TGP Volume 11
(October/November/December 2011)

Week 11/52

Grace Ministry: God Working thru Willing Persons to Accomplish His Plan

By definition, grace ministry is the work God is doing through vessels he has called, prepared, and chosen to accomplish his redemptive plan. We who are vessels work hard but only in the sense that Paul indicated –

“I worked harder than anyone, yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace!” - 1 Corinthians 15:10

Our focus/commitment/surrender is to take time daily to connect to the resources through which God's provisions flow into our lives to enable us (the meaning of "to love God"), trusting that, since the plan is his, and the power is his, he will accomplish it accordingly.

This means, grace ministry does not attempt to overachieve – i.e., to accomplish outcomes not consistent with the law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect) or beyond the enablement received.

Neither does it attempt to rescue.

Maybe to illustrate, a coach would only attempt to support athletes who connect to receive the support offered.

The exception might be the coach who has codependent needs – that is, his coaching is motivated by his unmet need to be successful. (I remember in my early ministry the determination I had to not allow others to fail. Whatever good may be said about that, it was driven more by my unmet need not to fail than my interest in their success.)

But God does not have that need. He is moved in our behalf by his intense love for mankind and deep commitment to provide for our redemptive needs – which he brings to the door of every person's life for them to receive.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L30

Got Tameion?

In his sermon on the mount, Jesus used a house with rooms and doors to represent our lives. Typically, rooms in the house provide place/space for meals, sleeping, bathing and hygiene, maybe also work, study, family time, recreation, entertainment, and hobbies.

Doors in the house separate/isolate each room for its specific use.

Jesus spoke also of a room for prayer (communication with God). It was separated from other rooms by a door. He said, “When you pray, go to your quiet chamber (Gr. “tameion”) and shut the door (Matthew 6:6).

We do well to provide specific time and space in our lives for all the essential choices we make which establish us in health. We do especially well to provide a room (time and space) specifically for communication with God.

“Therefore everyone who (structures his life in this way) is like a wise man who built his house on the rock so that, when the storms of life came, it did not fall.” – Matthew 7:24-25 (paraphrased)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L29

Set Free from Suffering the Need to Be Number One

One of my early ministry mentors was asked if he hated to lose. He quipped that he did not know because he had never lost. His point was to motivate us young church builders to be number one (his definition of winning), to not give any room to losing. Success, he insisted, was due more to will than skill, to trying hard than conditioning.

Although I was in denial of it in those days, my desire to win (to be number one) was rooted in my unmet need for validation. That need was missed in my boyhood, but has since been wonderfully met as I have increased in my experience of Christ (to establish me in confidence of God’s unconditional love for me, passionate interest in every detail of my life, and undying commitment to my health and happiness) so that today I no longer feel like a loser or suffer the pain of needing to be number one.

“Winning” is not really the outcome of the performance on the day of the event; rather, it is the investment made during the preparation on the days, months, and years before. This means, regardless of the outcome, the win was accomplished by the diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices we made that increased health and strength.

“We sow (invest) and water (nurture),” Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 3:7), “but God gives the increase (win).”

Sowing and watering is our opportunity to be successful. The outcome (whatever it is) is God’s work.

In this way (by making the choices which establish us in health), we have the opportunity to win every day, and also to never feel the disappointment of losing, regardless of what the won-lost records may indicate.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L26

Grace Giving: Guidance for Celebrating God’s Gift of Christ

Consider the following concerning giving at Christmas to celebrate God’s gift of Christ:

1. It flows from the Server (Resource) to the served.

Christmas is not a birthday party for Jesus in the sense the world traditionally celebrates birthdays – that is, we do not give gifts to Christ (typically understood as giving to the church) to celebrate his birthday. Rather, parents give to children, husbands to wives, pastoral leadership to the church.

2. It is redemptive (investment giving).

It supports the health of those we serve for supporting the health of those they serve.

3. It is enabled.

It is not sacrificial giving but giving from the overflow of the support we have received (2 Corinthians 9:8).

This means, we celebrate God’s gift of Christ at Christmas by receiving the gifts (grace provisions) which flow into our lives from him through the Resources to which we connect (John 15:1-5), especially Christ (his Blood and Resurrected Life).

4. Giving to celebrate other occasions, including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays, etc., may be guided by different principles. However, grace (redemptive) giving is the most appropriate for celebrating God’s gift of Christ at Christmas.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L25

Week 11/51

Essential Enablement for Grace Ministry to Others Restricted Only by the Measure of Our Receiving from God

Sometimes charities like The Salvation Army get fussed at by recipients because the assistance they receive is limited. For example, they need money for the rent, but receive help for only a portion of the utilities.

Assistance providers, however, can support the needy only as they receive support from benefactors in the community. They cannot give what they do not have.

I use this to illustrate God’s plan for meeting the redemptive (healing and recovery) needs of his children through resource providers in the home and church (grace ministry). Sometimes the support we provide is limited because we cannot give what we have not received.

However, we are not limited in our essential enablement to support others because God's hand is too short or his provisions too limited; rather, as Isaiah wrote, we are limited only if we have not stopped to take time daily to connect to the flow of God's Life (Christ) which flows fully and freely into our lives from deep within us during our quiet-time worship.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L21

Living Water: The Impossibility of Life Without It

Every function of the body (of every lifeform, in fact) depends upon water (drinking it, actually). For example, digestion does not work without water. Vitamin B, the energy vitamin, is water soluble, so metabolism does not work without water. Also, when we are dehydrated, sleep is impaired. (Dehydration may be the leading cause of insomnia.) And the performance/efficiency of the brain and heart is significantly reduced when we are dehydrated – as much as 20% according to some reports.

Dihydrogen monoxide (the scientific name for water, for us who need to know) is also important for agriculture (which, we are told, accounts for 70% of the fresh water used by humans), industry (for example, as a solvent for chemical substances, and for cooling machinery), and transportation.

If the compound H20 is essential to support physical and economic life on earth, how much more essential is Christ, the Living Water, essential to support the redemptive and eternal life of our souls (the mind, emotions, and will)!

So we take a lot of care to include sufficient amounts of water into our bodies each day. But far more carefully, we open our hearts each day (in quiet-time worship) to receive the flow of Living Water into our inner most being.

