Grace and Mercy vs Enabling

There is a difference between Grace, mercy and enabling. Grace is unmerited favor, undeserved blessing, and unwarranted restoration in spite of the crimes one may commit against God. It is His favor over us, especially concerning that beautifully horrific device of torture and death known as the cross.

Mercy is forgiveness in spite of a just cause to prosecute and pursue a wrong. It is when we show compassion and kindness to someone who we have every right to judge and condemn. It is the act of Mercy that Jesus showed when He endured shame, mocking, beating, and deriding before and during his time on the cross. It is what He still shows us when we fall and fail, and return to him in repentance (To turn from our sin, and turn back to Him).

Enabling is allowing someone to stay in their sin, all for the name of “keeping the peace.” The fact is, Christians, we are called to tell the truth. Even the truth spoken in love, which is what we are supposed to speak, is harsh. It stings us to our very core, because it exposes those things which we desire to keep hidden and locked away.

Above grace and mercy is Obedience. (Some good words on Obedience can be found here). To obey is the highest calling a Christian can do. After his blunder in not defeating the Ammonites the way in which God, through Samuel told Saul, Samuel conveyed God’s message of anger to Saul

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to listen than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
    and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    he has also rejected you from being king.”

(1 Samuel 15)

Obedience to God is what set Jesus apart from everyone. In all things, even to the point of Death and Torment on the cross, Jesus obeyed His father. In John 14, Jesus is clear about this:

John 14:12-17English Standard Version (ESV)

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[a] anything in my name, I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[b] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[c] in you.

  1. John 14:14 Some manuscripts omit me
  2. John 14:16 Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7
  3. John 14:17 Some manuscripts and is

Christians, we can’t afford to get this wrong. We need to learn to love someone in spite of their sin, and not because of it. Jesus did spend his time with the prostitutes, tax collectors, and array of other sinners, but He did not enable them in their sin. His message was the same as that of the woman caught in adultery “Go and sin no more.” There’s a reason Zacceus the Tax Collector reformed, and Levi, and the thief on the cross. Jesus showed them the best way, and drew them out of their sin.

Take a look at this passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and let that be the judge of this post:

1 Corinthians 6

English Standard Version

Lawsuits Against Believers

1When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!a

9Or do you not know that the unrighteousb will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,c 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Flee Sexual Immorality

12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Or do you not know that he who is joinedd to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sine a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

a 8 Or brothers and sisters
b 9 Or wrongdoers
c 9 The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts
d 16 Or who holds fast (compare Genesis 2:24 and Deuteronomy 10:20); also verse 17
e 18 Or Every sin

Knowledge vs Knowing

I’ve come to realize something over the last few days: whatever it is we cling to tightest, we stand to lose. If it is money, we can gain everything, and yet lose our soul. If it is relationships, they will ultimately let us down. If it is things, or prestige, or power, or whatever we may have, time will be the harbinger that destroys any empire we have built, and we will all have to face oblivion alone with the choices we have made.
I say this because everything in this world is false. Every thing. Even the stuff we are made up of fails and dies, it returns to the dust. It is but a container for who and what we truly are, the eternal spirit that dwells in every person. This world is a proving ground, and the test is this: do we choose ourselves, choose things that will eventually fade in to dust, or do we seek the eternal.
There is only one eternal thing (apart from ourselves) that will bring fulfillment, and this is not a thing at all, but the person of God. God grants us the freewill to make a choice: our selfishness, or His selflessness. He will not make the choice for us, and let us live our lives. His goal is not to make us good people, but to make us more like Him in our nature! He wants us to see the need for Him, and the more we dull our mind with comforts, such as gadgets, gizmos, homes, stuff, relationships, and money, we will never truly see a need for Him because we’ve medicated ourselves by comfort, and dulled our minds with entertainment to the true reality that is a personal relationship with the personal God of the Universe.
We can only find this through life in Jesus Christ, who’s aim isn’t to merely make us good people, but to make us like Himself. He, being fully God put on man’s flesh and lived among us. He related to us in every way. He only said to His followers “Follow Me,” and then taught them the cost of doing so. He did not merely get rid of their current sins and problems, He, over the course of His life and theirs perfected them (though, until death, not a one was truly perfect), and He has been doing so to His followers ever since. It is not knowledge of God that saves, but knowing Him personally. It is not having all the answers, but seeking the Answers of Jesus Christ that saves.
This world and all in it will fail, but Jesus has stood the test of time, has outlasted the critics of His lifetime, and has withstood everything from war to persecution, to threats of change. He knows no national boundaries, is not caught up in the racial divide, and cares not a lick if you’re rich or poor. He is in countries that hate Him, and He dwells even in countries that claim Him, but chase after their own comforts. You cannot stop Him; you can either come to know Him personally, or get left behind in the wake of His glory. It is your choice.

