10 Steps to Embracing Grace (Part 2)


How to shift to the grace lane of Christianity

After reading Grace Is Not A Dirty Word I received a message that asked, “How do I embrace Grace now that I realize I have misconceptions about it? Now I know what grace is not, but what are the practical steps to making a change?”

This got me thinking. What I thought would be a few short points as turned into a two part series with 10 Steps to Embracing Grace. You can read the first five in my previous post. Here is the conclusion

10 Steps to Embracing Grace (Part 2)

Be Real

“Genuine self-acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind games or pop psychology. IT IS AN ACT OF FAITH in the God of grace.” -Brennan Manning

One of the most fun parts of grace is learning to accept yourself, and unashamedly living comfortably in your own skin. In a church world of behavior modification, and people trying to live up to the preference’s of man, it can be intimidating to do this. Honestly, I can’t guarantee that being the real you will be celebrated. I have just come to the place that I would rather be rejected for being who I really am than dealing with exhaustion that comes from trying to maintain an image that everyone likes.

Authenticity requires risk, but it also has much more opportunity for reward. It involved becoming more vulnerable with our shortcomings, but it opens the door to true freedom. There is a level beyond resurrection called L.I.F.E – Living In Freedom Everyday. Freedom goes a lot further than just liberty from the power of sin. It leads to authentic Christian existence.


A grace-filled person has given up on the hope of any perfect model other than Jesus. Examine your past teachings and current convictions through the example of Jesus. Start asking, what would Jesus do in this situation, instead of what do others expect me to do. Abandon every stereotype of what you think a Christian should behave and talk, and make it your goal to embrace what Christ would do and speak


Start reading the Bible differently. Instead of looking at passage through an old performance oriented filter, or a filter of God’s only happy with my perfection filer, try reading through a lens of grace. Don’t allow reading the Bible to become a checklist item that gives you confidence in your own self sufficiency. Reading the Bible is continuing a love conversation with God.

A few practical ways to read with lens of grace: I would suggest start reading in Galatians, and learn the difference between the true gospel and the false gospel. Consider taking a season just going through the Psalms and find healing. I probably spent at least 6 months just reading Psalms when I first reached a true place of realizing my need for God’s grace. Read the gospels and see how Jesus treated sinners and responded to religiously proud.

Books are a key part of growing in grace as well. Reading open doors to new understanding of God, and allow us to be mentored by great thinkers. Books scare those who are religiously minded, because they threaten their wrong ideas about spirituality. Those who hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness, not self-righteousness, will look for truth and allow it to confront and redirect their lives.


A grace-filled person knows that they need to guard their heart. You will have to guard against the old ways sneaking back into your life. You will have to learn to apologize frequently to keep your own heart pure. I have become an expert in apologizing to people; especially those I may actually believe owe me an apology. This is not being fake, it’s guarding my heart against making other people my debtors. I want to set people free, not become their prison guard. That’s no fun for either of us.

You will have to guard your heart against people misunderstanding your new positive Jesus oriented approach to life. You will also have to continue to guard your heart from pollutants that can distract you from the Lover of your soul.


I used to take pride in the fact that I didn’t like to rest. If a day went buy where I got a late start, or worse yet, didn’t accomplish anything, I’d get angry. I start to feel like I was wasting time. Condemnation and frustration would settle in down the hall like two wicked step sisters.

Then at some point I read an Japanese proverb that said, “He who rests is never tired.” Something clicked for me, and rest become a principle that supported two main ideas.

The Sabbath – true rest is part of worship. It acknowledges my need for God. It causes me to humbly admit that even if I did work 24/7 I could never accomplish everything God has for me without Him. It also causes me to pause long enough to appreciate things, and therefore express gratitude to God, that I would have missed if I stayed busy.

Longevity – “He who rests is never tired.” If I learn to recoup and rejuvenate, I will have more energy for the task at hand. I’ll be better prepared to do my best when it is time to work. I won’t burn out, and can last longer in the race. Every marathon has gatorade tables, and every runner that expects to win knows the importance of pacing himself.

Rest is not laziness. It is humility, worship and intentionality. We need to stop celebrating exhaustion and accomplishing things in our own strength.


I had no idea that I would have so much to say concerning practical steps to embracing Grace. This list is by no means comprehensive, and is no particular order. I just thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned from my own journey.

I’d love to hear from you. What are some practical ways you have learned to embrace grace? Send me a message or ad your comment to the conversation. Until next time…

10 Steps to Embracing Grace Part 1


Practical Steps to the Grace-filled Life

How do you get out of a performance based Christianity? What do you do if you realize that maybe you have become a little cynical, competitive, or burnt out in your spiritual life?

I remember when I reached the point that I had become more like the religious pharisees than I had a merciful Jesus. I had become a perfectionist, prideful and more than a little exhausted from being God’s morality police.

It has been a long journey for me to embrace a Jesus style Christianity. Here I would like to share 10 practical steps I have learned from that process. I have split them into two blogs. Here is part 1 of 2.