His Life in us heals/sets us free from our brokenness and energizes us for living out our calling. Without him, every effort will be burdensome and impaired.

“Without me,” Jesus said, “You can do nothing (of eternal/redemptive value).” – John 15:5

“Above all else, take care of your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” - Proverbs 4:23

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." – John 4:14

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L20

“Can Do” Thinking Can’t Do God’s Work

“Can do” positive thinking (believing in self and others) works for the performance of duties in the world’s kingdom (of athletes to win competitions, for an easy example). And all of that is in order.

But for the redemptive work of God’s kingdom (the work he is doing through us to recover the lost), we confess our brokenness, not our powers – that, in fact, we absolutely can do nothing of eternal value apart from our experience of Christ to support us.

“Without me (my Life in you),” Jesus said, “you can do nothing (of eternal value).”

This means Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through him who gives me strength”) is not really a working principle for man’s efforts to make money, win ballgames, gain fame, etc.. Rather, it is a confession of dependence upon Christ for the strength he gives to support the redemptive work he is doing in the world through us.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L19

Scheduled at the Mouth of the Stream: Early Morning Choices Essential to Support Our Calling in Service to Others

The choices we make for health must be scheduled for early morning. Scheduled, because we will not make them otherwise (The disinclination is too great, so we employ Schedule as our trainer!), and early morning, because they support the performance of our duties for the workday.

Again, each choice, beginning with the first one, serves as a support for the next choice so that together they support us throughout the day for living out our calling/vocation in service to others.

This means, 1) the most critical choice is the first one because it is made at the “mouth of the river” (where the water flows into the ocean) to support the next one which depends synergistically on its support, and 2) any missed choice undermines/disrupts the flow of God’s provisions into our lives so that it reverses the course to support death.

Now, about that first choice! What is it?

“From whence cometh our support?” the Psalmist asked (121:1).

Is it exercise or breakfast? Good answer, but they are next-level, follow-through choices that are supported by the first choice.

“My support comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth” the Psalmist concluded (v2).

It is by our experience of Christ in our quiet-time worship that we are supported at the deepest level of our being for making the essential choices that support us for health and service to others. That’s because, it is his Life in us that transforms our values so that our health and the redemptive needs of others matter.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L16

Week 11/50

S.T.O.P. (Scheduled Time Out for Preparation): Saying YES to Hard Choices Supported by Schedule

Even more devastating than the consequence of unmet needs may be the inappropriate choices we make to deal with the pain. That’s because they result in addictions – physiologically, of course, but worse, psychologically.

Psychological addictions intensify our need for quick fixes and barricade our emotions, minds, and will against responding to God’s call for us to receive his provisions.

They are the core reason we are disinclined to STOP (Schedule Time Out for Preparation), including for reading (study and research), food choices, and exercise, but especially for quiet-time to experience God. It is this disinclination that will be the death of us.

But schedule overrules disinclination. It is our friend. We submit to the support it gives for making the choices that increase us in health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L15

Experiencing God: The Essential Evidence of His Existence

The Greek word gnosis means “to know” information. The word epignosis means “to experience” that information.

To illustrate: A man said he was told he had a father, but had never seen him or heard his voice, so although he trusted the reports, and had enough information to imagine what his father was like, still he had no experience of him. Until one day his father called. He heard his voice, and it gave him increased evidence his father existed.

And then his father came to visit him. They hugged and the son now knew his father existed, not just by hearing the reports, or even by hearing his voice, but by personal experience of him.

It is in this same way we have evidence of God’s existence, not just by the report of it from others, or even by hearing it from God himself through the Scripture, but now also through quiet-time worship to experience him.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L14

Preparation, Performance, and Productivity: Game Plan for Living Out God’s Purpose

Grace (God’s provisions for our redemption) is unmerited in the sense that it flows fully and freely (through resources in Creation, Community, and especially Christ) to every person without respect of persons (Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9), fault/failure (James 1:5), or works of righteousness (Titus 3:5). 

BUT, it flows only to the door of our hearts - which means it is offered and available to everyone, but is experienced by (effectual to) only as many as receive it.

"God is the Savior (for Justification/Heaven and for Sanctification/Holiness and Healing) of all men, and especially of (but effectually to) those who believe (receive)." - 1 Timothy 4:10 (also Romans 1:16-17 and 5:10).

"But to as many as believed in his name (received "who he is"), he gave the right (privilege, freedom) of being children of God - with the result of justification (us in Christ) for going to Heaven and sanctification (Christ in us) for healing and holiness." - John 1:12 / Romans 6:4 (paraphrased / amplified)

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone will open the door, I will come in to him." - John 1:12

With regard to success, including football, it is by merit of God's provisions (which we receive daily into our lives) that we are supported (healed, renewed, equipped, and made competent/effectual) for making the choices that result in good outcomes consistent with God's law of sowing and reaping. I outline this principle as: Preparation (coming and receiving), Performance (going and giving), and Productivity (the cause and effect outcome).

This is densely wordy, but I hope it helps to understand one of the core concepts of the grace message that is too often missed, it seems.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L13

Extreme Explanation for Tebow’s Success Targets Christianity for Criticism/Scorn

I am a big Tim Tebow fan and love the success he is enjoying. But I grieve deeply the comments of some, especially church leaders, who insist God favors Tebow and the Broncos because Tim is a strong believer.

They miss understanding that God ordained the law of sowing and reaping (cause and effect) to govern his creation and that good outcomes are the result of the wise choices we make which support/increase us in health/strength.

Also, it represents a theology (performance to win God's favor) that is at the core of the brokenness I deal with in our counseling and is the reason for much of the mockery Christianity is subject to.

See Tebow

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L12  

Week 11/49

Understanding Fasting from the Grace Perspective

I doubt very much that God calls us to fasting in the sense of denying ourselves food, especially as a show of our sincerity with hopes of gaining a blessing or favor.


1) God’s love for us is expressed in his providing our redemptive needs, and our love for him is expressed in our receiving them.

2) Choosing to reject God's provisions is reckless behavior (and, by definition, sin), whether Christians do it, or others who do not value health.