1 John 4English Standard Version (ESV)

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.


  1. 1 John 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he
English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Wrapping my mind around God

I think, sometimes, people try and filter God into their lives with a strainer. The pin prick holes they use to filter Him are their own, small-minded narrow view of Him. The reason I know this is true is because, at various points of my life I have attempted the same. I am small-minded. I have narrow vision. I am finite, and my small mind tries to wrestle with the infinite.

Friends, God is so much bigger than you or I can imagine Him. Trying to fit Him in to our world view is like trying to carry an infinite amount of watermelons in a ziploc sandwich bag, or trying to wrap mount Everest (though He is infinitely greater) in a single roll of aluminum foil. It diminishes Him (in our minds), and us, and invents a different God all together. I’d rather seek the infinite.I’d rather know only what portion of God my mind can fathom and seek more, than try and understand Him by the limits of my own imaginings. He is everywhere, existing, simultaneously, in the past, present, and future; existing beyond our concept of time and space, and yet intimately within our personal frame. It is too high and lofty for me to explain, but this is the best I can do! God is greater, stronger, more powerful than anything we can imagine….let’s not paint HIM as anything but greater than ourselves. Otherwise, we’re just deluding ourselves.

If God is bigger than I could ever hope or imagine, it makes me larger than I feel about myself. It expands my mind, and opens it up to His knowledge, wisdom and grace, which I will never fathom it all in this life, but, perhaps when I see Him face to face, I may have understanding. The God who created this finite universe with His infinite wisdom and imagination desires us to be with Him infinitely. grasp for Him, for He is the only thing truly bigger than yourself.

Psalm 139English Standard Version (ESV)
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.[b]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts![c]
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting![d]


a Psalm 139:14 Or for I am fearfully set apart
b Psalm 139:20 Hebrew lacks your name
c Psalm 139:23 Or cares
d Psalm 139:24 Or in the ancient way (compare Jeremiah 6:16)

Vanity of the worst kind.

Hello everyone! It’s been a while, but I was at a conference, and have been playing Catch Up since I got back…plus internet issues go figure! Can I talk about something that REALLY bothers me? Perhaps it’s just social media, or maybe it’s the boldness one feels behind a keyboard, but I get REALLY bothered by people who claim Christ (or use Him) when it’s advantageous in an argument, when they want to bash other Christians, when the bandwagon jumps all over something, or when they’re pushing their own agenda. If I can please ask now: STOP!

If you’re doing this, you maybe:

a) someone who does not like what others are doing, and so pick a passive-aggressive way to pick on people you don’t like (or what they do, even if you like them);

b) someone who does not know much about the word of God, and uses pictures, scriptures, news stories, or other forms of media that someone else has learned, and posts without thinking about it;

c) someone who has been burned by the church, and so uses media to get back at them;

d) someone who clearly doesn’t like Christians and who uses what little knowledge they have of the Bible to use against Christians to try and shut them up.

