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Grace + Freedom + Empowerment + Hope & Healing

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Jesus over-restores all things- Podcast #46

identity podcast salvation Jan 22, 2018

Grace doesn't just erase your past mistakes and give you a clean slate. It does far more. Jesus takes what the devil stole, redeems it, and then returns it to you with interest.

Let me explain...

The author of Hebrews tells us something strange. He says that the blood of Jesus speaks a better word on our behalf, now, than the blood of Abel did in the Old Testament (see Hebrews 12:24). 

Say what?

I was always thought- and actually taught- that since Abel died when his brother Cain killed him, his blood cried out for vengeance and justice (see Genesis 4:11-12). Of course, the flip side of this was that Jesus’ blood, on the other hand, cries out for mercy and freedom!

However, notice the following chain of events, straight from Cain and Abel’s story- 

  • The brothers both make offerings to the Lord before the murder, meaning both of them know Him (Genesis 4:3-4). 
  • God calls out for Cain after he had killed his brother (Genesis 4:6).
  • God was still speaks to...
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God Believes in You- Podcast #37

faith identity podcast Nov 20, 2017

Somewhere, we got the idea that faith is the strongest force in the universe- that it’s even more powerful than God. That our faith- or lack of it- restrains Him from being able to do His greatest work(s).

Yes, there are a few verses in the Bible that point to the importance of faith. The problem, though, is that we pull them out of context and forget that Jesus isn’t telling us that He is shackled or handcuffed by our lack of faith…

Rather, He’s empowered, because of His own faith. 

His faith is the “God kind of faith,” that kind that can speak to fig trees and watch them wither….

It’s the kind of faith that can send demons fleeing…

It’s the faith that spoke Creation into existence…

In other words, His is the kind of faith that believes something and watches it manifest, and continue manifesting… 

I know. We’re not God. So it’s a tall order to step into that kind of faith, right? Or...

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The Guilt Trip is Over- Podcast #31

identity podcast shame Oct 09, 2017

 For some of us, it’s time to “get over it” and “move on” from the past.

Let me explain...

It’s easy to get stuck looking in the rearview mirror- gazing in the reasons WHY you can’t move forward...

If some of the clutter in your past was your fault, you might feel like you “owe it” to others (or even yourself) to STAY stuck… 

If you’ve hurt others, they might actually be more comfortable with you being stuck, right

Here’s the deal- we live in an age of grace. It’s an era in which God doesn’t hold the past against you. In fact, He distinctly declares that He’s NOT holding your past over you. He’s FORGOTTEN it (see Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:12).

It’s hard for us to forget sin and the junk of the past, so we assume God can’t, either. He tells us clearly, though, “We don’t think the same way” (Isaiah 55:8). 

Furthermore, God not only forgets...

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You've Always Been Mine- Podcast #28

Continuing the discussion on the Redemption… and focusing on shame (Jesus bled inside Himself to free / redeem the clutter inside of us), we stumble upon the story of the prodigal son. 

Turns out, there wasn’t a plan to talk about the son… or his older brother. But, here we are…

You see, shame causes us to choose to wear a mask rather than wearing our identity. It prompts us to be someone- or something- else, rather than being comfortable in our own skin. 

Such is the story of the younger brother. 

And, get this… it’s the story of the older brother, too.

Some of us choose the rebellious mask. A lot of us choose the “good deeds,” earn-my-way, show that I’m valuable and worthy mask. This last one… is the mask of the older brother.

Here’s the truth: your worst moments don’t define you. Nor do they disqualify you from the Father’s love. 

On the flip side: your greatest successes all...

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A new nature means you naturally do the best things

I remember going to first grade and knowing that, every single day, regardless of how hard I tried, I was going to get in trouble. It never failed…

  • I’d find myself talking to my neighbor at just the wrong time.
  • I’d make a quick reply to the teacher that came across more as a smart mouth than a respectful student.
  • One time she left the room, only to return and find me standing on top of my desk, mimicking a little dance another student had done (they had done their dance on the floor, of course). 

It’s like I had a propensity- a drive- to do wrong. I couldn’t help it. 

I know. We can look back at shenanigans like this and laugh. Some of the episodes are funny- in hindsight. 

