Posts Tagged ‘ifaith’

Jul
13
2011

Lessons from the Juniper Tree

If Hollywood commissioned a biopic of the Old Testament hero, Elijah, they would probably end the movie with his epic holy war on Mt. Carmel. It would be a fitting ending for such a bold, courageous, insurgent leader.

But alas, this is not how Elijah’s story ends at all. If you turn the page one chapter, from 1 Kings 18 to 1 Kings 19, you see a completely different side of this seemingly bullet-proof warrior. You find a fragile shell of a man, in a fetal position, begging God to end his life.

Elijah doesn’t look much like a leader here. But as I’ve studied his life, I’ve gleaned more lessons in leadership from Elijah’s meltdown than from his mountain-top successes.

Here are the five leadership lessons I learned under Elijah’s juniper tree:

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Apr
06
2011

Resources for Graduation

Graduated!photo © 2010 Ralph Daily | more info (via: Wylio)

 

 

We’re coming up on graduation day, that fateful day when you step across the aisle and enter into life. I’ll never forget the day I nervously stumbled down the aisle, sweating profusely and wondering what I was going to say in my speech. I remember thinking, “Okay, I’m an adult now, I guess. Now what?”

Well one of my passions is to help young people answer the “Now what?” question in this phase of their life. So as parents and youth pastors and grandparents think about how to equip their kids for the next step of life, I’ve got a few resources:

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Feb
14
2011

Reboot Your Life

Sometimes you just need to reboot your computer and sometimes you need to reboot your life. Elijah realized this. In 1 Kings 19, we see the raw human side of this fiery prophet of God. His lessons are powerful lessons for today’s connected generation. I flesh that out in great detail in chapter five if iFaith. Here are some key excerpts:

I’m finding that rebooting is essential for the long-term viability of the soul.

I believe God allowed Elijah to suffer this discouragement for a purpose, because He wanted to correct a fatal flaw in his theology.

Elijah bought into a common spiritual myth. It plagues believers today. I call it the superhero mentality. Others have labeled it the missionary mind-set or the martyr complex.

It’s the mistaken idea that activity for God is a worthy substitute for intimacy with God. We take responsibility for outcomes and results, and convince ourselves that normal, human weaknesses shouldn’t apply to Christians.

To read a longer piece I wrote for In Touch Ministries on Elijah’s meltdown, click here

To order your copy of iFaith, click here:

Feb
03
2011

Blue Screen Faith – Chapter Four of iFaith

iFaith, Connecting to God in the 21st CenturyIf you work with a computer as your main tool, as I do, the one thing you dread is to flip it open and see the Blue Screen of Death. This means that you’re computer won’t work for you and likely has to be reformated or replaced. Unless you know a magical friend who can do miracles on laptops. Well, sometimes life hands us Blue Screens, moments and seasons where nothing or nobody seems to be working for us. I devoted chapter four of iFaith to this idea. Here is an excerpt:

Life seemed way too big for my abilities. God had placed me in unique positions of influence, authority, and responsibility and so the inevitable doubts circulated in my head. I can’t do this. I’ll find a way to mess this up. I’m not like those other guys.

During this time God brought me a refreshing resource. A friend suggested Dr. Henry Blackaby’s remarkable classic, Experiencing God Day by Day. So I began the year journaling through this book as part of my daily time with God.

The May 4 entry was a wonderful balm for my rising unbelief. Dr. Blackaby writes, “God uses our activities and circumstances to bring us to Himself. When He gives us a God-sized assignment, its sheer impossibility brings us back to Him for His enabling.”

This was a lightbulb moment for me. It suddenly occurred to me that God purposely gave me assignments way bigger than my human capacity to perform them. Why? So I’d come to grips with my own frailty and lean in on the power of God.

Now, a few key quotes from that chapter:

  • God sends His called-out children on a collision course with the impossible.
  • In other words, the faith that pleases God is not necessarily a set of beliefs, though what you believe does matter. Nor is faith about what you do or how hard you do it.
  • The Bible simply says faith is believing in something or, rather, Someone you can’t see. It is entrusting the totality of your life to an unseen power. In this case, Jesus Christ.
  • God does His greatest work on the margins of comfort, when the impossibility of our calling collides with the reality of our human frailty.
  • We see through the lens of the daily microscope, all those panicky choices made in unbelief, the sin patterns, and the reactions made in the flesh.
  • But God looks beneath the layers of our humanity and looks for the mustard seed, the faith, and finds something He can grow to glorify Him.