3) Fasting is taking care to include in our meals only the foods that are the most nutritious, and to include them in sufficient amounts. By virtue of that, nothing is eaten that does not support health.

4) Fasting is also taking care to schedule/manage/prioritize our time so that no activity, including the performance of duties, hinders having sufficient time for including in our lives God’s provisions which support health, especially quiet-time to experience God.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L09

Receiving God’s Provisions: The Proof of Faith

God was good to provide food and water, sunshine and air, family and friends, and especially Christ (his blood and resurrected Life), also The Scripture and the Holy Spirit through whom he communicates his Truth to us. Thank you, God.

So now, having heard that wonderful Truth, let’s rejoice in it, and all will be well.

No it won’t.

Information about God’s provisions to provide for our health and happiness and going to Heaven - not even our understanding or rejoicing concerning the fact - will accomplish God’s purpose for giving them.

Again: Water is essential. So is information concerning it, and also the availability of it – without which, people die. But they also die when they have it. That’s because it is not information about water, or even the presence of it that hydrates us, but only our drinking it.

“Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20, 26) means

“Faith is response to God’s call to receive his provisions; it does not exist otherwise.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11L08

Week 11/48

Increased Numbers: The MisFocus of the Mega Church

I worry to what measure the mega-church movement is a numbers game played by young church builders who are driven by an unmet need for significance, which means its goals and accomplishments may be superficial. This is purely “judging” on my part, but the “tell” would be if they denied that about themselves. That’s because the default motivation of every person in their service to others is self-interest (at least that is my confession for when I was caught up in church building years ago.)

Indeed large crowds attend the mega churches each Sunday, but large crowds also fill football stadiums each week during this time every year. And I don’t think any of them, for whatever good may be accomplished, are in attendance to be supported for learning how to experience Christ to a fuller measure (or even know about such a thing).

I would not want to discourage the mega-church for reaching their communities for Christ. I would only wish that healing for those who come might be elevated above numbers to be their most passionate goal.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K30

Grace Parenting: Back to Basics

1) Our understanding of four words help guide the counseling we offer, including for parenting support. They are Pain, Problem, Provisions, and Plan. 
  • The Pain is not the problem, but the symptom.
  • The Problem is unmet needs. It is not the presence of elements in the world (people and circumstances) that are adverse, but the absence of God’s provisions which support us.
  • The Provisions are biological, psychological, and spiritual supports which flow into our lives through Resources in Creation, Community, and especially Christ.
  • The Plan identifies the choices we make to connect to God’s Resources.
2) Broken behavior is not the Problem but the result of the problem (unmet needs), so we do not focus first on the behavior, to pound on it, but minister to the brokenness (unmet needs) that produced it.

3) Mothers meet the affection needs of their sons and the information needs of their daughters. Fathers meet the affection needs of their daughters and the information needs of their sons. The essential needs we meet in our children must first be met in us, and the essential needs they meet as parents in their children must be met in them.

4) Our Spiritual need is essentially to experience God through intimacy with Christ. The Seed/Logos of “Who Christ is” was sown into us at our New Birth (regeneration) and increases (through sanctification) to produce Christ in us in fuller measure (Ephesians 4:13). This is not a charismatic experience.

5) Experiencing God begins with
  • Reading the Scripture in order to hear God communicate Truth to us by the Holy Spirit (this is not the same as Bible Study – important as that is),
  • Confession of our brokenness and need for healing, also of God's love and care for us,
  • Prayer, and
  • Quiet-time worship.
6) Our experience of Christ manifests in us as the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), Wisdom and Holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30) and Ministry Gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:6-7; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7) which enable grace parenting.

7) The essential fruit is Love (1 Corinthians 13) – that is, God’s Love (Agape, meaning to “unconditionally value”) which is not the same as their need (valid as it is) to be “valuable” which is “conditional” love.

8) Our deep desire and strong commitment to be good parents are not the most enduring supports for living out our role in service to our children; rather, it is God’s love birthed and renewed in us daily by our experience of Christ.

9) Three words to identify the essential needs of children (also of parents in their relationship to God):
  • Confidence (Conviction) that I am unconditionally valued, demonstrated to me through the intense, personal
  • Care of my parents to attend to my health needs every day – and that with
  • Consistency
10) Relationships are either Codependent (with a goal of superficial pain relief that serves self-interests) or Redemptive (with a goal of met needs for healing that supports redemptive service to others).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K29

Support for Grace Parenting: Teaching Compliance to Small Children

1. The high energy of small children (12/18 months to 3/4 years) to play loud is very normal and expected.

2. The amount of time they can be isolated in a room to play quietly is very limited. But it is a good opportunity to practice compliance.

3. Schedule a time as daily as possible for them to practice entertaining themselves in a playroom, beginning maybe for ten minutes, and increasing the time each several days or so by a minute. Inform them clearly each time what your expectations are (for them not to leave the room and to play quietly). The only reason you need to give is because you say so. Monitor their safety and immediate needs. If they leave the room, gently return them, in the same way you would continue to pitch a ball until they learned to catch it. After each practice session, support them with time together with you (even if they are not responsive to it at first), for at least the same amount of time, to play, read a story, take a walk (maybe to look at the moon and stars), or just to talk. Although you should not represent this time together with them as a reward, they will come to expect and want it. Of course, I don’t recommend treats (cookies, etc.) for a reward.

4. Teaching and practicing compliance at home with small children should start when children begin to crawl and with the expectation that it may be a long, slow process.

DonLoy Whisnant/ The Grace Perspective 11K28 

Week 11/47

Called to Faithful Attendance by Confession of Need

Of course, I want our counselees never to miss a class or program, and in my earlier ministry I would have been aggressive to encourage them, including visits, phone calls, and letters. And, they did a good job of attending, and were helped, I think, plus I got the satisfaction of growing our ministry.

Renewal ministry is a little different, however. Its goal is more than the regular attendance of a growing number of persons; it is the healing of broken lives, which means their attendance is motivated, not by my expectation for them, and their need to meet my expectations, but by their confession of brokenness and need for the support God is calling them to.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K25

Non Response to Ministry Rooted in Unmet Needs: The Rest of the Story 

A renewal church serves hurting people. They hurt because of unmet needs, at the root of which are moms and dads (and other resource persons) who failed to identify and meet those needs. Hurting children into adulthood make choices which undermine their health and, worse, result in addictions, so that sometimes they are cognitively challenged/opposed in their response to our ministry to them.

