Prison and Positional Truth!

Grace For The Journey


15Sept  Far too many in the church today are locked behind the bars of countless self-constructed prisons because of one simple reason:

They have forgotten the truth of their current position.

When you forget who you are positionally (a child of the Most High God), it becomes impossible to live out your faith practically.

The Bible says in Galatians 4:21-5:1, “Brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

The apostle Paul said that we have been released from prison: “For freedom Christ has set us free.”  Our Lord Himself said that He had been sent from heaven “To proclaim liberty to the captives . . . to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).

Jesus has set us free from the law as a means for salvation.

In other words, we no longer have to go on trying to save ourselves.

Jesus has already accomplished this for us in His perfect obedience to the will of the Father in His life, death, and resurrection.  Our relationship (position) with Jesus has unlocked the prison doors leading to a life of freedom, faithfulness, and joy . . . if we would but walk through the open door!

Because Jesus performed perfectly on our behalf, we no longer have to spend our lives running on the performance treadmill, seeking God’s approval, affection, and blessing.

We already have these because of our position in Jesus.

Understanding our positional truth frees us from our performance prisons.

Imagine a slave who has been set free after having spent his entire life behind bars . . .

  • Freedom would be uncomfortable.
  • Freedom would be unnatural.
  • Freedom would be unnerving.
  • Freedom would be, well, unbelievable.

When the prisoners are set free, they need to develop the capacity for their freedom and that is only accomplished by believing, NOT by doing. You see, the harder we work at making ourselves free – DO, DO, DO! – the more bound we become.

The Bible says in Romans 6:11, “In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

In this context the word “count” does not imply something to do, but rather, something to believe.  Paul says what we believe is more important than what we do.  We need to believe the truth of our position in Christ – that we are dead to both the penalty and power of sin.  Our position in Christ means we are no longer slaves to the ruling power of indwelling sin.

Because of what Jesus had done for us, sin is no longer our master . . . Jesus is!

And with Jesus as our new Master, we have been given the power to live out practically what we are positionally (Romans 8:13).  William Romaine said it well: “No sin can be crucified either in heart or life, unless it be first pardoned in conscience, because there will be want of faith to receive the strength of Jesus, by whom alone it can be crucified.  If it be not mortified in its guilt, it cannot be subdued in its power.”

If you don’t believe you are dead to sin’s guilt, you cannot trust Christ for the strength to subdue its power in your life!   And if you cannot trust Christ for the strength to subdue sin’s power in your life, you will forever remain locked behind prison bars, chained by guilt and gripped by sin.

Only the Gospel sets captives free

To live a life of unimaginable joy

For the glory of God and the good of others!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Think…And Grow Rich!


Grace For The Journey


I am sure the title of today’s blog certainly got your attention . . . I will not advocate what you think as I write today.  You might think that this title was taken from some “health and wealth” leader living today.  This title, Think and Grow Rich, is actually from a motivational and personal development book written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill.  Hill is considered to be one of the first influential “self-help” authors.  At the time of his death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies. reports that BusinessWeek’s best-seller list ranked Think and Grow Rich as the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was first published, with more than 70 million copies sold worldwide.

Several years ago, Charles Stanley, the popular senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta wrote, “I began to apply the principles of Think and Grow Rich to my endeavors as a pastor, and I discovered they worked.”  I began to think about that.  Why did they work for him?  Is Dr. Stanley promoting a positive-thinking, health and wealth philosophy?  As I studied the Scripture, I discovered why Dr. Stanley made that statement . . . Because the principle is biblical.

The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

God has given human beings a remarkable ability to “think about what we are thinking about” moment by moment.  God has endowed us with the power to choose what we will think about and dwell on.  This is one of the great gifts from God and part of His image He created within each human being.  And this ability is the pathway that God has provided to help us grow into the person He is calling us to be.

The challenge for most of us is that we forget this, or we think it applies to worldly success and prosperity.  Here is a reminder from the apostle Paul:

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.”  (Philippians 3:18-19)

Over and over again, the Bible reminds us to think about what we are thinking about in order to live on the level of our position in Christ and gain victory over the battles we are fighting against self and sin on a daily basis.  In our therapeutic age we have fallen prey to the passive mind-set approach – we believe we’ll gain victory by talking through our problems with a therapist, working through our issues with a friend, or looking for the roots of our brokenness in a review our painful past.

