Saint Paul

An Interview with Paul of Taursus

Church signs sometimes make me smile. Sometimes they make me cringe. Recently a church sign made me think about a remarkable gift. Here is that church sign message. Don’t Fear The Full Ten Commandments They Are The Character of God Uhhhhh…Actually I do fear both the full and even the partial Ten Commandments. And the reason I fear them is because the Ten Commandments actually do reveal the character of God. They also reveal that I can never measure up to God’s character. What can we do about this conundrum? I decided to invite a man who is an expert on Biblical law to the Monday Musing. It is my honor to welcome our special guest Paul of Taursus. Paul of Taursus: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Dave of Garland: Thanks. I know you wrote a bit about the crushing requirements of the law that God gave the Jews. Yet you
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The Only Thing Grace Doesn’t Cover

I talk about Grace so much that the auto-suggest on my phone pops up the word as soon as I hit “G”. I suspect that sometimes you faithful readers wish I would mix up my topics. The truth is I cannot. Understanding grace rocked my spiritual world and changed my walk with God in dramatic and wonderful ways. I regularly extol the virtues of grace for a follower of Jesus. Grace compels you to trust others with you. Grace compels you to trust Jesus with your sin because you can’t manage it yourself. Grace compels you to forgive because you have been forgiven. Grace compels you to accept others and not judge them. Grace compels you to move toward the unlovable and not away. Grace compels you to sacrifice when you desire security. Grace compels you to love when your heart is hateful. Grace compels you to trust God when you are afraid and weak. The amazing thing about God’s
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Is Joyful Christian Living an Impossible Dream?

Every forty-six years or so I like to be involved with a stage production of Man of La Mancha. Recently Joni and I enjoyed a top notch production of the musical by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. The musical is probably most remembered for the song “Impossible Dream” but it is also a powerful story of believing that you do not have to be trapped in your current or past identity. I wrote a bit about that long ago experience in my book Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. Many years ago, for reasons I still don’t understand, I was cast as the lead in our Senior high school production of Man of La Mancha. I had never acted and was not a trained singer. And yet that stellar résumé somehow landed me the role as Don Quixote. Go figure. The play is based on Miguel de Cervantes’s seventeenth-century novel Don Quixote. The drama unfolds as
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The Secret of Contentment

Regular readers of these humble ramblings (all tens of you) know what an over the top dog lover I am. I shared this illustration in my  book Stay. A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?” The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master
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Wonderful, Messy Grace

Sometimes I just want to step away from people. I get tired. Living in honest community can be frustrating and discouraging. And then the song “Lean On Me” cycles up on the iPod. That is not funny Lord. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about being there for others. Life happens, John Lennon famously said, when you are making other plans. Life has been happening to us and many close to us in recent months. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in community with messy people is worth it. I am drawn to the dysfunctional. My heart goes out to the wounded lambs. But I will confess that
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When Life is Tough, Grace is Enough

I have been writing a lot about where our hope truly lies and that we need to be a positive light in a negative world. Last week Joni and I were meeting with our wonderful church small group from Waterbrook Bible Fellowship. The study was from John and we each read a verse from the passage. Here is my verse and I am not making this up. “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. (John 6:43) I laughed and told the group this might become my new life verse for this very negative cultural season. The verse follows a section where Jesus talks about how He is the bread of life and has come from Heaven. This was just too much for the locals who knew Him as the kid raised by Mary and Joseph down at the carpenter shop. But the message is timeless. I need to stop grumbling and start living out of who God says I am as
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Remembering Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins was (and still is) one of my favorite Christian songwriters. It seems impossible that it was 20 years ago today that he was killed in a car accident. His music impacted me greatly and this song was one of my favorites. “We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are” opens with this stanza. Well, it took the hand of God Almighty To part the waters of the sea But it only took one little lie To separate you and me Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are. If only we could acknowledge that we are not as strong as we think we are and then live accordingly I believe we would see an amazing difference. We need God and community to be spiritually and emotionally healthy. Yet pride tells me that I am able to handle the situation. Fear tells me that telling the truth in love will only make it worse.
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