That five-day blogging break was not planned, but certainly welcome. And now it seems like a fine time to re-assess what gratitude & hoopla is all about. This is the sort of thing I need to do from time to time, to keep me from getting off course.
Gratitude & hoopla should be, first and foremost, a grace-centered blog. I love and admire the other grace-bloggers out there. Brad at Broken Messenger, Mark at Gospel Driven Life, the gang of all-stars at Together for the Gospel, and of course the inestimable Milton Stanley at Transforming Sermons, among others. May I be counted among them.
The ease with which we Christians allow ourselves to be diverted to other things is really quite remarkable. We drift. We need an anchor. In the past year or so I have made a detirmination to spend the rest of my life investigating the riches of the grace that is to be found in Christ Jesus. As a subject of study, it is inexhaustable. As a tool of ministry, it is ever-relevant. As a weapon against the wiles of the evil one it is ever-powerful.
In the little epistle to Jude near the very end of our Bible, the unknown author warns about "ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." Notice how closely associated are the perversion of grace and the denial of Christ's lordship. Christ and grace are inextricably bound. To preach grace is to preach Christ, and especially His cross. A preacher may have many other things to say and do, but if in the midst of it all he loses this focus, he is no longer preaching the Gospel.
I say all that in order to come at last to this: gratitude & hoopla only exists as a tool to remind both its readers and its author of the inexhaustible riches of the grace that is found in Christ Jesus.