Sea of Forgetfulness


“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

-James 1:15:

We don’t fear sin enough. We see it glorified and celebrated in the culture around us. As followers of Christ, we CANNOT minimize sin, we must see it for what it is and then respond biblical. Our biblical response to sin should be immediate confession and repentance. Then extreme gratitude for what Christ has already done on the cross. I heard a song this weekend for the first time, What Sin?. It has a powerful chorus:

What sin, what sin?

That’s as far away

As the east is from the west

What sin, what sin?

It was gone the very minute you confessed

Buried in the sea of forgetfulness

Praise God for the forgiveness for sin we have available through Jesus Christ!

James outlines a process of falling deeper and deeper into sin. Sin is an act or feeling that transgresses something forbidden or ignores something required by God’s law or character, whether in thought, feeling speech, or action. There are two broad categories of sin. Sins of omission are ones where we fail to do what we should; sins of commission are ones where we do what we shouldn’t. Either way, Christ has paid the penalty for each and every sin. This payment only applies if you accept the free gift of God’s amazing grace!

Sin is a process, not an event. This passage uses the imagery of childbirth. Anybody who has been around a woman giving birth knows how long and arduous the process is. You don’t just show up and pick up a baby! The same goes for sin. A married man or woman doesn’t just wake up in the bed of someone not their spouse. They are deceived by satan, then the desire becomes stronger as their thoughts and eyes linger longer and longer on what is forbidden. There may be moments of flirtation and then the mind goes crazy. Eventually, this sin grows up and gives birth to death. Adultery kills relationships. This process applies to every sin; some processes move faster than others. For me, it’s food. A craving enters my mind as I drive by a restaurant… eventually, I must have that food and go out of my way to smell it… then “give in” and get it. If I keep it up, my “Mac attacks” will eventually result in a heart attack (death!).

The only way to stop this process is through Christ. Christ not only set you free from the penalty of sin, but from the power of sin over your life. Positional freedom in Christ is a fact; practical freedom is an ongoing process of learning to listen to the still, small voice of God.

What about you?

Where in the process of sin are you?

Do you think you are beyond the help of God? You aren’t.

Do you feel that if you are this far down the road, you might as well continue? You shouldn’t.

How can you practically get help from God and others to help you apply the overcoming power of Christ to your sin?

Have you let Christ bury your sin in the sea of forgetfulness?

God’s Calling



The story of Isaiah is one of my favorite Bible stories. Specifically, I have been thinking of his call to ministry lately. Isaiah 6 is a record of a vision Isaiah received of heaven. He saw God sitting on a throne and seraphim flying around God, worshipping Him, loudly proclaiming, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” What a scene. Isaiah also falls in worship. And then, God speaks to Isaiah. He asks, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” Without hesitation, Isaiah answered, “Here I am, send me!” He didn’t know exactly where he was going, he didn’t know what he was going to say, he didn’t know how he was going to get there, and he didn’t know if he’d be received by the people. But, he knew God had called him. He knew God would answer all of the questions in time. He knew he just needed to say YES!

While I haven’t had any visions of the throne room, and God hasn’t spoken to me audibly, He has called me to reach the lost, hurt, broken, and confused. He has asked me to serve the community of Colorado Springs, calling people to freedom in Christ. This is an exciting time for the Maxon family.

Three years ago, Lyndsey, Cora, and I moved to Colorado Springs to pastor a church on the eastside. When we got there, we noticed that the church constitution included the stated desire to plant a church every five years. I asked the leaders how many churches had been planted in the 50-year history… the answer was zero. So, we began to pray for God to bring someone with a heart for church planting to the church to receive training and equipping so we could send them out. I had no idea it would be me. Over the past six months, we felt a growing conviction for the lost souls in Colorado Springs. We approached the elders about sending us to another part of the city to start a new work, and they agreed. As we were talking with other friends, we were drawn to John 8:36: “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Colorado Springs who are living in slavery to sin and self. They have not experienced the freedom that Christ offers. This is unacceptable. We must do something.

