"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Note to International Readers of "grace and truth"

Some of you who read this blog do so in countries around the world. If you are interested in the book in the right margin, please know that it is available in many countries. The link at right takes you to the author website, and the page labeled "Purchase Milestones" has several options. The most comprehensive listing I have found for international ordering is here:


Thanks for checking out "grace and truth." I hope it blesses you. Seeing your countries come up on the Stats report makes my heart sing! Press on!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Comforting Love

When I imagine examples of comforting love, I tend to think of movies and TV more than childhood memories. That being said, a child who is hurt or frightened instinctively turns to the nurturing embrace of a parent. Whatever the pain is, it is more easily borne or forgotten in the arms of comforting love.  No doubt many of you have such memories, and from this you draw great comfort, even as adults.

As we continue to look at the second chapter of the book of Philippians, Paul refers to such a love. The source of this love is Christ:

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.  Philippians 2:2

Paul has reminded the Philippians, in chapter one, of his love for them, his thankfulness for them, and his faith in them (Christ in them). Now, in Chapter 2 he has begun to build a bridge between that foundation and a supernatural challenge. In the last post, we looked at the first phrase (encouragement from being united with Christ).  Today, we look more closely at the second: comfort from his love.

I spend many hours with hurting people. Most of the time, it is beyond my ability (and theirs as well) to remove the source of their pain. Terminal illness, grief, betrayal and bewilderment are a few recurrent themes that parade through my modest offices, an ever-revolving kaleidoscope of pain. For whatever reasons, people find comfort and healing in being cared about and truly heard. And from the ashes, beauty emerges.

The comfort that comes from the love of Christ has many levels. We find comfort in his sacrifice on our behalf, in humble obedience to the will of the Father.  He comforts us as a compassionate high priest who has been tempted in every way. We experience his comfort through the ministry of his Holy Spirit and through the words and actions of gifted believers who serve on his behalf.  We are encouraged by Scripture to give it away as freely as we receive it.

The problem or the pain in your life may not be instantly healed or removed today. But the comfort of his love is with you. Don’t push him away. His heart is broken for you. There may be many unanswered questions for now. Trust him in the meantime. He will comfort you. He laid it all down for you once, and he promised to never leave you. Take his hand. Touch the hem of his garment. And find comfort.


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Update:Yesterday's Barnes and Noble Book Signing

Yesterday, 11/24/12, Barnes and Noble Grand Junction Colorado hosted a book signing for "Milestones: On the Road Home." In a nutshell, it was successful. Here is a link to my author website with pictures and a report:


Thanks for the prayers!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Signing Today!

Barnes and Noble, Grand Junction, Colorado, is hosting a “Meet the Author” event today for "Milestones: On the Road Home" from 2-4PM. Here is a link to their posting about it:


Locals know the store is located immediately east of Mesa Mall on Patterson Road. I would love to meet you (or see you again). Why not break away from the mall crush for a few and come by to say hello?

Have a joyous season and remember what is really needed is often different that what we imagine (or have been told) we need.


Saturday, November 17, 2012


Like most of you, I hope, I have a few encouragers in my life. You know, those people who’s default modes are positive attitudes. They don’t even consider the half empty portion of the proverbial glass, highlighting and prognosticating extravagantly on the half full part. I am sometimes jarred by their perceptions and melancholy drops away in their presence. Thanks to you all. God bless you!
The Apostle Paul has just written a beautiful introduction (chapter one) to his letter to the Philippians. In it, he expresses his heartfelt gratitude for them, for their encouragement to him, and prayers for him. He has reminded them that the greatest encouragement they can give him is to work together in unity for the gospel of Christ, persevering in blessing and in suffering.
Now he begins what must be one of the most beautiful chapters in the New Testament.  He is about to lay a supernatural challenge before them: one that will require the help of God to succeed. First, however, he reminds them of a few potentially life-changing things:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.  Philippians 2:1-2
Easily passed over as an hours devour before the main course, this preamble offers many layers of encouragement and comfort. Interstingly, several times he uses the word if in these conditional clauses. True to the content of the first chapter ( Paul knows that God will complete in the Philippians the good things he started) these ifs carry with them a positive assumption, as if to say: “If (and I know you do) you have any encouragement, etc.” Still, the inclusion of ifs leaves open the possibility of another choice. It is possible for people not to have these things.
And what things are these? At the top of the list is encouragement. The source of the encouragement Paul is talking about comes from being united with Christ. We are united with Christ by faith (same Greek word as trust) in him. He has accomplished for us what we could not accomplish on our own. He has fulfilled the righteousness of the law, he has built a bridge between our fallen states (all have fallen short of the glory of God) and made a way (the gift of God is salvation through faith in Christ). Romans 3;23 and 6:23
Being united with Christ also includes his work in sanctifying (setting us apart) and maturing us. It is this Paul spoke about when he said a Counselor, and Encourager must come. Here is a point at which the doctrine of the Trinity (which I do believe in) becomes a bit confusing. The Holy Spirit is not only the Holy Spirit of God, but also that of Christ. In 1:19, Paul alluded to the Spirit of Christ who has helped him in response to their prayers. They too can count on the presence of Jesus in them to encourage them and to assist them to do all that he is about to lay out before them.
We can be encouraged greatly by being united with Christ. He not only promises peace with God for eternity, but also strength and empowerment for today. Whatever God has laid before you today—blessing, suffering, tasks that are beyond your abilities—he will help you to do. The “all things” that we are able to do through Christ who strengthens us includes anything he asks you to do. Look to him, not the wind and the waves. Walk on water. Be encouraged. Christ is with you and in you. Press on!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Milestones: On the Road Home, 11/10/12 Book Signing

