Sign-up for Threshold Emails

Wow! It’s been a long while, but I’ve not been idle. I’m in a position where I can invest a significant amount of time to finally chase down this dream: helping you grow in your relationship with God and encouraging you to take the initiative, to do the hard things, endure for the long haul, and finish well.

Today, I’m excited to announce a new resource called, “Threshold.”

Threshold is a free email campaign that will go out every other Friday (beginning this week). It’s an opportunity to enlist some extra encouragement for taking action in your faith, particularly where you find yourself getting stuck, off-track, anxious, or needing a boost of courage.

To be honest, I need this as much as I’m guessing some of you might. Intentional encouragement from a few friends & mentors has brought continual benefit to my walk with God in recent years, and Threshold is an opportunity to offer you similar support.

I recognize this sort of thing may not be for everyone—I’m not looking to spam a massive audience with these emails. If you find yourself needing a little extra push to faithfully pursue Christ or step out on something God has set in your heart, I’d love to help you cross that threshold.

Sign-up to receive these emails every other week.

Sufficient & Effective

Today, I was reminded: while God isn’t pleased when we’re inclined to follow our own way—thinking we can provide for ourselves better than He can—if we apologize, His anger turns to comfort and we are forgiven.

That deliverance from our wrongs and restoration in our relationship to God (which the Bible calls, “Salvation”)? It’s completely sufficient and instantly effective. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Isaiah 12:1–6 and Isaiah 6:3–6.

So what are you waiting for? Confess your wrongdoing, open your heart to God, and let 2019 be the year you let the Holy One be your strength and your salvation!

What is this “Flectio” Journal?

So you recently received a Flectio journal? I’m incredibly excited for you! Yes, it seems very simple—not to mention, very blank—but this small booklet is a game changer! Here’s the gist:

This journal was specifically designed to help you grow closer to God.

Simply spend time in His Word and write what you learn. Writing will help you remember it better, and months from now when you forget that incredible message God had for you, you’ll be able to look back at what you wrote—it won’t be lost.

It’s flexible—use it how you want.

You can write a summary of what you read on the lines, notes in the blank margin, and a take-away thought in the box at the bottom. Or write a prayer to God on the lines, doodle some hand lettering of your favorite verse in the margin, and an action step you want to take in the box. Make a list of prayer requests and answers to those prayers. Rewrite a passage of Scripture in your own words. It’s completely up to you! Use it the way you want so you get the most out of it. You don’t even have to use every area of the page if you don’t need it—just spend meaningful time with God and reflect on that in these pages so you can look back on it someday.

Fill the book.

It doesn’t matter if the content is all the same, or even how long it takes. Just take your time. As God speaks, write in it. Say you’re at a conference or Bible study and you fill a few pages. Once it’s over, don’t just put it down and forget about it. The next time you do a daily devotional, fill a page. While you’re sitting in church on Sunday morning? Take notes from the sermon. When you have a good conversation or hear a great teaching on the radio? Write down what you learned after. Every page is one more documented step on your journey of spiritual growth.

Don’t worry about how long it takes—see what God can do in your life when you give Him 40 pages.

If you can fill 40 pages in 40 days, that’s incredible discipline and you’ll be well on your way to making a healthy habit of time with God. But if you haven’t written in it for a few weeks, no sweat! It’s one step at a time so cut yourself some slack, pick-up wherever you left off, and fill the next page. There’s something about finishing what you start, and when you finish one of these journals you have a great resource to remember what God has done in your life—which will come in handy the next time life throws you a curve ball!

Rinse, repeat!

After you fill a book, grab another and start again. You’ll be creating a legacy of God speaking to you through His Word. Imagine what it will be like for your family or friends to one day see a wall of journals full of God’s Truth that filled your life over the years—better yet, imagine what God could do in their life by reading what you wrote!

I’m excited for what God is going to do in your life as you use this journal. I want you to know that this resource is only the beginning of a number of tools we hope to make available to you in the future, so be sure to sign-up for emails to stay informed on what’s happening with Flectio!

