Pastor John Lindell Explains Why Grace Is So Liberating 

Pastor John Lindell Explains Why Grace Is So Liberating 

I learned so much reading Pastor Lindell's new book Soul Set Free that I invited him to go in-depth to expose misconceptions many Christians have of grace. We also talk about why his James River Church has exploded in growth.

31 Minutes • 18 days ago

Episode Notes

In-Depth with

Stephen Strang

Guest: John Lindell

I learned so much reading Pastor Lindell's new book Soul Set Free that I invited him to go in-depth to expose misconceptions many Christians have of grace. We also talk about why his James River Church has exploded in growth.

Introduction

Stephen Strang: The subject of the grace of God is central to the gospel. I've known about it all my life. We talk about grace, we sing about “Amazing Grace,” but it is something that is misunderstood and some people are even for “hyper grace.” Hello everyone. This is Stephen Strang and today on In Depth with Stephen Strang I talked to a respected pastor named John Lindell from Springfield, Missouri, who has written an amazing book on grace. It's a book that I had the privilege of publishing. And at the end of the program, we're going to make a special offer so you can get a copy. As I say in the interview. this is a book that deeply impacted me personally. I believe it will impact you as well. So, enjoy my interview with Pastor John Lindell on the very important topic of God's grace.

 

·         Read the Strang Report: AG Megachurch Pastor: Why So Many Christians Have Fallen for this Lie About Grace

 

Stephen Strang: How would you like to experience the freedom found in knowing just how fully God is committed to love you? Hello, everyone, this Stephen Strang and welcome to my podcast In Depth with Stephen Strang, and today we're going to deep dive into that topic … the topic of grace with author and pastor John Lindell who founded James River Church in Springfield, Missouri. He's just written a book called Soul Set Free. I love the subtitle … it says Why Grace is More Liberating Than You Believe. Well, full disclosure. First of all, I published this book, and very proud to have published it. But more than that I, as a reader, was really turned on by it. Is that the right way to say it? I was excited, I learned things. I'll admit that I probably started reading it as I read many of our books, because I need to, and I was just captivated. So, talk to me about what caused you to write a book on grace. Within Christian circles, there been a lot of books written on grace, and a lot of them have been kind of controversial.

 

John Lindell on Charisma

·         Megachurch Pastor: What Believers Misunderstand About Grace vs. Hypergrace

·         How God Used a ‘Failure’ to Build One of the Largest AG Megachurches

·         AG Megachurch Pastor Warns Yoga Will Open You Up to Demonic Power

·         How Sin Uses the Law to Deceive You

 

Pastor John Lindell: That's a great question. For me, all of my life. I think any pastor is going to preach on grace and going to invite people to receive the grace of God. We sing about it; “Amazing Grace.” But one of the things that happened to me is about five or six years ago, it really became apparent to me just in evaluating my life that I didn't understand grace. And by that, I could define it theologically and I could point you to the scriptures. But there's a difference between being able to give grace a definition, an articulated definition, and really experiencing grace in your soul. Sometimes it's when we articulate a deficiency in our life and when we admit it, that it really launches us in a direction of really taking care of those things and learning new things about God and His work in our life. And so, just kind of going along, I preached through the entire New Testament during my time at James River Church. We came back to Romans, and I preached it early in my ministry. I didn't spend a lot of time in it, about 16 messages. But this time, we were going to dive deep. And as I began to study it week after week, what happened honestly in my life is I discovered so many aspects of grace and God's love, and how grace impacts us and all that God is doing that I never knew that nobody ever told me. It was completely liberating. I can remember one time just studying. I was at a Starbucks on vacation, and I was out in my car reading and just studying it, and I began to weep. I cried out and just said, God, why has nobody ever told me this before? I believe it's the best news people have never heard.

 

John Lindell Books

·         Soul Set Free: Why Grace is More Liberating Than You Believe

·         Thoughts on Christian Fellowship

·         Soul Set Free Study Guide: Why Grace is More Liberating Than You Believe

 

Stephen Strang: I felt the same way reading your book. I've been a Christian most of my life. I also knew that some people teach grace, and it’s probably an unkind way to say it that it is sort of a license to sin; that grace covers everything. Those who espouse that may word it a little bit differently. I wasn't particularly interested in getting into that controversy, even in grappling with it myself, but your book had all these things that for me, were eye openers. I'll just share one with you and the listeners. You said that the peace of God is not a feeling. It's a fact. I had never thought about the fact that God's grace gives us the peace of God and that is a fact regardless of how we feel. How did you begin to understand those concepts?

