Posts Tagged ‘grace’


First of all Easter is never really over because Jesus is Risen. That being said, the day we celebrate the Holiday has passed, so now what? Well for Christians the answer should be obvious. We take what we’ve been given and we share it. That’s what this image represents. We take the light that is in our hearts and we reach out, using our gifts to bless others and our lives to encourage and comfort others. The hand reaching down represents reaching to help someone else up. Then finally the hand pointing to heaven is to remind us that with all we do, we are supposed to point to the One who came to set us free. This is a major part of what it means to follow Christ.


I spend a considerable amount of time on this blog talking about how God uses our creations to draw attention to Himself. He uses us to create things that draw people to Him, so to speak. I know this is somewhat flawed but God’s grace to and through us is sometimes put into words, but what I am about to say next is not.

How much of YOUR attention does He have? How is your connection to God? How is your relationship with Him? How are your devotions and other Spiritual disciplines going? This is something crucial that cannot be overlooked. I’ll be the first to confess that this can be an issue for me. There are times where I feel a real disconnect. What that usually means, at least for me is that I am spending too much time trying to do for God and not enough time with God. My focus drifts to things that I need to get done and I usually get them done and I believe that is by God’s grace. Also by His grace, He allows them to be effective (though I do wonder how much more effective they would be if I were a little less driven and a little more focused on Him). I wonder how many people have been take off track with God because they are over busy and out of touch.

Guys, it’s this simple, He is the vine and we are the branches. He is our power. He is our source. Can we make it on our own? Probably for a little while, but it’s not what He desires and it’s not what I desire either. If you feel like your connection with God has faltered it’s time to take a look at what you’re doing and make some adjustments. Maybe you need a retreat, or just a day or two in prayer and the Word. If it’s gone on for a long time, you may need more.

One of the great things about His grace is, in that grace, I believe He makes us more sensitive to this happening. Does He have your full attention? Do you need to refocus? As Christian creatives our best work will always be born out of our connection to our Christ. Anything less is really not worthy of your time. always remember the One who created the universe took a Sabbath. And if He, having no need of rest took one, maybe your should. Do I have your attention?

Does He?


orlandoWell we’ve seen another heinous attack, a senseless act of violence. I am actually pretty thankful that I am separated from media for a few days because I get to miss all the blame placing and politicization of all of it, which is only ever amplified in a presidential election year. Evil happens in our world. It has since the fall. It will happen until the return. It is a fact of life, but this is not to say there is nothing we can do about it.

I’m reminded of a line from the musical Rent, which said, “The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.” I believe this to be true. Oh, peace is where we want to get to, but in the midst of a world filled with so much hate, the people on the side of light can cry for peace if we want, but to get to peace requires more. It requires the people of God being the people of God. The children of the Creator need to create. We need to look past a status quo that leaves us precisely where we are and we need to look for creative (and godly) solutions.

The opposite of terror is love. It always has been. Perfect love, (God’s love) drives out fear. How will we show that love to a world filled with hate? The ultimate answer is to point people to Christ. This can be done in a billion different ways, which is good since the Gospel needs to go to the majority of a seven billion person population. It requires every single believer to bring everything they have to foot of the cross and say with Isaiah, “Here am I, send me.” Every single believer who’s been wired for creativity needs to embrace their many gifts and put them to work in the name of the One who died to set us free.

The opposite of evil is Jesus. Only He can truly overcome evil, and we are His body, His hands, His feet. In God’s Word we are instructed to overcome evil with good. We are also instructed to take the truth of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. These two missions are one in the same, so get creative.

The time is now.


The last few weeks at church, I have been exploring grace. Of course we have this one form of grace that most people understand. It’s the unmerited favor of God that allows us to be forgiven of our sins and receive eternal life.

But there’s another side to grace. It’s the grace that allows us to endure to get through things. It’s important that we understand this. We do very little in our own strength as a matter of fact you could go so far as to say our strength is an illusion. What we are really experiencing is the supernatural power of God allowing us to overcome.

In 2 Corinthians 11, we see Paul boasting about all the things that he has gotten through. To the average person, this can make us feel very weak. But if we look closely we will see that Paul says that when he boasts like this he is acting like a fool. In the following chapter we see Paul speak about his thorn. “A messenger of Satan that God gave Him to keep Him humble.” While Paul endured my things, the thorn brought him to His knees, begging God to take it away. God in effect said, “No.” Rather he said “My grace is sufficient for you and my strength is made perfect in weakness.” This is another form of grace. We don’t have to do everything in our own strength. We can instead lean on God and depend on Him, and when we do that we start to find God’s way through life.

Paul goes on to say that if he boasts he will boast about his weakness for when he is weak, then he is strong. Maybe we Christians need yo stop trying to show the world how strong we are and show them the One who carries us in our weakness.

Give may get us into Heaven, but the other side of grace allows us to survive this world.

When we are weak, He is strong and His grace pours over us.



I am reading Brian Houston’s new book Live, Love Lead. This passage inspired the video. “Some people are saved but they’re not free. They don’t believe they deserve to be happy, to enjoy the spacious, joyful life God has for them. They feel as if they’re disqualified. They’re unfit for happiness. But it’s not true! It’s nothing more then the devil’s lies.

Sin becomes guilt, which is something we feel, an emotion. However, shame is something you carry, a state of being. People will sometimes say, “Shame on you!” and try to throw it at you. They judge you, condemn you, and try to make you feel the harsh sting of rejection.

He then goes on to tell this truth. “If we want to shake off shame, we myst understand the full power of what Jesus Christ has done for us. If you carry shame, then you’re not carrying what comes with the full blessing of God.”


I’m not exactly sure what to call this post. To be honest, I’m not sure of much these days, but that God is still God, that God is still good and that Jesus is still Lord. We live in a world where discourse has been reduced to memes on social media. If it can’t be said in 140 characters or less, it won’t be heard. Disagreement is now hatred and tolerance, something that used to mean we could disagree, maybe even vehemently, and still respect and maybe even love each other, has been reduced to forced agreement with the status quo. Meanwhile I’ve seen Hitler mentioned on many occasions as an example of a Christian. For the record, no one who killed 11,000,000 million people is a Christian, period. This much is clear, we Christians have fallen out of favor. How should we react?

Well first of all, none of this should surprise us. Jesus told us people would hate us because of Him. Now if they hate you because you’re being a jerk, that’s on you, but if they hate you because of Him, that’s something different altogether. He went a step further in John 16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” He’s been right about everything else, chances are He’s right about this, too.

The church will not always be a help to us either. Scripture reminds us “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3) A word of caution here, we can’t throw this verse at everyone who disagrees with us. Instead we must do what we have always been supposed to do, compare what we hear from pulpits and preachers (and the media, and the government, and everyone else) with the Word of God and live according to what the Word says.

So what do we do? We do what we’ve been called to do all along. We love others. We love everybody, even those who disagree with us, even those who may persecute us (and by the way, negative memes are not persecution). We pray for our leaders. We speak the truth in love. We help and bless and care and serve. We “Live such good lives among the [world] that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” Being reproached is no excuse to live anything but above reproach. We love because He first loved us. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us, regardless of what they actually do unto us. We follow Jesus, regardless.

Nothing has changed. Jesus is still Jesus. He will never steer you wrong. Everyone else… Well, not (always) so much.


My new presentation, Forgiven, deals with sin, repentance, grace and forgiveness. I did this a few months back at St. Thomas Independent Church of the Brethren in Mount Pleasant Mills, PA. They recorded the message and set it to pictures of me in action. Please check it out and if your church could benefit from hearing this presentation, please contact me.