What would the world be like if we did not have clergymen to minister to those in need of spiritual guidance? I’ve always had the utmost respect for the lifelong commitment and dedication of people who serve their communities with religious instruction and the affirmation of moral principles. One such minister is Art McNeese, Spiritual Formation Minister of Bridgeway Church, 8201 FM407 in Copper Canyon. Minister McNeese recently wrote “Making Space for Grace,” subtitled: “A believer’s guide to living out grace.” I invited the author to come over for an interview. His partial biography appears below.
“Art McNeese holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Abilene Christian University. Art and his wife Holly planted BridgeWay Church in 2006, where Art now serves on the staff as the Spiritual Formation Minister. Art and Holly have two daughters. Haley is a nurse who will move to Samachique, Mexico, to serve the needs of the Tarahumara Indians. Hannah is a special needs adult who serves God in other ways. As one who desperately needs grace in all areas of his life, Art has a passion for sharing the miracle of God’s grace with others.”
SUMMARY OF BOOK: Too often, grace is treated as an afterthought, even though it is foundational. A proper understanding of grace is essential to our spiritual and emotional health. That’s why it’s crucial that we make space for grace.
In this inspiring book, Art McNeese explores how Christians can move from a theory of grace to living a life of grace. The author draws on his observations of thousands of people who could say the right things but who seemed to lack an internalized reality of grace to answer questions such as:
– How do you learn to experience grace in the deepest part of your soul?
– How do you move grace from your head to your heart?
– How can you practice a grace-filled life on a daily basis?
– How can you exchange perfectionism for peace?
From the foreword:
A Christianity that fails to make space for grace deters non-Christians from committing their lives to Christ. Some people refuse to believe because they consider themselves “good enough” to be saved. These individuals operate on the premise that achieving a relationship with God is based on a performance “scale.” They assume that their good works are more impressive than other people’s. Why would they need Christ? For other non-believers, the barrier is just the opposite— they reason that they could never be “good enough,” so they reject Christianity outright. After all, they can never chin the bar, so what’s the use in trying?
This is why, when I share my faith with other believers, I always begin with grace. Christians often need to be disabused of the notion that their relationship with God depends on their performance. Otherwise, they believe their walk with Christ is fragile and tenuous, and they can never truly be certain of their salvation. (Of course, other people need to be reminded of the demands of grace so they don’t presume on grace).
When I share my faith with non-believers, I also begin with grace. I’ve discovered that this concept disarms many would-be Christians. When it dawns on them that following Christ is not a matter of qualifying, but being qualified because of faith in Christ, a light comes on and they become more ready to become a disciple. In my experience, the single most common hurdle for non-Christians to overcome is their mistaken belief that to become a Christian, they have to “dot every i and cross every t” and live a perfect life. How sad that many who might otherwise choose to follow Jesus refuse to do so because they’ve believed a distorted concept of Christianity! I wrote this book because I want believers to embrace the grace of God and to be changed by it. I want non-believers to get past the myth that to be eligible for salvation, they must prove themselves “good enough.” For more info: www.makingspaceforgrace.com/