 

What They’re Saying About Soul Set Free

·         “In Soul Set Free, Lindell invites you on a life-changing journey through the book of Romans. Learn to no longer view the gospel as anything less than a truth that sets you soul free.” – Evangelist Louie Giglio

·         “John’s love for people and wholehearted passion for the local church to thrive have caused him to capture a message that will unlock potential, purpose, and clarity within every reader. He shares of God’s endless, revolutionary, and profound grace, a grace he has been so evidently marked by in his decades of pastoring and leading. You are about to embark on a rich and life-changing journey to discover the depths of God’s miraculous grace, and you have no greater guide than my friend, John.” – Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church

·         “Being a Christian isn’t about following rules. It’s about freedom—the freedom we have in Christ to pursue a truly abundant life. John Lindell’s Soul Set Free: Why Grace Is More Liberating Than You Believe is a powerful journey into God’s overflowing compassion and forgiveness. It’s the spark you need to ignite a new passion for the overwhelming love God has for you.” – Craig Groeschel, Founding Pastor, Life.Church

 

Pastor John Lindell: First of all, I'd heard people talk about grace. I'm the kind of person where you can tell me whatever you want to tell me, but I'm going to say, give me the chapter and the verse and how does it work in the Bible? So, in making the way through Paul's point, he comes to this great summation in Romans chapter five and verse one. He tells us in that moment that we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. That's an established fact. It isn't a feeling. And since we've been justified by faith, we have this peace with God. When we are at peace with God, then we're going to have the peace of God. I think a lot of people want to have the peace of God, but they haven't nailed down the sense, the understanding that God is at peace with us, that he has done everything to redeem us. Not that we don't have a part to play, but his part is so much bigger than I think most of us understand. His love and plan is so much greater than we've been taught, unfortunately.

Stephen Strang: How have you changed personally since you came to this better understanding of grace in your own life?

Pastor John Lindell: As a pastor and a preacher … I'm Assemblies of God, and I'm very thankful for that fellowship. It's been wonderful for me in so many ways. But I grew up a backslidden Presbyterian. So, I didn't find the Lord until I went to an Assemblies of God church. While I was there, I got saved and then I went away to ORU. While I was there, it was life-changing, and I was called into the ministry. So, I went from there to an Assemblies of God college because I felt I was saved through the Assemblies of God, I think I'd like to be a pastor. If I was going to be a pastor, be an Assemblies of God pastor. So, as I'm at that Bible College, they're teaching me a lot of great things, but anybody who's familiar with that tradition knows that it really comes out of a holiness movement. So, invariably what happens in that … and praise God for people who live a holy and a righteous life. But if we're not careful, what can happen is we can begin to take things that are tools to help us grow in Christ, things like reading our Bible, or praying or being a part of a fellowship and serving the Lord and honoring the Lord in different ways. We can take those tools and make them rules. So, invariably what happens is OK, this is what God has done for you, now live like it. And we begin, then, to feel this responsibility for our own righteousness, and that can become very much legalism.

It's what Paul talks about in Galatians chapter three: having begun in the spirit, are you now trying to perfect yourself by human means. So, we try to become Christlike by the things we do rather than by the things He does in us. And there is a big difference. If I could go back and redo the first half of my ministry at least, maybe the first two-thirds, I preached a works righteousness. I preached a rules-based Christianity where I was calling people to do these different things. I meant well, but what it really does is it puts people back under the law rather than understanding that when you understand grace and you understand your position in Christ, you're presenting yourself to the Lord. And the fruit of that, Paul says in Romans chapter six, produces sanctification. The fruit of that is sanctification, which leads to eternal life. So, as we understand who we are in Christ, where we are in Christ, what he has done for us, and we yield ourselves to Him, what happens is, God does the producing of sanctification in our life. The result for me has been an incredible joy and liberation in Him.

I'm a competitive person, I'm a disciplined person. I'm a person where if you tell me do this, and it will make you a better Christian, I'd be like, OK, tell me. I mean, if fasting a day a week does that or two days or, hey, let's take a week; whatever it is, tell me and I'll take it as far as I can. What happens is along the way, you find yourself bound up in trying to maintain certain things and feeling good if you do and bad if you don't. Grace liberates a person from that because it's not the way God operates.

