Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved… not by works, so that no one can boast.” This morning I stumbled upon an interview that Justin Kan conducted with Jaeson Ma, co-founder of 88 Rising. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Jaeson, but I never got the opportunity to meet him in person. This brother has so many crazy stories… from casting out demons to angel investing with MC Hammer… from recording a song with Bruno Mars to praying for Jeremy Lin on the eve of Linsanity… Justin Kan has interviewed some really famous and interesting people, but he was so blown away by Jaeson that he said “this is literally my favorite episode.” Jaeson made so many insightful points through his stories, but one that really stuck out was his exposition of Ephesians 2:8. He had spent many years as a youth pastor and increasingly felt this need to perform. “People follow you because they think you’re perfect, but no one is perfect, so you start to lead this double life.” After burning out in ministry, Jaeson found himself in Christian rehab, and a mentor there reminded him that God loves him for who he is, not for what he’s done. Religion focused people seek a sense of identity because of all their good works. But relationship focused people have already found identity because of His good works. I’ve never been in full-time ministry, and I’ve only begun preaching a few years ago, but I can already sense this performance mindset creeping up on me. Yesterday I missed sending out this devotional, and after staying up til 2am and waking up at 6am for a board meeting, all I could think about today was whether I could scrounge the time and headspace to write a post. But thankfully God sent Jaeson Ma and the post wrote itself. Lord, thank you that there is now no condemnation. I am fully known and fully loved by you. Thank you for clarity. Thank you for Jaeson. Thank you most of all for Jesus. In your son’s name, Amen. P.S. I’ve got some sermon prep to do for the next couple weeks, so you’ll see a bit of a break from me here. I had a lot of guilt about that, but well… God speaks!