Be a Doer aka Part 2

This is the short version of part two from this past weeks sermon:

Building your life in obedience to Jesus. James 1:19-25

This is about sanctification, how we live the Christian life. We have been saved and now we hear the word (look into the mirror) and we respond. As followers of Jesus, we are secure in our salvation and His grace.

Be an active ‘doer’ not a forgetful ‘hearer’:

I appreciate what Warren Wiersbe adds: “It is not sufficient, however, to receive the Word; one must respond to it in active obedience. One must “become,” or “keep on becoming” a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. The growing numbers of sermon-sippers who flit from one doctrinal dessert to another like helpless hummingbirds are deceiving themselves. “Deceiving” is from a verb used only here and in Col 2:4, means “to cheat or deceive by false reasoning.” The deception comes from thinking they have done all that is necessary when actually listening to the Word is only the beginning.”

The word for “looks into” means “to stoop down” in order to have a good close look.

The “Law that gives freedom” seems like a paradox. Law seems to imply restraint and therefore a lack of freedom. Not so with God’s Law. His perfect Law provides true freedom. “Hold to My teaching,” Christ said, “then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

This life he brings us is an ‘abundant life’. We’re free to take His word and make application and thus be doers, bringing Him glory!

So what is it God’s calling you to “do”?


Of preaching and pie

Yesterday I began my sermon with four things I really like. We had just baptized three individuals with beautiful stories of grace written all over them. So I said, “there are four things I really like: baptisms (whether I’m the one dunking or not), seeing people saved (whether I’m leading or not), preaching, and pie.” Not always in that order!

Before the day was over I experienced all four!
I preached one of those unusual sermons that pastors love to preach.  You can read more about it tomorrow.  Or you can hear it here and see the notes.

Before the service was over we saw 3 people stand and confess Jesus as Savior and Lord! It was awesome. Our church exploded in applause. As did heaven’s angels.

And because God is awesome and actually created us to laugh and enjoy pie, later that afternoon Laurie and I joined up with one of our fabulous Grace Groups and they offered PIE!  There you go. Day complete. I can go home now.


Sunday to Sunday

Wow. I loved Father’s Day at Grace.  I loved that we honored dads. I loved that we prayed for the many that were out at that very hour fighting the fire that shut down Sinagua. And I loved that we had a place to meet for church.  I’ve gotta tell you I was pretty energized having three services on a Sunday morning.  Our attendance was down considerably, but WE DIDN’T HAVE TO CANCEL!  Praise God we could fit over 200 people in the Ministry Center throughout the morning.

A big shout out to the team that served our body that morning.  Many came early and stayed through all three services.  I think the Worship Team, the Levites, the Tech Team, Aaron and Matt could each retell the sermon better than I could by the third time.

Thanks, Grace, for being so gracious. We need to be ready for whatever the Lord has for us.

On a personal note: I’m taking a few days of what is called a study break.  A few days this week and a few next allows me the opportunity to be away from the office and pray, read and meditate on how God is leading me and Grace.  I’ll be back Thursday for a couple of appointments and will stay through the weekend before taking a few days next week to do the same.  I want you to know so you can pray for me. I love what I do, and I take it seriously.

After these couple of partial weeks, I’m going to take Laurie away and go find a vacation spot to rest together. No apologies, we all need some time away.  Make plans, take care of your family!

All that said, I’m so thankful for the guests we’ll have at Grace.  This week, we’ll get to meet Paul Wegner. Check it out here,

Can’t wait to see all of you on Sunday.  I’m looking forward to hearing Paul and worshiping with our Grace family!

Grace Gives

I’m pretty jazzed about preaching John tomorrow. I really don’t want to finish this book because it’s been such an amazing study on the Gospel of Grace!  Yet, I’m excited because of how it finishes.  Really comes down to two words.  Follow Me.  Many of you have, most of you will be challenged to take the next step in following Jesus.

Tomorrow we’re launching “Grace Gives”.  I really can’t wait to invite our entire church family to give freely of the grace that we’ve received.  This is going to be huge.

Thanks Lord for giving us Your Word and Your Mission!  We are free to live in grace and pass it on to others as well.

Lunch Tomorrow!

Tomorrow right after church we have a lunch for EVERYONE at Grace. So, come and plan on sticking around for a bit. It’s a GREAT way to meet others and have some chilaxing time! Bring someone with you to introduce around. Wouldn’t it be great if we ran out of food?!! Sorry hospitality team… what I mean is, wouldn’t it be great if so many more came and hung with us? Don’t just bring someone from another church, bring someone that doesn’t have a church home yet, is looking, is your guest, or even someone that may just be a bit curious. Let’s Eat!

