3 QUESTIONS ABOUT SELF-CARE

First of all, I do not believe that there is “no such thing as Christian self-care.” But also, there is a whole world of difference between the ways the world practices self-care, and the core beliefs behind how a Christian practices self-care. This article does a commendable job in describing self-care for the believer. From Core Christianity…………….

A Holy Tension: Responding to Failed Expectations in the Already and Not Yet

There are many paradoxes in the Christian life that all believers must learn to hold in tension at the same time; that we are already saved and counted as righteous, but we are not yet fully sanctified. This article does a fine job of describing this fact of the Christian life to our benefit. From Beautiful Christian Life…………….

https://www.beautifulchristianlife.com/blog/a-holy-tension-responding-to-failed-expectations-in-the-already-and-not-yet

THREE LEADERSHIP LESSONS FOR ALL OF US (Not Just Pastors)

I believe all believers are tasked with serving Christ by being beacons of light and leading others through our actions. This article fleshes that basic idea out. From Gospel-Centered Discipleship………………….

BOOK REVIEW: FREE TO THRIVE — How Your Hurts, Struggles, and Deepest Longings Can Lead to a Fulfilling Life 

by Josh McDowell and Ben Bennett (Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2021)

The authors, well-known author and apologist Josh McDowell, and pastor and speaker Ben Bennett have joined forces to examine why so many Christians struggle through life rather than thrive as children of God. Due to their own experiences and their years of ministry, they believe most believers are suffering due to unmet needs in their lives.

McDowell and Bennett make the case that God has designed all people with seven basic needs:

  1. Acceptance — to be included and approved of, as you are, no matter what.
  2. Appreciation — the longing to be thanked and encouraged for something we have done.
  3. Affection — the longing to be cared for with touch and genuine emotional engagement.
  4. Access — the longing to have the consistent emotional and physical presence of key persons.
  5. Attention — the longing to be known and understood by someone who enters into your world.
  6. Affirmation of feelings — the longing to have our feelings validated and confirmed by others.
  7. Assurance of safety — we need to feel protected and provided for emotionally, physically, and financially.

The authors contend that hurting Christians with unfulfilled longings suffer because they try to satisfy those longings themselves or with other earthly things or people. But God placed those longings in us so that we might always go to Him with our needs.

McDowell and Bennett are unusually open and honest in sharing their own unmet longings and the adverse effects those had in their personal lives and ministries. Writing as fellow strugglers, they encourage readers to understand that they are not unusual in trying to satisfy their longings without God and give practical steps to begin looking to God for help and comfort. The book concludes with helpful appendices of the Longings Table and websites and books for further ongoing support. I heartily recommend this book.

The Toughest Critic You’ll Ever Face

This article from apologist Greg Koukl is very important because of the turbulent times we are in the midst of right now. What with the devastation of waves of COVID, political and societal unrest around the world, and even basic questions of identity, reality and meaning — the practice of apologetics is needed now more than ever. But not for other people….for ourselves! From Stand to Reason……………

https://www.str.org/w/the-toughest-critic-you-ll-ever-face

A Bigger Perspective

My wife is a watercolor artist so the analogy in this article really works for me. The advice is that we all need to take a step back from time to time to get a look at the big picture, because a different perspective can help us better appreciate the art that God is making of our lives. From Core Christianity…………………..

God Uses Our Minds to Communicate with Us — Dallas Willard

Focus your mind on God

If we do not use our ability to turn our minds and thoughts toward God, we do not have contact with God. Undoubtedly God could move into the human realm and invade the mind. If God did act in such a way, what are the chances the receiver would properly interpret such an encounter, if there is no knowledge of God at all? Therefore, what human beings can and must do is progress to the point where we consciously, intentionally focus our minds on God. The minister of the gospel is tasked with the very special and essential calling of directing and illuminating our minds toward the reality of God and his ways.

From The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth. Copyright © 2014 by Dallas Willard amd Gary Black Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.