This means, grace leadership has the option to demand the needed response, and then attempt to motivate it by punishing the failure (Plan B counseling), or to take responsibility for our own renewal by the infilling of the Holy Spirit who enables effectual ministry - this so that the most relevant and current need of those we serve is not missed.

“This kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K24

Sympathetic to Sleeping Souls Suffering to Survive My Speaking

Occasionally I have opportunity when I speak to remember a favorite joke about the pastor who told a deacon to wake up, that it was not time to go to sleep, because he had not started preaching yet. I am sympathetic to support my listeners in that way also. That’s because I know I am not a good speaker. Listeners’ response to my presentations sometimes range from intensely interested to passed-out asleep. Recently, fully one half of my tiny audience was asleep during my presentation on “made alive with Christ” from Ephesians 2. That must be a record!

It may have been my halting speaking manner. (I speak like I write, editing as I go, so that I sometimes mull over a point, and then state and restate it until I get it right! Suffering souls, my audience!) Or, it may have been the quiet tone of my voice. (I no longer attempt to excite, choosing instead to be a vessel through whom God speaks – which is not to say that is what actually happens, please understand, but only that it is my faith disposition when I speak.) Or maybe it was the subject matter.

I hope my speaking manner and mellow tone issues improve (My audience deserves that!), but I am committed to staying on point with the grace message, trusting God to give it life so that it prevails against the disinterest.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K23

Sanctified for Use: The Essential Element That Makes Our Speaking Effectual

My friend says he loves to hear Dr. (a well-known minister) speak. I said I did too. There are at least 5 or 6 speakers whose gifts I sometimes envy. But that can be a problem. The human presentation of a message is not the essential element that makes it effectual; rather, it is the communication of Truth by the Holy Spirit through vessels that are sanctified for use - this in the same way the nutritional value of food matters more than its taste, so that we would rather eat a carrot that heals than a candy bar that only tastes good.

To use another metaphor, the message of a song is of more value than its beautiful melody or presentation (important as talent is) so that we would rather hear a poor singer gifted by God to communicate Truth than a great singer who only has talent.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K22

Mandating a Meat-Free Diet For Everyone: A Mis-Focus for Eating

1) I commend your passion to live out the principles of holistic health to which God is calling you. I also take care to watch that you don't elevate your focus on diet above its appropriate place, as I did in my earlier years. (I was an elitist, exclusionist with regards to foods/behaviors, and examiner, using the standards my mentors passed on to me as the measure for my judgment of others).

2) The need is not to downgrade the value of diet, but to give the greatest honor (value/weight) to experiencing Christ (his Blood and Resurrected Life) who alone is the foundation upon which our lives are built and the grace that “causes” us to stand. We take care not to lay a different foundation, or introduce any other gospel.

3) After many years of considering the matter, I came to a strong conclusion that there is no Scriptural basis to mandate a vegan diet for everyone, but, in fact, enormous scientific support for some nutritional types to include meat. That is not the same as restricting meat or any food on the basis of the way it is produced and processed – the same as we would take care about the air we breathe or the water we drink. Also, I consider that, in the same way our temperament (psychological) needs are subjective and highly individualized, so too are our diet requirements. This means each of us must do our own research to determine which food choices supports us best for health. That search begins with our experience of Christ who guides us into all Truth.

4) Jordan Rubin and Dr. Mercola, who rely heavily on broadly supported, double-blind, unbiased research by trusted scientists, are as passionate and certain about the need for meat and dairy products in the diets of most people as others are about their need for a vegan diet. Personally, my health would not tolerate a meat free diet.

5) Absolutely, there are food choices which disregard God’s provisions for our health, and are harmful. But we take care not to hold up the worst diets to represent every diet that is not our own, as a “straw man” to set on fire. The worst of legalism “sets on fire” every standard that is not its own. Often Satan uses the religious focus as a ploy to neutralize the message of grace. It would be unfortunate for anyone to dismiss my support on the basis that my diet is different from his/hers.

6) I am amazed how the opinions of the most respected experts are sometimes opposite extremes. For example, I heard one of the health resources I trust most say just recently that, instead of 5-6 small meals a day, we should consider eating more in a shorter period of time, perhaps in 1 or 2 meals. He offered some excellent support. Of course, this counters the support other trusted resources give. So we must come to our own conclusions (convictions) concerning the choices we make.

7) It matters who the resources are that support our conclusions. Are they born again? I understand that is not the ultimate qualification, but for me it is an essential start. An unregenerate person may have more understanding of a solution for some needs than a born again person, but in matters of healing (according to God’s redemptive plan), I seek for resources in whom Christ dwells, and am especially trusting and enthusiastic if those resources are experiencing Christ daily through his Word during their quiet-time worship. And I am especially distrusting of the message offered by those who love the god of this age but are hostile to the God of the Bible.

I hope this is helpful and I appreciate your humble spirit to consider it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K21

Support for Grace Parenting: Basics 101

1) Children have inborn essential needs which must be met in order for them to be established in health and happiness.

2) When these needs are not met, they suffer. They don’t “just get over them.” Worse, when they are older, they will begin to make choices for superficial pain relief which will result in addictions.

3) These needs are highly individualized - specific to each child.

4) These needs are body, soul, and spirit – that is,
  • biological (for food, water, oxygen, etc.),
  • psychological (the mind for information, the emotions for affection, especially to feel unconditionally valued – which is not the same as to feel valuable, and the will for decision-making), and
  • spiritual (for holiness and eternal life).
5) God has made provisions to meet these needs through Resources to which children connect.

6) These Resources are
  • Creation (the soil and atmosphere) to meet our biological needs to which we connect through eating, drinking, breathing, exercise, etc.,
  • Community (support/leadership relationships in the home and church) to meet our psychological needs to which we connect through covenant (to come and receive), and especially
  • Christ (his Blood and Resurrected Life) to meet our spiritual/eternal need for redemption/forgiveness – that is, the removal of the penalty of sin (justification), the power of sin (sanctification and holiness), and, one day in Heaven, the presence of sin (glorification) – to which we connect through faith (to trust/receive).
7) Community, of course, is the Resource through which parents serve their children to support their psychological (soul) need for information, affection, and decision-making.

