We must not leave our gospel introduction before we see how union with Jesus by faith is not merely a legal issue. We are not merely given a new status as fully forgiven, perfectly righteous humans.We are engrafted into a new relationship with God as adopted sons and daughters. The gospel is not merely about […]Read More The Grace of Adoption
In the grade exchange, Jesus does the work and we get the credit. He studies; we succeed. This is called justifying grace, where God works for us. However, there is another kind of grace that takes place when God begins to work in us. This is called sanctifying grace, where God indwells his people in […]Read More God’s Work For Us Versus In Us
After we have made the grade exchange through repentance and faith, what now? This is where true Christianity often gets derailed. If you have ever heard anyone say that in salvation God “gives you a clean slate” or “a second chance” then you know what I am talking about. When we experience the grade exchange, God […]Read More The Gospel is Not a Second Chance nor a Clean Slate
Good interpretation matters. In 1980, 18-year-old Willie Ramirez was admitted to a Florida hospital in a comatose state. His friends and family attempted to describe his condition to the paramedics and doctors who treated him, but Willie’s family didn’t speak English. They spoke Spanish and told the hospital staff with great urgency that Willie was intoxicado. The […]Read More The 70 Million Dollar Word
In our last post, we discovered that God requires perfection. But we have all failed the test… and miserably. But there is hope! This hope is what I call grade exchange. Here is how it works. I fail the exam and Jesus makes a perfect score. As the grades are being handed out, Jesus stands up and […]Read More The Grade Exchange
Play Sermon Audio With the virtual extinction of telephone land lines, the most common form of communication now is via cell phone. While certain cell service providers are more reliable than others, everyone has experienced the dreaded “dropped call.” To get disconnected is so frustrating. But it also can be dangerous. In a health emergency. A serious […]Read More Hope for Disconnected Disciples
Why do we have Christmas? In other words, why did Jesus have to be born? Why not just Easter? Why did Jesus, as the eternal God, have to enter this world as a human child and live thirty-three years before going to the cross? The simple answer is that Jesus came to be a substitute. He […]Read More The Heart of the Christian Message
Seminary professor and author, Dr. Michael Horton, attended the National Christian Booksellers Convention in Denver, Colorado a number of years ago and asked the vendors a simple, but revealing question: “Does God require perfection?” Meaning, does God require that we be perfect in order to be in good standing with him now, and eventually experience […]Read More The Question Everyone Gets Wrong
Imagine that God is a professor and is giving each of us a comprehensive exam. The subject of the exam is personal morality, with His law being the standard. We are not graded on what we know about right and wrong, good and bad, but by how we perform in light of the standard—and not […]Read More You are taking the exam of your life right now.
The ancient Egyptians believed that when a person died, his heart was weighed on a scale by the god of the underworld, Osiris. On one side of the scale was a feather. If the individual’s heart was lighter than the feather, it was considered good and would pass on to eternal blessing in the next […]Read More What do you mean Christianity is not religion?
The Purpose Driven Life is a well-known, popular book written by Rick Warren, the founding pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Southern California. His thesis is that a life guided by a particular goal (purpose) is more effective and impactful than a life that is just… lived. As the adage says, “Aim at nothing and […]Read More 3 Benefits of Living a Purpose Driven Life
I served a church back in the 1990s where many folks in the congregation were members of an exclusive country club in the heart of the city. As a pastor in my 20s, there was no way that I could afford to pay the membership fee, which I suspected was in the six-figure range. Nevertheless, […]Read More The Country Club Gospel
Since it has been 6 weeks since we took a break from our The Struggle is Real series, I’ll remind us that 1st Corinthians is the first of two canonical letters written by the Apostle Paul to the church he founded in the Greek city of Corinth around 48 A.D. By the time he writes […]Read More The Power of Sacrificial Love
Mark 10:17-22 is a true story about a guy who had everything. He is known today as “the rich young ruler.” He was respected. Important. And he liked it that way. Then he encountered Jesus and realized that maybe he didn’t have everything after all. Apparently, he had heard Jesus speaking about eternal life, which […]Read More 5 Things I Can Do to Break Free from an Idol
Today is another guest post from a friend, Dave McCarty. His take on the upside-down, counter-intuitive feel of the gospel is slowly making its way into my heart. Maybe it will find its way into yours, too. To meet me, you would think… I’m a strong, confident, competent, cool, caring, together man. You would be […]Read More Appearances Can Be Deceptive
I read an article this morning that kinda blew me away. Actually, it kinda blew me up. Pete Scazzero was interviewed by Preaching Today about what he has learned over the years about message preparation. Not technique or style. But what he has learned about the importance of the pastor’s heart. Reading the interview, I […]Read More For Preachers: Learning to be with Jesus
Quick Navigation 1. I didn’t even know I was speeding.2. I was clueless about my need to slow down.3. Changing My Pace4. Six Suggestions for Living within Limits5. The Gospel Empowers Us to Slow Down 1. I didn’t even know I was speeding.A baby in our congregation was in the hospital in a near-by town […]Read More Slowing Down
For Christmas this year, my wife gave me When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend, by Mark Meynell. I have devoured it like a New York size slice of sausage and peperoni pizza after a 24-hour fast. Kristy knew this book would speak to me in a very personal way. Over the years, she has walked with […]Read More Being a Friend, not a Fixer
Meteorologists have a tough job. They are called upon to predict the weather, often attempting an extended forecast days in advance. Sometimes they are accurate. Sometimes they miss badly. Still, we appreciate the work meteorologists do in giving us a heads up about what to wear or whether or not to head up the mountains […]Read More Of Prophets and Meteorologists
Years ago, while walking into a dry cleaner during December, I noticed a poster in the window that read, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” While I understand the motive behind such a statement to be a challenge to the commercialization of the season and a focus on music, parties, lights, gifts, TV specials, […]Read More What if Jesus Isn’t the Reason for the Season?