We were touching our city. In our sanctuary the poor and the homeless, the victims of HIV and Hepatitis C and drug addicts and alcoholics mixed with the prosperous and the righteous. We were "doing it the right way."

I was driving to my office early on a Sunday morning. As I passed the homes of neighbors and strangers - mostly unbelievers - words rang in my mind: "Mercy and Grace..."  And suddenly I heard another Voice. It was His Voice, speaking to me. "You're altogether too harsh."

I was shocked! I was one of the most loving, accepting, forgiving men in town! How could God call me "harsh?" Yet He         said it because I was just that; harsh in comparison with His heart. I was judgmental, critical, self-righteous; cloaked in a costume of holiness.

That morning I would enter a wilderness journey created to teach me, as no other instructor could teach me the      meaning of those words: Mercy and Grace.

We want to "do it the right way." We want to please God. Sometimes we just want to "make points" with heaven. But      we don't "make points" and we can't please God without actually understanding those words: Mercy, Grace. Because        they are so much more than "just words." I couldn't know the true meaning and the true spirit of those words until I        had walked through the valley of judgment and endured the agony of looking at my own heart and considering my own motives. I began to see His heart and His mercy and grace toward me even in the pit of my self-created ugliness. And slowly, painfully I began to change. And that change allowed me to see with new eyes; to understand with a new heart;    to speak with a new compassion.

In nearly thirty-seven years of ministry, with all the education and all the instruction and all the learning I think I've only learned three things for certain: 1) God is 2) His love for mankind is greater than our hearts can know or our words can        say and 3) Our Creator's greatest desire is that we - the collective "we" of the world; red and yellow, black and white;       all of us, should spend forever with Him in His heaven.

And greater than all our mixed up theologies and all our cultural predispositions and our “holy” prejudices are those    words: "Mercy and Grace."

I think I would rather possess two ounces of mercy and grace than a trillion tons of prophetic gifting or apostolic    anointing or slick, charismatic appeal. And that’s My Worldview.....for now.





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