Less, more often.

My senior year of High School, I worked at Chick-Fil-A. There was one principle I learned from that experience which I find holds true across various disciplines:

“Make less, more often.”

Making less more often means the food is always fresh. It tastes better and consistently ensures delivering customers a quality experience. So take that idea and carry it over to other contexts.

Let’s say you’re helping someone move—which is easier, carrying a single piano into the house or taking several smaller boxes in multiple trips? Or what about losing weight—would your doctor prefer you skip a couple of meals once a week or simply lower your calorie intake every day?

Do you see why your pastor always says simply showing up for church every Sunday isn’t enough? Like anything, spiritual growth requires consistently investing small amounts of time on a regular basis. There’s certainly a need for times of extended focus (that piano has to get in the house somehow), so we don’t want to neglect meeting with other Christians, corporate worship, or a deeper study of God’s Word.

But if you want to see God move in your life, come before him regularly so he can help mold and shape you to be a little more like Christ, everyday.

Less, more often: that’s the heart of what it means to live Steadfast.

Why is it easier to read books about the Bible than to read the Bible itself?

For some reason, this question comes to mind often.

I believe the Bible can change a person. I believe it speaks truth. It’s unlike any other book in existence and I believe there’s so much I can benefit from it. Often times, I recognize my great need for it—a hunger even!

Yet for whatever reason, I find myself more inclined to read a book by some modern author (who merely quotes a few random passages and offers up their own commentary) than I am to open God’s Word itself.

I think it has a lot to do with Hebrews 4:12–13, which says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

The truth of the Bible is piercing! It’s the only book that as you read it, it’s reading you, practically aloud right back to you. As Eugene Peterson phrased the passage from the Sermon on the Mount, “…the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.” At times, God’s word is difficult, uncomfortable or confusing, it can hit a little too close to home, leaving you “naked and exposed” before a Holy God.

The reality is the Bible has everything you will ever need. Hard and challenging as it may be, the truth of His Word is invaluable—you honestly don’t even need to read anything else (though other resources can certainly help shine some light, especially on the difficult or confusing passages).

The irony of this post is not lost on me: here I am, a modern writer quoting a few random passages and offering up my own commentary. While I am grateful you’ve taken the time to read what I have written, I say all this to encourage you not to get so busy reading about stuff in the Bible, but instead put in the hard work of actually reading the Bible itself. You won’t regret it.

Don’t turn away from the piercing truth—engage it, keep digging through it, and over time you will find more and greater treasures hidden within

Stop waiting for the ever-elusive “right time”

There are two types of artist: those who wait around for a great idea before they create, and those who sit down day after day, whether they feel like it or not, and spend time honing their craft. More often than not, it’s the ones who consistently put in the work who end up offering something valuable.

Same is true of our spiritual life. Many of us wait around until it feels right to spend time with God—when everything else is done, nobody else is around to bother you, it’s a certain time of day and a particular setting. The problem is there are too many elements which can throw everything off. Or what about this one: you gave into temptation and fell into some sin so you feel you have to wait—the guilt is too fresh to stand before a holy God.

If you want to get stronger or lose weight, you don’t wait around until you feel like exercising. You put in the work, day after day, regardless of how you feel—or usually in direct opposition to how you likely feel.

The God of the universe is always waiting and ready to spend time with you. Stop putting Him off until it makes sense for your schedule or emotions, and put in the time with Him now, again and again.

Reminders, Memorials, and Journals

How soon we forget.

Our limited capacity for remembering things is astonishing. You walk into a room two seconds after getting up and suddenly have no idea why you entered that room. Someone asks you about a thing that occurred weeks, months, or even years ago and you respond, “I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning.”

When it comes to important things, we set reminders. For the really impactful things (good or bad), we have memorials, monuments, and days of remembrance. Even this past weekend, we stopped to remember those who gave their lives for our country.

In Joshua, chapter four, the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground—a fitting end to their wandering, reflective of their journey’s beginning at the Red Sea. They made an alter of twelve stones from that river (one for each tribe) to serve as a reminder for generations to come of what God did.

