You Have a Unique Spiritual Personality

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God knows the number of every hair on your head. Before you were born God shaped you.

We know as a fact that no two people have the same finger print. Our individuality and uniqueness is often on display for all to see.

If you are so unique, then why would you think that a cookie-cutter, one size fits-all approach to Growing Up would suffice? My wife doesn’t like to read as much as I do. Do you think me throwing a book at her and telling her to just read this is going to be the best approach? No, she responds to words and actions and a chance to serve others.


I have a friend who says,”I am a geek, God speaks to me in geek.”God touches him, inspires him, and challenges him in a way that works exactly with his personality, learning style, and preferences. He is not ashamed of the fact that his relationship with God may look different from yours. He has come to embrace it.

One of the first steps we can make on the way to Growing Up is to find out as much as we can about ourselves. Do a Myers-Briggs assessment. Take a Love Language inventory. Find out your learning style. All of these will inform how God will best interact with you. These inventories bind us to nothing but it demonstrates that God has created us with unique features and characteristics because that is how he wants to work through us and be with us.

Try this: Think about a time when you felt closest to God. What were you doing? What preceded this moment? Was music involved or words of declaration or were you reading scripture? What does this moment tell you about yourself and how God likes to interact with you? What could you do today to cultivate that interaction based on your personality and giftedness?

photo credits: wikicommons

Quit Focusing On Inadequate Examples of Growing Up

Superficially, many of our hang ups on the road to Growing Up don’t involve anything to do with your deep personal spiritual make up.

Often, you are hesitant to Grow Up because of the poor examples of “mature” Christians you see around you or observe a church culture that you want no part of. This is the wrong focus. God isn’t asking you to match someone else’s faith or fulfill some here today/gone tomorrow church trends, he is asking you to join the Kingdom of God. The what you ask?


The Kingdom of God is where what God wants done is done. The Kingdom of God is what Jesus spent many of his parables discussing. As James Bryan Smith has said, “It is much more difficult to find a teaching of Jesus that was not about the kingdom than to find one that is.”

The interactive life with God that is the Kingdom of God is what you should strive for. The Kingdom of God is a place where you hear from God and know what to do next. A place where you receive assurances of your standing with him and experience the deep love and mercy of the Father. A place where you can drop all pretense and be humbled because God is working and in control.

The Kingdom of God transcends individual examples of “good Christians” or church marketing slogans. Scripture tells us that it is so precious that a man would sell all that he had to assure he could obtain it.

So quit looking around to human examples of faith that lack substance and aren’t true to your deepest longing. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Then, so much will be added to you. You will even Grow Up.

Scenes From the First Grow Up Event

Last Friday, I hosted the first Grow Up Event, a Fund Raising Party. After rain earlier in the day, the skies cleared up late Friday afternoon and the weather was perfectly cool and pleasant. The ground was hardly wet or muddy. God set up a great evening for us.

Around 35 people came and enjoyed excellent tacos from El Taxqueño Taquería and then settled in for music from Ben Coleman and then from Chad and Melissa Edgington. The songs were a perfect backdrop to the evening and set a great tone for a pleasant and uplifting night.

In addition to the music, I was able to tell a little bit of my story and what I feel God is leading me to do with the start of Grow Up Ministries. I mentioned how He has led me to the Apprentice Experience training as an act of faith and that now, I will be pursuing opportunities to help struggling and stagnant Christians find the ability to live the life Christ intends for them to live.

After the music, people had the chance to give. At the end of the night, we raised $525 that will go to the completion of my training and the start up of Grow Up Ministries. God is good.

See pictures below.

Even if you were unable to make it, you can still give by going to my fund raising page:

By contributing you will receive the following:

At least $25 – The Grow Up Playlist full of songs that have helped me in my spiritual life.

At least $50 – A sample chapter of an eBook I worked on a few years ago called More of Christ, Less of Everything Else.

At least $75 – A resource pack full of the list of tools that I use to grow closer to God.

At least $100 – A short eBook that I am creating called the Devotional Lives of Famous Christians.

The Costly Results of Forgetting Jesus

Monday, I mentioned the importance of remembering the good news of Jesus. Today, I would like to tell you the dangerous ramifications of forgetting Jesus.