8) God’s parenting relationship to us (to meet our needs) models his plan for our relationship to our children (to meet their needs).
  • He is in a support (nurturing) relationship beneath us, more than in a power (demanding) relationship over us.
  • His love (agape) is a giving love, not a receiving love or a "give and take" love (phileo).
  • This means, his relationship to us is based upon, not what we can do for him, but what we will give him opportunity to do for us.
  • He invests in us in order to set us free.
9) The home is essentially a NT organism (for nurturing), BUT it also has an OT organizational component to it (structure, schedule, rules). Both are critical / indispensable in the home to support the health and happiness needs of children.

For example, young children (both strong-willed and compliant) have a critical need for order/structure (supported by a schedule to which they must comply). When the need is met, they feel valued and supported (in large part because of the experience they have in this way to be attended to for extended amounts of time each day by their loving/patient parents). When it is not, they feel tension and insecurity which will manifest in broken/reactive behavior.

10) God enables us for effectual parenting through our experience of Christ. It is impossible otherwise (Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 3:5; John 15:1-8).

These concepts need discussion and clarification. I welcome the opportunity to help.


DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K20

Week 11/46

The Grace Message: Enjoying the Excitement but Not Excluding the Essentials

Recently, one of the school meal programs offered students free lunches, including pizza, if they would also include a green salad on their plates. The school was elated that the program was working until they noted the kids ate the pizza but threw away the salad.

We parents and teachers lovingly grieve when children do not make the best choices for good health - when they choose candy instead of celery and carrots, videos instead of vitamins, and entertainment instead of exercise. God also lovingly grieves for his children, not so much when we eat the pizza, but because we pass on eating the salad.

And we grieve for ourselves. That’s why we begin each day attending to our health needs (and the health needs of those we serve) – taking time for the choices that renew and increase us, including for diet and exercise, but especially 1) for reading the Scripture in order to hear God communicate his love to us and 2) for quiet-time worship (opening the door of our hearts to receive his Life flowing into us for our renewal of his likeness).

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” – Ephesians 4:30

"Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit." - Ephesians 5:18

The solution to this issue, however, is not restricting the pizza, but providing leadership through example, education, explanation, encouragement, and opportunity which supports children for experiencing God through relationship/intimacy to Christ who births and nurtures in us a passion for health. Children will rebel (in time, if not immediately) to choices that are enforced through demands and intimidation.    

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K19

Grace Leadership: Class Review/Follow Up


This is to follow up on our discussion in our last Grace Leadership class:

1. Our experience of Christ’s leadership in our own lives is the basis for our understanding of grace leadership (organic support for wise choices) - which we live out in managing first ourselves, and then others in the home, church, and community. The words that identify and guide this leadership are:

  • Experience (of God’s leadership in our own lives through his resources, beginning with Christ)
  • Example (personal compliance/response to God’s leadership in our lives)
  • Education (information)
  • Explanation (of information)
  • Expectation (not a focus to keep score of success and failure, but in the sense that the plan/formula is fixed and compliance to it is essential to good outcomes, so is not optional)
  • Encouragement (positive, non-judgmental support for staying the course to make wise choices/investments through affirmation of God’s unconditional love, intense interest, and unfailing commitment)
  • Evaluation (includes scorekeeping to review compliance record, but mostly a focus on results/production)
  • Enforcement (not the same as "forced" and not punishment to pound on failed behavior, but a strategy of discipline to give opportunity for experiencing, rather than circumventing, the “cause and effect” outcome/penalties of wrong choices)
2. Schedule supports us for making the wise choices that increase us in good health which subsequently supports our leadership to others.

3. We schedule the connections to our resources, but we also schedule the choices that support us for making those connections. For EXAMPLE, if I schedule my quiet time for 6:00 (and exercise for 7:00), to support that, I schedule to get out of bed at 5:30, to be out of the BR, drink ACV, have green tea brewing, and dressed for exercise by 5:45, and in order to have 15 minutes for easy warm up, stretching, and upper body strength exercises.

Every choice is supported by the choice before it. So we schedule not only the choices we make to include God’s provisions in our lives, but more importantly we schedule the choices that support those choices.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/11K17

Week 11/45

For Healing, A Miracle Touch and Modern Medical Treatment, Both Examples of Extremes: The Missed Message

The grace solution is never the extreme of one direction or its opposite, but is always the third option, which sometimes is in the middle. For example, a minister friend says he has just begun to consider that God heals (that is, his understanding of healing - which is superficial relief from/absence of symptoms) through modern medical treatment, meaning drugs and surgery and the like, that he thinks it is a significant breakthrough in his understanding from his prior insistence that his only hope for healing (again, his definition of it) is a miracle act of God to “touch” his body. He is not asking me any questions on the subject so I am not laboring to tell him that -

For whatever might be said about God's use of traditional medical solutions for managing symptoms, or his intervention to perform miracles for healing, God’s first call to us is for us to connect daily and remain connected (John 15:4-7, "abide," Gr. meno “to wait, remain, stay, continue with expectancy”) to his resources in creation (soil and atmosphere), community (support leadership in the home and church), and especially Christ (by the Holy Spirit through Scripture reading, confession of need, and quiet-time worship).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K09

Deep Conviction of Truth: Identifying the Doctrines We Fight For or Don't

We do not waver in our conviction and understanding concerning the essential doctrines of Scripture (identified in the GracePoint Statement of Faith, especially concerning Christ, his Virgin Birth, Sinless Life, Vicarious Death, Resurrection from the Dead, and Second Coming, and also concerning Man, his Total Depravity and Salvation by Grace through Faith.)

However, there are other beliefs we would not passionately debate, and so would be open to the presentation of other views held by honest and godly persons who take time daily to read the Scripture in order to hear God, in order to experience him through quiet-time worship.

