Friday, May 29, 2009

The Gospel

The Gospel can be summed up by saying that it is the tremendous, tender, compassionate, gentle, extraordinary, explosive, revolutionary, revelation of Christ's love.

Catherine de Hueck Doherty

The Finger

No not THAT finger, I am referring to the one we Christians might use to point out what’s wrong with the world and pass judgment on the behavior of others. It’s the one we use when we yell “murderer” to the woman walking into the abortion clinic or to point out our distaste at the drunk laying in the gutter or when we are whispering about the couple in the church that just filed for divorce. I am not saying that any of those things are OK, but in our fervor to pass judgment on the actions of others we often overlook the fact we are pointing at people who are really no different than we are. They are often faced with circumstances that have completely shaken up the world they knew. They are placed in situations, not always by choice, they see no way out of and every choice they are presented with looks no better than the other.

Yet it seems that many Christians when given the blessed opportunity to minister to the needs of a hurting person instead choose to act as if they have some sort of moral imperative to point out their failures and to tell them, in their view, just what God thinks about it. Where is the love of God in that? Where is the love and grace from them that Jesus showed the woman who was caught in adultery? Instead of condemning her as the Law required and the self-righteous demanded; Jesus chose instead to give her the one thing she really needed and desired, love and acceptance. Not acceptance of her sin, but He loved HER and he accepted HER just the way she was.

The longer I am a Christian the more I am convinced that people can’t come to Christ simply to avoid eternal punishment, to get a “get out of hell free pass.” Yet that seems to be the message that I have heard preached in most of the churches I have been part of in the past. It is summed up in the phrase “turn or burn.” I simply don’t believe someone can be saved with a message like that. I think it leads to many false conversions. I know it did in my case many years ago when a preacher scared me down to the front of the church to say a prayer and get dunked.

No, people come to Christ by being convinced in their hearts of His love and acceptance and forgiveness for them and to be joined to the One who can give them, eternally, His life and hope and love. That is the good news that Christ died for. But people will not come to Christ unless the love and acceptance of Jesus is made real to them in the way we Christians live out our lives. Unless they see the love of Jesus in us, they will walk the other way. That love isn’t best expressed by trying to change their behavior. A change of behavior isn’t what they need the most. What they need is Jesus and to see His love expressed in us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's all about....ME

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have - for their usefulness.

To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.

Thomas Merton

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CelebrateGrace 2

I didn't get any feedback, so I am not sure if anyone listened to the audio I linked in my first post about our first annual CelebrateGrace Conference. I said I would post the other two sessions, so below is the link to the audio from the second session:

Part 2

Friday, May 01, 2009


This past weekend our church hosted its first annual CelebrateGrace Conference. The primary speaker, Dr. Murray Wilton, spoke twice on Saturday and again on Sunday morning. Murray is originally from South Africa, but now lives in the Huntsville area. If you have never heard him speak before, you are in for a blessing. I will provide the next two parts in subsequent posts.

Part 1

Part 1 (Downloadable)