I’m not saying that these approaches are bad; they can actually be helpful.  But there is a better way to personal growth and change, and it is found in the Bible.

The Bible says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever thing are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – think on these things.”

And the Bible says in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth.”

The mind will continually dwell on something, and what it dwells on continually it becomes like.  The Bible tells us that we must intentionally set our minds on things that are eternal.  We are to focus our minds on the glory of Christ and the truths of the Gospel.  This is the key to empowering us to focus on things that matter and last, live as God wants us to, and rise above it.

To “think and grow rich” is . . .

To think about the riches we have in our Savior

Proverbs 22:4 – “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.”

Romans 9:23 – “Ad that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”

Ephesians 1:18 – “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

Ephesians 2:7 – “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 3:8 – “To me, who am less thatn the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

Hebrews 11:26 – “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt …”


Grow into the person He is calling us to be

Ephesians 4:14 – “But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the heard – Christ.”

2 Peter 3:18 – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Now that is a thought worth holding on to moment by moment!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Winning The Battles Of Life – Through Our Strength Or God’s?

Grace For The Journey



What battles have you been fighting in lately?  What battles are just ahead, around the corner, and over the horizon that you will be fighting?  One thing is certain: every believer fights battles.  The problem is not that we face battles; the problem is that we face far too many of them in our own strength.  We have forgotten what the Bible teaches about battles . . .

The battle is the Lord’s

Here are just a few of the verses that make it perfectly clear that our God is the One who is to be fighting our battles if we are ever going to gain victory over them.

Exodus 14:13-14, “Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.  The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’”

Joshua 23:9-10, “The LORD has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, no man has been able to stand before you to this day.  One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as He promised you.”

1 Samuel 17:47, “The Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”

Nehemiah 4:20, “In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

Psalm 60:12, “With God we shall do valiantly; it is He who will tread down our foes.”

Zechariah 4:6, “’Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ.”

Of course, there are many stories in the Bible of God fighting for His people and winning for them the victory.

  • There is Moses and the children of Israel facing the great Egyptian army.
  • There is Gideon and his 300 warriors against the mighty Midianite army.
  • One of the best stories of God fighting for His people – in His way and with His weapons – is found in the story of Joshua and the children of Israel conquering the Promised Land.

Joshua was leading the Israelite army against the Amorite army.  Before the battle began, God said to His servant Joshua, “Do not fear them for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.”  (Joshua 10:8).

God is in the business of fighting for His people and delights in delivering them from what, to the watching world, looks like insurmountable odds.  In the middle of Joshua’s battle against the Amorite kings, God sent a “holy” hailstorm to do for His people what only God can do for them, “And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died.  There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.” (Joshua 10:11).  Hail is a conquering weapon for the people of God when it is in the hand of a Holy God.

These truths have great implications for the child of God today . . .

If God is for us . . . who cares who is against us!

  • When you are wronged, let God make it right.
  • When you are wounded, let God make you whole.
  • When you are put down, let God lift you up.

Whatever it is you are up against, you are not up against it alone.  God is not only with you, He is the One who is fighting for you.

Look to God for strength and victory.  What “Holy Help” is God ready to send your way if you will but let Him fight your battles for you?

  • The “Holy Help” of hope
  • The “Holy Help” of patience
  • The “Holy Help” of forgiveness
  • The “Holy Help” of vision
  • The “Holy Help” of godly counsel
  • The “Holy He;[” of a Barnabas to encourage you
  • The “Holy Help” of endurance

The amazing thing about this biblical truth is . . .

It will do more for you than you could ever do for yourself!

If the battle is the Lord’s, then the way to victory is the Lord’s . . . so we can rest in this truth.

God reminds us of that in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”


This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Team Truth

Grace For The Journey


11Sept  As a pastor and communicator of God’s Word, when I preach through the Bible, I sometimes come across language of the athletic world in a particular verse or passage that brings that seeks to apply the truths of the Gospel to life.  So in today’s blog I will briefly present two important aspects of the Truth as it applies to being on God’s Team!  With high schools and colleges resuming classes after the summer break there will be a lot emphasis on “team sports” and “team spirit.”  Let’s see how God’s Word speaks to this important aspect of the Christian life.

