Tag Archives: gospel

{Giveaway} Let Hope In

**11.16.13 Update: The two randomly selected winners are #4 (Rebekah) & #10 (Meghan). Congratulations to both of you! Check your email for details. :) Thanks to everyone else who entered…you can find the book here!**

Last month, I had the great privilege and opportunity of participating in the launch team for Pete Wilson’s new book, Let Hope In.

Let Hope In

If you missed my full review, you should definitely go check it out here. Word on the street is that the review was pretty helpful, but I’ll let you be the judge of that for yourself.

I won’t restate my whole review here (because you just clicked over and read it, right?), but in short, I still believe this book is powerful and freeing. For me and for you.

Because over and over again, its message points to the hope and truth of the Gospel.

In every past hurt and future unknown, the cross of Christ is constant.

And it is only in the person of Jesus Christ that we find the hope and freedom, the healing and wholeness, the grace and forgiveness, that we so desperately seek and crave.

“He [Jesus] clearly says, “In me.” When you immerse your current reality into my reality, that is where peace is found.” (p. 74)

Our hope, our future, our being, is secure in Him alone.

Pete outlines the fullness of this truth in four choices:

Choice One: Choosing to Transform Instead of Transfer

Choice Two: Choosing to Be Okay with Not Being Okay

Choice Three: Choosing to Trust Rather than Please

Choice Four: Choosing to Free People Rather than Hurt Them

And through each of these choices, we are encouraged to let go of who shame tells us we once were or who we think we should be according to our own standards, to lean into Christ, to understand our identity in Him, to trust Him, to walk with Him, to experience the richness and fullness of His presence, to breathe in His grace, and then to pour His love back out onto others.

Here’s how Pete himself says it…

{note: if you’re reading via email or a feed reader, you may need to click over to the actual post to see this video.}

Yes, I am a part of the launch team for this book, but this is a message I firmly believe in sharing. Because this message is literally life-changing!

And because I believe in it so much, I am super excited that the publisher has so generously offered to provide TWO copies to giveaway in this space!

To enter for a chance to win a copy, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book. Or just say hello! Just be sure to use a valid email address, so I can get in touch with you if you’re one of the winners.

You can comment until midnight (EST) on Friday (November 15, 2013), and then TWO winners will be chosen randomly and announced/contacted on Saturday (November 16, 2013).

And just for the record, you can also order the book (or read some other reviews) here.

This is the Art I Live Everyday

Have you ever had one of those moments when you were just completely and utterly overwhelmed by the Gospel?

By its truth, by its fullness, by its richness, by its completeness, by its beauty, by its perfection?

Last night, I had just such a moment.

Yesterday was my birthday (yes, my birthday is on Halloween), and it had been a pretty wonderful day full of life-giving words and thoughtful blessings from friends and family. I mean, my brother wrote me a poem. In Middle English. More-or-less about the Sovereignty of God. Which I love! And he mailed it to me on stationary. He also included a Starbucks gift card…he knows me well.

I’m a words girl. Word of affirmation is my love language. My heart was full!

this is the art i live everyday

But as I arrived at Bible Study last night, I had no idea how my heart would be so full to overflowing by the end of the evening.

To begin with, my Bible Study group of women that I love dearly surprised me with a cake…complete with candles, y’all! And when I say I was surprised, I am so not kidding. I did not see that one coming!

But then as we continued our study of John (we’re on our third consecutive semester, Precept style), as we looked carefully at John 14 and how through Jesus Christ we have full and total access to God the Father, I was literally blown away by the truth and the reality of the Gospel.

I know this sounds ridiculously simple and basic, but this Gospel is just so eternally complete and perfect.

And to realize that we can’t DO anything to be saved through this Gospel, that all that is required of us is to ask and believe, yet it compels us, out of pure love and devotion, to know Christ, to trust Him, to please Him, to obey Him (because obedience is HIS love language)?

I can barely even begin to wrap my mind around it! It’s just THAT good!

So I found myself praying this prayer…

God,
We know You are good, and You are faithful, and You are true.
Thank You for loving us first.
Thank You for providing the way of confident and sure access to Your throne.
And thank You for that way not being an accident nor a surprise to You.
You have a purpose and a plan from beginning to end.
And we know it is perfectly complete … carefully crafted and thought out and executed.
And we praise You for that!
Thank you for Your presence that goes before us and walks with us.
Help us in our everyday as we lean into You, as we trust You, as we follow You, as we obey You.
Thank you for Your radical grace. Thank You for Your presence. Thank You for the new covenant through Your Son, Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice.
May the truth of Your Gospel never cease to overwhelm and amaze!
Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief!
In Christ’s Name,
Amen

This Gospel.

