Category Archives: Grace

Soaking In

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
[Romans 3:23-24]

Did you notice that above verse? Please don’t tell me you skipped it just to get to the “good stuff”. Read the verse. Now, read it again and this time include yourself in the word “all“. Now, read the verse again, keeping yourself in the word “all” and now, soak in the words “are justified by his grace as a gift“. Are you feeling silly for skipping that verse the first time?

My point is that YOU are a sinner, but through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you are justified; made right in God’s eyes, as a GIFT.

GIFT!

GRACE!

No strings attached
No fine print
No bait and switch

Through faith in Jesus (which is a gift) you are justified by his grace.

Wow, I mean, WOW!

Soak that in.

A sinner saved by God.

Justified.

Wow!

The Pastor -|—

Amazing

Sunday’s sermon text is Matthew 20:1-16; the Laborers in the Vineyard. The following is the prayer of the day I wrote based on our hymn of the day, Amazing Grace. For it is only through God’s amazing grace that we are saved through Jesus Christ; no matter the work or amount of work. Let us pray…

Oh God,
your grace is amazing;
such a sweet sound to our ears;
for through Jesus Christ you have saved us;
a wretched people.
Once we were lost but now we are found.
Once we were blind but now we see.
And now,
oh God,
may we see You as our shield and portion
for as long as our lives endure.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Turn Me Back

Father God,
I am ever mindful
that You are holy
and I am not.
I go our own way
and chase after other gods.
I am a sinful creature;
seeking my own glory.

Oh God,
heal my heart and turn me back to You,
in the name of Jesus,
for I am a miserable sinner.

And as I seek after You
may I always find a rich mercy
and an abundant grace
to fill my heart and heal my soul;
overflowing to Your glory.
May the joy of Your forgiveness ooze from my being
and infest the lives of others.

Through Jesus Christ I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Gripping the Cross

image

The hand that grips this cross
is sinful and stained,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
is holy and perfect.

The hand that grips this cross
is in need of help and rescue,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
has won the victory through his resurrection.

The hand that grips this cross
falls short of God’s glory continually,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
extends grace and mercy endlessly.

The hand that grips this cross
will one day give way to death and decay,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
has risen that the possessor of this hand may live eternally.

The hand that grips this cross
doesn’t always treat people as they ought to be treated,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
doesn’t treat the person of this hand as they ought to be treated.

and therefore,

The hand that grips this cross
will always cling to the promises secured therein;
thankful for Jesus, the one who died upon the cross
FOR YOU and FOR ME.

The Pastor -|—

Amazing Grace ~ A Prayer

Holy God,
how amazing is Your grace
and how sweet the sound is to our ears;
for You have saved wretches such as us.
We were once lost but now we’re found;
once blind but now we see.

Oh God,
may Your grace continue to teach our hearts to fear
that our worldly fears may be relieved.
Oh how precious You grace indeed is,
from that very moment we first believed.

And despite the many dangers, toils and snares
that will certainly come our way,
Your amazing grace will continue to lead us home;
as You have promised good to us
and thus, through Your most trustworthy word,
our hope is secure, all our life long.

And when we have been worshiping You,
in Your holy courts for 10,000 years,
we will have no less days to praise you than when we first begun.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

All praise, honor and worship be to You,
holy God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Grace and Mercy ~ A Prayer

Father God,

Your grace and mercy is something that doesn’t make sense.
I mean, sinners, us, receiving mercy and forgiveness.
Sinners receiving chance after chance to change our ways and be obedient.
Sinners who constantly turn on You.
Sinners who would much rather be their own god
or acquiesce to weak worldly gods.

To reflect on such depravity sends chills up and down my spine.
But it is because of such depravity
that Jesus comes.
It is because of such darkness within
that Jesus is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
It is because of such self-glorification
that Jesus dies and rises,
FOR US.

Oh God,
may Your Spirit continue to shine the light of Truth in our hearts
that we may always run to You.
And once in Your arms
may all worship and thanksgiving be given to You
for Your incredible grace and mercy.
Oh God, there is no god like You
and therefore You are worthy of all praise.
All glory be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Sanitize and Repent

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
[Luke 3:7-8]

This influenza season has gotten me more nervous than any other I can remember.  The number of people being hospitalized and/or dying is alarming.  People young and healthy are succumbing to this illness…and quickly.  So I have started taking precautions:

~ I’m washing my hands more.
~ Using hand sanitizer more.
~ I am suspending hand shaking during worship.
~ We are wiping down and disinfecting commonly touched surface areas around the church building.
~ I am being very diligent…more so than any other year.

When I hear of a friend or someone I know getting sick my heart skips a beat or two.  Recently…someone I know was hospitalized with influenza A and pneumonia.  I am praying hard for healing.

And I know I am not the only one concerned about this flu season.
I know I am not the only one taking extra precautions.
I know I am not the only one changing my life and routines.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance

And why doesn’t the epidemic of sin cause people to be just as diligent (or even more) about their lives.  I mean…sin is a lot more deadly than any influenza strain nature can devise.  Yet…we often take sin for granted.  We come to worship; confess our sins and then go home feeling some emotion or sense of satisfaction.

But…

is there any life change?
is there any repentance?
is there any running away from that confessed sin?

Or…

Do we continue in our illness, embracing the symptoms, and running to our death?  Sounds dramatic, I know, but sin needs to be taken seriously because God takes it seriously.

How seriously?

Look to the cross; that wooden instrument of death that Jesus was nailed to, suffered upon and died upon.  Jesus died on that cross; taking our sin with him and announcing forgiveness and giving us hope.  But more than that, God gave us the cure to this deadly disease.  God gave us life.

Through confession we expose our disease to God and receive the cure.  But what next?  Sanitize/Repent and produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Why?  Because of fear of retaliation from God?

NO!

Because God has given us an amazing gift.
Because God has shown us amazing grace.
Because God has given us an amazing future.
Because God is worthy.

Be healthy and produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Sanitize your life.  Run away from sin.  Embrace the love of God.  AND…praise God always and forever. Sin is deadly, but Jesus is for us.

Have a great day 🙂

The pastor -|—