I have been tasked with planting a church that will take the message of freedom to those in Colorado Springs who need to hear it. I am asking you to join us in this journey. We are looking for prayer partners, financial partners, and partners to join us in person. I’d love to talk with you about the possibilities of partnering together to bring freedom to Colorado Springs. Don’t be surprised if I give you a call or send a message in the next few weeks. Or, you can check out the web page for Freedom Church.

In Christ,

Scott Maxon

Meet our founding partners!

lead team




“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” – James 1:13-14 (NIV)

As we go through life, we face temptations. We are in a battle. There is an enemy that is baiting the hook and trying to take you down. In the end, it is our choice. Do we yield to temptation or do we stand strong? Temptation is solicitation to evil.

When we give in to temptation, we sin. Sin is anything that breaks our relationship with God. We try to shift blame to others or make excuses for our sins. How many times have you said:

“It’s not my fault!”

“I couldn’t help it!”

“Everybody’s doing it!”

“It was just a mistake!”

“Nobody’s perfect!”

“I was pressured into it!”

“I didn’t know it was wrong!”

or “The devil made me do it!”

Proverbs 19:3 says “A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.”

In reality, we sin because we choose to. We’ll talk in a few days about the environmental influence to sin, but the bottom line is, we have a choice. And we often choose poorly. Romans 7:18 says “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” We are responsible for our own sin. Satan wants us to pass the blame. Don’t.

What about you?


Where are you passing the blame?

What sins do you need to own up to? Confess. Repent.

In what ways have you given in to the picture Satan is painting for you?

For what are you blaming God?

How can you be more honest with yourself (and others) about your sin?

Heavenly Rewards…

1_12 Reward Gift

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12 (NIV)

When we are undergoing a trial or test, the last thing we want to hear is that there is some sort of benefit to it. We would prefer to be miserable and let everyone know we are! We also invite others into our misery. James tells us we are blessed if we are going through trials! This is of course on the heels of him telling us to consider trials a joy! The word blessed means to be highly favored. This is not always our attitude during tests, is it?

When I become a college professor, I found myself on the other side of tests! It was one of the most interesting changes when going from student to professor. You could watch (sometimes with amusement) as students took their seat for the examination and started sweating. They had prepared for the test, some more than others. In this passage, James is encouraging Christians to persevere, to take the test well, to face and withstand with courage, because there is a reward at the end of the test.

The crown of life that James references is not salvation, because salvation is a free-gift, we don’t have to do anything other than believe to receive salvation. This crown of life is heavenly rewards, where the Bible clearly teaches we can gain or lose heavenly rewards based on our thoughts, actions, and emotions. I must admit, I don’t completely understand this part of God’s kingdom, but I accept it because the Bible teaches it. We are to run the race, fight the good fight, and finish well. Jesus says in Revelation 22:12, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

So, what are we to do? James 1:12 ends with “those who love him.” All of the 60 or so commands in James are driven by love. This shouldn’t surprise us. James was the half-brother of Jesus who summed up the entire Old Testament in the command to love. Jesus said in Matthew 22: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (vv. 37, 39).

This idea of love has been corrupted by those who push tolerance and acceptance. Yes, we are commanded to love, but that does not mean that we have to agree with, tolerate, or accept anything that disagrees with God’s design or will. Love is to be tempered with truth and delivered with grace.

What about you?


Does testing drive you towards God or away from God?

Do you struggle to love God during tests and trials?

What rewards in heaven are you looking forward to?

What does it mean to love God with all your heart? All your soul? All your mind?

What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself?

What is one thing this week you can do to tangibly demonstrate your love towards God?

What is one thing this week you can do to tangibly demonstrate your love for your neighbor?

But the rich…

1_10-11 hearse_uhaul_crop


“But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.” – James 1:10-11

Riches are transitory. You know the old cliché, “There are no luggage racks on hearse’s.” Now, I’m sure you can find a picture of one online, or at least one pulling a uHaul… but you know what I mean. You can’t take your money with you. But, you can send it on ahead! When you invest your life in things that truly matter, you are making deposits in heaven’s bank. True wealth is found in developing your spiritual life (and helping others do the same).

Since James talked about the poor in verse 9, I thought I should mention this: It is hard to convince the rich of their need for forgiveness, but easy to convince them God loves them. For the poor, it is exactly the opposite.