THIS is the art I live everyday!

“Every step we are breathing in Your grace.
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise.
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”
– Never Once by Matt Redman

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we-will-make-art

*linking up with Emily P. Freeman of chatting at the sky for we will make art*

Jesus > Religion

I don’t remember exactly where or how I first came across it, but it must have been within the first 48 hours of it going viral and I do remember my first reaction after watching Jefferson Bethke’s “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” video.

And that reaction? Well. Honestly, it was mixed.

But before I tell you more, if you haven’t already seen it, you should watch it for yourself:

{Side note: for those reading from a feed reader or via email, you may need to click over to the actual post to view the video.}

I liked a lot of what this guy was saying. I liked the medium he was using. I liked the art he was making. I liked the audience he was reaching. But I didn’t like exactly how he chose some of his wording.

Mostly because I thought he had the potential to spread a really incredible and truth-filled message (um, straight up Gospel!) to a generation that desperately needed to hear it. But I was afraid he would be just another voice coming across as negative and critical of The Church. And that just wasn’t okay.

Even at the time, though, I didn’t necessarily think the heart behind the words was that of a critic, I was just afraid that’s how it would come across, how it would resonate with a generation already prepped for attack. But as he was immediately thrown into a larger spotlight than he (by his own admission) ever expected from one video, and as he handled it with humility and grace well beyond what I would have expected from someone his age, it became pretty clear pretty fast that he had a lot more to say about the truth of the Gospel and walking with Jesus.

And that is where this book comes in. In Jesus > Religion: Why He is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough, Jefferson Bethke gives context to the poem as he tells much of his own story … parts of his past and his journey beyond the shame-inducing rules of religion into a freeing relationship with Jesus.

My story is very different from Jefferson’s. Our backgrounds, our childhoods, our growing-up locations and cultures, our church experiences, and our faith journeys really couldn’t be more different.

And from that perspective, there is much of Jefferson’s story that I just can’t relate to very well. But because of that, he can also speak to a completely different audience than I could ever hope to reach – a young audience who is searching and skeptical and absolutely needs someone who gets them in a way that Jefferson most certainly does – and I love that! This is what being a part of the body of Christ is all about. Because even though we’re speaking to different audiences with different interests and we’re using different language and experiences to do it, at its core, our message is really very much the same: it’s all about Jesus Christ. Who He is and what He’s done.

Through this book – and from what I can tell, through his life – Jefferson starts a conversation with a new generation in a new way of an eternal truth that is not only relevant, but essential. He unashamedly points to Jesus who satisfies our every longing. He passionately talks about radical Grace as someone who has experienced it first hand and knows of its amazing power. And he unapologetically encourages getting past merely following the rules and traditions of religion to actually know the person of Jesus Christ.

To know Him. To follow Him. To trust Him. To live for Him.

To experience the pure freedom and joy in walking out the Gospel.

“That is the scandal of grace. I fully believe that as a Christian you can take advantage of grace, but when you’ve truly tasted it, you never will. When you’ve experienced the joy and life of Christ in you, then nothing is as satisfying anymore.” – Jefferson Bethke

No matter how differently we spread that message to our respective audiences, that is a message I will always stand behind!

If there’s a young person in your life struggling to figure out what living out the Gospel in their everyday is really all about, this book would be a pretty great place for them to start. You can find the book and more info here.

And it would be hard to beat Jefferson’s recommended reading list at the end!

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*note: I received a free copy of Jesus > Religion in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions in this post are mine.*

Let Hope In

When I first heard about Let Hope In by pastor/author Pete Wilson, I thought it sounded like a solid, Gospel-centered, and timely message for this generation – any generation, really – about hope, a message of truth that I wanted to be a part of sharing, but I didn’t think it was necessarily for me because I just couldn’t identify a particular hurt from my past that was stopping me from living fully in the present.

Let Hope In

But I was wrong. My perspective was too narrow.

My past is no where near perfect. It has its own set of hurts and regrets. But beyond that, over and over again as I read, I saw just how relevant this message is for my present circumstances and how necessary this message is to continue walking with Christ in the unknown of my tomorrows.

We’ve all either experienced some sort of pain in our past or we’re going through something in our present or we’ll come across a new hurt in our future.

But the one constant, the one thing that remains central in every such hurt (and just for the record, every joy, too), is the same: The cross of Christ.

