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

Links and Resources:

 

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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!’”

Links and Resources:

 

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Lindsey Bracket | Fiction & Forgiveness

September 5, 2017

Episode 23 of the podcast features an interview with Lindsey Brackett. Lindsey is a writer of beautiful words. From her about page, Lindsey writes: "I like to string words together and make stories and images and memories that live and move and breathe in the confines of the imagination.” She observes life, beauty, grace, and God. Her first novel, Still Waters - (released on Sept 8, 2017), has forgiveness as its core theme.

 

Some of What We Talk About:

  • What does it mean to be “worthy” of forgiveness?
  • What are the limits of human forgiveness?
  • What does “spirituality” mean?
  • Spirituality is about seeking fellowship with God and trying to see God every day.
  • Being created with a need to connect with the spiritual because God wants to have a relationship with you.
  • Every day is a gift and that ordinary things can be God teaching us.
  • Writing as an overflow of the experience of God.
  • Being in community through writing.
  • Using your gifts in service for all kinds of people.
  • How fiction and different genres helps people enter into a deeper understanding of God, grace, and theological ideas.
  • Being the same person at church as you are in the rest of your life
  • Why “God won’t give you more than you can handle” isn’t true.
  • Spirituality in the family
  • The home being the primary place of Christian education
  • Having a quiet time with God
  • Having a time of listening to God rather than talking

Links and Resources:

 

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Steve Brown | The Myth of a Balanced Life

August 29, 2017

Episode 22 features an interview with Steve Brown. Steve is the president of Arrow Leadership, which is an organization focussed on developing Christian leaders. We talk about how we often want a "balanced life," but that this might be quite different from a Christ-centered life. Steve is passionate about helping people develop sustainable rhythms that support a life centered on Jesus.

 

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Gaining basic awareness that God loves you, and why this is so important
  • Getting out of a performance mindset with God
  • Serving from acceptance versus serving for acceptance.
  • The danger of seeking “balance” in life
  • Being Christ centered rather than seeking balance
  • What are the sustainable rhythms that support a Christ-centred life?
  • Having a plan, a place, and a time to connect with God
  • Praying for God to teach you to abide, and praying on the armor of God
  • Having a Prayer calendar
  • The value of Sabbath and how our society suffers from “hurry sickness”

Links and Resources:

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Steve Wiens | Whole: Restoring What is Broken in Me, You, and The Entire World

August 22, 2017

Episode 21 features an interview with Steve Weins. Steve is the author of Whole and Beginnings. He is the pastor of Genesis Covenant Church and had a podcast called This Good Word. This interview is packed with great stuff - what an amazing conversation! We spend most of the time speaking about Steve’s latest book, but it is a pretty free wheeling conversation. So much fun!

Get Steve's latest book, Whole: Restoring What is Broken in Me, You, and The Entire World

 

Some of What We Talk About:

  • The wide inclusivity of restoration.
  • What is broken and why do we need restoration?
  • Shalom as wholeness (restoring what is broken)
  • Moving to wholeness is a hopeful journey
  • The arc that shoots through all of scripture is restoration
  • What is the difference between a self-improvement project and a journey?
  • How you find joy in the everyday, and why is joy important?
  • He asked Eugene Peterson, “what do you think pastors are struggling with today?” The answer is so great, and tough to hear.
  • What is the connection between the promised land and restoration, and why do we need to be strong and courageous in entering the promised land?
  • We talked a lot about the temptation of Jesus, and what it means to think of Jesus as weak when we relate to him.
  • Laying down the need to be seen as successful.

Quotes in this Episode

  • “Faith is a lot more about mystery than it is about mastery."
  • “Mystery is not something we can never understand, it’s something that we can endlessly understand.” Richard Rohr
  • "What if pastors are supposed to be the people who model how to rest well…”
  • "The promised land is not where all of our problems are solved... It is the place where you remember what it was like to be a slave and you begin fighting for the restoration of others.”
  • “Thank God that God doesn’t wait for perfect motivation.”
  • "There are things that need to change in me; they just won’t be changed by feeling bad about myself or trying really hardto fix them. That isn’t how wholeness works. The journey of wholeness is not a self-improvement project. It’s a journey of loss, trust, transformation, and eventually hope.” from Whole
  • "...my own joy and enjoyment matter in measuring at least some of the metrics for indicating a successful Steve. I think I’m starting to learn that I can be a joyful pastor. Not a driven one, not a busy one, not a heroic one.” from Whole

Links and Resources:

 

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Michael Priebe | Connecting With God in the Workplace

August 15, 2017
Episode 20 of the Spirituality for Normal People Podcast features an interview with Michael Priebe. Michael is the author of The Lovely Grind: Spiritual Inspiration for Workdays, a collection of 90 devotions for stress relief and personal growth.
 

