaching our children and youth good moral stories from the bible or are we teaching them good moral stories that continually point them to their ongoing need for Jesus Christ? Big, big difference!
  • Weakness: It is not uncommon for people in the church to put up a front and and act like everything is OK. The result of this posturing is that we end up hiding our brokenness from the very ones who are there to encourage us and help us grow in our faith. In 2 Corinthians 12:29 Paul writes this, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. The amazing thing about this is that it is when we finally admit that we don’t have it all together and admit our weakness that the power of Jesus Christ is strong in and through us.
  • Dealing with conflict: I’m a PK, which means I have seen my fair share of church conflict. When you open up your heart and life to others in the church there is a good chance that you will get hurt. Sheep bite. If a church does not have a culture of forgiveness then their spiritual growth will always be stunted due to bitterness, divisions and in house fighting. How do we respond when we have been offended or sinned against? The gospel gives us the answer. As Jesus is dying an agonizing death on the cross he asks his Father to forgive the very ones who are in the process of murdering him. Nothing empowers or inspires us to forgive others like the gospel. Not sure who to credit for this quote, but it certainly is true, “Avoiding conflict = cowardice. Enjoying conflict = arrogance. Redeeming conflict = Christian.”
  • Pornography: Quote taken from “Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free” by Tim Chester. “One Christian who’s struggled with porn concludes: Modern conservative evangelicalism fuels sexual addiction because it has come to focus on the externals of religion, not the affections. By externals I mean such things as confessions, dogmas, personal priorities, church growth strategies, church attendance, training courses, evangelism, Bible study groups and so on: things that are visible in the believer’s life. By affections, I mean those things that cannot be heard or seen directly-fears, loves, joys, delights, hates, anxieties: the currents that swirl in the waters of a believer’s heart; the hidden desires that lie deep beneath our decisions…If we are going to help people struggling with sexual addiction, we need to recognize that the manger in which their sin is cradled is not the intellect, but the heart, the seat of their desires. They therefore need something more than mere information: they need to be wooed by the true and pure lover that their heart secretly seeks. Jesus offers living water. Battling porn in our lives is not an exercise in denying pleasure. It’s about fighting pleasure with greater pleasure.”
  • How we feel about our relationship with God: Am I good enough? Am I measuring up? Is God unhappy with me? Maybe I can be on my best behavior for awhile and get back into God’s favor. These types of questions and thoughts can haunt us and leave us feeling like a spiritual failure. The gospel tells us very clearly that when we have been saved that we are declared righteous (Romans 5:11). We read this. We say this. We may even think we truly get it, but we desperately need to be reminded that when God looks at us he sees the righteousness of his precious Son Jesus Christ. God’s love for us does not waver based on whether or not we have had a solid week of bible study or if we have seriously sinned. God’s grace abounds and you and I are deeply loved by our Father!
  • Does it really matter if we connect every day life with the gospel? In John 15 Jesus tells us this, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” I believe that when we are prayerfully thinking about how the gospel relates to everyday life that we are abiding in Jesus Christ. As we abide in Jesus we are strengthened and empowered to live the life that he is calling us to. Overcoming temptation, being filled with the Spirit, and living in such a way that brings God glory is all dependent on immersing our hearts and minds on a daily basis in the gospel.

I plan on updating this list from time to time…what would you add?

31 Of My Favorite Quotes from “One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace For An Exhausted World” by Tullian Tchividjian

 

onewayloveIt’s possible to push people onto the mission of God and leave them exhausted because you have not immersed all of your work in the gospel. This is one of the things I believe God has revealed to me about the last place I was pastoring. I desperately wanted to see our church push beyond the church walls and make an impact within the community all around us. Yet, as I look back I don’t think I did a good enough job when it comes to leading people to experience the power, beauty and inspiration that is found in the good news of Jesus Christ. When our Christian life becomes focused on what we do and not our identity in Jesus Christ we soon experience burn out, fatigue and disillusionment. The book to your left, “One Way Love“, by Tullian Tchividjian is a needed call to go deeper into the sustaining power of the gospel for every area of life. The book helps us to see the implications of the gospel when it comes to ministry, marriage, parenting and overcoming the insatiable appetite of the sin nature that lives inside each one of us. Here are 31 of my favorite quotes from the book…

