Let God Be Present Part 2: Tuning in a Trusting God

November 21, 2017

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Episode 33 of the podcast is the second part of a 3 part series where I read from my book, Let God Be Present

Part two is called "Tuning in and Trusting God: A Reflection on 1 Samuel 3"

You can buy a copy of Let God Be Present on Amazon or get a paperback copy sent to you when you support the podcast on Patreon at the $4 per month level.

A little more about Let God Be Present...

What does it really mean to connect with God? We search for meaning, connection, or guidance, but rarely let go of our pre-conceived notions of what we want to hear. This book asks you to trust God to be present and speak on His terms, rather than insisting that God fit in with your own idea of what He should be doing in your life. 

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Let God Be Present Part 1: God’s Presence Even When You Might Not Want It

November 14, 2017

Episode 31 of the podcast is the first part of a 3 part series where I read from my book, Let God Be Present. In this first part, I do a brief introduction about how I have always struggled with the word "spirituality" and why this particular book fits with the idea of this podcast. After the intro, I read the introduction to the book itself and then move into the longer section, which is Part 1 of the book, titled "God's Presence Even When You Might Not Want It: A Reflection on Exodus 31-33."

You can buy a copy of Let God Be Present on Amazon or get a paperback copy sent to you when you support the podcast on Patreon at the $4 per month level.

A little more about Let God Be Present...

What does it really mean to connect with God? We search for meaning, connection, or guidance, but rarely let go of our pre-conceived notions of what we want to hear. This book asks you to trust God to be present and speak on His terms, rather than insisting that God fit in with your own idea of what He should be doing in your life. 

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Bruce Gordon | Spirituality and the Reformation at 500

October 31, 2017

Happy Reformation Day! 500 years ago today (this episode is coming out on October 31st, 2017), Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Church in Wittenberg and started the Protestant Reformation.  I thought it would be a ton of fun to talk to a "Reformation expert," and I did. What a great conversation!!!

Episode 31 of the podcast features an interview with Bruce Gordon. Bruce is Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School and is an expert on late-medieval and early modern periods, with a particular interest in the Reformation and its reception.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • The meaning and importance of piety
  • The centrality of prayer for the reformers
  • Praying the hours of the day was common for the reformers, patterned on the monastic life
  • The doing of charitable works was part of spiritual practice for the reformers
  • What changed in terms of spirituality with the onset of the Reformation
  • How a sense of the mystical, sacredness, and wonder may have been lost with the onset of Protestantism
  • Why art was removed from Churches in the Reformation period
  • How the Reformation raises relevant questions for today regarding worship and spiritual practice
  • The people themselves were empowered to engage with the Scriptures, and each person was empowered to take responsibility for their own spiritual lives.
  • The importance of the Priesthood of All Believers
  • Spirituality as grounded in tradition and history
  • Constantly seek to become more Christ-like at the heart of Christian Spirituality
  • The richness and wisdom of Christian history
  • Reclaiming the heritage and understanding the meaning of your liturgical tradition
  • Why John Calvin is vilified and also revered depending who you talk to.
  • John Calvin as pastor to refugees and how that shaped his message.
  • John Calvin’s insistence on God being with you.
  • Why do we call it the Reformed Tradition

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Kaitlyn Curtice | Finding the Divine in Everyday Places

October 24, 2017

Episode 30 of the podcast features an interview with Kaitlyn Curtice. Kaitlyn is a Native American writer, teacher and worship leader. Her writing is beautiful, observant, and gracious. Her book, Glory Happening: Finding the Diving in Everyday Places is a book of stories and prayers that remind you to take a closer look at your everyday circumstances, to find the magical beauty in everyday experiences. It is an invitation to live deeply into every moment with the expectation that something good will find you at the end of the day.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Staying still and taking in the beauty around you
  • What is the glory of God?
  • The difficulty of slowing down
  • Rhythms of seasons, days, and weeks
  • The first way we learn about God is through nature
  • Reading the Bible as an Indigenous person
  • The temptation of Jesus as wilderness / "learning who you" are story
  • Understanding Jesus as non-white
  • The silence of the Church with respect to Indigenous history
  • The importance of hearing the story of North America’s indigenous peoples
  • What it means to honor the earth or the land
  • Observing glory while doing the dishes or other everyday tasks
  • What it means to stand on holy ground and call yourself blessed
  • Being rooted in gratitude / counting your blessings
  • How to practice silence / why it is difficult
  • Burning sage and sweetgrass as part of prayer
  • Facing the truth in times of silence

Quotes from the Book

"What we choose to see is holy ground for our feet, solace for our tired and often-wandering souls, no matter how everyday. We choose to stop and take in glory; we choose a different reality.”

