I am Second: Ryan Ries

All Ryan could remember was waking up the next morning to his friends saying, “Dude, we thought you were dead last night.” The drugs, the parties, the girls and sleepless nights followed Ryan from high school into his skateboarding career. But from that one night his life began to change.

He started a search for God.  Was going to church going to be enough? What about his secret addiction? Would it mean giving up his old lifestyle?

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Great Books – Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Path to Joy

Some really great thoughts in this book. I posted some of the ones I loved below. They are pulled from different chapters so I hope they don’t lose their context too much. Well worth the read for people who have gone through or are going through suffering in their lives.

In our Christian culture, we’ve weakened our understanding of personal sin by talking too soon and too much about our longings and our needs. We want to feel good about ourselves, we long for enjoyable relationships, we desire effective and recognized ministries. We become the point and see nothing really wrong with it

What needs breaking remains unbroken. We continue to think life should work well and we should feel good. The nature of our spiritual journey, we assume, is that God’s glory will be revealed in our prosperity, whether financial, relational, physical, or emotional. As long as we believe that, we walk in the flesh. It’s so natural to think the Presence of Jesus has no greater purpose than to improve the quality of our journey through life—with quality defined as a pleasurable, satisfying, self-affirming existence—a journey where certain things don’t go wrong or, if they do, they correct themselves. Marriages should work, biopsies should come back benign, ministry efforts should succeed, and we should feel pretty good about the way most things go.
As long as our purpose is to have a good time, to have soul-pleasure exceed soul-pain, God becomes merely a means to an end, an object to be used, never a subject rightfully demanding a response, never a lover to be enjoyed. Worship becomes utilitarian, part of a cunning strategy to get what we want rather than a passionate abandonment to someone more worthy than we
need to spend more time on the highlights I made in book.
Check it out. Click here or the screenshot below.

Francis Chan: Church wastes too much time waiting on God’s voice; Christians getting too fat on the Word

Interesting blog. I would say I dislike the title. I am not a fan on making a provocative title to get people to read but I do think there are some interesting thoughts here.

“We’ve created a church culture in America where we assume we do nothing until we hear a voice from Heaven. And so if I go to church on Sunday, the pastor’s going to preach a sermon [and] we pretty much assume we’re not going to do anything radical in response to it unless he gives a really great sermon and gives us steps right afterwards, or this or that or really, really, think that we hear a voice from the Lord.”
He writes that these Christians remind him of “the fattest people on earth” who have consumed so much food that they can no longer walk. “They are fed more and more knowledge every week. They attend church services, join small group Bible Studies, read Christian books, listen to podcasts and are convinced they still need more knowledge.”

Chan explained that continually listening to the Word without applying it has made Christians’ ears dull to God’s call.

His challenge …

“Why not assume action? Why do you hear a verse and assume I shouldn’t do something in response to that unless the Lord is stopping you?”

Love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

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The most important thing you can do with your kids? Eat dinner with them.

Such a great challenge for parents today. Eat meals together. Now I fully understand that with the schedules of school and work that you will probably never have breakfast together during the week. During the week lunch is also out. I think it is really important that you cherish the evening dinner times and meals on the weekend. I also understand that we might be out for sports, music or dance classes during the week. I would encourage people to block out at least 3 dinners a week you can be together as a family.

So many good reasons to eat together are put forth in this article:

  1. Brain food – “For starters, researchers found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to.”
  2. Does the body good – “Children who eat regular family dinners also  consume more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and micronutrients, as well as fewer fried foods and soft drinks. And the nutritional benefits keep paying dividends even after kids grow up: young adults who ate regular family meals as teens are less likely to be obese and more likely to eat healthily once they live on their own.”
  3. Soul food – “In addition, a stack of studies link regular family dinners with lowering a host of high risk teenage behaviours parents fear: smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, violence, school problems, eating disorders and sexual activity.”

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A New Approach to Mental Illness in the Church

We must stop ignoring mental illness and start graciously offering hope

I cannot agree more. This is an amazing blog by Ed Stetzer. When I travel and speak on these issues in the church world I hear from so may pastors, leaders and parents that they are just unprepared to deal with mental illness in a Christian context.

I was unprepared to deal with mental illness, and by my actions, I almost denied that it is even real. Of course, I would have been prepared for any number of other forms of illness. If someone had come to my church with a broken leg, I would have recommend they go see a doctor. For virtually any other illness, I would have said the same.

It is common practice in churches, however, to treat mental illness differently. We immediately assume there is something else, some deeper spiritual struggle causing mental and emotional strain.

The fact is that mental illness and spiritual struggle can be (and are) related. We are not separate things, we are complex people—remarkable connected in spirit, soul, body, mind, etc.

But, let me be direct here: if we immediately dismiss the possibility of mental illness and automatically assume spiritual deficiency, our actions amount to spiritual abuse. I know those are powerful and pointed words, but I believe them to be true. Please, don’t miss them.

Dear Well-Meaning (But Ignorant) Parents: This Is What Your Teens Are Really Doing on the Internet

Love to hear from teenagers and others if they thing this article is true. Really interesting thoughts here.

I know, I know. Your child would never do that! Let me tell you something:You. Don’t. Know. That. You know those tiny feelings you get every day but you cope nicely because you’re an adult? Feelings like insecurity, boredom, even the loneliness of being at home when your friends are all going out – well these feelings are massive to teenagers. A combination of hormones and inexperience create a veritable powder keg of unpredictable behavior. Insecurity might lead to seeking acceptance from strangers by posting a selfie and waiting for people to reblog, like, or comment on it. Boredom might lead to extended conversations online with someone they’ve never met about deeply personal matters. Loneliness can lead to online sex. No, really. It can.

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Great Books: Today Matters – 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrows Success

This has been one of my favourite books for years. I copied out one of the first few pages of the book. Basically the premise of the book is each day you get up you look at all of these areas of your life. Make daily decisions to live these areas to the best of your abilities. When you go to bed you see how you did. Each chapter of the book is on the different areas of your life mentioned below (attitude, priorities etc). This is a very practical book for people who come from a faith background or not.

Today’s Attitude gives me Possibilities
Today’s Priorities give me focus
Today’s Health gives me strength
Today’s Family gives me stability
Today’s Thinking gives me an advantage
Today’s Commitment gives me tenacity
Today’s Finances gives me options
Today’s Faith gives me peace
Today’s Relationships give me fulfillment
Today’s Generosity gives me significance
Today’s Values give me direction
Today’s Growth gives me potential

So Just For Today …
I will choose and display the right attitudes
I will determine and act on important priorities
I will know and follow healthy guidelines
I will communicate with and care for my family
I will practice and develop good thinking
I will make and properly manage finances
I will deepen and live out my faith
I will initiate and invest in solid relationships
I will plan for and model generosity
I will embrace and practice good values
I will seek and experience improvements
I will act on these decisions and practice these disciplines.

Then one day I will see the compounding results of a day lived well.

Today Matters by John Maxwell

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