I’ve found the journals I use for Bible Study to be a similar kind of alter; a touchstone to look back and remember all that God has shown me or accomplished in my life. Without writing any of it down, I would forget—no question!

I encourage you to pick-up a Flectio Journal and begin crafting your own “alter of witness” (see Josh. 22:26–27), to serve as a reminder for “future you” and those who come after of God’s faithfulness, steadfast love, and inexplicable power.

Missing the forest for the trees.

In growing older, one of the phrases I’ve given more credence says, “You’re missing the forest for the trees.” In other words, you’ve become so focused on the details that you fail to see the big picture—and you end up missing the point.

Flectio puts great emphasis on regularly spending time in God’s Word, but simply reading the Bible is not the end game. It’s not about having a lot of Biblical knowledge, or being able to quote important passages. And it’s certainly not about a legalistic need to check-off a task from your “be a good person” checklist.

The reason you spend time in God’s Word is so you can know God more.

Not know more about God; there is a huge difference here. When we make the decision to follow Christ, the “big picture” purpose is to be drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus; that through us God would be glorified and others would commit to knowing Him as well. So, we prayerfully spend time in God’s Word to know Him, just as you spend time with your friends or your kids to grow closer. And as you grow closer to Jesus, you become more like Him.

I wrote earlier, “In it. Know it. Live it.” Reading your Bible regularly is the “In it.” Becoming familiar with what it says is the “Know it.” These are the trees. But the forest is to “Live it.” And we emphasize spending time in God’s Word to help you live it.

It’s not just another blank notebook. It’s a revolutionary system.

I was discussing the Flectio Journal with a friend the other day. He’s heard me talk a lot about it, but something finally clicked for him in our conversation. As a result, I realized I’ve been so close to the project and discuss it so much that sometimes I fail to explain why it’s unique.

This journal isn’t just another blank notebook. It’s a system—a framework for helping you grow closer to God through His Word. And that framework? Here it is:

Spend 40 days in God’s Word, and write about it. Then, when you’re done? Do it again.

That’s it. Simple, right?

It’s not an overly ambitious task, but it can be a challenge. And that’s where the beauty lies in this system: It’s forgiving.

If you miss a day or two—or even 17—pick-up right where you left off and keep going. While a consecutive 40 days in God’s Word is certainly something to shoot for, the goal isn’t to become legalistic, it’s to grow closer to God. Don’t beat yourself up. When you haven’t seen a friend for a while, you set a date and get together. Same thing here.

Have a plan for what to read, but don’t box yourself into something that fits perfectly into 40 days. If you come up short, find the next thing and keep going. If it goes longer, grab another journal and—you guessed it: Keep going! Spend another 40 days in God’s Word and write about it.

You don’t even need a Flectio Journal for this to work. Grab any notebook, put a number on each day (either as you go, or number them ahead of time if you want) and make it a goal to spend 40 days with God. Then, do it again. The Flectio Journal is great because each time you finish, you’ve filled an entire booklet. It feels like a true milestone; not quite as overwhelming as holding a notebook full of empty pages to fill.

And the pages are flexible. You don’t have to write a novel, just jot down the main takeaway or questions you have after your time with God. There’s room for prayer requests, additional comments, art journaling (if you’re into that), scripture passages, steps you want to take—it’s completely up to you. And you’re free to change it up as you go (just because you used the block at the bottom for a powerful scripture yesterday doesn’t mean that’s what has to go there today).

40 days in God’s Word. Start there, no matter how long it actually takes. Then, do it again. And watch how quickly God works in you.

In it. Know it. Live it.

If you’re not in the Bible regularly, you won’t know its truth.

If you don’t know what it says, you won’t be able to live out the audacious life it calls you to live.

Read it. Become so familiar with it that the truth you’re looking for in a given situation is readily available. Then apply what you learn to your everyday experience and let what you have internalized drive your thoughts, words, and actions.

In it. Know it. Live it.