By Kyle Idleman
This is an excerpt from the forward in the book, Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach.
I first met Caleb in college. He was a freshman, and I was a junior. He came with very little knowledge of the Bible (he was a new Christian), but he possessed a huge love for God and people. I saw Caleb as someone eager to learn about God and to make a difference in the world.
One day we were both sitting outside a professor's office, waiting to talk to him about a class. I asked Caleb how he came to Bible college and sat in disbelief as he told me about himself. I had never heard a story like his before.
Watch the Messy Grace Study Trailer and hear Caleb describe his experience of living in the tension between truth and grace.
Loving People Who are Different
After graduation, Caleb and I were on staff together at a church in Los Angeles. There we started an alternative worship service for young adults. During that time, I watched Caleb deepen his love for God and people. Because of his childhood experiences, he was able to relate with those who disdained Christians. He understood what it was like to be angry at God for the way believers treated others. God certainly used Caleb's experiences to touch the hearts of many people. Now, after knowing him for twenty years, I'm still blown away by how God continues to write this story.
Throughout the years I've encouraged Caleb to share his story with as many people as he can. Many of us have told him again and again to write it down. Today, I'm proud that you're holding it in your hands. Such messy grace takes great courage to share.
God Can Redeem Any Story
Some authors have inspirational stories to tell, while others have insightful points to make. What makes Caleb's writing so powerful is that God has given him both. You'll read about a boy who was raised in the LGBT community, who later followed Jesus. You'll read about how some Christians hated people he loved, and how his coming to faith wrecked his own relationships. You'll read about how Christians can hold true to what God says about sexuality while being gracious and loving.
If you think this story is just about a kid from the LGBT community, then you've missed the bigger point. It's about how we love people who are different from us. It's about how any story can be redeemed by God. It's about the messiness of grace and truth.
When you read this book, you may not agree with everything Caleb says, but you'll see his heart for people on both sides of the issue. I've been personally impacted by what God has done through Caleb and his family. I know you will be too.
By Caleb Kaltenbach Love the sinner, hate the sin. Even typing the phrase gets me worked up. If there was ever a phrase I wish I could cut out of society, this is one of them. I believe that this phrase has added to lost relationships, divided families, lonely holidays, depressed feelings, and so much more.
By Vince Antonucci “DO YOU LET SINNERS SERVE IN YOUR CHURCH?” This is one of most frequent questions I get from other pastors. It’s not typically worded this way, and it almost always is asked with the best of intentions.
By Kyle Idleman The Bible says everything you do flows from your heart. That’s why our attempts to change our behavior don’t bring any lasting change.
By Kyle Idleman I want you to think about an area of your life that needs some attention. Something in your life that needs to be changed. Maybe it’s a problem with…
By Kyle Idleman Grace received is beautiful, but having to extend grace to someone who doesn't deserve it can be messy.
By Vince Antonucci Every year we do a sermon series based on a movie at our church in Las Vegas. Our church members look forward to this series each year as it generates a lot of excitement, activity and engagement.
By Bill Search Once you've discovered the future leader in your group, the next question is what do you do with them? How do you get them involved in the art of leadership?
By Bill Search Group leaders don't just fall from the sky. I wish they did, but they don't. In fact, the number one way that group leaders emerge is when other group leaders find them. Let me speak to you as a group leader in what to look for in future group leaders.
By Bill Search There are some things that your group can do outside of group time to help build the missional pattern, to help the members of your group cultivate hearts for other people.
By Bill Search Confronting is one of the scariest parts of any small group experience, and maybe that's why a friend of mine coined the term "carefrontation." The idea is that you merge caring and confronting together, and you carefront somebody.