Category "Life With God"

Yes it Does!

Today we had our Great Big Backpack Giveaway. Honestly, I was kinda nervous – wondered if anyone would show up. We’ve never done anything quite like this before.

Our intent was to be a blessing to our community, to demonstrate God’s grace in a real way.

The giveaway was a huge success! Two hours before the event was scheduled to start, people started lining up. That line grew and grew. When it was finally time to start, I was worried we would run out of backpacks.

We did run out of backpacks – but all the kids who came got one.

500 backpacks given away. It took like 30 minutes.

I loved seeing the families hang out here on the church campus – having lunch, enjoying the inflatables… just having a good time.

Today we blessed people. We demonstrated God’s grace. We gave out 500 backpacks.

Victory. Success. Beautiful.

Grace changes everything. Yes it does!

Great Grace Books

I’ve read and enjoyed these books. In my opinion, they’re worth your time and worth their price.

Amazon links included for each book below…

Grace Walk, Steve McVey

http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Walk-Always-Wanted-Christian/dp/0736916393/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282788460&sr=8-1

Destined to Reign, Joseph Prince

http://www.amazon.com/Destined-Reign-Effortless-Wholeness-Victorious/dp/1606830090/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282788485&sr=1-2

Unmerited Favor, Joseph Prince

http://www.amazon.com/Unmerited-Favor-Joseph-Prince/dp/1599799391/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282788525&sr=1-1

TrueFaced, Bill Thrall

http://www.amazon.com/TrueFaced-Bill-Thrall/dp/1576836932/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282788549&sr=1-1

The Prodigal God, Timothy Keller

Surprised by Grace, Tullian Tchividjian

http://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Grace-Relentless-Pursuit-Rebels/dp/1433507757/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282788640&sr=1-1

Happy reading!

On The Grace Side

Someone changed the world.

Wasn’t satisfied to leave things the way they were…

“God so loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.” (John 3.16-18)

Yup, God changed the world.

He changed the game.

He changed the rules.

He changed the outcome.

Because of His grace, everything changed.

And His grace is still changing the world…

Let’s be on the “grace side” – advancing grace, promoting grace, highlighting grace, speaking grace, giving grace.

On the “grace side,” we can make a difference and help bring positive change in the world!

Confession: I Still Call My Parents “Mommy & Daddy”

Confession:

I still call my parents “Mommy and Daddy.”

No, I’m not from the south. And I’m not trying to be Joel Osteen.

When we were kids, in our family, we called our parents “Mommy and Daddy.”

As I got older, I realized it didn’t sound very grown up or sophisticated to be calling them “Mommy and Daddy.”

I tried a few other variations: Mom, Dad, Mother, Father… I even tried calling them by their first names.

The Mom/Dad, Mother/Father variations didn’t feel comfortable to me – it made me feel like I was addressing someone else’s parents.

My parents were insulted when I tried calling them by their first names. My dad actually had a conversation with me about it – he told me it hurt his feelings when I called him “Bill.”

So, I’ve stuck with “Mommy and Daddy” all these years.

Yup, I’m 38 years old and I call my parents “Mommy and Daddy.”

The names aren’t very sophisticated or grown-up sounding, but they are tenderly affectionate.

Jesus, when he was 33 years old, prayed to his Heavenly Father just before enduring all the suffering of the cross…

“Abba, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Mark 14.36)

He addressed his Heavenly Father as “Abba.”

Abba is Aramaic – it was the intimate name used by children for their fathers.

It combines some of the intimacy of the English word “papa” and the dignity of the word “father.”

Abba is both informal and yet respectful.

It was an endearing name for a dad, rather than a title, and was one of the first words a child learned to speak.

The word Abba expresses warm affection and a child’s confidence in their father.

Jesus called our Heavenly Father “Abba” – and the Bible says we should too…

“You have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8.15)

“Because we are his children, God has spent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4.6)

Grace changes how we talk to God.

Grace causes us to relate with God as “Abba,” Daddy.

When you see God as “Abba,” you will approach him both informally and respectfully – not sophisticated or grown-up sounding, but tenderly affectionate and confident as His child.

Embellished With Religious Lace?

Advertising is created by gifted truth-stretchers, exaggerators, embellishers.

The aim of advertising is to:
1) Get your attention. 2) Emphasize the desirable qualities of the product. 3) Get you to want it / want to buy it

Religion attempts to advertise itself to God.

Religion works to get God’s attention, emphasizes how good it is, tries to get God to accept it…

Grace is different.

Grace says: you already have God’s attention and you don’t need an ad campaign!

Grace says: you don’t need to put on a show, highlighting how “good” you are.

Grace says: you are accepted, right now.

Grace says: you can talk to God – raw, real, honest and unembellished.

Grace changes everything… including how we pray.

“When you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production.” (Matthew 6.5 MSG)

“You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true.” (Matthew 5.34 MSG)

Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!

I’m a daddy.

I know my little girl’s voice.

it’s precious to me because she is precious to me.

When she was a toddler, I understood what she was saying even when other people couldn’t.

