You are already loved. Redemption is as certain as Christ’s resurrection. As heart change happens, so can our realization of the miracle that occurs. Jesus died in our place for our redemption. His blood was shed so that ours wouldn’t have to be. He endured the cross so that we wouldn’t have to pay the penalty for sin. Often, we stumble through life ignoring this miracle of redemption. Instead, we work for our own redemption. Before we know it, we’ve put God on the sidelines in the game we play of becoming a “better person.” Change is inevitable as the Holy Spirit is given room to transform us. Repenting to Jesus ignites the grace that God freely gives us. Our hearts are changed because God intends for us to become more like Jesus. Jesus is our redemption.
I recently heard a sermon (no, I won’t tell you who or even where) dealing with this issue that totally missed the point. Thinking he was preaching grace, what was actually communicated could hardly have been called “good news.” As one other hearer commented, “If that’s your gospel, your gospel sucks.”
Two verses come to mind:
For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son. John 3:!6
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
In both verses, the order is important: First God loves; then He acts. In this we are redeemed—God’s love, mediated through Christ.
The 2001 International Money Changers Convention (that is, the International Christian Retail Show) is being held today through Wednesday (July 10-13) in Atlanta.
This year, The Gospel Uncensored is one of the books being featured at Westbow Press’ booth, which means it will be on display and will also appear in the ad materials being given away by Westbow at the convention.
My hope is that the very distinctive cover and the book title will cause prospective buyers to stop and take a look. Being Westbow is not a full-service publisher, it’s hard to say how good of a sales job they will do, but then, I am naive enough to hope that the gospel message is enough to make people want to carry the book in their stores.
My friend and neighbor Randy Butler will be there at the show, selling his own book “Reclaiming Heaven’s Covenant.” He promised to look Westbow’s booth and the book up and give me a report. I’m very interested in hearing what he had to say, not just about Westbow, but about his own experiences there.
I would appreciate your prayers this week as the show progresses. As we have no advertising budget, this show could be very helpful.
I’ll report after I hear what Randy has to say, and if I get any feedback from Westbow.
I really appreciate hearing from readers. Among other things, it confirms to me that the work (there’s a good reason why a book is often referred to as a “work”) was worth it. Also, recent comments from readers have confirmed my belief that we need to hear the gospel preached on a regular basis. One such message from last week:
What a message you have put back before us. It’s stunning to me how we give it up and how our systems somehow/often undermine the truth of this remarkable and irreplaceable grace. Only grace. Only grace. This Easter season has been so marked by your work – I am invited back into real truth but it’s like i need to be re-acquainted with it every day… almost every moment.
And, in a comment at the Internet Monk blog, Steve writes:
The Gospel Uncensored: How only grace leads to freedom, is a great little book which I would suggest people read at least once a year, if not more.
In our fallen, corrupt state, our human nature has a need to be self-reliant, to feel that we have earned what we receive. This is constantly trying to pull us away from the truth that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” This is one reason why we need to hear the Good News again and again.
Many pastors today feel a need to deliver an unending series of practical sermons on how to make our lives better, or how to be better at something, or how to serve better… None of this will lead us into freedom; in fact, rather than making our lives better, we just get loaded down with the weight of all of the stuff that we could be doing better.
Somebody preach the gospel. Don’t tell me what I need to do, tell me what Christ has done. Then, I’ll tell you what I want to do. Give me grace and freedom and love, and I’ll show you some good works.
In the post mentioned above, The Scariest Word of All, Jeff Dunn discusses why people are so afraid of grace, and mentions The Gospel Uncensored, saying “I highly recommend this book as a primer on grace.”
Get your copy today!
The Gospel Uncensored will be featured at the WestBow Press booth at the 2001 International Christian Retail Show Book Gallery (that’s quite a catchy name…), to be held in Atlanta on July 10-13. I wish I could go, but at least my book will be there. Besides being featured on their table, it will also be featured in their promotional handouts at the convention.