Have you ever experienced a blue screen moment in your life?

Jan
13
2011

6 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Technology

Questions?photo © 2008 Valerie Everett | more info (via: Wylio)


Those of us who live and work and move around in this connected society are constantly grappling with a healthy balance when it comes to managing our use of technology.

On the one hand, we want to harness new and emerging tools to enhance our God-given life purpose and on the other hand, we don’t want to be enslaved. For every person, that fine line is in a different place.

There is no set holy list that determines who is a crazed tech junkie and who has their gadgets perfectly tuned to life. I think a more useful approach is to honestly ask ourselves a series of questions. These are the questions I’m asking myself. Perhaps they’re questions you might ask:

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Jan
03
2011

10 Digital Resolutions for the New Year

The real impact of social networking while at workphoto © 2009 Robert S. Donovan | more info (via: Wylio)

iFaith, Connecting to God in the 21st CenturyI have been a tech junkie ever since my dad came home with one of the very first personal computers— the TI-99 4A. I consider myself a charter member of “the connected generation.” I’ve always known life to be lived at warped speed and on demand.

Today, I own an iPhone, a Macbook Pro, and love my DVR. I’m an avid reader of blogs, I download quite a few podcasts, and I use Twitter as my primary news source.

Not to mention Facebook, email, and texting.

But as I game-plan my life for 2011, I’m asking myself a tough question: Is technology enhancing or diminishing my relationship with God?

This is the central question of iFaith: Connecting to God in the 21st Century, releasing this January from New Hope Publishers.

I’m inviting you to ask yourself the same question.

It’s not that we should stop employing technology. I’m not even sure we need to slow down. But how can we create effective boundaries so that we’re using these tools to our advantage, rather than letting them isolate us from what is most important: God and people.

So, this year I’ve come up with 10 digital resolutions for myself. (Click here to download the free “10 Digital Resolutions” Tipsheet)

This is the best I can do. Your list may look different:

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Dec
21
2010

Win a Free Autographed Copy of iFaith

iFaith, Connecting to God in the 21st CenturyInterested in a free autographed copy of iFaith? I’m going to give 5 free copies away, but with a few conditions:

1) You must first download the free first chapter of iFaith here and then comment on this blog post that has the free chapter.

2) Agree to write a review on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and Christianbook.com. Also, post a review on your blog (a blog that must be a regularly updated blog) and send at least two links to your review from your social networks (Facebook/Twitter, preferrably).

3) You can’t be blogger that I’ve already contacted or is on my list of folks who have interviewed/blogged about my previous books. You can’t be someone who has ever received a review copy of any of my books previously.

4) Promise to pass the book along to a a key influencer (pastor, youth pastor, small group leader, home bible study leader, media personality, blogger, etc)

5) Contact me with an itemized email of the above once you’ve finished.

So, if you’re willing to do this, I’d like to send you a book. The way to get started? Step 1 – Download the free first chapter, comment on that blog post and you’re book will be on its way.

Dec
20
2010

iFaith – Chapter 2 -Urgent Emails – The Prayer of the Desperate

I plan on posting key quotes from my upcoming release, iFaith, all the way through into January. Here are a few quotes from Chapter Two.

Somewhere along the line, a famous preacher or best-selling author told us that if we “just trust in Jesus,” or if we “just give enough money,” or if we “just attend church faithfully,” or if we just “follow the rules,” then life will automatically get so much better. There are even whole books and sermons available that teach “the right kind of prayer” that triggers the blessings from heaven.

But what happens when you follow Christ in faith and life gets worse?

Here is another quote from chapter two, after a section where I describe a very personal story of a friend of ours who lost her husband and an examination of the life of Naomi, whose story is told in the Biblical book of Ruth:

Naomi’s story, Ashli’s story—these narratives frighten my generation, because we’re conditioned for the good life. We’ve been fed a steady diet of positive empowerment. We’ve grown spiritually fat on the junk food of bad theology and political promises of prosperity.

There is nothing inherently wrong with prosperity or the good life. But is the American Dream the sum total of our spiritual aspirations? If so, we’ve missed something. What Christ offers is something radically different. Take up your cross, He says. Follow Me, He asks. Deny yourself, He commands.

Cross-bearing? Following? Denying? These words are insulting to a generation conditioned for unlimited success. Sure, we’ll follow Christ, but there better be a safety net. At least a 401(k) and health insurance.

We rarely consider that our trials, the unfair tragedies that roll across the threshold of good people, may be the very signposts that lead others to God.