Lisa Whittle | Walking Strong, Simple Prayers

June 13, 2017

Episode 12 of Spirituality for Normal People features an interview with Lisa Whittle. Lisa is a speaker and the author of six books. From her official bio: "Her love runs deep to see people pursue Jesus for life, grow deep roots of faith, and walk strong in the midst of a world that so often seems to have gone crazy."

Lisa's latest book: Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and for All

What a great conversation! Lisa has incredible passion and straightforward honesty. Here is just some of what we talked about...

  • How to deal with weariness and worry
  • Moving from panic and fear to preparation and strength
  • It is not about how you feel, it is about what you choose
  • Choosing to love, obey, and follow
  • Warrior boots as a symbol of walking in strength
  • Pushing back on the idea of “brave”
  • Receiving the power and strength of Christ
  • Reading through the Bible continuously.
  • Listening in Prayer
  • Taking the pressure off for our prayers to be a particular way
  • The power of simpler, shorter prayers

Quotes From This Episode

  • "Choosing God stabilizes the other areas of our life"
  • “You don’t have to know the particular storm if you know the vehicle to survive."
  • “Christ’s strength is our strategy.”
  • “The more we look at ourselves, the more we become insecure and fade…so fix your eyes on Jesus."

During the interview, Lisa mentioned a devotional she is reading, Peace in the Face of Loss by Jill Kelly

Lisa Whittle's Books

Look for Lisa's next book, a devotional, available in Fall 2017…

Jen DeCombe | Uncomplicated Spiritual Habits

June 6, 2017

Episode 11 of the Spirituality for Normal People Podcast features and interview with Jennifer DeCombe. Jen is the associate secretary for Canadian Ministries, working at the National Office of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. At the end of the interview, there is a really interesting conversation about inviting non-Christian friends to learn about faith.


  • What role can institutions or denominations play in the development of Spirituality?
  • The ways congregations are struggling with engaging with following Jesus
  • Leadership modelling what they hope for the wider community
  • Daily Scripture Reading - The enriching of life through regular reading
  • Ritualizing Bible study and prayer and linking it to daily activity (like drinking coffee!)
  • Lighting candles at supper
  • Praying the Lord’s Prayer together
  • "Uncomplicated" Spiritual Practices
  • “Resetting” Spiritual Practices - self-discipline and making a decision to go to the Bible.
  • Having grace with yourself when you are in a rut spiritually.
  • Mini-Habits - setting very small goals for connecting with God.
  • Positive Rituals, Habits, and Practices
  • An honest conversation about having a spouse who is not a Christian
  • Inviting non-Christian friends to learn more about faith


  • The Answer to How is Yes by Peter Block -
  • Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block -
  • Vital Churches Institute (Word, Prayer, Share Resource) -
  • Life With God Bible -
  • Revovare -
  • Journal Bibles (with colouring pages!) -
  • Lauren Winner -
  • Mini-Habits -

Rev. Dr. Margaret Mullin | Indigenous Practices and Spirituality

May 30, 2017

Episode 10 of the podcast features an interview with Rev. Dr. Margaret Mullin. Margaret is the executive director of Winnipeg Inner City Missions and the pastor of Place of Hope Presbyterian Church.  I had the opportunity to do this interview in person at Anishanabe Place of Hope in Winnipeg and Margaret was so gracious and generous in her honest conversation with me.

Margaret recently received a Women of Faith Award, which you can read about here.


  • Challenges of ministry in the Inner City of Winnipeg - 49% Indigenous population, a high percentage of immigrants, amongst the worst poverty in Canada, families who are dealing with generations of poverty
  • There is a great need to discover hope.
  • Spiritual Practices that we touch on: Silent retreats (without any agenda), What is a Sweat and what is a Sweatlodge?; Journaling; Daily reflection time at the end of the day.
  • Indigenous Practices and Spirituality
  • The relationship between Christianity and Indigenous practices
  • What we need to know about Indigenous People in North America.
  • The apology to indigenous people as a first step.
  • The importance of relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people.
  • The importance of learning the history.
  • What are the best ways to support ministry with First Nations people.


  • “I pray better at the end of a pen.”
  • “There was no problem with the Irish people bringing their celtic traditions with them in following Jesus. So I don’t understand why it was a problem where my indigenous people could not bring their indigenous spirituality with them when they learned to follow Jesus.”



Steve Bell | The Deep Well of Art, Music, and Community

May 23, 2017

Episode 9 of the podcast is with Juno-award winning musician, Steve Bell. This interview was such an amazing experience, recorded in Steve's own studio in Winnipeg. Steve was incredibly gracious and generous with his time and his honest sharing. Steve shared a ton in this episode, and you can find all kinds of links on the Spirituality for Normal People Website that reference just some of what Steve spoke about.

This podcast episode also features several of Steve's songs, used with his permission.