“God has come in the person of Jesus to set you free. There is no story in the world like the story of redemption, and it can be your story.” (p. 53)

So, this message of hope and freedom as only found in the person of Jesus Christ? It’s for everyone.

My life seems to be a mess more often than I’d like these days. But what I think I’m realizing (yet again) is that the mess is just part of my flesh and every time it’s in conflict with the Spirit (which is often), it’s going to get messy. But it’s in that very place where God’s strength is made perfect and where His grace abounds … in the weakness, in the uncertainty, in the sometimes getting it wrong, in the mess.

And there’s such a gift in this realization, even in the mess, because it reveals just how desperate and in need we really are. We have to understand the reality of our mess – our hurts and sins – to see the radical beauty of God’s continual presence with us made possible only through the cross.

“He is not like us. He is faithful even when we’re faithless. We can trust Him. Especially in our brokenness.” (p. 72)

I’m dealing with perfectionism-driven insecurity affecting at least a couple of different aspects of my life right now, and this book has not only helped expose some of that, but also directed me towards the freedom and courage to move beyond it. To walk in victory over the try-harder, perform better, pretend more mentality. Before its grip is any stronger or its roots are any deeper.

I’m not saying it’s an instant fix and I’m not saying there won’t still be some struggle, but it’s a step towards leaning further into Christ and trusting Him more and finding my identity in Him, and that’s stepping in the direction I want to go.

“He [Jesus] clearly says, “In me.” When you immerse your current reality into my reality, that is where peace is found.” (p. 74)

And reaching that? Walking in healing and wholeness from that? It’s only in and because of the person of Jesus Christ. Our hope is in Him alone.

In the book, Pete takes us through four choices:

Choice One: Choosing to Transform Instead of Transfer

Choice Two: Choosing to Be Okay with Not Being Okay

Choice Three: Choosing to Trust Rather than Please

Choice Four: Choosing to Free People Rather than Hurt Them

And through these four choices, we see that this message…

It’s about letting go of the pain and regret from the past and letting go of the worry for the unknown future.

It’s about the freedom of walking in our identity as found in Christ alone.

It’s about walking in victory over sin. Yes, as believers we still make mistakes and sin, but it no longer rules us. Its power is gone. And that doesn’t mean we don’t repent of the sins we commit. We most certainly do, but then we walk in the freedom of what’s already been done on the cross, knowing that we’re forgiven, we’re covered, we’re redeemed.

It’s about walking with Christ and trusting Him more and experiencing the beauty and fullness of His presence.

And it’s about fully receiving this freedom and grace, so that we can love others well.

“You can’t breathe out what you haven’t breathed in. Breathing grace totally hinges on your moment-to-moment dependency on God.” (p. 154)

This message of hope and grace – it blows me away!!

But isn’t that just God? Isn’t that just grace?

It’s shocking and surprising and stunning.

And for some reason, maybe because of this recent battle with insecurity, it hit me with a such a freshness and newness and I am undone and overwhelmed.

I come away from this book grateful and humbled and amazed. Knowing more deeply that I am loved. I am forgiven. I am free.

“The goal here is to fully trust God in this moment. To trust in his grace. To trust that you are forgiven. To trust that this very moment, as imperfect as it might be, is actually a gift.” (p. 130)

So why do I think you should read this book, too?

Because read prayerfully with a heart seeking Christ, this book is a burden lifted.

It’s one more step on this road of walking with Jesus Christ in grace, in freedom, in fullness by choosing Him and trusting Him and hoping in Him.

So much truth. So much freedom. So much Jesus.

“All of Scripture points to one man, one God, not because he gives us everything we’re hoping for but because he is the One we put our hope in.” (p. 196)

So yes, this message is solid, Gospel-centered, and timely.

And this message is for you.

But this message is also for me.

Because this message is for everyone.

Let Hope In.

—–

*for the record: I was a part of the launch team for Let Hope In, which means I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. this post reflects my honest thoughts on how the book impacted me and why I believe this message is important and worth sharing.*

Tragedy & the Hope of the Gospel

This is a conversation that I would much rather have with each one of you over coffee. While listening to your story and sharing some of mine. And interjecting a healthy dose of encouragement throughout what would no doubt be a rich discussion. But although it doesn’t seem complete enough in this limited format, although there’s so much more I could say, the message is far too important to not share at all. And maybe for today, simple is best.

tragedy & the hope of the gospel

Tragedy is hard. The fallenness and sinfulness of humanity is painful.