We take care about the integrity of our beliefs – whether it is conviction, or just the need to be right and intolerance to being wrong. Otherwise, we may find ourselves fighting for nonessentials, but having no deep conviction about the essentials, or maybe not knowing the difference.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K08

God's Life in Us: Grace Support for Surviving Adversity

See Presentations/Talks to Groups (Audio/Video)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K07

Week 11/44

Quiet Time Reading in the Psalms (119:73-77)

See Presentations/Talks to Groups (Audio/Video)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K04

Experiencing Christ: More Than Participation in Programs or Performing Duties, the Critical Goal of Grace Leadership for Those It Serves 

The first goal for the ministry of grace leadership in the home and church is for those it serves to take quiet time each day for reading the Scripture in order to hear God communicate Truth (particularly concerning his love for us and our need for him) in order to experience Christ.

This means, if members of the home and church do not perform duties or participate in programs, but take time daily without fail for the quiet time worship experience, the chief goal of grace leadership is accomplished.

That’s because, their most critical and essential need is to experience Christ.

Without him (most essentially, his love, joy, and peace), they have no hope for psychological health (the base support for wise choices) - in the same way they would have no hope for physical health (a secondary support for wise choices) without food, water, oxygen, and exercise, which means their attempts for "going and doing" will be ineffective and inconsistent, and soon result in burnout, frustration, discouragement, and failure.

But their experience of Christ will transform their values so that they follow through to connect to the resources God has provided in creation (soil and atmosphere) and community (leadership in the home and church) which support them for making wise choices for health and for living out their calling in redemptive service to others.

"Without me," Jesus said, "you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K03

Spanking: A Substitute for Good Parenting

Smacking or spanking a child is not necessary. Beatings are abuse and criminal.

I personally do not know of any born again parents who ever beat their children. But we reformed legalists have memories of spanking our children. It was based on the misinformation we were given by our mentors. I spanked infrequently, but I spanked hard (enough to sting my own hand) in order to make an impression so that I would not need to do it again (It made sense to me!). I energetically smacked the sides of their butts or thighs with my hand 7 times. (That seemed like a pious number in the name of the Lord.) The child-rearing experts say two times is enough. I didn't have enough sense or maturity to do that. I don’t remember using a belt, but I may have. (My parents used a hickory switch on me, maybe a dozen times, although I don’t remember but once or twice. It stung, but never really hurt, just made me mad. I was often hurt far worse playing football. Still I hated it.) And I never spanked in anger. But I do remember crying because I hated having to do it. There were other ways to teach, but I did not have the time or skills for that.

I remember spanking my son when he was 4 or 5 years old because he disappeared from our fenced backyard. I found him in the house next door. After a long lecture in our garage, I executed 7 stinging smacks with my hand to his thigh. He wailed and reported later that he “thunk” he was going to die. I did the same one night after taking him from a church service because he was not sitting as quietly as I expected him to. (Before he was born, I had seen my mentors do that, so thought it was what good parents did.) He peed in his pants.

I grieve for any spanking I gave them (I vaguely remember spanking my daughter one time, although it may have been more.) None of it was necessary. And if it was, it was because of my poor parenting. I understand today that children have essential inborn needs for information (education, explanation, example, expectation, encouragement, and enforcement / opportunity to experience outcome of wrong choices), affection (to be unconditionally valued), and decision-making support. If these needs are not met, they hurt. Their misbehavior is not really the problem, but a symptom of the problem, which is brokenness rooted in unmet needs.

Grace parenting takes the time to invest in the needs of children. Spanking is what we do when we don’t take the time or know how to do that. Abuse is touching a child in anger, whether it is a beating or a slap.

If you need to get their attention, snap your fingers or slap your own hand in their faces. But take care about putting your hands on them. (In church, my dad thumped me a time or two on the back of my head. It didn’t hurt but it sounded in my ears like my head was hollow.)

One last point: A friend called to say he would like to get his hands on Judge William Adams. I told him he may have learned that reaction from his parents.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11K02

Week 11/43

The Dynamics of Teaching and Understanding the Color of Truth

We rejoice for the opportunity God gives us to understand Truth, and also to teach it to others. Consider:

1. Truth is information/revelation concerning God’s Redemptive Plan. It is the Mind of Christ (what God knows).

2. The understanding and confidence God gives us concerning Truth could be represented by a color (or any artwork such as a painting, musical piece, etc.).

3. There is only one Truth, so only one color would represent it.

4. This is not true, however, concerning all information. The understanding / confidence of information concerning some subjects/concepts is relevant, so that no particular color would necessarily represent a standard, because several different shades of that color might be valid.

5. No one in this lifetime or even in eternity will fully comprehend the color that represents Truth. But it is the ongoing communicating/teaching work of the Holy Spirit to birth, nurture, and increase in us our understanding of Truth.

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – John 14:26

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then (when he who is perfect has come into our lives and we are in his presence) we shall see more fully. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12

6. This means the color we communicate to others will not perfectly represent/reflect the Mind of Christ (Truth), but God will use our increasing comprehension of it to support others who are beginning their journey to also be increased in understanding.

7. This also means the student’s understanding of Truth (comprehension of its color) will not perfectly reflect that color. But it is the ongoing work of the teacher to support the student for his/her understanding of Truth so that it increasingly becomes so.

8. The human disposition of arrogance is a barrier to our receiving Truth, but the grace of humility supports us for receiving it from God and from those through whom he provides guidance.

“An Ethiopian eunuch was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ’How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” - Acts 8:26-31

9. The dynamic of the teacher is not a substitute for our dependence upon the Holy Spirit about whom Jesus said,

“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.” – 1 John 2:27

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J28

When Our Experience of Christ Becomes Boring: An Explanation for Spiritual Coldness

I occasionally have spiritual coldness (for lack of a better expression to describe it). Except for about every morning before I get to my quiet time, it does not happen often. I hate the experience. Sometimes I can identify the reason - for example, not feeling well physically, or watching (instead of turning off) a movie or tv program that has no redemptive value. Also, after a long day of ministry, my spiritual reserves are sometimes depleted. But there have been times I did not really know the reason for the coldness.

