Several months ago the wife and I decided to join Second Baptist Church. We had been looking for a new church for well over a year, until one day a guy I used to work with, David, emailed me. He said him and his wife had joined Second within the past few years and loved it. He wanted to meet for dinner one night to catch up. What made our conversation most interesting is that David is one of the people I had on the list of least likely to accept Christ and join a church … But God! When we used to work together we would discuss God often at work, he would sometimes mock a few of my beliefs but I took it in stride. Little did I know but I would lay a seed down for David to be led to Christ. I even gave him a bible in-which he showed me later on that he still kept. David is a very intelligent person … even smarter than my wife, but my wife still knows everything (insert sarcasm.) We both work in the I.T. world and finding a christian brother working in that industry is very difficult because those in my field are too smart, for their own good, to accept Christ’s payment for sins. (See 1 Corinthians 1:18 ) Second had always been on the list of churches we had no desire to join due to its size. Our previous church had a membership at around 400 to 500 people we considered that to be big. Second has around 23,000 weekly attenders and 50,000 members. It’s considered the 6th largest church in America … BIG! It also has a BIG heart for Houston and beyond. I love our church and I can see us growing our family of 5 there for years to come.
This past week I journeyed as a counselor/leader with 1,100 junior high students and 300 plus leaders from our church to South Padre Island, Texas. It was time for the annual Second Baptist summer beach retreat camp. In preparation I went in expecting to see lives changed and that’s exactly what God did with my life. The camp is directed at 7th and 8th graders but even some of the leaders came forth and gave their lives to Christ and accepted his payment for their sins. The previous mentioned David sent his daughter Gabby to the camp as a 7th grader this year as well. This brought to mind all of those moments David and I spent discussing the value of Christ and apologetics. His daughter was standing at the alter accepting Christ because of His Grace and mercy. My part was I was able to plant a seed years prior that enabled David to recognize his need for a savior. Thus his wife and children know Christ as Lord. Gabby was water baptized during beach retreat along with over 450 students at Schlitterbahn. It was beyond rewarding to see that God’s word does not come back void and that my time was not spent in vain with David all those years.
Some of the thoughts that the beach retreat brought to mind. God still speaks and uses people to accomplish his purposes. He desires for us to stop what we are doing and spend silent time with him where we read his Holy Scriptures and ask Him to show us more of who he is. Many people struggle with self-worth on a daily basis and find it difficult to accept much of what life hands their way. Just know that if you get this one thing right then you will have gotten everything right … Christ died for your sins, so that your life might glorify Him.
Today we were forced out of our house by a realtor wanting to show our home to their client. We got all but about 40 minutes notice and then it was a Chinese fire drill to get everything picked up and put away before they showed up. Having three small kids is wonderful but they tend to make a mess. We decided to head to Panera Bread for an early lunch and afterwards we went to one of my favorite places … Mardel Christian Bookstore. I could probably spend about 3 hours in that place. Some people have a coffee fetish, others its shoes or clothes, but for me its books from the Theology section.
I picked up a book by Philip Yancey named Grace (visual edition). I have read some of his other books and I enjoy his works quite well. One page in the book stuck out much more than the rest of the pages. On the page was the following, “When someone asked theologian Karl Barth what he would say to Adolf Hitler, he replied, “Jesus Christ died for your sins.” Hitler’s sins? Has grace no limit?”
Recently the world found out that President Obama supervised a team of Navy Seals that raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. They supposedly killed Bin Laden and dumped his body in the sea afterwards. Should we rejoice that a mass murderer has been put to physical rest? Many in our country rejoiced over his death. What about his soul? Is he in paradise with 70 virgins or is he in the lake of fire with Satan?
I ask the same question in which Yancey asks, has grace no limit?
Do I think Adolf Hitler or Osama Bin Laden is in heaven? Probably not, but there is room for anyone at the table of Christ if they are wiling to accept and believe on the payment in which Christ made on the cross at Calvary. Not only accept and believe the payment but also turn from their sins and follow Christ. During Jesus’ ministry on earth he enraged many of the top religious people by allowing the so-called worst of sinners to eat with him and his disciples. If Hitler or Bin Laden would have repented and accepted salvation in Christ then they would have been saved. No matter if they killed 3000 peoples or 6 million of God’s chosen peoples. Christ is our only hope for salvation and His forgiveness does not have limits.
Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people”
I am glad to announce that today I have placed my first post on my new blog, Grace Clarified. The information you will find on the website will deal with the subject of theology, bible readings, technology, books or media I would recommend and of course my life in regard to my wonderful wife and children. I love my family and I thank God nearly every day for the joy they bring. I hope the content you find on Grace Clarified is of interest to you, if not then no worries as I am sure you will find something of interest such as my wife’s wonderful blog.
My talented creative wife created my blog layout for me and I am thankful for the amount of time she poured into it. Thank you Bobbie Jo, you are wonderfully made. Starting a few months ago I knew I wanted to start up a blog again. My previous blogs died out due to lack of interest on my part and my time was being stretched thin at the time. I spent a good while kicking around a name until one day the name became very clear. There is nothing that sparks more interest in my thinking than the subject of God’s Grace to us. I named my first-born Grace and that was not by coincidence. My second born child is named Clara and it means clear. So to me Grace Clarified fits better than any blog name I could have picked.
I try to make my points of view very simple and easy to understand. Some blogs seem to be information over load and I read a few paragraphs and click over to the next blog. My wife will swear I only look at the pictures on her blog postings but that’s pretty far from the truth … most days. I tend to be a very practical person and I probably won’t be sharing anything that has not affected me directly. I hope you enjoy this blog, as I know I will enjoy sharing the thoughts that bounce around my head.