Blog

A little help over here, please!

A little help over here, please!

I’ve noticed over the years how often we associate God’s involvement or anointing with something that is large in size, scope, budget and growth.  None of us would consciously admit this correlation, being aware of the stories of men and women of faith throughout the ages.  And, knowing that there has been many “successful” individuals, organizations and companies...

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Learning to Doubt our Doubts

My natural inclination is to believe life will turn out just fine; I lean towards the positive. It’s not that I think every day will be sunshine and daisies (my home is in Michigan, the birthplace of gray skies), it’s just that I believe the sun will come out eventually.   Last month my outlook on life was normal: optimistic. I had reasonably high hopes that my next book will sell well...

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Keep Exploring by Berry Simpson

Keep Exploring by Berry Simpson

As strange as it sounds, I don’t have a list of New Year’s Resolutions this year. It may be the first time in twenty years I haven’t published a list. Not because I’ve been so resolutely successful accomplishing all my past lists that I no longer have anything left to do, but because this is a landmark year for me and it’s put me to reflecting rather than goal setting. In 2016 I will...

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If Only or But Now

If Only or But Now

If you’re thinking about the calling on your life, then you’re thinking strategically. An essential part of the discovery process is looking back at your life strategically or analytically, in order to discovery clues about your calling through the things you’ve loved and the things you didn’t, the things that wounded you and their inherent messages, the people that came into...

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What’s Wrong with this Picture?

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

I’m in the middle of another bout with bronchitis (I think I’m losing), so I planned to skip my blog this week. But last Sunday, a TV advertisement for a Christian dating site changed my mind.   I’ve never used an online dating site (I found my wife before Al Gore invented the internet), but I know many believers who found like-minded spouses online. The concept makes sense. Last...

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It’s Time for an Execution

It’s Time for an Execution

When I was a teenager, family and friends used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. (Now they just ask me when I will grow up). I always wanted to be a missionary.   Immediately after college I began mission work in Europe. But one day, during a “normal” (that is, non-exciting) prayer time, I heard God speak two words: “Not now.” I sensed him say that if I did mission work...

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Hearing God in our Emptiness

Hearing God in our Emptiness

The angriest emails I’ve ever received were responses to my articles about self-love and self-esteem. And yet . . . yet I remain convinced that the greatest obstacle to hearing God lies in precisely our self-love and self-esteem.   Most of us unconsciously believe that God speaks only to those who are mature and pure. To cover our inadequacies, we jury-rig our hearts with positive...

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Seeing God Through His Metaphors

Seeing God Through His Metaphors

A friend once told me of a dark moment in his life, a time when he felt alone, frightened, and falling apart. He described his interior life like this: “I was an engine without oil.”   My friend instinctively took a common but abstract experience—loneliness—and brought it to life by painting a picture of his pain. He imagined his life as a movie screen and he projected onto himself...

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What is the Sound of God’s Voice When We Sin?

What is the Sound of God’s Voice When We Sin?

I once told a friend of a recurring temptation of mine. Over the next month, he shared my secret with a dozen other friends, spicing up the tale with the fib that I had yielded to the temptation—even though I hadn’t. His betrayal shocked me. I skipped several lunch and dinner appointments, unsure who had heard and what they thought.   His disclosure also angered me. I obsessed over his...

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Hearing God in Suffering: How to Live a Dying Life

I had a high school friend whose life overflowed with compassion. The rest of us were obsessed with college-prep, extra-curricular activities, and jobs. But he, like a lion, could sniff out a wounded schoolmate from a thousand yards. And like a lamb, he sat with them in their grief.   One day we heard a lecture on handling pain. Most of the class was indifferent—bored even—but my friend...

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Hearing God to See Him

Hearing God to See Him

Thirty-three years ago I took a woman to a Gilbert and Sullivan play as a first date. Before the evening of our get-together, I had a collection of facts about her: she was a farmer’s daughter, she was a Social Worker, and she was cute. After the evening of our get-together, I told my parents that I had just met the woman I would marry.   What happened during those few, short hours? I had...

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Squeezing Bad News from the Good News

Last spring I attended a wedding and heard an impressive pastor preach a stirring sermon on a powerful passage called The Kenosis (or The Emptying). It’s my favorite passage on humility: Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,...

