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GraceNotes

Pastoral thoughts on growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Law of Liberty

May 4, 2017 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

The law of liberty squelches every impulse that I have to again get on the ladder, again climb the treadmill, again be the judge, again find my identity and worth in how I am doing. Because I look hard at this law which frees me, and I lose my confidence in me. I am pushed again to my only hope, Jesus.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Is the Gospel Too Free?

March 24, 2017 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

One objection to a full-throated proclamation of the Gospel is that it is too free. Proclaiming Christ alone as a free gift, the objection goes, encourages people not to work themselves. To help with that objection, here’s a classic treatment from John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress. ... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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The Truth You Know

February 2, 2017 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

In a world that focuses on moral improvement, social betterment, and accumulation of power and wealth, we need every tool we can get to drive into our own hearts the most important of truths: that our salvation is in Christ alone, by his blood alone, of his love alone.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Love God and Love People

January 4, 2017 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

... keeping the law is not what it means to be Christian. Trusting Christ is what it means to be Christian. Trusting that he took those requirements of the law and nailed them to the Cross. Trusting that we are dead to the law, but alive in his perfection and power.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Geysers and Rivulets

December 9, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Jesus isn't just the headwater of our faith, like a roaring stream has a little tributary that starts it off. Jesus is the geyser, and he gets us wet. He's the force and the power. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, reminding us of all that he's done and all that he's promised. We have life if he gets us wet ... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Assurance Today!

October 13, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Faith itself has to have a strong strand of assurance built in. That's because our belief is in Jesus and what he has done, rather than in what we do. So faith is believing that what Jesus has done and what he has said is actually true… which is the very message that he by his work and action has secured our salvation.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Reading Your Bible, Finding Jesus

September 17, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

The Scriptures lay out the gracious, beautiful, wonderful standard of what God requires. That standard doesn't affirm the moral person, it crushes everyone. And to the crushed, the beauty of the perfect Savior is a balm and a wonder. The Gospel says Jesus has done it all. He is the Lord and Savior. He's got the power; he redeems. His salvation is more than we can imagine...... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Friends with Jesus

July 16, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Could it really be true that everything, simply everything, is about Jesus? That life is about his strength, his sacrifice, his righteousness? What does that birth in your heart?... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Paul, Jesus, and Me

June 27, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

And when I see my unworthiness, I see that there is just one message. That we are unworthy, unclean, unrighteous, unable. And yet God, in his great mercy, while we were dead, made us alive in Christ. Jesus loved us in this midst of this state that we are in… and by what he did, we are united to him, given righteousness, made to belong, adopted, put in the family, sealed with the Spirit, kept for heaven, admitted into the holy Kingdom where God rules.... Keep Reading

Longing for the Kingdom

April 29, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Walk with me; let your heart long. Because the kingdom, it comes, surely as Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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I Want Good Works

March 24, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

You do realize, believer, that you are now a child of God. And that you have the Holy Spirit. And Jesus intercedes for you all the time. And so you are used, by God, for his purposes and in his body. That doesn't just mean to avoid sinful stuff (which you should, it is bad for you). It also means that you bear fruit. You do good works. Really good, because it is Christ in you doing it. ... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Dead Ends and the Hope We Need

March 22, 2016 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

But… can't I want to be better? Of course you can… and will. And the pathway to better is not a self-focus but an increasing love of and gratitude toward Jesus. He doesn't dole out shame; he took it on himself. He doesn't say "show me you love me" but "I loved you even though you sin." That savior draws you toward true love, for others and for him. May you rest in his arms, and trust in his love.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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God With Us

November 2, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

So believe it. The truth that marked Joseph in every circumstance, the truth that assured his life, that meant all would be ok, was that God was with him. And in Christ, we have the same connection. We have the assurance from God himself that he is with us always. In highs and lows. Independent of our good or bad choices. By faith alone.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Thinking about Atonement

September 9, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Separation brings up the holy/unholy dynamic, and points out that God is entirely holy, and we have no business being in the same space that he is in. Sin and God don't go in the same room.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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A Cleansed Conscience? Really?

July 15, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

"Believe in Jesus" sounds like something overly simple; it does not sound like it would "do" anything to simply trust him, to put faith in what an old book says he has done for you and for me.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Elementary

June 24, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

It seems to me that Christians over get confused over what is elementary and what is beyond, what is maturity.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Just to Forgive

May 7, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

It was a thought today that the word 'just' in this statement seems out of place. Wouldn't it make more sense to us if it said "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and merciful to forgive us…"? Justice is sin condemned and wrath applied, right? Mercy is when we are given what we don't deserve, or at least not given what we do deserve.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Given Righteousness

April 9, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

The Gospel is sin forgiven, righteousness given... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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A Secret for Life

