In HOPE 6.14                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

One of the premier "grace authors" of our day is Brennan Manning. Another great book by him is The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus (Revell, 1986, 2004; 220 pages). Larry Crabb wrote of it: "As I read these honest, grace-saturated words, I could taste familiar water, living water that only people who are thirsty for life can enjoy. Read it -- and hope again!"

Hope Happenings

Hope International University will conduct its Spring Commencement exercises on May 20. Many students are doing final exams, projects, and papers, and we look forward to what LeRoy Lawson used to describe as "pay-day" - the celebration of a course successfully completed and lives beginning a new season.


Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831



"You will trust God only as much as you love Him. And you will love Him not because you have studied Him; you will love Him because you have touched Him -- in response to His touch."  (Brennan Manning)

Watching Our Language

Cuss-words, swearing, and crudity are as common in today's language as fleas on a dog. Unavoidable, inevitable, and all over the place. Not that it's desirable or acceptable; just that it's common. Followers of Christ would do well to take a flea bath on a regular basis.

But a more subtle and sinister language slips straight through our defences and may prove significantly more harmful.

The language that has found its way into the Christian bloodstream and threatens to undermine the gospel in our lives, is the language of law. Most folk are fluent in this destructive dialect.

The language of law repeatedly uses terms of obligation, duty, and demand. Listen to yourself speak. Read what you write. And look for terms like "should, ought, have to, need to, and must." I should do more Bible study. I ought to pray more. I must do more in ministry. I need to be more compasisonate. Etc. Every statement is couched in the language of obligation and does little more than compound our guilt and deaden our joy.

Why do so many of us speak about grace but actually live by law? We tout freedom in Christ but live oppressed by the duties (and our failures) of the faith. Real grace and liberation will result in (and may be the result of) a new language.

The language of grace uses a different set of terms. I want to read more. I'd like to give. I desire to serve. I choose to pray. Etc.

Only as we voice this latter language will the shackles of the law begin to loosen and the freedom of the gospel begin to flood our hearts like a burst dam pouring into the valley below. It sounds so terribly simple ... replacing one range of words with another and resisting the bondage of duty.

As we watch our language, especially the insidious law language that seems endemic to the gospel community, we'll not only enjoy new freedom ourselves but we'll begin extending true freedom to others. The world criticizes the Church with good cause when we proclaim good news and then beat ourselves constantly with terms of obligation, duty, and demand.

A huge step forward for all of us might come as we employ grace language and discard the noxious language of the law.

Let's watch our language this week -- and be shaped by it. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free!" (Gal 5.1)



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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

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