Grace When You Disagree

February 20, 2017

It seems there are more opportunities for division and disagreement right now than ever.

Many world events have caused Christians to take opposite sides on issues.

The recent election in the USA
The worldwide issues with refugees and immigrants
A global fear of the foreigner.

There are those embracing terms like evangelical and inclusive, while at the same time others are fleeing them.

Economic Disparity
Racism
Moral debates

Being unified as a church is harder than ever.

The apostle Paul had some experience in these areas.

He needed to bring together the arch enemies of the Jews and the Gentiles in the church of Rome. This required dealing with moral and cultural issues.

The church in Corinth was divided over spiritual gifts, freedom in Christ, and lawsuits to name a few.

I think I have heard people encouraged to follow their heart more in the last few months than ever.

The message seems to come in many forms, some wrapped in Christian packaging.

At times the pursuit of our desires leads to something as harmless as a career change or a new hobby.

Other applications of it have ruined marriages and led to a slew of broken commitments and promises.

There are many Facebook quotes weaving this new-found “theology” with Christian lingo.

“Stop worrying about being good, be free.”
and
“Trust yourself to set your own moral compass.” they say.

These quotes are shared and liked hundreds and thousands of times…by Christians!

This should scare us.

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Following your heart sounds nice but has several false foundations it is built on

Best Book I’ve Read in 2016

November 22, 2016

The best book I have read in 2016 is Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.

It deals with the difficult process of ending things in our lives. This could be letting an employee or co-worker go, ending a bad habit, or making a needed change in our lives.

Take a look at some of the wisdom Cloud shares in this book.

“Your attempts to fix should also include a realistic assessment of the potential for recovery and whether or not you are indulging in false hope. Leaders by nature are often optimistic and hopeful, but if you do not have some criteria by which you distinguish legitimate optimism from false hope, you will not get the benefits of pruning.”

Working in a volunteer organization, I found the next one very challenging.

The number one objection to grace says if you give people a big grace they will do whatever they want.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship famously called this cheap grace.

I do not believe any grace is cheap since it cost Jesus everything.

I would rather argue the cheapening of grace comes not in it’s cost, but in our response to the gift we have been given. After all, Bonhoeffer and anyone speaking against a cheap grace is not referring to the price Jesus paid.

They are speaking of our response having received this amazing grace.

We don’t want people to think they can do whatever they want without consequence.

Grace is never without consequence.

Paul addressed this in Romans 6:1-2. After proclaiming an enormous grace, he knew the natural tendency of people to see what they can get away with.

Wise and Foolish

October 4, 2016

In my recent readings of Proverbs, a repeated idea kept jumping of the pages. Words like rebuke, correct, instruct, teach, and train kept popping up. To take these things to heart is called wisdom in the Bible.

When I came across some similar ideas in Henry Cloud’s excellent book, Necessary Endings, they caught my eye.

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Here are a few of traits Cloud gives for both the wise and foolish person:

Traits of the Wise Person:

  • When you give them feedback, they listen, take it in, and adjust their behavior accordingly.
  • When you give them feedback, they embrace it positively. They say things like, “Thank you for telling me that.”
  • They own their performance, problems, and issues and take responsibility for them without excuses or blame.
  • Your relationship is strengthened as a result of giving them feedback.