Presence and Silence

May 05, 2021

Recently, I’ve restarted my daily practice of silent prayer. Like many who try this practice, I feel an immense amount of resistance arising within me against my intention. But that’s not a good reason to avoid the practice. What we truly and deeply desire is often quite different from what we prefer or feel like doing in a particular, narrow little moment.

 

What seems to work for me is to set a 25-minute timer on my smartphone and then turn it facedown so I’m not...

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Podcast 173: After Doubt (Alan with A. J. Swoboda)

May 03, 2021

If you were to walk around our neighborhood these days, you’d see a number of homes that are being remodeled. Some of the work is so extensive that no one is living in those homes while the work is being done. But the goal is, of course, to rebuild those houses so that they can become homes again. 

Many of us are experiencing what some have called the “deconstruction of faith.” Something that made sense and worked before doesn’t seem to anymore. The constructions...

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The Fullness of God

Apr 28, 2021

Your first tooth . . . your first day of kindergarten . . . your first car . . . your first kiss . . . your first home. Life is full of firsts. We spend our lifetime taking first steps that lead to growing up and maturing into functioning adults.

 

Along the way, our souls are taking first steps as well. The first time we heard about God. The first time we heard the name of Jesus. The first time we saw an answer to prayer. The first time we acted...

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Podcast 172: The Art of Letting Go (Gem with Marla Christian)

Apr 26, 2021

Letting go is hard, isn’t it? For most of us, it’s about admitting that we aren’t in control, and that is difficult. My dear friend, Marla Christian, is with me today and we’re going to talk about the freedom of releasing our grip on people and circumstances. 

Marla has long been a part of the Al Anon community and I have learned so much from her about letting go. I can’t wait for you to learn from her. 

Marla Christian is the CFO of Corporate Benefit...

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Focusing On Our Fallenness

Apr 21, 2021

I tend to have a scrupulous soul. I find it easy to slide into self-accusation, even self-condemnation. I’ve joked that I’m a recovering perfectionist. Sometimes my recovery isn’t going so well.

 

Are my shortcomings and offenses real? Of course. But are mercy and grace real? Even more so. I was reflecting recently on a practice that has come to have much more meaning for me as an Anglican priest than it did when I was a Baptist pastor. I’m talking about the...

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Podcast 171: Unhindered Abundance (Alan with Ken Baugh)

Apr 19, 2021

I want to read some familiar words from the scriptures that I think have special relevance to the situation in which we find ourselves these day. Jesus is speaking, and says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, [they] will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” 

I really appreciate that last line. The life Jesus has come to announce to us and make...

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The Loving Embrace of God

Apr 14, 2021

Many years ago, on a typical summer day, Alan arrived home from work. As was his habit, he came to me for a welcome-home hug.

Our oldest son, then just three years old, came running up to us yelling, “Wait! I want to be in your love!”

He then proceeded to squeeze between us as we embraced, creating a hug sandwich with him as the filling. I will never forget that moment…or that phrase: I want to be in your love.

Over the years I have grown tired of my own inner...

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Podcast 170: Musings on Beauty and Courage (Gem with Morgan Harper Nichols)

Apr 12, 2021

I have long believed the practice of gratitude and looking back in discernment is crucial for a well-lived life. In Morgan Harper Nichols’ new book, "How Far You Have Come", we are invited to notice and give thanks for our growth along the journey of life. With her unique style, and deep, soulful heart, Morgan guides us yet again with her stories, poems and art. 

 

I’m honored to call Morgan a friend. We met, by chance, at a workshop a couple of years ago and had...

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A Meaningful Prayer

Apr 07, 2021

 

I came from a faith tradition that highly valued spontaneous prayers and devalued liturgical prayers. If a prayer arose from one’s own heart and mind, that meant it was real. Praying someone else’s words didn’t seem as genuine.

 

This preference for extemporaneous prayers is based on the assumption that anything spontaneously arising from my present mindset is actually real. Except sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes what I thought was heartfelt spontaneity was...

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Podcast 169: Lead Like It Matters to God (Alan with Rich Stearns)

Apr 05, 2021

Leadership matters to God. The way leaders lead matters perhaps more to God.  We who would serve the people of God as leaders are invited to do so in the way of Jesus—the Spirit of Jesus. We often say that you do not need a position of leadership to be a person of influence.  

 

Today, I’m pleased to have as my guest Rich Stearns, President Emeritus of World Vision and author of the new book Lead Like It Matters to God. We’ll talk about some of the core...

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