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:7, “Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

  1. The Bible Teaches That As A Member of God’s Team You Are Endowed.

Every member of God’s Team is gifted.  That is not true in the sports world – not everyone who plays a sport is gifted with speed, agility, coordination, athleticism, etc.  I faced this reality in my life – not everyone on the teams I played on were endowed with these qualities.  However, the Bible teaches that when God picks a player to be on His team, He equips that person with the ability to play in the game.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10-11, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever.  Amen.”

You are endowed with the ability to do what God has called you to do in the service of others as a faithful steward of God’s grace to you.  Peter gave the reason for this service: “So that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

So . . . how is God being praised through the use of your gifts for the good of others and the glory of God?

  1. The Bible Teaches That As A Member of God’s Team You Are Equipped.

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:12, “To equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.”

When you are a part of God’s Team, you are endowed and equipped to play your part to further the cause of His kingdom.  Every member of God’s team is to go from being a spectator to a servant . . . to change from being a consumer to a contributor.

Over the years I have counseled far too many Christians who feel they have disqualified themselves for service in some way and that God can no longer use them.  I tell them this:



Just a cursory glance through sacred Scripture will show that most of those who did the most for God’s kingdom had checkered pasts . . .

  • Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife to save his own skin.
  • Moses was a murderer; so was David.
  • Jacob was a schemer.
  • The great apostle Paul held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr, to death and then work to destroy Christianity.

Here is a great little story that makes it clear that everyone is both valuable and needed on Team Truth . . .

One day the Carpenter’s tools held a conference.  Brother Hammer presided but several of the other tools suggested that he leave the meeting because he was too noisy.  Brother Hammer replied, “If I must go, so too must Brother Screw.  You have to apply pressure and turn him around again and again to get him to accomplish anything.”

Brother Screw spoke up, “If you wish, but Sister Plane must go too…all her work is on the surface and has no depth to it at all.”  Sister Plane responded, “Then sister Rule will also have to withdraw for she is always measuring folks as though she were the only one who is right.”

Sister Rule then complained against Brother Sandpaper, “You ought to leave too because you’re so rough and always rubbing people the wrong way.”  In the midst of this discussion, carpenter came into the room ready to start His day’s work.

He went to His bench to make a pulpit from which to proclaim the Gospel.  He employed the hammer, screw, plane, rule, sandpaper, and all the other tools.  After the day’s work when the pulpit was finished, Brother Saw arose before all the other tools and remarked, “Brothers and sisters, I observe that all of us are workers together with the Lord.”

What a great illustration of today’s Bible truth.

Allow me to close this blog with an important question –

How many extra Christians did God make?

The answer, of course, is none.

That means you are needed!  The good news is that when God saved you He also endowed and equipped you to do what God has called you to do as a vital and valuable member of God’s Team!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”



Grace For The Journey


8SeptAs I was growing up, my dad would us kids take us out            fishing in nearby lakes and on vacation.  One of the things I remember about those times is after going out into a particular part of the lake that had underwater cover for the fish, dad out turn off the engine, we would either drop our lines overboard or cast our lures out, and then the boat would drift in the direction of the wind.  It was a lot of fun, but after a while the boat would drift into shore or out from where the fish were, and we would reel in the lines, start the engine, and head back out into deeper water.  This is a technique called “drifting” and it allows you to cover a larger area of water and catch more fish than just sitting in one spot.

In the Christian life, there is something I call “the devil’s drift,” which happens when we have shut our spiritual engine off for too long and allow the currents, or winds, of life to take us where they want us to go.  And make no mistake, where the currents of life want us to go is not where God is calling us to be!

I want to call your attention to an important truth today – drift happens slowly, silently, almost imperceptibly.  In no time at all, it can take us from deep water to dangerously shallow water, and ultimately onto the rocks if we are not paying attention.

What starts as a little neglect here and a little neglect there winds up a dangerous habit or pattern of life.  We skip our time of daily devotion.  We miss a service or two.  We neglect our prayer time.  We add more and more to our professional and social plates and before we know it, we find ourselves in a place we don’t want to be and don’t even know how we got there!

So how do we deal with the devil’s drift?


