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The Key to Failure

By on May 26, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Failure is something I have become intimately acquainted with over the last five years. We’re not exactly BFFs, but more like frenemies. I know failure. Failure knows me. We don’t do everything together, but we do enough to be considered closer than any of my coworkers and plenty of my friends. I want to make a few salient points, right up front, and then expound on them. Failure should not be rejected. Failure should not be avoided. Failure is (almost) never an end. Let’s get started on this happiest of happy Friday posts. Failure should not be rejected. This is probably the most common thing I see people do, when they fail. They usually will become a faster/better spin machine than any politician or pundit ever hoped to be. “I didn’t fail. What? It looked like that because this is part of my journey to success. I succeeded in other ways.” No, you...

No Self, No Selfie

By on May 23, 2017 in The Scrawl |

This might prove too on the nose for many. It might be that I am, as I have heard some of my brothers of color say from the pulpit, meddling and/or trifling. I don’t really do selfies. This should be apparent by my Instagram, my Facebook profile, and my Twitter feed. I will occasionally indulge my wife by letting her take a picture of me or of us together which is just a regular picture when two people are in it. Think about this for a moment. There used to be a process, a way, for pictures to be taken. Someone always had to stand on the other side of the lens. Someone had to operate it. And no, I am not saying that we should return to a day where we all had to do tintypes and wood carvings and hand paintings. Although I am sure in Portland that’s exactly where they’re headed. No, it’s not the technology itself that bothers me; it’s the self. It’s...

God Never Started Loving You

By on May 10, 2017 in The Scrawl |

It was only last Tuesday that I posted last. Much has happened since then. I finished my latest book. My wife is reading it, at the moment, and hates it. Which, and this may surprise you, was sort of an expected outcome. I didn’t write a book with any heroes this time. Last night was our weekly Men’s Theology at Immanuel. It was, as always rich and meaty. My pastor, MY PASTOR, Ray Ortlund stood up and helped the men in the room see the real Jesus through the lens of scripture and the real scripture through the lens of the real Jesus. He deftly illustrated the Law v. Grace debate in a way that was almost poetic. But what struck me wasn’t just that, but something altogether more nuanced. He was talking about God’s love for us and he quoted a Dutch theologian to get the point across. “The best proof that [God]He will never cease to love us lies in that He...

We Are the Tithe

By on May 2, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Jeremiah 2:3 Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.” (ESV) I was reading this verse, this morning, and it took me by surprise. Genuinely, really, shocked me. And I know what you’re thinking: Gabe, you’re actually mentally ill. And you would be correct. But that’s not what this post is about. When I was growing up, there was a duty placed on Christians. And I mean that in the most literal way. There was a burden placed on the Christians I was around, due mostly in large part to the heavy influence of the prosperity gospel, that you ought to give ten percent of your income, as a base amount, in order to please God. Quite literally, I remember hearing Jesse Duplantis say, live mind you, that Christians would be judged by God according to how much they gave. That God would...

How to Turn Grace Into Law

By on May 1, 2017 in The Scrawl |

This weekend I had the great pleasure of sitting with a group of my brothers, all day, brewing wonderful beer and eating good food and smoking pipes. It was joy. In the midst of our discussions came the idea that often bubbles up whenever you gather a few Christians together for anything, really: How do we know what’s permissible under grace and what’s forbidden and where the line is drawn between grace and law? The usual answers, the good ones anyway, were presented in this discussion. Our affections for Christ are the greatest measure against any permissible partaking action. (Alcohol, tobacco, food) Anything might be an idol and therefore no reliance on our own intuition is a good idea. Even the most heinous use or misuse of any single thing is forgivable with repentance. These are all true statements and good ones, I would say. So then we move on, as this discussion...