True wisdom comes to each of us
when we realize how little we
understand about life, ourselves,
and the world around us.
when we realize how little we
understand about life, ourselves,
and the world around us.
Please take a few minutes to watch this video before you read this post.
The video clip you watched is an excerpt from a sermon delivered by Rick Atchley, Minister for The Hills Church in Fort Worth, Texas. I discovered this video in 2019, and it is, to my knowledge, the best explanation I've ever seen of some of the problems in the doctrinal system taught in conservative Churches of Christ. The Churches of Christ are autonomous Christian congregations that are part of the Stone-Campbell Movement, a Christian movement that began in the United States during the Second Great Awakening of the early 1800s. Churches of Christ are known for being the most conservative wing of this movement, and this wing is the religious tradition I was born and raised in.
As someone who was born and raised in one of these churches, I was taught no one outside conservative Churches of Christ is a true Christian. Those outside conservative Churches of Christ include not only non-Christians (like atheists, Muslims, and Hindus) but also what many Churches of Christ would call denominationalists (like Baptists, Catholics, and Presbyterians) and “liberal” Churches of Christ, like the Hills Church I just mentioned above. Until 2005, I had no reason to question this doctrine. Yet in that year, I started reading the work of conservative scholars affiliated and unaffiliated with the Church of Christ. And when I compared and contrasted what I was reading with what I was learning at my congregation, I started seeing in our theology some of the problems Rick Atchley described in his sermon. In 2005, I, motivated by curiosity and a desire to be reasonable and open-minded, unintentionally embarked on a long journey out of the sectarian, legalistic theology I was taught, and I have had to completely abandon it and replace it with a better one. This post is the first in a series of posts I plan to compose that will reveal how I’ve made my journey out of the legalism of conservative Churches of Christ.
Hello, everyone. I've had a few photographs on my hard drive for several years of a vacation my family and I took in the recent past, and I thought that some might find these photographs interesting. My family and I have traveled to many states throughout America, and we've even traveled to Canada. We've been to Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. I took the seven photographs in this post on our trip to New York City in the summer of 2015.
There may be someone out there who’s thinking about turning their life over to Jesus. To those who might be considering this, if you choose to make Jesus your Lord and Savior, you’ll be making the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. But as you consider making this life-changing decision, you might be experiencing fears that are hindering you from making it. Among the many fears you might have, one of those fears could be God’s high standards. It could be that you’ve been learning about Christianity for some time and you know that passages like Ephesians 4:21-24 God require you to change your lifestyle, but you know that you’ll have to fight a long and difficult spiritual war to end your bad habits. You might also be aware of many passages in the New Testament that speak about dire consequences awaiting those who believe and/or teach false doctrine, but you fear you might accidentally misinterpret a scripture or misunderstand an issue the New Testament discusses.
I understand these fears, because I had them for most of my life. I was led to believe that passages like 2 John 9 and Galatians 1:8-9 taught that God would condemn me to Hell if I wasn’t morally perfect and possessed a perfect understanding of the New Testament. But this belief led me to ask the question: how can I know if I’m righteous enough or knowledgeable enough to go to Heaven? This and many other questions that racked my mind for years became so severe that I started to doubt if I was truly saved. But after fourteen years of bible study, I now believe I’ve attained a better, more biblical understanding of God’s grace. There are many passages I could quote and comment on to reveal what I now believe the Bible says about God’s grace. But I’ll just quote one to make my point tonight. It’s one Christians are familiar with: Ephesians 2:8-9. Paul wrote,
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
This passage shows that our faith in Jesus is the reason God saves us, not our works. According to passages like James 2:14-26, works are a necessary part of our lives as Christians, but if God expects moral or theological perfection from us, then who can be saved? I believe God’s ultimate concern is not moral or theological perfection. God’s ultimate concern is your salvation. If you want to become a Christian, all God requires from you is a humble heart, a heart that leads you to confess your sins and submit to Jesus as one of His servants. Will you struggle to overcome your flaws? You probably will. Will you understand every detail of the New Testament perfectly? Probably not. God simply wants you to return home. And once you're baptized for the remission of your sins, you will be home. So don’t let any fear of God’s high standards hinder you from accepting His grace.
Mighty and wonderful God. Thank you for providing me with your care and protection wherever I am. Thank you for my home, education, job, wealth, and the freedom I enjoy in this blessed country. But thank you most of all for the new life you’ve given me through your Son.
I ask that you would forgive me of any sins I’ve committed.
