Tag Archives: Grace

From Yes-But to Yes-And

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here. What comes to mind when you picture turning toward God?  Psychologist Patrick Carnes suggests it all comes down to what kind of God we think we’re actually dealing with.  There are four basic options. First, we may have in mind a Non-Existent God.  In other words, no God at all.  We… Read more »

A New Start

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here. A New Start Bible stories don’t have official names.  Even though traditional names have become attached to certain texts over the centuries, there’s still plenty of room for discussion.  Many would suggest, for instance, that The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 should actually be known as The Parable of the… Read more »

In Christ

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Throughout the month of August, we’re taking a close look at 23 verses of the New Testament.  They comprise Ephesians chapter one, which paints one of the Bible’s most comprehensive pictures of what it means for ordinary people to be “in Christ.”   About a decade ago, on my way to a national gathering of pastors, my connecting flight took me through… Read more »

God’s Grace-Challenged Children

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When author and pastor Rob Bell was a teenager, he and his family attended a church service in a town they were visiting. At the end of the service, they experienced a drama that is played out in a number of conservative congregations.  The pastor invited those present to make a first-time commitment to Christ. He announced that if people repeated the… Read more »

His Grace is Enough

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In the ancient world, successful people were expected to boast. Highly regarded teachers, politicians, and public officials were encouraged to polish their resumes and roll them out before the watching world as often as they could.  Caesar Augustus ordered that his achievements literally be carved in stone all over the empire.  Soldiers competed for high honors that could only be won in… Read more »

Grace Wins

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In 1849 a young Russian named Fyodor Dostoevsky was arrested and imprisoned. He was charged with being part of a group that read books that appeared to be critical of Czar Nicholas I. After awaiting trial for eight months in a festering jail, Dostoevsky and his fellow “criminals” were led outside three days before Christmas into the frigid air.  They were horrified to… Read more »

Washed by Grace

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For the four weeks leading up to and going beyond Easter, we’re looking at the life of Peter.  Because he’s so often at the center of both the brightest and darkest moments in the Gospels, he has always been a source of hope and inspiration for those endeavoring to follow Jesus. In Bible times, the foot was literally and symbolically the… Read more »

That’s Easy: It’s Grace

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 Across the spectrum of global spirituality, is there anything unique to the Christian faith? Those attending a British conference on comparative religions in the middle of the last century debated that very question.  When all is said and done, is there anything associated with following Jesus that has no parallel?  How about the Incarnation?  That didn’t fly, since other religions include stories… Read more »

Surprised by Grace

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Harvey Penick literally wrote the book on golf. Throughout his life, he never aspired to be an author.  He simply loved everything that goes with hitting the little white ball.  Born in Texas in 1902, Penick began to caddie at the Austin Country Club at the age of eight.  By the time he turned 13 he had been elevated to… Read more »

Surprised by Grace

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So why didn’t Sam and Frodo just fly to Mordor on the backs of the eagles, since that’s how they were ultimately rescued? OK, let’s back up.  In case you haven’t read the monumental Lord of the Rings saga, or seen their Oscar-winning film depictions, the central storyline of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic tale involves the humblest of creatures – a… Read more »