The “Show” is the largest gathering of independent Christan retailers in the world, it also draws large chain buyers, distributors, and other important folks. Hopefully one or two of them will notice The Gospel Uncensored.
As much as I dislike the commercial end of preaching the gospel, the fact remains that people won’t read the book if they don’t know about it. And while I don’t mind giving books away (of which I’ve done a lot), it would be nice to sell a few more.
As the day approaches, I’ll post reminders here and on Facebook so those who are so inclined can pray that the right people notice the book (the right people being those who will place large orders…).
The Gospel Uncensored is currently available in softcover, hardcover and Kindle editions at amazon.com. If you would like to order from Amazon, there’s a link in the right column; if you click that link through to Amazon, I get a small commission from Amazon. Every little bit helps.
For information on bulk and vendor discounts (including churches and non-profits), check here or call WestBow’s Customer Service Dept. at 1.866.928.1240.
The Gospel Uncensored is also now available in most major eBook formats:
Or, you should be able to order the book through your local bookstore, as it is available from all major distributors.
Michael Spencer was known as the Internet Monk—one of the early Christian bloggers. He died a year ago (April 5, 2010) of cancer. (He wasn’t a real monk—I think he was Southern Baptist…)
The blog carries on, occasionally reposting some classic Michael Spencer posts. Today, one of the current contributors, Jeff Dunn, creates a pseudo-interview with Spencer by using quotes from a few of his writings, on the topic of grace.
A small tidbit:
What you can do, not what God has done, is the great theme of most of what is published and recorded in the evangelical world. Grace writers and poets stand out like lighthouses in a sea of mediocre legalism and do-it-yourself religion. Grace is an endangered species, and we all need to celebrate and promote any writer who truly, passionately communicates grace. This isn’t a matter of theological labels. We can quibble about the footnotes some other time. No matter who they are, when they wrote or where you find them, applaud, buy and give away the grace writers and artists. The beauty of what they are saying needs to be heard in a church choking on legalism, moralism and timidity about the Gospel.
This is why we wrote The Gospel Uncensored.
Read the entire IM post here.
We continue to hear many positive and encouraging comments on the book. One pastor said, “I often read books through in a couple of hours. This one I’m reading through slowly; for me, it’s pleasure reading.”
“The Gospel Uncensored,” is a fervent book on the grace of God and how this gracious work of Christ leads to freedom. It is a heartfelt plea to the reader to get over “Jesus plus religion” and come back to “Jesus plus nothing.” For it is in Jesus and Him alone that we have freedom.
“The Gospel Uncensored” is a great read, well worth your time and would be a valuable book for a small group setting/study.
(If you aren’t aware, there is also a free downloadable study guide available here, or from the Kindle store for $0.99.)
Thank you all for your kind comments; we appreciate them very much! (And, of course, continue to encourage your friends to buy a copy, available from all major online booksellers in both paper and electronic formats.)
Ken Blue is currently in Bangkok, Thailand, with his son, Aaron. Aaron, along with other members of the Blue family, works with an orphanage in Thailand that currently houses about 40 children who are Burmese refugees. You can read more about The Charis Project on their website, and follow them on Facebook.
After a visit to the orphanage, they will be teaching for another week and a half in the surrounding area. For Ken, preaching the “Good News to the Poor” is more than just a ministry name.
Ken is one of the most passionate and caring speakers there is—whether he’s speaking on grace, spiritual abuse, or any number of other topics, he always gives 100%. For more on Ken’s speaking ministry, visit his website.
“Christianity is not the move from vice to virtue, but rather the move from virtue to grace.”
~ Gerhard Forde
Thanks to Steve at The Old Adam Lives! for the quote.
But Christians are not just recipients of forgiving grace; we are also called to be those who extend the grace of forgiveness to others.
From Brian Zahnd’s Unconditional?: The call of Jesus to radical forgiveness. Check out my review of the book at aldenswan.com.