  • Anxiety, sleeping pills and performancism. The average high school student has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950′s. It turns out the problem was not limited to an age group. In 2007, The New York Times reported that three in ten American women confess to taking sleeping pills before bed most nights. The numbers are so high and unprecedented that some are calling it an epidemic…What I see more than anything else is an unquestioning embrace of performancism in all sectors of life. Performancism is the mindset that equates our identity and value directly to our performance and accomplishments. Performancism casts achievement not as something we do or don’t do but as something we are or aren’t. Those colleges those teenagers eventually attend will be more than the place they are educated-they will be the labels that define the students’ values as human beings in the eyes of their peers, their parents, and themselves. The money we earn, the cars we drive aren’t merely reflective our occupation; they are reflective of us; period. How we look, how intelligent we are, and what people think of us are more than descriptive; they are synonymous with our worth. In the world of performancism, success equals life, and failure is tantamount to death. This is the reason why people would rather end their lives than confess that they’ve lost their jobs or made a bad investment. P. 19-20
  • Is Christianity about what we do? Sadly, the Christian church has not proven to be immune to performancism. Far from it, in fact. In recent years, a handful of books have been published urging a more robust, radical, and sacrificial expression of the Christian faith. I even wrote one of them-Unfashionable:Making A Difference In The World By Being Different. I heartily amen the desire to take one’s faith seriously and demonstrate before the watching world a willingness to be more than Sunday morning churchgoers. That Christians would want to engage the wider community with God’s sacrificial love-living for their neighbors instead of for themselves-is a wonderful thing and should be applauded. The unintended consequences of this push, however, is that if we’re not careful, we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him, rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us. The hub of Christianity is not “do something for Jesus.” The hub of Christianity is “Jesus has done everything for you.” P. 21
  • People leaving the church. Too many people have walked away from the church, not because they are walking away from Jesus, but because the church has walked away from Jesus. P. 22
  • The undomesticated gospel. It is time for us to abandon, once and for all, our play-it-safe religion and get drunk on grace. Two-hundred-proof, unflinching grace. It’s shocking and scary, unnatural and undomesticated, but it is also the only thing that can set us free and light the church-and the world-one fire. P. 25
  • Working hard to keep the love of God. Or maybe it is more subtle than that. Maybe you are a Christian, and you rightly believe that God forgave you your past indiscretions-that was what drew you to him in the first place. But once you made that initial Christian commitment, it was time to get your act together and be serious. We conclude that it was God’s blood, sweat, and tears that got us in, but that it’s our blood, sweat, and tears that keep us in. We view God as a glorified bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on His cosmic ledger. We conclude that in order for God to love us, we have to change, grow, and be good. P. 30
  • What is one-way love? Grace doesn’t make demands. It just gives. And from our vantage point, it always gives to the wrong person. We see this over and over again in the Gospels: Jesus is always giving to the wrong people-prostitutes, tax collectors, half-breeds. The most extravagant sinners of Jesus’ day receive his most compassionate welcome. Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head. It refuses to play it safe and lay it up. Grace is recklessly generous, uncomfortably promiscuous. It doesn’t use sticks, carrots or time cards. It doesn’t keep score. As Robert Capon puts it, “Grace works without requiring anything on our part. It’s not expensive. It’s not even cheap. It’s free.” It refuses to be controlled by our innate sense of fairness, reciprocity and evenhandedness. It defies logic. It has nothing to do with earning, merit, or deservedness. It is opposed to what is owed. It doesn’t expect a return on investments. It is a liberating contradiction between what we deserve and what we get. Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver. It is one-way love. P. 33
