Grace & Life

An Invitation to Join Our Company of Real, Great Sinners

BY MARTIN LUTHER & BRANDON HANSON

I heartily sympathize with you and earnestly pray our Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen you and give you a cheerful heart. I should like to know, and am making diligent inquiries to find out, what your trouble may be or what has caused your breakdown.

An Invitation to Join Our Company of Real, Great Sinners

Jesus Is Not a Life Coach

BY CHAD BIRD

People say only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. But there are other certainties. Like the daily rising and setting of the sun. And like the fact that life itself has its risings and settings as well. We all have times when the sun of hope rises. We are swimming in light.

Jesus Is Not a Life Coach

Sleeping Ugly

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

Do you remember fairy tales? Tales of magical creatures and far away fantasy lands? They were legends of lore that included dragons, magic, a moral to the story or a hero saving the day. I am a history nut and love the old stuff. I am willing to bet that when you reflect on what are considered to be a fairy tale classics…

Sleeping Ugly

You’re In Good Hands

BY JAKE ALLSTAEDT

I'm firing on all cylinders when my head hits the pillow. Does that happen to you? I’ll replay my failures from the day, especially the embarrassing ones. I shouldn’t have said that. What was I thinking? Was I too rude to that person? Was that the right response? I hope they didn’t take what I said the wrong way.

You’re In Good Hands

Forgive Me... If You Can

BY BRANDON HANSON

Forgiveness. Reconciliation. They are beautiful notions until we have some reconciling and forgiving to do. It is easy to say we believe in forgiveness. Quick is the silver tongue that speaks the, “I forgive you.” Slow are the feet of clay which shamble ever so slowly and cautiously toward the behavior that follows forgiveness.

Forgive Me... If You Can

The Giver God

BY NORMAN NAGEL

When the scriptures say "firstfruits" it means there are more gifts to follow. With every gift, God pushes our hands wider open to receive a still larger gift. The bother with us is that we often hold our hands open just enough for little gifts in fear that if the gifts get too big they may overwhelm us.

The Giver God

Joy Is Coming

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

Seasons of prolonged suffering have a way of beating your spirit down into the dust. Relational suffering. Physical suffering. Emotional suffering. Financial suffering. All of it can leave you feeling hopeless. We find ourselves looking up at the sky and wondering where He went or if He was ever there to begin with.

Joy Is Coming

Speak His Name

BY VALERIE LOCKLAIR

Shazam, the newest superhero rebooted by DC Comics, comes into existence through the power of one name—a name so powerful that, if uttered by one who is pure of heart, will allow the speaker to transform into the ideal man displaying the paragon virtues of wisdom, strength, stamina, courage, and speed.

Speak His Name

The Divine Drama

BY PAUL DUNK

If I don't preach Christ, then there's really no reason anyone should roll out of bed on Sunday to hear anything I have to say. Everything about "church," apart from Jesus, can be found elsewhere. Music that gives you the feels? Make a playlist. Kids programs? Get out and explore your city

The Divine Drama

I Believe In Yesterday

BY BRANDON HANSON

For many, “Yesterday" by The Beatles is a poignant and powerful song. It is one of, if not the most, covered songs by the Beatles. It brings back memories of regret, remorse, heartache, and heartbreak. Why do we like this song so much if it seems to cause us such pain?

I Believe In Yesterday

Discarding All Merit

BY MARTIN LUTHER

We should steadfastly maintain our teaching so that we never let any work take credit for gaining the favor and grace of God, for liberating us from sin, and for bringing us to heaven. My merit is worthless for this. And if someone should want to use it for this, I must trample it underfoot and damn it to the devil himself…

Discarding All Merit

Mourning With Hope

BY JAY SAWRIE

My wife is dead. She has been dead for over a month now, and it seems that grief is the ghost that haunts this apartment. I have entrusted her soul to God. She was my ever-faithful companion and encourager. She always pointed me to Christ. She was always longing to obey Christ.

Mourning With Hope

A Table For The Broken

BY RJ GRUNEWALD

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he invited a rag-tag group of sinners to have a seat at the table. The table was so important that while Mark described, “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost,” Luke suggested, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking.”

A Table For The Broken

Easter Revival Burnout

BY MARIAH COWARD

Every year they began the revival with the Easter service. Often with the: “I'm-not-going-to-tell-you-once-a-year-church-goers-the-Gospel-because-you-don't-come-often-enough-to-deserve-to-hear-it-and-instead-I'll-tell-you-how-worldly-you-are” sermon.

Easter Revival Burnout

Pastor Of Disaster

BY MATT JOHNSON

How are things at your church? Are people getting saved in droves, are there mass baptisms every Sunday, is giving at an all-time high, and are your members model citizens and pillars of the community? If so, praise God. Keep working hard. Ride the wave and enjoy it.

Pastor Of Disaster

You Can’t Always Outrun The Pain. That’s OK.

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Have you ever read the Old Testament book of Lamentations? It’s not one of those Bible books that tend to make it too often onto devotional lists, sermon schedules or motivational posters. That's too bad. At first glance, the book seems deeply depressing.

You Can’t Always Outrun The Pain. That’s OK.

Hunger And Thirsting

BY SCOTT DAVIS

I always thought that people who hunger and thirst for righteousness are those who are so zealous to do good deeds that they are constantly gobbling up righteousness at every turn. They sort of sounded like a religious Pac-Man- a compulsive eater of good deeds.

Hunger And Thirsting

Christ Is Still Holding Fast

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

Most Christians are no strangers to pleading with God to change their circumstances or relieve their suffering. Whether its physical pain/sickness or the despair we feel when we lose another battle with that same old sin we've been fighting as long as we can remember, we are desperate for God to intervene.

Christ Is Still Holding Fast

Un-Joyfully God's

BY DOMINICK SANTORE

I know the inclination should be towards joy and hope, but for some of us, it's not. And I sometimes wonder, if there's enough grace for us? Can grace cover a perpetually sad-sack Christian, who knows what he or she has to look forward to, but has trouble translating that into the here and now?

Un-Joyfully God's

Why I Probably Won't Write A Book On Prayer

BY PAUL DUNK 

Well it's simple really. I don't pray enough. I don't mean "enough" in the chronological sense like there is actually a right amount of prayer. By "enough" I mean that when I waste my brain energy in worry, fear, anxiety, anger and complaint, I should probably clue in and pause to pray.

Why I Probably Won't Write A Book On Prayer

You Can’t Work For Peace

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Sometimes the hardest part of the day is the time just before sleep. At that time, if struggles or stresses abound, we can be kept up by racing thoughts. This fretting and over-analyzation, the frantic search for options, can leave us exhausted and depleted, feeding the cycle of stress that is already at work in us.

You Can’t Work For Peace

God Shows Up When The Chips Are Down

BY MATT JOHNSON

If everyone would just live by the rules, the world would be a better place, wouldn’t it? Wisdom. Justice. Goodness. Any reasonable person can see God’s good creation and recognize He has ordered the universe in a certain way. Sounds reasonable, right?

God Shows Up When The Chips Are Down

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

Fear & Fruit Bearing

BY JAY SAWRIE

Growing up in the Bible Belt religiosity that I did, there was always an emphasis on fruit bearing. I can remember countless youth rallies where the evangelist would ask sugar high teenagers, "What are you doing for God? Are you a missionary to your school or in the locker room? Is God calling you to the mission field somewhere?

Fear & Fruit Bearing