Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Gratitude by Henry Van Dyke

"Do you give thanks for this? -- or that?"

No, God be thanked

I am not grateful

In that cold, calculating way, with blessing ranked

As one, two, three, and four, -- that would be hateful.

I only know that every day brings good above

My poor deserving;

I only feel that, in the road of Life, true Love

Is leading me along and never swerving.

Whatever gifts and mercies in my lot may fall,

I would not measure

As worth a certain price in praise, or great or small;

But take and use them all with simple pleasure.

For when we gladly eat our daily bread, we bless

The Hand that feeds us;

And when we tread the road of Life in cheerfulness,

Our very heart-beats praise the Love that leads us.

Thank you Father for life! Thank you all the blessings you bestow on us everyday that we are not thankful for! May we live our life in cheerfulness as an example to show others how much we praise you!

Monday, March 26, 2007


1 a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b : a virtue coming from God c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace (Merriam-Webster)

Grace is unmerited favor from God. How far do we as ministers of God's plan for sanctification need to carry out grace? I have been ruminating on grace because recently the subject of sexual predators in the church came up in a seminary course. Many churches struggle with what to do with those that have been convicted and are registered sex offenders.

According to the California Megan's Law website:

"90% of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member. Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80% of the victims know the offender".

"Wanting to change is usually not enough to be able to change the patterns that lead to sexual offenses. To create the motivation to change, some offenders need a variety of treatment and corrective interventions, and for others learning how to make the change in their own behavioral cycle of abuse is more effective".

Both of these facts are especially appropriate as churches wrestle with how to deal with convicted sex offenders. As it has been said, you do not have an alcoholic tend bar, and thus by application, convicted sexual offenders should not be around children. What about small groups or home groups? Do all members of a small group need to be made aware that there is a convicted sex offender among them? What about if there are children in the home? What about missions trips? What about the bathrooms on church campuses? The questions go on and on. Many Christians when approached with these questions simply state that we must extend grace. I beg to differ! When does God shower us with unmerited favor? It is true that "there is no one righteous, not even one" and "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rm. 3: 10,23 NIV). In 1 John 1:9 (NIV) it states: "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness". And Paul writes: "this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Rm. 2:22 NIV).

What does all of this have to do with convicted sex offenders? Is it not true that we must confess our sins to have God's unmerited favor showered upon us? Most sex offenders will never admit to doing the crime. In the vast majority of cases, they will give some excuse as to why they have been convicted (for more information read "Protecting your Church Against Sexual Predators" by Glover).

If this is the case and the sin is not confessed, it is actually denied, must we then shower them with unmerited favor as God's ministers? How far do we as ministers of God's plan for sanctification need to carry out grace? This is where I am struggling.