The tools for facing fear.

FI No Fear
11 min. to read.

In the quicksand of fear.

This summer was supposed to be a time of renewal for me. That was my plan, anyway.

This spring we put a house on the market. Selling it would free us from some emotional and financial commitments that have been weighing on us, an overfull backpack when the trail calls for lightness. Four months later the house hasn’t sold, and I’m afraid.

I’ve had a book in development with an agent for what feels like forever. For months, my agent’s counsel was to build my platform. Keep writing online. Build engagement. Help people. I’ve been doing that, and the book sat waiting.

Now, my agent says we’re ready to shop the book to publishers. I should be excited, right? Instead, my brain keeps inventing new ways I might be rejected. I’m afraid.

Almost eight months ago I took a significant pay cut. Along with that came a cut in hours. I took it as an opportunity. Space for me to focus on writing so that I could take steps toward my dream. My dream? To support my family through my writing and speaking so that I can serve my little church without drawing a salary from them. In all that time, I’ve made essentially no headway. In fact, I’ve had to take a second job. Months ago I was invigorated and ready to dive in; today I’m just afraid.

Then there are are the blaring fears echoing around us. ISIS! Politicians on “the other side” who want to sell us out or destroy our freedoms! An Activist Supreme Court! Fear of what will happen to the church now that same-sex marriage is legal. Fear of what will happen to the church if we can’t get over ourselves and be loving. Fear that “the other side” of every theological debate is taking over, undermining the church, leading people astray. The noise of fear is clanging, loud and chaotic. With so much noise, it’s hard to even think. I find myself feeling soul paralysis, walking numbly through my day, stuck in my spirit.

Stop. Deep breath.

Maybe you too have felt the dull ache of fear, leaving you feeling alone and uncertain.

Today, I use the prerogative of pastors and writers: preaching to myself. Maybe as you overhear, you’ll find some encouragement.

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Weekend Wisdom / How to read the Bible when you know too much.

FI WW Bible 1 Know Too Much
20 min. to read.

The Bible is a vital tool for learning about Jesus and building a relationship with God. Yet, many people have a difficult relationship with the Bible. A variety of hurdles keep them from experiencing the Bible in a life-giving way. This summer, to help with this problem, I’m teaching a series called, “How to read the Bible when you’ve got really good reasons not to.”  Each week we will tackle a different obstacle or issue, and offer practical suggestions for moving forward.

The first hurdle that all of us bring is our own experience and pre-conceptions. Some people have very little experience with the Bible. They find it intimidating.  Others were raised on the Bible and know it like the back of their hand. They find themselves a bit jaded. All of us bring some preconceptions with us.  What are they? How can we move past them to a fresh perspective on the Bible?

If you’d prefer to read this presentation, you may below the fold.

 

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Weekend Wisdom / Walking in the In-Between Moment

FI WW In Between
15 min. to read.

Are you living in an in-between moment? Something in your life is unresolved? You’ve prayed about it, and it seems like no answer has come? How do we live in this in-between space?

Chapter 4 of John’s gospel ends with a miracle story, but buried in the middle of the story is one of these in-between moments. That’s the place many of us live.

If you’d prefer to read this presentation, you may below the fold.

 

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An Open Letter to Christians on the Internet

FI Angry Posts

11 min. to read.

Dear Christians who spend time online,

Isn’t the internet amazing! So much information just a click away. New ways to learn and communicate. New opportunities to interact. It’s great, right?

Well… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems like we are not so good at being Christian online. I don’t mean that we’re not good at saying Christian-y things. We do that a lot. We post links to our favorite worship songs. We share inspirational out-of-context Bible memes. We punctuate our posts with a flock of Christian hashtags. #PraiseJesus #GodIsGood #Jesus&CoffeeGetMeThrough!

What I mean is that we’re not that great at being like Jesus online.

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Weekend Wisdom / Tell Your Jesus Story

FI WW Tell Your Jesus Story
17 min. to read.

Evangelism. Some Christians love it. Some hate it. The problem isn’t with Jesus. It’s with the expectations and methods that we’ve been taught. In Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well, we learn from the first recorded evangelist. What we see is rather different than what we’ve often been taught.

If you’d prefer to read this presentation, you may below the fold.

 

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