Are You Becoming More Loving, Joyful & Winsome? A Great Challenge by John Ortberg

[A]re you becoming more loving, joyful and winsome? It’s a wonderful, challenging question asked by pastor and author John Ortberg. In today’s guest post by my friend Alan Fadling, you’ll be encouraged to consider how you are becoming more loving, joyful and winsome as a follower of Christ. Alan graciously agreed to share his notes from a recent message given by John Ortberg at the Pastor’s Forum hosted by the Center for Individual and Family Therapy (CIFT). Dallas Willard had been scheduled to speak, but a recent surgery and slower than expected recovery meant he was unable to attend. Alan’s blog is An Unhurried Life, which I read regularly and highly recommend. (FYI, this is an article length post.) John’s words and Alan’s notes provoked this question in me, “As I rest in the grace of Jesus, am I becoming more loving, joyful, and winsome?”

areyoubecomingmorelovingjoyfulwinsome Are You Becoming More Loving, Joyful & Winsome? A Great Challenge by John Ortberg

 

The 3 Buckets of Creative Cultivation

I recently met with an artist facing a creative challenge. She wanted to take creative risks with her painting and she shared a familiar story. It’s a story I hear from many artists who want to take their creative work to a next level, but wrestle with confusion about how to make that leap.

As we talked spoke, three themes began to emerge. They’re what I call “The 3 Buckets of Creative Cultivation.” Each bucket is a part of the creative process. Understanding how these buckets relate to one another makes all the difference from staying stuck to breaking through to new levels of creativity and productivity. Read on…

3bucketsofcreativecultivation1 The 3 Buckets of Creative Cultivation

Art, Life & Faith with AJ DeGrasse

I am loving SAFE, AJ DeGrasse’s new CD, which is why I want to introduce you to my singer/songwriter friend. AJ DeGrasse has been a long-time friend, co-worker and artist-collaborator with the ministry I serve, The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. Like many musicians and artists, his path to pursuing his creative gifts has not been a straight path…

Do You Wrestle with God’s Love?

Jacob Angel 225x300 Do You Wrestle with Gods Love?Do you wrestle with the truth that God loves you? I mean, really? God’s love for you? Are you completely comfortable with knowing that God loves you and accepts you one-hundred percent as you are? Not as you want to be or “should be,” but really, just as you are today. Yes, I know it’s pretty remarkable to reflect on the truth that God loves you unconditionally for who you are, but in our busy lives, I for one, don’t stop to consider this enough. (Painting-Jacob & the Angel by Wayne Forte)

I’ve met many people who wrestle with God’s love. It’s kind of like getting wrapped around a truck axle in a spiritual sort of way. There are so many people who hunger and yearn for unconditional love, peace, and a deep sense of spiritual freedom. Yet, it often seems so elusive. So I wrote a story about it… 

When You Can’t See Ahead

IMG 0643 225x300 When You Cant See AheadI’ve taken a break from blogging for the past several weeks as I have been focused on a film production and other writing projects. Jumping back in, I’d like to offer you this beautiful prayer from Thomas Merton, one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th. century (and one of my favorite writers). I hope you’ll be encouraged and share it with someone in need.

Whose Feet Are You Washing?

Washing Their Feet 236x300 Whose Feet Are You Washing?One of the most scandalous events leading up to the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ is the washing of the disciples feet. Okay, as if it wasn’t enough for the Son of God to die on a cross, but washing feet? Com’on! Isn’t that getting a little personal? A little too intimate? A bit too close?

What sets Jesus apart from any other religious leader is not his death and resurrection (though that is key), but his willingness and humility to wash others feet. Who else does that?!*%

In our modern, shoe-covered society, we don’t really understand the enormity of foot-washing, do we? That is, the caked-on mud, dirt, grime and smell of walking along dusty roads. It was a servant’s job. Not the work of kings, royalty, or a suffering savior.

What was Christ thinking when He washed His friends feet? It’s a story worth exploring this Holy Week

How Extravagant is Your Love?

Anointing His Feet 2 300x222 How Extravagant is Your Love?[W]ayne Forte is an exceptional visual artist and a good friend. He is one of the strongest biblical artists I know. His large figures convey a strength, power and beauty that captivate me every time I visit his studio.

His painting, Anointing His Feet, tells the story of extravagant love found in Matthew 26 and Mark 16.

It’s one of my favorite stories in the Gospels about wasteful extravagance. A redefinition of love. A holy twist. It’s two days before the Passover. Let’s pick up the story…

You are the Beloved of God

Seaglass 1 225x300 You are the Beloved of God[dc]W[/dc]hen was the last time someone told you that you are the “Beloved of God?” That God is actually a jealous lover who pursues you at all costs?

It’s almost embarrassing, isn’t it? To think that God’s love for you could be so intimate. So personal. So deeply affectionate.

It’s much easier to look inside yourself and see all the gunk. All the flaws. All the quirks. All the sins, chips and scratches. Kind of like the seaglass I’m holding in my hand…

When You’re Knocked Off-Center

tightrope 225x300 When Youre Knocked Off Center[dc]I[/dc] would love to be as balanced as this tightrope walker (less the tights!). For me, the idea or myth of a balanced life is a bit elusive. I’m a mere mortal. I get knocked off-center all the time and like a tightrope walker trying to regain his balance, I wobble back and forth hoping there is a net below to catch me when I fall.

What knocks you off-center? Relationship conflicts? Illness? Stress at work? Financial struggles? Worry? Fear? Anxiety? Unmet expectations? Disappointment? Addictions?

Practicing the Presence of God

pier 300x200 Practicing the Presence of God[dc]I[/dc] don’t know about you, but when it comes to walking with God, I need a lot of practice. One of the best books that helps me do this is a 400 year old book called The Practice of the Presence of God by an amazing old monk named Brother Lawrence. If you want simple and clear spiritual direction on the spiritual life, Brother Lawrence’s words are filled with wisdom and insight. As a cook in a monastery, he learned to practice the loving presence of God chopping carrots and making stew. Here’s a taste of what he’s serving…