10 Steps to Embracing Grace


Take responsibility for where you are, and how you arrived at a graceless place. I frankly don’t trust anyone who says they have embraced grace, but still blame others for their past disappointments. Even Job, when he was proved right by God, was still corrected in some areas. You never experience personal growth while focusing on someone else’s need to change.


This goes hand-in-hand with the previous step, but is different. One of the greatest attributes of grace is forgiveness. Grace is the very nature of forgiveness. I know that there is a part of grace that empowers us, and yes that is very important, but at the core of grace is a radical unfairness that wipes the slate clean.

How do we operate in forgiveness?

Firstly, we need to learn to receive God’s forgiveness without filters of manmade religion. The more we open ourselves up to God’s total abolishment of our record of wrongs the more humble we become, the more healing we experience, and the more generous we become towards other’s short comings.

Second, forgive others who have hurt you, disappointed you, and maybe even been somewhat responsible for teaching you a graceless Christianity. I have learned one of the most important lessons about forgiveness from my wife. “Don’t pray that others will be exposed. Pray that they will be exposed to the right thing.”

I no longer try to hold everyone accountable. I let God do His job. I have found that I can more positively influence others by exposing my own shortcomings and what I have learned as a result, then I can pointing out other’s issues while projecting perfection in myself.


Forgiveness is actually part of being a generous Christian. We shouldn’t just be generous when the offering plate passes. Generosity is part of the lifestyle of a grace-filled believer. Be an encourager. Share your belongings. Have a bucket of positivity ready to pour out when you sense someone being negative towards you. Find practical ways to be generous throughout your day with your words, attitude, actions, and resources.


On God instead of you. On opportunities instead of opposition. On God’s best for people instead of their worst. On a process instead of the present. Valuing people over their current problem.


Embracing grace requires an intentional shift to an attitude of gratefulness. This can be revealed in the everyday things that may frustrate you.

When you order comes back from the kitchen wrong, instead of sending it back and chewing out the waiter, just accept it and say thank you. You may be thinking “Well, I am paying for that meal and I expect it to be right!” Instead of complaining about how it is hard to find good help these days, and how “this restaurant used to be a great place to go,” just be thankful that you can afford a meal and that you have to ability to spend time with friends and family. Then leave a generous tip. You will never be the same if you do.

Thanks for reading this first part of Embracing Grace. 5 more practical steps to come next week.

What are some practical ways you think we can embrace grace?

A Touchdown for Les


6 Things I Will Remember About Les Miles

Les Miles has had a tremendous career as head coach at LSU. No one can argue that, even if it has ended differently then some would have expected. He is also a great guy that became more than a representative of the University. He gave us a new public character that was beloved and uniquely refreshing. Here are a few things I will remember about Les Miles. 6 Points to make one final touchdown for Les.

  1. 2007 National Championship – I remember sitting in the student section at LSU and seeing the 1958 National Championship flag. Realizing it have been over 40 years since our last championship, I prayed and ask God to be so kind to just give us one more that I could see for myself. That happened in 2003. Then we got another from Coach Miles in 2007. Seems like every football team expects their team to be in the title game every year. That’s just not possible. I am glad Les gave us that chance twice, and one of those ended with LSU lifting the crystal ball.
  2. 2007 Florida Game – This is my all-time favorite football game. Jacob Hester. Going for it on 4th down over and over again. Overcoming not only one of the best programs in the country, but a tough team that we have to play every year made it an unforgettable night.
  3. Undefeated SEC Record and Championship in 2011 – There are lots of SEC champions, but not many of those teams can claim a perfect SEC record. Les Miles can do that after delivering a second SEC championship to LSU as head coach.
  4. Trick Plays – When is Florida going to realize that just because you line up that way doesn’t mean you are going to kick a field goal? The Mad Hatter gave us many memorable and gutsy trick plays to enjoy.
  5. The Quotable Les – Sometimes confusing, often funny, but you can always “have a great day” after listening to Les Miles speak. When asked if it ever rains in Tiger Stadium, he said no, but that there’s been “a very stiff dew.” On celebrating his players after beating Ole Miss: “Spectacular group of men. You go find them, you throw your arms around them, you give them a big kiss them on the mouth … if you’re a girl.”
  6. The Players – Les Miles was a great ambassador and recruiter for LSU. The national spotlight he generated with his personality and likability brought us some great talent to Tiger Stadium. I can’t imagine Saturday’s in Baton Rouge the past years without Leonard Fournette, Patrick Peterson, Odell Beckham Jr., or The Honey Badger to name a few.

The Extra Point 

The Way He Left LSU – If you haven’t heard the interview Les gave with Dan Patrick, you need to go listen to it. We all knew Les was a character person, but I have never heard a coach honor a team and university the way he did after being replaced. He truly cares about his players, and believes too much in what he built to tear it down with hurt and bitterness. Ed Ogeron said that Les told him that he was for him, and Les vocalized that as well. I heard there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after he addressed the team to say good bye. Well done Coach!

That makes one last 7 points for Les Miles. Let’s all lift a cup of grass smoothie to an unforgettable coach, and wish him the best moving forward. What will you remember about Les?