If you wanna read ahead, tomorrow I’ll be teaching from John 13:18-38. Grace Groups have begun and it’s been a great first week. Let’s pray for our time together tomorrow and for God’s amazing grace to go forward to many others through Grace Community.

As we come prepared, rested, and seeking a time to worship, fellowship, serve and learn, we can come expecting God to do amazing things among us. I’ll see you in the morning.

If you’re reading this from another time zone, go to your church; prepared and expecting. God is going to do great stuff through His church.

Oh…one more thing, Happy Birthday, Pastor Bob!

Zac Smith @Grace This Sunday

I believe it was the Friday just before Mother’s Day when Zac went in for a colonoscopy.  That day he learned that he had a lemon-sized tumor. The next morning they did surgery and it wasn’t long before he learned the cancer was at a stage four status. There are only four stages.

I remember learning of the news by talking with my brother Jim, (Zac’s dad) and wept on the phone realizing this wasn’t going to be the news any of us wanted to hear.  Immediately I began to mourn for my nephew.  I couldn’t believe my 32 year old nephew had cancer.  I remember a few days later getting a phone call from Zac. Just seeing his name on my cell phone seemed to affect me.  It seemed surreal to be talking to a young man I know well and love much, yet feeling so helpless. There’s nothing to say, nothing to fix, simply being on the phone was going to be good enough. And it was.

Zac has served us all well by sharing his thoughts via his blog.  He’s allowed us to read the journey as he is experiencing it.  I would think it would be very easy to become very private and secluded, whether in sorrow, self pity or overwhelmed thoughts of the brevity of life.  I can’t imagine all that Zac is experiencing, but I’m grateful that he is sharing parts of the story with us. On the side of this blog, you can find a link to his blog. Go and read it.

This Sunday, Zac will be speaking at Grace. This is huge.  Zac is an excellent teacher, preacher, and thinker.  Whatever you can do to be at Grace this week, it’ll be worth the effort. I’m trusting God for an amazing time together learning of the marvelous and amazing grace of God as seen and experienced through this young man’s life.  We start at 10.  For my Grace peeps, let’s be praying now for God’s Spirit to minister in a special way this Sunday.

Ordinary or Extraordinary

Perhaps there are many ways to distinguish between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Be it with someone’s performance, or someone’s character, or the “new car” versus the old one. Somethings are ordinary, and that’s good. Then there are the extraordinary. When it comes to life, do you want ordinary, or have you considered extraordinary?

I found a definition in Acts 5. (Best to read the chapter, save me writing out a whole sermon here!)

“We must obey God rather than men” 29

What made Peter’s confession so strong was that behind this statement was a life of amazing adventure. Extraordinary adventure that seemed to follow these Apostles. All they did was live it out.

Obviously we have a pretty cool healing ministry happening when people from all around Jerusalem are bringing their sick to just fall under the shadow of Peter. That’s not normal. And it’s really not something we’re suppossed to shoot for today when we think of being extraordinary. (Though I must admit it would be pretty cool to do.)

After the guys were imprisoned for this extraordinary ministry, “an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

So, they did.

The next day the Apostles find themselves again in front of the council. Mr. BigShot councilman says, “I told you plainly not to teach in THIS NAME…” That’s when Peter gives us these words that mark the line between ordinary and extraordinary.

You see the ordinary response from most of us would be… “Well, gosh, if they don’t want me saying the name of Jesus outloud, maybe I should find a more subtle way to express my beliefs.” I say ordinary because that’s so what we would expect today. That’ how we respond. That’s probably exactly what I would have done. I mean these are powerful people telling me what to say and not say. But not the extraordinary Peter.

So, check out verse 42, “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”


That’s the extraordinary life. It’s not about shadows that heal, or standing before the powerful leaders and getting all up in their face about your beliefs. It’s not about miracles and amazing things that make you say, WOW. No, it’s about being about Jesus! Seriously, that’s it. That’s the extraordinary life.

For the apostles, to “obey God, rather than man” meant to preach and teach Jesus Christ. It was more than a Sunday morning declaration, it was a way of living.

Did it cost them something? Um…yeah. v40.

What’s the extraordinary life look like for you today? I’m just sayin

What do you think?