The Divine Gratuity (Ephesians 3.20–21)

SCRIPTURE READING Ephesians 3.20–21: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT Are you a generous tipper? When I was growing up, my family ate out at restaurants a lot. Usually, the service was adequate. Sometimes it was excellent. On a few memorable occasions it was downright awful. Regardless, we made a practice of tipping the wait staff well. Generosity in such … Continue reading The Divine Gratuity (Ephesians 3.20–21)

Grace as Salvation and Spiritual Gift (Ephesians 3.7–13)

SCRIPTURE READING Ephesians 3.7–13: Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly … Continue reading Grace as Salvation and Spiritual Gift (Ephesians 3.7–13)

The Good News about God’s Grace (Ephesians 2.4–7)

SCRIPTURE READING Ephesians 2.4­–7 DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT According to Ephesians 2.1–3, we are “dead” in sin. The metaphor is an apt one. A dead person is physically unable to do anything except rot. Similarly, a spiritually dead person is incapable of saving himself. All he can do is experience further moral and spiritual decay. Our spiritual death is the bad news we need to hear about ourselves first. But it is not the last word on the subject. The last word is grace. Here’s how Paul describes the good news: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love … Continue reading The Good News about God’s Grace (Ephesians 2.4–7)

What Legalists and Atheists Cannot Understand: Grace

Over at The Gospel Coalition, Chris Castaldo reminds us that how we Christians see God impacts how others see our God: The parable [of the prodigal son] ends there. Unlike the earlier stories, there is no explicit lesson from Jesus. We don’t know whether the formerly lost son’s big brother joins in the celebration, though it is clear that he should. The point, you see, is not bowing to some crabbed notion of fairness, but losing ourselves in God’s grand graciousness. Will the son forsake his pride and jealousy and become more like his gracious father? Will the Pharisees and … Continue reading What Legalists and Atheists Cannot Understand: Grace

Grace and Peace to You (1 Thessalonians 1:1c)

Letters typically begin with a greeting. In New Testament times, Greek-speaking writers began their letters with the word chairein, “Greetings!” (e.g., Acts 15:23, 23:26; James 1:1). Paul, who wrote his letters in Greek, transformed this epistolary convention by replacing chairein with the similar looking and sounding charis in the greeting of all his letters, and by adding eirēnē. So, this is the standard greeting in Paul’s letters: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”[1] Paul’s standard greeting is a wonderful way for Christians to begin their letters (or emails) to other people. … Continue reading Grace and Peace to You (1 Thessalonians 1:1c)

President Obama’s Remarks at the 2nd Annual Easter Prayer Breakfast

This morning, President Obama delivered the following remarks at the 2nd Annual Easter Prayer Breakfast. I’ve bolded my favorites. _____ The White House Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release April 19, 2011 Remarks by the President at Easter Prayer Breakfast East Room 8:39 A.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Please, please have a seat. Well, it is absolutely wonderful to be here with all of you today.  I see so many good friends all around the room. Before I begin, I want to acknowledge one particular member of my administration who I’m extraordinarily proud … Continue reading President Obama’s Remarks at the 2nd Annual Easter Prayer Breakfast