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Grace for Grown Ups - Storyboard

What is Grace for Grown Ups all about?  I’m sure we've all said it, we see friends who we haven't seen for a while and when we meet their children our first reaction is to say something like, "my how you’ve grown!  I knew you when you were a baby!" I'm not sure why we're surprised - growth is normal. This book is about growth - ours. Not our natural growth, but our spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is normal too.  In fact the Apostle John enumerates our growth journey from child, to teenager, and to adult in his first letter.  Order your copy now

One of the main prompts for me to write this book is that too many of us are failing to grow. We're not growing up, not because we don't want to, but because our growth is being stunted.
Paul tells us that the Lord has appointed people to various functions and endowed them with various gifts - we know them as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers - but what we may have missed is that their role is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12), and this we must continue to do until:
“We all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.." (Eph 4:13-16)
 
So, why don't we grow?
 
Well, I think, wittingly or unwittingly, just like a bonsai tree, we’ve been planted in a shallow pot - a church, job, whatever - in which it is impossible for our roots to burrow down into life-giving soil, and just like a bonsai, every time we are ready to branch out we are pruned with the shears of legalism.
 
Having laid the foundations of the Christian life in part one of the series, Safe and Sound, we now pick up our application of John’s discussion on the three phases of the Christian life (1 John 2:12-14), by considering the young man’s journey.   John gives us four areas where we can expect growth. These powerful characteristics all flow from this one supreme truth - The Word abides in the teenager:
 
In the opening chapter, Milk Teeth, we get to think about spiritual development through the window of a developing child, and quickly discover that growing up is painful. Some of things we were proud of as children must be wrenched from us as we grow, enabling us to move forward.  Carrying forward the haven’t you grown analogy, the following chapter, When I was a child, proposes that much of our growth is unconscious, and how we should expect to outgrow things – including much of our theology.  
Grasshopper Syndrome is the story of the children of Israel spying out a land inhabited by giants.  We will reflect upon who we really are, namely, fully functioning persons - the sum total of the Christians’ journey into maturity. 
 
The Bar Mitzvah boy is about being plunged into the world of the teenager.  The key thought here is about identity and identification and continues our journey into fully functioning personhood. As we discover in The Peter Principle, we aren’t immune to the odd lapse on our way to adulthood.  In fact as we shall see, these lapses have a God-meant-it-for-good way of holding up a mirror to our self-sufficiency.    
 
The next chapter, Adam where are you? gives us an insight into the Fall seen through the lens of conversations between the Edenic protagonists.  I wanted to find a way to transport us back to the Garden of Eden and stand us next to Jesus to observe the turmoil.  We shall also look into the demonic strategy which worked to such good effect against the First Adam, but then, in the following chapter, The Silencing of Satan, came up woefully short against the Last Adam, Jesus. By recounting the story of how Jesus overpowered Satan we will understand that true insight cannot be understood by a cognitive process but must rather be caught through personal experience.  Once caught, there is no escape - we don't have it, it has us! 
 
Having laid the foundation in the foregoing chapters, Just see it! is the first of the - so what, how does this all cash out in real life? - chapters.   Our topic is faith, not ours but His, and how that faith operates in us.  In Convicted we discuss John (16:8-11) and see the key things that the Holy Spirit must convict us of for graduation from the teenage-phase.  Convicted is a call to arms – to adventure – to divine life. 
 
The truth is that not many of us come to Christ because life was working out for us without Him.  Most of us, myself especially, were washed up on the shores of the Christian life broken and discouraged.  In the chapter - From overcome to overcomer - we’ll see how God makes victors out of victims.
 
Those readers who are anxious to do more than simply read about the divine life, but desire to participate in it fully, will rightly ask – how?  How do we move from professing faith in Jesus to possessing the faith of Jesus?  Soaking the fruits is an answer to that most urgent of questions.
 
I must confess a certain fondness for the The Word and His words. Of all the things I have learnt in my journey, those I share in this chapter are among the most important.  
With knowledge comes responsibility. In the chapter entitled, “You’ve still got the other three”, I want to set us up to realise that as we grow up into Him, we will assume a duty of care for those whom Jesus cares for, meaning all of us.  Using one of a number of little parables from my own life I will aim to recast the profound nature of eternal security. 
 
The penultimate chapter Love GROWS will appeal to the activists amongst you.  Love, as we learnt in the part one of this trilogy, Safe and Sound, love is not an emotion, it is a person, and not just any person, The Person of God, and He is living and active – and He is living and active in us, it is of course God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure to will and to do His great pleasure. In this chapter we will ask the question what happens around us when this love GROWS inside of us.    
I end with a very personal story about overcoming self, It ain’t over till you sing with the fat lady. It is not a story I’m proud of, but hey, what’s the point of growing pains if we don’t share the lessons learnt with others.   
 
One last thing, biblical language, such as father, young man, sons, man, and personal pronouns such as he, his, him, are to be seen as analogous and therefore gender-neutral. 
Enjoy the book - please do feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss any aspects of it - most of all grow in grace.  
 
PODCAST | Premier Radio 11.04.15 | Grace For Grown Ups | Understanding the economy of grace.  | Premier Radio 11.04.15 | Grace For Grown Ups | Understanding the economy of grace. 
 
 
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