Get the full and very extensive show notes on the Spirituality for Normal People Website


Bible Break 2 - Love and Justice - Psalm 2 with Rev. Matthew Brough

May 16, 2017

Listen in as Matthew Brough talks about Psalm 2 and the struggle we sometimes find between love and justice.


Creativity, Metalsmithing, and Labyrinths with Rev. Robin McGauley

May 16, 2017

Episode 8 of the Spirituality for Normal People Podcast features an interview with United Church minister Robin McGauley. Robin is a metalsmith, makes amazing art and jewelry, and is also a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator, a faculty member of the Expressive Arts program at the Haliburton School of Art and Design, and a graduate of the Jubilee program in spiritual direction.

We discuss a quote on Robin's website but never get around to actually saying what it is. Here's the quote from Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore

Some things are best done in the dark, including the transformation of raw material into tools and pieces of art. There is a smith in our soul who works the failures and successes of everyday life into eternal shapes that make us who we are. It's not extraordinary, this dark place of heat and hammering, but rather an unspectacular scene of hard work. You might think of your dark night as such a place and realize the importance of keeping it stocked and fired and dim. Your job is to provide the setting and let the divine smith do his work.  


  • The importance of craft, artistry, and creativity
  • Claiming being creative as part of ministry
  • The Metalsmith as a metaphor how God relates to us in times of difficulty or depression.
  • Walking through times of sadness
  • The “doing” and “being” involved in spiritual practices
  • Using a long commute for meditation and prayer
  • Noticing God, embodiment, and the incarnation
  • What are Labyrinths and how they can be helpful for Spiritual Life

Full show notes, links and resources can be found here


From Jamaica to Lake of the Woods - Ministry and Spirituality in a Rural Small Church Context with Rev. Germaine Lovelace

May 9, 2017

Episode 7 of the Spirituality for Normal People Podcast features an interview with Rev. Germaine Lovelace, minister of First Presbyterian Church in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. Prior to serving in this small town, Germaine ministered in his home country of Jamaica. 

Here are some of the topics discussed in the interview:

  • The struggle of Church membership in small town, increasingly secular, contexts
  • Ministering among the poor and the importance of the Church for the poor in small towns
  • The difference in response to the gospel between Jamaican and Canadian contexts
  • How serving and connecting with those in need can provide fuel for the spiritual life
  • Communicating in other cultures
  • Consistent prayer life and devotions to stay grounded in God
  • What is means to pray without ceasing
  • Prayer as the first place rather than last resort
  • Reading a lot of devotionals
  • Misconceptions about spirituality - what is it and who is it for?
  • What do you do when you don’t “feel” God’s presence?

Bible Break - Like a Tree Planted - Psalm 1 with Rev. Matthew Brough

May 4, 2017

Listen in as Matthew Brough talks about Psalm 1 and the wonderful image of being like a tree planted by streams of water.


God in the Midst of Everyday Life with Shannon Kiser of Fresh Expressions

May 2, 2017

In this 6th episode, Shannon Kiser, speaks about finding God in the midst of a sometimes chaotic and busy life. Shannon is the Director of Training for Fresh Expressions US. She also works supporting the Coaching Network for New Churches in The Presbyterian Church USA and it on on staff at Riverside Presbyterian Church, in Sterling, Virginia.

Some of the things we talk about in this episode:

  • staying on track spiritually in the midst of busyness
  • reading the Bible in a year (or, trying to…)
  • leaning into friends who are people of faith to get unstuck
  • Spiritual practices that work for others that don’t work for “me”
  • thinking about where God is in the midst of life, and being responsive to opportunities to talk about God.
  • How being involved in Fresh Expressions and Church Planting has informed Shannon’s spiritual life.
  • How do you leave space for the Spirit when there are already plans for Church or life in place.

For links and resources visit the Spirituality for Normal People website


Spirituality and God’s Mission with Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart

April 25, 2017
Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart is Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Missional Leadership at St. Andrew’s Hall.  Ross serves as the Presbyterian Director of Denominational Formation at Vancouver School of Theology as well as an Adjunct Professor of Homiletics at St. Mark’s College, UBC. He also teaches regularly at Regent College.
In this interview we discuss:
  • What ministry students need in terms of their spirituality, and the importance of deep prayer practices.
  • A new monastic experiment at St. Andrew’s Hall called The Salt Light House.
  • What do pastors need to do to help people in congregations learn and live out spiritual practices?
  • Embracing a teaching liturgy in worship & why it’s important to explain what is going on in worship.
  • Being in community as a spiritual practice & the problem of isolation
  • What it means for all Christians to be gathered as disciples (learners), and sent out as apostles (sent-ones).
  • Family meals, family worship, family movie night
  • The importance of prayer, scripture reading, and the connection between spirituality and exercise
  • The connection between fatigue, stress, and “spiritual ruts."
  • Resetting yourself with God through Pilgrimage and prayer walks.
Links and Resources for this Episode can be found at the Spirituality for Normal People Website