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I have so many friends and books and projects I have been just bubbling up to share with you.

Let me introduce you to a few of my dear friends (plus a chance to win free books!):

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Will Jesus Make You Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams or Bankrupt Beyond Belief?

Two plus two equals four everywhere except the kingdom of God.

Those who follow Jesus for very long know that God’s additions, subtractions, and multiplications differ from mortal math. Continue Reading...

How Much Do Small Places Matter? Wendell Berry Weighs In

Wendell Berry is like grit for my fingernails, a writer who helps me breathe in the thickness of life.

In his stunning essay, “Contempt for Small Places,” this farmer with a prophetic bent writes:

“The health of the oceans depends on the health of rivers; the health of rivers depends on the health of small streams: the health of small streams depends on the health of their watersheds.

The health of water is exactly the same as the health of the land; the health of the small places is exactly the same as the health of the large places...

We cannot immunize the continents and the oceans against our contempt for small places and small streams. Small destructions add up, and finally they are understood collectively as large destructions..."

 Is Berry reflecting on the land or the state of our souls? Continue Reading...

Everything Hinges on Your Ability To Do This One Thing

The loudest voices in our culture herald a consistent message. Go big. Go viral. Get busy.

Get distracted. Ooh! Look at this. Ooh! Shiny, shiny, shiny.

Perhaps you’ve noticed this, too.

The screens and software and computer devices we use are designed to train us to pay attention to them and nothing else. The way they sound, feel, and look are created so they become the center of lives. This isn’t cultural commentary as much as basic brain science.

As the Hugh McGuire observes in this brilliant article:

  • “New information creates a rush of dopamine to the brain, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.”
  • “The promise of new information compels your brain to seek out that dopamine rush.”

Ever notice—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, text—sets off a rush of dopamine. The rush causes us to develop behaviors that reinforce our behaviors. Responding soon becomes habit.

Start a project. Need dopamine. Check Facebook. Dopamine rush. Check email. Second dopamine rush. Hit refresh. No new emails. Visit Twitter for dopamine rush. Return to project. Repeat cycle again and again.

No wonder it’s so hard not to look at our phones when we feel the vibration or hear the ring or ping. Our brain science urges, “You want this. Just a peek.” Continue Reading...

Is God A Rewarder of Dogged Determination and Holy Chutzpah?

The highest compliment that my Jewish grandmother ever handed out:

“She’s got chutzpah!” (pronounced hoot-spuh)

Perhaps that’s because my Jewish grandmother didn’t hand out many compliments. (If you lack a Jewish grandmother you may not recognize why that last line is funny).

In my Jewish father’s home, chutzpah was a good thing. It meant you had courage, strength, bravery, readiness to step out and say or do whatever is needed.

That’s why, a few years ago, I started posting a Morning Chutzpah on Twitter.

Every day, I provide a quote from a Jewish thinker, writer, entertainer that’s got some pow. Sometimes they’re reflective. Ironic. Zany. Funny. Here’s a doozy: Continue Reading...