Weapons of Grace, Part 1: Grace-Driven Effort Vs. A Guilt-Driven World

I know how crushing guilt can be, and the question I often get is: How do I move forward by grace?

If you are suffering from moral exhaustion, a start-and-stop faith, a struggle with an unbeatable sin, constant disappointment in yourself, an angry red-faced preacher, or you’re just plain tired, this might be for you. 

This is a progression of thoughts and conversations about moving away from a guilt-based prison into a grace-driven journey, and perhaps a small glimpse into the very heart of God Himself.

Here’s the groundwork.  Please feel free to skip around.

Continue reading “Weapons of Grace, Part 1: Grace-Driven Effort Vs. A Guilt-Driven World”

Quote: Ensures


God’s decision to forgive Peter required the death of his Son; Peter’s decision to forgive those who had offended him would cost him little more than his pride. The same is true for us.

In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another. Forgiveness is the gift that ensures my freedom from a prison of bitterness and resentment.

— Andy Stanley


Seven Things The Holy Spirit Does

Photo from worshipgifs

I know this whole “Holy Spirit lives in you” can be weird, mysterious, New-Age-ish, and more difficult to fathom than O-Chem II.

But if you believe the Gospel — that Jesus the Son of God dropped down into human history as a perfect, sinless, healing savior born of a virgin, absorbed the wrath you deserve for your sins on a dirty Roman cross, jumped out the grave like Shark Week, and flew up to Heaven with a promise to come back with 100 million angels — then you have God’s Spirit living in you.  That’s no small thing.

So what does He do? What does this change?

Well — everything.

Continue reading “Seven Things The Holy Spirit Does”

Quote: Undeserving


“God’s decision to forgive Peter required the death of his Son; Peter’s decision to forgive those who had offended him would cost him little more than his pride. The same is true for us.

In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another. Forgiveness is the gift that ensures my freedom from a prison of bitterness and resentment.”

— Andy Stanley

But I Don’t Have A Good Testimony

Don’t ever say this.

He’s got a crazy testimony. He was doing meth and punching babies and racing cops and kicking animals but then he hid in a church from the Feds and a monk popped up from the floor and — I just grew up in church and got saved.

Yes, you got saved.

You were brought from death to life.

It’s not a competition.

Continue reading “But I Don’t Have A Good Testimony”

Quote: Praying


If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.

— Robert M. McCheyne

Porn Addiction, the Conclusion



Edit: The conclusion is here.

Hello blogger friends!

Just letting you know that Part Five of the Quitting Porn series will be posting on Monday, March 12th.  I’m praying that even a few words written there will be helpful in our fight together.  It probably won’t be the last post on it and I’ll always take questions.

It hasn’t been easy talking about a fifteen-year addiction but I’m grateful for all your interest. Thanks for the prayers, support, and encouragement.

Here’s the introduction. All the other parts are linked there. After Monday, it will total seven parts.  I’m prayerfully considering to make it a book.

God bless you, friends! Let’s fight with God and kick the crap out of Satan, together.

You all are like a second church to me. Love you guys.


Question: Renewing My What?

Anonymous asked:
In Romans 12:2 we are told to renew our minds, how do we actually do that? Are there certain ways to help us renew our minds? Thanks for the help!

I think the simplest way to answer this is to read the rest of the chapter. Our dear Apostle Paul covers humility, the body of Christ, serving with our calling, love, joy, generosity, evil, justice, and dealing with big poopoo-heads (he calls them the enemy: same thing).  Actually, read the whole book of Romans.  You might want to wear bulletproof glasses for chapter nine.

The major thought on “mind renewal” in the Eastern culture has been to empty it.  The Bible never says this, but exhorts us to think about godly things.  Inversely, the Western culture is constantly pushing self-discipline, positive thought, inspiration, psychological adjustments, cognitive therapy, and thought rearrangement, but we all know where that goes, even if Paul didn’t tell us.  That’s a futile race of maintenance with no tangible goals.

Continue reading “Question: Renewing My What?”

Quote: Gaining


This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor.

… You know that in the end you are not really giving away anything at all. Instead you are gaining. Yes, you are abandoning everything you have, but you are also gaining more than you could have in any other way. … Why? Because you have found something worth losing everything else for.

This is the picture of Jesus in the gospel. He is something — someone — worth losing everything for. And if we walk away from the Jesus of the gospel, we walk away from eternal riches. The cost of nondiscipleship is profoundly greater for us than the cost of discipleship. For when we abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to the radical invitation of Jesus, we discover the infinite treasure of knowing and experiencing him.

— David Platt


Quote: Myself

God, you loved me right out of my addictions. You loved me out of my despair. You loved me out of my darkness, conceitedness, misery. You loved me right out of myself.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
— Galatians 2:20

The Romans 8 Trifecta



18 — I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

28 — And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

31 — What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?



Book Review: Real Marriage


Real Marriage
By Mark and Grace Driscoll

Summary:
Mark Driscoll, the pastor of megachurch Mars Hill of Seattle, and his wife Grace write an honest, detailed, gripping, and at times explicit work on the troubles of marriage. While overly practical and less spiritual than expected, Pastor Mark and his wife have written tough words for the prideful and healing words for the hurting. Most of all they have written truth that no other pastor would dare to venture, which is both the book’s best strength and most glaring weakness.

