Archives For August 2012

This is a guest post from Tyler Braun. Tyler is a close friend that I have never actually met in person. But through the use of technology has become close. He is a pastor from Oregon whose first book, Why Holiness Matters, just released. You can find Tyler on Twitter or his blog,

A few years ago I took a bad fall while riding my bike in downtown Portland. I went over a train track at a bad angle, the track grabbed my front wheel and jerked my handle bars and I flew head first right over my bike. If I wasn’t wearing a helmet I would have been in the hospital for a long time.

It was not my proudest moment.

In the days that followed I think I managed to show anyone and everyone my scars. I had a scar on my right hip and right knee. My right hand still has marks left on it, now almost 3 years later. But best of all, the scar on my helmet is a constant reminder how bad it could have been.

In the aftermath of this, I choose to celebrate my mishap. Just about every cyclist has a crash and burn story, and they are all quite skilled in celebrating it.

Everyone deserves to brag about their scars, right?

As a pastor’s kid I’ve seen almost everything there is to see inside the walls of a church. And one of the worst is the idolatry of brokenness. The story is similar to my bike crash, but replace the physical scars with sin and worship a sinful past instead.

We are all broken. We have all sinned. We all fall short.

And really, we all need to tell these stories, but so often we become worshipers of our brokenness.

Especially today, this brokenness is easy to see. I see it in the kids growing up without a dad at my youth group. I see it in the marriages that end in divorce. I see it in the crowded parking lot at the local strip club. And of course I see it in my own heart and mind quite often.

Rather than pursuing a life of perfection through works righteousness, many have ran the opposite direction and tried to prove themselves as broken. We hand out prizes to those who have the worst past.

“Look at all the crazy things I’ve done. Good thing God forgives me.” Is it any wonder why we’re so starved of healing when we have pride from our past. The past leaves scars we’d much rather ignore.

We love to the flirt with the line between worshiping the God who saves us from our brokenness and worshiping our brokenness. In settling to be more authentic about who we really are, we miss out on the calling God has given us to pursue holiness. I appreciate Brett McCracken’s take on this:

Brokenness and sin may seem the natural or more “real” state for us, but it’s not the ideal. We were made for more, and Christ’s atoning sacrifice allows us to become more human. That is, less broken and more healed (read the full post).

It’s no wonder we’re all so cynical about faith and church, because we focus on the wrong part of the story.

We focus on the brokenness, not the healing.

We focus on the sin, not the Savior.

We focus on the past, not the present.

We focus on the formula, not the way of holiness.

Are you focusing on the brokenness or the healing?

I have featured Bellarive on Music Tuesday before. But they are so good I want to share them again with you. Bellarive has released their latest work The Heartbeat and I think it should keep you nice and cozy this fine Tuesday morning and into the afternoon. So do yourself a favor and hit play and enjoy.

Ladies and Gentlemen…Bellarive

Visit their website here
Follow them on twitter here

I believe that everyone has an idea or a dream.

When facing that idea or dream everyone will come to what I like to callThe point of stupid.”

The point of stupid sounds something like this, “My idea is stupid, this will never work.” Sound familiar?

Everyone has a point of stupid, the challenge is how you get past stupid and into the point of completed.


One of the most frustrating things for me to do is sit in traffic. Every morning, on my way to work, I hit a pocket of traffic that simply exist to get under my skin. The reason for the traffic jam? Everyone is trying to switch lanes. 75% of the cars are trying to get off at the exit while the other 25% are trying to get over onto the highway. This traffic happens every single day.

Photo credit: Kevin Dooley

The interesting thing about traffic is it wouldn’t exist if everyone drove the same speed. There would be enough room to merge on and off the highway. There would be a smooth flow to each lane and very little to worry about whenever you drove the highway.

As you know, there is still traffic. There is still frustration. And there is still congestion. The reason traffic still exist is because people do not do what you want them to do. Someone takes advantage of an opening, while others speed up to make an appointment. There will always be traffic because there will always be people driving cars.

I feel like life is often like this. There is reality and then fantasy. The fantasy is that everything will move at your pace. The roads will be open and you will make it to wherever you are going without having to stop. The reality is that there will be delays, the roads will have more stops and starts then you could imagine and you will never make it to your destination when you think you should.

It is better to be prepared to sit in traffic and understand that you will get through it then to never Drive at all. Don’t give up.

Ascend the Hill has been featured on Music Tuesday before (found here). They are one of my favorite bands simply because their music features a passion of love, grace and spirit that other music does not have.

Their latest album, Ransomed Son came out a couple of months ago and it has been on repeat in my ears for a while. I love this album so much I bought it off of iTunes. The last time I bought an album besides this one was a year ago. In my mind it is that good.

I think you will enjoy this Music Tuesday featuring Ascend the Hill.

Continue Reading…

Context indeed is everything.
Without context we are left to guess. When we are left to guess our imaginations take us farther away from the truth. Think about the last time you people watched and the stories you made up about the guy with the latte or the mom with the screaming kids. Often times scenarios can become greater then the context of the actual truth.

One of the best demonstrations of context is text messages.
Imagine reading text messages without any context of the situation? The success of text messaging relies heavily on understanding the context of situations.

Now think about the project you are working on, blog post you are writing, or piece of art you are creating.
What is the context that it will be living in?

Sometimes our amazing ideas don’t seem so amazing to everyone else because we have forgotten to define the context and focused more on the content.

The most important thing you can do for your project, dream, or life is to set the context.

Sometimes I like to daydream about what it would be like to live at the turn of the century. In these daydreams I often picture myself as the gatherer. Searching the land for anything useful for me to use. This daydream last about 5 minutes until I realize how terrible it would be to not have electricity and I am quickly snapped back to reality. But the present reality I face today is that I am still a gatherer.

Anything and everything I can get my hands on that interest me I like to gather and share. One such area of interest is iPhone apps. Today I have 3 apps that I have gathered and now want to share with you. I think they are all pretty awesome.

1. Setlist

This app has quickly become one of my favorite apps to check daily. Using your Rdio account, Setlist searches your collection of artist and bands and finds concerts in your area. In the past two weeks I have discovered concerts that I would love to go to and did not know they were coming to town. Concerts like the Lumineers and Paper Route.
Note: must have Rdio account to use this app. But if you do not have an Rdio account you need to go and get it now. Found out why here

App Cost: Free

2. Day One

Do not let the price on this app fool you, it is well worth the $4.99. You might be wondering why you would want to pay so much for a journal app? Let me explain why. I have been living with this app for about a week now and I have really gotten into documenting my days, events, and moments. What I enjoy about this app is the ability to use photos, moments, GPS, and good ole fashion words. Some of my plans for this app is to have a documented online journey. The ability to take your days, months or even years and share them online, through email or print is a big selling point for me.

If you are looking for an app that does a great job of capturing moments and has a great interface then stop your search. Day One is the app for you.

App cost: $4.99

3. Matching With Friends

From the folks that brought you words with friends and scramble with friends comes another addicting game, matching with friends. This game is a fun 5 minute time waster. Matching blocks and colors seems to be a bit pre-schoolish, but in fact is challenging to get a better score then your opponent (I’m looking at you Benji Zimmerman). This is an easy must download, mainly so that I can beat you and get more coins. Find me online by searching the name Kyle Reed or Johnny Unite Us.

App cost: free (with ads) $1.99 (no ads)

These are my apps that I have gathered for you over the last week. Feel free to share your app gathering stories with me and the community.


Speaking of iPhone. I created a background for your iPhone of an August calendar. Download here for free.