Here are 5 things I heard last week through podcast interviews, reading, and research that are worthy to be shared with you.
1. Do you want to write a book or produce Christian content for digital space such as online or in podcasts? I heard from Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker, Whisper, Win the Day) that he read over 3,000 books before he wrote his first paragraph for others to read. He said last week that he’s read 7,000 books to date. I don’t know of a serious writer who isn’t an avid reader.
2. This is the time of year when we are all more conscious of our habits and productivity. We have habits to break and habits to establish. When I asked Mark Batterson about developing productive habits, he offered the following:
“Whatever habit it is, you’ve got to find a way to weave it into the rhythm of your life. And so that Bible reading plan that you want to establish…here’s how I get it done—I stack it. I have an office, right above Ebenezers Coffeehouse. And I usually go in and I get my latte with two shots. And I might add this—the Holy Spirit, plus caffeine, equals awesome. So I get my caffeine. And you know what? The Bible reads even better, with a little bit of caffeine in my system. And so I always do my reading plan, as I’m drinking that morning latte. That’s an example of habit stacking, you take something that you do very naturally, and you try to find a way to attach a habit that’s a little bit harder for you to do. And it sounds, you know, like a new idea but it’s as old as Deuteronomy 6: “When you get up or when you lie down, when you go out or come home, impress these commandments upon your children.” In other words, you’ve got to find a way to couple your habits with some of your rhythms and routines. And so it’s about intentionality and coupling these different habits together. Can you do it for a day? Can you do it for a week? Can you do it now?”
Listen to Dr. Greene’s podcast with Mark Batterson.
3. Max Lucado wrote a new book (Begin Again) about moving on from this coronavirus shut down. I heard him tell a story about a time in Brazil while he was ministering there. It’s a blessing to hear a story from our past life to help us through a present need.
“It’s just a simple little story. But many years ago, our family lived in Brazil, from 1983 to 1988. And I recall a time I was in São Paulo, Brazil. I don’t recall the reason I was there. I lived in Rio de Janeiro, but I was in São Paulo for some conference and or something. And a group of us caught a subway train late, late at night, maybe 11pm, 11:30pm heading back to our side of the town. And that subway train stalled in the middle, in between stations. It just came to a dead stop and all the lights went off.
“You know, it’s a scary thing to be in the dark. It’s an even scarier thing to be underground. And then it’s even more frightening to have no solution just stuck, stuck.
“I’ve reflected back on the emotion that we all felt stuck in that subway train. And I realized that’s the way many people lead their lives. They feel like their world is dark and they don’t know where they’re going. And they don’t have any solution.
“Gratefully, that time I was stuck underground in São Paulo lasted only maybe 10 minutes, and then the train lights came on and [the train] lurched forward. But many people spend their lifetime with that emotion. And I think the reason that the Lord Jesus talks so much about heaven, so much about eternal life, is that he wanted us to lead a life that looks forward.
“Yeah, we are made to be forward-looking people and to have faith in tomorrow. Now the truth is, it’s hard to have faith in a government because government’s made up of human beings. It’s hard to have faith in money, because money will come and go.
“But heaven is the greatest way for us to bring hope to our souls. We lift up our eyes, and we set our minds on things that are to come. In any moment, we lift up our eyes and think about heaven. It’ll immediately bring a shaft of sunlight into the darkest heart. We are made to set our minds on things above, not things here on the earth.
“I urge all of us today to think about heaven. Think about a life in which there’ll be no graves, no tears, no fears, in which we will understand, which we’ll see as we have been seen, which we all know Jesus Christ.
“And so for all of you today, who find yourself in need of hope, don’t think that you’ll find it in a Netflix movie, or the most recent spy thriller. Those are entertaining, but they don’t give you hope you need. Meditate long and hard on the life that awaits you.”
Hear the conversation between Max Lucado and Dr. Greene.
4. Angela Donadio interviewed me on her podcast last week and I heard so much from the Lord as I was answering her questions. I’m always surprised at the answers the Holy Spirit prompts me to give when asked questions throughout the day. Jesus asked questions of his disciples as a teaching tool.
Angela asked me about the long and winding journey to the ministry I serve now and I could only respond with the two word power phrase Jesus used so often.
We are healed, blessed and breathed upon SO THAT we can take our gift forward to others.
After the interview, Angela told me she had written two words on a paper that was set in front of her—not related to what we were discussing. The two words were “SO THAT.” The Holy Spirit spoke the same two words to both of us at different times just for the podcast. I’m guessing a few listeners needed those words.
Click for 2 minutes and 50 seconds of worship with Angela from YouTube…Trust You Anyhow
5. During an interview last week, I heard an author talk about blind spots in our relationships. We don’t always see what others see. I was reminded of another academic model called the Johari Window.
When I was led to include this model in my list this week, one thought resonated with me to share. Do we have blind spots in our seeing as well as our hearing? Do we miss things God is showing us? Do we walk with Jesus as a good model to the unsaved? Do we hear the Holy Spirit nudge us to “walk this way?” There are several good sermons in the Johari Window. I hope you hear the messages.