Amazing Grace?


Many years ago, during a British conference on comparative religions, experts were discussing whether there was any belief that was truly unique to Christianity. Creation, incarnation, and resurrection were quickly eliminated because of similar examples in other religions. C.S. Lewis wandered into the room and enquired as to the topic of conversation. When told about the debate, without hesitation, Lewis replied, “Oh, that’s easy.  It’s grace.”

Grace is so simple that it baffles the experts. Grace is what makes Christianity unique. Because of it, we have the opportunity to know Jesus as Savior and Friend. Grace helps us understand the difference between happiness and joy. It allows us to conquer all of our fears. There is nothing we can do to earn grace and there is no way that we can destroy it. In Ephesian 1:5-6, the Apostle Paul wrote: He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.  

His grace really is amazing.


What I Often Forget About The Lord


Have you ever overcomplicated anything? I’ve done that dozens of times, especially when trying to explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think this happens to Christians quite often because we forget one key component that, although simple, is essential.

Once, during a British conference on comparative religions, experts were discussing whether there was any belief that was truly unique to Christianity.  Creation, incarnation, and resurrection were quickly eliminated because of similar examples in other religions. C.S. Lewis wandered into the room and enquired as to the topic of conversation. When told about the debate, without hesitation, Lewis replied, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

Grace is so simple that it baffles the experts. Because of it, we have the opportunity to know Jesus as Savior and Friend. Grace helps us understand the difference between happiness and joy. It allows us to conquer all of our fears. There is nothing we can do to earn grace and there is no way that we can destroy it. In Ephesian 1:5-6, the Apostle Paul wrote: He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.   

Father, please forgive us when we forget Your grace. It is both free and priceless. It is truly amazing.


*Photos courtesy of

Bad Mood


“Has God ever done anything for me?”

I sometimes ask myself this question when I’m in a really bad mood.  My answer always starts with, “I can’t think of anything at the moment, but I sure can think of a lot of bad things that have happened to me.”

Do you know why we sometimes give in to that way of thinking?  It’s because we get so concentrated on our current circumstances that we start counting our curses and completely forget about counting our blessings.

So, how do we turn that around?  We have to start small and retrain ourselves to count our blessings.  We should start by saying something like, “Thank You, God, that I’m still alive.  Thank You that I can get up this morning!  Thank You for this place where I live.  Thank You for my friends and my family!  Thank You that I have the opportunity to worship You.”

If we thank God for what comes to mind, no matter how small, He will instantly bring more to our attention.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.  Psalm 118:1

The Biggest Worship Mistake Ever


Everyone, everywhere seems to have an extremely detailed opinion of what or how worship is supposed to be.  Interestingly enough, most of these opinions do not refer to true worship in a biblical sense, but are more about music style, sermon methodology, tradition (or the absence thereof), and permissible clergy clothing.

However, when Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah 6, he experienced the greatness of God, realized the extent of his own sinfulness, and witnessed his sin being atoned for.  The end result of his worship experience was when Isaiah said “Here am I, send me.”

God shaped us after Himself so that we could experience His presence and accomplish His purposes.  When we realize who He is and all that He has done for us, our only reasonable response to Him is worship and absolute surrender.

Related Posts:

Is There Anything Truly Unique About Christianity?

Intruder In My House

Why You Deserve More Than What You’re Getting

The Joy and Pain of Finding Gray Hair


Bill Cosby once said that Gray hair is God’s graffiti.  If that’s true, then the Lord has been hanging around my head while I sleep because I’ve definitely been marked here recently.

It didn’t bother me so much until other people began noticing and commenting.  Even the young lady who cuts my hair said to me, “Oh, Mr. John!  Look at all the gray hair on your head!  You must be getting old!”  I thanked her for the kind observation and informed her that although it was appreciated, it wasn’t necessary to add the Mr. honorific title when speaking my name.

I read today in Proverbs that gray hair is a glorious crown.  I’m not sure that I would call it glorious, but it does change a few things.  The gradual graying (or whitening in my case) of my hair means that I’ve been around the block a few times (or maybe even several times).  It means that I’ve made some hefty mistakes and lived through them.  It means that I’ve had my share of joys and victories and an equal number of hurts and defeats.  It means that, believe it or not, I’ve attained at least a little bit of wisdom that I am now responsible to pass on to the generations that follow me.

Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness.  Proverbs 16:31 HCSB

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Life of Pi – What Is It Really About?

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?  Doesn’t that make life a story?

