In the Grip of a Great Happiness

How audacious to claim, “I have life without lack because the Lord is my shepherd.” That’s the point of Psalm 23 according to Dallas Willard in his new book Life Without Lack. But I feel many examples of lack in my life and so do you. Is the poet and singer of Psalm 23 living…

Praying Your Emotions

When I was in high school I didn’t fit in socially. My days were consumed with being an “A” student, working to save money for college, and being helpful to my parents and four younger siblings. Looking back I can see that my perfectionism and internalization of stress made me anxious and depressed all the…

Rest: Coming Off an Adrenaline High

I love adrenaline and how it makes me feel energetic, confident, important, even elated. And I get more work done in less time! Adrenaline is one of the body’s natural antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents. It’s truly a wonder drug! Just writing this sentence I’d like to get a hit of that stuff now! It’s difficult…

Confessions of a Type A Leader

“The reason I share my junk with you,” a pastor disclosed. “Is because you’re not a monkish spiritual formation guy. I can’t relate to the contemplative spiritual direction types.” We hear this a lot from pastors. This is one reason why in last week’s Soul Shepherding blog/email I blurted out, “Spiritual Disciplines are Dung!” I…

Relaxed. In December?!

As we celebrate the Prince of Peace we may get robbed of peace! What a tragic irony that would be! Let’s resist the cultural swirl of hurrying here and there and internalizing stress. We can relax… even in December! It’s all about how we react to stress. For instance, I had a conversation with Dallas…

Failing Into Arms of Grace

Most of us use our successes to hide our sense of failure.  We’d be better to fail into Jesus’ arms of grace. Fail? Yes. Let me show you what it means to admit our failures and receive grace. I was a hero child. I was all about hitting home runs, getting straight A’s, and being…

Calming Emotional Triggers

Have you ever had a trauma from your past triggered? I have! “Trauma” may sound dramatic — I wasn’t in a war or abused. As an infant I required stomach surgery to survive. My mom wanted to be with me but wasn’t allowed, so it felt like abandonment. Recently, emotions I experienced as a baby…

Heaven’s Word to You: “Come!” (C. S. Lewis’ Story)

“Be hospitable” the Bible teaches. You and the people around you need it — desperately (Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9). Recently, Kristi and I were blessed to appreciate the hospitality of C. S. Lewis. You might not expect such a brilliant scholar to be warm-hearted. It started when we visited his home “The Kilns” in…

Loving the Leaders Who Hurt You

Reconciling after a breach of relationship requires that you move toward the other with God’s love. This is true in all relationships, including if you were hurt by a parent, pastor, or other leader who should be the one to make the first move. My experience with repairing conflicts is that usually in retrospect both…

Church Leaders Who Apologize

“I was forced to resign from my church.” 78% of pastors say this. Often these pastors leave their church hurt and angry, afraid their career and calling are ruined. Ken Baugh, former lead pastor of Coast Hills Community Church felt this way two years ago. (In last week’s email devotional I told his story: “Finding…