“God shows up in the whirlwinds,” Barbara (Brown Taylor) would whisper, “in the starry skies, burning bushes, and perfect strangers. When people want to know more about God, the son of God tells them to pay attention to the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, to women kneading bread and workers lining up for their pay.” And the more I read Barbara’s words, the more they became the soft-spoken words of my own heart—the journey I’d started in 2014 when we moved to sunny Georgia, and the journey I began in order to learn more about my Native American heritage.

"I recall why exactly I get to stand on holy ground and call myself blessed in a tiny space with a busy schedule and two toddlers running around me day and night.”

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Laura Alary | Hands-On Spirituality, Kids, and the Church Year

October 17, 2017

Episode 29 of the podcast features an interview with Children's author Laura Alary. Laura has written several books, including the new Look! A Child’s Guide to Advent and Christmas and Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter - both written and illustrated for children ages 7-10.

Toward the end of the interview, we talk about an awesome new Children's Bible that Laura has written. You can get Read, Wonder, Listen: Stories from the Bible for Young Readers today!

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Teresa McDonald-Lee’s interview - talking about spirituality for children

  • Exploring the liturgical year with children

  • Themes present in Look! A Child’s Guide to Advent and Christmas

  • Prompting wonder in children

  • Tactile experiences for children in worship - Prayer flags and Fruit juice of the spirit

  • Walking a labyrinth - Robin McGauley’s interview

  • Seasonal table - advent wreaths, figurines of biblical people, Jesse Tree (some info on a Jesse tree)

  • Observing the season of Advent

  • A daily walk as meditation

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Brian Zahnd | In the Hands of a Loving God

October 10, 2017

Episode 28 of the podcast features an interview with Brian Zahnd. Brian is the pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri and author of several books, including Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God and A Farewell to Mars.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Experiencing dramatic conversion to Christ and the impact moving forward
  • Being honest in our approach to the scriptures and centering our understanding of Christ by reading the gospels
  • How the Crucifixion of Jesus provides a lens for understanding the violence of humanity
  • How God’s "response" to the crucifixion is forgiveness and the sending out of the apostles
  • How we mistake violent retribution for justice but God’s justice is restorative
  • The place of the Book of Revelation - prophetic critique of the Roman Empire - laden with symbol
  • Mystical encounters in prayer - God as love and light
  • Spiritual practice - Brian has a regular morning liturgy that he follows. He learned to sit silently acknowledging the presence of Jesus / occasionally something would happen - a mystical direct experience of God / an overwhelming sense of the love of God would be felt
  • Trusting a well-crafted liturgy to guide us through our prayer life
  • Brian summed up his book Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by saying, "The good news is that God is like Jesus"

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Bethany Jett | Trusting God in Trying Times

October 6, 2017

Episode 27 of the podcast features an interview with Bethany Jett. Bethany is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She has worked on all kinds of projects, including the moving book, Through the Eyes of Hope. She is also one of the founders of the new Serious Writer Academy.

It was truly wonderful to talk to Bethany. She and I met about 18 months ago at the only writers' conference I have ever attended. Since then, we've continued a friendship, mostly talking about writing, and connecting regularly on an online Writers' Chat that she has helped organize.

Bethany is very open about her life and some of the struggles she faces, particularly with having a military spouse that can be posted overseas. In this interview, she really shows both her strength and vulnerability.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Living the life God has made for you
  • The importance of Youth groups for teens.
  • Talking to God throughout the day as a Spiritual Practice
  • Finding God in the midst of the day to day moments
  • How finding time for God becomes more challenging in adulthood.
  • The pressures of parenting
  • Teaching our children by modeling spiritual practices
  • providing a foundation for children so they can connect with God
  • Trusting that God will seek a relationship with your children.
  • The Benefits of having a mentor in your Church
  • Trusting that God will take care of you when tragedy strikes.
  • Relying on God when you need strength to get through the day.