Yann Martel, Life of Pi


Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, is the story of Piscene Patel, or Pi, the son of a zookeeper from Pondicherry, India.  Pi is the lone survivor of a shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean.  Pi initially shares his lifeboat with an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra, and a Bengal tiger.  Before long, only Pi and the tiger, name Richard Parker, are left alive.  Over their 227-day ordeal, Pi gains dominance over Richard Parker and maintains it until the lifeboat finally makes landfall on the west coast of Mexico.  life-of-pi

In the book, Pi shares his story with two representatives of the Japanese government who are searching for the cause of the sinking ship.  When they disbelieve his outlandish story, Pi offers them a second, boring yet believable story that parallels the first.  He tells them that they can choose the elaborate, yet irrational story through faith, or they may select the rational, extremely believable version.  In the end, they choose the irrational story, which brings you back to Pi’s name, an irrational number.

Pi and Religion

Pi’s irrational understanding of faith is seen as he decides to follow Hinduism, Christianity and Islam simultaneously.  He uses elements of the three religions to help him through the issues that plague him during his ordeal at sea.  Throughout his experience, he credits Hinduism for introducing him to the supernatural, Christianity for acquainting him with the love of God, and Islam for familiarizing him with the daily discipline of intentional prayer.

What It’s Really About (in my opinion)

Even though Life of Pi contains elements from Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, it’s my opinion that the book is not about religion.  It’s a book about how our lives are filled with stories.  Everyone, everywhere, is a storyteller, relaying the experiences of life in story form.  The book suggests that people use stories to process reality, helping us categorize and compartmentalize the chaotic events of our lives.  As Pi would seem to suggest, the approach we choose dictates our understanding of the world around us.  1353491113024.cached

I enjoyed the book Life of Pi and the movie interpretation.  It’s a good commentary on the stories of our lives.  However, it may confuse people about these three major religions.  No matter what Martel suggests, Pi was virtually a Hindu, adopting elements of the other religions into his Hinduism.  The book also tends to drag on in parts, tempting the reader to skim or quit reading.  The movie was very well done, staying true to the book for the most part.  However, it portrays Pi as much more of a rebellious and physically adventurous child than the book.

If you’ve read the book or seen the movie, I would be curious as to your comments.

Other Reviews by John J Frady:

Review of Oz, the Great and Powerful

Review of Warm Bodies, A Paranormal Romantic Zombie Comedy Narrative Film

Review of Les Miserables

The Skinny on the Hunger Games

The Skinny on the Hunger Games


Even though I had never heard of the movie or the book, a few months ago, I took my wife to see the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  A few weeks later, while on a mission trip in Haiti, I overheard a missionary tell a friend that she was completely fascinated by the book.  Then, while at a Christian Writer’s Conference, The Hunger Games was praised by several of the guest lecturers as the ultimate example of contemporary quality fiction.  Finally, after a pastor friend of mine shared with me about his extreme interest in the book, I was intrigued enough to read it for myself.

A Brief Summary of The Hunger Games

16-year-old Katniss lives with her mother and little sister in district twelve of Panem, the remains of futuristic North America.  Years earlier, the twelve districts waged war on the wealthy Capitol and were soundly defeated.  As a reminder of the follies of rebellion, each district is required to send two tributes, one boy and one girl, to participate in the Hunger Games, an annual televised event.  Each year, the setting for this ultimate Survivor type show may change, but there is one constant:  It is an all out fight to the death between all twenty-four tributes.  When her sister Prim is selected by lottery, Katniss volunteers to go in her place.


The Violence Issue

Because of the violence within the book (and movie), one might think that Suzanne Collins is glorifying violence. In fact, the opposite is true. Throughout the story, she raises serious questions about our culture’s obsession with violence and death and what that obsession has done to the hearts and minds of our society.A popular movie (VHS Rental) when I was in high school was called Faces of Death. It was released in 1978 and guided viewers through explicit scenes depicting a variety of ways to die.  Even though it was banned in some areas, it was successful enough to produce at least three sequels.

1,000 Ways to Die

It’s not all that different from Spike TV’s 1000 Ways To Die, a contemporary spoof show which shows people making stupid decisions which causes their ultimate demise. Here’s an excerpt from an online review of the show:

Amidst a number of shows which try so hard to be cerebral and generally expose themselves as fraudulent, 1000 Ways to Die is an odd breath of sincerity; sincerely stupid and ridiculous, but refreshing. Each show is a collection of ‘shorts’ wherein someone dies, usually in an unusual way. The acting is atrocious. The special effects are mediocre. The narration is often funny. And each scene concludes with a ‘title’ for that death, which is usually a pun. In my opinion, it’s the funniest bit of the show, and you’ll probably find yourself trying to guess what the death will be ‘called’ before it appears on screen.

What have we become?  What sort of culture uses violence as a form of amusement? Although she uses violence to make her point against our obsession with violence (sort of like naked people boycotting pornography), Collins makes her point when all is said and done.

Click on the link below to watch a brief interview segment of Suzanne Collins discussing violence desensitization:

In the end, The Hunger Games should help us examine how we view violence and death. Is it simply entertainment to us? Have we lost touch with reality by watching Kenny die at the end of every episode of Southpark? I’m not sure. I suppose that one could argue the same about the Bible. It is filled with violence. But those of us who have a relationship with God know that God’s character is not one of violence.  Psalm 11:5 states that The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the Lord to hate me.

