Grace That Releases

One characteristic of a grace awakening ministry deserves special attention: release from past failures. A ministry of grace doesn’t keep bringing up the past for the purpose of holding it over people. There is an absence of shame.

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Two-Dimensional Grace

Grace comes to us in two dimensions, vertical and horizontal. Vertical grace centers on our relationship with God. It is amazing. It frees us from the demands and condemnation of the Mosaic Law. It announces hope to the sinner—the gift of eternal life, along with all its benefits.

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Grace: A Many Splendored Thing

When His friend Lazarus died, Martha met Him on the road and Mary later faced Him in the house. Both blamed Him for not coming earlier: “If You had been here, my brother would not have died!” There is strong accusation in those words. He took them in grace. With the turn of His hand, He could have sent them to eternity; but He refused to answer them back in argument. That is grace.

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Songless Saints

Everyone knows Ephesians 5:18, where we are told to “be filled with the Spirit” . . . but have you ever noticed that verse 18 ends with a comma, not a period? The next verse describes the very first result of being under the Spirit’s control . . . we sing! We make melody with our hearts. We communicate His presence within us by presenting our own, individual concert of sacred music to Him.

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Fear

We were rapidly descending through a night of thick fog at 200 miles per hour, but the seasoned pilot of the twin-engine Aero Commander was loving every dip, roll, and lurch. At one point he looked over at me, smiled, and exclaimed, “Hey, Chuck, isn’t this great?” I didn’t answer. As the lonely plane knifed through the overcast pre-dawn sky, I was reviewing every Bible verse I’d ever known and re-confessing every wrong I’d ever done.

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Growing Old

Growing old, like taxes, is a fact we all must face. Now, you’re not going to get me to declare when growing up stops and growing old starts—not on your life! But there are some signs we can read along life’s journey that suggest we are entering the transition (how’s that for diplomacy?).

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The Case against Vanilla

I cannot imagine anything more boring and less desirable than being poured into the mold of predictability as I grow older. Few things interest me less than the routine, the norm, the expected, the status quo. Call it the rebel in me, but I simply cannot bear plain vanilla when life offers so many other colorful and stimulating flavors. A fresh run at life by an untried route will get my vote every time—in spite of the risk. Stay open-minded for a moment and I’ll try to show you why.

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The Why, Where, and How of Worship

Some things just don’t mix! Oil and water always separate, no matter how much we shake them. An open fire and a can of gasoline don’t go together. And alcohol and driving should never coexist! There’s something else that doesn’t mix–the praise of almighty God and the promotion of self. You cannot blend them, nor […]

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Back to School

It’s back-to-school time! I’m guessing some parents (including me) are delighted, and most kids are disappointed. Kids tend to ask lots of questions before school begins: “Will I be riding the bus?” “Who is my teacher?” “Are the kids nice?” “Do I wear regular clothes or a uniform?” But kids don’t ask questions just about […]

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