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Do We Preach A Grace That's Too Small?
Contributed by: Ray Hollenbach // Students of Jesus – SermonCentral.com
Here’s our problem:
We suffer from a grace too small. We’ve lined up the chairs in neat little rows and called it grace. We never noticed: it has broken free. Right now it’s running wild in the streets. We suffer from domesticated grace. We think grace is pleasant to receive. We think it’s ours to give, as if we could ladle raindrops from Niagara.
Grace isn’t safe:
It’ll wreck your world. Grace assaults and grace subverts. Grace grabbed one man and knocked him off his ass. It rendered him blind and healed him three days later. Grace put him in danger time and again: shipwrecked three times or more, beaten with rods and sticks, stoned and left for dead. Grace used him like a ragdoll, overthrew an empire and saved us all—even him, the foremost of sinners.
Grace assaults us in so many ways we are dizzy and dumb from its constant battering. We seldom see it coming, and after it’s gone we rarely know what, exactly, just happened. Grace whispers and howls at the moon. Grace asks, and it’s the one telling us how it’s gonna be. It binds the strongman.
Grace sneaks into a crackhouse and holds the baby in the crib. It breaks into prison and sets the dealer free. Grace says, “Come, let’s reason together” even when the other side is incapable of true reason. Grace has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
Grace will pick you up in Kansas and set you down in Oz. You’ll pick up crazy friends along the way and discover the boss behind the curtain is just as screwed up as you are. Grace gives you ruby red slippers stolen off a dead woman’s feet, and they show you the way home.
Grace is a strong man’s game. It’s God’s game. He invented it and plays it full out. Good luck against Him. Grace huddles with the opponent, calls the play and then runs the ball right up the middle. The enemy knows it’s coming, but grace never audibles: it executes the play—just try to stop it…
Ray Hollenbach helps pastors and churches navigate change. He’s the founder of DEEPER Seminars, weekend leadership retreats focused on discipleship in the local church. His newest book is Deeper Grace, a guide to the connection between grace and spiritual maturity. Ray currently lives in central Kentucky, coaching and consulting church leaders. You can visit his blog at Students of Jesus.