You see, when my dad was operating the boat as it drifted he had to pay close attention to the location of the boat.  He focused intentionally on the position of the boat to ensure it did not drift into danger.  The same should be true for the Christian.  We must continually fight against the devil’s drift.  We must be intentional about our walk with Christ.  We must intentionally plan our work and work our plan, making sure we do not push our Lord out to the periphery of our lives.

The Bible says in Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the thing we have heard, lest we drift away.”

The account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:1-15 is an example of how we fall into this pattern and also gives us great advice for avoiding it in the future:

Satan’s opening volley was not a blistering attack on God; it was a simply a question that he wanted Eve to think about – “Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1).  Actually, God had said that she could eat of every tree but one.  But Satan twisted the facts to suit his purposes and to lead Eve’s mind to the conclusion that God was not the generous God she had known Him to be.  Once she had let her heart drift to the wrong conclusion, it was easy for her to believe Satan’s lie that God just wanted to keep her from being as knowledgeable as He is and that the threat of them dying was just God’s way of scaring them into compliance with His stingy ways.  They got distracted and lost sight of what God had said.

Satan still sets us adrift by planting doubt about God’s Word and spinning the facts to his own evil advantage.

Once we begin to suspect God

Instead of trusting Him,

We inevitably drift away from Him.

So, beware!  Your life is full of scenarios where Satan can put his deceitful twist on your experiences.  He is the original and greatest spin-doctor and he does all he can to lead us away from God and from trusting in His Word.

Note this truth:

There is no intention needed when it comes to drifting.

Just turn off the engine and let the currents of life take you where they want you to go.  You will inevitably drift away from our Lord.

To keep from drifting we must be intentional.

As we focus on Christ, even when the currents are their strongest, He is stronger still and will hold fast to us.  Jesus gives us this promise in John 10:28, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

If you are a born-again child of God, and you have been suffering from a bit of drifting in your life lately, fear not.  You may feel far from God, but He is not far from you.  You may have moved a great distance away but He has not moved an inch!  His promise to never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) is your power to intentionally turn back toward Him.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Christian Control Freaks

Grace For The Journey


7Sept  I am convinced that there is something we all want more than anything else in this life, and that thing is CONTROL!  More than power . . . more than prestige . . . more than position . . . more than pleasure . . . more than prosperity . . . more than anything else, we want control.  The more control we have, the better we feel.  We mistakenly believe that when we are in control our lives will work out better – with much more order and far less uncertainty.

Webster’s defines a “control freak” as someone whose behavior indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.   Because of a lack of trust in others, a control freak moves beyond the borders of what would be considered a normal and rational desire for some measure of control in life.  It gets even worse for the Christian control freak.  Their desire to control life is the clear and present evidence of a lack of trust – not only in others, but in God Himself.  This can be seen in a single area of life or in many areas.

Control freaks always know the right way and best way of doing things; when you are not doing it their way, they let you know about it!

  • They try to criticize you into their control.
  • They try to condemn you into their control.
  • They try to conform you into their control.

Their right way of doing things becomes the only way of doing things, and when you resist their controlling demands, they judge you for your “controlling” nature.

They see the world as black and white, because without any grey areas they have more control over things.  Their narrow and dogmatic field of vision of the world around them helps them to manage their lives, while at the same time micro-managing the lives of everyone around them.  Christian control freaks “make up formulas and anxiously follow them to control their manufactured lives.”

If any of this is resonating with you like it is with me, I want you to know there is a cure for the Christian control freak in you . . . and it is only to be found in the defiant grace of the Gospel.

The Bible says in Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

The divine grace of the Gospel can free you from the overwhelming need to try and control everything in life.  The divine grace the apostle Paul had been given through the Gospel allowed him to not think so highly of himself and step down from the throne of his life, allowing Jesus His rightful place.  Divine grace propelled Paul to the periphery of his life, where he could clearly see that the only One who has any control over anything is the Lord Jesus Christ.  The more Paul surrendered control of his life to Christ, the less controlling he became in the lives of others.

Here is a marvelous Bible truth . . .

There is a Christian control freak

Who is truly faithful to the truths of the Gospel . . .

It is the person who is controlled by the

Spirit of Christ in every area of life.

