Fire in My Bones, by J. Lee Grady

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All Stories in Fire in My Bones

Page 13 of 34

Don’t Limit God With Little Prayers

When I stepped into 2012, God challenged me to pray big—and to expect the unexpected.

Right before Christmas my wife and I took our youngest daughter out to dinner to celebrate her grades from her third semester in college. When we got home I sent out a tweet about the dinner, and mentioned the name of the restaurant. (Hint: It’s a popular national chain that serves Italian food—and it has the best bread sticks in the world.)

I didn’t think anything about the tweet. I was just sharing personal news about Charlotte’s accomplishments. But the next morning I got a private message from the restaurant, thanking me for the “advertising” and informing me that they were sending me a $100 gift card. read more

Are You a Disciple? … or Just Part of the Crowd?

In 2012, Jesus is calling us to re-enroll in the school of discipleship.

Besides being the Year of the Dragon in China, 2012 is full of global observances. World Peace Day was Jan. 1, World Rabies Day is Sept. 22 and the World Day for Laboratory Animals (huh?) is April 24. There is also Global Hand-washing Day (Oct. 15), Star Wars Day (May 4), International Cat Day (March 1), and—for all Johnny Depp fans—International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19).

I don’t know who comes up with these odd celebrations, but I’d like to add one more. Can we declare 2012 the Year of Discipleship? read more

A Word for 2012: New Leadership, New Boldness and New Provision

As I have prayed about the coming year, I’ve sensed three clear directives.

Some people are terrified of 2012. They worry because the Mayans of ancient Mexico mysteriously ended their 5,126-year-old calendar on Dec. 21, 2012—as if they expected the world to end that day. This silly hypothesis became the basis for several New Age books and a goofy disaster movie, 2012, in which actor John Cusack avoids meteors and earthquakes just in time to get his family aboard the modern version of Noah’s ark (built in China!) before the rest of the world is destroyed by a tsunami.

I’m not afraid of 12/21/12 because (1) Ancient Mayans never actually said the world would end in 2012—and even if they did, they didn’t have an inside track to God; (2) Doomsday predictions have never been accurate; and (3) Jesus holds the future in his hands. As long as I’m in relationship with Him, it doesn’t matter what happens on earth. I’m secure. read more

This Christmas, Take a Moment to Pray for an Iranian Brother

As the world celebrates Jesus’ birth, Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani faces the threat of execution.

 Those of us in the West who are blessed with religious freedom think of Christmas as a cheery occasion. But how would you like to spend the holiday in a dark prison cell in Iran—where inmates without any legal protection are sometimes rounded up at night and hanged in secret mass executions?

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been in the Lakan prison, near the city of Rasht, Iran, since October 2009. He was arrested after he complained to authorities that the local school was forcibly teaching Islam to his two sons, Daniel, 9 and Yoel, 7. (The Iranian constitution supposedly guarantees religious freedom.) The charges against the pastor, who leads a 400-member congregation in Rasht, were later changed: He was accused of apostasy and evangelism. read more

What If Bethlehem Had Smartphones?

I wonder if more people would believe in Jesus if His birth had been a trending topic on Twitter.

Matthew and Luke are the only Gospel writers who wrote about Jesus’ birth, and we aren’t sure who provided them with firsthand reports. Jesus’ mother was among the earliest Christian disciples, so we assume she shared her story with them. All details were passed down orally, without the aid of technology. There were no radios, televisions, tape recorders, iPads, walkie-talkies, cameras, cellphones or fax machines in first century Israel. The only form of “instant messaging” required a guy to run from one king to another over a period of days.

I wonder: What if the key players in the Christmas story had access to wireless devices? Pardon my literary license as I imagine the script: read more

The Biology of Christmas

The virgin birth contradicts the laws of science. But our faith rests on the miracle of the Incarnation.

My wife and I have four girls, and I was in the hospital room for each birth. There was a normal amount of blood, but no serious complications. Our oldest took forever to be born. Our second was in such a hurry that we thought she might end up on the floor of a hospital hallway. Our third tied her umbilical cord in knots in the womb. And our youngest calmly slipped out as if to say: “OK, I’m born. What’s next?”

I had very little to do in the delivery room. My wife was the hero. She sweated, strained, pushed and gasped for hours. I stroked her arm a few times—and ate some doughnuts.

“The concept of a woman giving birth to a baby without a man’s involvement is ludicrous to unbelievers. It contradicts all the laws of biology.” read more

A Word for the Weary: God Will Finish What He Started!

The devil is busy trying to abort God’s promises. Hang on and keep believing.

Here’s a trivia question: Which building project took the longest to complete?·

A. The construction of the Pentagon.
B. The carving of Mount Rushmore.
C. The digging of the Panama Canal.
D. The building of the Empire State Building.
E. The carving and assembling of the Statue of Liberty.

The answer is C. It took 31 years to dig the Panama Canal, mainly because that superhuman task was started and stopped several times due to floods, mudslides, unexpected costs (the total bill for the United States was $375 million in 1914) and a horrific death toll (20,000 French workers and 6,000 Americans died on the job site.) The moral of that story: Expect delays when you cut a 50-mile-long canal to connect two oceans. read more

Warning: Pray This Prayer at Your Own Risk

When I said to God, “Here am I, send me,” a real adventure began.

More than 12 years ago I found myself at a church altar in Orlando, Fla. God had been dealing with me about leaving my comfort zone. I had a great job with nice benefits, yet I felt spiritually unfulfilled. I knew there was an amazing adventure in front of me, but I had placed serious limitations on my obedience.

As I buried my head in the carpet in that church, I realized God was requiring unconditional surrender. He wanted me to wave a white flag. I knew what I had to say, but it was difficult to form the words. Finally I coughed them up. I said the same thing the prophet Isaiah prayed long ago: Here I am, send me! (see Is. 6:8.) read more

A Message to His Holy Highness the Worshipful Bishop Rev. Dr. Apostle Grand Poobah

Jesus just wasn’t into titles. We shouldn’t be either.

I am often asked if I have a title, and my answer doesn’t satisfy some people. I travel a lot, so I don’t consider myself a pastor. All kinds of labels have been pinned on me: Reverend, prophet, apostle … even bishop. Once I was introduced to a church as “Dr. Grady” and I almost crawled under my seat. I only have a college degree. There are no letters after my name.

I tell people: “You can call me Lee. Or if you want to sound formal, you can say, ‘Brother Grady.’” read more

Why T.L. Osborn Is My Hero

Many healing evangelists have fallen from grace. This humble giant, at age 88, is finishing well.

I heard T.L. Osborn preach when I was a college student, and at the time I thought, That guy looks pretty good for an old man. That was 31 years ago. I sat down with this spiritual giant for an hour in his office in Tulsa, Okla., two weeks ago, and I thought, I hope I can keep up this guy’s pace when I’m his age.

Osborn, who is 88, was born 29 years before the first commercial airliner took flight. Yet he and his immediate family have preached in 90 nations, and he took a trip to India last January. He is remarkably agile (he is strict about a healthy diet), his intellect is still sharp (he spoke fluent French and Spanish to international guests when I was with him) and he is as spiritually intense as ever. read more

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