I ask that you would continue to care for me and protect me every day. I ask that you would give me the wisdom to be a good steward over everything you’ve given me. And I ask that you would help me show my appreciation for your grace by living a holy life.
All of this I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessed God of all that is. I praise you for all that you are. No one is more loving, trustworthy, holy, or beautiful than you.
Thank you for blessing me with an abundance of food, clothing, and shelter and for blessing me with education, safety, wealth, and a job. Thank you for allowing me to live in a prosperous country where I can provide myself with all of these needs and luxuries. Thank you for offering your son for the sins of the world and for transforming me into His image so I can glorify you in everything I do.
Yet there are times when I don’t glorify you in everything I do. For as Paul said in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Forgive me for failing to be the human you created me to be and help me to eradicate all sin from my life.
I ask that you would help me to always remember how loving, trustworthy, holy, and beautiful you are and allow that knowledge to compel me to live a life that reflects your nature. I ask that you cure and uplift the sick in the church all over the world. And I ask that you would heal our nation of the corruption and depravity that plagues it from the highest to lowest levels of our society.
And when life on this present earth has ended, my hope is that you would glorify me with an immortal and incorruptible body in which I can live in Heaven with you for all eternity. All of this I ask in your son’s name. Amen.
God almighty, God Most High, the Eternal God, and the Ancient of Days, I kneel before your throne with gratitude and petitions to ask of you. Every day you bless me with your grace. And by that grace, you bless me with food, clothing, a warm home in the winter, a cool home in the summer, my family, medicine, my jobs, your Word, and the church. I thank you for all these gifts of your grace. But I thank you most of all for the ultimate gift of grace: the gift of your son Jesus.
Nevertheless, there are many times when I don’t show you the appreciation you deserve for the grace you show me, and I sin against you. Lord, please forgive me of all our shortcomings.
Help me to remember all the grace you’ve shown me and allow it to motivate me to live a righteous life. I ask that you would show grace to the sick by comforting their hearts and delivering them from their illnesses. And I ask that you would help me to remember to share the good news of your grace with those who are lost. By your grace, let my congregation grow and become a powerful force for good in my community and beyond.
And when I come towards the end of my Christian journey, I ask that you would bring my journey to its climax by resurrecting me from the grave and bringing me into an eternal home with you. All of this I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you've returned to my site hoping to see new posts, this post will inform you of what I've been doing ever since I created my last post in my "Discovering the Grace of God" series.
Jerusalem is the center of three major monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But few cities in the world have been attacked as much as Jerusalem has throughout history. The Israelites under King David, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Romans, and various groups of Muslims have fought for, and many times conquered, Jerusalem all for their own reasons. In 70 A.D., the Romans attacked Jerusalem when the Jews of Judea rebelled against the Roman Empire for the first time. The catastrophic siege that occurred towards the end of the Jews’ first revolt against Rome is the subject of this post.
The Roman general and politician Gaius Marius is remembered as one of the most influential figures of Roman history. Starting in 134 B.C. as a military tribune, Marius, through years of war and political strife, became the first Roman to be elected as consul seven times throughout his life. He reformed the Roman army, defeated Germanic tribes that invaded from the north, fought against the Numidians, marched on Rome, and became one of the main individuals who were responsible for the fall of the Roman Republic. In this short essay, I’ll chronicle Marius’ political career from the time he served in the army at Numantia to his death in 86 B.C. Then I’ll answer three questions about why Marius did what he did and what impact his actions had on Rome.
Anytime Adolf Hitler’s name is mentioned, dark and disturbing images of suffering and oppression emerge in our minds. Hitler was the notorious chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945. He transformed Germany into a totalitarian autocracy based on Nazism. And he was one of, if not the, main instigator of World War II in Europe. During his time as chancellor, Hitler orchestrated the Holocaust and was not only responsible for the deaths of over six million Jews but also millions from within and outside his own country. German historian Joachim Fest writes that never before had so many lives, cities, and regions been devastated as much as those that were destroyed in the fall of the Third Reich (Fest, 2004). When the Allied forces eventually pushed Hitler back to Berlin where he and many of his chief supporters hid in a bunker, Hitler eventually lost all hope of victory. Hence, he took his own life – on April 30, 1945 – along with many of his supporters who were there with him in the bunker. In this post, I will reveal the events that occurred before and on the day Hitler took his own life.
My name is Jacob Stubbs. I have a bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and I am a writer an an artist.