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Let’s Rethink the Way We Think

Let’s Rethink the Way We Think

Circumstances, commitments, and surprises (the unpleasant kind) overwhelmed me the past six weeks. I had too much to do and too little time to do it. Forces from competing goals pulled me in opposite directions.   Two weeks ago I arrived home from a retreat in Colorado, physically and emotionally drained. But I woke up the next morning in an adrenalin-induced frenzy, desperate to prepare...

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The Heart of Spiritual Warfare

The Heart of Spiritual Warfare

Plato urges us: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” If you are breathing, you are under a spiritual assault. The question we face is not, “Are we under attack?” but, “What is the heart of the attack?” Let me tell a recent story of mine. See if you can recognize the field of battle for the spiritual warfare.   Two friends and I host a weekly podcast on...

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Common Sense or Nonsense?

The speaker was persuasive and moving. He asked us to hug a friend, stomp on the floor, and even pinch our own forearms. It didn’t hurt that he could have been a GQ model: six foot three, blond-haired, blue-eyed, and funny. When he looked each of us in the eye, we felt his personal care. The conference theme was Knowing God. Its most popular presenter was this man with passion for feeling...

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“Get up and win that race!”

“Get up and win that race!”

As I was listening to a friend’s story to help him find the vein of gold that runs through his life, I remembered a poem that a mentor gave me years ago.  I thought that God had brought this to my memory for my friend’s sake, but I later discovered it was also for me.  Maybe, primarily for me. Because it has been so meaningful to me over the years, I want to share it with you....

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Fashions and Outfits, Fads and Beliefs

Fashions and Outfits, Fads and Beliefs

When I was ten years old, bell-bottoms flooded the fashion world like a tsunami. They were everywhere, but my mother wouldn’t let me wear them. (Her lame excuse was something like, “You shouldn’t be a slave to fads.” I think she just disliked them.)   Children always tell their parents that they are the only kid at school without an “X”: a cell phone, an iPad, or a personal...

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The Hard Edge of the Good News

The Hard Edge of the Good News

Last week, a delay by God disappointed me. It also shocked me awake like smelling salts.   For ten years, I’ve wanted (and waited) to write a book on hearing God. Last month, I finally finished it. And I’ve paid a professional to edit it, commissioned an artist to design it, and found a proofreader to fine-tune it and a marketing expert to promote it. I originally planned to publish...

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Fighting Your Way Through

Fighting Your Way Through

Many years ago Brent Curtis, (friend, counselor, author of The Sacred Romance) told me that sometimes we are not motived to seek help, healing, rescue or change despite the pain we are in until we realize the pain it’s causing others. Sometimes the unhealthy, dark, depressed, isolated or resigned place that we occasionally find ourselves in can feel “at home,” familiar, deserved,...

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Why Don’t We Think First? For a Change

Why Don’t We Think First? For a Change

A couple years ago I had an awful day in the middle of a horrible week in the midst of a bad month. A sniffle turned into post-nasal drip which turned into bronchitis—for the third time in five months. When I inhaled, it felt like shards of glass shredding my lungs.   I canceled everything so I could have some recovery time. But, later, that same day, I ended up with six hours of...

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The Inner Captivity of We Who Are Free

The Inner Captivity of We Who Are Free

We’ve been remade through a re-birth; we’ve become new creations and given new hearts; and the walls that imprisoned us have been bulldozed. And yet . . . we still fear our bosses, speak harshly to friends, dwell on anxious thoughts, and obsess about ourselves. Why is that?   Years ago I read an article written by a counselor who worked with concentration camp victims shortly after...

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Hearing God’s Guidance for Our Lives

Hearing God’s Guidance for Our Lives

Let’s admit the plain  fact that most of us want to hear God’s voice for one simple reason: Guidance. We’re looking for an answer or some formula that will provide us with a clear choice between competing options.   But God rarely limits his guiding voice to a formula. Rather, like a master painter, he uses an artful mix of brushstrokes and palette, sometimes speaking, other times...

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The Stench of Human Sweat

Last week I experienced a tempest in a teapot, and I failed to weather the storm with grace. On Monday afternoon, I discovered that my blog’s subscription sign-up form was broken. It accepted the entry of an email address; everything looked fine. Except it didn’t actually update the subscription files. So I began a sweaty scramble to fix it.   I worked from 3:30 Monday afternoon until...