  1. You have no power except your own. Many years ago, I was the sole breadwinner for a young family of three. I was trying to finish a graduate degree and my job kept me away from home many nights. I wasn’t taking care of myself spiritually and emotionally and began to fall into a depression. I was breaking down. Why? Because I had forgotten Jesus and was trying to manage my life without the help of Christ. I was still at the center of my own life and hadn’t made Christ, with all of his power, the King over all of my existence. I was powerless to accomplish anything  because I was relying on my own power.
  2. You can be easily deceived. By forgetting Jesus and the good news of his life, death, and resurrection, you become susceptible to anybody with a sense of authority in spiritual matters, to tell you what you, as a Christian, need to be doing, even if it runs counter to the message of Christ. If your mind and heart aren’t focused on Christ and all that scripture tells you about him, then you lack the clarity to recognize the difference between what is truly important and was is secondary or even false. This can affect you on a personal level as you pursue paths that have potential for disaster. But it can also affect you on a larger social or political level as the risky marriage of politics and faith turns to manipulation, exploitation, and the inability to see your faith expressed in more creative and life-giving ways.

The only way to avoid these pitfalls is to return to Jesus. Take in his very presence, learn from him how to live your life, understand what he stands for and why he died, and revel in the power of his resurrection. Remember Jesus and live a life of power and truth.

photo credit: jijis

The One Thing You Can’t Forget

As this political cycle tries to tell you that your faith is nothing more than a political bent, don’t forget Jesus. As the media tries to tell you that your faith is nothing more than a stance on one specific issue, don’t forget Jesus.


In 2 Timothy 2:8-9, Paul says, “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David, this is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.”

Our gospel is Jesus Christ; being sent, living and teaching, dying for us, raising from the dead, and ascending to God’s right hand. God’s word is not chained by politics. God’s word is not chained by media. God’s word is not chained by education or location or race or bias or past sins. Christ came, Christ saves, His Kingdom is available to us.

Don’t forget Jesus.

photo credit: arbyreed

Why I Am Starting Something New?

I relaunched this blog back in May. There was a lot of prep to get it started again but I have never felt burdened by it. I started the Apprentice Experience in August and have been doing weekly readings and assignments. This has taken a little bit of time away from the blog but I have never felt overwhelmed by the time commitments.

This is the pattern that I am noticing on this journey. God directs me toward something and I go do it. There hasn’t been a lot of fuss, or hand wringing, or feelings of desperation. I simply move forward in obedience and things progress forward. There has been a flow forward that has been rewarding, refreshing, and uplifting.

I never thought that anything more than some words in a blog or some additional advice to friends and mentees would spring from these ways forward but I was wrong. God has made it apparent, just as he did with the blog and the entry into the Apprentice Experience, to take up a new task; one that is bigger and more out there than anything I have done previously. But, now that I know the pattern, I can just start to move forward in obedience and see where this takes me.


Here is the new task: Grow Up Ministries. To take the content of the blog and the lessons and skills I am learning from the Apprentice Experience to create retreats, workshops, or individual session so that Christians can learn to Grow Up and live the life that Christ intends for them to live. I would make myself available to churches, parachurch organizations, and other ministries, and show their people that maturing in the Christian life is not only for spiritual superheroes or preacher types but for everyone who has a desire to grow.

Wise, mature, transformed Christians are desperately needed in our world and I want to do my part to help people make the spiritual changes they desire and that God has planned for them.

Friday night’s event is a kind of kick-off event for this new ministry venture. In the midst of all of the great music, I will briefly explain the plans and goals of this ministry.

What does that mean for you, faithful reader of the blog? Not much except for maybe a new web design and additional opportunities to see/hear me speak in person.

This is all kind of scary for me. I am not always the most optimistic person in the world but now that I know the pattern I can be confident that I just have to move forward and God will provide a way and a result.

Grow Up Event and Big Announcement

Don’t forget that if you live in Texas or the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you are invited to our first Grow Up Event, Friday, Oct. 7. Here is why I am doing this:

  • I want this night to be a celebration of God’s work among his people. To reflect on the many ways that God has helped us all to Grow Up.
  • I also want to use it to raise some additional funds toward my discipleship training efforts.
  • Finally,  I will announce some exciting news regarding my ministry efforts in the near future. I will share more on Wednesday’s post.


All are welcome, including kids. Chad and Melissa Edgington will be providing the entertainment and the Tacos are some of the best I have had in the area. This is going to be a great night. Would you join us?

