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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

His-story of TIL (quick)

December 19, 2010 1 comment

TIL was started three years ago. It was inspired by an opportunity I had to teach on addictions at a pastor’s conference. After that conference, I saw the great need to train pastors and all saints for the work of ministry. Therefore, TIL was birthed as an equipping ministry TO the body of Christ.

Six months after our miraculous non-profit status was obtained (that’s a great testimony to God’s faithfulness), we began counseling. We met with 2 families with 3 counselors. Today, we have so much going that I cannot even keep up with it. We are doing over 70 sessions a week with nearly 50 counselors some weeks! God has increased our ministry exponentially.

Even better, we began to see God save people and to reconcile relationships. Marriages were saved (not all!) but many. Most importantly, God was and continues to be glorified.

When TIL was birthed, my desire was to develop a “peace-making” side to the ministry to resolve conflicts biblically rather than going to court! Now, by God’s grace, we have the right person to lead this side of the ministry. Praise God!

Now, we minister at The Lovelady Center, Christ Health Center, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, and The Church at Brook Hills. Wow!

God is faithful to His message. He is still in the transforming “hearts” business!

-Mark (glad to be a small part of this ministry)

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Grace…to sin?

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Real grace is always truthful.

Real truth is always gracious and loving.

Extreme grace without any trace of the truth is not gracious.

Extreme truth without any trace of grace is not truth.

My head is spinning. Is yours?

In other words, sometimes people think they are being gracious by simply being truthful alone. AND others think they are being gracious by omitting the truth but they are really harming the other person, especially in biblical counseling.

Only truth in love and truth and grace together are acceptable in biblical counseling. The counselee must be loved with the truth. John 8:32 reminds us that the truth sets one free from sin.

-Mark (balancing truth and grace by speaking the truth in love to others)

No work in Grace!

October 14, 2010 1 comment

Think about it: If you are on vacation and resting, then you are NOT working. The second you start working while being on vacation, your rest stops.

The opposite is true. When you are working hard, you are not resting. The second you stop working and start resting, then work stops. You cannot do both.

Rest and Work are independent of each other. You do not rest and work at the same time – at least, if you try to mix them, then really you are doing NEITHER.

Likewise, as Christians, we realize that we are saved by GRACE not by works so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:8-9). We did not work or earn His grace! In fact, the two things (work and grace/rest) are independent of each other.

I want to rest in His grace knowing I did not earn it and knowing that I did not deserve it. And I want to remember that since I did not earn it, I cannot lose His grace! It’s a free gift.

Free gift to me but it cost Jesus His life on the Cross. Just like a free meal given to me at a restaurant given to me by the manager may be free to me, but it cost that restaurant owner/manager food costs! Eternal life has a price tag – Jesus paid it all. This is the primary message of biblical counseling.

-Mark (praising God that my debt is paid in full)

Kinda sick of hearing how the church has hurt…

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m just kinda sick of hearing Christians say, “The church has hurt people.”

No one with any intelligence can argue with that statement, but should that stop ministry today? No, of course not.

Has the church hurt people? Yes. Will we again? Yes. But can’t we ask for forgiveness and repent by loving people with the truth?

What is the church? A building? No! It’s the people of God and people, even Christians, are capable of acting selfishly and sinfully though we should not. It happens when we walk in the flesh and not in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16).

So, let’s get over our failures and recognize that there is much work to be done!

-Mark (sunbathing in the grace and mercy of God)

What if Tiger Woods became a Christian?

July 20, 2010 Leave a comment

I heard Voddie Baucum mention this in one of his sermons: “What if Tiger Woods became a born-again believer in Christ? Would Christianity become more popular?”

Voddie’s answer made me stagger. He said (in my paraphrase): “Tiger wouldn’t make Christianity cool. Christianity would make Tiger Woods un-cool.”

Now, all of this was stated long before Tiger’s recent personal problems due to his own sinful choices.

Think about any celebrity. When they get saved, they no longer become relevant but often become irrelevant. Why? Because the world does not embrace Christianity. It does not make sense to a lost and dying world.

I Corinthians 1:18 says: “For the word of the cross is folly to cthose who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”**

So why do we preach this foolish message? Because some will be saved. Romans 10:9 simply reminds us:
“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”**

It involves simply a heart change by the Holy Spirit alone. No other power can save us but God’s power. It’s Him not us!

**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Co 1:18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

-Mark (grateful that salvation does not depend upon me though I must do my part to throw the seeds of grace out there to whosoever will…)

The Importance of a Godly Father – the Lesson of Cain

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

What a sad account in Genesis 4 of Cain’s disobedience and outright rebellion to God!

I hate reading it because Cain just refuses to accept the love of God and never answers any of God’s questions correctly. At the end, the Bible says Cain walked away from the presence of the Lord and we see how sinful and rebellious his children and grandchildren, etc. become – all due in part to Cain’s willful disregard for the Lord.

Tragic to think of the lost generations who followed their forefather, Cain, to flee the wonderful, gracious, and righteous presence of the Lord.

I thank the Lord often that my father led me to my heavenly Father! Now, I’m praying I’ll do the same for my children.

Happy Birthday, Ronny Shaw, my dad!

-Mark (acknowledging we can all be like Cain if we are not careful to listen to God and to obey His commandments)

Special thanks to Jason Cooke!

July 18, 2009 4 comments

Doing a GREAT job providing biblical counseling!

Jason does NOT give advice. Instead, he points people to Christ and His Word of truth in a loving, gentle, and firm way. Jason is often led by the Spirit as he works with people. His confidence is in Christ, not himself.

Jason gets what it’s all about. God is using him in a mighty way and I’m thankful to God for Jason “Mr. Biblical” Cooke!

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-Mark (awed by the grace of God in Jason’s life as he continues to grow stronger in the Lord daily)