There may be more options out there, but these are the majority of what I see. Can I ask you, nicely, to please stop? Here’s the problem with every one of these (and other) scenarios: it comes from a place of ignorance and a lack of knowledge on the subject matter. And since Jesus Christ is the subject matter, you’re using His name in vain. The 4th Commandment that God gave to Moses does not simply mean “Don’t say my name in a superfluous manner.” “It means don’t use my name to support your own Agenda! Don’t kill in my name, unless I commanded it, don’t perform Evils in my name, don’t get rich in my name, don’t do anything in my name that dishonors me!” That is the very heart of that command! And how often do we use God for our politics, our policies, and our pride? God is greater than all of these. He was around long before Elephants and Donkeys were emblems of ideals, and will be around long after these cease. He has stood forever, unchanging, and our finite reasoning can’t change His infinite glory! Give Him His due. If you don’t know anything about Him, read His word, cover to cover…and not like it’s a book report, or even a favored novel. Digest it, seek to understand (even if you don’t agree) what it’s all about. I honestly believe ignorance (the lack of knowledge and understanding) is the core of every conflict in the world, and if we seek knowledge, especially the knowledge of God, it will bring us to a greater understanding, not just of God, but, as we get closer to Him, of one another.

The Blame Game.

We live in a world that hates accountability. Well, let me rephrase that. We live in a world that hates SELF-accountability. Think on it, we enjoy fixing the blame on politicians, teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, police officers, preachers, our neighborhood was too poor, our neighborhood was too rich, everything and anything for why things aren’t right. th

Heck, I even hear this way more often than I like “If God is so good, than why does x, y, and z happen?” We blame God for our problems, (like in Bruce Almighty) and say “He can fix this if He wanted to,” and then go on continuing in our own poor choices. There’s a problem with the “Blame God” dynamic. There’s a problem with blaming everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, there are things in this life that are out of our control. There are things we can’t control: natural disasters (such as fires, floods, and storms), illness, death, and other people. The last is, I think the most devastating. Because of freewill, people have the ability to hurt us, and they do…often. But does it do any good to blame someone who is just as sinful as you for following human nature (selfishness, greed, etc.)?

In Genesis, the bible tells us that because Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin and death entered in to the world. By genetics, being of their offspring, we have inherited this sinful nature. And yet, we look down even more so on someone else who has the very same nature we do, while excusing our own poor behaviors. It’s easy. We shift responsibility because it makes us feel less to blame. The fact is, though, at the end of it all, when we stand before God (and if you’re reading this, I want you to know it is a fact that we will stand before God, whether or not we choose to believe in Him). When we do, He will have to judge righteously. He set a standard, and none of us live up. We will be held accountable for our own actions, and no one else can be blamed for what we have done. There is, however, a way out.

We are told in Romans 6 (And elsewhere in the Bible)  that the penalty/wages of sin is death. Sin is anything we do (or do not do and are supposed to do) in violation against God. My neighbor cannot or will not be blamed for my actions. I will have to give account for each of them. And yet, at the right time, Christ died for those of us (all of us) who are ungodly (Romans 5). For those of us who are willing to accept responsibility, and see the gift that Christ did when He laid His life down for us, and in return give our lives to Him, to follow Him and live a new life (even daily) following Him, we can be made new and right before God. It is only through this gift we are justified, and only by the death and resurrection of the perfect one that we are saved.

So lay it down, stop blaming others and take responsibility. Live the life you were meant to live, and repent. He is waiting, and the gift is free, if you give up everything and follow Him.

Colossians 1, ESV


1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2To the saints and faithful brothersa in Christ at Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.b He is a faithful minister of Christ on yourc behalf 8and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

9And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanksd to the Father, who has qualified youe to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Preeminence of Christ

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For byf him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creationg under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Paul’s Ministry to the Church

24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

a 2 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church
b 7 Greek fellow bondservant
c 7 Some manuscripts our
d 12 Or patience, with joy giving thanks
e 12 Some manuscripts us
f 16 That is, by means of; or in
g 23 Or to every creature

What did you expect?

There are two things I always attempt to talk people out of. One is marriage. Don’t get me wrong! I believe in Marriage, and everything it stands for. I just don’t think people really understand what they’re jumping in to when they say “I’m in love, I want to get married.” Part of the reason for this is that I see so many married couples who come in to my office, damaged and broken. They say the seek counseling, but so often they want to be affirmed that their position is right, and the spouses is wrong. It is with great sadness that I say the majority of people who walk in to my office like this rarely walk back out changed.

