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Showing posts from October, 2018

11 Great Enneagram Resources

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You may have no idea what I mean when I talk about the Enneagram. Or you may have been getting to know the Enneagram for a while now. Whether you're a complete beginner or more advanced, I want to share some resources that I have found really helpful over the last couple of years. Whether you would rather read books, listen to podcasts, or watch online videos, I've got you covered.

FOR ENNEAGRAM NOVICES

1) The Road Back to You, by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
This book is by far the best introductory primer on the Enneagram. It gives a great overview of what the Enneagram is, how to use it, and a basic description of each type. You will be tempted to skip straight to the number you think you are, but you can't fully understand your number without knowing the other eight numbers, too. I recommend getting a physical copy of the book so you can share it with your spouse, family, and friends. You're going to want to share it when you're done, I promise!

2) The Road…

3 Life Traps to Avoid

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Idolatry is a trap.

An idol, as we saw last time, is something that makes big promises, takes all it can, and gives nothing in return. This video from I Am Second featuring hit singer Tori Kelly does a fantastic job illustrating this point. Check it out:


Tori Kelly was promised the world. She was promised everything she could want - fame, fortune, success as a singer. But her "idol" deemed her not good/pretty/bubbly enough. So long, see you later. Next!

She had to learn not to tie her identity to anything other than Christ. Kelly had to learn to let go and gain her freedom (remember the Monkey Trap?).

THE THREE TRAPS

If idolatry is a trap, it's helpful to know what kind of traps to specifically be on the lookout for. The Bible identifies three main traps, and life has confirmed this to be true. Here's exactly what we need to watch for:
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For t…

Review: Unarmed Empire: In Search of Beloved Community

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Unarmed Empire: In Search of Beloved Community by Sean Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been following Sean Palmer's work for a while now. I've read his earlier blog posts. I've heard him speak on different occasions and to different audiences. The modern church is blessed to have pastors and authors like Palmer.

In "Unarmed Empire" Palmer lays out a clear, inspiring vision of what the church can be - and is in some cases. Our world seems to be divided and partisan now more than ever in recent history. That division and partisanship has bled over into the church, too. Palmer gives me hope that there is a way out of the political quandary in which we've found ourselves.

If you are a church leader - official or layperson - this book is a must-read. Take it and see how your church stacks up. Are we loving? Are we open and welcoming? Are we living life together? Are we emphasizing community rather than the individual?

The church is going to surviv…

Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hank Green's appropriately named debut novel "An Absolutely Remarkable Thing" is a marvel of our time. The book is at once a fun, thrilling sci-fi story about aliens making first contact. At the same time it gives a stark look at the realities of the modern world. It seems like an attempt to answer many questions, chief of which are 1) What could legitimately happen in the world if a sentient alien race made first contact with us on planet earth? and 2) What does it actually do to a person to be suddenly thrust into the spotlight of fame and fortune in the age of the internet? I can think of no person better equipped to answer these questions than Hank Green.

The story is well-paced, being told in an after-the-fact first-person account by the main character, April. HG's character development is every bit on par with his brother's (John Green). April and her friends Andy, Maya, Miranda, and Robin…

Jonah: Bravely Ran Away

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Ok, so here's the thing. Psychologists sometimes explain consciousness as the story we tell ourselves. We make meaning out of anything and everything. We have supporting characters and extras, protagonists and antagonists. And wouldn't you know it? We just so happen to always be the hero in our own story. One of the best portrayals of this is in the Will Ferrel movie Stranger Than Fiction.

We are the hero in the story we tell ourselves that makes up our conscious experience of life.

Got it?

Good.

So the thing to remember about Jonah is that he is the hero in his own story. No, he may not be the "hero" in the story recorded in Scripture. But in the moment, to himself, he is definitely the good guy. Jonah is doing what he thinks is right. He/Israel is the good guy. Nineveh/Assyria is the bad guy.

Where does that put God?

There's an interesting scene in the book of Joshua. The Hebrew nation is on the verge of entering the Promised Land after 40 years of nomadic life …

Jonah: Nope

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Have you ever heard God speak directly to you? Odds are that you haven't. I would say that most
people don't.

If you did, how would you respond?

