January 19, 2017
“It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself?” Romans 8:10 The Message
Your life matters because the Spirit of God lives in you .. dwells in you .. inhabits your life .. and reminds you over and over that you are God’s son and daughter through Jesus. He never stops reminding you in this noise filled world that does everything possible to distract you from this truth. Everything of Jesus Christ’s life is yours today. How can that be possible when life feels so ordinary .. so unnoticed .. and seemingly powerless? Didn’t Jesus feed thousands .. heal lepers .. forgive countless men and women? And what about the cross? Does it still reach broken lives two thousand years later? Your life is God’s evidence. That role by itself would be impossible to fulfill or live for even one minute in your own strength. But God goes one step further than you could ever imagine by filling your life with His Spirit and power. Our struggle is do we .. do you .. really believe and trust in the work that God is doing in your life? It seems unbelievable that the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power at work in your life this very moment. You’re going to face this day with some form of faith. It could be in yourself and your own abilities. It could be based on an accumulation of circumstances that you hope continue in your favor. Or .. it could be based on a supernatural event witnessed in history and lived out by men and women just like you for two thousand years. Your life is a living witness of what ordinary and normal look like when Jesus lives and breathes inside your life. It only takes a moment…
“When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!” Romans 8:11 The Message
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Supernaturally Ordinary followers of Jesus Christ. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 15, 2107
Grace-Gripped is temporarily recovering from flu and crud. Coughing with marshmallow brains is not much fun. Give thanks in all things … huh? Ken
January 5, 2017
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Christian Standard
Whatever is before you this day … this truth holds your life … you are being transformed until that moment when you will look upon Jesus Christ face to face. Hs Spirit is continuously speaking and working freedom into how you live and serve the Lord. It’s a freedom found nowhere else. You whole life here is being readied for the one day when your faith becomes absolute and pure sight of the One you have loved .. followed .. shared .. and served. It is the highest call upon your life. John wrote to followers of Jesus that his longing was to see them face to face. This is exactly what Jesus has prepared for your life. How can you be sure? Because God always keeps His Word. A dear friend .. Burt Sorensen .. passed away a few days ago. He sees clearly the face of Jesus. He sees clearly all that has stirred his heart. He sees clearly the gospel that he gave away so graciously and generously. He once said in Bible study: The most foolish thought, the most insane idea is that God does not keep His Word.* Praise God that He does keep His Word. It fills you with assurance .. hope .. healing .. forgivnesss .. love .. healing .. and strength to walk by faith until you will see face to face. God does this. His Word is living and speaks into any situation in your life. Burt Sorensen invested the gospel of Jesus Christ into men and women’s lives generously .. graciously .. and freely. That’s where the Spirit of the Lord rested in his life with freedom. It’s the same freedom that Christ wants you to know and live so freely and fully. No matter how much the world protests … God keeps His Word. Are you walking in this freedom that comes through faith in Christ? Where will you invest such a gift? It only takes a moment …
“I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” 3 John 1:14 Christian Standard
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Jesus Followers. * A special gift of grace and truth was Burt Sorensen. He sees face to face now 88 years young . You have scattered good seed my brother Burt. See you soon …
January 4, 2018
“It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.” Ephesians 1:13-14 The Message
What a relief to know in your heart and in your spirit that your life is home free. It’s not made up of the things you’ve accumulated or achieved. Not only that, you’re not carrying the weight .. the everyday weight .. of having to keep everything aligned. God’s given you His Spirit to remind you of who you are in Christ. That’s important because you face a relentless stream of mixed messages everyday of who you are and what will lead you to freedom. The worst freedom you could ever discover is the one where you believe that real freedom is being secure on your own. The freedom that Christ brings into your life is not even the opposite. It’s a completely new life based on a God who is completely dependable. It doesn’t always feel completely new. There’s always an old habit .. ingrained over years .. hiding behind attitudes and circumstances. But it is new .. signed .. sealed .. and delivered. It’s not up to you. Jesus has taken full responsibility to make you holy and whole. He’s staked His life on finishing what He started in you. He’s even given you a complete picture of His finished work: a praising and glorious life. No one else can promise that kind of life. It’s no longer you having to figure it out. Christ is your life .. your freedom .. and your promise that God won’t ever be distracted or half-hearted with you. You get all the freedom of learning how to love the life Christ is living in you. He’s working on those habits and attitudes right now. He’s good for it. It only takes a moment…
“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 The Message
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to followers of Jesus living in freedom. email@example.com
January 3, 2018
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 The Message
Practical. God made you to fit into the world He made. The Problem? This world you live in is dysfunctional .. diseased .. and destructive. It’s broken in every area of living. Your world gets turned upside down everytime you try to make this world fit into your plans. A Jesus Follower knows what God has done inside of him/her. He’s changed you from the inside out. You see the world differently. The world on the other hand is determined to keep life as it is .. broken .. confused .. and misdirecting. This is where you come into the picture of God’s incomparable power stepping into everyday life. Jesus always worked according to His Father’s plans … doing what the Father was doing. It’s the same kind of life He has for you. On one hand you look normal and on the other hand everything about you is defined by Jesus. You’re not the same as you were. What was once broken is now healed in Christ. What was once beyond repair is the Father’s restoration. What was once out of reach is indefatigably gripped in grace. The world’s broken and God has you on display of what He can do and is doing through His Son. What will you offer the world today? It only takes a moment…
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 The Message
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Mobile Clay Pots stamped with the life of Jesus. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 2, 2108
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 New American Standard
One life … who consumes every sin in your life. It’s not just the things you’ve done. His life takes away the very nature of who and how you’ve tried to live on your own terms. You aren’t just trying to live a better life or model it after Jesus. You’re actually living life through Christ’s indwelling life in you. It’s impossible on your own. Although you may find yourself trying to live that way .. holding back just enough .. in case. What are you living you for? Your response becomes abundantly clear when your life is placed next to Jesus. It’s not meant to shame you .. embarrass you .. or expose any flaws inside. What His life shows is just how far He had to go to take away the “sin” of your world. It’s the same sin in everyone, but it manifests itself so differently. It steals love .. sows lies .. and promises good but always delivers misery. The surrender is always the same for everyone. And it’s always all for everyone who would follow Christ. There just isn’t any other way. He came for all and He gives His all. Is there a better way to live today? It only takes a moment ..