Some of What We Talk About:

  • What do people need in their working life?
  • What is spiritual health and its relation to physical health?
  • Staying in a job and bringing meaning to it.
  • What is Calling and Vocation?
  • What does it look like to speak about faith in the workplace?
  • Finding joy in the midst of regular life.

Links and Resources:

 

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Erica Barthalow | Holy Doubt - Finding Hope When Faith is a Struggle

August 8, 2017
Episode 19 features an interview with Erica Barthalow. Erica has been in various forms of ministry in her life, including three years as a missionary in India. She wrote a not so typical book about her experience there. It’s called Holy Doubt: Finding Hope When Faith is a Struggle.  She admits that three months into her time in India she felt abandoned by God.
 
Some of what we talk about in the interview:
  • What questions to ask about God: Is God good? Does God cause bad things to happen to us?
  • Unlearning our assumptions about God
  • If we follow Jesus will we always be safe?
  • What are the stories of faith that get told? How do we tell stories of doubt and struggle?
  • How we are changed by living in or visiting a different culture.
  • Not being legalistic about reading the Bible, but attempting to read every day and read through the Bible in a year
  • Praying throughout the day vs. setting aside time to pray.
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Jann Martin | How To Hear What God is Saying?

August 1, 2017
 
Episode 18 of the Spirituality for Normal People Podcast features an interview with Jann Martin. Jann is a children’s author and has previously served as a youth leader at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Westland, Michigan and as the Director of Family Ministry at Faith Community Presbyterian Church of Novi, Michigan. Jann has an interesting story of falling into the calling of writing, after not being able to find a children’s story for a Christmas Eve Service. God asked her to write one, so she did. Several months later it was in print!
 
The main theme that emerged in this conversation was how to hear God speaking. What a great and important theme!
 
 

Some of what was covered in this episode:

 
  • When God blocks one path and opens another
  • How we deal with the "real life” struggles
  • Not settling for simplistic answers in situations of pain or suffering
  • Reading devotional material and a chapter of Scripture per day.
  • How do you hear God speaking?
  • The importance of going to Church when you feel disconnected

 

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode

 

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Kelly Edmiston | Not “feeling it” in the Spiritual Life

July 25, 2017

Episode 17 of the Spirituality for Normal People Podcast features an interview with Kelly Edmiston. Kelly is the student minister at First Colony Church of Christ. We pack a ton of amazing stuff in this episode, as you can see from the notes below. Such a great conversation!

Some of What We Talk About

  • What happens when we don’t “feel it” in our spiritual life?
  • Making feelings and experiences into idols. Seeking them instead of seeking God.
  • When God might use a period of spiritual dryness
  • How do we stay obedient in the absence of emotion?
  • There is no separation between sacred and secular - all is spiritual
  • Making spiritual practices tangible
  • Breath Prayers (e.g. “I am weak, but you a strong”)
  • Silence as a spiritual practice and what to do about distractions
  • Be patient, gentle, and generous with yourself
  • Finding help for the Spiritual life in deep sources (e.g. Julian of Norwich)
  • What is the relationship between suffering and the spiritual life?
  • The metaphor of pregnancy and labor for the spiritual life.

Kelly's Articles on Scot McKnight's Blog

Other Links and Resources

 
 

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James Prescott | The Priority of Grace

July 18, 2017

Episode 16 of the Spirituality for Normal People Podcast features an interview with author and podcaster James Prescott. We talk a bunch about James' book, Mosaic of Grace, and also touch on themes related to his podcast called Poema on the intersection of faith and spirituality.

From the Intro to the Episode - I mention:

What we talk about in this episode:

  • What is Grace really?
  • The Japanese art of kintsugi (re-making broken pottery with gold joinery) as a metaphor for grace
  • How Jesus includes and loves us even when we turn from God.
  • "Poema" and the intersection of faith and spirituality
  • How people have different ways of coming to or seeing spirituality
  • How your mindset effects the way you see the world and engage with God
  • Spiritual encounters are not always good
  • How most of human life is engaged in creative acts
  • Keeping Sabbath and how “I am enough without my work"

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

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