Podcast 45: Spiritual Friendship - The Power of Sheer Encouragement

Apr 30, 2018

Spiritual friendship is a life-giving gift we give ourselves and others. There are likely people in your life who are struggling with self-doubt, fear or other issues. You can be a loving, listening ear and a quiet voice of encouragement. A simple sentence or two, shared at just the right time, may have a huge payoff in that person’s life. Don’t ever think that what you have to offer is too small. Small things matter. Quiet goodness offered often is a very good thing.

So, we...

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Podcast 44: The Unhurried Way of Love

Apr 23, 2018


In these weeks following Easter, our church community has been focusing on “Resurrection: A New Life of Love.” The essence of the risen life is love. Living a risen life is living in Jesus’ way of love.

We live in Southern California, and it can be a very hurried place. I have a little made up word to describe one way I experience the chronic hurry of our region.

The word is “gronk.” “It is a contraction of green and honk, and it represents the nanosecond...

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Podcast 43: Creative Conversations - How the Rules of Improv can Benefit Your Relationships

Apr 16, 2018

I recently re-read Tina Fey’s, Bossypants, which is a really fun read. She’s so funny and such a talented writer. I was reminded about the four Rules of Improv. It sent me on an online search and I stumbled upon the 11 Commandments of Improv by Del Close. Del Close was a coachto many of the Saturday Night Live greats like Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Gilda Radner and dozens more.

It’s amazing how these simple rules can help actors keep a flow of conversation and story...

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Podcast 42: Addiction - Emotional Deficit Spending

Apr 09, 2018

We’re talking about “Addiction” today. This isn’t so much about the substances, or relationships, or activities to which we find ourselves addicted. It’s more of a conversation about how the dynamics of addiction impact us.

When we act on addictive impulses, it is like borrowing against future emotional resources. Having a few too many drinks to feel lighthearted or relaxed is like borrowing peace or joy from our future. Overeating as a source of comfort is like...

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Podcast 41: Reservoir Leadership - Influencing from a Full Soul

Apr 02, 2018

What would it be like to be a reservoir kind of person? Wouldn’t you like to live, relate and serve from a place of fullness, rather than continuing to pour out the last drop from your ever-emptying cup?

We can learn how to treasure the goodness God is always pouring out to us, storing it up like a reservoir of abundance out of which we might bless and serve others without becoming empty. We can make space to let God fill our souls to the brim in relationship to him. This is how Jesus...

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Podcast 40: Dark Night of the Soul - How to Navigate God’s Apparent Absence

Mar 26, 2018

Engage with us as we talk about a dynamic that some will face in their spiritual journey, what John of the Cross called “The Dark Night of the Soul." It sounds kind of ominous and scary, but it’s actually just a place where our faith is given an opportunity for testing and refining. That doesn’t mean it feels good to us, but it is a *good* place. A while back, Alan wrote an article about the dark night for our blog. It’s one of our most visited posts. That’s...

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Podcast 39: Where Do You Take Your Thirsts

Mar 19, 2018

Right now, we find ourselves in the season of Lent, and a few weeks ago, Alan wrote a blog post titled “Lent: An Invitation to True Satisfaction.” He said that, "In Lent, rather than aiming at acquisition, we aim for some form of openness or even empty space. Fasting results in empty stomachs. Self-denial can quiet our selfish ambition."

But the “empty” here isn’t a vacuum. It is a welcoming of God’s presence. We open up space for God to be active in and...

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Podcast 38: Copying a True Master - The Essence of Apprenticeship

Mar 12, 2018

A visit to a museum provides the backdrop for a conversation on what it means to be an apprentice to a master.

We made our way through quite a few rooms of the Hermitage. The interiors were jaw dropping, the paintings gorgeous. And, as Alan said, he had been there before, so he knew when we were nearing the original painting we were most looking forward to seeing, which was Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son. He gave me a brief warning as we turned the corner, “Get...

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Podcast 37: Eight Simple Ways to Bless People

Mar 05, 2018

In this mini-sode, we want to share eight simple ways for blessing others. These are actually drawn from a resource we produced a year ago, called "Take Five: 17 Simple Ways to Serve Others." That was before we launched this podcast, so I wanted to share some of the helpful ideas with you all.

These little "five minute" ideas aren't complex. That's actually the point. You could easily add plenty of other creative ways to bless another. We simply encourage you to do the good that God has put...

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Podcast 36: Carry Prayer - An Effective Way to Pray for Others

Feb 26, 2018

Many years ago, I (Gem) was having a conversation with a very dear friend. As we interacted, she shared some insights about me that I had not directly told her before. No one could have known, because I had not shared with anyone. She was quite observant, but I was still surprised when she shared with me her thoughts. I asked her how she knew. She said, "I know you because I pray for you."

I didn't really understand that fully at the time, but over the years I began to learn what she meant....

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