You can email me if you have additional questions.

The Best Definition of Spirituality I Have Heard

I recently read a tremendous definition of Spirituality. Geoffrey Wainwright says that Spirituality is “praying while living.”

I thank God, and my wife, for giving me a strong sense of the spiritual while also carrying a keen awareness of the practical. One of God’s gifts to me is being able to connect the two. For example, I missed my rather consistent time of prayer yesterday because I was putting the finishing touches on a practical demonstration of care and love.

Today, I am back at it with my prayers and meditation, with an understanding that yesterday’s act of service came out of my best times of prayer and worship. In a sense, I was praying while living and living while praying. I needed that act of service to put my feet to my prayers, my study, and my worship. But acts of service don’t exist in my otherwise selfish heart if I wasn’t working, with God’s help, to transform my  self absorbed tendencies through prayer, meditation, study, and confession.

Are you living without praying? Or praying without living? Either way, you are not growing and are staying stagnant.

Let your prayers (or any soul training exercise) inform your living for a richer, deeper, more Christ-filled life while letting your living inform your prayers. This is at the heart of the partnership that you have started with God.

image: National Gallery of Canada (no. 29218)
© Estate of George Rouault / SODRAC (2013)


The Peculiarly Good Life

In one of the readings for the Apprentice Experience, James Bryan Smith quotes St. Augustine and this fascinating concept, “good things peculiar to the good.” Basically, there is a treasure of goodness found in God and with God that Christians experience that those outside of this faith know nothing about. The idea being that nonbelievers and even those practicing evil may experience some good things but will never experience the kind of good that comes from a life with God through Christ.

I have thought about this phrase many times over the weeks since I read it. I have begun to think about the peculiar good that I have experienced since Christ started working in my life in a more powerful way 16 years ago.

  • patience in the face of career uncertainty
  • creativity and ingenuity in the midst of challenges
  • daily encounters with God
  • hearing God’s voice
  • finding God in the bleakest of circumstances
  • compassion for others
  • plans and purposes in unusual circumstances
  • tolerance of my own shortcomings
  • joy in simple blessings
  • walking in God’s will
  • seeing miracles first hand
  • deeper understanding of Scripture
  • trust
  • encouraging others in Christ’s name

I am sure I could go on but you get the idea. Sure, there are times when the items above are not my present reality and I have to relearn what I have already learned, but that is just a part of Growing Up.

If Christ is helping you Grow Up, then you have a similar list or one that is peculiar to you. Take a moment and reflect on the good that is peculiar to the good in your life. Then step back and recognize how rich that goodness is and how it can only come from a “good and beautiful God.”

My Favorite Exercise

If you would have asked me in 2000 what my favorite spiritual discipline would be 16 years later, I would venture the following guesses: solitude and silence or journaling or simplicity or service. These seemed to fit better with my natural personality and interests.

It turns out that my favorite soul-training exercise is scripture memorization and recitation. This surprised me too.


Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have the entire New Testament memorized or even large chunks memorized but I do have several verses as well as important sections down to memory. But just the act of memorization hasn’t been the only reward, the recitation of these verses has been the transforming element.

If you put me in a tight, awkward, nerve-wracking social spot, you can probably hear me muttering Psalm 23 or the Jesus Prayer. If you see me in better moments of worship, I have probably just recited Galations 2:20 in my head. If I am on a run and need a pick me up, I will start speaking the Lord’s Prayer or Philipians 3:10-11.

I have fended off powerful temptation by speaking the Beatitudes until the temptation fades away. Colossians 3 is a powerful reminder of where my mind, heart, and actions should be focused. I have most of this in my memory.

It is not just scripture I have memorized but powerful statements spoken by the church for the last 2,000 years. Stripped of its denominational baggage, the Apostles Creed tells the story, the gospel, of Jesus, and it has impacted me tremendously.

The best part of the memorization is how these verses and sacred words always seem to bubble up right when I need them to as reminders and markers to who God is and who I am under him.

If you have never given scripture memorization a shot, try one of the following verses. I like to read the verse five times, then write the verse five times, and then take 2-3 words and then see if I can recite them five times. Then the next day, I build off of what I memorized the day before. Give it a shot.

Matthew 9:12-13

Galations 2:20

1 Samuel 16:7

Psalm 46:10