Unpacking Spiritual Baggage – Part 3

"How are you doing?" There's a lot of different ways in which those words can be voiced ranging from a casual aside with no desire for an answer to the way the pastor of the church we'd attended for a year and a half asked it of me. It sounded as though he really wanted to know because he really cared about the state of my soul.I hesitated for a moment. Could I trust him? I'd worked hard with the help of the Holy Spirit using the gfits and training of an excellent counselor to unpack some of … [Read more...]

The Paradox Of Retreat

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In military terms, a retreat is the decision for an army to withdraw because they're losing a battle. In Evangelical church circles, a retreat is a weekend packed to the rafters with activity, teaching and relationship-building.Jesus often retreated from the go-go-go of his ministry to seek his Father in solitude. Solitude was the life-giving marrow of his ministry as the Spirit shaping his communion with the Father. His withdrawl into retreat was an advance for him. Solitude was not about … [Read more...]

Q & A With Amy Julia Becker

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 "For a long time, I thought my children were a distraction from the work God was doing in my life and in the world around me. I am starting to realize they are the work God is doing in my life. They are the invitation to give, to receive, to be humbled, to grow. They are the vehicles of grace." - Amy Julia Becker A few years ago, my friend Amy Julia Becker wrote a frank and shimmering memoir of her journey as the parent of a daughter with Down Syndrome called A Good And Perfect Gift (my review … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 2

If you attended a church service this weekend, you may have been sitting in a roomful of suitcases. There's no way to tell what percentage of people in a given congregation are schlepping baggage from a previous negative church experience, but I suspect the numbers would startle even veteran church leaders. Bad baggage is often eagerly recycled by leaders. This may serve the needs of the organization. It may even be called good pastoral care by some leaders, who rationalize that putting hurting … [Read more...]

Q & A With Author Amy Simpson

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When we worry, we fight the constraints of the way we and our world were created. We try to enter a place we can't go. We try to control what we have not power over.  -- Amy SimpsonI play a little game with myself called "Worst Case Scenario". It requires me to apply equal measures of worry plus creativity to any given anxiety-producing situation in my life. It turns every stressor into an instant Y2K. My imagination goes into 7th gear trying to prepare for every possible unhappy ending to … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 1

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I've heard via the always-reliable Interwebz that as many as 7,000 people have left Mars Hill Church in Seattle in recent months. The implosion in a church doesn't have to be as painfully dramatic and public as the one in Seattle for a person to leave a broken congregation with a lovely parting gift: at least one piece of new baggage.What's inside that baggage? Hurt, anger, sadness, disillusionment, grief, damaged trust, traumatized faith, and fractured relationships. And you know what? … [Read more...]

Some Nice News To Share

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I'm so pleased to announce that I've just signed with NavPress to write a book I pray will invite many to consider the gift of days the Lord has given each of us: the ordinary ones, and the red-letter ones. The working title of the project is Everyday Eternity: How The Jewish Feasts and Christian Calendar Connect Us With Something More. This book will tell the story of how those red-letter days are meant to shape each and every one of our days. Our Eternal God has given us days and seasons that … [Read more...]


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