  • Stories from Tullian’s rebellious days. Grace and Law. My parents were loved in our community, and their friends could see the heartache they were going through with me. I remember two separate instances of people caring enough to ask them for permission to talk with me one-one-one to see if maybe they could get through to me. The first time was early one, when I was still living at home. Their friend picked me up after school, brought me to Burger King, and read me the riot act. “Look at all that God’s given you. You’re squandering everything. Your making your parent’ life a living hell, acting so selfishly, not considering your siblings. You go to a private school. You have this remarkable heritage. Shape up man! Snap out of it! Of course, he was 100 percent right. In fact if he had known the full truth of what I was up to (and what was in my heart), he would have had every reason to be even harsher. But in the first five minutes of this guy talking to me, I could tell where it was going, and I just tuned out. As far as I was concerned, it was white noise. I could not wait for it to be over and for him to drop me back off at home. This first friend was the voice of the law. He was articulating the standard that I was falling short of-and what I should have been doing-and he couldn’t have been more correct. The condemnation was entirely justified. His words have an accurate description of who I was at that moment. But that’s the curious thing about the law and judgment in general: it can tell us who we are, it can tell us the right thing to do, but it cannot inspire us to do that thing or be that person. In fact, it often creates the opposite reaction than the one that is intended. It certainly did for me! I don’t blame the man in question-he was trying to do the right thing. It’s just that his methods completely backfired. The second experience happened about a year and a half later, and by this time I was out of the house. This man called me and said, “I’d love to meet with you.” And I thought, Oh no, another one of my parents’ friends trying to set me straight. But I didn’t want to make things worse between my parents and me, and the free meal didn’t sound too bad either, so I agreed to get together with him. Once we were at the restaurant, he just looked at me and said, “Listen, I know you’re going through a tough time, and I know life must seem very confusing right now. And I just want to tell you that I love you, I’m here for you, and I think God’s going to do great things with you.  Here’s my phone number, If you need anything, call me. I just want you to know that I’m here for you.” And then he switched the subject and started talking about sports. That guy-the second guy-is still a friend of mine to this day. He will forever be marked in my personal history as an example of amazing grace. P. 45-46
  • For people that think they’re good, grace is frustrating. P. 47
  • It’s when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of grace. P. 55
  • Steve Brown once told me something I will never forget. he said, “Children will run from the law, and they’ll run from grace. The ones who run from the law never come back. But the ones who run from grace always come back. Grace draws its own back home. P. 57
  • I’ll never forget hearing Dr. Doug Kelly (one of my theology professors in seminary) say in class, “If you want to make people mad, preach law. If you want to make them really, really mad, preach grace. I didn’t know what he meant then. But I do now. P.72
  • Hearing the voice that rids us of anxiety. The gospel of grace announces that Jesus came to acquit the guilty. He came to judge and to be judged in our place. Christ came to satisfy the deep accusation against us once and for all so that we can be free from the judgment of God, others, and ourselves. He came to relieve us of our endlessly exhausting efforts of trying to deal with judgment on our own. The gospel declares that our guilt has been atoned for, the Law has been fulfilled. So we don’t need to live under the burden of trying to appease the judgment we feel; in Christ, the ultimate demand has been met, the deepest judgment has been satisfied. The internal voice that says, “Do this and live” get drowned out by the external voice that says, “It is finished.” P. 73
  • How to alienate your spouse and children. Most parents and spouses, siblings and friends-even preachers-fall prey to the illusion that real change happens when we lay down the law, exercise control, demand good performance, or offer “constructive” criticism. We wonder why our husbands grow increasingly withdrawn over the years, why our children don’t call as much as we would like them to, why our colleagues don’t confide in us, why our congregants become relationally and emotionally detached from us. In more cases than not, it happens because we are feeding their deep fear of judgment-by playing the judge. Our lips may be moving, but the voice they hear is that of the law. The law may have the power to instruct and expose, but it does not have the power to inspire or create. P. 81
  • Guilt and fear can be powerful motivators in the short run. What they cannot do is change a heart from self-seeking to self-sacrificing. P. 89
  • Pastors who resent their congregations. It makes me sad that some pastors invoke Mr. Crews’s tactics from the pulpit. Frustrated with their congregation’s failure to come to church enough, get involved enough, give enough money, pray enough, read their Bibles enough, invite their friends enough, so many pastors use their position to send verbal letters. “How can you afford your fancy SUV but not give more to the church? How can you take your kid to their soccer game every Sunday but never bring them to youth group?” Pastors who resent their congregations are just like husbands who resent their wives-the resulting guilt may produce some modified behavior for awhile, but estrangement and rebellion are inevitable. P. 89-90
