Archives For grace

Loving the Stranger

July 5, 2016

While rounding a corner on a run in the United States the other day, I came across a Muslim women clad in a headdress and robes. I could see her cower off the sidewalk a bit as this white, American man came plodding her way in middle America. You could sense her apprehension and read her thoughts of “here we go again.”

I greeted her warmly, commenting on the beautiful day. You could visibly see her relax and the tension leave her body.

I’ve been in her position before. I too have been the foreigner in a land and culture which is not my own. I can relate to wishing I could change my nationality or accent in order to blend in. I wouldn’t wear my USA soccer jersey because of the perception of my nation in South Africa.

What’s Your Goal?

January 11, 2016

Our human self-sufficiency is never more evident than at the beginning of the calendar year with our New Year’s Resolutions. Goals are great, but so often we set about those goals in a self-reliant, try harder kind of way.

As Christians, many of these goals are linked to spiritual growth, such as wanting to read the Bible more.

If spiritual growth were as simple as trying harder, we would all be light years ahead of where we find ourselves.

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I recently came across some Judah Smith quotes from his book, Jesus Is For You: Stories of God’s Relentless Love, which speak to this topic

The constant battle is to trust Jesus for growth and change even more than our own effort.

“Jesus isn’t standing aloof yelling at us to climb out of our pits and clean ourselves up so we can be worthy of Him. He was wading waist-deep into the muck of life, weeping with the broken. rescuing the lost, and healing the sick.”

The End of Me

December 16, 2015

“Finish the sentence, “Jesus became real when….”

Often our walk with the Lord is relegated to an afterthought when life is good. It takes a tragedy, a bad medical prognosis, or news of an impending crisis to force us to our knees.

It is precisely during those times when Jesus becomes a more realized presence in our hearts and lives.

I’ve recently seen some friends who nearly lost a newborn express this sentiment saying, “I  can say this was a time of depth with my God that I did not know existed.”

This sentiment perfectly illustrates the premise of this book.

“Jesus became real when I came to the end of me.”

I was asked to review Kyle Idleman’s new book, The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins.

Top Books in 2015

November 22, 2015

I review a lot of books on this blog and many others influence the posts I write.

In fact, my best books of the year are always some of the most read posts.

Just in time for the holidays and those needing gift ideas, I will give you my…

Top Books in 2015 which I have read.

I will link to the appropriate articles and reviews in the summary, but my aim is to tell you how these books are still impacting me months later.

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Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

Hands down one of the best books on grace I have ever read. The part which sticks with me is the emphasis on seeing grace from cover to cover in Scripture. My teaching has taken on more of a “from Genesis to Revelation” flavor since reading this book.

I had read and enjoyed Jefferson Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough.

When I was given a chance to review his new book, It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die, I jumped at the chance.

I was not disappointed.

Bethke takes on many aspects of Christianity in which we have some misunderstandings. Included in this are:

  • Christianity is more than going to heaven
  • The Temple is not a building
  • The Sabbath is not an outdated set of rules
  • The kingdom is not in the sky
    and much, much more.

Bethke hit on so many things I’ve been pondering in my own life. This book became a conversation for me with a fellow traveler.