The symptoms of this coldness are 1) my faith, joy, and peace dissipate (worry, discouragement, and tension increase), 2) my care for others evaporates, 3) my interest in personal health wanes, and 4) my desire for God diminishes. Also, 5) my comprehension/appreciation of Truth dies. The same Truth that had earlier rejoiced my heart now makes no sense to me and is boring. Even some of my own writings and musings to communicate the message of grace suddenly make no sense and, on follow-up readings, I am embarrassed that I wrote them.

That’s because, I think, God not only gives us Truth, he also, by his presence in us, gives us the capacity to comprehend and appreciate the Truth. Without our experience of him, our experience of Truth is dead and cold.

But when I am renewed, every experience returns that God makes possible by his presence within us. What seemed like idiocy to me once again stirs and rejoices my heart.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11/J/27

Singing Heard in Heaven

After listening to this song (below), I imagined I visited Heaven on the Lord's Day, found it very still and quiet except for strains of music in the distance, and, as I walked toward it, saw a large crowd gathered to hear some singing which I recorded to share with you.

Amazing Grace

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J26

Rush, Right-Wing Politics, and Religion: Superficial Supports for National Renewal

I am a political, fiscal, and social conservative, so I like Rush Limbaugh’s position on those issues. Also Sean Hannity, Michael Reagan, and Glenn Beck (except for his strong religious message that our good behavior wins God’s favor). I appreciate Oliver North, Dick Morris, and a few others. And I am not timid to say so. But America’s greatest need is not political; it is to experience Christ. When man’s values are rooted in Christ, he makes wise choices that support his personal health and also the health of his family and community.

Speaking of Rush, recently he bragged about how right he is on the issues, how brilliant he is intellectually, and even how wonderful his voice sounds (particularly so on that day, he thought). He does that facetiously, I suspect, to irritate the liberals, and also because he knows they hate him anyhow, so he obliges to give them a little something else to hate him for.

But it is more than that. Right-wing politics, the same as religion, (especially the charismatic/hocus pocus version of it) is based in performance. So, of course, since the explanation for their success is themselves (their performances), they tend to deny any personal brokenness or failure.

However, our experience/understanding of God’s love (mercy) and grace (faithful provisions) produces in us a different disposition, so that, rather than boasting of our powers, we do not hesitate to grieve/confess our brokenness, and also to celebrate our confidence in the support that flows into our lives through our experience of Christ.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” – I Corinthians 5:10

“For by grace (God’s provisions) you are saved through faith… not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J25

Week 11/42

The Tale of Two Churches

A man sought out good ground to sow a garden. When he found it, he sought to purchase it, but its owner explained the land was being reserved for a cemetery. The cemetery was built, and the garden was not, so the dead were honored, and the living forgotten.

Indeed we honor the dead, and seek to minister to those who have lost family and friends, but we always take care not to miss appreciating the weighter matter of investing for life. Jesus intended this understanding in his words to the son who gave more weight to attending a funeral than to following Christ.

"Follow me," Jesus said to him, "and let the dead bury their own dead" (Matthew 8:22).

Jesus spoke also about this in his parable of the rich fool who stored up things for himself on earth but was not rich toward God. He took good care to maintain his house and lands, maintain his vehicles and equipment, strategize for his business and income, and even to care for his body, but missed the essential investments for his soul and for eternity (Luke 12:13-21).

That is the reason Jesus said to his disciples, “What have you profited if you gain the whole world but lose your soul” (Luke 9:25).

A large sign on a busy highway in front of an old white, framed church building north of our city reads, “Help save this church”. It's an ongoing effort to raise funds to preserve an historical site. I love old buildings and our heritage, so want to know myself where I can contribute. But ten thousands times more, my heart is passionate for sowing the seed of the gospel into the world for its healing.

Also in our town, another church, this one with a rich history of evangelism, declined in number through the years so that only a few remained. Their assets were large, their membership close-knit, and their times together were still very enjoyable. But last year the small group considered whether the redemptive work of Christ in the world mattered to them as it once did, also whether to continue their meetings for the sake of food, fun, and fellowship, or to seek a return to the work God had first given them. Their decision was to invite new leadership who supported them for making investments which resulted in their own renewal so that today they once again are growing in grace and being increased in their enablement for redemptive service in their community.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J20

Experiencing the Consequences of Our Choices: A Leading Evidence of God’s Love (Or, Why At First We May Pee A Lot?)

God’s (grace) provisions flow from (out of and because of) his mercy. We see evidence for this in that the flow of his provisions to renew us remains faithful and effectual (does not diminish or expire), even though we may have neglected or even rejected it. In other words, there is no judgment or condemnation against us in the sense that, when we return to open the door, we find it shut and locked as a penalty for our neglect/rejection.

But we also see evidence of God’s mercy in that, according to the law of sowing and reaping which he ordained in our best interest to govern creation, he does not exempt us from the outcomes of our poor choices.

For an easy example to illustrate, God created our bodies so that, through regular exercise, our bodies can be increased in their capacity to use oxygen for energy (which, of course, increases strength and production). If we neglect exercise, however, for an extended period of time, we will experience a decline in energy for the workout on the day we return. That’s because, during the hiatus, our bodies lost their ability to uptake oxygen, leaving us short winded (although the oxygen supply and intake/breathing may be the same as before). This is also true about water and explains why when we first begin to drink it in the amounts we should, our bodies (according to some studies/reports) don’t know at first what to do with it, so gets rid of it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J19

God’s Call to Receive His Enablement: Our Model for Ministry to Others

The list of good works we can do in service to others and to which God calls us is long. Our living out that call is actually Christ working in and through us, his Body, the Church, to accomplish his redemptive work in the world. That means, it is not our work, but God's, making him the enablement and explanation for it, and that we can no more do it than jump to touch a 15-foot ceiling or run a 3-minute mile. So we make confession of that and don’t try. However, we do understand that God has provided support to us by birthing and renewing his Life within us which enables us for effectual ministry to others, so that, what would otherwise be impossible, becomes possible. This is the meaning of:

“Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), and

“I worked harder than anyone, yet not I, but it was the grace of God working through me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

This call of God to us to “come and receive” so that we are supported and enabled to “go and serve” is the model for our grace ministry to others.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J18

Big "Ben Crane" Fan Celebrating Favorites, But Staying Focused on the Real Meaning of Winning.

