Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You CAN Fall From Grace

Isn't it amazing how verses can catch your attention even though you have been reading them for YEARS? My last post was about one such verse, and this one is about another. This verse popped out at me today in my daily reading. It's from Galatians: "You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace". YOU........YOU have FALLEN AWAY FROM GRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, Paul establishes that you can fall away from grace. But the questions I want to know are, WHO is "you" and HOW did "you" get to this point? My guess is you want to know too.

First, I think it's very important to notice who he's NOT talking about. He's not talking about people who are struggling with sin. In fact, he's not even talking to unbelievers! Well, the sad truth is that he is talking to believers.......believers who BELIEVE they can save themselves. That brings us to the HOW part. They got to this point by trusting in one of Satan's oldest lies and tricks........that you can save yourself by your own righteousness. That's why they've fallen from grace, they don't think they NEED grace! When you feel the security of self-righteousness, you don't feel the need for ANYTHING else! God didn't take His grace from them...........they eliminated the need for it themselves. That's why Paul uses the phrase "have been alienated from Christ". YOU......who want to trust in being right, righteous by your own doing, and justified by law.....YOU have been alienated from Christ! Therefore, you have fallen away from grace.

I have been saying for years that "once saved always saved" is true.......if it were left to God. But it's not true because we are involved in this salvation thing.......we have to choose. God is NEVER going to pull His grace from us, but we have the ability or choice to NOT accept his grace. And what does that look like? The fact that we have struggles is not a sign we are turning our back on grace. Nor is being wrong about some doctrine, because that is a given. Surely not by wishing and striving for unity with other believers. Not by sinning daily. None of those things get in the way of you accepting His grace......quite the opposite in fact. Then WHAT or WHO does it look like? Simply put, it's the LEGALIST. And the sad thing is they didn't die out after Paul wrote this! They are alive and kicking. They are where you are, and they are where I am. At times I have seen one in my mirror when I was the only one in the room. Most of us have been a legalist at some point in our life.........some of us still are. Legalism kills.........grace brings life! So, let's do all we can to defeat legalism in our corner of the world. Don't ignore it, and don't sweep it under the rug. Shed light on it, because GRACE AND TRUTH can withstand the exposure of the light......legalism can't. Because it's not from God.

It's from us. Always has been, always will be.

I heard F.W. Mattox say one time something like this: "God spent 1,500 years chronicling the fact that you can't be saved by following the Law. It's what we call the Old Testament". :) I still miss brother Mattox!

If you are a sinner, God's grace is there for you in abundance. Bathe in it. Take all you need. Then share it.

If you are a legalist..........Paul says there is no grace for you. You decided you didn't need it.

"My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus's blood and righteousness".

"For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith.....and this not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God....not by works, so that no one can boast."

Friday, October 26, 2007


A phrase in I Peter caught my eye yesterday: "You were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you by your forefathers". Several parts of that caught my attention, but mostly it was the "empty way of life" part. Anybody else feel empty from time to time?

Have a wonderful weekend! I think FALL is FINALLY here!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Top Ten Soundtracks

"Vanity Fair" has come out with their top 10 movie soundtracks of all time. Here they are:

1. Purple Rain
2. A Hard Day's Night
3. The Harder They Come
4. Pulp Fiction
5. The Graduate
6. Superfly
7. Trainspotting
8. Saturday Night Fever
9. American Graffiti
10. The Big Chill

Hmm........not what I was thinking. What say you? Give my your list, and I will follow up with mine later.


Friday, October 19, 2007

It Don't Get Any Better Than This

Nope........it don't! :) Matt and I are headed down to Tuscaloosa tomorrow morning bright and early to watch Alabama and Tennessee play their annual 3rd Saturday in October game. I haven't been to a Bama/Vols game since 1977.......30 years ago. The Tennessee game is the biggest game of the year for me. Bigger than the Auburn game? Yeah, for me it is. I grew up in an era when Auburn was not all that good, and the Tennessee game was always a dog-fight. The Vols were for sure our biggest rival! On the third Saturday in October in 1973, I went to take my ACT test. The person giving us the test told us we could leave when we finished the last test. It was the Science section, and I didn't need any encouragement to hurry up because science is like Chinese to me anyway. The other students must have thought I was the second coming of Einstein, because I finished that section in RECORD time and ran to my car. I was NOT going to miss any of the Bama game on TV.
Wilbur Jackson went for about 80 yards for a TD that day, and the Tide won another one. We also won the game I went to in 77. Tennessee didn't make a first down until the 3rd quarter, and even the Bama fans clapped for them when they finally did. Bear's boys didn't lose too many during that stretch. That 77 team is still my favorite team of all time, and they got ROBBED by Notre Dame for the National Championship........the Irish went from 5th to 1st in the last poll. If Bama had been awarded that Championship, it would have been the 1st of 3 in a row. Anyway, I can't think of a better 52 year birthday present!!

By the way, the 13 I scored on that Science section of the ACT probably made me who I am today!!!!!!!! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Grace Crossing

Jan and I went to worship today at Grace Crossing with Luke and Juliana in Memphis.
It was WONDERFUL........lots of Harding alums there. Josh Patrick brought one of the most powerful messages about "Salvation" that I have EVER heard. E-V-E-R!!!

You can go and listen to it here:


Before the service began, there was a little girl about 3 years old standing at the back of the auditorium by herself. Just so happens she was standing by the bread used for communion. She looked around and thought the coast was clear, lifted up the cover, and got out a HUGE piece and began to chomp away. About that time, our eyes met........and she gave me a REALLY REALLY big smile. My legalist default button wanted to kick in and motivate me to go say "Honey, you shouldn't be doing that. This bread is just for those who have been baptized". That thought stayed with me for about two seconds, and then I smiled back at her.........and I hope she read my eyes cause they were saying "Honey, eat all that bread you want. I can't imagine the One who gave it to us being more honored than to have YOU.......of all the people in the world, a little one like you........eating that bread." I had a smile for the rest of the service.

Friday, October 12, 2007


That's the title of the new book Andrew Baker just gave me to read. The author is David Kinnaman, who works for George Barna. You all remember Barna don't you? He's the survey guy, and author himself.........his "Revolution" is still one of the best books I have read in the past few years. Anyway, I have just started it but this paragraph got my attention REAL quick!

"Christianity has become bloated with blind followers who would rather repeat slogans than actually feel true compassion and care. Christianity has become marketed and streamlined into a juggernaut of fearmongering that has lost its own heart."

Andrew, thanks buddy! I owe you one.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Keith Brenton

This may be the best post I have read in a LONG time........about ANY topic! The title is "A Cappella And The Ancients".
Thanks Keith!


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jan Jones

I guess most of you know by now that we lost Jan Jones last week. I was in California when she passed, but was able to get back to Searcy in time to be able to attend the memorial service and the release of her ashes at Camp Tahkodah. The memorial service on Sunday was such a wonderful event, I don't even have the words to describe it. I have no doubt the Spirit guided what was said, and what we sang..........because I don't know HOW it could have been more moving. Jan was a special woman, a VERY special woman. In her quiet way, she impacted a LOT of lives. She will be missed tremendously. But, she lives on in Rees and Elaine. What a legacy!!!! We love you Craig, Rees, Shanna, and Elaine!

May God come quickly for us all.