Material possessions and wealth is one of the greatest trials in American Christianity. We must be good stewards of God’s resources while here on earth. We know we can’t take it with us, but we can send it ahead by giving it away to worthy causes, to missions and people that are advancing God’s agenda, and those who need it more than we do. Hold your money with open hands and open hearts. That is true wealth.

What are you hoarding that you should be giving away?

What has God blessed you with to be a blessing to others?

Why are we tempted to keep everything for ourselves?

If everything was taken away from you, what would you miss the most?

How are you developing true riches?

Take pride…

1_9 Royalty

“Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.” – James 1:9 (NIV)

You may be lacking material possessions, but you have undiminished possessions in Christ. As James exhorts us to grow up and mature in our faith, he reminds us to stay humble. We must recognize that our possessions, our material wealth, all come from Him. He is the provider of all.

Don’t judge your worth on man’s standards because we are royalty in Christ, co-heirs of His kingdom. This is a profound truth. So often we look to our possessions and bank accounts to determine wealth. How many suits in the closet? How many cars in the garage? How many bedrooms in your home? This is a worldly perspective. God cares a lot more about our hearts.

What does it mean to be royalty? It means we have been completely forgiven of our sins; it means we have been given an immeasurable gift; it means we have a responsibility to share this gift with others.

The Bible teaches that for us who are In Christ…

  • There is no condemnation for us (Romans 8:1)
  • We can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:39)
  • We who are many form one body (Romans 12:5)
  • We have wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • We become God’s children (Galatians 3:26)
  • We have every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)
  • We have the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We were also chosen (Ephesians 1:11)
  • We are for the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12)
  • We have been seated in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)
  • We’ve been given the incomparable riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:7)
  • We who were once far away have been brought near (Ephesians 2:13)
  • We are built together as a holy building (Ephesians 2:22)
  • We may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)
  • We are light (Ephesians 5:8)
  • Our joy overflows (Philippians 1:26)
  • All our needs are met according to his glorious riches (Philippians 4:19)
  • We are holy and faithful (Colossians 1:2)
  • All things hold together (Colossians 1:17)
  • We have our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)
  • We become fully mature (Colossians 1:28)
  • Are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge for us (Colossians 2:3)
  • We are rooted and built up (Colossians 2:7)
  • We have been given the fullness of the deity (Colossians 2:9-10)
  • We come into reality (Colossians 2:17)
  • Our life is now hidden (Colossians 3:3)
  • We will rise from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
  • We can give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • We have faith, hope, and love (1Timothy 1:1, 14)
  • We can gain an excellent standing and great assurance (1 Timothy 3:13)
  • We have the promise of life (2 Timothy 1:1)1

What a staggering list!

It is funny to see folks in this world act with an air of superiority. Some think they are better than others based on their economic position. They fail to realize that Christ paid the same price for the poor and rich. He died for all, that all may receive grace, forgiveness, eternal life.

So, Christian, be humble in this world, Christ has already exalted you in His kingdom!


What about you?

Do you act with humility?

Do you look down on others with an air of superiority?

Do you gauge success based on worldly or godly standards?

How might you take pride in your royal position?



1=List compiled by Soul Shepherding.

Guest Post: When Policy Trumped Principle


I don’t anticipate making too many friends with this post. However, as a follower of Christ, a pastor of a conservative church, and an American, I can’t stay silent anymore. I know I haven’t been completely silent, but I have tamed down my thoughts on this issue. But near-silence is not an option anymore. I care about this country too much. I care about the church too much. I care about the witness of the Evangelical church too much.

My goals in sharing this article are this:

  1. To call Christians to put God’s Word before nationalism.
  2. To encourage Christians who are struggling with this issue that they are not alone
  3. To show non-Christians that not every Evangelical is a supporter of Donald Trump.
  4. To start a dialogue (or at least contribute to it) about the future of Evangelical Christianity.

Please read the entire article before agreeing or disagreeing with me. Let’s show the world that civil discourse about ideas is still possible.

And, because it will be brought up eventually, just because I didn’t support Donald Trump for president doesn’t mean I voted for Hillary. It also doesn’t mean I don’t pray for the President of the United States. I do, and have almost every day since election night.