I know what it is to celebrate championships, though more as a fan than a player. The Atlanta Braves were fun to pull for during the 1990’s when they were winning 14 straight division titles. I have enjoyed the success of Phil Mickelson and also like it when David Toms wins. I am also a big Tim Tebow fan, and am happy about the sudden turn around for his opportunities in Denver. I am a huge Georgia Bulldog (mostly Coach Mark Richt) fan. And there have been a few others teams in the past that were fun for me, including the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970’s and the Yankees (Mickey Mantle, my all-time favorite) in my childhood. Recently, I have been happy about the unbelievable comeback of the St. Louis Cardinals to win the NL Pennant. Pujols, Berkman, and Holiday are all outspoken Christians. Also, this past weekend, Ben Crane came from 7 shots back with 11 holes to play to win. He’s a good guy and I am happy for him.

But their accomplishments were not wins. Maybe for performances they were, but not for life. Wins from a counseling perspective are the choices we make each day to include God’s provisions into our lives which increase us in health and happiness.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J17

Week 11/41

Don: I sense from reading Matthew 24 that things are going to get worse in the world. What has God giving you on this matter?

World conditions are absolutely going to get worse, much worse. The Bible is clear on that. In the same way a man (each of us) dies, so also mankind and all his kingdoms will die. This dying or decline toward death began 6000 years ago when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. Ultimately, all the water (life) leaks out of the bucket (physics second law of thermodynamics). It is appointed/ordered by God (Hebrews 9:27).

But not so fast (I like to say)! God is merciful (which is that virtue about God from which his grace provisions flow to us)! Otherwise, he would have thrown Adam and Eve (mankind) into the trash (so to speak). Instead, he immediately made provisions for our recovery, beginning with Christ, but including also all he has given us in creation (the soil and atmosphere) for our biological recovery and through community (support/leadership relationships in the home and church) for our psychological healing (mind, emotions, and will). This means, we, as world nations, organizations, and individuals, can extend our health and longevity as we give opportunity for his grace provisions to flow into our lives.

So, yes, ultimately, the external and material will come to its last breath. But according to the Bible, this is when God intervenes to take us home, and for mankind, to set up his Kingdom on earth for a thousand years, and then afterward, to culminate all things in Heaven for eternity. To that we say "Amen!"

I love your email and rejoice for the work God is doing in your heart, also your family.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J14

Over Emphasis on Eating: Reversing God’s Redemptive Order

We do well not to allow certain elements into our bodies, including, of course, drugs and alcohol and certain "foods." And not just elements we ingest through the mouth, but also that we breathe and absorb through the skin.

However, far more critically, we do well to take care about the influences we allow into our minds. That’s because we are transformed most deeply and redemptively by the renewal, not of our bodies, but of our minds.

This means we take more care about what we see and hear than what we eat. Religion/Legalism turns that around, of course. Jesus dealt with this issue (Matthew 15:1-20) and so did Paul (Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8).

“Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” – Romans 12:2

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J10

Week 11/40 

Schedule: Clock Support More Critical for Receiving than for Giving

My friend said he lived by the clock for most of his life and that he celebrated taking his watch off on the very day he retired. He was good to understand that attention to time is critical to support us for the performance of our duties, including for our employment, but he missed, I think, understanding that giving attention to time (schedule) is far more critical for supporting the receiving choices we make that establish us in health than it is for the going and giving choices we make that generate income. He is considering this concept now as the reason for his broken health.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J07

Speaking and Hearing Miracles a Must for Grace Message to Make Sense

I’ve heard myself on audio recordings, so I know I am not a good speaker. Except in the sense that a wanna-be American Idol contestant thinks he or she can sing (I can't sing either). You would not want to drive too far to hear me speak.

Of course there was a day. But I had a different message then (performance based rather than investment based) which I presented with more heat than light (the same as a coach in the locker room before the big game), so had a more responsive audience than I do now. No one went to sleep on me in those days. They do so now and in my face. Who can blame them? If it weren’t for my self-interest, I would put myself to sleep.

That’s not to say anything is out of order in terms of God’s redemptive plan for my ministry to others. When God birthed GracePoint, he had in mind certain persons (a very limited number, apparently) who needed the message he would give them through my speaking. But he also gave them ears to hear it so that, when I spoke, they recognized the message was for them from God. To them, I spoke as “never man spoke” (John 7:46; 10:16).

This may have been part of the experience at Pentecost when “God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven … each one heard the Apostles speak in (their) own language” (Acts 2:5-6). It was a miracle! God gave hearing to the crowd so that they understood a message which would have otherwise been missed.

I rely on this miracle each time I speak.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J06

Seeker Seriously Searching for Church Calling the Hurting to Health

One of my very favorite Dr. Very Well Knowns is strong to insist that we are so wonderfully blessed in America that most of us can find a good church within 5 miles of our homes.

Maybe so, but that would be based on his and the seeker’s identity of a good church. If it is a church that provides programs for going and giving (motivated by guilt, fear, and ego), he is right. But if the need is for a church that calls us to come and receive, he is mistaken.

Surely such churches exist, but based on my search at least, they must be rare. In fact, I am still looking. And if I find one, I will be beside myself with rejoicing, and maybe even ask God to release me from GracePoint so that I can go join it.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11J05

Positive Thinking: A Hocus-Pocus Hope for Health

The local church sign reads, “All things are possible if you believe.” Of course, that is true, but not if by “believe” it is meant “to think positive” which, I suspect, is the sense intended.

I wished thinking positive was the ticket. Think of it! That would mean, good outcomes (health and happiness) would not be the result of the “sowing and reaping” choices we make, but of our strength and skill to resist/reject doubts and negative thoughts so that we could maintain a mental state of affirmation concerning a desired outcome. Talk about hocus-pocus!

But our best understanding of the word “believe” is “to receive God’s provisions (enabled by the faith/conviction the Holy Spirit gives us through his Word) for meeting our needs in the sense of including them into our lives (the same as we would drink water or eat food with confidence of a promised/predictable outcome).

DonLoy Whisnant/ The Grace Perspective 10J04

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