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I’ve Been Put On The Shelf

I’ve Been Put On The Shelf

I received these honest and relatable thoughts from two different individuals a day apart. “I feel heavy, depressed and weighed down at work. The only thing I’m interested in is spirituality, God and anything to do with God, I devour books on God, but I can’t see my vein of gold in all of this. Do you have any suggestions, anything I should be doing to get to the core of what...

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Hearing God in Reflection

Hearing God in Reflection

Many years ago, I lived in London with a bunch of friends, working in campus ministry. One of my friends spent a couple hours with Dr. John Stott, an internationally-known pastor with a church that also ministered to university students.   Dr. Stott and my friend discussed prayer. Dr. Stott confessed that his best prayer time is spent in thinking with God, reflecting on scripture passages,...

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Hearing God in our Inner-Being

Hearing God in our Inner-Being

Why did Jesus come to earth when he did? Why not immediately after Adam and Eve sinned? Wouldn’t that have saved the world from centuries of pain? Or, why didn’t he come to the slaves in Egypt instead of sending Moses? Or, why not now? Why didn’t God choose to appear on earth to our confused, depressed, decadent Western World? Why then and why not now?   Scripture says, “When the...

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“What you’re doing won’t amount to anything” ???

“What you’re doing won’t amount to anything” ???

By Dan Ainsworth, Wilderness Preacher Study this picture and you’ll see that is not a limb growing out of this tree, but it is an entirely different tree growing in a most difficult situation. Both trees are very old. The net fencing at the bottom of the tree was put there during my papaw’s time of farming. The barbed wire fencing has been nailed onto the tree over several decades. The top...

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The Self-Love Trap

I had a high school friend who was insecure, socially awkward, and overweight. He envied the skills (and good looks) of classmates; he vilified himself for his frequent social blunders; and he castigated himself for his shortcomings. My friend, however, was in the top five percent of the honors class of a magnet, honors high school; he just never reached the top one percent. And he was the...

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Fifty Shades of Denial

Fifty Shades of Denial

I’m not surprised that bondage/sadomasochistic sex is practiced. What surprises me is that we are no longer embarrassed. Everyone has embarrassing behaviors (especially thoughts), but we practice them behind closed doors. If we must perform our shameful acts in public, we disguise them, like wrapping brown paper bags around our open beer bottles. I had not heard of Fifty Shades of Grey until...

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The Legacy Temptation

The Legacy Temptation

I’ve been sick for the last month. Sniffles turned into bronchitis; bronchitis became pneumonia; and the pneumonia was accompanied by a gut wrenching nausea. I was sick, in bed, too tired to think or pray. A walk to the kitchen for a sip of water left me gasping for air. And I felt drained emotionally. All my life to date felt inconsequential, like I’d played a good game of chess but was...

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What Is The Essence of Worship?

What Is The Essence of Worship?

Several years ago, I joined a local business organization. Their stated intention was to help business people do their job better; a kind of coaching through semi-monthly seminars.   At the opening and close of each session, we sang a song that went something like this: “Yes, I can do it; Yes, I can do it; I have a positive frame of mind.” (I kid you not—truth is stranger than...

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Hearing God in Conversation

When I was growing up, my dad taught me to sail our small Sunfish sailboat. We took month-long summer vacations, and we always camped on lakes. So we could ride the wind every day.   I probably sailed with him for a hundred hours before I faced the wind on my own. During those hours, my dad would have me either manage the sail or handle the rudder. Of the hundred hours sailing, I bet his...

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I’m a Jargon Curmudgeon

I hate jargon. I’m not sure why. But I’m usually a late adopter, and always an early deserter. Some phrases flit in and out of fashion so quickly that I barely get a chance to try them on; they fly off the shelves before I can look myself in the mirror to see how they fit.   But some slang sticks. I’m talking of words with depth and meaning, words that have stood the test of time;...

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The Pig in London and the Lamb in Israel

The Pig in London and the Lamb in Israel

Within the span of seven short days, I met two people who formed two completely divergent opinions of me. I could do nothing to change their rock-solid first impressions. That week of mistaken judgments happened thirty-five years ago, but it feels like last week.   When I was twenty years old, I wanted to spend a summer abroad, but as a college student I barely had enough money for Raman...

