Tag Archives: love and mercy

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS.110915

Group Of College Students Sitting And Talking Together

Where I come from small groups (especially ones for Jesus) are a relatively new phenomenon.  I guess when I was younger, we had small groups, but nobody called them that, and most of us didn’t recognize the benefits that arise from being members of one.  My first introduction was when I went on a “Walk to Emmaus”, and they talked about being a member of a “Reunion Group”, which was defined as: 3-5 people who meet together once a week to review how they’re doing in their walk with Jesus; to answer one or more of seven questions about things like: 1] Closest moment to God; 2] Discipleship denied, 3] Discipleship confirmed, and a few others.  They called it an “accountability” group.  That always sounded like you had a list of things you were supposed to be doing, and the other members of the group were supposed to hold you accountable, if you fail to live up to your duties as a Christian.  I almost didn’t join a Reunion Group because of the crushing weight of being held accountable.  However, it turns out to be a lot more about love, and a lot less about accountability.

I’m a member of three “small groups” now.  Two of them would loosely fall under the umbrella of Emmaus Reunion Groups.  The other one I’ve been having with my daughter (and a few others) early on Saturday mornings for more than 10 years.  Now that group includes my favorite son-in-law. It’s the best of the lot, even though the others are truly a blessing as well.  Continue reading

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? 052115

[This is an excerpt from a Kairos Talk: Tomorrow]

Bible Group Praying TogetherCan we be changed?   Yes, but not by ourselves. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”  To be changed, we must accept the gift of God.  We must realize how badly we need Him, and then give our whole selves to Him, and trust Him to take care of us, because we finally figured out we can’t take care of ourselves.

The guys at your family table are your brothers.  Christ’s challenge to you is to take care of them.  To stick up for them.  To meet regularly with them for prayer and share group. Continue reading

OUT OF THE DARK, INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT.051615

[Excerpts from the Kairos Talk, ‘A Christian’]

DIverse People Holding Text Church

After I came to Houston, I spent 10 years living in the dark.  The dark of running away, trying to hide from God.  The dark of being a criminal defense lawyer.  The dark of trying desperately to figure out what to do about my estranged wife.  The dark of finally getting a divorce.  I still wasn’t really looking for God, but I was getting real beat up, and desperately seeking help.  And crazy as it seems, Jesus was still there.

I started going to church; and praying; and reading and studying the Bible.  I got involved in a Sunday School class and met some guys that were involved in Kairos, and after that I just sorta took off.  I got closer and closer to God. I began to realize what it meant to experience the mercy of Jesus. I started to realize what God really wanted me to do with my life.  You want to hear what it is?  He wants me to seek His Face every day; to talk to Jesus; to commune with the Holy Spirit; to listen to what He says and try to do it, on a moment by moment basis. Continue reading

Kairos-A Christian.051415

[This is an excerpt from the Kairos talk “A Christian”]

the Good SamaritanLOVE is about mercy and forgiveness; Mercy is being nice to someone (cuttin’ them a little slack) even when they deserve to be punished.  That’s what God does for us.

Forgiveness is what love is in practice.  It’s what happens when we love people enough to forgive them, even when they are wrong and we’re right; even when no one is looking and it won’t help us a bit.  Forgiveness is the evidence of mercy in our individual personal relationships.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4, it says ‘Love is patient.’  In the King James version of the Bible, and in the original Greek the verse says, “Love suffers long.”  That means if you really love someone, you put up with them.  I’m thinking about my kids when they were teenagers.  It means that you put up with them, even though you’ve told them 15 times what you expect, and they’re still doing it wrong, very likely on purpose and not accidentally.  That’s what it means when it says love suffers long. Continue reading

FORGIVENESS CEREMONY.050615

forgive yourselfIn the Kairos program we focus a lot of attention on forgiveness.   We do it for two reasons: 1] because in the Bible Jesus devotes  a lot of attention to it; and 2] because in the prisons, there are a lot of people who really need it.

To bring this subject into focus: in Matthew 6:9-15, the Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness is a major point of the whole prayer.  In verse 12, it says, “Forgive us our trespasses (sins, debts) as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  And we usually think the prayer ends with verse 13, “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom .  .”