Hasting's Books in Montrose, CO is hosting a book signing for "Milestones: On the Road Home" Saturday afternoon (11/10/12) from 2-6 or as long as the books last. They sold out of their stock of Milestones this week BUT I have a stack on hand for the signing (and hopefully to replenish their stock).

Many of you have bought the book online, through other stores or from me directly. Even so, I would love to see you, to thank you in person, to hear how "Milestones" has touched you, and to answer any questions you might have. Montrose Hasting's is located on Townsend Avenue between Murdoch's and Office Depot, directly across from Russell Stover's. Here's the "nutshell" version:

Steve Warner, "Milestones: On the Road Home"
Meet the Author, Book Signing Event!
When: Saturday, November 10, 2012, 2:00 PM
Where: Hasting's Books, 2201 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO

Thursday, November 8, 2012

An Unexpected Gift

As the holiday season grows near, thoughts of gifts begin to take center stage. Holiday gift giving is a tradition that persists, though it is sometimes questioned. A giver takes into account, or should, what is in the best interest of the receiver. As any parent knows, giving your children what is best for them is not always the same as giving them what they ask for.

As the first chapter of the book of Philippians draws to a close, Paul alludes to two gifts the church can expect from God. The first is a gift the church no doubt wanted: to believe (trust) in Jesus. The second, not so much—to suffer for him:

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29-30

In these two verses, Paul lays out the plain and simple truth of following Jesus. We are granted (by no personal merit) faith and suffering. The first we want and even request. Most of us would rather not acknowledge the second. Suffering, by definition, is not a whole lot of fun. Nor does a gospel that includes the certainty of suffering fill the pews or sell books necessarily.

Even the spiritual among us tend to think of suffering as a necessary evil, the results of living in a world broken since Eden’s disobedience. But to ever think of it as something God grants to us is rarer. Of course, there are different kinds of suffering for the believer in Christ. Some suffering is a part of the enormous domino effect of the Fall, when Adam and Eve brought brokenness into the world for the first time. Since then we have illness, catastrophes and myriad lesser annoyances that nevertheless bog us down and want to steal our joy.

 Paul here, I believe, speaks more specifically of suffering precisely because we follow Jesus. His own prison chains are the current suffering to which he alludes. Earlier in the chapter he has rejoiced in them and thanked God for them, because they had served to further the gospel of Christ. As a result of his chains, he asserted, the good news of Jesus spread throughout the whole palace guard (1:12-14).

I must admit, at best, I see my sufferings as things to be endured. While I am going through them, I am eager for them to pass. Paul, by contrast, is thankful for them even as he is in the midst of them. He sees the opportunities connected with his trials and is thankful (gulp) that God thinks enough of him to let him follow Jesus’ example in this way for the furtherance of the gospel. Just as Jesus humbled himself in the suffering that needed to occur for our salvation, Paul humbles himself for the sake of others who need to hear the grace and truth of Christ.

God, help me to reset my default mode from a self-centered one (I want to be comfortable again) to a Christ-centered one (use me in this for the sake of the Kingdom). And let me arrive there sooner rather than later. That my joy may be full, that it might spread to others, that your name will be glorified, Amen