The closest I've come to hearing God speak to me happened when I was just out of my freshman year of high school. I was fifteen years old. We were at church camp that summer. It was one of those super emotional nights where a bunch of campers were thinking seriously about their lives. We ended each night with a time of singing. That night so many youth ministers and counselors were busy talking with teens in need that they turned over the song leading to some of us young guys. I got up in the middle of everyone and led a few songs. In that moment I could see and feel the Spirit of God at work in the lives of my peers. In that moment I felt/heard God tell me that this was what I was meant to do with my life.

From that moment on I began to pursue my calling to youth ministry and worship leading. I've been doing that full time f…

Alexa, Share My Halloween Playlist

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Do you have access to Amazon Prime Music?

Do you love Halloween as much as I do?

Here's a fun playlist of Halloween (and Halloween-inspired) songs for your costume party or for playing in the car while taking the kids to Trunk-Or-Treat this weekend.



If you don't have Amazon Music, I'm sure you could make a similar (or better) playlist using Spotify, Apple Music, or whatever service you prefer.

What songs would you add to this playlist? Let me know in the comments below!

3 Benefits of the Enneagram

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If you've been paying attention to Christian books, podcasts, Twitter, and YouTube, then I'm sure you've at least heard of something called the Enneagram. You may be familiar with it, or you may have no idea what that term means. I'm no expert, and I'll direct you to some helpful resources in a coming post. But for now, I want to mention just three key ways my life has improved because of this tool called the Enneagram (inn-ē-uh-gram).

1) The Enneagram has introduced me to myself.

At its most basic, the Enneagram is a personality typing system. You may have taken some kind of personality assessment before, like the Meyers-Briggs (I'm an ENFJ, whatever that means). The Enneagram spells out nine different personality types represented by a number along a circular figure. Each number represents a different way of viewing and interacting with the world.

You may wonder what's the big deal. But it's more than just picking a number or taking a test online. As y…

Jonah: World's Worst Prophet

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I may be one of the few people in the world who considers Jonah among my favorite books of the Bible. Don't @ me. The book of Jonah has a lot of things going for it:
Emphasis on God's grace, mercy, love, and forgivenessHigh seas adventureNear death experiencesA man swallowed by a gigantic sea creatureAn entire city on the verge of destructionAngry outbursts and melodrama by the overly emotional main characterA protagonist that you just can't really like, but is also super relatableTwists, reversals, and ironic situationsA cliff hanger ending There has been a lot of debate in scholarship about whether Jonah is based on a true story or if it's merely a fictional parable. I'm not going to get into it much except to say that it has a lot of similarities to the stories of Elijah and Elisha. If it's based on a true story, then it's quite a remarkable tale! But if it's not grounded in fact, it is still an amazing story that illustrates God's love to its ful…

6 Reasons Christians Should Care About Climate Change

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Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the state of global climate change. Things are not looking good to say the least. You can easily look up the report and read it for yourself. At the rate we're going, we have about 12 years to come together as a global community and turn things around.

It's almost time to hit the panic button.

Mike McHargue released an episode of his podcast "Ask Science Mike" this week discussing the report and what we can/should do about it. I highly recommend giving it a listen (begin at about the 5:38 mark). It's upsetting to me that we could be experiencing the catastrophic effects of global warming within our lifetime. We're not just talking about the distant future of our grandchildren's grandchildren. We are talking about a couple of decades from now.



When I was younger I remember hearing people in the church shrug off the warnings of global warming. I would hear things li…

No More Idols

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I've never worshiped an idol. I've never bowed down to a statue or offered sacrifices to a foreign god. I've never set up a shrine to anyone or anything. I've never carved or chiseled an image to represent a deity.

But I'm an idolater.

And so are you, probably.

Discipleship Training | LOVE

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For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faithgoodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

The life of a disciple should be one of virtue and integrity. It's also a lifelong process. There will never be a point in our lives when we have "arrived" as the perfect disciple. Just like health and fitness is a lifestyle, so is following Christ. We will never be perfect, but as we follow Christ we are in the process of being perfected, being made complete.

And we will never be complete without love.

Love (agape in the Greek) appears in every list of Christian virtues and Spiritual gifts. You could say that love is THE virtue and THE main gift of the Spirit.