My heart grieves for this nation, the church, and the world my daughter is growing up in.



When Policy Trumped Principle

by Jerry Gramckow

“Policies are many, principles are few, policies will change, principles never do.”                                       – John C. Maxwell


The year 2016 will go down in history as the year American Evangelical Christianity sold its collective soul for the proverbial mess of pottage. Don’t get me wrong: I love a bowl of stewed lentils—especially if some meat was diced and simmered into it. And, like Esau, after a long, hard day, with little to eat, I could easily be tempted to sell my birthright. I pray that when those temptations come I will remember the bigger picture—the long-term perspective over lentils.

Sadly, it seems to me, in the 2016 presidential election 82 percent of Evangelicals chose lentils. Faced with a choice between a morally bankrupt, power-hungry, socialist-leaning, woman, and a morally bankrupt, power-hungry, populist-leaning man (who claimed to be conservative), the vast majority of America’s voting Evangelicals chose the populist. In a binary world, they probably made the better choice. But the world is not really binary. We are rarely limited to choosing between terrible and dreadful. There’s almost always at least one other option.

Certainly, one of those two bad candidates was going to win. So, many calculated, better to choose the (slightly) lesser of two evils. It was, after all, the pragmatic thing to do. He might not be a great guy, but he has promised to enact policies we like.

But has God called His followers to pragmatism? Did God tell His people to put policies before principles? Are lentils now better than a righteous inheritance for future generations?

Eighty-two percent of Evangelicals knowingly voted for lentils, for a man whose entire life contradicted almost every imaginable biblical principle.

  • Love God first? Everything about Donald Trump screams self-love as his primary focus.
  • Sanctity of marriage? Which one? He’s had three and bragged about cheating throughout each marriage. And who can forget: “Grab ‘em by the pu***.”
  • Integrity in business dealings? Two words: Trump University (although many more could be added).
  • Love of money as the root of all evil? “My whole life has been money. I want money. I want money. Greedy, I was greedy, greedy. I want more money, more money.”
  • Humility as a virtue? “It’s very hard for them [some women] to attack me on looks, because I’m so good looking.” “And I’m sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest—and you all know it! And I also have the world’s greatest memory.”
  • Compassion for others? “You’ve got to see this guy: ‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. Uhh, I don’t remember,’ he’s going like ‘I don’t remember,’” Trump said as he mocked the disabled reporter’s uncontrollable hands.
  • Honesty? Too many lies to list here, but see

Okay, you say, I get it; he’s no saint. But at least he’s better than Hillary. And now we’re back to that binary thinking. Hillary Clinton is a dishonest, immoral person, so the one who opposes her is good—simply because he opposes her. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That was what Churchill and Roosevelt believed when they cozied up to Stalin against Hitler. How’d that work out? But then, these days, Russia—ruled by an ex-KGB spy—once again seems to some to be a good bet.

So that binary thinking has, for the watching world, tied Evangelicals and all they say they stand for to a man devoid of principles. We stand for love of God, sanctity of marriage, business integrity, humility, compassion, and honesty … to a point. But when we are forced to choose between those principles and getting policies that benefit us (at least in the short term) … Well, a guy has to draw the line somewhere.

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Well, what should we have done? Should we have let Hillary win and take us down the road to godless socialism?

Socialism is bad. No argument there. But if a Christian must jettison virtually every biblical principle to resist it, has he really won? I suspect that had Hillary Clinton won the election, she would have taken us further down the path to socialism and other evils. Instead, we have President Trump taking us down the path to white nationalism. Yes, we faced a horrible choice in November 2016. But, sometimes, when faced with two bad options, the best choice is neither.

Instead, Evangelicals put Trump over the top, and as a consequence, we will forever be remembered for that choice. People outside Evangelicalism now—and in the future—see Donald Trump, a man devoid of principles, as the standard bearer for Evangelicalism.

“If Donald Trump represents what Evangelical Christians hold dear, I want nothing to do with your religion.” Expect to hear that as a common refrain.

We got our bowl of lentils. We lost our birthright.


Jerry Gramckow