My favorite Bible verse has remained constant for the last few years: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the results of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life" (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Through years of ministry, my unscientific survey of what draws people to the Lutheran church — or keeps them there — overwhelmingly yields the same response: the emphasis on living in God's amazing grace.
"Living in God's amazing grace" is not a marketing slogan. It is the declaration that life is a gift from God. I have heard that witness from farmers and ranchers who work the land. It seems no matter how parched the soil or how volatile agricultural prices, they have awe for the giftedness of life. They remind me of early church theologians who wrote of God's "common grace," the grace into which everyone is born.
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