That is why when I marry a couple, it is usually after 3-6 sessions of counseling, in which we break down the fairy tale, and get in to the reality of Marriage. Marriage is something so many of us walk in to blind. We see our parents, Disney movies, love stories, love songs, everything surrounding the subject of love and marriage, and we like the idea of love, but don’t want the work and heartache it takes to get there. The feeling is often so much better than the reality. But those of us who’ve been hurt in love know the harsh truth: love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. The Knight’s Shining Armor has a cracks in it, and the perfect princess has her flaws.

We have to accept the fact that love is a choice we must willingly make, not a feeling we have. I remember the time I really knew that Michaelene was the one for me: it was the first Christmas after we started dating, and I had just given her a promise ring; to which she responded by throwing up all over the place. I remember holding her hair, cleaning up her house (we didn’t move in together until the day we were married!), and taking care of her as she heaved all night and saying  to myself”She’s the one I’m going to spend the rest of my life with!” It has not been easy. We’ve been married 7 years, and have had our share of ups and downs, fights, and nights where I exiled myself to the couch. I don’t have a perfect marriage. I’m not a perfect husband, she’s not a perfect wife. The thing is, we choose to love each other through our flaws.

Which leads me to the second thing I try and talk people out of: baptism. It is not a feeling or emotion that should lead us to baptism, no more than a feeling or emotion should lead us to marriage. It should be a choice. It is hard to follow Jesus. We stumble and fall, we face ridicule from those outside who want to see us fall, and even, sometimes, those inside who hate to see us fall, and act like they have not fallen. Following Christ is messy. You see, we’re born in to a world occupied by the enemy of God.

We are not born inherently good. I’ve watched all three of my boys grow up, and from an early age, they all want to test the boundaries. From the earliest age, they do wrong, and make bad choices, knowing what my rules are, knowing daddy and mommy have said “no” and yet they challenge us anyway. We are born in to a world mired in rebellion. God made us good in the beginning, but because we had freewill, we chose to go our own way, and thus broke our perfection and the perfect world God had designed. We live, basically, in Enemy Occupied territory, and if we choose not to follow Christ, are a part of the enemy’s plans and movements. As C.S. Lewis said (I paraphrase), God is holding off the invasion in the hope of recruiting every last soul possible into the underground. When he comes back, it is all finished. It will be, according to Lewis, the most indescribably beautiful, or unspeakably horrible thing that will ever happen. But no where, in signing up for Jesus’ underground, are we promised safety.

Jesus, who had no home for at least the three years of his ministry, who was constantly subject to scrutiny and ridicule from the religious elite, who was plotted against, attempted to be seized and killed 10 times, and finally brutally beaten and nailed to a tree. Does that sound safe to you? 11 of the 12 apostles were executed. Does that sound safe? From the beginning of the movement, Christians have been burned alive, fed to lions, executed and tortured in inhumane ways, ostracized, politicized, polarized, removed from families, socially outcast, and all other sorts of things we don’t like to, from the comfort of our pews, think about. I’ve had many people come to me in love with the idea of Jesus, but not willing to see what it takes to follow Him. They want the feeling, and not the following. It’s not a safe resistance movement. We live in Enemy held territory, we’re going to fall under attack for saying yes.

This week alone, I have had my heart ripped from my chest (not physically), and have lost sleep over things that occur within and outside of the church. I’ve had people tell me terrible things about those I’m closest to, and have had a few people say things to my face about me and this church that were wounding. I’ve seen every ministry and every level of this church attacked over and over again…and that is just THIS WEEK. I’m weary and tired, hurt and wounded. I’m heartbroken. But I know it’s a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ! As you’re reading this, if Christianity isn’t what you’d thought it would be after you gave your life to Christ, what did you respect? Look at the founder to see what you have to look forward to. It’s not for the weak of heart, not for those out for a good feeling. It’s heartbreaking, it’s bone crushing, but, if done right, all worth it.