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Imagination and Hearing God

I’m discovering that meditation is the most powerful way to hear God. Actually, “powerful” isn’t a strong enough word. Meditation may be the most profound, deep, life-changing, heart-enriching way to hear God I’ve ever experienced.  But there is a problem. I picture meditation—maybe you do too— as something kind of weird. It’s someone dressed in leotards, sitting in an awkward...

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The Usefulness of Un-Usefulness

A few weeks ago, I wearily dragged myself home from a retreat. Exhausted. The retreat was terrific, but I had slept abysmally and felt utterly spent. Empty. Pathetically useless.   I despise that feeling of uselessness: I want to accomplish something, to make a contribution, to feel I did my part. I didn’t feel completely worthless, but I somehow sensed the sorrow of barrenness. This...

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My Accidental Smartphone Sabbatical

My Accidental Smartphone Sabbatical

Four weeks ago, I dropped my Smartphone. The screen cracked, and with it, my heart. For the first time in eighteen years, I walked this earth without my constant companion.   I’ve had a Personal Digital Assistant since my first Palm Pilot. I loved it. I called it my PDA, though I didn’t mean Public Display of Affection (but the way I waxed lyrical led friends to believe I was in love)....

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Overcoming Chronic Sins

Overcoming Chronic Sins

My twelve year old self had a violent temper. My fuse was short, and my blasts of anger detonated at insults as unexpectedly as bursts of laughter explode at well-timed jokes. Without the mutually pleasant consequences.   I remember once chasing my older brother Andy around the house with a knife. I don’t remember what he had done (probably something HEINOUS), but I do remember him...

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Hearing God in Meditation

Hearing God in Meditation

“God speaks time and again—in various ways—but nobody notices” (Job 33:14). Most people I know have an innate desire to hear God; actually, more than a desire, an intense longing. We want to connect with the divine, to somehow see the face of God, to touch and be touched. It’s inborn, an inherent ingredient of our humanity. Scripture says God is always speaking, but we miss it. We...

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The Hidden Secrets of Belief

The Hidden Secrets of Belief

Twenty-five years ago, I worked for a struggling software company. Our architecture was outdated and sales revenue plummeted. Investments in new architecture meant expenses skyrocketed. We were hemorrhaging money with no doctor in sight. And then our president had a heart attack. Our parent company asked me if I would consider becoming president. I was flattered by their great offer (and...

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What’s The Biggest Problem with Legalism? You. And Me.

What’s The Biggest Problem with Legalism? You. And Me.

I once belonged to a prayer group that prized ecumenical unity. We came from a wide variety of Christian traditions. We sang, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.” Then we split down the middle due to ruptured relationships among our leaders. We formerly prided ourselves on our exceptional unity; then our leaders attacked each other. We were embarrassed and a bit humiliated. Our...

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Avoiding The Pain of Regret

I am the son of a pastor. During my dad’s forty years of ministry, he did many great things; he probably committed a few stupid acts; and he occasionally had to make unpopular decisions. He passed away almost twenty years ago. The “Smith” family was originally supportive of my dad during his Detroit pastorate (from 1963 to 1975). And then they suddenly opposed him. The Smith’s used to...

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The Monumental Danger of Leadership Cloning

I know a company founded by a man with a passion for writing, coupled with a love for a hobby. He published a magazine centered on his hobby. The fledgling company flourished. It soon had a suite of great products but lacked market penetration. When the founding president retired, he replaced himself with a marketing expert. The new marketing-president ran the company for five years. During his...

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Spiritual Judo

Three decades ago, I reached the high water mark of my personal physical fitness. I ran thirty miles a week, performed three hundred pushups a day, and regularly boxed. (Ever since I’ve been on a downward slide, reaching new low water marks almost daily.) While in that peak physical condition (never mind its short duration), I met a man with a black belt in Judo. He was twice my age, plump,...

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You Can’t Hurt My Feelings

Thin-skinned people irritate me. (To be fair, I bet I bug them even more.) You don’t “like” their every Facebook post, their feelings get hurt. In a casual discussion, you cautiously question an idea of theirs, and they are deeply wounded. Sometimes I just want to say, “Forget it.” However, my sympathy grew last fall during one unpleasant week, when: A long-term reader criticized my...

