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scandal

Why I Get Excited About Church Scandals

This post title might be a bit misleading. Understand, I don’t get excited when people get hurt. I don’t get excited seeing people being taken advantage of. I don’t get giddy about sin and its public revelation.

But anytime I see a church scandal, I realize there’s something deeper going on. What the media sees as moral or ethical failure, I see as a reflection of God’s grace.

Even though there’s pain. Even though there are tears. I believe at the end of it all, we’ll be able to look back at all these church scandals and see the amazing grace of God at work. The cool reveal at the end of it all will have nothing to do with those of us who ran the race well. It’s not that some of us were able to escape scandal. It’s not that some of us were able to stay pure. It’s not that some of us were able to forgive. (more…)

restrictions

Stop Looking for Complete Liberty

Many people think liberty is all about having no constraints. “If I just could shake off laws, financial burdens, or social norms, I could have complete freedom. I could do anything I want.” They think this is utopia. But I believe true liberty is all about embracing the restrictions in our lives. Let me explain.

Do you remember playing at the park as a child? For me, I felt complete freedom. I slid down the slide head first, backwards, or any way I wanted to. I hung my head off the merry-go-round as the rocks whipped by my hair. I ran around and did anything I wanted. I knew my parents were watching me.

But if I looked back to see my parents weren’t there, I got scared. I had previously felt complete freedom to do whatever I wanted. But once the authority and structure in my life weren’t there, I lost all liberty. I didn’t want to play anymore. I held back. (more…)

critics

When I Found Out I’m the Worst Writer Ever

While I was still in college, I had the opportunity to work with my school newspaper. I didn’t consider myself a writer, but I wanted to be involved in some way. So I offered to design and maintain their website. I also dabbled in ad design.

I loved my job there. And I loved being surrounded by the people on the student newspaper staff. Working at a church, I found myself completely surrounded by conservative Republicans. And working at this newspaper allowed me to see the other side of the spectrum. I got to see that not everyone loved George W. Bush and unrestricted gun use. It also gave me a chance to have a few real conversations about my faith with people who didn’t believe the same things as me.

I began to build a real rapport with these people. In fact, the editor of the newspaper asked if I’d be willing to write a column in the editorial section. She saw I had an interesting perspective on the world and thought it would be fun to have that balance in the publication. (more…)

cynicism

One Thing Keeping You From Changing Your World

I know way too many cynical Christians. They’ve been burned by someone in the church, so they guard their hearts from anyone. They look for the negative in any situation. They assume everyone wants to screw them over.

These cynical people are also the first to point out the problems in the world. They see the error in every televangelist. They know what’s wrong with every church in town. And they seem to hold the answers to the world’s problems. If only someone would listen to them.

But that’s the thing: cynical people will never change the world. Cynicism will never bring about the positive change they wish to see in the world. Instead, their cynicism carries them slowly and miserably to the grave. Nothing will change for them. (more…)

misunderstood

My Worst Critic

I like being liked. So anytime somebody doesn’t like me or doesn’t like something I do, I try to win them over.

Just last week I got an email explaining all the things I did that made someone not want to buy my book. It was a painful criticism, but I got it. I got what the guy was saying and I tried to learn from it. (It was a really long email. And he even did some statistical analysis to prove his point about what I needed to change in my life.)

But he wasn’t my worst critic. The worst critics in my life are the ones who completely miss the mark. They’re the ones who don’t get what I’m doing or who don’t really understand what they’re talking about. (more…)

your-calling

You Might Be Missing Your Purpose in Your Job

If you think your job is your calling, you’re missing out on something big. You’re so much more than the way you make money. And you have more value in you than what pays the bills.

So many people think the fulfillment of their dream means getting paid to do what they love. That they’ve somehow reached their purpose when they get their dream job or finally start that self-sustaining business.

The problem with that type of thinking is: What happens when that’s taken away from you? What happens when you lose your job? When you’re forced to retire? When you get injured and can no longer perform that task? Your calling and your purpose is so much bigger than all that.

The Apostle Paul was a tentmaker. Peter was a fisherman. Jesus was a carpenter. But their legacy far exceeded their job. They were called to bigger things than their profession. They didn’t find their identity in those things.

That isn’t to say they weren’t faithful in their jobs. We have to work hard at everything we do. But we have to realize our identity is bigger than our job.

  • Mothers, your identity is bigger than just raising your children. When your children are grown up, your value isn’t over. Your purpose is bigger than just that.
  • Church creatives, your identity is bigger than serving at your church. When you’re no longer the hippest, coolest cat on the scene, you still have value.
  • Writers, your identity is bigger than your reviews on Amazon.com. Even when your project drops to the bottom of the bestsellers rankings, you still have value.
  • Pastors, your identity is larger than your relevance. Even when you’re in a nursing home, reminiscing about the good old days, your value persists.

Your calling is bigger than your profession. Start living as such.

[Blog photo from Mopho.to]

instinctual

The Three Types of Successful People

There are three types of successful people in the world.

  1. The Lucky Successes
  2. The Instinctual Successes
  3. The Purposeful Successes

You’re up there somewhere. You might just not know it yet. Let me explain who each of these are, and let’s see if you can identify yourself in the list. (more…)

function

Stop Listening to Arms

I think everyone should get an education. But at the same time, I’ve known many people who have succeeded without one. In fact—while I value education—I think it’s a complete farce. Education will not make you successful, even though that’s what it promises. It won’t even always teach you what you need to know in life.

True, if you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or scientist, an education is a must. It’s vital to your career. And you will learn valuable information that will help you in your career.

But my job (I’m still not sure what I do)… There’s no degree for that. My brother’s job—leading adventure expedition/conferences—there’s no degree for that. Unfortunately, that doesn’t keep people from saying you need an education to succeed at life. (more…)

enemy

The Enemy of Your Dream is Tomorrow

I’ve found the biggest enemy to following your dream isn’t being busy. It’s not an overloaded schedule. Almost everyone deals with that, even those who accomplish their dreams.

The biggest dream is knowing that you can follow your dream tomorrow. “I’m busy today. I’ll work on my dream tomorrow.” Unfortunately, tomorrow turns into a week from now. A week from now turns into when things slow down at work. That turns into next summer. Vacation comes and pushes that idea further back.

Eventually you find yourself with a dream that’s all but died, simply because you knew it would always be there. Unfortunately, now you’ve lost all passion and energy for the project. It’s never going to happen. (more…)