To Live and to Breathe Grace

GodReflection: Breathing Grace

garyguarujaAlthough I grew up in a church of grace I didn’t realize it at the time. Our church didn’t have to be in a rage with an internal battle to keep the members busy.

I’m sure I was naïve but didn’t know until later in life that church wars were quite common.

At the same time we didn’t hear too much about grace. That was a Baptist word and since we were the “true church” we were afraid to say the word let alone make it a big deal in our “plan of salvation”.

Although, I’m sure God loved and claimed us, I see now we were far from a perfect church and carried with us our own share of traditional and doctrinal barnacles. So how was our little congregation able to live with each other under the umbrella of grace?

Here is what I think.

I suspect the answer can be traced to two elders who served together in our church from its early formation for over a half century.

Although, most likely they wouldn’t have called it grace that is exactly what they lived. They breathed grace over the entire congregation.

Dr Pucket

Dr. Owen Puckett

Dr. Owen Puckett was a servant doctor. As the county health doctor he administered over 70,000 immunizations and 2,300 diphtheria antitoxin shots. The Spanish-speaking residents lovingly referred to him as “Dr. Vacuna”, the Spanish word for vaccination.

Dr. Puckett’s bible was worn and his personality was kind. He lived grace before us all and offered it to all.

Theron Jay was a fellow elder. God gifted Theron with an Irish tenor voice and a love for song. When Theron led the church in song he drew out heart music from everyone present.


Theron Jay

He had hundreds of songs at the tip of his tongue. My guess is he sang throughout his day as he hummed, whistled, and even belted out the words when he was alone.

Like Dr. Puckett, Theron knew his bible. However, I believe he learned grace from Jesus through song lyrics passed down through the ages. He too lived grace before all and extended it to others.


Gerald Kendrick

At college I began to understand the actions of my mentor elders.

Two university professors, Gerald Kendrick and K.C. Moser, took me on a journey through Scripture through the lens of grace.

Grace was the identity word I had missed.

What I learned from those two professors is that grace is more than a doctrine.

For in fact the good news of the entire Scripture is the story of God’s breath of grace. God’s story is that His cleansing breath of grace transforms mere humans into dispensers of the Holy.


K.C. Moser

It has taken most of my life to learn to walk in the grace of God set before me by my mentor elders and college professors.

I have come to believe that to live grace in my daily walk I must breathe deeply from its source.

Over the next few post I want to reflect upon—and see if I can mine from Scripture—ways to become more adept at breathing grace as I move along the trail assign to me.

Let’s see what we can discover together.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on To Live and to Breathe Grace.

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About Dr. Gary Sorrells

From birth to death, I am God-wired. My body is not as energized as in earlier times, yet as my soul runs toward the finish line it carries a dream. I want to give glory to God by writing. Only now is the timing right to lean hard into this gift from God. For the first time in life, the totality of my God walk with family, the church, academic training, work experience, life scars, and accrued wisdom, provides value to share through the written word. It is as if all of the trails of life are crossing at this point. My formal education includes the B.A., M.A. and the Doctor of Ministry degrees in Bible from Abilene Christian University. Between 1980 and 2011, I worked with the Non-Profit entity, Great Cities Missions. I currently serve as Director Emeritus and as a member of the Board of Trustees. -Gary J Sorrells

3 thoughts on “To Live and to Breathe Grace

  1. Dr. Gary, your comments on your early life and the lack of verbalizing about Grace in your congregation is a mirror image of my upbringing. It was much later in life that I “found” grace in scripture and was able to apply it to my own walk and those of others that I have taught. Even now at 82 years young I still learn more of this blessed word that God has given us. What a shame it took so long!

    Pat M.


  2. I grew up in this same church, Gary. I loved Dr. Puckett and Theron so much. They meant so much to my life. I worked for Dr. Puckett in the Health Department for awhile. Theron loved me and encouraged me. He made such a difference in my life.
    Thank you for honoring them. These men softened religion with their love and actions. I will always hold them dearly in my heart.
    Greta C.


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