REFLECTIONS ~ Do You Want an Excuse or Grace?

March 8, 2013

     My daughter Kelly looked at my eye, which was swollen from an infection recently, and asked, “You’re not going to preach this week are you?”
    “Yes, I am,” I replied.
    “But Dad, people have to look at you when you preach!”
    I know people don’t see a pretty face when I preach, especially when it is distorted by infection. However, if I waited until my life was in perfect order until I did ministry, then I would not have preached any sermons, or written a single newsletter for the past twenty years. At one time or another, my heart has been broken, my body has been broken, or our family has been broken.
    I preach the gospel because it’s good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. It’s good news that God loves us, comforts us, forgives us and heals us. We all have needs and prayers that are not yet answered. Nevertheless, God can still use us as long as we don’t withdraw in frustration.
    A question came to me from the Lord recently. “Do you want an excuse or do you want grace?” When pain or disappointments come to us, we can use them as excuses to be angry with God, or we can draw near to Him and experience grace. We can either withdraw from ministry and people, or we can press in closer. Everyone gets offended. Some people use offenses for an excuse.
    Kristina and I were sitting in our living room talking one evening. As we talked, I could see that my wife was troubled.
    “Why are you upset?” I asked her.
    “Oh it’s nothing.”
    “Come on. Tell me what’s bothering you.”
    “It’s nothing I want to talk about. I don’t want you getting upset.”
    “My dear, tell me what’s the matter. I’m not going to get upset.”
    After more cajoling, Kristina told me something that really upset me. It took me a while to realize that I had contributed to the mess she described. Over the years, we have both had many excuses to be upset with each other. Yet we would rather have grace in our marriage than an excuse to be angry. We would rather forgive each other than hold hurt in our hearts.
    I often say to people I haven’t seen at church for a while, “Hey, I have missed you.” I hear many excuses for people not showing up. On the other hand, we have people who walk, bus, or bike to church in the summer heat, and others who come on crutches, or wearing wigs because they are going through chemo treatments. Jesus’ ministry priority is to the poor, the broken hearted and the afflicted. They have many reasons to be upset, but He offers them, and each of us, a choice. “Do you want an excuse, or do you want grace?”

One Response to “REFLECTIONS ~ Do You Want an Excuse or Grace?”


  1. Sending much love for the passing of your members…God bless Living Streams and all you do to Glorify our Lord, Stephen and lauren Allegra


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