Monday, February 16, 2009

Sarah in the Media

Our dear daughter Sarah was quoted in The Salem News amidst "taking time from chasing her determined toddler, Henry."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grace or Bust

I was raised in an atmosphere of shame-based Christianity. Although, I believed that only God’s grace could save me and I was unable to merit God’s salvation on my own, I failed to live as though I was walking by grace. My spiritual walk was crowded with shoulds and “dos and don’ts” and all manner of legalism.
Shame-based Christianity is fed by a tiresome round of “I’ve got to do better…I must try harder…I’m not doing enough.” It promotes the temptation to believe that I am better and everyone else is worse. Shame-based Christianity is suffocating; it chokes the life out of you. It is like stumbling around in gloomy places with a ball and chain. I can’t bear it.
There was a difficult time in my life when God seemed absent. I was entrapped in the dark pit of depression. But through that experience, God taught me that He not only saves us by grace but helps us to live by grace as well.
Grace-based Christianity is so wonderful. It is freeing and joyful. Grace-based preaching/teaching is like soothing balm for the soul. It celebrates love and mercy. You live your life motivated by love. You can be yourself and God works through you as an individual, yet you also find joy in community. It is like frolicking on a mountain meadow full of wildflowers under a warm sun and bright blue sky.
I cannot tolerate going to a church that emphasizes shame-based Christianity over grace-based Christianity. Our family spent an entire year looking for a church home several years ago. My chief criterion was a church that communicates grace or at least is led by people who communicate grace. It is amazing how difficult that is to find. We finally found such a church. Now we are contemplating being part of a church plant from this church on our side of town. I hesitate to be a part of it because I fear the possibility of the absence of grace-based leadership. If that is how it ends up…I just can’t go there…literally and figuratively.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Joy of Skiing

Kim and I had a wonderful time in the mountains last week. Our friends, Kevin and Diane, joined us for a couple days. We skied together on one of the most beautiful days at Keystone ever.