In the wake of recent events such as the shooting in Newtown, CT, the unrest in North Korea, the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the earthquake in Pakistan (just to name a few…), it becomes obvious that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

But on days like today, I want to say in no uncertain terms that in Jesus Christ there is a foundation that is solid and a hope that is secure.

He is an immovable, unshakable anchor. He is the only guarantee in this uncertain world full of hurt and pain and heartache.

He alone fills the emptiness for more and satisfies the longing for different.

His victory is secure.

He’s hope. He’s peace. He’s salvation.

Eternally.

Do you know Him?

Do you trust Him?

Do you follow Him?

If you do, then would you acknowledge His presence and lean into Him even closer today? Would you pour out your heart before Him and unashamedly trust in His faithfulness, in His goodness, in His sovereignty? And would you pray for those affected by the horrors and tragedies of this world?

But if you don’t, would you pause for a moment and consider that you’re not guaranteed tomorrow? Would you consider that there is a greater purpose and a greater peace for this life? Would consider your urgent need for Jesus Christ and that through His sacrifice there is forgiveness for sins and the promise of a perfect eternity with Him? Would you consider that He’s extending an invitation for you to draw near to Him and all you have to do is call on His name?

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
– Jesus Christ (John 16:33, ESV)

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If I can answer any questions, suggest resources, or simply listen to your story, it would my privilege to do so. You can contact me via email at theinnerharbor(at)gmail.com.

Fully His

“…rescued by hands bleeding grace. Are we ready to see His face? On the great day.”
The Great Day, from The Story

fully his

As I entered this holiest of weeks, it was from a place of mental and physical exhaustion. The last few weeks have been over-scheduled, and I have been running on near empty trying to tackle the commitments and responsibilities competing for my time and attention. And truthfully, being pulled in so many directions has left me feeling more than a little defeated … as if I’m failing at almost everything.

My calendar is filled with some really great things, and while in some ways I’m noticing a lack of discernment when it comes to commitments, in other ways, there’s just not much I can realistically say “no” to in this season.

Under the weight of it all, even my times of rest seem rather ineffective.

I have a lengthy list of things to-do at all times, but don’t have the energy to address most of it, so I do the bare minimum of what’s required to get through the next day, and instead of acknowledging that something is better than nothing, I then continue to feel guilty for all of the things left undone … the areas where I’m failing.

The cycle is endless.

But the words from the song that struck me in such a fresh and powerful way on Sunday morning seem even more powerful now:

“No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”

No guilt in life.

THIS is the power of Christ in me.

Even if I have failed at much (and I have), the resulting pervasive feeling that I am a failure … it’s not of Him. It’s not living in the Spirit, walking by faith, or claiming the truth that I am His child.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6 (ESV)

So in this Holy Week, as I reflect on the cross, the suffering, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, I will be imperfectly purposeful in remembering that He is my peace and my freedom.

“For the words of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)

Freedom is mine not because of anything I’ve done, but because of Who He is and what He has done.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

So I let go of the failure. Because I am free.

It doesn’t make my schedule instantly manageable, it doesn’t make a shift in priorities easy, and it doesn’t make my responsibilities disappear.

And because it doesn’t come easily or naturally, it’s a message of truth that I must preach to myself over and over again.

It’s the truth of the Gospel.

I am free from the guilt and free from the failure because this life is mine by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

I don’t have to prove my worth. I am simply free to stand in it.

Fully alive. Fully justified. Fully His.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

I got nothin’…

As I approached today’s post, I originally thought, “I got nothin'”…

i got nothin

But if you follow me on twitter (and if you don’t, you’re missing out on things like my favorite juice and my commentary on the Oscars, so you should. I’m @emily_gallimore.), you know that I sometimes share links to meaningful posts or articles from others.

While I don’t usually share those in this space, there were a few posts this week that I found so gripping and compelling, that I couldn’t help but mention them here…

1) why i stopped feeling guilty about stupid things by Emily P. Freeman

I spend far too much energy feeling guilty over things that just plain don’t matter in the scheme of eternity, and I struggle with owning the choices I make to spend time doing one thing over another. I still can’t really put into words how much this post spoke truth into my heart regarding both.

2) Part 1: I Met Jesus in the Sistine Chapel by Stephanie May

Stephanie was part of the team I served with in Guatemala last month. She has a beautiful heart and a powerful story. This is one small part of that story and will leave you wanting to hear more. And while you’re at it, check out the related story behind her blog’s title.

3) Perfect is a Poison by Jon Acuff

If you struggle with perfectionism as I do, this short post is so true and such a great reminder: “Done is better than perfect.”

Have you read anything worth sharing this week?