Grace & Life

When The Old Adam Goes Church Shopping

BY DONAVON RILEY

If I’m going to join your church, there’s some things I’ll need to know first. I need to know whether you practice a Christianity that’s primarily a to-do list. Do you emphasize the Christian and his performance? After all, if I don’t do the right thing and avoid the wrong things how will I know what God thinks of me?

When The Old Adam Goes Church Shopping

Whenever Our Heart Condemns Us

BY BRANDON HANSON

He looked me straight in the eye and said these words, almost in a challenging way, “I hate God. I do. I try to love and obey Him, yet whenever I’m alone, when my mind has a chance to think, it constantly and consistently points me to the fact that I am not innocent of sinning against God.

Whenever Our Heart Condemns Us

I Am A Fake Christian

BY RYAN COUCH

What is a fake Christian? I think the answer depends upon how you define “Christian”…the Bible says that a Christian is one who has faith in the person and work of Christ as his/her only means of salvation; that is that they’ve been put to death and raised into new life with Christ.

I Am A Fake Christian

Grace In The Wilderness

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

God’s children spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Imagine the hopelessness. Imagine the frustration. Imagine the seeds of distrust that were blooming into outright trees of anger and pain. “He brought us out of Egypt for this?” Some of us don’t need to imagine this anger, this pain, this sense that maybe God has forgotten or betrayed you.

Grace In The Wilderness

Begin The Begets

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

I am a time traveler now. It all started this past Christmas. My son gave my husband and me DNA kits, and the instructions suggested that, in preparation, you should begin building your family tree while awaiting the results. So, I did. Now, I am...I don't want to say obsessed, but...okay, let's just call it what it is...I'm obsessed.

Begin The Begets

Stop Conflating Caesar With Jesus

BY BRANDON HANSON

Appealing to our religion to push our political and social sensibilities is not what Jesus died for. And when we make it about that, it becomes more exclusive than the very inclusive Gospel. It sets up dividing lines that God never put there; boundaries that He sent His Son to break, walls that were torn down in the death of Christ.

Stop Conflating Caesar With Jesus

The Advantages Of Praying Drunk

BY MATT JOHNSON

Think about it. God’s grace can quickly become theoretical and it plays out in our churchy practices and attitudes all the time. What if a homeless drunk began showing up to church services, but he’s really slow to change? He will need a lot of grace in order to live the sanctified life.

The Advantages Of Praying Drunk

How Long, O Lord? Climbing 109 Mountains

BY CHAD BIRD

I finally climbed all 109 mountains. My journey began out of desperation, fueled by anger, fear, resentment. I didn't how long it would take, nor the toll it would take from me. I simply climbed, some days only an inch, other days a few feet. And sometimes I plummeted backwards.

How Long, O Lord? Climbing 109 Mountains

Grace and Peace for Stubborn Sins

BY MARTIN LUTHER

The terms of grace and peace are common terms with Paul and are now pretty well understood. But since we are explaining this epistle, you will not mind if we repeat what we have so often explained elsewhere.

Grace and Peace for Stubborn Sins

Grace & The Umbrella Academy

BY BLAKE FLATTLEY

Netflix just recently released a series called The Umbrella Academy, another comic book series adapted for screen. The first season is all about warding off the impending apocalypse. If you haven’t seen the show, I’ll do my best not to spoil it for you.

Grace & The Umbrella Academy

Examples Of Grace

BY KYLE G JONES

I was once asked why I thought young people were leaving the church in droves after they graduated high school. As a director of youth and family ministry, I’m well positioned to answer. My response: Sunday school. We’re losing young people as children in Sunday school because we’re teaching Bible stories to modify behavior…

Examples Of Grace

Giving Up For Lent

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

Our church doesn’t talk a lot about giving up things for Lent. Lent seasons means we have Sunday night services as well, where we bring in speakers who talk about a different theme each year—usually surrounding the idea of the suffering of Christ. It fits because Lent is the season in the liturgical church calendar when we reflect on the suffering of Christ.

Giving Up For Lent

What Did Jesus Look Like?

BY JAKE ALLSTAEDT

When I was growing up, I remember that my pastor, before the closing prayer of his children's sermons, would ask us to close our eyes and imagine the most beautiful, most loving picture of Jesus that we could. We were to believe that He was right there with us as we prayed.

What Did Jesus Look Like?

Why Rules Alone Never Work

BY MATT JOHNSON

Your eternal salvation isn’t dependent on performance or effort. Well, not your performance anyway... We Christians are a dull bunch. Tie a string around your finger if you have to, but whatever you do, remember this: spiritual performance inventories are futile. Luther knew this, and the Apostle Paul backs him up.

Why Rules Alone Never Work

Can I Get a Fruit Check?

BY BRANDON HANSON

We’ve all been there, waiting in line to check out, and the person ahead of us questions the price of something that was just rung up. I remember one lady ahead of me complaining that one item was a whole 18 cents more than the advertised price!

Can I Get a Fruit Check?

Was The Son Of God A Sinner?

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Paul does not say that Christ was made a curse for Himself. The accent is on the two words “for us.” Christ is personally innocent. Personally, He did not deserve to be hanged for any crime of His own doing. But because Christ took the place of others who were sinners, He was hanged like any other transgressor.

Was The Son Of God A Sinner?

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