Sometimes there are no words. It is nearly 11:00 p.m. one night last week when I happen to encounter Joe (not his real name) at the care facility's empty snack bar, both of us restlessly trying to work away some pain by wheeling our wheelchairs about the place. (If you can't wheel your wheelchair, what in the world can you wheel?) Joe is in Stage 3 cancer at multiple locations. But that is not … [Read more...]


A gracEmail subscriber asks if what people do today in the name of evangelism is the same thing the apostles and evangelists did in the first century. If not, what is different? * * * Two of the most glaring contrasts between the evangelism reported in Acts and much evangelism done today involve the message itself. The word "evangelism" comes from the Latin (evangel) and Greek … [Read more...]


After a period of busy silence, I emailed a minister friend to ask what is happening in his life. Among other things, he mentioned that he is now working a second job. He is sorry to lose some study time, but his loss means that the congregation he serves can now have multiple ministers. And that, he opines, helps the whole body function more fully. * * * Your second job reminds me of … [Read more...]


A recent gracEmail brought more than the usual number of responses, including the following comment from one reader about gracEmails in general. "I am so glad," she said, "you write these and send them." * * * Thank you, my friend! So am I. The first gracEmail (then still nameless) sailed into cyberspace seventeen years ago in 1996. My friend Rubel Shelly suggested that I shorten its length … [Read more...]


For about a century now, the world of academic Gospels studies has been dominated by the assumptions and methods of scholars known as form critics. These particular scholars believed that after the death and reported resurrection of Jesus, tales and sayings of the "Jesus of history" circulated for many years as anonymous community traditions until their central character finally evolved … [Read more...]


For the past sixteen months, severe pain has been my constant companion, a reality that some of you also experience even as you read these words on this page. Yes, there is a mystical koinonia of suffering, a fellowship to which only those who experience it can belong. This passive yet profound relationship requires no invitations, schedules no graduations, and defies the ability of words to … [Read more...]


You would never suspect it from his appearance--tall, pleasant smile, brushed back white hair--someone's "Grandpa Mike," you imagine (not his real name). Nothing he does betrays his secret either, as we work side by side in occupational therapy this morning, here at Rehab Hospital in Houston's western suburb of Katy. Suddenly Mike grimaces and a look of pain crosses his face. "It's … [Read more...]


Through the years, I have known many professional ministers who experienced sudden, involuntary occupational changes. On one occasion, instead of preaching and doing pastoral work, my friend found himself heralding the merits of a particular luxury motor-car company. Remembering a similar transition long ago in my own life and wishing to encourage my friend, I wrote him the following light-hearted … [Read more...]


For those privileged to be born in Christian homes, good theology begins in the nursery, where it is communicated--one suspects--most often in song. What better introduction to truth as a whole and in all its aspects than this: Jesus loves me. This I know, For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; They are weak but He is strong. There we have it--“Truth” for all, Jews and … [Read more...]


Christian theologians from all over are calling for a "big picture" story that takes the spotlight off us and shines it directly on God's enomous plan to redeem the whole world! In my book, THE DIVINE RESCUE, I tell what Max Lucado calls "'the sweetest of stories' -- God's relentless pursuit of his fallen people." With this book, says Max, "the drama is captured on paper." John Michael Talbot, the … [Read more...]