Work in Grace

It’s amazing to me how the whole Bible opens up and begins to live, I mean really live, once I look at it through the lens of grace.

The Gospel of John tells us a story about the day the resurrected Jesus miraculously filled the disciples’ net with fish (John 21:1-14). It’s a wonderful example of what happens when we choose to live and work in grace.

You see, the disciples had been fishing all night, but they hadn’t caught anything. That was discouraging! And yet when morning came, there was Jesus, on the shore — and cooking fish! You can imagine the conversation. The disciples said, “Hey, you caught fish!” And Jesus said, “Yeah! Where’s your fish?” “Well,” the disciples said, “We’ve been working all night, but we didn’t catch any fish.” So Jesus said, “Well, why don’t you throw your net over there?” And they said, “Jesus, didn’t you hear us? We already labored all night, and we didn’t catch anything!”

There it is. They labored all night. “Jesus,” they said, “we worked all night, but we didn’t succeed. We worked, and worked, and worked.” And Jesus said, “Yes, I know, but hold on a second. When you live with me, it’s different. I am grace! I am truth! So when I tell you to throw your net somewhere, believe me, you will catch fish!”

This is an awesome message! “Work in my wisdom,” Jesus says. “That’s where you will find your success. You tried to do it all on your own. You worked and worked and worked to get your fish, right? I saw you! But guess what? You don’t have any fish! So why not just do what I say? I’ll give you the wisdom you need.”

So what did the disciples do? They said, “Okay, Jesus, tell us where to throw the net.” “Throw it right there,” He said, and they did. Boom! There was so much fish that their boat almost sank! There was so much fish that their net should have broken! But Jesus even took care of the net for them. That’s grace! That is grace!

Jesus tells us, “Apart from me, you can do nothing. Work all you want. Live by the law all you want. But I’m telling you, you will not find what you need. Instead, why not live with me? Why not listen to me? I am grace! I am truth! You know what? I will set you free! Work in grace, and you will have abundance.”

Every single day, Jesus teaches us in grace and in truth. “Come, live with me,” He says. “When you are apart from me, you can do nothing. But when you are with me, all things are possible.” Think about that!

John’s story is a lesson in law and grace. Legalism means working to save yourself. Grace means letting Jesus save you.

Everything in scripture reflects this choice between grace and legalism. One works, and the other one doesn’t.

More on this next time, and in the coming weeks. See you Monday.

The Lesson of the Copper Pipe, Redux

Lately I’ve been writing about how we can use the metaphor of the copper pipe to avoid passing judgment on others, as Jesus instructed us in the Gospel of John. Here’s the bottom line. Every human being, in their flesh, is a copper pipe. As such, we cannot change. We can’t change ourselves any more than a copper pipe can be anything but a copper pipe. But we can be changed. We can be changed the same way a copper pipe can be changed. A copper pipe can heat up when hot water flows through it. Hot water can change us. So if you want to change, you need hot water. And the hot water comes from Jesus. Continue reading

Believing Without Seeing

When Jesus left, He said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Those who have not seen are the people of faith.

The disciples died for Jesus Christ.  They died on crosses.  And I know they felt some fear, because everybody fears death to a certain point.

But they cheated!  I’m sorry, they did!   Continue reading

Sharing Abundance

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Abundant life! What does that mean? Well, abundant life is a life that is not in need. You don’t need to find food, you have it. You don’t need to find water, you have it. You don’t need to find a place to live, you live somewhere. You don’t need to find a job, you have a job.

It doesn’t mean you have millions of dollars. I think abundance is having enough, plus some for somebody else. And if you have enough, and you have extra, then you live in abundance. Continue reading

Whatever You Request: Say a Prayer for Prosperity

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” John 14:11-14

Sometimes when we read this passage in traditional translations, we only hear Jesus say, “Whatever you request, I’ll do it.”

That can produce a lot of skepticism! You hear people say, “Oh really, so if I want a Mercedes Benz, all I have to do is ask Jesus, and I’ll get one?”  Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?” Continue reading

How to Catch More Fish

Welcome back! Thank you for all your support for my first book! I’m looking forward to doing more writing, starting right now.

I’ve been learning to look at everything through the dialectic of law and grace. It’s amazing to me how the whole Bible just opens up and begins to live, once I look at it this way.

The story in John 21:1-14 serves as a great example. That’s the story where the resurrected Jesus miraculously fills the disciples’ net with fish, right? So what happens?

The disciples fish all night and don’t catch anything. When morning comes, Jesus is already on shore. He has built a fire, and He’s already cooking His own fish. You can imagine the conversation. The disciples say, “Hey, you caught fish!” And Jesus replies, “Yeah, where’s your fish?” The disciples tell him, “We’ve been working all night, and we don’t have any fish!” So Jesus says, “Well, why don’t you throw your nets over there?” And they say, “Jesus, have you not heard us? We labored all night and have not caught anything.” Continue reading

The Answered Prayer

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14: 12-14

Do you see that? Right there in the Gospel of John, the Bible says you will receive anything you pray for!  But I mean, really?

Even in the world of a believer, there’s a lot of skepticism about this promise. You hear people say, “Oh really, you’re telling me that if I just pray, ‘God, I want a Mercedes Benz,’ and believe I’m going to get it, then I’ll get it?”  Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?” Continue reading