Tag Archives: Grace

Skip & Barbara Ryan: Hitting a Wall… and Coming Back

I only heard Skip Ryan preach once at Trinity Presbyterian Church. I was a college student back in those days about an hour away from Trinity, but I had friends who really loved Skip and they encouraged me to come visit and hear him preach. Trinity was one of the fastest growing churches in Charlottesville, Virginia. I could see why when I saw Skip in action.

Before long, Skip Ryan moved as he was asked to lead a new congregation in Dallas, Texas, that had split off from another church. Under Skip’s leadership, Park Cities Presbyterian grew from 1,500 to over 5,000 members in just about 14 years. Everyone was impressed with Skip’s performance.

Skip Ryan was a big hit.

Unfortunately, Skip’s success had become his own undoing. Underneath the performance-driven facade was a prescription pain-killer drug addiction. Over time, it isolated him from his family, his co-workers in ministry, his friends, and it eventually cost him his job.

Skip Ryan had hit a wall.

That was 2006.

Fast-forward to 2012: Years after hitting bottom after crashing into his wall, Skip Ryan was eventually restored back into ministry at Park Cities as an assistant pastor and he is closer now to his family than ever before.

Here at Veracity, we do a lot with Christian “apologetics”; that is, giving a reasoned defense for the hope that one has in Jesus Christ. But the most compelling case that can be made for the Christian faith is perhaps not some powerful illustration for the existence of God or some profound evidence for the historicity of Biblical claims. Instead, it is the demonstration of transforming grace in action through changed lives. Personal discipleship does not happen with out it. The story of Skip and Barbara Ryan is one of repentance and rescue, a window into God’s grace at work in Christian community. Let them tell their story.

[vimeo 45947083 w=500&h=281]

HT: Dave Thompson

Brokenness: Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning.  A ragamuffin.  A story of brokenness and grace.

Brennan Manning. A ragamuffin. A story of brokenness and grace. It is a beautiful story, but it isn’t very pretty.

Life can get really messy. Even for Christians.

Consider the life of Brennan Manning. Brennan grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and then as a young man served as a Marine during the Korean War. After the Marines, Brennan was pretty lost. He was looking for something more in his life. That “something” was Jesus. After a few years of searching, he entered a Catholic seminary and eventually joined the Franciscan order as a priest. He did a bunch things as a priest: he joined a community committed to live with and work among the poor in Spain, he did campus ministry among college students, and even worked on the shrimp boats with another group of priests in Alabama, reaching out to fishermen who had fallen away from the church.
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