Stephen Strang: I agree. The book is liberating. At the end of the program, we're going to make a special offer. I really want the listeners to read this book, I feel very, very strongly about it. I'm here today to talk to you about a book. But I just want to give my own endorsement and just say that my eyes were opened up with Romans. I mean, I don't know how many times I've read Romans in my lifetime; dozens of times, I suppose. But to begin to understand that it's really the centrality of the gospel. I have found in my quiet time that I'm reading Romans in a new way. Throughout the day, I will say to myself, when little things come up, your grace is sufficient. I'm pretty sure I picked that up from your book. It's like if I feel as a tinge of fear, or maybe a negative emotion where I'm reacting to something, or just the slightest temptation, I'll just say to myself, your grace is sufficient. And just that liberal habit that I formed the last few weeks had a difference in my life. I really think that it came from reading the book. I really do think that the title is very apropos. It's called Soul Set Free. I really feel that way.

Pastor John Lindell: I think one of the things that makes such a difference for the believer is the joy the Lord is our strength; Nehemiah 18. When a person understands the comprehensive nature of God's forgiveness, and not just his forgiveness, but the righteousness that Christ has clothed us with; that has been imparted, imputed, has been credited to our account how God uses, how our sin is eradicated and how God is working in us. What it does is sometimes people when they fail in certain areas, then they feel distant from God. That distance is something they're imposing on the relationship, not something that God is because God is reaching out to us. God is working in us. God is drawing us closer to himself. With my kids, when my kids did whatever they did growing up, kids are going to do what they do at times. But whenever my kids were not making unwise decisions, here is what I knew as a father. They didn't need to see less of me. They needed to see more of me. They didn't need me to turn my back and said, well, when you get it figured out, then I'll turn to you. No, what I did is a father is I said, when my kids are struggling, I need to spend more time with them. I need to get closer to them. They need to see my love for them. And I'm not nearly as good a father as our Heavenly Father. When you understand grace and you understand the Father's love for you … I'm not saying there's not a discipline, because whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. So, I'm not in any way suggesting that doesn’t matter. I am suggesting though, the closeness of God, and the work of God in you, and that the delight of God over you that God loves us more than we can imagine. I think there's a lot of people, a lot of Christians who go through life, really wondering, does God really love me or is God just flat out disappointed in me? That's because they don't understand grace.

 

Connect with Pastor John Lindell

·         At jamesriver.church

·         On Facebook

·         At johnlindell.com

·         On Twitter

 

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·   The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·   The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·   On Twitter

·   On Facebook

Episode Notes

In-Depth with

Stephen Strang

Guest: John Lindell

I learned so much reading Pastor Lindell's new book Soul Set Free that I invited him to go in-depth to expose misconceptions many Christians have of grace. We also talk about why his James River Church has exploded in growth.

Introduction

Stephen Strang: The subject of the grace of God is central to the gospel. I've known about it all my life. We talk about grace, we sing about “Amazing Grace,” but it is something that is misunderstood and some people are even for “hyper grace.” Hello everyone. This is Stephen Strang and today on In Depth with Stephen Strang I talked to a respected pastor named John Lindell from Springfield, Missouri, who has written an amazing book on grace. It's a book that I had the privilege of publishing. And at the end of the program, we're going to make a special offer so you can get a copy. As I say in the interview. this is a book that deeply impacted me personally. I believe it will impact you as well. So, enjoy my interview with Pastor John Lindell on the very important topic of God's grace.

 

·         Read the Strang Report: AG Megachurch Pastor: Why So Many Christians Have Fallen for this Lie About Grace

 

Stephen Strang: How would you like to experience the freedom found in knowing just how fully God is committed to love you? Hello, everyone, this Stephen Strang and welcome to my podcast In Depth with Stephen Strang, and today we're going to deep dive into that topic … the topic of grace with author and pastor John Lindell who founded James River Church in Springfield, Missouri. He's just written a book called Soul Set Free. I love the subtitle … it says Why Grace is More Liberating Than You Believe. Well, full disclosure. First of all, I published this book, and very proud to have published it. But more than that I, as a reader, was really turned on by it. Is that the right way to say it? I was excited, I learned things. I'll admit that I probably started reading it as I read many of our books, because I need to, and I was just captivated. So, talk to me about what caused you to write a book on grace. Within Christian circles, there been a lot of books written on grace, and a lot of them have been kind of controversial.