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Try Confession Without Repentance

Try Confession Without Repentance

Three years ago (this month) I repented to God for something dinky. I hadn’t stolen candy from a baby, oppressed a widow, or coveted a neighbor’s cow. I had simply failed to control my eating. During the previous six months I had lost ten pounds. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I found them again in cookies, pies, and chocolates (and only once in the hand of an infant). So I prayed,...

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I’m Learning To Budget My Brain

I’m Learning To Budget My Brain

Every December I invest fifteen hours or so to plan my life for the next twelve months. I review my current activities, I add some items, remove others, and I prioritize. Then I literally budget how many hours each week I’ll invest in each area. Last year I decided to write a book, I budgeted hours for it, and it was published last December. For the last ten years, I’ve budgeted about five...

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What If We Can’t Forgive Ourselves?

What If We Can’t Forgive Ourselves?

I know a man convicted of a violent crime against someone he loves. He acted in a momentary rage; he had never been violent before. It shocked him. Now he’s in prison. Prison bars are not his greatest problem. He’s repented to the victim, and the victim forgives him; and he’s repented to God, and he feels God forgives him too. His problem is that he can’t forgive himself. He’s...

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My First Parachute Jump Ever … and My Last

My First Parachute Jump Ever … and My Last

As a young boy, my weekends were filled with imaginary World War II battles. Nearby parks fielded the Battle of the Bulge, and the skeleton of a local building project (fatefully a new funeral home) formed our bombed-out buildings. Dirtballs became our hand grenades, ditches our foxholes, and blankets our pup tents. We sacrificed our bodies (and the knees of our jeans) to save the world from...

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The Cyber-Nature of Spiritual Attacks

The Cyber-Nature of Spiritual Attacks

My brother-in-law Dan Lohrmann is the State of Michigan’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Deputy Directory for Cybersecurity. His job is to protect the state from attack.* What does this mean? Every day the State of Michigan experiences five-hundred thousand cyber-attacks. That’s right, half a million attacks every day of the year, or about three-hundred and fifty attacks every...

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What Can Westboro Baptist Teach Us About Grace?

What Can Westboro Baptist Teach Us About Grace?

I once talked with a group of college students, and one of them asked, “How do you explain Westboro Baptist? I can’t stand Christianity because of churches like them.” Westboro fan protests Have you heard of Westboro? They picket military funerals in protests against gays. Their website is, God Hates Fags dot com (I can’t bring myself to type the link). Westboro Baptist is a...

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Most of Us Read The Bible The Wrong Way

Most of Us Read The Bible The Wrong Way

Have you ever been in a relationship in which everything you say is misunderstood? It’s as though the other person has a built in bias to misinterpret you: You say their new tie is attractive. They wonder if you are buttering them up in order to borrow fifty bucks. You privately mention that their plaid, pink tie clashes (in the tiniest way) with their striped, orange shirt. They think you...

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Is There Any Value in Experiencing Deep Shame?

Is There Any Value in Experiencing Deep Shame?

A lethal virus is infecting many believers today. It’s the pop-therapy that claims shame is bad. Shallow-shame is bad, but only deep-shame brings healing. Without it we are doomed. J. I. Packer tells us, “Seek the grace to be ashamed” (Knowing God). The gospels describe two different miraculous catches of fish. The first occurs at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 5:4-8) and the...

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Esther: Why Whitewash God’s Scandalous Grace?

Esther: Why Whitewash God’s Scandalous Grace?

I question our practice of painting biblical heroes more heroically than the Bible does. Hiding the faults of our heroes robs us of grace. That’s why the Bible doesn’t hide them. I once suggested we tell true stories of our heroes, stories that show God’s pursuit of them despite their failings. I pointed out: Abraham was an idol worshiper and God loved him and pursued him; Joseph was a...

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How Scary Are The Tests Of God?

How Scary Are The Tests Of God?

It is natural to shudder when we think about the tests of God. They seem so scary. Yet I believe the tests of God are the key to hope and joy. Let me explain. I began flying lessons in 1997. These lessons taught me to take off and land, to navigate using aviation charts, and to communicate with air traffic control. I particularly liked learning to land. On my second flight, my instructor Jayne...