Strengths:
Mark Driscoll spells controversy because of his unequivocal expression, uncompromising views, and his colorful use of language. He makes fart noises in his sermons, got busted over preaching on oral sex (essentially telling Christian women to use it as a lure for their unbelieving husbands), was publicly lambasted by John MacArthur (one of the five Big Johns, including Piper, Calvin, the Baptist, and the Apostle — so you know it’s serious), and is called a chauvinist by both lesbian atheists and evangelicals. We get it: he’s the vulgar, brash, older brother that puts you in a greasy headlock and gives you purple nurples.

But there’s no doubt the man preaches the Gospel, proclaims sound doctrine, and has a brilliant mind for practical theology. Regardless of tactics, he has once again written a clear-headed, straightforward work on marriage that is so unlike any Christian fare it’s bound to grab your attention, fart noises and all. One thing is most obvious in his writing: Pastor Mark is a pastor and loves people. He does the dirty task of writing what no one else will say, and while it may feel gratuitous, it’s true that no one else will say it. So he takes on the thankless duty of speaking to reality about as real as you can get.

Continue reading “Book Review: Real Marriage”

Finishing Your Faith: Sermon Series on 2 Peter



The five part sermon series on 2 Peter is completely posted on the podcast!

Finishing Your Faith: Peter’s final exhortation to finish well.
An expository series that goes verse by verse through the book of 2 Peter.


2 Peter 1:1-15 – Pursuing The Joyful Struggle

2 Peter 1:1-15. God loves us before we took a single breath. Part 1. “The pre-qualification of God’s Love, always having game with God, stuck in Flex-To-Impress Mode, and the One Constant in the universe.” Dec. 2, 2011


2 Peter 1:16-21, 2:1-3 – Second Nature Jesus

2 Peter 1:16-21, 2:1-3. When Jesus is a reflex. Part 2. “The absolute hardest part about following Jesus, the Five Fails of Peter and his Two Names, and when Jesus is one more thing on your busy schedule.” Dec. 9th, 2011


2 Peter 2:1-12 – The Lies We Love, Part One

2 Peter 2:1-12. How idols cheat on us. Part 3. “The college professor venting his ideology, reading Noah and Lot like cute symbolic metaphors, and how God’s love rips you out of yourself.” 1-20-12


2 Peter 2:12-22 – The Lies We Love, Part Two

2 Peter 2:12-22. Exposing the ridiculous. Part 4. “A movie (supposedly) based on a true story, breaking up with someone over text, the Problem of Pain versus Pleasure, the religion of celebrities, and a culture of collision.” 1-27-12


2 Peter 3 – The Final Word: The Most Important Truth

2 Peter 3. The Bible’s conclusion. Part 5. “The token prophet who declares doom in the ghost-disaster-conspiracy movie, the problem with Jesus’ miracles, breaking in the Kingdom of God today, and Jesus the cannibal.” 2-3-12






Click here for Podcast Player.


Never Not Faithful: Sermon Series Through Daniel

A sermon series through one of my favorite books, Daniel!

It’s now completely posted with Part Five!

Daniel and the King’s Meat – Super Vs. Natural

Daniel 1. Choosing God when it’s tough. 1 of 5. “The Gateway Drug Theory, the But Vs. So-Then Christian, what Lecrae said about Jesus the Rebel, and lessons from Angels In The Outfield.” August 19th, 2011.


Daniel and the King’s Dream – God Is The Intervention

Daniel 2. God’s working hand as we work through Him. 2 of 5. “How to properly spot the bench press, The Unreasonable Demands, when to Act and when to Ask God, and the Greatest Intervention.” August 29th, 2011


Daniel’s Three Friends – Who Do Your Work For? I Work For God

Daniel 3. Faith in the fire. 3 of 5. “When the Real You comes screaming out of your civilized mask, the toys versus the fire in Toy Story 3, and having an Even-If Faith because we have an Even-If God.” Sept. 2nd, 2011


Daniel and the Two Kings – Good Pride, Bad Pride

Daniel 4-5. Losing control is a good thing. 4 of 5. “The Messy Unnecessary Argument, turning into a cow when you’re having a cow, and the future version of yourself warning you today.” September 16th, 2011.


Daniel and The Lion’s Den – Power In The Pit

Daniel 6. What to do with opposition. 5 of 5. “When to roll hard against some clowns, the story of Jesus found in Daniel, the crazy lady screaming at prayer group, and how God flexes His fruits in opposition.” January 13th, 2012





Quote: Moralism


Moralism beats this drum: If I improve, then I’ll be accepted — by God, by others, even by myself. But the gospel says something radically different. The gospel announces that everyone ‘in Christ’ is already accepted by God because of Jesus’s work for them. Therefore, no improvement, good behavior, or performance is necessary in order to experience the deep acceptance we long for and in fact strive for on a daily basis.

— Tullian Tchividjian

Quote: Longings


Because of Christ’s finished work,Christians already possess the approval, the love, the security, the freedom, the meaning, the purpose, the protection, the new beginning, the cleansing, the forgiveness, the righteousness, and the rescue we intensely long for and, in fact, look for in a thousand things smaller than Jesus every day — things transient, things incapable of delivering the goods.The gospel is the only thing big enough to satisfy our deepest, eternal longings — both now and forever.

— Tullian Tchividjian