For such a man or woman, their most passionate and profound desire in all-the world is to be under the control of the only One who knows what is best for us in every area of life.

Only the divine grace of the Gospel can free you from the over-whelming need to be controlling, because Jesus has everything under His control – from the biggest dream you have in life to the smallest detail.  The DNA of every human who has ever lived all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden, is one of control.  And it is only the transforming power of the Gospel and the divine grace of God it delivers that can free us from our desire to control life.  Divine grace delivers you from the notion that you are not just the smartest person in the room, but the only smart person in the room!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”



Grace For The Journey

  Because the Christian is a new creation in Christ, growth is guaranteed.  The Bible assures us that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).  If you have placed your trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ, that promise is for you.  To be sure, we all grow in different ways and at different times; there are even those seasons when it seems like we are growing in the wrong direction!  Yet, the Scriptures make it clear that we simply cannot not grow when we have been given new life in Christ.

Let’s see how this promise is presented in the Bible.  I pray that this truth will drive you to pursue it often.

The Bible says in Malachi 4:2, “To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.”

Think about what this verse teaches us through the imagery of stall-fed calves.  First, the stall suggests ownership; someone had to build the stalls and maintain them.  Wild animals have no stalls.  Second, the stall provides protection from the outside elements.  Third, stall-fed calves are well-cared for.  They don’t have to go out and scrounge for food because it is brought to them. And finally, the stall-fed calves continue to grow and grow until they finally grow up!

In this verse, those who fear the name of God are likened to stall-fed calves . . . and those who fear the name of God are those who have received the divine gift of faith in God.  Those who have been given faith in God find their source of food in the Word of God.  Our Lord has commanded us, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

So stall-fed calves are like Scripture-fed Christians.  Both are given all the food they need to grow up to full maturity.  For the Christian, maturity is to grow up in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But there’s more!  Notice that Malachi 4:2 contains a double promise.  Not only are we promised that we will grow up, but we will also go out.  At First Baptist, we exist to . . . GATHER … GROW … GIVE … GO

God gathers His people together as a family, and in that process He grows us up into Christ.  But growth is not an end; it is only a means to an end.  The end is to model our Lord by giving and going.  We grow in order to give and go.  What a wonderful blessing God has planned for His people!  We are not to simply remain in our spiritual “stalls,” munching placidly on what has been given us and growing fat.  We are to go out in the strength of our heavenly Father’s provision and care and bring the good news of the Gospel to all people.  We are to be a source of nourishment and care to others.

Stall-fed calves will not be stunted in growth; neither will Scripture-fed Christians!  As we get into the Word of God each day we will be to be used by God to see the salvation of the Lord break forth in the lives of those we share Him with.

I’d like to offer one final word of encouragement. The ownership represented by the stall points to another Gospel truth.  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”  What God bought with His precious blood, He will take good care of.  He will grow you so that you can give and go!

Now that is a guarantee that we can enjoy!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Break The Fast – The Best Way To Start Each Day!

Grace For The Journey


5SeptThe Bible presents many images of athletics and uses them to illustrate life truths.  Although the Bible does not talk about breakfast being the most important meal of the day it does teach us the value of living by the Word of God. Jesus stated in Matthew 4, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’.”

The longest period of time we go without food and drink is when we sleep at night.  So when we rise in the morning, we are to break the fast with a good, healthy breakfast to get us ready for the challenges of the day that await us.

Make no mistake; what we eat early in the morning will greatly impact the rhythms of the rest of our day. Yet, as important as this meal is for the body, what we put into our minds and hearts as we begin each day is even more important.

The Bible says in Psalm 143:8, “Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust.”

We are to break the fast with good physical food as well as good spiritual food.  What better spiritual food for the hungry Christian than to feast on the Word of God when we rise in the morning? To be sure, what we put into our minds and hearts early in the morning will greatly impact the rhythms of the rest of our day as much as, if not more than, the physical food we eat. That is why the psalmist cried out, “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love!”

With all of the voices that are trying to get our attention—and far too many trying to knock us off course—we absolutely need to break the fast every morning by spending time alone with God and His Word. Only God’s steadfast love can meet us in the place of our deepest need and satisfy our deepest longings of the soul.  You see, God designed it that way. Made by God for God, we are never to find our satisfaction in anything smaller than God.

