GRACEMAIL ENTERS 20TH YEAR
The date came and went last month with no fanfare, not even a special announcement. It was April 15–the annual deadline day for paying federal income taxes in the USA. The same day marked another anniversary of a different kind. On that date in the year 1996, some 30 or so people received an email from me based on the contrasting visions the writer of Hebrew draws between the intimidating and fearsome Mount Sinai and the welcoming and celebrative scenes of our heavenly “Mount Zion.” Everything about the first symbol emphasized the unapproachability of God under the Law, and all details of the second mountain point to divine blessing and especially the atoning sacrifice of Jesus our high priest, offered once for all time and for all people who will enjoy God’s companionship in the Age to come that will never end.
God has blessed gracEmail and he has blessed many people through it. The original list of 30 subscribers increased until it contained 100 times as many. GracEmail was always intended to be Christ-centered, grace-proclaiming, nonsectarian, mission-encouraging, and non-political. Subscribers come from across the Christian spectrum. It is always a joy to me to meet gracEmail subscribers in person–something that has happened often through the past nineteen years as I have ministered in person across the USA and Canada and around the world. And not infrequently does some gracEmail subscriber visit the Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, Texas, church home to Sara Faye and me for the past 33 years.
GracEmail has evolved over these two decades. Born without a name, it was dubbed “gracEmail” by friend Daniel Massey, who suggested the unique graphic spelling of “gracEmail”. (Many subcribers pronounce it “Grace-E-Mail”; its author calls it “grace-mail.”) It began as a five-days-a-week production, each one quite lengthy. Friend Rubel Shelly suggested posts of no more than a few paragraphs length. The recommendation seemed well-advised and soon became the norm. At a men’s retreat I attended, speaker Chris Smith urged us to readjust our schedules to make more room for our wives. I was convicted by his words and changed gracEmail’s frequency from five times every week to three posts weekly. Today it usually is published once or twice each week. As has often been the case in my life, God brought about gracEmail in his own surprising way and he has blessed others through it beyond my highest expectation.