The trouble is… well… we often find ourselves in those same situations when we get older. Except this: we’re older. The mistakes are bigger, so the stakes are higher.

Ever felt like you just can’t get it right? That the relationships are...

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Guilt + Shame = Gone- Podcast #27

Fresh off the Advance, we walk into the subject of hiding. It’s something men are good at. Something, if we’re honest, we’re all good at. 

We all hide the secret parts of us. The dreams we have (for fear others will make fun of them). The wounds of the past (for fear that others will think less of us). The things we think and feel in the moment (for fear we’ll be judged). 

When we walk into the light, though, we can be fully known AND ACCEPTED by others. And, in fact, we can’t find that acceptance until we walk into that light…

I saw lots of walking in the light at last week’s Advance. Huge glimpses of transparency. Radical doses of grace and acceptance.

The strange thing about transparency… 

Well, it can’t exist where there’s shame. And shame can’t exist where there’s transparency. At some point, we have to choose one or the other. 

In this episode we talk through the theological basis of...

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A different kind of new for a different kind of you

 

The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Often, when we think of something that is new, we think of a “better and cleaner version of the old.” 

Let’s be honest. That WOULD be a great Gospel- the idea that we get a “clean slate,” that we get to start over, that the things we’ve done… well… we get a pass on them, that it’s as if those bad deeds we did and the good deeds that went undone never existed… 

However, the Gospel is better than that. Remember, the word Gospel literally means, “to-good-too-be-true-but-still-true-news!”

 

A DIFFERENT KIND OF NEW

The word Paul uses when he writes this verse of Scripture doesn’t mean “new” in the sense that we often use the word- it means “completely different.”

There are two Greek words used in the New Testament for the...

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Who you are > what you do- Podcast #15

identity podcast Jun 19, 2017

I grew up hearing this phrase a lot in church world: “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”

The problem with that statement is two-fold:

First, sin doesn’t exist apart from sinners. That is, it takes a person actually DOING something in order for sin to occur. 

Second, everything we do happens as an overflow of who we are. Whereas we tend to look at actions, those actions are simply symptoms of an internal reality. 

Just like a tree and its fruit. It’s not the fruit that makes the tree; it’s the tree that makes the fruit, right?

That said, we know that people DO change. They’re transformed. That’s the basic message of the Gospel- the truth that God does something so radical in is that it transforms us from who we were into who we’re designed to be. 

And, once we get hold of that message… that it’s not just our actions that change (i.e., Christianity isn’t a moral system whereby people get a list of...

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Judgment already happened- Podcast #14

identity podcast shame Jun 12, 2017

As He approached the Cross, Jesus said a few important things- things completely relevant to how we often feel about how we relate to God. Whereas we tend to think God is out to “get us” or “judge us,” Jesus said- 

“Now is the time of judgment. The ruler of this world will be cast out. And when I am lifted up, I will draw all ________ to myself” (see John 12:31f.). 

What was Jesus drawing to Himself? Judgment. 

And when was it happening? 2,000 years ago. 

Understanding that Jesus said judgment is about to happen AND remembering that, on the Cross He declared “It is finished” empowers us to live in freedom. You don’t have to tip toe around, wondering if you might step out of line… you don’t have to worry that you’re so far gone that you’re out of the reach of God’s grace. 

Nonsense. 

Judgment happened. And you weren’t the one being judged; you were the one being...

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Free to be who you really are = intro to the Redemption talks- Podcast #12

identity podcast salvation May 29, 2017

Peter tells us that we’re redeemed by the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19). Most of us that grew up in the church know that- and believe it. However, we often have a limited view of what Jesus came to do. 

You see, most of us believe that Jesus achieved our redemption on the Cross. However, if we’re redeemed by the blood, it makes MORE sense that we would find redemption, somehow, in each place that Jesus bled….

In the Garden, when He sweat great drops of blood.

And when the soldiers beat Him, causing Him to bruise and bleed even more.

When they scourged His back. 

When they placed a crown of thorns on His head.

When they nailed His hands to the Cross… and then nailed His feet.

And, even after He died, when they pierced His heart… and He bled water, mixed with blood.

In other words, Jesus didn’t just bleed at the Cross. He bled before it, on it, and even after He died. In each place, He bought more freedom, more...

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