Be a Blessing

Mar 31, 2021

“Gem. Yes, that’s my name. G-E-M. It’s not a nickname. It’s not short for anything. My dad took one look at me when I was born and said, ‘What a Gem!’”

 

Over the course of my life, I’ve had this conversation more times than I can count. People’s usual response is something like, “Aww, how sweet!”

 

Growing up, I never fully appreciated my name or its meaning. I just knew that, when used with my maiden name of Wheat,...

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Podcast 168: Two Spiritual Directors Respond to Questions (Gem with Stacey Green)

Mar 29, 2021

Today my friend and spiritual director, Stacey Green, is with me and we will be responding to some spiritual direction and formation questions that we received via social media. We’re going to interact on these themes and hopefully offer some guidance and encouragement along the way. 

Stacey Green is a trained spiritual director, a Southern CA native, and a graduate of Pepperdine University. She is passionate about offering soul care to women in all stages of life, particularly...

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Humility and Influence

Mar 24, 2021

Years ago, when I was beginning my training in spiritual direction, I had the opportunity to spend a month in community with a group of Benedictine monks and nuns. There were many insights God gave me through their friendship, but one particular lesson was something they embodied more than taught: humility.

 

They were a humble community. They didn’t draw attention to their humility or promote it—which seems like an obvious thing to say, except I’ve seen humility put on...

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Podcast 167: Nine Questions for Spiritual Leaders (Alan with Tim Morey)

Mar 22, 2021

We’ve often said on this podcast that who you are as a leader makes all the difference in the fruitfulness of what you do as a leader. Two people can do the exact same bit of work with very different outcomes. Even little bits of work done with great love can bear more fruit than huge gatherings or impressive performances. For the Christian leader, the trajectory of our lives is in the direction of living and leading more and more in the spirit—in the way—of Jesus. 

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Truth in Advertising

Mar 17, 2021

I shop therefore I am. (fabric)
Remodeling is happiness. (design company)
The 5 basic necessities of life: movies, TV, video, music & books. (magazine)
Give your day a little lift. (candy)
Acquire a taste for the ultimate compliment. (appliances)
Wear it and be happy. (fragrance)
What is comfort? (shoes)

Each of these slogans is a direct quote from an advertising hook in a magazine. What follows in parentheses tells you the product being marketed.

In this list, you are promised everything from...

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Podcast 166: Growing in Empathy (Gem with Kristi Gaultiere)

Mar 15, 2021

Empathy. This is a much needed and seemingly ignored dynamic in cultural conversations. However, today we are going to bring it down to the personal…our own lives. What is empathy? Why is it important for us and our relationships? How does empathy factor into our relationship with God? 

Today I chat with my dear friend, Kristi Gaultiere who is an expert on empathy. Not only by training, but by giftedness and lifestyle. Practicing empathy and caring comes naturally to her and I...

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God Does More Than We Can Imagine

Mar 10, 2021

Sometimes my heart and mind seem to forget the immense power and generosity of God. When facing great challenges or losses, I’m tempted to think that they are the biggest thing in my life. But God is always greater than anything happening in my life or in our world. Always.

 

Listen to how Paul captures this truth at the end of his prayer for the Ephesian church:

 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is...

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Podcast 165: The Lyrical Life of Jesus (Alan with Michael Card)

Mar 08, 2021

A mentor of mine would often say something like this: “The Christian life is not mainly something I believe or a group to which I belong. The Christian life is somebody with whom I enjoy a living, day-to-day relationship. That somebody, of course, is Jesus. He is risen and alive among us today—right now—by his Spirit. He is inviting us into the love he and the Father share. That has been the inviting good news I’ve sought to enter more deeply into over this...

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Preparing the Soil of Your Soul

Mar 03, 2021

Awhile back, during a time of journaling and prayer, I perused the notes from my first training in spiritual direction. I had packed two folders with worksheets, practices, and handwritten notes from multiple lectures.

 

My plan was to read through everything so I could recall and glean from the spiritual wisdom those pages contained. However, I made it through only half of one handwritten notebook. I barely scratched the surface. Reading through my notes in a soulful way turned out to...

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Podcast 164: Struggling with Depression (Gem with Diana Gruver)

Mar 01, 2021

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, major depressive disorder (or MDD) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44. MDD affects about 16.1 million adults each year. And think about all of those who remain undiagnosed. Then add to that the increased anxiety and depression caused by COVID-19. Many of us have likely struggled with a form of depression over the last year. And, certainly, most of us know someone who struggles. How do we cope? ...

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