 

John Lindell on Charisma

·         Megachurch Pastor: What Believers Misunderstand About Grace vs. Hypergrace

·         How God Used a ‘Failure’ to Build One of the Largest AG Megachurches

·         AG Megachurch Pastor Warns Yoga Will Open You Up to Demonic Power

·         How Sin Uses the Law to Deceive You

 

Pastor John Lindell: That's a great question. For me, all of my life. I think any pastor is going to preach on grace and going to invite people to receive the grace of God. We sing about it; “Amazing Grace.” But one of the things that happened to me is about five or six years ago, it really became apparent to me just in evaluating my life that I didn't understand grace. And by that, I could define it theologically and I could point you to the scriptures. But there's a difference between being able to give grace a definition, an articulated definition, and really experiencing grace in your soul. Sometimes it's when we articulate a deficiency in our life and when we admit it, that it really launches us in a direction of really taking care of those things and learning new things about God and His work in our life. And so, just kind of going along, I preached through the entire New Testament during my time at James River Church. We came back to Romans, and I preached it early in my ministry. I didn't spend a lot of time in it, about 16 messages. But this time, we were going to dive deep. And as I began to study it week after week, what happened honestly in my life is I discovered so many aspects of grace and God's love, and how grace impacts us and all that God is doing that I never knew that nobody ever told me. It was completely liberating. I can remember one time just studying. I was at a Starbucks on vacation, and I was out in my car reading and just studying it, and I began to weep. I cried out and just said, God, why has nobody ever told me this before? I believe it's the best news people have never heard.

 

John Lindell Books

·         Soul Set Free: Why Grace is More Liberating Than You Believe

·         Thoughts on Christian Fellowship

·         Soul Set Free Study Guide: Why Grace is More Liberating Than You Believe

 

Stephen Strang: I felt the same way reading your book. I've been a Christian most of my life. I also knew that some people teach grace, and it’s probably an unkind way to say it that it is sort of a license to sin; that grace covers everything. Those who espouse that may word it a little bit differently. I wasn't particularly interested in getting into that controversy, even in grappling with it myself, but your book had all these things that for me, were eye openers. I'll just share one with you and the listeners. You said that the peace of God is not a feeling. It's a fact. I had never thought about the fact that God's grace gives us the peace of God and that is a fact regardless of how we feel. How did you begin to understand those concepts?

 

What They’re Saying About Soul Set Free

·         “In Soul Set Free, Lindell invites you on a life-changing journey through the book of Romans. Learn to no longer view the gospel as anything less than a truth that sets you soul free.” – Evangelist Louie Giglio

·         “John’s love for people and wholehearted passion for the local church to thrive have caused him to capture a message that will unlock potential, purpose, and clarity within every reader. He shares of God’s endless, revolutionary, and profound grace, a grace he has been so evidently marked by in his decades of pastoring and leading. You are about to embark on a rich and life-changing journey to discover the depths of God’s miraculous grace, and you have no greater guide than my friend, John.” – Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church

·         “Being a Christian isn’t about following rules. It’s about freedom—the freedom we have in Christ to pursue a truly abundant life. John Lindell’s Soul Set Free: Why Grace Is More Liberating Than You Believe is a powerful journey into God’s overflowing compassion and forgiveness. It’s the spark you need to ignite a new passion for the overwhelming love God has for you.” – Craig Groeschel, Founding Pastor, Life.Church

 

Pastor John Lindell: First of all, I'd heard people talk about grace. I'm the kind of person where you can tell me whatever you want to tell me, but I'm going to say, give me the chapter and the verse and how does it work in the Bible? So, in making the way through Paul's point, he comes to this great summation in Romans chapter five and verse one. He tells us in that moment that we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. That's an established fact. It isn't a feeling. And since we've been justified by faith, we have this peace with God. When we are at peace with God, then we're going to have the peace of God. I think a lot of people want to have the peace of God, but they haven't nailed down the sense, the understanding that God is at peace with us, that he has done everything to redeem us. Not that we don't have a part to play, but his part is so much bigger than I think most of us understand. His love and plan is so much greater than we've been taught, unfortunately.

Stephen Strang: How have you changed personally since you came to this better understanding of grace in your own life?

