Book Review: “The Grace of God” by Andy Stanley

“…you can run from God, but you can’t outrun Him.”

Andy’s ability to communicate a thought-provoking message that speaks to both the long-time religious & freshly converted is brilliant.

In “The Grace of God”, he shines a light on something that most of us are familiar with as a doctrine and/or seem to have a sufficient understanding of as a important value in life; yet, Andy conveys to the reader that the entire biblical narrative (and all of history) is fueled and driven by God’s grace. He employs the reader to recognize that God’s grace has ALWAYS been on display from the beginning of time when God spoke creation into motion and even today within the local church.

As readers, we see that the grace of God is something that we receive & are called to dispense. God has continually extended grace to us. So, as Christians, we too should extend grace to those that are undeserving… that pretty much covers EVERYONE.

Andy doesn’t try to show us how smart he is or wow us with unbelievably complex ideas. He simply magnifies that which all of us desire & desperately need… grace. And this book makes it apparent that only God’s grace will suffice.

Among all the great, timeless works of literature regarding God’s grace, this book belongs on that shelf.


It’s a new year!!!

I know it’s September, but this is really the start of a new year in the Sexton household…

School started. Our oldest is now a kindergartner. She didn’t attend preschool or anything, so this is totally brand new for her AND us.

Our youth kids (IGNITE) are back to roaming the halls throughout their schools here in South Orange County. That means that back-to-school outreaches, all-nighters, and trips to Knotts are in full-effect! Our student ministry is currently moving into a new/larger space within our church facility. So the creative juices are flowing through our veins as we usher in a new season seeking revival in our community.

LEGIT sports begin…

Soccer. I am a HUGE fan! My favorite player… my daughter, of course. We are rooting for the Pink Ponies to demolish every AYSO U6 team in Region 85. Go Emme!


College Football. Go Ducks! Though, we lost to LSU — the season is FAR from lost. I smell roses.

NFL. Praying the Seahawks lose EVERY game this year to ensure that they have dibs on Andrew Luck. (My fantasy squad’s name is “Suck 4 LUCK!!!”)

Rugby. World Cup time people! When Joy and I moved to South Africa back in 2007 the Springboks won the World Cup just a few weeks after arriving. It was INSANE! Our neighbors belted the national anthem at the top of their lungs 50+ times that night. Go Boks!

So, clearly, our year actually begins in September…

When does your year ‘begin’?

I like… beards.

 

From the time that I had a couple straggling whiskers poking out of my chin, I’ve always tried to sport the facial hair. When I was a senior in high school, I had a goatee that looked like I had taped on a patch of my armpit hair at the bottom of my face… looking back, that is a major regret in my book — along w/ every other ‘fashion statement’ I attempted to make during my years of adolescence. 🙂

I was always inspired by my friend, Rex. He could grow a legit full beard (mustache included) from the time he was 14. Plus, as an aspiring/avid b-baller in JrHigh & High school, he was the BEST basketball player I personally knew growing up… so the ‘power of the beard’ made a huge impact on me.

My Dad has always rocked either the beard or a SOLID ‘stache. I have NEVER seen him completely clean shaven. Despite our struggles to maintain a healthy father/son relationship throughout the years — I’ve always had mad respect for his facial hair capabilities…

Though it is an utterly trivial topic, what are your thoughts on beards? Do you have a preference? What do you think it says about a person?

Spontaneous Worship…

“Be ready in season and out of season…” — 2 Timothy 4:2

I was already cozy in some basketball shorts & a ragged t-shirt, cleaning up after dinner w/ my girls, when I received a call…

“Hey babe, the guest worship leader isn’t gonna make it tonight — could you race down here and lead worship for the women’s study?” (I love hearing the sound of my wife’s voice.)

So within 12 minutes I jumped out of my pajamas, threw on some proper worship leader attire, grabbed my acoustic, raced down the stairs w/ my 2 daughters in tow, and barreled down the road straight to Calvary Chapel Pacific Hills. (When I say “barreled”, its just a colorful way to communicate that I am a safe & slow driver.)

I literally parked, hopped out of the van, kissed my wife as she took our girls, walked through the back door up onto the stage, plugged in my guitar, and said “Good evening ladies, let’s pray”… The next 15 minutes started out a little rough (no vocal warm-ups and/or sound check), but ended w/ me and 150+ women singing to our King; proclaiming His love for us & professing our love to Him.

A lot of times we think of “spontaneous worship” as a time during a worship service where everyone breaks out into their own song, busts out their Holy Ghost booty shake, and begins to cry uncontrollably as if we were collectively watching The Notebook. (Those are good times, as well.) Yet, I learned that sometimes the most spontaneous worship happens when you receive a call from your beautiful wife while you are on your knees picking up spaghetti off the floor, humming a Bon Iver tune to yourself, and 15 minutes later you are singing the only 3 songs that you can remember all the words to off the top of your head at that precise moment.

Later that evening when I was back home w/ our girls in bed for the night & I was consuming some ‘trainwreck tv’ (cough*Bachelor Pad*cough*cough) — my wife texted me…

Joy: “Did you know what we were studying tonight?”

Me: “No… being ‘transformed’? :)”

Joy: “Shelly said all 3 songs hit a point of her message tonight. The verse of the beatitudes we were on was ‘blessed are the pure in heart’… She thought you planned those songs on the way.”

Me: “Nope, God planned it tho. That’s awesome! Love u xoxo”

I LOVE it when things like that happen! God is faithful to lead His people according to His ways which are WAY higher than ours.

So, are you prepared to be spontaneous? 😉