Progressing Downward

Spiritual growth is not what they told us it was. It’s not, “I’m getting stronger and stronger, more and more competent everyday.” Rather, it’s “I’m becoming increasingly aware of how weak and incompetent I am and how strong and competent Jesus was and continues to be for me.”

How is Grace Commonly Misunderstood?

During an interview a few years ago, the interviewer asked this question: “In what ways is grace most commonly misunderstood today?” This was my answer then. And it is still my answer now. I think the main way grace is misunderstood today is when people confuse it with cheapened law. Let me tell you what I mean…

What is Grace?

The definition I give for grace in my book One-Way Love comes from Paul Zahl: Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.”…

When God Breaks You

In my devotional, It is Finished: 365 Days of Good News, we share this amazing testimony from my friend Mike Adams. Mike is a former pastor and co-host/producer of The Grace Cafe Podcast with his wife, Susan. I had made theology my pursuit, my goal, my aim, my identity. And I was pretty good at it too…

Reflections from the Subway

My wife and I see a lot of movies. But our favorite movie of the last year or so is—without question—The Darkest Hour, featuring the Academy Award-winning performance of Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill. There are so many things about this film that my wife and I love, but there is one scene in particular…

Basin Theology

A Presbyterian pastor told of a conversation with a man in his congregation; “You preachers talk a lot about giving, but when you get right down to it, it all comes down to Basin Theology.” The pastor asked, “Basin Theology, what’s that?” The man replied, “Remember what Pilate did when he had the chance to acquit Jesus?”

Christ is Deeper Still

Normally, the outdoorsy image of choice for spiritual growth is mountain climbing. You know how it is: new Christian at the bottom of the mountain, mature Christian near the top. I want to take you a different way…so let’s go spelunking! Spelunking is cave exploration, and it’s my suggestion for another way…

The Myth of Forgiving Yourself

For more years than I care to remember, a stalker has cast her shadow over my life. She trails me to work, spies on me at home, skulks nearby when I go out on the town. Never is she far away, and never does she slack in her pursuit. She’s a different breed of stalker, however, so reporting her to the police…

Daddy Bill (1918-2018)

It was May 2, 1996, and I was sitting in the U.S. Capitol rotunda with my family. We were eagerly anticipating the ceremony that was getting ready to begin. I had been to Washington DC once before, back in 1985, when I was just 13 years old. This trip was different though. We were there because my grandparents were being…