The Bible says in Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

Life was never intended to be lived apart from God. It is only in Him that we live, move, and have our being.  Nothing smaller than God will give us the significance, meaning, and purpose that comes from living life before the face of God.  It is always a better day when we start it alone with God.

Some say they simply don’t have the time. To that I reply, “You don’t have the time not to!” Only the daily reminders of Gospel truths can get us through the day with the freedom and joy Jesus has promised. Only God’s steadfast love will dismantle the idols we worship. Only God’s steadfast love can dislodge the affections of the heart that turn us from Jesus. And that is why we simply cannot afford to go charging off into the day without our morning meal with our Master, feasting on the promises of God.

Physical food is good. Spiritual food is better. Both together are the best way to start each day and break the fast.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Labor Day – Celebrating The Christian Calling

Grace For The Journey


4Sept  Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers.  Today I would like to celebrate the contributions of all workers who are busily engaged in building the kingdom of God.

First we need to ask, “Who is a kingdom builder?”  Is the designation reserved only for those who are in full-time vocational ministry, like pastors and missionaries?  If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know how I’ll answer that question . . . with a resounding “NO!”

Here are some profound words from Os Guinness on this subject, taken from his book, The Call

      “There is a great distortion which argues that Christ gave two ways of life to his             church.  One is the perfect life, the other is permitted.  The perfect life is spiritual,       dedicated to contemplation and reserved for priests, monks, and nuns; the permitted     life is secular, dedicated to action and open to such tasks as soldering, governing,       farming, trading, and raising families.  Higher vs. lower; sacred vs. secular’ perfect         vs. permitted; contemplation vs. action.

Sadly, for many generations, this two-tier or double-life view of calling flagrantly perverted the correct biblical teaching by narrowing the sphere of calling and excluding most Christians from its scope.  If all that a believer does grows out of faith and is done for the glory of God, then all dualistic distinctions are demolished.  From the biblical view, there is no higher/ lower, sacred/secular, perfect/permitted, contemplative/active, or first class/second class.

Calling is the premise of Christian existence itself.  Calling means that everyone, everywhere, and in everything fulfills his or her (secondary) callings in response to God’s (primary) calling.  For the Reformers, the peasant and the merchant – for us, the business person, the teacher, the factory worker, and the television anchor – can do God’s work (or fail to do it) just as much as the minister and the missionary.

The recovery of the correct understanding of calling was dramatic.  William Tyndale wrote that if “our desire is to please God, pouring water, washing dishes, cobbling shoes, and preaching the Word is all one.”  William Perkins claimed “polishing shoes was as sanctified and holy act and the action of a shepherd in keeping sheep, performed as I have said in his kind, is as good a work before God as in the action of a judge in giving sentence, or of a magistrate in ruling, or a minister in preaching.”

The cultural implications of recovering a correct biblical understanding of the Christian calling are extremely powerful.  Someone put it like this . . .

  • Christian calling gave to everyday work a dignity and spiritual significance under God that dethroned the primacy of self and leisure.
  • Christian calling gave to humble people and ordinary tasks an investment of equality that shattered hierarchies and was a vital impulse toward value and worth.
  • Christian calling gave to such practical things as work, thrift, and long-term planning a reinforcement that made them powerfully influential in the rise of modern day living.
  • Christian calling gave to the endeavor to make Jesus Lord of every part of life a fresh force that transformed churches, communities, and cultures.
  • Christian calling gave to the idea of “talents” a new meaning, so that they were no longer seen purely as spiritual gifts and graces but as natural, yet God-given, and a underscored the importance of finding meaning and fulfillment through doing God’s purpose and pleasure.
  • Christian calling demanded and inspired the correct understand of the Lordship of Christ expressed in the famous saying of the great Dutch Prime Minister, Abraham Kuyper: “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!’”

WOW! Now that should help us all see the vision and value of calling from God’s perspective.  From our first parents in the Garden of Eden, all of life was to be lived “coram deo” – before the face of God.  It doesn’t matter if one is a butcher, baker, or candle-stick maker . . . or a pastor, or missionary, or lay person, every service is sacred when it is lived out in the light of eternity for the glory of God.