So, if you’re on the same journey as I in trying to make sense of our culture’s obsession with violence, pray for me and I’ll pray for you.  Oh yes, and may the odds be forever in your favor.


I’ve heard it said that truth is stranger than fiction, but I was never certain as to whether or not I could really believe it.  Truth and Fiction are so similar that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between them.  Many times, in either classification, people are simply telling stories.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like stories.  I always have.  There’s something about the ebb and flow of the introduction of characters, the unfolding of the setting, the emergence of conflict, the buildup of relational tension, and the joy of resolution that grips me down deep.

Stories teach.  Stories heal.  Stories whisk us away to other lands and somehow through the mental break and moral lessons they provide, we emerge from them as better people.  Stories impact our lives and change us.

When I was eight years old, a preacher came to my house and shared with me, once again, the greatest story ever told.  Knowing that it was only a story, I repeated his prayer and two weeks later I was baptized on a Sunday night.

Suddenly, my story changed, at least in theory.  For you see, to the world I was a Christian, living a life dedicated to my Lord Jesus and striving to be free and separated from sin.  The truth however, is that even though I was a card-carrying member of a church, that I was living a lie.  I was telling a story.  I thought that the Bible stories that I heard at church and at home were simply stories, no different than the stories of Curious George, Spiderman, Santa Claus, and the Engine That Could.  I loved all of these stories, but understood that honestly, they were simply moral lessons designed to teach me to be a good boy.

But then, as a teenager, a conflict arose within me.  Suddenly, I was both protagonist and antagonist making major plot decisions in how my life’s story was going to play out.  I realized that I was standing at a major crossroads.  The decisions that I was about to make would not only determine the next chapter of my life, but it would be instrumental in defining my journey’s end.

Honestly, I thought about abandoning stories altogether.  It didn’t matter if it was Truth or Fiction.  Both seemed to be getting stranger by the day.  A whirlwind of stress and confusion caused the tension within me to swell to the point of explosion, when I realized that I was wrestling with an unseen character.

This new character was dynamic and powerful yet peaceful and controlled.  This character had the power to transform my story forever.  This character was the Author Himself.  He stepped into my story and helped me realize that it was His story all along.

That’s when I realized that the stories about Him that I had learned as a child weren’t stories at all.  They were real!

He was real!

At that point, I joined His story as a willing participant, honored to be included as a character in His book forever.

I’ve heard it said that Truth is stranger than Fiction.  I think I agree.  But at least it’s real.

Stepping Down To Be President

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are different activities, but the same God is active in everyone and everything.  A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial.  1 Corinthians 12:4-7 HCSB

Several times a year, I facilitate a class designed to help people discover and understand their ministry within the local church.  Without fail, someone approaches me after class and says, “I’m glad that I’m taking this class, but I just don’t feel like what I have to offer is really important.  It’s not like I’m one of the pastors or the worship leader.”

Imagine that your body is the Body of Christ.  You have two legs, two arms, two eyes, two ears, one stomach, two lungs, one heart, etc…  What would happen if your liver decided to stop functioning because all of its work was done behind the scenes?  It would stop its detoxification of your body and things would get bad really quick.  What would happen if your ears suddenly decided to stop serving the body?  The other parts of your body would have to overcompensate to make up for the loss.  What if you lost your little toe?  You would suddenly discover how much it helped you maintain your balance.  Every part of the body is important and necessary.

I once heard musician/comedian Mark Lowry tell a story about surrendering to the call God was placing on his life.  He went to his dad and told him that he wasn’t sure that he was hearing God correctly.  Mark wondered if he should seek after a more traditional ministry position within a local church.  His dad smiled and said, “Son, remember this, if God calls you to be a ditch digger, you would be taking a step down to be president.”

If you have a relationship with Jesus, then you are a necessary part of the body of Christ.  Without you, the body of Christ can’t be complete.  Without you, the church can’t fulfill the purposes that God has set before us.

Has Anyone Ever Delighted In You?

He was there on the day you were born.  He smiled at the sight of your mother holding you for the very the first time.  He laughed with excitement when you took your first step.  He held your hand on your first day of school.  He went to every single one of your games, plays, and recitals.  He soothed your brow when you were sick.  He remembers your nervousness on your first date.  He knows your every thought before you even think them.  He understands your quirkiness.  He loves you.  He protects you everyday in ways that you never know anything about.  He rejoices over you.  He stills your anxieties with the quietness of His love.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  He delights in you so much that He shouts for joy!

The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves.  He will rejoice over you with gladness.  He will bring you quietness with His love.  He will delight in You with shouts of joy.  Zephaniah 3:17 HCSB