Jesus was not primarily known for what he was against. He was known for serving people who had needs, feeding people who were hungry, and giving water to the thirsty. If we the church were known primarily for that, then we could cut through so many divisions. Someone asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life and Jesus responded with a story in which he deliberately chose an offensive character—a Samaritan heretic of mixed race—as the hero.
God cares about how we live, how you act out your faith, who you care for. The religious people walked right past the broken, bruised person. Even though they may have had all the right doctrine, they did not have the action. In South Africa a few years ago I met a man who was in line to be the next head of the Dutch Reformed Church, the very church that came up with the racist doctrine of Apartheid. Now that doctrine has formally been declared a heresy we have repented. He went on to say that the church is considering, as an act of compassion and penance, to devote their resources to addressing the huge problems of the nation, such as AIDS and poverty.
Tom was a hard-drinking, lovable partygoer who stopped going to church soon after college. Last year his live-in girlfriend decided she wanted to attend church because of some crisis she was going through. Tom reluctantly agreed. That morning he sat down and started playing his guitar. Thinking of church, he resurrected three hymns from his distant memory. Tom explained the words to the hymns. It so rattled Tom that he completely turned his life around.
I have a memory of Tom so drunk that he fell over while trying to roll a ball down a bowling alley; we had to pull him away from the ball return channel.
Preachers who argue from experience e. Get the best of The New Yorker in your in-box every day. Marcion was not the first person to find themes of judgment in the Old Testament that seemed at odds with the message of grace in the New Testament. Share it! As for those still on the fence, Strobel encourages non-believers to investigate Christ and His teachings for themselves.
And now here he was, weeping, telling me how God had changed his life. Was that a miracle? It was certainly grace. How did your book on grace get written? All his stories made the wrong person the hero: the prodigal son not the responsible older brother, Lazarus not the rich man, the good Samaritan not the Jewish rabbi. And I began to see grace as one of the great, often untapped, powers of the universe that God has asked us to set loose.
Human society runs by Ungrace, ranking people, holding them accountable, insisting on reciprocity and fairness. Grace is, by definition, unfair. That intrigued me. Yet to my surprise, it will probably end up as my best-selling book.
Grace has its own power, and people thirsty for grace have responded to my own search. I toy with them, listen for their overtones, crack them open, and try to stuff my thoughts inside. Writers have a very strange existence. We sit alone in rooms and stare at scratchings on paper or electrons on a computer screen. Like theoretical physicists or pure mathematicians, we live inside our own heads.
And our business is words, so we pick a word and turn it around and take it apart and mull it over, and who knows what will happen. I did that with the word grace. I started noticing forms of the word appearing in all sorts of places: the sports pages graceful athlete , parking lots grace period , music scores grace note.
That took me on a journey, because all these uses of the word are positive and appealing, and yet Christians often have a bad reputation. People think of Christians as uptight and judgmental. From there, the book took shape. Great men are not always wise, Nor do the aged always understand justice. Job knew that he could not argue against what Elihu was saying.
If not a recent sin, then a sin in your past. Many people today still teach on the generational curse. They are going back to the law. This kind of teaching breaks people instead of helps them. He became healthy and lived a long, full life.
Therein is the struggle, the struggle for grace. It's this struggle that makes grace more story than doctrine. It's this struggle that reminds us that. Outrageous grace is God's goodness that comes looking for you when you have In the story of Christ crucified he encountered a God who knew what it was to.
Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, And his life to the executioners. But God is raising more and more young people to share this message of His righteousness! God can be righteous in healing and blessing sinful men because the price for health, for a wonderful marriage, for blessed children, for days of heaven on earth, has been paid.
God found a ransom. Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? Who can be like God? His wisdom is perfect. His compassions never fail.
There are people who read the Bible and would rather say that the Bible is in error than say that they are in error. When the Bible condemns something they are doing, they would rather say that the Bible is old-fashioned than say that they are wrong. They would rather condemn God and justify themselves. God tells Job about 2 creatures: the behemoth and leviathan.
These are both old and powerful beings, and they represent the devil. You are no match for him. But the devil is no match for Me. Even in this story of Job, when Satan attacks Job, he meets with God. If you want to be blessed beyond your wildest dreams, learn to agree with God. In our flesh dwells no good thing.
If you stand before God as Judge, you cannot be saved. If you stand before God as Justifier, you cannot be lost. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes. They end up realizing that He is not the problem, He is the answer. He recognizes that God is above all. What Job did was see himself little and see God big. He humbled himself before God.
All that I have now is from you. I would not have food to eat if not for you.
Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.
He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job ; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. But there are trials that we will go through to manifest our self-righteousness so that it can be dealt with by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You are my righteousness, Lord. I repent. I abhor myself in ashes. Whatever You say is right, Lord. The night before his high school graduation, their difficult relationship exploded.
After that heated conversation, Strobel stormed out of the house, planning never to return. That summer, he worked as a reporter for a local newspaper and lived 50 miles from his childhood home. At the insistence of his mother, the year-old returned home briefly before heading off to college, but he and his dad never discussed the incident. They were civil to each other, but the two men never fully reconciled before his father's death. If you had asked Strobel in the late '70s if he believed in a loving, all-knowing God, he would have readily denied His existence.
Strobel was an award-winning legal editor at The Chicago Tribune, a position he held for 14 years. He was a formally trained writer with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Yale. Strobel, the Ivey Leaguer lived his life based solely on proven facts. He was well respected in his field and had no need for organized religion. Logic ruled his every decision. That is, until his wife—a self-proclaimed agnostic—converted to Christianity. When his wife first began attending church and talking about Jesus, he thought his marriage was over. Little did he know it would be her conversion that would become the catalyst that would change the trajectory of his own life forever.
He decided it was time to put his professional investigative skills to work in his personal life, so he began to research the life of Christ. I needed solid evidence that Jesus is, indeed, the unique Son of God," he said. Strobel officially became a Christian in , certain the gospel was true. After years of trying to win his own father's love, he realized he didn't have to earn the love of Christ—it was freely given.
Looking back, Strobel feels his challenging relationship with his father inevitably contributed to his years of atheism, and as with most things in his life, he has the facts to prove it. While the data can't prove a direct correlation, the trends are clear. I believe there's a connection. A child's relationship with [his] dad often creates a template for how [he] will relate to God. Both of Strobel's kids took after their dad with a penchant for writing. His daughter, Alison, has authored six novels and co-authored two children's books.
In addition, his son, Kyle, has written books on Jonathan Edwards and spiritual formation and holds a Ph. In August , the roles reversed and Kyle became a bit of a cheerleader for his dad as Strobel faced one of the darkest periods of his life. After an allergic reaction to dye injected into his veins to probe a heart issue, Strobel's health began to mysteriously decline at a rapid pace. At one point, he even lost consciousness with doctors saying he was one step away from a coma that could be fatal. His adult son stepped in to remind his father of the very faith he had literally staked his life on.
He helped me strip away all the peripherals of my life until all that was left was me standing before my Heavenly Father who loves me so much He adopted me as His son. It was amazing to have my own son minister to me in this way. As he's experienced the power found in the stories of others, he's become more willing to share his own. As for those still on the fence, Strobel encourages non-believers to investigate Christ and His teachings for themselves.