Friday, December 19, 2008

Walking in GRACE

OK, I want to continue what I began the last time, contrasting walking in the spirit (WITS) with walking in the flesh (WITF). For brevity sake, I'll just use S for WITS and F for WITF. Thanks to Linda and Rosie who added their own versions!
Here's a few more of mine:

F: Wages S: Grace
F: Works S: Faith
F: Doing S: Being
F: I can S: I can't
F: Focus on sin S: Focus on the cross
F: I will be pleasing to God S: I am pleasing to God.
F: About me S: About Jesus
F: I am strong S: I am weak
F: Have to S: Get to
F: Duty S: Privilege
F: Obey him S: Love him
F: Just tell me what to do. S: Just tell me who I am.
F: Cross plus.... S: Cross. Period
F: Stuck in a bad marriage S: Dead to the law, free to marry Christ

The sad and amazing thing we see in churches today is how subtle the gospel of works has crept into our thinking. What Sunday school teacher wouldn't be glad if little Johnny said he was going to try real hard not to do bad things so he could win a gold star? But trying not to do bad things will only find Johnny in the midst of Romans 7. Holding up the law only seems to stimulate our desire to fall. Lift-yourself-up-by-the bootstraps mentality just won't cut it in the long haul. Only grace can bring about real heart transformation.

The way to beat bitterness, anxiety, lust or pride isn't by trying harder, making a list and checking it twice. It's by making Christ our focus, and falling in love with him.

Perhaps, because of the season, I should add one more. How about this contrast? Works gospel: Santa! True Gospel of Grace: Jesus. Remember, Santa rewards niceness and watches for naughtiness, doesn't he? That's just one more example of a works gospel creeping into our thinking.

If I don't get another blog in before the holiday, have a merry Christmas!

One more thing: A local newspaper had an interesting typo regarding a book-signing that I am doing at our local Barnes and Noble: It said, "Harry Kraus will be singing his book, "Perfect."

Me singing: That would be a sure way to run customers out of the store!

Hmmm. I'd better warm up with a few scales, huh?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I don't have any boots!

Wow. My whirlwind trip to Kenya and back is over. In many ways, it felt like a homecoming. I was back in Kijabe, where I served as a missionary surgeon for four years. Seeing old friends and making a few new ones was an undeserved joy.

Undeserved joy. The essence of grace. Which, of course, brings me back to the topic of my message series: GRACE!

It was so much fun to nudge fellow believers to recognize the grace of God. And so needed. Because western Christians seem hardwired to default to the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality.

Why is it so hard to believe that God won't like me just a little more if I perform well on a test? Maybe it's because we like ourselves a little more.

But in God's economy, the cross is all that matters. I've become his righteousness. Christ became sin for me.

I love what Pastor Mark Driscoll ( says about the things we do to try to remedy our own sin problem. Anything we do to try and make ourselves acceptable to God is living out of a false gospel. False gospels, Driscoll says, always elevate self. The true gospel elevates the cross. False gospels says, "pick yourself up by your bootstraps." The true gospel says, "You don't have any boots!"

I want to deserve God's love. But on my own, I don't. Without boots, I'm completely incapable of lifting myself up to God.

I've started a list to compare the true gospel with our number one default gospel, working hard to make yourself presentable to God. The heading of one column is "Walking in the Spirit," the other, "Walking in the flesh."

I'll get us started and I'll ask you to fill in your own. For example, under "Walking in the flesh," I enter, "pick yourself up by your bootstraps." Under "Walking in the Spirit," I write: "No boots!" Under WITF, I write, "works". Under WITS, "faith." Under WITF, "doing." WITS: "Being." Under WITF: Fruit-oriented. WITS: root-oriented. WITF: behavior modification. WITS: heart-transformation.

You get the idea. Let me see your comparisons. Next time, I'll give you my whole list.

Grace, Harry

Monday, December 1, 2008


Thanksgiving has come and gone and my boys are heading back to school. I'm off on an adventure myself, leaving this morning for a quick trip to Kenya, back to Kijabe, my home for most of the last five years. I'm officially on a trip to give a series of talks on GRACE (based on my book, "Breathing Grace: What You Need More Than Your Next Breath"), but the fun will be reconnecting with so many great friends.

Could I ask you to cover my back? (Pray!) Desires: safety in travel, health and adjustment for time difference, clarity of thought and presentation, and that I could be keenly aware of God's grace as I present the wonderful principles of living a life of grace saturation.

The one thing that I'm keenly aware of is how little (NOTHING) I can throw my shoulders back and take credit for....when I'm talking about grace, it is antithetical to feel responsible for any of this! Every breath I've been loaned on this earth is one more example of undeserved divine favor. I don't deserve it. Didn't earn it. Can't take credit for it.

My realization of grace is a good one...if I'm tempted to feel unworthy ("I can't teach about this. Just look at my life!"), it only serves to help me sit in the right attitude for grace reception!

I'll be back in one week. I'm off to the airport!