Tag Archive: grace

Who’s Redeemable?

Both before and after the US election, there has been a lot of talk about Donald Trump and whether he can be an effective president. Part of that dialogue is this premise that, while they don’t condone the behaviours and attitudes of Trump, they still claim that God can use someone like him to still change the world for the better.

Let me begin with this: the grace and salvation God offers is available to ALL, regardless of what their past is. This includes Donald Trump. Scripture reminds us that Jesus’ foundational and primary challenge to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, history or philosophy is “Come follow me”. In that submission to Jesus as Lord, we can be redeemed by Christ and transformed by the Holy Spirit.

This is available to everyone, including Donald Trump. So from that perspective, yes, God can use someone like Trump to still change the world.

What I find interesting (or maybe I’m not looking in the right place) is that premise was rarely extended to Clinton. I’ve heard many people state that they couldn’t support Clinton because of the opaqueness of her political life which included the misuse of emails as well as inappropriate relationships between her foundation and her political work. They also point to her views on LGBTQ, same-sex  marriage, abortion, etc. which they can’t support. They look at Trump and rationalize that, in spite of his misogynistic, racist and bigoted expressions, because he made statements that seemed to align with their political (and moral?) view, God can still use him.

(BTW, my cynicism suggests that, while Trump may have made promises that align with the religious right, his track record of truth telling suggests otherwise.)

The fact remains, if you’re going to extend that hope of grace and redemption to Trump, it should also be extended to Clinton as well. God is willing to redeem ANYONE who is willing to follow Jesus.

Since Wednesday, my cynical side looks at what Trump and especially some of his surrogates (like Gingrich, Giuliani, etc.) have said, and I gotta say, I have huge doubts that they’ll change. But it is still possible with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus, our hope of glory.


The Urgency of the Gospel

There’s a tension that I wrestle with regarding evangelism. I’ve heard analogies suggesting that, because Christians have the answer, we are obliged to get the message out as fast as possible. For some, they interpret this as, “I must go out and spread the gospel to as many people as I can and as fast as I can. If they refuse, that’s their problem.”

Many of us realize that, at least in this culture and context, to just tell someone that they are going to hell and need to repent doesn’t usually go well. (Again, there are those who basically say, since they refuse to repent, they can go to hell.) However, many Christians tend express the gospel in a language that makes more sense to non-Christians, wanting to bridge through relationships and to demonstrate the love and grace of God. I must admit at times that I wonder if I’m not “passive” in the evangelism aspect of my life towards my non-Christian friends.

There is an urgency in helping people see the grace, mercy and judgement of God. Yet there is a tension on ensuring we are communicating the gospel well (not just telling it as we think it should be told). Perhaps that’s where dependence on the Holy Spirit is much needed and our attentiveness to his promptings. After all, I don’t think there is a magic formula how evangelism can be done.

This Youth Pastor Sucks

Wow, this guy had issues.  He was disorganized.  His leadership team wasn’t in sync.  What he thought was a well-laid plan to help students develop their faith didn’t actually accomplish as much as he first theorized.  At the end of the night, on his way home, he thought to himself, “I suck as a youth pastor”.

Tonight, I had one of those nights.  In hindsight, there were a lot of things I dropped the ball on.  And I wondered to myself, “How do I coach others in youth ministry when I’m not doing that great myself?!” (of course, coaching is another topic for another day)  As I was waiting for the bus, I heard these 3 guys talking.  It was interesting to hear how they were really deep and really pressing on this one guy for basically selling out even though he claimed another value.  Then, they looked like the 3 stooges nailing each other in the groin (etc, etc., etc.).  And I realized, my pulse on youth culture probably isn’t as accurate as I might think.

God shattered my ego (which I need sometimes … many times).  I had to realize in prayer and confess that I didn’t fulfill my role as well as I know I can.  At the same time, God reminded me that it’s his grace that sustains me, even when I mess up.

So I suck as a youth pastor sometimes.  And I must realize, even if it’s my fault, this ministry is much bigger than me.  It’s God’s ministry.  While I can do what is within my capacity and my God-given mandate, I must trust that he will complete what has been started in each student.

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