We are in Serious Trouble in the Church

Simply put, we’re in serious trouble in the church. It isn’t because we are sinners or because we don’t know enough, pray enough, or read the Bible enough. Our problem isn’t about being more faithful or not living a supernatural life of victory. Our problem isn’t going to be fixed with more programs, better methods of evangelism and stewardship, or discipline. Our problem isn’t spiritual formation or that we are not missional.

Our problem is that we have taken the best news ever given to the world, run it through a “religious grid” and made something unpalatable out of it. In short we’ve taken the good news and made it bad news. Ad if you listen carefully, you can hear old Slew Foot (that would be the devil) laughing.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 332

Now That’s Evangelism

And insofar as I do “deal with it” (allow him to love me by accepting his gift of forgiveness – free sins), something strange happens to my attitude toward them.  I find myself (despite myself) loving the other sinners, robbers and scoundrels who need love as much as I do.  And when I let it show in places where one doesn’t expect a Christian to show up, its called evangelism.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 2391

The Good News of the Incarnation

The good news of the incarnation is that when we run to Jesus with our pain, our failure and our need, he always says first, “I know, child, I know.” When we start saying the same thing to them (those who aren’t believers), they may start listening.

Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 2374

Now That’s Sick

When Christians get to the point where they read only Christian books, go only to Christian movies, hang out only with other Christians, eat only Christian cookies and wear only Christian underwear, its time for a reality check.  That’s sick, and it is a sickness unto death.

Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 2352

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

There aren’t very many safe places left in this world.  That’s why Jesus created the church.  Something has gone terribly wrong, and what he went to a lot of trouble to create – a bridge over troubled waters – has somehow become just another storm unlike the one from which we sought refuge.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 2206

The Key to Everything Important in Life Is…

Forgiveness was the focal point in Christ’s teaching because he knew that without profound “to the bone” forgiveness, there is no freedom, no real joy, no peace, and no release from the pain and the root of bitterness that destroys nations, families and individuals.  He understood that the key to everything important in life is forgiveness.

Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 884

Have You Been Bludgeoned by Matthew 7:21-23?

If you’ve been bludgeoned by that text (Matthew 7:21-23), I have some astonishing news for you: Jesus was not talking about getting better, working harder and being more religious so that, when the end came he would recognize you.  He was talking about what he had set loose in the world – the love and forgiveness that he had made possible.  Jesus was talking to the most faithful and most religious people in his culture, and he called them false prophets.  Immediately prior to that text, Jesus said that we would know the false prophets by their “fruit”.  And then Jesus said, “So, every healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7: 17-18).

Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 1191

This is When We Find True Power

When we finally acknowledge our need for forgiveness and come to God in repentance, we find true power: for we now have nothing to hide or protect, we don’t care what people say or think about us, we are willing to speak truth gently and we are enabled to speak it with tremendous supernatural power.

Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 689

How Are You Right With God?

Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.  Even though my conscience accuses me of having greviously sinned against all of God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.  All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.

– Heidelberg Catechism

as quoted by Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 608

The Danger for All of Us

The danger for all of us is that we will think we are better, more spiritual, and know more than others.  Some Christians have such a high opinion of themselves that they think God is quite fortunate to have them.  That would be of no important except that others, also because of a false self-image, believe them, making the church into an army of generals instead of a fellowship of people who love the King.  Because grace runs downhill, it is very important that you not stake out your territory at the top of the hill.

– Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel, copyright 2004, Howard Books, page 101