Today I want to interview my friend Steve Austin from jams reevaluation.com. He has an incredible revelation of the love of God and I thought that it would be beneficial for us to hear from him.
Ethan, thanks so much for the opporutnity to dialogue with you and to share with those who visit your site. I’m a huge fan of your writing and I believe in what you are doing with all my heart! I’m so thankful for the common passion that we share in making God’s grace known.
Ethan: Steve, When did you learn about grace?
I’ll let you know when I stop learning! Thankfully, grace is something I continue to learn about on a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute, basis. I learn it every time that my wife forgives me. I learn about grace each time my three-year-old says, “Dada, you’re my best buddy”.
Grace was taught to me in the amazing way that many people responded to the news of my suicide attempt a couple of years ago. When I had given up on myself, there were several folks who listened to God and said, “No way. We’re not giving up on you. God hasn’t forgotten you.”
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a student in my former youth group, and the crux of the message was, “I was shocked and hurt when I found out what you did, but I forgive you and I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for always speaking grace into my life and for living out the message that ‘Grace is Messy’ in front of us all. I love you.”
I learn about grace every single time that I find myself at the foot of the Cross, begging for forgiveness and another chance–it’s during those times when I am pleading that I hear my Abba, as he whispers to my soul, “Be at peace. I’ve already purchased your pardon and your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”
Ethan: How can we best share grace to people without seeming overbearing?
I see it like this: while my theology is fairly conservative, my methods are extremely liberal. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to God except through Jesus, but I believe that He has called us to be “all things to all people” so that by all means some might come to know the freedom and hope that exist in a relationship with this God of Grace.
More often than not, saints expect sinners to act like saints. WRONG EXPECTATION. Expect sinners to sin. That’s what they do. That’s who they are. Sinners sin. I’d hang with saints a bit more, if they whined a bit less and loved a little more.
Laugh with sinners. Kick back and hang out with them. Love them. Not only with an effort to change them. Not only with a hidden agenda to make a convert. But out of friendship. Form a relationship and show them what true Christianity is all about.
1 John 4:20-21; Matthew 6:1
Ethan: What would you tell someone who thinks they are too messed up for God?
My wife Lindsey and I are fully comitted to one another after what was truly a few years of hell, doubt, fear, and “what ifs”, but if God can radically transform our marriage, give us two beautiful children, and satisfy the longings of our hearts, He can do the very same thing for you. When the world says, “you can’t”, God says, “I Am” and that is present tense:
Do you feel hopeless? “I AM” your hope.
Do you feel alone?“I AM” friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Do you feel afraid? “I AM” your strong tower and mighty warrior.
Do you feel like an outcast?“I AM” the friend of sinners and saints.
Do you have a need? “I AM” the answer to your every need.
Our journeys remind me a great deal of sitting on the bank of a moving river as it ebbs and flows, in and out, back and forth, toward and away from the riverbank. Our stories are much the same, as they ebb and flow, toward the Cross and away. Our beliefs seem to hold much more firmly than our actions show at times; yet, His Grace and Love have never failed me.