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Dr. Curt Lamansky | Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Immanuel Bible Church
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Sheboygan, WI 53081
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25 Years of Grace
FRIDAY, JUNE 03, 2011
Posted by: Immanuel Bible Church | more..
11,150+ views | 430+ clicks
On May 22nd, while sitting on the balcony of a cruise ship two days before our 25th wedding anniversary, I began to list in my journal evidences of God’s grace to me over the past ¼ century. By God’s sovereign grace I’ve been a believer in Christ for 27 years. All but two of these years have been spent in the covenant of marriage. What sparked my desire to begin composing this list was that morning’s poolside devotional time meditating on 1 Timothy 1:14, “And the grace of our Lord overflowed.” The grace of God has indeed overflowed into the life of this wretched sinner!

When we first boarded our cruise ship, I was overwhelmed by the shear abundance of its graciousness. Immediately the abundant grace of the ship became for me a symbol of God’s extravagant grace toward me in Christ. Let me share with you the list of the evidences of grace that I’m sure to continue lengthening as the Holy Spirit opens my oft-blinded eyes to all that God has done, and continues to do, for me.

I am exceedingly grateful to God for…

1) A faithful wife who loves me still—even after sinning against her million-plus times (Prov. 31:10).

2) God, who has kept both of us true to our marriage vows and for a marriage bed that remains pure and undefiled (Heb. 13:4).

3) Ten arrows in what we hope and pray will truly be a Christ-centered quiver and kingdom-building heritage—the incredible blessing of children who may be raised for the global cause of Christ (Ps. 127:4).

4) The assault on our selfishness that raising children naturally performs upon our depraved, self-centered hearts (Phil. 2:3-4).

5) God’s faithful provision even though times of weakness, doubt, fear, foolishness, and trial often led us to trust in banks and credit cards rather than in God who is faithful (2 Tim. 2:13).

6) Four hearing-impaired children. Six cochlear implant surgeries. God’s choice to place us into the community of disability continues to shape our hearts and lives in ways we otherwise would have been short-changed (2 Cor. 4:10).

7) The completion of three college degrees. The privilege of helping train men overseas. The unexpected blessing of authoring and/or editing 22 books/booklets (2 Tim. 2:2).

8) Almost three years of church planting in Kansas and almost 20 years of ministry here at Immanuel Bible Church (1 Timothy 1:12).

9) Two Christian marriages for our children (1 Cor. 7:39).

10) A patient wife who truly understands and practices the grace of forgiveness, who has never held a grudge against me (or anyone else), and has no bitterness in her heart though she is forced to share her husband with many others (Heb. 12:15).

11) Many trials that bind husband and wife closer together and grow our faith toward maturity (James 1:2-4).

12) A wife who follows my imperfect, many-times-faulty leadership while trusting God that His order and design is best and will be most blessed (Eph. 5:23).

13) God, whose abounding grace continues to overcome my innumerable pastoral failures (Rom. 5:20).

14) The opportunity to be on this cruise—a second honeymoon—alone with my wife (who later told me this honeymoon was better than our first, not because the first one was spent camping, but because now “we appreciate each other more”). To be able to truly press the pause button for the first time in 25 years and get to know each other better. To be able to ask her, “How would you like our next 25 years to be different, better?” (1 Peter 3:7).

15) A local church filled with people who love us enough to comfort us when we are afflicted, correct us when we err, and rejoice when God’s goodness causes us to rejoice (Heb. 10:24-25).

16) One miscarriage among eleven pregnancies so that we might understand what most other couples experience and have the comfort needed to pass on to them (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

17) Twenty-five years free of speaking the “D word”—divorce—to each other (Malachi 2:16).

18) Children who consistently say to me, “I forgive you, Dad,” after I’ve confessed my sins to them (Matthew 18:21-22).

19) Jesus’s rescue and rebuilding of our church into a growing, gospel-loving, yet very imperfect congregation whose door remains open (Rev. 3:7).

20) Persevering grace that holds me to my calling throughout my regular battles with discouragement and depression (2 Cor. 12:9).

21) God’s enduring comfort and compassion during the reoccurring times of grief over the loss of loved ones (2 Cor. 1:3).

22) The beginning of the next 25 years of continuing to learn to flesh out the gospel in our marriage so that the beauty of God’s grace and the perfection of His design will be made manifest in the church and to the watching world (Eph. 5:32).

I know that I’ve done nothing to deserve any of these blessings or evidences of grace. That is why it is called grace is it not? And it leaves me all the more amazed.

You may wonder what you have done to deserve God’s love. How is it that God has shown you such kindness? This is the very stuff of grace, that He amazes you, contradicts every expectation, seeks you out, finds you and lavishes His love upon you. You have done nothing and can do nothing to earn His grace. The secret of His grace to you lies deep in the mystery of His foreknowledge. Simply receive it, celebrate it, delight yourself in it and live as one whom God is pleased to favour from His overflowing resources of kindness.[1]

If God has been this gracious to me in the past 25 years, what floodgates of compassion and grace might He open in the next 25? What trials and difficulties will He ordain as necessary to move us toward His goal of conforming us to the image of Christ? What unexpected extravagances of His favor might He bestow just because He can and just because He wants to? These are staggering thoughts.

Overwhelmed by grace,

Pastor Paul



[1] Terry Virgo, God’s Lavish Grace (Oxford, UK: Monarch Books, 2003), 87. As cited at www.firstimportance.org

Paul Tautges Paul Tautges

Paul Tautges serves as the senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Previously, he served Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan,...

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