Grow your emotions.

How are you growing your emotions, like as one tending to a garden? Matthew Elliott writes in FEEL:

“At the time the New Testament was written, there was a lot of talk about the emotions. Stoics and Epicureans saw emotions as a disease, something we were to be cured or by using the power of reason. Later Stoics, following Plato, looked at the emotions as irrational forces to be defeated. As we’ve seen, their model, and their solution to emotional problems, was tragically wrong. And yet, the New Testament, coming out of the same time and place, takes a very different view and adopts a totally different model—one that scientists and psychologists today are embracing. The Bible brings emotion and reason together into the unified ‘heart.’

I believe this three-part garden of emotions — Grow, Keep, Done — along with the gardener’s toolbox we’ve already put together — Focus, Know, Value, and Believe — can significantly help us if we are struggling in our emotional lives. It can also be a guide to help us develop the Christlike character God wants in us.

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The Bible specifically indicates four emotions that God wants us to grow:

  • Love for neighbors, God, and goodness
  • Joy in God, good relationships, and the good things in life
  • Hope in [Christ who is the focus of] our eternal destiny, in God’s supreme power, and in his promises
  • Hatred of evil
  • (One can rightly add the Fear of God, which is a complex reality.)

Each of these emotions is not just hanging out there by itself. It is very important to remember that every emotion is connected to an object. It is tied to what we think, know, value, and believe about something. Determining the place that a particular emotion should have in our lives involves understanding why we feel it and the nature of its focus on a particular object — a person, idea, or thing.”
—Matthew Elliott, FEEL: The Power of Listening to Your Heart, pp. 164-65.

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Route 66: A Crash Course in Navigating Life with the Bible [book review].

20110825-053822.jpgEver left reading a so-called “Christian” book feeling empty? It happens to me all the time. Even as a new Christian 15 years ago I was almost shocked how sappy and substance-less the market was for books branded to help Christians grow. Whenever a solid book comes along, combining substance and style, I take heart. (There’s a false dichotomy separating those two, as if to be faithful and true we cannot be compelling? Or to be creative we must become soft on the true message?) I’m convinced that for us to have substantial lives we need to be challenged with solid truth and not just palatable platitudes. Please, no more easy-believism.

I was invited to participate in a blog tour for the new book, Route 66: A Crash Course in Navigating Life with the Bible, by Krish Kandiah. Here’s my review provided freely in response.

Buckle up, we have quite the adventure ahead. The subtitle of Krish Kandiah’s latest work Route 66 [paperback|kindle] summarizes the intent well: “a crash course in navigating life with the Bible.” Oftentimes the driving metaphors used in Bible summaries are such a far reach that it’s painfully obvious the message has morphed to fit into a new mold. Route 66 employs the metaphor of a touring a highway, navigating life with a guide in hand (Route 66 here in the States; think of the winding road in the Pixar animated CARS if that helps). Why 66? That’s the number of books in our English Bible.

What makes this book unique is the author is not content to try to fit God in the glovebox. He is not in the car along for the ride with us. He is in the driver’s seat, showing us the way. Unfortunately that’s rare in popular level Christian writing. Encouraged by the opening pages I grabbed my keys and began down the road optimistic about what lay ahead. Continue reading

When you've been hacked.

We’ve all been hacked, in one way or another. You know the drill: messages send from your email to your whole address book, selling health products or hacked pharmaceuticals shipped from an unnamed country north of here. (I receive at least one of those every day.)

Maybe it was your Facebook account (a grease fire waiting to happen). If you’re like me, your Twitter account was hacked this morning. I guess hackers want everyone to lose weight. Continue reading

4 steps to good decisions.

From Matt Perman, “4 Steps to Good Decision Making“:

  1. Understand the objectives
  2. Consider the alternatives
  3. Consider risk
  4. Decide

He summarizes: “Very basic, to be sure. But it is surprising how often we go into important decisions haphazardly, without taking an intentional (albeit simple) approach.”

For an over-analyzer like me — who thinks through opportunities, risks, and rewards on every little thing — this streamlines things. Plus, for those of us prone to living in the past (“hindsight is always 20/20” is actually a dumb adage, don’t you think?), second-guessing our decisions that are not of a moral nature, we can confidently move into the future knowing that no real damage has been done. When you consider the options to good decision-making, a little process is worth the risk.

Go … you are now free to make good decisions. (In the good will of God.)

First thoughts.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.”
—A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961), p. 1.

10 people to never date.

Our high school group, led by the venerable Pastor Chris Nye, is in the midst of a series called DATEABILITY (four weeks exploring the teenage dream).

Check out the message from 8/3/11: “10 People to Never Date,” taught by Pastor Jon Furman.

Here’s his list of ten to not date, both for the ladies and the men:

Don’t Date a Girl Who…

  • Always has a boyfriend.
  • Flirts with everybody else.
  • Uses her body to get attention.
  • Talks about herself constantly.
  • Tells you how much she hates others.
  • Breaks up with someone else to be with you.
  • Has few same sex friendships.
  • Dates older guys.
  • Gets in other people’s drama.
  • says she likes you, but…

Don’t Date a Guy who…

  • Is a poor sport/sore loser.
  • Bought you an expensive gift.
  • Is constantly comparing himself to others.
  • Is never wrong/not his fault/never apologizes.
  • Treats you differently in public than in private.
  • Isn’t interested in your family.
  • Doesn’t ask you out.
  • Doesn’t respect boundaries.
  • Must be alone with you.
  • Never tells you no.

(Chris Nye followed that up the next week with “How to Ruin a Relationship.”)

Wish I had this kind of advice all around back when I was a teen. Actually, I’m sure my parents were telling me the same thing. Spread the wisdom people!