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This May Be Your On-Ramp

This May Be Your On-Ramp

(This blog on video is at the bottom of this page) So often my heart goes to “God, do something – show me what you want me to do, open a door, make a way.” Then there is silence and stillness…seemingly. Holding on to the truth that God does guide, counsel, provide and create, I wonder if I miss His answers and interventions. After all, God said, “I will instruct you and teach...

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Why Do Our Children Leave The Church?

Why Do Our Children Leave The Church?

Why do so many people—with incredible conversions—parent children who leave Christianity? History overflows with great saints whose offspring lose faith: Samuel was a mighty prophet of God. His sons were a mess. David was a man after God’s own heart. His children were a disaster. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were founded on the gospel. Now they lead the opposition. I’ve witnessed...

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The Success of Failure And The Failure of Success

The Success of Failure And The Failure of Success

I used to know a guy—just an everyday guy—who was a perfectly pleasant person. Then success spoiled him. I first met him on a client visit where he was a mid-level manager. Fifteen years ago, through a fluke—and a dash of good luck fueled by a couple coincidences—he became the company president. At first he was very humble about his promotion, “It was just God’s grace. I hadn’t...

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1 Week “Ask & Seek” Challenge

1 Week “Ask & Seek” Challenge

“I not aware of any God-given desires or passions written on my heart. If I did, I don’t think I’d know what to do with them. What do I do?” Several weeks ago, I did a live Q&A discussion with the Online Calling Course class on chapter 7 of It’s Your Call – Awakening Your Desires. Several people asked this question in various forms. Though I offer various...

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Will you have an encore call? Yes!

Will you have an encore call?  Yes!

By Mark E. Haskins It was true, he was in his late sixties, or maybe even his early seventies, and he was retiring. There were no outward clues as to his age except for the gray hair (still full and thick), the wrinkles of one accustomed to the outdoors, and as one friend noted, the barnacles that had latched on over the years. He could hold his own during the week day with colleagues much...

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Revisiting the Question

Revisiting the Question

Over the years I have had individuals tell me, with a degree of embarrassment, that they still aren’t sure what their calling is or if they are in the right place.  I find that the older a person is, the more honest and perceptive they are about their heart and life…and the more shame they feel about their uncertainty.  Permit me to shed some light on our collective experiences. Everybody...

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What’s Important in this Moment?

What’s Important in this Moment?

I’ve been asking God these days to help me to distinguish between great and small events – for my morning as well as for my life. With all that is going around me and all that is going on within me, this feels like an important question.  It was Winston Churchill who said, “When a man cannot distinguish a great from a small event, he is of no use.” Is catching up on my...

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On the Edge of Scared or Bored?

On the Edge of Scared or Bored?

“Radical dreams make us radically dependent. When we are engaged in what God has called us to do, every part of our spiritual life comes alive. There’s a reason to grow, we have a compelling reason to pray, to stay in close contact with our Leader and Guide when we walk unfamiliar, threatening paths. There’s a strong drive for fellowship, allies, and friends, close at hand because what God...

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Divinely Assisted

Divinely Assisted

“Ok, the idea that I possess a glory, splendor, strength, brilliance that is extraordinary seems a little farfetched.  It’s not my personal experience.  I think my effect is pretty small.  I can only do the best with what I’ve got and that ain’t much.” I’ve heard this thought many times – within myself and from others.  The truth is that if it was YOU ALONE that might be true,...

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Replenishing & Reorienting for the New Year

Replenishing & Reorienting for the New Year

I don’t know about you, but Christmas is always a little hard on my soul. I love having family around, watching Christmas movies, great meals, getting presents for my wife and kids that I KNOW they will love. But spiritually and emotionally, at a deep level, I am usually very depleted. It could be the busyness of the “season”, simply the end of a full-on year of life, battle...

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Clarity in Motion

Clarity in Motion

It’s amazing how we can think too little or too much. We can think about a desire or idea to the point of it’s suffocation or we can move on it without letting it fully form – to it’s demise. God has given us these two pieces of counsel: “Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” Proverbs 19:2 NIV “Do what...

