Podcast 175: Practices of a Healthy Church (Alan with Jason Feffer)

May 17, 2021

If you’re a follower of Christ, and most of you who listen to this podcast would likely describe yourself that way, a big part of that experience is church. The church is a gathering of fellow-students of Christ. The church is people. The church is a kind of kingdom outpost wherever it has been planted in the world.  

Today, I’m talking with Jason Feffer about the community he leads called The Practice. We talk about our experiences of church, and how God has been...

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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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Podcast 148: Engaging the Enneagram for Formation (Gem with Mary Linam)

Nov 09, 2020

The Enneagram has been more widely circulating for a few years now and most of us have a basic understanding of the types. But once you learn the types, the real question is, so what? What do I now do with all of this great information? What difference can the Enneagram make in my life?

My dear friend, Mary Linam, is a trained and highly skilled Enneagram coach. I’m sharing her with you today because I want you to glean from her wisdom and to be in touch with her if you want to dig...

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Podcast 126: Being with God... Together (Gem with Diana Shiflett)

Jun 08, 2020

Many of our listeners are leaders and it can be easy for any of us to fall into the groove of teaching or leading for mere information or knowledge…and not into the deeper levels of formation and change. Of course, knowledge is important and we must begin there. But transformation must be right on its heels or the process is incomplete.

Our guest today, Diana Shiflett, has written a very practical and hands-on book entitled Spiritual Practices in Community. And it gets at what I said...

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Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Oct 31, 2018

Many of you have heard about the passing of Eugene Peterson last week. Such a loss for us. Our heartfelt prayers go out to his family and friends. In case you missed the news, go ahead and take the time to read more about this influential man.

I have trusted Peterson and his team to give me a refreshed take on scripture for many years now. The Message breathed new life into verses that had become rote for me. I was able to enjoy nuances of phrase, and gained a deeper appreciation for long...

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Obedience: An Unexpected Path to Freedom

Aug 29, 2018

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about obedience. It’s one of those words that is definitely out of fashion these days. It sounds like nothing but bad news.

A while back, I was reading through the book of Joshua. It tells the story of a young Joshua taking over leadership of God’s people from Moses. He is leading them into a land God had promised to them through Abraham.

As the Joshua and Israel story nears its end and this promised land has become theirs, Joshua gives these...

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Love Well

Apr 18, 2018

L.O.V.E. Such a small and simple word. When all is said and done, love is what matters and what lasts.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship...

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Becoming Dallas Willard: A Book Review

Mar 28, 2018

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reading and loving a new biography written by my friend, Gary Moon, of the Dallas Willard Center at Westmont College. The title is Becoming Dallas Willard: The Formation of a Philosopher, Teacher, and Christ Follower. What a well-written, enjoyable-to-read book!

It was a gift to reflect on so many intersections and near-path-crossings with Dallas over the years. For example, when Gem and I married in 1985 and moved one month later to Southern...

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Morning Prayer: Enjoying Scripture in the Caribbean

Mar 01, 2017

While I was writing the first draft of my next book, An Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence, I enjoyed a few days at a friend’s remote home in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. One of the rhythms I practiced was morning prayer using the morning lectionary* passages.

My habit is often to take a meaningful verse or two from my readings to reflect on and pray through in my journal. It is a discipline that helps me pray the scriptures. Below is a journal entry from one of...

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The Importance of Listening to God

Oct 23, 2012

I lead a lot of day retreats that have at the heart of them a number of hours to be alone and quiet in listening prayer. I led one on Friday. Earlier this year, one participant shared a conversation she had with a pastor who suggested that “There is no biblical precedent for listening prayer.” I found that an interesting comment. Below are some “bullets” of initial response I journaled later that day:

  • The whole of the scriptures are an extended story of conversation...
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