Tag Archives: grace
I never cared much for Thanksgiving. That’s a funny way to open a post about Thanksgiving but, the truth is this day never really had a lot of meaning to me. For whatever reason I never saw this day as more than a day off, a day to relax, eat, and play or watch football (or both). Then something happened.
The natural process of life: getting married, having kids, getting older began to change my attitude about Thanksgiving. I saw a desperate need to foster an attitude of thanks and gratitude in my own life. Instead of constantly pursuing more I wanted to be grateful for the many blessings God has given to me and my family. In fact, each night when our family prays we thank God for His “many blessings, like food, clothes, and a warm bed.” And why shouldn’t we?
Taking a quick glance around our world I see hungry people, men and women and kids with no homes, people being forced from their homeland for one reason or another, war, abuse, violence, and sin. The truth is, our world is not a very pleasant place. There is much to be discouraged and disheartened about. But, there is also much to be thankful for.
Last week was a little chaotic for me. During the whirlwind week, which involved a last minute flight to St. Louis, I had the chance to spend some time talking with a man that shares a very similar story as mine. By “similar story” I mean a man that spent many years in full-time vocational church ministry and is now doing something else.
But, the similarities in our stories did not end with our transition from vocational ministry to secular work. What became apparent is that we both found ourselves making similar observations about the church and our own theology. Let me share an example.
I was talking with a friend some weeks back and said “for all the talk the church does about grace and forgiveness, there seems to be very little offered.” My comment came after many people called for pastors and church leaders caught in the Ashley Madison hack to be removed from their positions (some even calling for them to be removed from church membership). This struck me as so odd. I recalled Peter denying he even knew Jesus and yet Jesus never once thought about stripping his Apostleship.
The overtone of responses by many Christians to this event left me wondering what our communities and religious skeptics thought of us when we decided it was a good idea to shoot our wounded. Fast forward to one of the first conversations I had with my new friend in St. Louis. I asked him why he was no longer in vocational ministry. He offered several reasons but included in his answer that he has been less than excited by the lack of grace and forgiveness in the local church.
I’ll confess to being a cautious critic against modern pastors. The implosion of the modern church is largely in part due to a failure on the part of our pastors. A failure to preach and teach boldly from the Bible without being concerned whether the message is popular or “tickles the ears.”
One of my greatest grievances against many pastors is their refusal to properly, biblically, clearly address the moral issues facing people today. One of the most critical is that of abortion.
The average pastor won’t even say the word abortion from the pulpit this year. Any sermon where addressing abortion from a biblical perspective would be appropriate will be glossed over with subtle hints and flowery phrases. But you will not hear hardly a single sermon from an American pulpit during which the pastor declares “abortion is murder.”
This sad reality is compounded when pastors say things like “if you’ve terminated a pregnancy, I don’t want you to feel bad.” Or the equally cringe-worthy excuse for not even broaching the subject: “we focus on the Gospel.” Apparently there’s a whole group of pastors that don’t even know that abortion (murder) is in fact a Gospel issue. Perhaps that’s because abortion advocates have done such a good job of painting the issue as a men vs. women or Republican vs. Democrat issue. The truth is that this is not a political or gender issue, this is a biblical moral issue with deep roots in the Gospel. You cannot support destroying the image of God in another human being and call yourself a Christian. Yep, it’s really that simple. That’s how abortion is tied to the Gospel.
The very first Thanksgiving Proclamation was made by William Bradford in 1623. At least that is how history records it. I have no doubt the Pilgrims were quite thankful when they landed in the “new world.” But history doesn’t record an official proclamation until several years later when Bradford, the governor of the colony, said these words:
I am a huge Jim Caviezel fan. My first exposure to him was his role as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s epic movie “The Passion of the Christ.” Since that movie took the world by storm I have been a fan of Caviezel for his willingness to stand boldly for his faith in Hollywood.
Even though Caviezel knew that it could be a death sentence for his career as an actor, he felt called to make the movie and was obedient to that call. Since that time Caviezel has been an outspoken voice for faith in a town not know for any faith at all.
In this video Jim Caviezel shares on everything from how he got the role as Jesus in The Passion to his latest project recording an audio Bible. And while I wish someone else was doing the interview – this particular guy is a little too light-hearted for the message being shared, the message shared by Jim Caviezal in this video is a much needed one.
I have been privileged to get to know Lacey Buchanan and Christian via Facebook over the last year. A number of dialogues have allowed me to see the fire that burns deeply in Lacey to show the world that she indeed did not make a mistake by refusing to abort Christian. Every picture, every story, every post about their life is another evidence that God’s grace flows freely to those who will accept it. Truly, the Buchanan family has been blessed.
Watch this short video update about Christian as a 2 year old and hear from Lacey and Chris about how God is working in their lives and the lives of millions around the world thanks to a little boy named Christian that looks a little different.
If the video doesn’t appear automatically, please refresh your browser.
The Blaze reports: “A Texas man is suing a local school district after officials refused to display his Christian advertisement featuring a tattooed Jesus during high school football games. David L. Miller’s lawsuit against the Lubbock Independent School District in Lubbock, Texas, comes after he alleges that officials denied his digital billboard advertising the website www.JesusTattoo.org in October.”
Should the advertisement, featuring the image below, be banned or refused simply because it is religious in nature? Isn’t that the definition of religious discrimination prohibited in the Constitution?
The video below the image is an incredible reminder of what Jesus for each person. He willingly took the sins of every person that is willing to ask forgiveness and seek redemption. Watch the video and share it with others that need this amazing message of forgiveness. If the video doesn’t appear automatically, please refresh your browser.
I, like many people watched the History Channel mini-series “The Bible” when it aired nearly a year ago. I have not often been excited about biblically themed television shows. They tend to veer towards blatant misrepresentations after relying more on extra-biblical sources than the Bible itself. But this series, from husband and wife producers Mark Burnett (Survivor) and Roma Downey (Touched By An Angel) received much media attention and hype prior to the first episode for what critics said was careful attention to detail in staying true to Scripture.
As I watched the first episode I was pleasantly surprised and filled with promise that this could be worthy of the adjective used frequently to describe it on social media: epic. Of course it will be necessary to overlook the fact that everyone is speaking in a British accent. But I’m more interested in the series being biblically and historically accurate than employing the proper accent. (I do realize the historical inaccuracy of everyone speaking in the wrong accent. it’s just a detail that doesn’t bother me.)
One thing many Christians struggle with is sharing the Gospel with their lost friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Many feel unprepared, insecure, or fear they will be yelled at by people that don’t want to hear about Jesus. Regardless of the reasons why we often don’t share the good news with others, the fact remains that we are called to do so an need to intentionally find ways to witness to others.
As the homosexual movement becomes a more prominent issue in our society Christians need to be prepared to share the Gospel with those identifying as gay. Every person, created in the image of God, is lost in their sin without the redemptive, saving grace of Christ. That means that whether someone is a drug addict, a thief, homosexual, or a really nice person that simply doesn’t know Jesus; all are lost and in need of the Gospel.
For anyone that is wondering where to start or how to go about sharing the Gospel with someone that is gay, help is on the way. The reality is that you really only need to be honest, loving, and allow the grace and truth is Scripture to speak through you. You don’t need a theological education, or be skilled in debate, you just need to care enough to speak and be willing to allow God to use you.