Your Inner Circle

Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:21 (ESV)

Whenever you watch the news or read an article about a leader, such as the President or perhaps another world leader or a CEO or someone we think is significant, inevitably they will talk about their “inner circle.” These are the people a leader trusts with advice, the people whose wisdom and gut-level instinct he relies on to make life decisions.

You and I might think that we’re too tiny to need an inner circle. After all, we’re just doing mundane things, living lives that nobody notices, right? Not really. I think it’s important for every serious person to have their own group of trusted people whose advice they rely on. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal, but a few people of character who can help us process life’s difficult choices.

I have a small group of trusted people I regularly seek out when I have to make really big tough decisions. What’s interesting is that some of them don’t even know each other–they only share my friendship in common. Here are a few criteria you might consider for who is in your “inner circle.”

Unbroken – The Remarkable Story of Louie Zamperini

I just finished an extraordinary book, Unbroken, by the immensely talented Laura Hillenbrand. I'm not sure what is more remarkable--the improbable life of Louie Zamperini or the improbability of Hillenbrand writing this story. She suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating illness that leaves her confined to her bedroom most days. Somehow she managed to bring the story of Louie Zamperini to the attention of modern readers through the wonderfully written Unbroken. Louie lived several lives. He was first a no-good rascal of the Great Depression, known for stealing, pulling pranks, and causing much trouble. Then he harnessed his energy into marathon running, becoming one of the fastest runners in American, setting many records and becoming quite the popular athlete. But soon war reached the United States and with it, swept up America's finest. Louie then puts himself fully into his career as a B-24 bombardier. He and his crew excelled at their missions....

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Friday Five – Susie Shellenberger

Image of "Susie Shellenberger"If you are a Christian teenage girl (or were within the last two decades), chances are you know Susie Shellenberger. That’s because she was the founder of the wildly popular, Brio Magazine, published by Focus on the Family from 1990 until 2009.  She’s written more than 40 books, including many for teens. Her latest is Girl Talk With God. Susie has traveled to every continent in the world. Susie is a renowned youth speaker and has appeared on a variety of media outlets.

What’s awesome about Susie is that when Brio ceased to exist, she launched her own magazine for Christian girls, Susie. She’s also been kind enough to endorse my teen devo, Crash Course and has featured my books and articles in Susie Magazine.

I’m honored that Susie would take time to chat with me today for today’s Friday Five

21st Century Discipleship

If you are familiar with the Great Commission verses (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8), you'll know that the imperative command by Jesus is to "make disciples." Evangelism is the simple part in many ways, but building up strong believers is the hard work. So how is a person discipled? Well, we first believe the primary discipleship is in a local church, with the regular proclamation of the Word of God, along with other avenues such as Sunday School, Bible Study, and small groups. Also, one-on-one discipleship is key. But that is not the only way to grow in our discipleship--that is to grow in our knowledge of the Lord as a "learner." Here are some 21st Century tools that help spiritual maturity form in us and ways in which we can help disciple others: Bible: There is no substitute for personal Bible reading. It's helpful to build this discipline in...

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