So who are the “kingdom builders” for the King of kings and the Lord of lords?  Everyone who is putting their gifts, talents, and abilities into faithful service in order to glorify God and expand the cause of His kingdom.

This Labor Day, take a moment to do a personal evaluation in the area of your calling and see if you have been imagining any sacred/spiritual split?  How is your work impacting the kingdom of God?  How are you allowing God to use you right where you currently are to expand the cause of His kingdom?

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Someone has said, “There is only one menial job in this world: that is the job where Jesus cannot be found.”  If your labor is a labor of love for the glory of God, the good of others, and the expansion of God’s kingdom, you can rest assured that what you are doing, regardless of what others might think of it, echoes in eternity.

Thousands gathered in Washington recently to observe the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr delivering his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  There’s another quote from Dr. King that has been circulating recently that is just perfect for closing out today’s blog:

      “If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted     pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music … Sweep streets like           Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and     earth will have to pause and say: ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his       job well.’”

You are to be celebrated today for living for something that will outlast your life on this side of the grave.  Laboring for the Lord means you are living for the transcendent glories of God, regardless of what you do for a living.  Let that truth bless you this Labor Day.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Overcoming Being A Spiritual Snob!

Grace For The Journey


 Spiritual snobs are everywhere.  Have you seen any lately?  Do you know what a spiritual snob looks like?  The best place to start is by looking into a mirror!

We are all spiritual snobs by nature; it’s woven deep into our sinful DNA.  We like to judge others on everything from lifestyle to looks . . . money to ministry . . . personality to profession.  We spend far too much time searching for and speaking about what is wrong with others without ever acknowledging and addressing the problem with our own attitude and actions.  It’s so easy to disregard our own “respectable” sins and shortcomings when we compare them to the “repulsive” sins of others.  We find it easy to look down on other Christians who don’t appear to be doing as well as we are or demonstrate the kind of commitment we do.

  • We look down on other Christians who are inconsistent in their church attendance.
  • We look down on other Christians whom we watch out of the corner of our eye and see that they let the offering plate pass by without adding to it.
  • We look down on other Christians who ask for personal prayer for things we aren’t currently struggling with.
  • We look down on other Christians who don’t seem to have control over their children during the church service.
  • We look down on other Christians who spend more time talking about the good life instead of the godly life.
  • We look down on other Christians who watch movies we won’t watch and listen to music we don’t listen to.
  • We look down on other Christians who rarely, if ever, find the time to show up for service projects.
  • We look down on other Christians who don’t carry their Bible to every activity like we do . . . even though we have no intention of reading from it.
  • We look down on other Christians who don’t believe everything we believe and belong to different denominations than we do.

The list, of course, is endless, and as we busily engage in looking down …

Our hearts harden …

Our faith falters …

And our love lessens.

Unfortunately, spiritual snobbery is something that affects us all – some of us more than others, but we are all affected.

C.S. Lewis rightly observed, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”  Funny thing about looking down on other Christians . . . it leaves us very little time to look up to Jesus!  And therein lies the key to unlocking the prison door of spiritual snobbery: looking up to Jesus. 

The author of Hebrews makes it clear in which direction our eyes should be focused.

We should always be “looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

The apostle Paul provides a wonderful admonishment for everyone who finds it easy to look down rather than up.  “By the grace given to me,” he wrote, “I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think.  Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one” (Romans 12:3).

You may remember the parable of Jesus about the two men went up to the Temple to pray in Luke 18 . . . we need to be more like the tax collector who looked up to God and asked for mercy than the Pharisee who thanked God that he was not like other men.

God wrote through Paul to the Corinthians, “By the grace of God I am what I am (1 Corinthians 15:10).

We all must remember that . . .

If there is anything we are doing well . . .

It is only because God has given us the grace to do it.

It is not because we are bigger, better, brighter, or more spiritual than others.

This is why we need to keep on preaching and living by the Gospel.

We will overcome our default mode of spiritual snobbery only by keeping the Gospel before us.  Preaching the Gospel and living by the Gospel will keep us grounded in the glorious truth about God (infinitely holy) and the dreary truth about ourselves (incredibly sinful).  The more we understand these truths, the more we will look to our Savior for all that we need to give our lives meaning and significance, rather than looking to compare ourselves to our neighbor.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”