She used to say “alliou” to me.

Maybe you don’t recognize that… but I do.

She was saying “I love you.”

Even before she could speak, I knew what her different sounding cries meant (hungry, tired, scared or hurt).

I love my daughter.

I want her to love me too.

She doesn’t have to impress me with eloquence or get my attention through spectacular achievements.

All she has to do is say “Daddy!” and she’s got my attention.

The truth is, even before she says “Daddy,” I’m already paying attention – loving, watching, providing for, caring for, investing in and protecting her.

Now, let’s talk about prayer…

Prayer isn’t about impressing God with eloquence or getting his attention though spectacular achievements… it’s simply talking with your Daddy. And He’s already paying attention – loving, watching, providing for, caring for, investing in and protecting you.

Yes, grace changes how we pray. Because of grace, we are now God’s own kids – we’re his family!

“You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, Papa! Father! Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.” (Galatians 4.6-7 MSG)

He loves you.

He wants you to love him too.

He’s paying attention, he’s listening – he even knows what your different sounding cries mean.

And it totally makes His day when you say, “Daddy! I love you.”

Sine Intermissione Orate

I like my iPhone… still rockin the 3GS right now.

Gonna upgrade to the iPhone 4 someday.

People love to hate on AT&T, saying things like: “terrible service, dropped calls, no signal.”

‘Cause I’ve always been with AT&T, I really don’t know what the service is like with other providers.

I just know my signal strength isn’t always reliable.

Sometimes, the signal cuts out.

It drops, breaks, ceases to be connected, stops, takes an intermission.

Unfortunately, many of us pray like we have AT&T service… intermittent, with breaks, stops, disconnected.

Here’s the good news: grace changes that.

Through grace, we understand prayer isn’t an activity or event – it’s a constant, open flow of communication with our Heavenly Father.

Expressions like: “prayer time,” “say your prayers,” “recite a prayer” or “give a prayer” just reinforce this misguided concept of prayer as an on-and-off again activity.

Grace reminds us that God’s Spirit lives within us – unceasingly, without intermission, full signal, no break in the connection, all the time!

1 Thessalonians 5.17 says, “Never stop praying.”

I love the way this verse reads in the Latin Vulgate: SINE INTERMISSIONE ORATE (pray without intermission).

There’s no break in the connection, so keep the conversation going.

Never stop talking with God.

Pray without intermission.

Sine intermissione orate.

Who You Talkin To?

Ya ever listen to someone praying and wonder who they’re talking to?

Yeah, me neither.

OK, that’s not true. I do. Frequently.

There’s the 1611 Prayer, “Almighty God, we beseech thee…”

Makes me wonder, who you talkin to? The God who really loves Shakespeare?

Then there’s the God’s Name Filler Prayer, “Father God, Jehovah, we pray today Lord God, that you Father, Jesus, would…”

Makes me wonder, who you talkin to? The God who frequently forgets who he is?

Here’s my personal favorite – the Announcement Prayer: “Lord, help us all remember to come back for the evening service which starts at 6pm, followed by the annual women’s ministry pie auction…”

I’m pretty sure that prayer was directed towards people who were considering staying home on Sunday night.

Some prayers make me think the God they’re talking to (reluctant, angry, distant, terribly busy, hard of hearing)isn’t the same God I’ve been talking to…

I think grace changes how we pray.

Grace reminds us that God loves us, accepts us and desires relationship with us.

Because of grace, we don’t “say our prayers” – we talk with our Father.

Jesus, while teaching on prayer, said: “When you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production…

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.

Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant… full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense.

This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” (Matthew 6.5-8 MSG)

Talk with your Father.

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply… to Him!

No show. No special voice. No formula necessary.

Relaxed and real.

Talkin with our Daddy.

Grace People

Grace people laugh easily at themselves.

Grace people are gifted at seeing the best in others.

Grace people pray for their enemies and bless them.

Grace people are calm, flexible and roll with the punches.

Grace people encourage, help and build others.

Grace people embrace change as a way of life.

Grace people celebrate the success of others.

Grace people are generous with praise.

Grace people give and forgive freely.

Grace people resist being offended.

Grace people are understanding.

Grace people include others.

Grace people are patient.

Grace people give grace.
?
Grace people live grace.

What’s Missing Here?

We live in a tired, busy, stressed-out, medicated, broken, hurting culture.

What’s missing here?

Grace.

People in our city don’t need a lecture on how they’re responsible for the pain, suffering and failure in their lives.

They need grace.

Our job isn’t to dish out the blame.

Our job is to serve up grace!

Here’s how Hebrews 12.15 says it…

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God.” (NIV)

“Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity.” (MSG)

“Make sure that no one misses out on God’s wonderful kindness.” (CEV)

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.” (NLT)

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God.” (ESV)

What’s missing in our city?

Grace.

Let’s give what’s needed: grace, grace and even more grace!

God’s grace has been freely given to us.

Let’s give grace to others!

Grace makes all the difference in people’s lives…

and when people change, the city changes.