Matthew 7:15-29 ESV

A Tree and Its Fruit

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

The Authority of Jesus

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Throwing Stones at Sinners

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this! I know I promised twice a week, but I am still growing, and am still very much undisciplined. I pray for your patience as God works on me (and for His sake, don’t throw any stones!)

Ministry has kept me busy, and being a fairly recent (not even a year) as the pastor of a church, I’ve come to learn a lot about myself, my sin, others, and the sins of others. It reminds me a lot of the story of the woman caught in Adultery in Luke 8:1-15. Let’s take a look at the passage together:

John 8:1-11English Standard Version (ESV)

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.

Alot is going on there, isn’t it? Let’s take a look at the setting though: Jesus is at the temple, where he sat down to teach the people. Trying to embarass Him, the scribes and Pharisees bring out a woman caught in the act of adultery (now, where is the man? I thought Adultery [except in the heart] was a two person act?), and cast her down before Jesus, and quoted the mosaic law which stated she must be put to death. This is significant in many ways: they sought to test Jesus. He had taught with a power and authority that none other had. Teaching loving one’s enemies, and praying for persecutors. He taught the fullness of the scriptures, so, if He didn’t stone her, He broke the law, but if he ordered her to be stoned, he broke his own teachings. I love how he responds:


Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 

I have no idea what He was writing, nor will I speculate, but how often do I, do my fellow believers beg for punishment and judgement on another? How often do I pick up stones and am ready to throw at sinners? And what did Jesus say? “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” I think we can learn from the scribes and pharisees here. How often do we seek to throw stones when we should be seeking to restore Souls to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ? How often are we ready to throw blame, and hurt, and vice when we should be seeking to introduce all people to this same Jesus who shut down the religious rulers with a single question? Friends, healing and restoration should be our goal, to win souls to Heaven’s gate our prize. We speak the truth, but in love. When we pick up our stones to throw at another, we say “your sin is worse than mine, and even though I am a sinner, I’m still going to look down on you.” We use our condemnation of others to justify our own lifestyles. As C.S. Lewis puts it,

“It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table. Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is this. None of us are really keeping the Law of Nature. If there are any exceptions among you, 1 apologize to them. They had much better read some other work, for nothing I am going to say concerns them. And now, turning to the ordinary human beings who are left:”I hope you will not misunderstand what I am going to say. I am not preaching, and Heaven knows I do not pretend to be better than anyone else. I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people. There may be all sorts of excuses for us. That time you were so unfair to the children was when you were very tired. That slightly shady business about the money–the one you have almost forgotten-came when you were very hard up. And what you promised to do for old So-and-so and have never done–well, you never would have promised if you had known how frightfully busy you were going to be. And as for your behavior to your wife (or husband) or sister (or brother) if I knew how irritating they could be, I would not wonder at it–and who the dickens am I, anyway? I am just the same. That is to say, I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm. The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are one more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?
The truth is, we believe in decency so much–we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so–that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. For you notice that it is only for our bad behavior that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in” (Mere Christianity. 1980. P. 7-8).

We should act as Jesus did, respond to sinners as He did:

10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
“Neither do I condemn you; Go and sin no more.” It is not ours to condemn, but the one without Sin! We are not the judges of sin! Note, Jesus did not condone her course of action. He actually didn’t even forgive her, as she didn’t ask for it. He said “I do not condemn you, give up your life of sin.” Redemption is something we all must seek on our own, but it takes a kind and loving hand helping one up, not an angry hand throwing a stone.

Does this mean we give a free pass to sin in our lives? By no means! We should seek to expel it at all costs! Do we give license for our christian brothers and sisters to sin, and do we turn a blind eye? No! We correct, and try to restore (1 Corinthians 5, Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6 all have a lot to say on this), and if not, we let the leadership of the church handle it. It is not our place to condemn, but to seek restoration. Let’s learn from the pharisees and scribes, and throw our stones down (though I don’t remember them actually having stones), and walk away, leaving the judgement to the one who is more capable than we are.