Grace & Life

The Grace Pirate

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

You may be thinking to yourself, “What is a Grace Pirate? I have never heard of such a thing.” But I am willing to bet you have heard of some fictional person that functions like him. There is almost always one in the religious crowd that will suggest that the message of free grace will create “Grace Pirates.”

The Grace Pirate

The Consolation of Weak Saints

BY MARTIN LUTHER

I have often stated above and elsewhere that it pleases me greatly and is salutary for us to hear of the weaknesses of the saints, for these examples of weakness are more necessary for us and bring more consolation than the examples of that heroic and very great fortitude and other virtues.

The Consolation of Weak Saints

When It’s Time To Give Up

BY MATT JOHNSON

In our democratic society we love to talk about freedom. But anybody out there ever tried to be perfect? Ah, shucks. Turns out we’re not as free as we thought. Freedom of the will is a thorny issue—but only theoretically speaking. The problem of the un-free will is not a philosophical problem.

When It’s Time To Give Up

Can Jesus Save A Christian?

BY BRANDON HANSON

You’ve likely seen it yourself or at least heard of it happening. I recall hearing testimony after testimony from Christians who had been convicts, gang members, drug addicts, alcoholics, perverts, deviants, anarchists, extortioners, and scam artists. And Jesus saved all of them.

Can Jesus Save A Christian?

What's Left To Do?

BY JESSICA DELGADO

We are a people always seeking, always moving, always striving for more: it is the American way. In our culture, the most dishonorable people are the people who don’t work toward anything and don’t want toward anything. Having a job is respectable, certainly, but it’s the striving that makes you remarkable.

What's Left To Do?

The God Who Sees Me

BY DAN CHRISMER

There have been so many times in my life where I have thought to myself; God isn't paying any attention to me. He doesn't care what I do down here on this inconsequential planet in the middle of the huge universe He controls. He might be able to see me, but He doesn't really care to look down on me.

The God Who Sees Me

Am I Inside? - A Pastor’s Confession

BY DONAVON RILEY

God has gifted pastors with a terrible privilege. We’re invited to go inside peoples’ pain. A stranger stands emotionally naked in front of us begging, “I can’t get what he did out of my head. Please, help me!” Pastors call pastors to express feelings of guilt and judgment.

Am I Inside? - A Pastor’s Confession

Something Greater

BY BRANDON HANSON

When I was a young boy I was constantly trying to assert my superiority over my siblings. I had to be the best at everything, and it was easy to believe I was the best. I was the oldest of seven brothers and a sister. Naturally, I was faster, stronger, and more coordinated than the rest of them.

Something Greater

The Final Review

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

With a new year comes many new things. In the corporate world, we again introduced to our yearly performance review. This might be exciting for some, but for me, it is always filled with anxiety. Sweaty palms, cottonmouth, an increased heart rate and loose bowels might all be present leading up to the review.

The Final Review

Sin Like Coffee Cups

BY JESSICA DELGADO

I have this really terrible habit. A habit that involves my car and days-old coffee and a willpower so weak that nine out of ten coffee cups get left behind. A habit whose repercussions aren’t so awful when you consider the fact that most days my car smells like classic vanilla Coffee Mate...

Sin Like Coffee Cups

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

Obedience That Is Already Finished

BY BRAD GRAY

The rich young ruler’s inquiry to the Lord Jesus in Mark 10:17–22 remains increasingly prescient for us today. I would say that it’s the inquiry that’s apropos of the human condition; it’s the question on everyone’s tongue, even if it’s not explicitly admitted — that question being, “How do I secure a spot in heaven?”

Obedience That Is Already Finished

Disappointing People

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

I have always felt I have a knack for disappointing people.  It sometimes feels like everyone in my life thinks I'm more capable than I am.  Five years into my chronic pain, I think my family is starting to catch onto my limitations.  I still disappoint my kids all the time. That's probably true of many parents.

Disappointing People

The Old Testament Roots of The Lord's Supper: Part 2

BY DONAVON RILEY

Blood is the thing. In the Scriptures, sin must be covered or "atoned for" as it's called, by blood. You see, God hates sin. But God also wants to enjoy a faithful, loving, and kind relation with his people whom he loves. The trouble is, his people prefer to turn to things that are not God rather than God.

The Old Testament Roots of The Lord's Supper: Part 2

The Myth of Christian Maturity

BY RYAN COUCH

In a world where science tells us that everything is deteriorating and we’re all one day closer to our physical death it’s nice to think that there might be something we are getting better at. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that this is in fact the essence of ethics; to find purpose through habitual improvement.

The Myth of Christian Maturity

Move, Before Death Comes...

BY DOMINICK SANTORE

I got your life application right here! First off, Happy New Year! It's 2019 and there's a sense of optimism floating about in the air. Now, please allow me to continue that, and bring you more good feelings of gumdrops and cherry licorice. How would you feel if someone you knew suddenly died?

Move, Before Death Comes...

God Writes Straight With Crooked Lines

BY CHAD BIRD

If I were granted three wishes, one of them would not be to know what the future holds. I have enough trouble wrestling with today’s demons. I don’t want to know what crosses I’ll have to lug around tomorrow. As the wise Rabbi said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” And some days are so sufficiently evil that tomorrow looms like the open jaws of hell.

God Writes Straight With Crooked Lines

Good Works and Useless Burdens

BY MARTIN LUTHER

No Christian can boast that his own efforts have made him a member of Christ, with other Christians, in the common faith. Nor can he by any work constitute himself a Christian. He performs good works by virtue of having become a Christian, in the new birth, through faith, regardless of any merit of his own.

Good Works and Useless Burdens

Where Are You?

BY WALTER HWANG

I grew up playing baseball – mostly “street” baseball, with a bunch of friends. It was one of my passions in life. I remember one day, I think I was around 11 years old, in Korea. My friends and I, as usual, went out to play baseball, right in our apartment complex in Seoul. I was in the batter’s box, ready to hit, and the pitcher threw the ball.

Where Are You?

Whose Lord and Savior Is He?

BY DONAVON RILEY

That's the Christmas message the Church has preached, confessed, and sung for more than two thousand years. Jesus, born in Bethlehem, God's Word in the flesh, true God and true man is Lord and Savior. But who is he born for? Whose Lord and Savior is he?

Whose Lord and Savior Is He?

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

Oh Come, see Him loving you before He was ever even born. (Ephesians 1:3-6) Oh Come, see Him planning our rescue. (Genesis 3:15) Oh Come, see Him being born into brokenness, poverty, and bloodshed. (Matthew 1:18-25) Oh Come, see Him living in utter obscurity as a boy, teenager, man. (Luke 2:52)

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

What if God Were a Slob Like One of Us?

BY CHAD BIRD

Mary snapped a pic of Jesus in the manger, chose the Clarendon filter, and posted it to her Instagram account. Two hours later, it had 24 likes. Three of her friends had commented, “He’s so adorable!” Two said, “OMG, how cute!” And one gushed, “The most beautiful baby ever!” But they were all lying.

What if God Were a Slob Like One of Us?

A Gift No One Trusts You With

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

Christmas is the celebration of God gifting His son to the world. A God we often view as harsh and hard giving us a gift, we never thought to ask Him for. Reconciliation and freedom. The gift of freedom comes with no strings attached. No caveats or warnings.

A Gift No One Trusts You With

Christmas, I Just Don’t Understand It

BY KATHY STRAUCH

Christmas comes in the dead of winter. In a season when the earth is cold, dark, and bare, songs on the radio belt out a chorus which names this season, "the most wonderful time of the year." But, is it really the most wonderful time of the year?

Christmas, I Just Don’t Understand It