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Showing posts from January, 2013

The Case for Grace: Transformation - 2nd Corinthians 3:17-18

During one scene in the movie Bruce Almighty, we see Bruce, in the roll of God, listening to his girlfriend’s prayer.  In this prayer, she asks to stop loving Bruce because of all the pain that love brings. Hearing this prayer brings Bruce to his knees, turning to God and saying, “I don’t want to be God any longer, I surrender to your will.”  We have talked about what it takes to get to the point that Bruce found himself.  Bruce was like many of us, we want to be God.  We want to be in complete control of things, of our lives, of the things happening around us.  In the movie Bruce Almighty, God grants Bruce that unspoken wish that so many of us have at some point in our lives.  While it was a fictional movie, C. S. Lewis points to the truth behind the movie when in The Great Divorce he writes, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”  God grants that freedom, for us to declare…

The Case for Grace: Not Our Own Effort - Titus 3:4-7

Her name is Stacie Halas. For ten years she was a middle school teacher. However, about a year ago she was dismissed from her classroom. Was she doing something wrong? I mean with as difficult a time as there is with teacher recruitment she must have been doing something wrong in the classroom or in her personal life that made her dismissal necessary, right? Actually, no. The trouble had nothing to with her career as a teacher. The problem, at least according to her school district, is that for a nine month stint prior to being hired as a teacher, after finding herself in a dire financial situation, was known as Tiffany Six, starting in multiple pornographic movies. Ms. Halas tried desperately to overcome her past sin, but matter how hard she tried, regardless of all her efforts her past has come back to haunt her and she lost her case, leaving her condemned by the school board and a three judge panel, declared unfit for teaching. My friends, we are in week three of our Case for Grace …

The Case for Grace: Even Unaware - Romans 5:6-10

This afternoon in Atlanta and Foxborough, a coin will be tossed to determine it.  If a group of us were to play Monopoly this afternoon (before one historic piece changes forever), we would roll the dice to determine it.  If we were playing a game with some of our younger folks, with many of their games, age determines it.  In some instances, “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” might be used to determine it.  However, with God, there is no question, God gets to determine, and God has chosen Himself!  What are we talking about?  What are we trying to determine?  It is all about who goes first! God always goes first. “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth as a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1-2) “…then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man …

The Case for Grace: Getting What We Don't Deserve - Romans 6:20-23

One of the Christmas traditions of the last several years in our family is that Santa brings movies to our family.  Rather than buy movies as they are released through the year and watch them at that point, they are saved for Christmas morning (though Santa may acquire them at any point during the year—especially if there is a good sale price).  One of the movies that Santa dropped off at our house this year was Arthur Christmas.  Arthur Christmas is the story of the sons of Santa and the decision of who will be the next Santa Claus.  The underlying story is the importance of one child.  There is one scene at the beginning of the movie…and despite the revelation of how Santa is able to cover all the homes around the world in one night, one part of this scene really caught my attention, especially in light of the sermon series we are starting today. We encounter a moment of grace in the scene.  We watch the elves scampering around helping Santa by placing presents and filling stockings.…

Getting Dressed for 2013 - Colossians 3:12-17

Employed by the human-development center of a corporation in the Midwest, a woman trains employees in proper dress codes and etiquette. One day as she was stepping onto the elevator, a man casually dressed in jeans and a golf shirt got on with her. Thinking of her responsibilities, she scolded, "Dressed a little casually today, aren't we?" The man replied, "That's one benefit of owning the company...." Some people like to dress casual. Other folks like to dress up. On Christmas Day night, as we gathered with the Sasser side of Anita's family, I watched as three little girls ran around as Tinkerbell, Snow White, and a princess.  In their minds, they were the best dressed ones there. There are occasions where many of us would dress up. . Unless it is Halloween or a costume party, though, most of us wouldn't be in Disney attire. I'm thinking off times like church (for some of us), court, or a job interview.  They are occasions that call for more formal …