Why I observe Lent

I had been in an emotional and spiritual struggle for years, processing how the Body of Christ could be so defined, so marked, by division, quarrels, and willful ignorance of each other. My spiritual journey had led me right into the middle of some of those painful internal wars, and I hadn’t escaped without getting hurt. Read More

What I learned about the Holy Spirit from my wife’s life-threatening blood clot

About two weeks ago now, my wife Amber noticed some swelling in her left leg. She was experiencing some pain and discomfort, but (being the strong woman that she is) wasn’t sure about getting it checked out. After a call with our midwife, however, she decided to go in for an ultrasound.

Now, when you go in for an ultrasound, they usually send whatever results you get to your primary care physician. The ultrasound technicians themselves aren’t doctors, so they’re really not supposed to give you any information, because they very well could be wrong.

Nevertheless, Amber knew something was up when the tech kept looking at her mid-ultrasound and asking, “do you still feel okay?” and then about 10 seconds later “how about now? You okay?”

And then a little later, “you really need to see your doctor, like…right now.” Read More

If your heart belongs to God, so does everything else

When my wife Amber and I married each other, a lot changed for both of us in the days immediately after our marriage. For instance, we went from two separate bank accounts to one, joint bank account.

All of a sudden someone else could see everything I was spending my money on. I remember well the days before I got married, when I could buy video games and technological gadgets without really asking anyone for permission, just because I wanted to.

Those days are long, long gone.

Things changed because I became responsible for more than just myself.

Before we got married, I had a car and, Amber did not. After we were married, if someone asked Amber if she had a car, she’d say yes, of course I do. My things stopped being my things and became our things. In effect, my stuff became her stuff. And while it took some getting used to, I really didn’t mind. Why is that? Because the relationship was worth it.

Because on a summer day in 2005, I gave Amber my heart, and everything else followed from that.
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How to have a mind like water

This post contains outdated info on the tools I’m using. For the most up-to-date info, see this page.

In David Allen’s classic book on personal productivity, Getting Things Done he describes an ideal state of mind:

Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact.

So why do we care about this?

A mind like water is a disciplined mind, a mind focused on the right things, at the right times. David Allen places this in the context of personal productivity, getting the things you need to get done, done. David Allen’s Getting Things Done system can help you clear the clutter from your daily task list and help you order your life in a way that is consistent with your values.

I think there’s actually a spiritual component to this, if we’re open to it: the very biblical concepts of stewardship and working “as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). Read More

How to have a life-changing mentoring conversation

I’ve spent the last three or so years mentoring college-age men in both one-on-one and group settings. One of my initial challenges was figuring out what I should be talking about so I could effectively lead the conversation and make the most of our time together. It doesn’t help that the goals of many mentoring relationships are somewhat vague (learn from the mentor’s mistakes, become a better Christian, etc.)

After my first year as a formal mentor, four essential conversation categories emerged for me. These make up a focused, productive, and ultimately life-changing mentoring conversation. Each of your mentoring sessions should generally include all of these elements (though not always in identical proportions). Read More