"People loving Jesus and embedded in a broken world, purposefully send waves of the gospel out into the lives of other people..." This is a quote from my message on spiritual generations at the Christian Leadership Alliance Outcomes Conference this spring. Click here to hear the video message!

A number of years ago, a friend of mine and I began climbing Pike’s Peak in Colorado each year, up the Barr Trail. It’s a 26-mile round trip trek. Well before the water station, as I drank from my Camelbak water tube, I heard that sickening sound … only air … the water was gone. Bummer.

From the time I was in college, God has given me a hunger for the Scriptures. Through the years I've found that often the reason people don’t hunger for the Scriptures is because they have not recently experienced—tasted—them and read them as a source of life and nourishment.

Earlier this month, my wife, Pam, and I visited Glacier National Park in Montana. Each day, as we prepared to go out and wander the trails of the park we had two top priorities in our preparation: 1) What food and drink would we need on the trail and where would we eat dinner when we were done, and 2) To not get eaten by a grizzly bear!

Whether Adam and Eve’s decision to attempt fulfillment through the pursuit of knowledge or our modern temptations toward finding life in work, sex, or material things, the sin nature works against God’s design for us. Jesus’ prayer in John 17:3 succinctly describes true life.

Jesus exposes the tendencies we have to choose a certain set of actions by which we justify ourselves before God, while at the same time, our inner lives, our hearts, are still far from God. For example, is it anger, or a little harmless name-calling? Really, what’s the big deal!?

One of my sons-in-law grew up in a town where he observed religious people acting one way on Sunday mornings, but completely different on Friday nights. If we’re honest, we all have blind spots and we often hold others to a different standard than we hold ourselves. The big difference rests in whether we are humbly open to God’s standards.

We live in a world that accuses followers of Christ of being hypocrites. Sometimes God’s people seem to treat His Word like an à la carte line, opting for the commands and precepts that suit  personal interests. Maybe it’s time for us to do a personal assessment?

There’s a noteworthy element of Jesus’ ministry that we can easily forget: His intended audience. Think about it.  The bulls-eye of His gaze and correction was almost wholly focused on the religious people—those who claimed to know the way, but remained far from the Kingdom.

I find that most of us read the Parable of the Two Sons in Luke 15 through the filter of years of tradition rather than good interpretation. The clincher of the story comes when Jesus tells the response of the older son to the father’s gracious receiving back of the younger brother! The main message? Missed grace!