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When I was growing up in L.A. (Lower Alabama) we usually had four or five dogs and cats to claim as our pets. By virtue of being the oldest child, my older sister, Judy, demanded the right to name all our pets. (First-born siblings can be control-freaks as the rest of us know). We had a dog that was part German Shepherd which Judy named Rex. While, Rex was a ferocious looking dog, he was a big chicken at heart. He was scared of everything. None of our pets ever came inside; they were “yard pets.” But once when it thundered, Rex was so frightened he broke through the screen door and came in and hid under the table!


His bark wasn’t worst than his bite, because he seldom barked...and he never bit. However, there was on thing that could make Rex bark. Sometimes when a bird or a flock of birds flew over on a sunny day, Rex often chased their shadows on the ground. I can recall watching as one bird flew around in a circle with Rex chasing the circling shadow on the ground, barking the whole time. Poor, dumb, bird-brained Rex–he never figured out the shadow wasn’t real.


Sadly, there are many well-meaning Christians who are doing the same thing. They are chasing shadows: They are still trying to please God by keeping religious rules and observing religious rituals. In this message, I want to examine some of the substitutes for grace, and then talk about the differences between legalism-based churches and grace-based churches.

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