For the last few years I've had the joy of preaching at Peace Presbyterian Church in Flint, MI. This year, I gave in and started recording the messages and posting them as a weekly podcast.
Here is this week's message. Perhaps you will find it encouraging:
I call it, Common Grace:
I remember sitting in the living room of my friend, mentor, and pastor, Bob Smart. There were about ten of us sitting in a circle for a Koinonia Group. Koinonia is the Greek word that is roughly translated as “fellowship” in English. He asked a simple question, “What is grace?”
I answered quickly because I knew the answer!
“Grace is unmerited favor, Bob!” I said.
“What's so amazing about that?” He said.
Often, as we read through the Old Testament, it feels like God is some sort of angry deity. We read some of the stories and think, “Woah dude, chill out.” Yet, when we read closer, we see how many times God warns the people.
“Karma is a bitch.”
Did that get your attention? 😏
I am sure it did. Pastors are not supposed to use that kind of bad language.
The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.
The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.
The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
How I see my story in his story.
I am fascinated by the person of Jesus. There is no other person in the history of the world that I would more like to have a beverage with. He’d probably have a few glasses of wine and I would enjoy a nice bourbon. Most likely, we’d be enjoying some hummus, pita, and a plate of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Honestly, I dream often about this.
Part 11 of 11 on Parenting Principles
One of the most important leadership principles that I've learned over the years is to begin with the end in mind. When it comes to parenting this might be the most true thing. I was talking parenting one day with a friend and he said, “You know Dan, we're not raising children, we are raising adults.” My friend put into words, so succinctly, what we had already been pursuing. I don't think that Amy and I realized that had been the driving principle in our parenting but now that we had words for it, we have shared this with anyone who will listen.
Part 10 of 11 on Parenting Principles
Do as I say, not as I do.
Raise your hand if you've heard that one. There is a lot of talk about just about everything. This series of articles on parenting included. It's all talk.
Part 9 of 11 on Parenting Principles
I think the biggest trap that we fall into as parents is the trap of making excuses for our kids. My mom was a teacher for decades. During her time as a teacher she saw a shift occur from parents holding their children responsible for their actions to blaming the teacher. This shift is very damaging. Why? If we don't hold our children responsible for their actions we are stunting their growth into adulthood.
Part 8 of 11 on Parenting Principles
After my parents divorce I will never forget something that my mom told us over and over: You will not be a statistic. She never let us use the fact that our parents were divorced as an excuse to do poorly in school or misbehave. My dad would often talk to us about how people knew our last name and that what we did reflected on the family business. My parents had expectations for my brothers and I. Amy's (my wife) parents had similar expectations for her and her sisters. There was an expectation of hard work, commitment, and the pursuit of excellence.