Executing Grace

In this reasoned exploration of justice, retribution, and redemption, Shane Claiborne,  the champion of the new monastic movement, popular speaker, and author of the bestselling The Irresistible Revolution offers a powerful and persuasive appeal for the abolition of the death penalty.

The Bible says an eye for an eye. But is the state’s taking of a life true—or even practical—punishment for convicted prisoners? In this thought-provoking work, Shane Claiborne explores the issue of the death penalty and the contrast between punitive justice and restorative justice, questioning our notions of fairness, revenge, and absolution.

Using an historical lens to frame his argument, Claiborne draws on testimonials and examples from Scripture to show how the death penalty is not the ideal of justice that many believe. Not only is a life lost, so too, is the possibility of mercy and grace. In Executing Grace, he reminds us of the divine power of forgiveness, and evokes the fundamental truth of the Gospel—that no one, even a criminal, is beyond redemption.

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT WORSHIP SONGS

worship

Why do we sing in church?

Is it because it’s fun? Because it’s tradition? Because it feels good?

It may be all of these things for some of us, but this is not why we do it. We sing in church because the New Testament commands us to.

Twice.

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Ephesians 5:18-21

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts”

– Colossians 3:16

From these two brief passages we learn at least five key truths about God’s intentions for our musical worship:

  1. Every member is commanded to sing out loud, not just a select few.
  2. We are to be taught and admonished through our congregational singing.
  3. We are to sing various types of songs.
  4. Our singing is to be motivated by gratitude to God for who he is and what he’s done.
  5. Our singing in this way is an expression of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

With these five truths in mind, the worship leader can choose songs with intentionality, aiming to help the congregation obey Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3. Below are 5 guidelines that will help in that process.

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5 REASONS TO CONSIDER PLANTING A HOUSE CHURCH

There are various church planting models. The Bible doesn’t prescribe to us any one of them in particular. For this reason, we have the freedom to plant our church according to livingroomthe model that best corresponds to our objectives and culture, as long as it meets the biblical requirements of a healthy church. Among these models is one that, in my opinion, should receive more attention and consideration. In this article I will use the acronym “LASER” to demonstrate five reasons for which it is wise to take the house church model into account when we consider planting a church, as it helps us laser-focus our energies on our most important objectives.

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Author: Cole Brown