Truth in Advertising

Mar 17, 2021

I shop therefore I am. (fabric)
Remodeling is happiness. (design company)
The 5 basic necessities of life: movies, TV, video, music & books. (magazine)
Give your day a little lift. (candy)
Acquire a taste for the ultimate compliment. (appliances)
Wear it and be happy. (fragrance)
What is comfort? (shoes)

Each of these slogans is a direct quote from an advertising hook in a magazine. What follows in parentheses tells you the product being marketed.

In this list, you are promised everything from...

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Grace Strikes Us

Feb 24, 2021

When our lives feel like painful blow after painful blow, we need a sense of the reality of God. I recently revisited a book I read in seminary thirty years ago or more by my preaching professor, Ian Pitt-Watson. In it, he shares some lines from Paul Tillich about experiencing the grace of God.

 

“Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our...

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Restoration, Grace and Salvation

Feb 10, 2021

Restoration, grace and salvation are all words of good news. Don’t we need a bit of good news these days? There has been so much hard news over the last year.

 

I caught a vision for these words thanks to a prolific songwriter in the days of King David. He was a sort of musician-in-residence in those days because of his grace and skill. Listen to this chorus from one of his psalms:

 

Restore us, God Almighty;

...

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Podcast 156: Entering the New Year with Intention and Grace (Gem with Kathryn Carrington)

Jan 04, 2021

In this podcast episode, we are talking about easing into the new year with gentleness and grace. This is much needed after making it through 2020. What does 2021 hold for us? We don’t know what circumstances will arise, but, as always, we have a choice about what we think and how we act within every situation. So, let’s lean into some gentleness and grace.

For all of the complaining we can do (and rightfully so) about social media, I have met some genuine, lovely, heart-forward...

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Rehearsing Grace

Dec 30, 2020

I’ve said many times before, both in what I’ve written and spoken, that I grew up with the habit of seeing the cup half empty. I don’t know all the reasons for this. Some of it may be temperament. Some of it may be learned. It doesn’t matter much how it came to be. What matters is what I’d like to do about that in my life now as a follower of Jesus.

 

My pessimism has, at least at times, been rooted in remembering and rehearsing what I think went wrong in...

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The Power of Remembering Grace

Dec 16, 2020

It’s very tempting to look back at 2020 and see only the hardship, trouble and scarcity of it. There has been plenty of that, for sure. Perhaps it is at a time like this that we especially need the wise guidance of passages like Psalm 103:1-5. I’ve often taken leadership teams to this passage at the beginning of trainings I’ve led.

 

Take your time as you read it. Let the words soak into your thinking patterns and your emotions.

 

1Praise the Lord, my soul;

...

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Grace in the Midst of a Pandemic

Oct 21, 2020

I’m getting a bit tired of talking about the pandemic. At first, many of us imagined it was going to be a brief pause button in our lives that we’d soon unpause and be back to normal. Nope! This has changed our lives in a lasting way already.

 

Gem and I have experienced a great deal of change in what we do in our work and how we do it. I wonder if you’ve experienced the same. We’ve found these to be among the most wearying months of ministry we’ve ever...

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How Much Grace Can You Imagine?

Jul 08, 2020

“Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4:7)

 

Our perception and reception of this grace has everything to do with our vision of “the measure of Christ’s gift.”

 

How much grace can you imagine?

 

Do you view the measure Christ uses being small and anemic or large and overflowing?

 

As a brief example, let’s look at Ludwig van Beethoven. Here’s what from The Piano Guys had to...

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Podcast 123: This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers (Gem with KJ Ramsey)

May 04, 2020

Many of us treat suffering like a problem to fix. Simply put, we’d rather not suffer at all, but if we do, we prefer it to be short. But what if our pain or suffering linger? What if it doesn’t go away quickly or at all?

 

We may wonder if God sees us or if we’ve somehow failed God. We may question God’s very nature. If God loves us, why does he allow us to hurt? Today, I’m talking with KJ Ramsey who has suffered with pain every day for the last 11 years....

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Podcast 108: Grace and Peace: The Abundant Basics (Inhaling Grace Audiobook, Part 15)

Jan 06, 2020

Welcome to the Unhurried Living Podcast. Today, Alan is sharing an Inhaling Grace audiobook episode. We pray that these might be a few moments of remembering God’s grace that is with you, here and now, as you listen.

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