In the inaugural episode, Continue Reading…
Archives For grace
My sin makes me so tired. This weekend I was really feeling the weight of it, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Over time this led me to the joy and freedom that comes when we exchange confessing our sins for the grace of Jesus. It is so healing to confess our sins to Jesus, he is always ready to forgive and restore us. It’s also healing to confess our sins to one another. James 5:16 tells us, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
We don’t do enough confessing in Protestant circles, yet it brings a fresh tidal wave of grace each time we do. While this blog is no substitute for real church community, it does serve as a virtual community of sorts. As a way of experiencing Jesus’s grace with all of you, I want to confess my sins before you. I will write them in the comment section, and I encourage you as a reader to write your own confession in the comment box below mine. You don’t need to write a paragraph like I did, you can jump right into your list if you’d like. (For this post, let’s keep all comments on the blog, not on Facebook) Feel free to put your name or to post anonymously. After you write out your confession, please copy and paste the following Scriptures into your comment as you celebrate all Jesus has done for you:
Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 1:18 Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Colossians 1:22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase grace filled sexuality? I know I have Jesus’s grace, so if I live sexually in a way that is different than God’s design/commands, I’m okay and I’ll be forgiven.
The Christian whose sexual desires differ from God’s design for sex often find themselves in quite a quandary. God says sex is meant for a lifetime covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20). He goes on to say that fantasizing about sex outside of his design for marriage is as much a sin as the act itself (Matthew 5:27-28). This is an extremely high standard to live up to, contrasting pretty much the entire gamut of sexual desire. Whether we’re talking about those who look at pornography, are having premarital sex, are cheating on their spouse, are in homosexual relationships (including transgender transitions), are divorced and remarried, or those who lust, there are very few who live up to God’s holy standard for sexuality.
But we know that grace is offered to all who will receive it.
So then, how will we live?
There’s a lot of valid talk nowadays about nature vs. nurture and about how a person is wired sexually. Many have wrestled with the question, “Why did God make me this way?” I’m heterosexual and married and I often ask God the same question! While I don’t like to admit it, I am definitely wired to be attracted to multiple women. It is the way I am wired. I’ve battled it for many years, cried out to God for healing in it, and nothing has taken it away. I promise I am not speaking facetiously here. There’s nothing worse than wanting to be faithful to the wife you love and being constantly drawn like a magnet toward other women. Random women. Women you know. Women you’ve never met. It’s never ending and at times, is downright torture. Continue Reading…
In the aftermath of this morning’s Christmas sermon and a week of getting and giving Christmas presents, I realized most of us don’t know what a gift is. Since most of me and my extended family’s gift-giving money goes toward our collective six kids, all age 5 and under, this year we decided to draw names for the adults. You get one name and buy them a small gift, rather than having to buy for all the adults. I don’t know if you have an elf at your family gift exchange, but we always have an elf at ours. The elf is the person sitting nearest the tree who has the duty of reading the tags on presents and delivering them to the proper recipients. I was the the elf this year.
Not uncommon for me, I started making various jokes. One of them was when I realized there were additional gifts under the tree for adults, outside of the one-gift-per-adult allotment from the name drawing. For example, my mom drew my brother Pete’s name, but got him 3 gifts. I of course made sure everyone knew the additional gifts were because she loves him more than the rest of us, getting him two gifts from the goodness of her heart, outside of the one obligatory gift she had to get him from the drawing (she defended herself by saying she just got good deals and still kept everything under our set expense amount).
My brother Pete also bought gifts for adults outside of the person he drew a name for. One of these gifts was a box for me. I told everyone this was a gift from the goodness of Pete’s heart, whereas his name-drawn gift was simply obligatory. All of the name-drawn gifts were obligatory.
The gift he got me from the goodness of his heart was a yellow glow-in-the-dark piece of rubber dog poop. True story.
(What was really funny was listening to the kids fight over who got to play with “the poop.” “No, it’s my turn to play with the poop…” and so on.) Continue Reading…
The recent Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage sent shock waves through the blogosphere and social media universe. Did your church talk about it at all?
And if so, what did they say?
Depending on the survey, 1.2-6.8% of the population identify as LGBT. So if you have a church of 100 people, that’s anywhere from 1 to 7 people in your congregation.
Not Talking About It
As a straight pastor, I can empathize with churches not talking about the gay marriage decision. Continue Reading…