Grace & Life

The Kind of Grace Named Jesus

BY DONAVON RILEY

Our complaints about God's grace always sound the same: "It was good to see him in church with his son this morning. But, I can’t believe pastor let them come up to communion. And did you see? I mean, pastor's just got to know he blew half the family's savings on booze and drugs. You know what else?

The Kind of Grace Named Jesus

Jedi, George Beverly Shea and Good Works

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

I finally got around to watching The Last Jedi.  I was caught up in the stirring story of the faltering band of rebels, on the verge of extinction, fighting valiantly for the good against overwhelming odds.  My heart soared with the dramatic music when the warriors went into battle…

Jedi, George Beverly Shea and Good Works

How to Make Grace Unamazing

BY CHAD BIRD

Amazing grace is a sweet sound not just because it saved a wretch like me, but because it saved a whole wretched world like me. God did not enter into a contract with us. He simply said, “You’re justified. You’re forgiven. I love you. All is complete.”

How to Make Grace Unamazing

Why Confess Sin?

BY DONAVON RILEY

Why confess sin? Is it so we can get rewarded by God? A little extra grace or material good for our troubles, maybe. Maybe, if we make a good confession, we can earn forgiveness? But, how much sin must we confess before we get what's coming to us?

Why Confess Sin?

“Christianity Isn’t for Everyone”

BY CHAD BIRD

Let's face it, Christianity is not for everyone. If you've made such huge strides in holiness that you deem grace a crutch for those still handicapped by sin, if you detect the faint applause of angels clapping their wings at your obedience, if you've led such an exemplary life that you've landed a spot on heaven's honor roll, then you’ll feel like you’re slumming in Christianity.

“Christianity Isn’t for Everyone”

A Walk In The Woods: Enchanted by Christ

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

A few minutes from where I live there is a flat trail that leads for miles through a thick forest. I like to take my dog Winston there for walks, often over my lunch break, the sprightly excursion a nice respite from the office, meetings and other tasks that usually make up my day. 

A Walk In The Woods: Enchanted by Christ

Agree With Your Free Salvation

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

I’ve found that most people struggle to agree with God that we are fully forgiven, redeemed and justified by pure grace alone, for the sake of Jesus Christ alone. I know it’s difficult for me. That is why we need this gospel preached to us over and over. But wait. What about good works and loving my neighbor?

Agree With Your Free Salvation

New Trees In An Old World

BY DONAVON RILEY 

All the verbs of our salvation are passive. God calls and gathers people to him through his Gospel. We don’t find him like an explorer finds the headwaters of a river. We are saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We don’t save ourselves.

New Trees In An Old World

The Baptism that Swallowed the Rocks

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

The Church is a community. But the Church is not like other communities. That probably sounds arrogant. Is the Church’s community really different from all other communities? Yes. And for reasons that hardly seem evident at first glance.

The Baptism that Swallowed the Rocks

Who's Your Father?

BY ERICK SORENSEN 

I have found that if I want to get people talking (especially guys), all I have to do is ask them about their father. Instantly, you will either hear stories of heroism or abandon; stories of pain or great joy; stories of great pride or great shame. But one thing’s for sure: You’ll hear stories…

Who's Your Father?

Grandma Joy and Psalm 139

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

My Grandmother recently lost a long battle with cancer. Her name was Joy, and a name has never been more fitting. When our family was going through her belongings, they discovered a note stating that Psalm 139 was her favorite Psalm. I was then asked to write something about this Psalm to be read at her funeral.

Grandma Joy and Psalm 139

Faith Is Not What Some People Think

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.

Faith Is Not What Some People Think

The Breath of Forgiveness

BY KATHY STRAUCH

Jesus' disciples locked the doors to their own prison. Fear, grief, and shame haunted the dark cold room in which they sat. Their beloved Lord, teacher, and friend had been crucified. Jesus had breathed His last. The One whose creative breath breathed into the lifeless clay bringing Adam to life had stopped breathing. 

The Breath of Forgiveness

When God’s Stomach Aches

BY JAKE ALLSTAEDT

It's in moments like that with my son that I honestly wonder if God still loves me. My sin must be frustrating to Him. And God knows that I've done worse than jumping into puddles. I’ve push Him away. I’ve taken His good gifts and thrown them in the garbage.

When God’s Stomach Aches

The Day of Grace

BY MARTIN LUTHER

This is equivalent to saying “salvation is near to us.” By the word “day” Paul means the Gospel; the Gospel is like day in that it enlightens the heart or soul. Now, day having broken, salvation is near to us. In other words, Christ and his grace, promised to Abraham, are now revealed.

The Day of Grace

It Gets Better Than You Ever Hoped

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

As I was reading Romans 7 today, I was reminded of a pivotal scene in one of my favorite movies, As Good As it Gets.  The main character, Melvin Udall, played by Jack Nicholson, is beginning to experience the hope that things can be different for him.  This feeling is new and provokes fear.

It Gets Better Than You Ever Hoped

Enemy Prisoner of War

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

In the United States Marine Corps, part of my training involved Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) handling. The 6 rules of EPW handling are: Search, Silence, Segregate, Safeguard, Speed and Tag. One of the main objectives is to keep an EPW out of the fight, to remove any hope of fighting, to remove any hope period. Providing a deep sense of being alone is one of the objectives of EPW handling.

Enemy Prisoner of War

Anxiety And The Christian

BY MARTIN LUTHER

There is a brief passage in Psalm 55:22 which reads: “Cast your burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain you: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Follow this advice. Let not your burden rest upon yourselves; for you cannot bear it, and must finally perish beneath its weight. But, confident and full of joy, cast it from you and throw it on God.

Anxiety And The Christian

Running From God's Undeserved Grace to God

BY DONAVON RILEY

Jonah doesn't care about Israel's great enemy. He certainly doesn't want to be the first prophet in history to leave his own country and preach to a people who regularly attack, rob, rape, and enslave Jonah's family, friends, and neighbors. So far as Jonah is concerned, he'd rather drown in a watery abyss than show his face in Ninevah.

Running From God's Undeserved Grace to God

Salvation Is Not A Possibility

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

As Christians, we are forgiven, justified, sanctified and will ultimately be glorified by the work of God alone. But in the messy middle space before glorification, we remain sinners. And sinners have a lot of reasons to doubt they are righteous.

Salvation Is Not A Possibility

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Lies

BY CHAD BIRD

Her snapshots are images of an actor on the world's stage. She plays the part expected of her by the audience. She conforms to social norms. She smiles her way through pain, to despair, into the grave. Her pictures are not worth a thousand words. They tell a thousand lies.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Lies