Showing posts from August, 2013

Three actions that make up at least 98% of the spiritual life

Last time I posted I promised that I would comment on three words that are central to how we interact with God. I've been thinking about it, and I believe at least 98% of the spiritual life comes down to these three actions:

1. Receive Nothing distances us from God like initially receiving his grace and then lapsing into a lifestyle of "making it happen." When we make it happen, we become self-reliant and close ourselves off from God. When you think about it, it makes absolutely no sense. Our salvation has come to us as a complete gift. All we could do is receive God's grace. Why drift into self-reliance? It has been said that the best saints are the most receptive ones. Why? Because receptivity is a sign of humility toward God. And "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6)
Example: In the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the temple (Luke 18:9-14), it is the tax collector who is open and receptive toward God. The…

A lesson on grace that has taken me decades to learn

After taking a break to enjoy family vacations and camping trips, I am excited to blog again today. I decided to write about an issue so big that it's difficult to express in any concise way. To put it in a nutshell, I am rediscovering the essence and message of the Christian life, and it is changing my outlook on everything. It's a long story, but here's the overview: over the last three decades, I have grasped God's grace, gotten separated from it, and now God is bringing me back to it with tremendous force.
In the late 1980s, Susan and I were going to church at Hope Chapel in Hermosa Beach, CA. Our pastor, Zac Nazarian, became convinced that the church's grasp on grace was dangerously insufficient, so he set out to preach through Romans very slowly and with great deliberation. My memory is fuzzy about the details, but it seems that after a couple of years in Romans, we were still only in chapter five or six of Paul's letter. Pastor Zac talked about grace. He…