Archives For Grace

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?

Simply put, Yes.

See this whole “Rob Bell Love Wins” controversy is way bigger then a book, a tweet, or even a man. In fact, it goes all the way back to 2007 when Bell preached a sermon entitled Love Wins. The message was simple and yet provided a whole new way to look at the world. The message in all of this sermon was that Love Wins.The reason Love Wins is because Christ overcame the world.

Love won that day because Jesus had a choice in how he would respond to the evil that was done to Him. To all the mockers, to his friends leaving him, to the guards that beat Him, and even to the ones that put Him on the cross. We all can understand a response of fight, of revolt, of getting even, but in all of this He always responded with love. He never responded with hate, evil, or for that matter stooping to the level of those around him.

The message of hate is one that is old. It is a message of the way the universe use to be. That was until the death of Christ on the cross. The way we use to operate was that we sought out ways to pay others back, to get even, and even to bring pain. If someone hurt you with their words you figured out a way to one up them with a quick comeback that stung just a bit more. We are use to a world that is all about overcoming each other rather then the ways of the world. We are use to getting ahead, doing whatever it takes to get to the top. But Jesus says “I have overcome this world” and in that very act of love and overcoming, the world has changed.

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I have a love/hate relationship with my mirror. It gives me feedback, confusses me on which hand I am truly holding my razor in, and really only serves the purpose of mocking my feeble attempt at style. Like most people, I visit the mirror every morning to make sure everything looks fine and in place. Its not an codependent relationship where I look for affirmation on my looks, more of a mom making sure her kids have on matching socks before going to school type of thing.

I trust my mirror. I trust what it presents to me, I trust its accuracy, and I trust its purpose. It does its job so that I can do mine (you know, look good). But sometimes I return to my mirror just to remember what I look like. See I sometimes forgot what my face looks like. Its shape, structure, blemishes, color, and texture escape me because they are not right in front of me. But as soon as I return to my mirror I remember what I look like. I get glimpses of myself throughout the day, but nothing as solid as the picture I see in my mirror every morning.

So you will understand that when I read James 1 yesterday looking in the mirror took on a whole other perspective. I don’t think you need a mirror to realize you have a confused look on your face right now trying to figure out how James 1 ties into all of this, well it does. Here is how…

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Weakness and Defects are two things that we do not want to talk about when it comes to look at our life. But could it be possibly that those are the two things that God is calling us to reveal?

John 3:18-20

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

What resonated with you from this passage?


btw: Seth Godin has a killer post on the psychology of political ads. Read it here

The United States has a lot of problems.

In fact, some believe that as a country we have no hope.
This might not be a new piece of information for you, and you could even be one of those people who sees the country as hopeless. I mean I read Drudge Report ever single day. I watch 60 minutes every Sunday. I even listen to conservative radio in the car (well only when the local ESPN radio station is on commercial). I have heard all about our collapsing economy, out of control spending, endless war in Iraq, oil spill, and rising jobless rate.

It does not take an expert to figure out that we have problems. But it does take an expert to fix the problems.

I want to let you know that I think I have the solution to all the problems that present themselves today….
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On Saturday Ben Roethlisberger took a deep sigh of relief when he found out he would not be charged with sexual assault charges in an incident that took place in March. This was the second time that Big Bens name had been brought up in sexual assault accusations. In his previous incident, no charges were filled, but there were accusations against Ben that were leaked to the media. The events that took place in March at a college bar in Milledgeville, Ga. was shock consider that the news about Ben’s previous incident was still fresh.

The rumors have been swirling about the truth of these accusations. More importantly people are asking why a 28 professional athlete would be in a college bar and putting himself in a situation with a 20 year old college female. You can see how many people would jump to the conclusion of guilt. Officially the announcement that no charges will be filed comes today (Monday) and the incident will be put behind all parties. What I wonder about this all is where do we go from here? […}

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