“For to me, to live is Christ, to die is to gain.” Philippians 1:21 New American Standard
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Lives-Being-Changed because of a Lamb.
December 26, 2017
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Philippians 1:6 The Message
It all began with a flourish: an ancient promise .. a long silence .. blood lines and obedience .. birth in a barn .. angels meeting with shepherds .. wisemen following stars .. and everything happening exactly as God said. God keeps His word. This has always been the battle behind the scenes of your life: God being faithful to His word in a broken world relentless to prove His redeeming rule unworthy. Isaiah made it clear when he said: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains forever.” What God has begun carries His promise. Jesus came for your life. He knows what you are all about. He knows all about everything that has to do with who you are. He knows what your life will be about when His life is the real start and finish of who you are. You will spend the rest of your life filling the wonder of who Christ is but living freely out of His grace. There’s faith .. trust .. hope .. and love. There’s a daily moment of whether you will offer all of who you are to all and anything that Christ desires today. Jesus isn’t demanding you be or act like someone you aren’t. He’s only after one thing: to complete what He has started in you. That’s it. There is no secret plan. There is just this day to day very real .. very personal .. and very purposeful life that Jesus wants to live in and through you today … tomorrow .. and until. Nothing is going to be overlooked regarding your life. Your struggles become His struggles because He’s willing to meet you at any level. He’s offering a trade: your scars for His. It’s all part of the great work that God in Christ has started in you. And today .. it only takes a moment.
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Barnyard Projects following Jesus (email@example.com)
December 25, 2017
“When Jesus heard this, he told him, “You still lack one thing: Sell all you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 Christian Standard
Christmas echoes an unstoppable melody: no one is capable of selling all that they have or all that they are. The distance between this little baby lying in a barn and what lies in your heart is why God had to sell. He didn’t sell like you or I would do in such a situation. He gave everything to buy your all. It is the only way you would find true treasure .. and the only way you would follow Him. Otherwise the treasures that choke your life .. enwrap your ambitions .. and untruly define you would never allow you to see this baby as Savior ..Messiah .. and Lord. So God sold everything and presented it as a gift you could not buy .. just receive. It wasn’t priceless … just un-buyable. God sold everything so you could be free to follow Jesus. When that gift is made real in your heart and life … you are free indeed to follow and find the treasure you were made to seek. Christ is here. Merry Christmas … it only takes a moment…
“Today in the city of David a Savior was for for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you. You will find baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 Christian Standard
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Jesse’s Root Cellars waiting to be filled this Christmas. Merry Christmas followers of Jesus …..
December 18, 2017
“His mercy is from generation to generation, on those who fear him. He has done a mighty deed with his arm; he has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts; he has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering his mercy to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he spoke to our ancestors.” Luke 1:50-55 Christian Standard
Who would ever think or conceive of one life and one birth containing enough power to completely change your life from the inside out forever? His life and just the mention of His name scatters the proud and mighty. Armies align against Him because He brings hope .. forgiveness .. and redemption. He frees every heart who turns to Him with all that they are. He’s found anywhere by anyone who no longer wants to carry all the mess of their life. And better yet .. He finds every kind everywhere at the end of their rope .. at the end of their strength .. at the end of their love. It’s not that He waits until you are at the end. It’s just that sin and brokenness relentlessly whisper that you can still save yourself with just a little more effort. All you need is a “break”. Who would ever have thought that this one life would be the answer? Who could conceive of making redemption look so helpless at birth? Who would imagine God sharing a heartbeat? Jesus Christ is the one life that finds the scattered .. feeds the hungry .. loves the lost .. and pours out His grace upon your life today. His life .. His forgiveness .. and His grace .. are a gift. All the He is for all that you are. It only takes a moment ..
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace..” Ephesians 1:7 Christian Standard
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to followers of Jesus .. and those He finds along the way. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
December 15, 2017
“And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth. The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. Then I said: Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips,and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies.” Isaiah 6:3-5 Christian Standard
It happened in a moment. One man finds himself surrounded by God’s audience. He sees and hears the most powerful hymn of his life: Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Armies … . His whole life is undone. There’s nothing in his life that has prepared him for this moment. All he can do is surrender. Then it happens again. Some shepherds, hardly qualified to be evangelists, are interrupted on their sheep watch. They would run toward a predator but were terrified by the light and an angels voice: “Don’t be afraid, for look I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Moments are what you experience everyday. Most of them are just normal, ordinary, hardly worth repeating incidents of living your life. But written and imprinted on your heart is a truth that should alter your life everyday. You’ve been claimed by a Holy God. Angels hide their eyes. Prophets confess their utter helplessness, and shepherds are scared to death. The birth of this child, the death of this Son, and the resurrection of this Lord means the everything-that-He-is has been traded for everything-that-you-were. That means you are holy and blameless in His sight. It makes you a messenger of great joy. It only takes a moment..
“In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid,for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 Christian Standard
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Holy Wonders of Jesus. *To God be the glory for the life and ministry of R.C. Sproul. Dec.14, 2017)