February 27, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Blessed to share at a school chapel for little kids today. Lets me see just how difficult it is for me, an aging adult, to boil down the truths of the Bible to be accurate and yet capture the main point, the real emphasis, of our text. What do our little ones need to know, as they begin to grow in understanding and experience? Here's the secret I shared today: nobody's good. Nobody's good (Jesus excepted).... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Stormy Seas

February 5, 2015 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Storms rage… but faith holds us fast. No matter what seas we are on, may we rest in the object of our salvation: Jesus Christ, the resurrected one, our Lord and Savior!... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Grace in Song

October 1, 2014 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Songs have a wonderful way of wiggling into our lives. I am so grateful for the writers of hymns and melodies who capture the Gospel of Jesus Christ in pithy, short statements that I can remember.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Bridging the Gap

September 18, 2014 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

How do we address the gap between what we know and what we do? Sermons and bible studies that focus on 'law' (the demands of Scripture for our obedience), no matter how accurately biblical in content, tend simply to add to the burden of guilt felt by the average Christian...... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Hold The Center

September 4, 2014 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

May our other hopes be seen for what they are: empty and fallen. At the same time, may our ever-increasing growth in the depth of our salvation lead us toward amazing acts of love and mercy ourselves, as we respond to the wonder of what has been really, truly done for us in Jesus.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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How Astonished Are You?

August 8, 2014 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

So here's a push to re-evaluate the incredible-ness of the good news. Here's a vote for 'gospel astonishment.' Gospel astonishment that drives us to our knees, makes our hearts soft, leads us to sing, to act, to feel... ... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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One often misunderstood phrase is the simple statement 'I want to please God.' Is this ok? Should I have this desire? Is God not pleased with me already? Do I go in and out of acceptability? Confusion!... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Contrasting Means of Grace

May 22, 2014 | by: Pastor Dax | 5 Comments

... thinking on this leads me to reflect on Christian growth and what it means to be protected and matured in Christ. And what leads us to grow. What are the 'means' by which we grow?... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Sanctification and the New Testament

April 25, 2014 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Scripture says Jesus has done it all. His justifying and sanctifying and regeneration is a gift. In order to fly, we get on the plane -- union with him. And when we look out the window, amazed that we are flying, what is birthed in us is a radical joy that is infectious, a love that is a response to what has been done for us. So we serve a cup of cold water to the thirsty kid in the next seat. Or we just can't stop talking about how we're flying, in Christ.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Worthy of Communion

April 4, 2014 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

In communion there is only a gift from Jesus. He paid for our sins, him alone. He will die alone, betrayed. He is eager to have us remember that everything -- everything -- is a gift. In Christ alone, grace alone.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Thinking about the future of Grace Church Bellingham...... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology

A guest blog post by Doug Mangum reflecting on the Christmas season.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology

Guest blogger Jim McNeely, author of "The Romance of Grace" (Vox Dei, 2013), discusses the character of God in light of the cross.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology

Strange Fire

November 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

An assessment of John MacArthur's Strange Fire conference.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Isn't Discipleship Fun?!

September 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

Salvation is a free gift, but--like Jesus' first disciples--it could cost you everything.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology

Relevant Non-Sequitur

September 19, 2013 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Have you ever been tripped up by a 'non-sequitur'? Here's one from the Sermon on the Mount.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Kingdoms and Mysteries

September 19, 2013 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Could it be that our thinking of the Gospel sometimes runs down wrong paths... like bowling balls finding the gutter?... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Our all-church campout is right around the corner. Israel had a camping tradition too, albeit for different reasons. But the primary purpose for our trip should reflect theirs: to recall God's gracious provision and mighty deeds.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology

Go Ahead, Jump In

August 7, 2013 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

"Go Ahead, Jump In." I think those are some of the scariest words in the human language. At least it appeared that way to me as a parent...... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Encouragement for encountering life's difficult situations.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology

Grace. Dangerous Stuff.

June 14, 2013 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

When obedience is paraded around like the final point of the Bible--and in many churches of diverse persuasions, that is EXACTLY what happens--we've lost our way badly. ... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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True Freedom

June 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

I had a "first" this week. I've lived thirty years on this earth--"many of which have been spent receiving Bible education from second grade through seminary and beyond--"but I'd never listened to a John Piper sermon! Shocking, I know. But that changed on Wednesday, and I'm glad it did.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Absurd

May 31, 2013 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

Well... ok, one post on Ecclesiastes. What a marvelous train wreck of a Bible book! I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but in a worshipful one. It is this way because it takes my life, and the things that I naturally and normally value, and it one by one rips them away from my grasping fingers. ... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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Garments of Joy

May 24, 2013 | by: Pastor Dax | 0 Comments

The heart of the Christian is a new heart, made that way by the Holy Spirit in union with Jesus Christ. Our lives are now about a response to that incredible grace that has spilled over onto our lives. That relationship births joy and freedom.... Keep Reading

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Posted in:
Theology
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