Pastor John Lindell: As a pastor and a preacher … I'm Assemblies of God, and I'm very thankful for that fellowship. It's been wonderful for me in so many ways. But I grew up a backslidden Presbyterian. So, I didn't find the Lord until I went to an Assemblies of God church. While I was there, I got saved and then I went away to ORU. While I was there, it was life-changing, and I was called into the ministry. So, I went from there to an Assemblies of God college because I felt I was saved through the Assemblies of God, I think I'd like to be a pastor. If I was going to be a pastor, be an Assemblies of God pastor. So, as I'm at that Bible College, they're teaching me a lot of great things, but anybody who's familiar with that tradition knows that it really comes out of a holiness movement. So, invariably what happens in that … and praise God for people who live a holy and a righteous life. But if we're not careful, what can happen is we can begin to take things that are tools to help us grow in Christ, things like reading our Bible, or praying or being a part of a fellowship and serving the Lord and honoring the Lord in different ways. We can take those tools and make them rules. So, invariably what happens is OK, this is what God has done for you, now live like it. And we begin, then, to feel this responsibility for our own righteousness, and that can become very much legalism.

It's what Paul talks about in Galatians chapter three: having begun in the spirit, are you now trying to perfect yourself by human means. So, we try to become Christlike by the things we do rather than by the things He does in us. And there is a big difference. If I could go back and redo the first half of my ministry at least, maybe the first two-thirds, I preached a works righteousness. I preached a rules-based Christianity where I was calling people to do these different things. I meant well, but what it really does is it puts people back under the law rather than understanding that when you understand grace and you understand your position in Christ, you're presenting yourself to the Lord. And the fruit of that, Paul says in Romans chapter six, produces sanctification. The fruit of that is sanctification, which leads to eternal life. So, as we understand who we are in Christ, where we are in Christ, what he has done for us, and we yield ourselves to Him, what happens is, God does the producing of sanctification in our life. The result for me has been an incredible joy and liberation in Him.

I'm a competitive person, I'm a disciplined person. I'm a person where if you tell me do this, and it will make you a better Christian, I'd be like, OK, tell me. I mean, if fasting a day a week does that or two days or, hey, let's take a week; whatever it is, tell me and I'll take it as far as I can. What happens is along the way, you find yourself bound up in trying to maintain certain things and feeling good if you do and bad if you don't. Grace liberates a person from that because it's not the way God operates.

Stephen Strang: I agree. The book is liberating. At the end of the program, we're going to make a special offer. I really want the listeners to read this book, I feel very, very strongly about it. I'm here today to talk to you about a book. But I just want to give my own endorsement and just say that my eyes were opened up with Romans. I mean, I don't know how many times I've read Romans in my lifetime; dozens of times, I suppose. But to begin to understand that it's really the centrality of the gospel. I have found in my quiet time that I'm reading Romans in a new way. Throughout the day, I will say to myself, when little things come up, your grace is sufficient. I'm pretty sure I picked that up from your book. It's like if I feel as a tinge of fear, or maybe a negative emotion where I'm reacting to something, or just the slightest temptation, I'll just say to myself, your grace is sufficient. And just that liberal habit that I formed the last few weeks had a difference in my life. I really think that it came from reading the book. I really do think that the title is very apropos. It's called Soul Set Free. I really feel that way.

Pastor John Lindell: I think one of the things that makes such a difference for the believer is the joy the Lord is our strength; Nehemiah 18. When a person understands the comprehensive nature of God's forgiveness, and not just his forgiveness, but the righteousness that Christ has clothed us with; that has been imparted, imputed, has been credited to our account how God uses, how our sin is eradicated and how God is working in us. What it does is sometimes people when they fail in certain areas, then they feel distant from God. That distance is something they're imposing on the relationship, not something that God is because God is reaching out to us. God is working in us. God is drawing us closer to himself. With my kids, when my kids did whatever they did growing up, kids are going to do what they do at times. But whenever my kids were not making unwise decisions, here is what I knew as a father. They didn't need to see less of me. They needed to see more of me. They didn't need me to turn my back and said, well, when you get it figured out, then I'll turn to you. No, what I did is a father is I said, when my kids are struggling, I need to spend more time with them. I need to get closer to them. They need to see my love for them. And I'm not nearly as good a father as our Heavenly Father. When you understand grace and you understand the Father's love for you … I'm not saying there's not a discipline, because whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. So, I'm not in any way suggesting that doesn’t matter. I am suggesting though, the closeness of God, and the work of God in you, and that the delight of God over you that God loves us more than we can imagine. I think there's a lot of people, a lot of Christians who go through life, really wondering, does God really love me or is God just flat out disappointed in me? That's because they don't understand grace.

 

Connect with Pastor John Lindell

·         At jamesriver.church

·         On Facebook

·         At johnlindell.com

·         On Twitter

 

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·   The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·   The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·   On Twitter

·   On Facebook

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Pastor John Lindell Explains Why Grace Is So Liberating