Let me ask a necessary question; why is it we are so ready to fight for our orthodox Christian views on morality and neglect our orthodox Christian view on how to love our neighbor? We must learn to live unhindered, welcoming all as we share the Gospel of Grace, which is one of peace and rest. As we reduce fear and establish trust we will be able to inspire the hope that is within. A hope in Christ and His finished work! Please watch the message I shared this past Sunday at Grace Church Orlando, and then let me know what you think.

An Unlikely Love

One year ago this week Leslie and I walked into the dark, unremarkable basement of Hollywood Presbyterian Church and sat down in a circle made up of people whom some in the mainstream Church would rather forget. There was a time when I believed they should be forgotten or at least ignored. I was the leader of Exodus International, the largest Christian organization in the world offering hope for change to anyone impacted by homosexuality. That change had come to mean ridding oneself of homosexuality. These folks all came from Christian backgrounds and had damaging stories about Exodus and the Church. They were no longer interested in the change Exodus represented. Though I hadn’t been connected to or even met most of them, the organization I was leading bore responsibility for some of the anger and hurt they carried into the ominous basement that Sunday afternoon. As the leader of Exodus International, I was their enemy.

I had been intentionally listening to stories like theirs for months. I knew something had to be done. The hurt was extensive and I believed it was my duty to make things right. I needed to repent and apologize to this group. The apology had to be unequivocal, unconditional. I asked Lisa Ling and her crew to capture the apology on camera so others could also hear and receive. The entire 3 hour and 25 minute ordeal was filmed and portions of it ended up being featured in an episode of her hit TV series Our America on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). It only seemed fitting to partner with Lisa as she had facilitated a coming out journey of sorts for me when she pursued me for an interview that aired in March 2011.

#Grace #Church

Leslie and I were in church last Sunday morning for the first time in 3 weeks.  The last two Sundays we played hooky.  The first week we celebrated a birthday.  Last week, Leslie’s mom kept the kids for the whole weekend and, well, we savored every moment of our much-needed time off by doing very little.

But, because our church is such an amazing place we simply cannot stand to stay away for long.  We love it.  Every part.  We love our pastor and his wife.  We love the other pastors, staff, and their families.  We love our Life Group. We love the people—the ones we know well and the ones we don’t.  We love the music. We love the teaching. We love Grace Church. It’s home. It’s family.

One Drawer At A Time Sweet Jesus

Leslie-cropped-682x1024Cross-posted from AlanChambers.Org

One Drawer At A Time Sweet Jesus by Leslie Chambers

One day, only a few short weeks ago, I had the strangest thing happen. I found myself with nothing pressing to do. The kids were at school and wouldn’t be home for hours. The house was clean enough. There was left over lasagna for dinner. The dog was bathed. My family was healthy. I was planning on a bike ride with the kids later so I didn’t need to exercise. I’d been to the grocery store and Target the day before. I’d finished my laundry before the sun rose. I had even given my hair a color tweak so the bothersome greys were history! What to do, what to do….

With the question of how to spend the day before me, it only took a few seconds to feel the weight of what I should do. The schoolroom and office closet was a mess. I should clean it out. The front door needed a coat of paint. I should paint it. The garage had several stacks of things to be sorted. I should sort them. I should work in the yard, pull weeds, and re-pot plants. I should call a friend I haven’t talked to in ages. On and on and on… I started “shoulding” on myself. I couldn’t handle the burden so I decided instead to clean out a drawer. This I could handle. One small drawer. In about an hour a drawer that began the day so full it could neither be opened nor closed became orderly and functional. The best part however, was finding long forgotten trinkets and treasures I gave to my kids when they got home. It was like Christmas! Those other things I should have done, the truly important ones, were still there the next day.

From the Grace Church email announcement:

Our friends Grace and Legalism are at it again this time asking the question if believers in Christ are still under the law. If Christ has fulfilled the law than what purpose does the law still serve? The truth sets us free to have the kind of relationship God intends for every believer.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:24-25

These topics and so much more await you. Don’t wait – sign up today!

Speak. Love. is all about grace. It was the revelation of grace, the it-is-finished work of Christ, that gave me (Alan) the vision for this new ministry endeavor.  Grace is all about understanding we cannot add to what Jesus did for us and nothing we can do will change who we are in Him.  This conference isn’t about sex and sexuality–frankly, those narrow topics matter little in the grand scheme of things. Learning about God through the filter of “He is Good” does matter and it will change everything when you do.

I hope you will join me, Emcee of the Pure Grace: Unveiled Conference, February 27 – March 1, 2014 in warm, sunny, gracious Orlando!

For more info: www.puregraceconference.com or www.facebook.com/puregraceconference

From the Pure Grace Conference team:

We are excited that Dr. Steve McVey, President of Grace Walk Ministries, will be a featured speaker during the 2014 Pure Grace Conference. He is the author of the best-selling book, Grace Walk, as well as eleven other books. His daily radio broadcast, Grace Walk, can be heard in cities across the United States. McVey travels extensively sharing the good news of our Father’s love for all mankind. Register Today!

Speak. Love. is all about grace. It was the revelation of grace, the it-is-finished work of Christ, that gave me (Alan) the vision for this new ministry endeavor.  Grace is all about understanding we cannot add to what Jesus did for us and nothing we can do will change who we are in Him.  This conference isn’t about sex and sexuality–frankly, those narrow topics matter little in the grand scheme of things. Learning about God through the filter of “He is Good” does matter and it will change everything when you do.

I hope you will join me, Emcee of the Pure Grace: Unveiled Conference, February 27 – March 1, 2014 in warm, sunny, gracious Orlando!

For more info: www.puregraceconference.com or www.facebook.com/puregraceconference

Introduction to Speak. Love.

Profile PicThe world is fraught with bad news. It has been since the beginning and will be until the end. Ironically, after however many thousands or millions of years (depending on your theology, or lack thereof) humans are still surprised wars continue to happen, that people die, and senselessly bad things happen to really good people. We don’t expect this reality. Maybe because God didn’t create the world or its inhabitants to experience the decay that has been unstoppable since Adam and Eve fell in the garden. Our expectations match what was to be our original perfect reality and not what became our actual reality post fall.

Andy Crouch, prolific author, speaker, and Executive Editor of Christianity Today, says it like this,

“We live in a bad news to bad news reality in the church. We start in Genesis 3 (the fall) and end with Revelations 20 (the lake of fire).”

Andy’s point is that even the Church, the entity Pastor Bill Hybels calls the hope of the world, has succumbed to this grim, joyless, and visionless existence. As Believers we live like the rest of humanity, in shame and defeat, with a poor image of God the Father, Redeemer, Creator, Author, and Finisher. And, we become a poor reflection of Him.

ReduceFear.Org is now “Speak. Love.” at WeSpeakLove.org

If you received an email this morning with a digest of our new post from yesterday it is because you signed up for announcements about ReduceFear.Org or here at WeSpeakLove.Org. Thank you for your interest. Every Monday morning you will continue to receive weekly digest of new content posted here on the site. We will also send you email announcements as warranted, but promise to not flood your inbox.

Have a great day!

Speak. Love.

Speak. Love.

1 Corinthians 13 (MSG)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.