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Honored and Awed—This is What Graciousness Looks Like

Honored and Awed—This is What Graciousness Looks Like

by Pastor Scott Thomas

November 13, 2009

 

After the Acts 29 Boot Camp in Louisville, Dr Al Mohler, Jr, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, opened his home to six Acts 29 influential leaders: Matt Chandler, Daniel Montgomery, Jamie Munson, Darrin Patrick, Steve Timmis and me. Dan Dumas, Senior Vice President at the Seminary joined in our discussion. We were honored and awed as we walked around Dr Mohler’s personal library and talked about Southern Baptist heritage, denominations and Networks and antiquarian books, including the Textus Receptus, and a first edition of John Owens’ work, The Death of the Death of Christ.

 

    Dr Albert Mohler, Jr

 

Grace Exemplified

Dr. Mohler, the uber-intelligent and catalytic leader of the largest seminary in the world, opened up his home, his heart, his humor, his head and his humility (it’s Baptist and has to be alliterated) He honored us for four hours as we chatted candidly in the most impressive personal library/museum I have ever seen. I recorded some video but I have not obtained permission to share this rare footage.

 

Gracious is defined in the following way and I think it characterized the evening brilliantly.

 

  1. Characterized by kindness and warm courtesy.
  2. Characterized by tact and propriety: responded to the insult with gracious humor.
  3. Of a merciful or compassionate nature.
  4. Condescendingly courteous; indulgent.
  5. Characterized by charm or beauty; graceful.
  6. Characterized by elegance and good taste: gracious living.
  7. Archaic Enjoying favor or grace; acceptable or pleasing.

 

Grace Understood

 The word “grace” is used in the New Testament to refer to God’s giving to us out of His love for us, a giving that is unrestricted because our former condemnation has been removed, our penalty has been paid, God’s righteousness and justice have been satisfied, and we are “in Christ” and share the love that the Father has for His own Son.

 

Grace Orientated

Graciousness demonstrated is an expression of the gospel to others. It is borne in our hearts out of the grace we receive from Jesus. It is gospel living by forgiving others of their wrongs and extending to them a gift of any nature without merit and without expectant reciprocity. God has forgiven all of us who are absolutely without resources of our own.  He is not expecting or demanding some kind of payment in return for His Grace gifts.  We are to orient our lives to be channels of grace to the world and to one another.

 

That is the kind of grace we received from Dr Mohler and we were pointed to the grace of God through it.

 

After chapel at the Seminary where Matt Chandler preached, Dr Mohler approached me and thanked me for coming over the evening prior. I told him that he blessed and honored us with his time and hospitality. He said he wrote an article that night after we left and published it because he said he was the one that was blessed. I was again blown away by the grace he continued to demonstrate.  

 

Grace Applied

Dr Mohler spoke generously of Acts 29 and we discussed the spotted rifts we have experienced with some Southern Baptist leaders. Our posture has maintained that we love the SBC, even if disagreements exist. Of the eight main sessions at our recent boot camp at Sojourn, an SBC church, five were Southern Baptist pastors, We are in this together.

 

As a Network, we want to pursue the extension of grace in humility and respectfully request grace from those in the Convention who might misunderstand our mission or motivation. I believe we can image the gospel through our mutual grace orientated collaboration for the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom through the planting of local churches.

 

Thanks for planting that example of graciousness in our hearts, Dr Mohler. We are more in awe of God’s grace to us as a result.

 

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Scott Thomas has served as the President of Acts 29 Network and a Pastor at Mars Hill Church. Scott has been a pastor for 30 years—first as a youth pastor and then as a lead pastor and church planter/church replanter for 16 years.