  • What you didn’t know about Utah. We live in a country where the state most known for its wholesomeness and frugality, Utah, also leads the country in rates of pornography consumption and antidepressant prescriptions. P. 91
  • The one-way love of God meets us in our failures. Our failures make His one-way love that much more glorious. What qualifies us for service is God’s devotion to us-not our devotion to Him. This is as plainly as I can say it: the value of our lives rests on God’s infinite, incomprehensible, unconditional love for us-not our love for Him. Such relief! We can finally exhale! P. 115
  • Love and grace given to the least likely candidates. Zacchaeus was essentially the Bernie Madoff of Jericho. P. 124
  • Grace and preaching. I know what you’re thinking. If the key to inspiring altruism and moral behavior and general well-being is fostering an “attitude of gratitude,” and gratitude is the natural response to the good news of the gospel, why don’t more churches preach grace every week? The common misunderstanding, especially in the church, is that moral compliance comes through responsible instruction and exhortation, that in order to ensure good behavior in our fellow man, we need the law. One of the church’s main tasks, therefore, is to tell people what to do. But that’s not what we see in the story of Zacchaeus, and that’s not what we see in our own lives either. P. 128
  • Behavioral modification. Sadly, while attacks on morality typically come from outside the church, attacks on grace typically come from inside the church. The reason is because somewhere along the way, we’ve come to believe that this whole enterprise is about behavioral modification, and grace just doesn’t possess the teeth to scare us into changing, so we end up hearing more about what grace isn’t than we do about what grace is…Where disobedience flourishes, it is not the fault of too much grace but rather the failure to grasp the depth of God’s one-way love for us in the midst of our transgressions and greed. Grace and obedience are not enemies, not by a long shot. P. 129
  • We attend and promulgate churches that preach “humanity and it improved” rather than “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). P. 131
  • Grace inspires what the Law demands. P. 135
  • Who am I? Such self-reflection never finds peace in itself. (quoted from German Theologian Oswald Bayer) P. 148
  • Earrings, grace and a cool story about Ruth Graham! For example, I wore earrings back in those days. One in the left, and one in the right. It used to drive my parents nuts. Every time my grandmother-Ruth Graham-came down to visit, she would bring me fresh earrings to wear…It may sound trivial, but it meant the world to me. Everyone else was on my case, and instead of giving me one more thing to rebel against, my grandparents drew me in closer. P. 156
  • We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away. (quoted from Walker Percy) P. 157
  • As Doug Wilson put it recently, “Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the banks. Grace messes up your hair. Grace is not tame. In fact, unless we are making the devout nervous, we are not preaching grace as we ought.” P. 180
  • But if a person can be given the space to bask in the Good News for a while (without being hammered with fresh injunctions), we just as often find that the Gospel of grace, in the long run, actually empowers risk-taking effort and neighbor embracing love. P. 188
  • There seems to be a fear out there that preaching grace produces serial killers. P. 190
  • The fact is, the only way any of us ever start to live a life of true obedience is when we get a taste of God’s radical, unconditional acceptance of sinners. The message that justifies is the same message that sanctifies. P. 193
  • The Gospel is not a command to hang on to Jesus. It’s a promise that no matter how weak your faith and how unsuccessful your efforts might be, God is always holding onto you. P. 211
  • For many, their experience in church, theoretically a sanctuary from striving, has perpetuated, not relieved, their exhaustion. P. 213

London Grammar-Wasting My Young Years

It’s fairly easy to look out our culture today and empathize with the sentiment of this song. The movie Boyhood had scenes that made me think of Ecclesiastes, the same can be said for this song…striving, working, pursuing pleasure and yet getting no where. Chasing after the wind…

Lara Landon-There is Grace

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Intentional Missional Leadership and Disciple Making

Tim Chester

reformed spirituality and missional church

EdStetzer.com

writing about the gospel, community and the mission of God

Dream Awakener

awakening people to renovate their world in los angeles and beyond

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