I have heard grace being compared to food poisoning. Many people go to the doctor with upset stomach or fever and complain that they think they have food poisoning. The doctor will often respond, “IF you had food poisoning, you would know it!” The same can be said of grace. If you have received it, you know it! When you give grace, you know it too. You consciously choose to lay down your own wants and needs in light of a greater calling on our lives.
I was stoked when I received an invitation to read and write a review for Mike Foster’s book, Gracenomics. I read the entire book (70 pages) in one sitting and found myself cheering out loud for grace. The book will be available on October 6, 2010 at www.potsc.com Gracenomics is a compelling invitation for the prodigal, the older brother, our inner Pharisee, and for the person who thinks they don’t need grace.
One of the things I love most about Mike is his humble owning of his failures and story. Page 26 finds Mike being vulnerable in sharing his scars. He isn’t making his sins or his failings the marquee of his life but he embraces the truth that they are part of him. “The real me,” Mike refers to it, “This is my history; the rotting breadcrumbs that remind me where I’ve been. Some of them are still hard to talk about. But, even in the darkest stretches, I could always hear grace stealthily moving in the background. Lurking in the shadows. I knew it was there. Following close behind.”
I will own my scars here too. I often used God’s gift to encourage others as a tool to manipulate them. I have a criminal record. I plead guilty to one count theft of property for stealing $24,595.25 from a charity that I started. By the grace of my family, I paid full restitution that same day. I lost most everything in the last 14 months; friends, job, car, and the woman I had dated for three and half years. However, God used some amazing broken people to run into my life and walk with me; my sister, Tal Prince, Greg Oliver, Traylor Lovvorn, Kelly Stephenson, my step study brothers, and Mike Foster.
Two more quotes from Mike: “For most of my adult life, I used my design skills to create cover-ups to hide my failures and dysfunction.” “In hiding my weaknesses, I eventually realized I had been denying something really important: the real me. And as much as I hate to admit it, the less desirable parts of myself are still me.”
I find myself genuinely drawn to those who share their stories without makeup. God doesn’t require our help. His work in and through us despite our own depravity IS the story. I sat with my sister over lunch a few weeks ago when she said to me, “I never respect a person more than when they can own their own stuff.”
Isn’t that what we all long for? We long for the gospel of grace to be real in our lives. We long to offer forgiveness and receive forgiveness in light of the cross of Jesus.This is more than a book. It is an invitation and a conversation. “Grace is scarce. You know it and so do I. So the real question is, “What are we going to do about it?”
I am proud to be a part of People of the Second Chance. You can learn more about Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite at www.potsc.com or find them on twitter @mikefoster & @judwilhite