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You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

 “In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.” – Robert Green Ingersoll   You’re not the only one who gets discouraged.  I do. You’re not the only one who works too hard and too long knowing the striving may not be coming from a noble place.  I do. You’re not the only one who stares at a list of things that have to get done or...

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Night Vision

Night Vision

It feels like night vision is required when looking into our own life or the life of another. We can make out the shape of some things that seem to be significant in the discovery of who we are, but they remain fairly dim and undefined or can disappear altogether. I remember several late evenings (actually early mornings) getting up and walking into the kitchen to get a pain reliever for a...

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Cold Front or Season Change?

Cold Front or Season Change?

It seems like clarity and perspective often comes to me in the morning as I’m in the shower. I don’t know if it’s the power of quite, warmth and water or that my mind has not yet become cluttered with the day’s demands or that God is preparing me for the day. A few showers ago, I was thinking about my state of being. I was aching, tired, somewhat lethargic and discouraged. This...

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Stirred Up

Stirred Up

“So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel…and Joshua…and all the remnant of the people.” (Haggai 1:14) As I read this passage in the book of Haggai my heart said within me, “I want my spirit to be stirred by God.” There are few worse moments than those times when my alarm goes off early in the morning and I lay in bed not quite able to fully wake up.  It’s in those...

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God will make you one of His specialist

God will make you one of His specialist

Years ago, I ran across this statement from Oswald Chambers – “Soak continually in the one great truth of which you have had a vision; take it to bed with you, sleep with it, rise up in the morning with it. Continually bring your imagination into captivity to it and slowly and surely as the months and years go by, God will make you one of His specialists in that particular truth.” This has...

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Discovering the Glory of ‘Late Bloomers’

Discovering the Glory of ‘Late Bloomers’

My friend, Mark Wager, wrote this blog.  I loved it and I think you will also.  You can find his other blogs at Love God, Love People, Live Free. ——————– I’m reading a book published a few years ago, “What the Dog Saw”, by Malcolm Gladwell.  I love these quirky books about what makes people and society tick.  So, as I’m reading a chapter in...

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Make As Many Things Inevitable As Possible

Make As Many Things Inevitable As Possible

  Oswald Chambers wrote, “If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many things inevitable as possible, let the consequences be what they will.” When God puts a desire in our heart (as opposed to the desires of the flesh – Gal. 5:19) we must make it as inevitable as possible.  Scripture says, “For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what...

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The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

Adapted from The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters by Andy Andrews This book excerpt was recently sent to me.  I had to get this to you ASAP.  It’s that good! —————————————————————————————- The Butterfly...

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Going Further Than You Thought Possible

Going Further Than You Thought Possible

Written by Jeff Andrechyn There is a fascinating new book out called To Kingdom Come, by Robert Mrazek, about the epic saga of survival in the air war over Germany durning the second world war. Prior to the invasion of Normandy we sent B-17’s (Flying Fortress) deep into Germany to bomb their factories and cripple their ability to make war. Daylight precision bombing left these aircraft...

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Observations & Lessons

Observations & Lessons

I have the fun and privilege of talking to many people each week by phone, email, chat and in person at Base Camp, retreats, on radio interviews, podcasts and over a cup of coffee. Each person’s story is fascinating and their questions both profound and common. So, from recent conversations, let me offer a few thoughts that may be helpful. Adjust with the seasons. Life continually changes...

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The Unseen Wake of Your Life

The Unseen Wake of Your Life

Blog by Jeff Andrechyn, introduction by Gary Barkalow. It is really hard for us to believe that there is a significant weightiness to our life. It’s hard because of all that has come against our glory; criticism, doubt, disregard, failure and ridicule. But it’s also hard to see the effect of our life because it is often invisible to the ‘natural’ eye and not immediate...

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Replenishing & Reorienting for 2011

Replenishing & Reorienting for 2011

I don’t know about you, but Christmas is always a little hard on my soul. I love having family around, watching Christmas movies, great meals, getting presents for my wife and kids that I KNOW they will love. But spiritually and emotionally, at a deep level, I am usually very depleted. It could be the busyness of the “season”, simply the end of a full-on year of life, battle...