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S. D. Smith | Kindling Imagination for Kingdom Anticipation

September 26, 2017

Episode 26 of the podcast features an interview with S.D. (Sam) Smith. Sam is the author of The Green Ember books and is a co-founder of Story Warren, a website for parents and others dedicated to helping foster holy imagination in children.

Sam and I have a great time on this interview chatting about what it means to anticipate the kingdom of God, why the imagination is important, and some of the resources he uses to remain connected to God.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Anticipation of the Kingdom of God
  • Living by an ethic that reflects the Kingdom of God
  • Teaching and writing books for children that reflect Christianity
  • What "Kindling imagination” and “holy imagination” mean
  • Matthew 13 - Parables about the Kingdom and the importance of story
  • How stories are powerful and shape us as people right from childhood
  • Connections to God that are present in the writing of The Green Ember and in Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed.
  • Hope and light embedded in story is vital as we have enough dark in our lives
  • Incarnational Spirituality
  • Connections through composed prayer
  • The Daily Office
  • Ritual, Routine, and Repetition as spiritual practice
  • Following Christ as our model for spiritual practice
  • Fasting and prayer
  • Ritual gives birth to creativity, excitement
  • How gloriously creative moments can come from routine practices
  • God creates extraordinary moments from the routine practices we participate in like liturgy in worship
  • Receiving God's inheritance as a life-giving gift, not a burden

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Sundi Jo Graham | Facing Brokenness

September 19, 2017

Episode 25 of the podcast features an interview with Sundi Jo Graham. Sundi Jo is an author and blogger, and is the founder of a ministry called Esther’s House of Redemption, which is a faith-based residential discipleship program, located in rural Missouri, offering hope to broken women. They serve women from all backgrounds, ages 18+, who struggle with life-controlling issues, such as alcohol and drug addictions, depression, self-harm, the aftermath of physical and sexual abuse, and more.

You'd think this episode might be super-heavy, but Sundi Jo is great at tackling big issues with grace, kindness, and simplicity.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Why forgive and forget doesn’t work.
  • Forgiveness is a big part of healing.
  • The importance of actually facing your brokenness
  • Forgiveness is not a one-time thing
  • Asking God to be your Keeper
  • The importance of reading the Bible and Prayer
  • Counselling matters, friendship matters
  • Why thinking we’re okay on our own is prideful
  • Morning routines: coffee and scripture
  • Journalling
  • Listening to music as a spiritual practice
  • Having a better sleep routine
  • Setting goals

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Adam Weber | Talking to God When You Don’t Know How

September 12, 2017

Episode 24 of the podcast features an interview with Adam Weber. Adam in the pastor of Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, SD, and is the author of Talking to God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray. What a phenomenal conversation. Adam has tons of energy, so much depth, and wants to help people connect with God in real ways. His book does just that!  It is great for people who don’t know much about prayer or God and it provides encouragement for long-time Christians while being engaging for new Christians.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Challenges in our prayer lives
  • Staying connected to Jesus through prayer
  • How prayer gets missed in our busy lives
  • The joy that comes from connecting with Christ
  • Making prayer routine and converting thoughts into prayers
  • How it is okay to ask people for help.
  • The importance of surrendering control to God.
  • Why we waste time on worry and stress about life goals instead of praying for discernment from God and asking God for wisdom about what to do.
  • How to understand God’s calling and the importance of community in hearing God.

Quotes from the Book

  • “Instead of it being another daily chore, something changes when prayer slowly becomes as natural as breathing. When we figure out that it no longer takes energy. Instead, prayer fills us with it. Prayer fills us with life.”
  • “[Prayer] connects us with the One who treads water for us when we’re unable to swim ourselves. The Ultimate Plate Spinner who helps us discern which plates are actually worth spinning.”
  • The longer I follow Jesus, the more I find myself praying, God, what do you want? What do you think I need? What is your plan? What is your will? The longer I follow Jesus, the more I find myself asking him to take control. And the more he takes control, the more I get to live into this response—’That was awesome, Dad!’”

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