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Holiness…not a word we enjoy to throw around very much. We say it and we immediately know it is something we are not. We see it as an unreachable idea since it’s a word we use to describe God. We avoid it because we believe we can never match up to the power of the idea. We don’t teach on it because it has been abused and turned into to a list of do’s and don’ts. If we follow certain rules we will then be holy. The problem is that how can a list of behaviors lead to holiness when it is a word we use to describe the very heart of who God is. God is holy, without blemish, without fault. Seems impossible but still in the Bible we are called to strive for holiness. Yes it’s in the Bible…God is calling us to holiness. That should be enough for our generation but we still make so little of sin and seem to embrace it as the new normal. We allow grace to cloud the needed tension in our call to be holy. I am working through a book from a young leaders named Tyler Braun called Why Holiness Matters. This is a needed examination of holiness from a next generation leader trying to navigate our current cultural context. I am in the middle of processing the book but I wanted to share some of the early highlights that stand out to me and encourage you to check out the book. We need young leaders to help frame doctrine in a way that people can embrace and live out today. This book is simply a call to not run from holiness but to confront it and strive toward it in the middle of our evident imperfection. This week I am going to give away a copy of the book. Just leave a comment with your name, email, and name of the church you serve at and I will draw a name at the end of the week and mail you a free copy. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from my time processing the book…

  • We’ve gone from a holy, set-apart people of God to a people with shared beliefs who live no differently than the culture around us.
  • Holiness is new affections, new desires, and new motives that then lead to new behaviors.
  • God is calling us to a better way. Will we reflect the world around us or the God inside us?
  • In a Christian culture that does not value innocence, it is no wonder our generation is often indistinguishable from the culture around it.
  • His (God’s) holiness is incredibly intimidating to us, especially because we have been taught holiness is found in perfect living.
  • The consequences for sin are not merely found in God’s wrath, but in the ruined relationships all around us.
  • As it burrows its way further into our minds, shame leads to indifference, intolerance, lack of vulnerability, and lack of intimacy with others.
  • In our desire to be noticed we often end up forfeiting the ability to live a humble life. Our eyes seem forever fixed on ourselves.
  • Holy life is found by engaging in relationship with God, who pushes us into vulnerable relationships with others.

I hope you will pick up this book and process it for no other reason but to take another glimpse at the idea of holiness. I believe God could use this book to help our generation reframe holiness and embrace a different way to live it out. Check the book out and make sure and leave a comment this week (August 27, 2012) to have a shot to win a free copy!