Christianity happens when men and women experience the reckless, relentless, extravagant love of God. Listen as Brennan Manning passionately preaches about God’s outrageous grace for the sinner.
William Jessup University Chapel Sermons for Fall 2009 and Spring 2010:
“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:1-4)
Recently, I decided to take my kids to Disneyland. We have annual passes and live fairly close, so this is a pretty common occurrence in our house. As I was driving along, thinking about how awesome of a mom I am, I was surprised by a policeman standing in the middle of the road, hand outstretched indicating to me to stop. At first I couldn’t figure out what was going on; had something dangerous happened ahead, was he redirecting traffic? As if his hand came through the windshield and slapped me in the face, something hit me: I was speeding. I was really speeding and in a school zone. I pulled over and received my just punishment. I then texted my husband; I was a bit worried about what he would say. I knew the ticket was going to be expensive, and–let’s just say–it wasn’t my first ticket. My husband’s response? “Don’t let it ruin your day.” He showed me kindness. This act of kindness from my husband reminded me of how God shows me kindness when I don’t deserve it; my heart was softened and I was deeply grateful for my husband and his love for me.
Listen to this episode of Issues Etc. with pastor Bill Cwirla of Holy Trinity Lutheran in Hacienda Heights, CA. It will better your understanding of the important distinction between law and gospel and point you to Christ.
I came to faith at age forty. I remember how I longed to experience everything my new Christian life had to offer. I knew God saved me for a purpose. I was not exactly sure what that purpose was, I just knew I was anxious to make my stand for Jesus. I labored to produce the good fruit that I knew would please God. I actually called my stepsister, the only Christian in my family at the time, and asked her if she would join me in evangelizing all of our family members over the course of a thirty-day period. We would divide and conquer–for Jesus! Thankfully, she graciously declined. Evangelizing my family is a good thing; following a checklist and calendar to do it, is not. My burdens were heavy as I sought to live up to my potential as a child of God; I fought for causes and stood my ground, sure that I was right – I had Jesus on my side. Only problem was, everything I was doing wasn’t about the gospel; it wasn’t about loving people. I had lost sight of the One who took the only “right” stand. I missed the One who truly stands for justice, because he is Justice himself. In my pursuit to make my case and argue for the defenseless, to be an advocate, I left out the One Pure Advocate: Jesus Christ. Jesus has fought every battle, defended every small, weak and defenseless human being, and won all wars, battles, and injustices known to humankind. He is perfect Love, perfect Judge, perfect Mediator, and perfect Defender. He loves with an everlasting love that holds no record of wrongs.
In this series, Steve Brown disabuses you of your confusion about freedom, grace and forgiveness. In his inimitable style, Steve describes how real Christianity calls us to live beyond the boundaries, bolstered by the assurance that we cannot fall beyond God’s love. And real freedom…that’s just plain scandalous.
One night, I was talking with a friend of mine whose dad had just died two weeks prior. She’s fifteen. She asked me, “How can you trust God’s plans when He takes one of the most important things away from you?”
It’s a hard question, and it’s one that is timeless, plaguing everyone from ten-year-olds to grandparents with ten grandchildren.
I didn’t answer her question in that moment. I continued listening as she went on to say more, and I asked more about what was going on in her heart. Turns out, after two weeks of suffering, I was the only person that she could open up with and confess the deep question residing in her heart, “How can I still trust God?”. Two weeks. Two weeks of pretending that she trusted in God’s perfect plan and that she would be fine. The people who heard and saw her simply reinforced the mask by saying, “You’re so strong!” “You’re such an example.” “We admire you so much.” What she actually needed to hear was not how strong she was, but that it’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to be fragile. Proverbs 25:20 says,
Gospel fruit can only be produced by a “mega grace.” Be encouraged as you listen to this sermon from Pastor John Sale of Valley Center Community Church as he proclaims the gospel as the first, the last and everything in between.
The past month I have been a bit of a bear to my family. How ironic is it that when my six year old, who is still learning how to spell, writes a note meaning to say “You are the best” misspelled best to say “beast.” Ha! There’s truth in that; I’ve most certainly felt like The Beast lately.
Even when I’ve lived in disobedience like I have been–knowing that I’m avoiding God and wrestling with my anger—He’s been rejoicing over me.
My confession is: I’ve seen my ugliness and every day I wake up and decide that “today I’m going to change!” I fight against admitting this about myself; I know better! I know that preaching a try harder/do better sermon to myself is not the way to go about it; yet, I still do it, daily.
Listen to this compilation from one of Judah Smith’s sermons on Hosea and Gomer, and may your heart be captivated anew by the relentless love with which our Savior pursues us.