But that’s not really the end, because immediately, without taking a breath, Jesus adds, “If you forgive others their trespasses, then God will forgive you; but if you don’t forgive others, then He won’t forgive you.’  (Isn’t it interesting that He doesn’t make any comments about any other verses in the prayer, only about forgiveness.) Continue reading

Works of Righteousness. 041215

Ephesians 2.8In Ephesians 2:8-9: Paul says,“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

And in his letter to Titus, in chapter 3, verse 5, Paul says again,  “ .  .  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,”   Did you get that?  It is not by any works, not by any deeds we have done, or by any special actions we have taken, that God saves us.  Particularly not by “works of righteousness”, meaning good things we’ve done to make God like us. 

Continue reading

GOD’S GRACE.033115

Miracles HappenHere I am.  66.  Married to a good wife with three grown children and six grandchildren; and a 16 yr old son at home. I’m still working at a ‘real’ job, ‘cause my baby needs shoes.  Really because God wants me to keep on working so I get to talk to people about Him. Continue reading

WHAT ABOUT WILLFUL SIN? 022815

Domestic abuse shadow play; family and social issueI’m always talking about how God will take care of you if you’ll just trust Him.  But will He really?  Will He still take care of you even if you do something really bad; something you knew was wrong before you did it, and you did it anyway?  I mean like when you were doing it, you looked God in the eye and said, “I don’t care what you think;  I’m going to do this anyway”  Will God take care of you, even then, even after that? Continue reading

Leaning on God.020215

In Proverbs 3: 5-6, Solomon says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him,  and He will direct your paths.”  Some versions, in the last line, say “and He will make your paths straight.”   It may just be semantics, but to me the first version is more all-encompassing, says more, covers more, has more depth and breadth, about what God does if we’ll trust Him and surrender to Him in all our ways.

This is my verse.  It expresses the essence of my understanding of what our relationship with God is all about.  My experience has been that even when I really try, when I really work hard at seeking the Lord’s Face, and work hard at trying to do what God wants me to, I still have things happen that I didn’t expect; things that at the time seem hard; hard to live with, hard to understand, hard to reconcile with my understanding of who God is, and who I am in Him.  But you know, our sight is so limited, we think ‘all my ways,’ is just what I expect,  what I think God wants for my life, for my family, my ministry, my country, my church.  Notice how minutely focused I am on my stuff?  A little myopic, ya think?  And maybe, once in a while, God has been thinking about somebody else.  Maybe He’s been spending a little time thinking, dare I say it, about you.  Heck, your life may require a little attention too.  In fact, you may think your life is as complicated as I think mine is.  It’s not all about me.

I just love this verse.  This really is my verse.  Maybe out of the whole Bible, this verse fits my situation best.  I really need, in all my ways, to trust the Lord.  Not just a little bit.  I need to throw myself at His feet and beg Him to keep on taking care of me, like He’s been doing from the beginning.  Every day I need to thank God for His overwhelming Mercy and ask Him to keep on giving it to me; and tell Him I’m trusting Him to keep on doing it, because otherwise, I’m sunk.

Humble Yourself? What Does That Mean? 010315

2 Chronicles 7:14: [God said to Solomon], “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Boy, this verse says a lot.   God is not talking to just anybody; He is talking to those of us who claim the Name of Jesus.  Just us.  Not all the people who have not yet invited Him into their hearts.

And what is the first thing He says to us?  He says, “Humble yourselves.”  [Quit thinking you’re so great.  Remember Who is really in charge here.  Who is the Potter and who is the clay.  Who created the earth and everything in it.  Oh, and quit thinking that you are in control!  Quit thinking that you don’t need Me to help you.  If you really think that, you’re just not paying attention; you are completely ignoring reality.  Do you know why you think you don’t need Me?  It’s because of all your affluence.  The reason it is so hard for a rich man to get into heaven is because his money and his stuff insulate him from the hard facts of life; so he begins to think he really IS in control, and he really doesn’t need Me.]

As my Momma might say, “You need Jesus in the worst way.”  Sometimes when I visit people in the hospital, and they’re not expected to live much longer, I ask them if they’ve made peace with God.  If they have, they’re quick to tell me so.  If they’re not so sure, it gives them a chance to think, which is all I’m hoping and praying for.

One lady said, “Since my husband died about 10 years ago, me and God haven’t had much to say to each other.”  As a result I was able to share God’s love and mercy and forgiveness with her, and she, like the thief on the cross, went to be with Jesus in Paradise.