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Conquest & Courage Amidst the Relentless Assault On Our Life

Conquest & Courage Amidst the Relentless Assault On Our Life

A friend last week explained to me how Judo works. The key in Judo, he said, is to use the enemy’s force—his strength, balance and momentum—against him. So when the opponent lunges in a kick or steps into a punch, you merely move aside and pull. And the momentum of the opponent—aided by the tiniest of pulls—throws him off balance. You redirect their strategy to bring their defeat. You...

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Recollecting Our Self

Recollecting Our Self

The last several days my heart has been out-of-sorts.  I have found myself easily upset, driven to constant busyness and shrouded by doubt concerning life, God and myself. Trying to find relief from this soul-influenza, which seems to hit hardest between Thanksgiving and New Years, I got busy working on “the things I need to get done.”  Instead of finding gradual relief; I became more...

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The Inevitable & Necessary Tensions of Life

The Inevitable & Necessary Tensions of Life

It’s amazing and frustrating how opposing realities can exist simultaneously – and this tension can often create a great deal of confusion. As I have observed and thought about this reality, I find that these tensions are both inevitable and necessary. Here’s my short list. Aggressive and Waiting We must not call an unwillingness to – move waiting on God. Nor should we...

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Why I seek out Sages

Why I seek out Sages

This is a very insightful blog written my my friend, Jack Lynady (jacklynady.com). We live in a culture high on analysis, but low on interpretation. Analysis is like when you dissected a cat in high school anatomy class. Sure you may have learned more details about the gastrointestinal tract of a feline, but by the end of the class does what you have left even remotely resemble the essence of a...

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You’re Not The Only One

You’re Not The Only One

In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.” – Robert Green Ingersoll You’re not the only one who gets discouraged.  I do. You’re not the only one who works too hard and too long knowing the striving may not be coming from a noble place.  I do. You’re not the only one who stares at a list of things that have to get done or else...

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Go With What You Know

Go With What You Know

Over the years I have met many gifted, aware, devoted people who felt lost, stuck or paralyzed in the pursuit of their calling. Then, of course, I have my own paralysis. Every story and conversation about this issue has caused me to ask “why”. We have all acted out of what we have believed (be it falsehood or truth) or what we have owned about ourselves at a deep heart level. So, I have...

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Eking Out a Living in the Midst of a Breathtaking Setting

Eking Out a Living in the Midst of a Breathtaking Setting

I have been re-reading the book, Discipling Nations: The Power to Transform Cultures, by Darrow Miller.  I first ran across this book a little more than ten years ago and was captured by the simple yet comprehensive why Miller explained the differences and effects of worldviews.  This is a great book to help in our becoming “rooted” as Jesus mentions in the parable of the seed and the...

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Trust That God Knows What He Is After

Trust That God Knows What He Is After

The world sets the agenda for the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man.” John Piper I want to share a remarkable story that involved a friend of mine, John Moorhead. I invited John to attend a Calling Intensive in Colorado this past month.  Though he wanted to come, he was unable because he was taking a friend to a Wild at Heart retreat that same weekend.  At the last...

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This Is That For Which He Was Made

This Is That For Which He Was Made

“There is a chamber in God Himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual, the peculiar man, – out of which chamber that man has to bring revelation and strength for his brethren.  This is that for which he was made – to reveal the secret things of the Father.”  George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons What an amazing way to look at our life and calling – our being with God...

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Wearing Out Our Soul by Attrition

Wearing Out Our Soul by Attrition

I open my personal journal to you, my expeditions and explanations with God, this morning. I was reading an excerpt from C. S. Lewis’, The Screwtape Letters.  In this selection, senior devil Screwtape is instructing junior devil Wormwood how to defeat followers of God. “The long, dull monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. ...

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What Then Is Genius?

What Then Is Genius?

God continues to speak to me about how we are to live like an artist.  This morning I read this excerpt from The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer.  These words ad depth and color to the quote I concluded with in my last eLetter:  “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist…” –  André Gide. The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer – The Speaking Voice, Chapter 6 When God spoke out of...

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Live Like an Artist

Live Like an Artist

Several years ago, I awoke in the middle of the night worried by the uncertainties in my life… Am I doing what I’m supposed to do? Am I where I’m supposed to be? Am I doing life the right way? Are my motives right?  I decided to go into another room so I could pray out loud and journal my thoughts with God.  After forty minutes of mumbling and stumbling my way into the issues of my heart,...

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