Tag Archives: grace

Open the Doors of Grace

21 Feb

elephants

“do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

How we react to others’ brokenness speaks volumes. Do we circle the herd, lean in, speak truth to the one who is dying inside, struggling, wrecked, and alone; wading in and meeting our sister where she is…

Continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Open the Doors of Grace.

Poured Out Overflowing Grace

24 Jan

overflow

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16 (ESV)

Grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy, layers upon layers of undeserved overflowing love and favor; everlasting to everlasting…relentless, constant, infinite—began at the cross; blood spilled on behalf of humanity to satisfy the wrath of God (propitiation), Jesus…

Please continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Poured Out Overflowing Grace.

Love in Action | the Gift of Encouragement

20 Dec

nativity

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10: 24-25

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Come along side your Sisters this Christmas season to teach, comfort, and strengthen. Lift those who are struggling under the weight of unfulfilled expectations that often accompany this time of year…

Continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Love in Action | the Gift of Encouragement.

Feeling Gratitude, Giving Thanks

22 Nov

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“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5

As we prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday many of us are readying ourselves for the simultaneous joy and apprehension that often accompanies the gathering of families. Perhaps you picture the Rockwellian family ideal ― breaking bread, gathering, sharing, reflecting, loving togetherness or maybe instead, your table…

Please click here to continue reading and for additional resources: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Feeling Gratitude, Giving Thanks.

God’s Word Our Story | More From Nehemiah

3 Jul

gospel podium_optThe Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

From Saturday June 28

Highlights from Paige Benton Brown “Fearing God in a Fallen World” Nehemiah 5-6″Twas grace that taught my heart to fear…” It is foundational–the awe, reverence, worship, demanded by God by his power and position and glory; fear is the only proper response to the biblical doctrine of God. It is the beginning of wisdom–a perpetual posture, not an occasional exercise.”We can give the right answers but they’ll always be in the wrong place if fear of the Lord is absent from the foundation. Fear of the Lord causes us to submit to God’s authority not because…

Please view the article in its entirety here:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > God’s Word Our Story | More From Nehemiah.

Oh, How He Loves Us! | The Marriage Metaphor

7 Jun

married_opt

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” –Ephesians 5:22-27

“Jesus Christ is the focal point of history and the reference point for all our obedience. Husbands find in Christ a model for sacrificial, loving, strong, tender headship. Wives find the church’s submission to Christ, a model for intelligent, gracious, trusting, respectful submission…these roles are meant to be an expression of the unchanging gospel dynamics of Christ’s relationship to the church and the church’s relationship to him,” Gospel Transformation Bible.

Marriage is a union, a joining, two become one, cleaved together, a promise, a covenant, a bond, representational of Christ and the church; a living, breathing, dynamic reflection of grace extended to us mercifully via spilled blood, nailed to the cross, a debt cancelled…

Please continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Oh, How He Loves Us! | The Marriage Metaphor.

Seasoned with Salt, Peppered with Grace | Prayer and Hope for Unbelieving Adult Children

15 Mar

salt pepper2“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” –Colossians 4:5-6

Do you have family members who do not believe in Christ? If you answered “yes” like me, take heart, Jesus did too. According to John, “not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:5) and Mark makes note of his family thinking he was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). They lived with Jesus for 30 years and did not KNOW him! Take comfort for although they did not truly know Jesus during his earthly ministry, after the ascension there they are in the upper room with the Apostles praying (Acts 1:14).

This is a topic very close to my heart as I see this unbelief in my own daughter. She is, like Christian in Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress,”  trapped by Giant Despair, imprisoned in Doubting Castle. Lamenting her condition and blind to the fact that she possesses good news in her heart; the key of Promise that will unlock the dungeon that holds her captive is forgotten. So I pray that she “will know the truth” (John 8:32). I pray she will put her faith and trust in Jesus who poured out His own blood on the cross, taking her deserved punishment (1 Peter 2:24), to free her from the enslavement of sin. I pray her heart is softened and her eyes and ears are opened. I pray she pictures the warrior Jesus ready for battle and realizes nothing is too big for our Savior. I pray my husband and I will continue to shine Christ, speak truth, and extend grace to our daughter through email, Facebook messages, phone calls, and the very rare visit. I pray that God will continue to strengthen our marriage, root us deeper in Christ, and surround us with church family who love and pray with us, for us and for our daughter who many do not even know.

While home recently our daughter said, “Mom, why do you guys keep holding out your arms to me?” I pray someday she will truly understand what a precious gift she is to us and how loved she is, by her Dad and I of course, but even more so by the Lord whose arms are also open.

Relating to your unsaved grown child by Annette Cole

I looked at the row of velvet boxes and noticed a cross with a rose nestled next to it. I asked to see the attractive silver ring and bought it minutes later. For the first time in days, I felt a gentle touch of peace.

I’d been feeling only fear and grief as I watched my youngest daughter denounce her faith and rush into sin. Now I had a symbol of hope to cling to. As the father of the prodigal son placed a ring on his son’s finger at a “coming home” celebration, one day I hope to do the same for my daughter.

It has been years since my daughter walked away from Jesus Christ. Today we call and visit each other, but it has not been easy. The Bible asks, “What fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14, NIV).

Since the obvious answer to this is none, how do parents maintain relationships with their adult, unsaved children? I have had to find answers because my daughter does not want to be estranged from her family.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here: Relating to Your Unsaved Grown Child

The first paragraph of this blog was influenced by Jon Bloom’s article: Jesus Also Had Unbelieving Family Members

John Piper’s son Abraham, once a prodigal, wrote this letter from his perspective: 12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child

For more of Christian’s journey pick up a copy of John Bunyan’s classic book: The Pilgrim’s Progress

Happy New Year!|Resolution or a Real Solution

1 Jan

tide“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” Isaiah 40:31.

According to Time magazine nearly 2/3 of Americans will make a New Years resolution. The top ten of these include 8 that emphasize some sort of a personal change designed to effect a transformation of sorts. The other 2 popular choices involve helping others and spending more time with family. Out of the myriad people making one of these commitments on January 1 2013, nearly 50% stopped pursuing their goal after the first month and only 8% successfully achieved their goal at the end of the year. This lack of accomplishment may emanate from a false hope. Pinning one’s expectation of success on the new year and unassisted effort will prove pointless.

“Believing that things will get better apart from Christ is a cruel deception. It truly is an exercise in futility. Even if bank accounts grow or fortunes appear to improve, the relief this provides is short-lived” (Jay Younts, Celebrating Insanity).

 Resolutions can be a good thing. Approach change with prayer (Philippians 4:6), wisdom (James 1:5), persistence (Galatians 6:9), and patience (Psalm 37:7a).

Lifeway Women offers the following 3 tips for a realistic approach:

Approach your goals with a healthy dose of reality. If you’re serious about making a true change, those goals have to be practical and reasonable.

Behavior modification won’t last. Only Jesus can bring true and lasting transformation…

Your own strength will ultimately fail you. …true success comes when you press hard into Jesus—through constant prayer—for a strength that only He can provide.

Whether you choose one word that encompasses a focused character change, ten thousand little moments of grace, or the typical dramatic pledge remember;

“…change takes place through faith…where our hearts lead, our emotions and behaviour will follow…look to God, to find hope and help and satisfaction in him” (Tim Chester, You Can Change).

Wait upon the Lord! Trust in His perfect timing. Do not attempt things in your own strength.

Additional Resources:

Don’t Waste Your Weaknesses in 2014 – Desiring God

On To The Next One… – Tullian Tchividjian

Hoping for the New Year | CBMW | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

 

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