The Allure of Gentleness

I have so many things running through my mind these days. I can barely keep track of it all, and then the moment I pull up my blog, I cannot seem to remember anything to share. Last night, while watching the SuperBowl, I had my laptop on my lap typing a Book Review on a great book that I just finished. The assignment was due by 11:59pm and I posted it at 11:49pm. 10 Minutes before the deadline! ๐Ÿ™‚ Impressive!

The book was fantastic. It was about the importance of gentle apologetics. He explained that many people want to argue and debate their theological positions, but really they are simply trying to win, trying to outwit the other person, appear more intelligent, moreย Right! However, with that motive, they are not helping the cause of Christ, they are hurting it. They are more concerned with their own pride than actually helping the other person learn the truth about Christ. I have rarely been one to get excited about debating a theological argument, largely because I generally feel like I only understand a fraction of the whole issue. However, the theme of this book struck me in a number of other ways. I will share two here:

First, gentleness is alluring. It is easy to believe the lie that gentleness is weakness, and strength is aggressive. But that is not accurate. Jesus was the strongest and yet he was so gentle. Just this morning I was challenged by the way I speak to my children. For some reason I thought to myself, it would be so nice to be able to replay moments of my life with my children, to just jump in at any moment of my life with children and watch what was happening, and then I immediately thought, I wonder if I would be gentle or abrasive to my children at that moment. What about with my wife? Jesus set the example as a loving shepherd, harmless as a dove, and I want to follow His example. I want to treat my wife and children with gentleness, I want to lead my ministry with gentleness.

Second, Willard talks about hearing the voice of God. He explains that we have done a disservice to Christians in telling them that God doesn’t speak to people anymore. He shares a very convincing case for his position. He explains that speaking is simply making sounds that sends waves to another person’s ears which the brain turns into thoughts and images in our mind to communicate information. He then goes on to say that God also sends thoughts and images into our mind, we simply need to learn to discern the “voice” of God in our mind. He gives several tips about how he does that in his own life. He explains that if we simply ask God to speak to us, and then if we will intently sit and wait, He will speak. He will put thoughts into our mind, and we must learn to identify those thoughts, verify that they are in line with the Word of God, and then we must do those things. He explains that soon enough, we will be so attentive to the voice of God in our life that when God speaks to us by putting thoughts into our mind, we will immediately know it and we should get into a habit of immediate obedience. It was a wonderful and refreshing reminder that God wants to have an intimate relationship with me and He is longing to communicate with me every day through His Word and His Holy Spirit.

 

Summary:

  • I want to be gentle to my family and friends.
  • I want to learn to identify the voice of God more clearly in my life.

What have you been reading or learning this week?

Thanks for reading!

#ClearlyMissingYourBlogPosts

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Most of the time I blog for myself. I view it as a place and an opportunity to share my thoughts so that I can come back and trace growth, perspective and the fun things in my life. However, today I post for a friend. My dear friend that I miss so much sent me a very kind message to request some thoughts on a few current events. I am honored that she would be interested in my perspective. Thanks, Nicci!

Kanye – Jesus is King

I have never been a Kanye fan. Obviously, I wouldn’t listen to his music on a family road trip and usually, any news that I heard about him was less than appropriate. That being said, I didn’tย “not like the guy”, I just didn’tย think about him all that much. When I heard that he had a new Christian Album, My first thought was, I Like the Name of that Album. Think about all the people that he has influence over who are going to say those words at some point to discuss his new album. Because of his influence, the World is talking about the fact that Jesus is King and I like that. I started listening to his album and thought it was nice but soon moved on. Until I watched the last 6 minutes of his in-flight interview with James Corden. I was moved by Kanye’s humility and transparency. I appreciated his application of scriptural truth. And obviously… I LOVE THE MILE HIGH CHOIR!! Wow! So, I went and listened to the album over and over and quickly found my favorites. Selah, Everything We Need, On God, Use This Gospel, and Jesus Is Lord. I will say that like all of my favorite things, it was an acquired taste, but it was quickly acquired. Our family has adopted his song Everything We Need as our Christmas Theme Song. That means, anytime my kids are asked what they want to Christmas they sing: “We have everything we need… oh, oh, oh, oh” ๐Ÿ™‚ I am thankful that Kanye is boldly sharing the news that Jesus is King and like he asks in his songs, I am praying that he is faithful to Jesus and that God will continue to use him.

One other note: I have 2700+ friends on facebook and I have not seen one negative post from a Christian about Kanye. Not one. I have however seen a million posts about how Christians should be ashamed of themselves for not welcoming Kanye to the faith. I guess I am blessed to have none of the same friends, but I also wonder how many Christians are making a bandwagon out something that isn’t even an issue. Focus on the positive people.

Christians and the Enneagram

Wow! Throwing out some tough subjects. So, this one is way too deep to address thoroughly on my blog. I will say that I fell in love with the enneagram several months ago. I have taken several different personality tests and this was by far the most accurate and helpful. After my last post about the benefits of Enneagram, I was contacted by a friend who told me that I should remove my post because Enneagram is founded in the cults and has ties to spiritism and witchcraft. I thanked my friend for the information and asked him for his source. He sent me a link with two ladies who mocked the Enneagram (and anyone who would use the Enneagram) for an hour. I listened to the whole podcast and found it desperately lacking. They made points like the symbol on the enneagram looks like a pentagram if you turn it upside down. They also shared about several people who use the enneagram who they do not like. There was a lot more, but that was the gist of it. In the end, they acted like someone who takes an enneagram test will soon fall into spiritual darkness and go down a path that leads people far from God. The only thing that any personality test has ever done for me is to help me gain perspective. That is exactly what the enneagram did for me. I know that like every personality test, there are weaknesses, but overall, this test helped me step back for just a moment and actually see the lense that I am prone to see life with, and then it helped me to see the lense of others. This perspective causes me to extend more grace and compassion to people who do not think and do things like I do. The greatest example is that for the first time I saw my wife’s tendency toward negative thinking as a blessing and a positive. I have found myself frustrated with that in the past, but one thing I read explained how that is a gift that causes her to foresee problems and help others avoid them. For me, an Enthusiast, who always jumps in without thinking, it is a wonderful blessing to have a loyalist on my side who will process and guide through the details. The Enneagram is not my Bible, and I am not obsessed with it. In fact, I have not thoughts about it most weeks since my last post, but it did offer great perspective and insight toward my natural behaviors and there are many great Christian blogs that discuss Biblical application of the principles learned through the enneagram. The haters should chill out, learn what they can from it and then move on.

John MacArthur / Beth Moore

Stop it. Be Nice. If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. I thought that MacArthur was very disrespectful in his response about Moore. I do think that Moore likes to stir the pot sometimes, but MacArthur’s comments about her were classless. We must be better at how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is basic Christianity. Luke 6:27-36 – Love those who hate you, for even the lost world loves those who love them. Love your enemies. Be kind to the evil. Be Merciful. There were none of these things is his public response about Moore. Very sad.

2019 / 2020

Not doing great at some of my goals. However, I have been in my Bible more consistently than ever before. And as I see it, that is most important. I am too busy. I don’t know how to change that, but I am trying to figure it out. I am so thankful for the many wonderful opportunities that God has given me this year and hopefully have lived out my feeling of responsibility that to whom much is given, much is required. I have been working hard on School and balancing ministry with family and all the other responsibilities of life.

As far as 2020 goes… I will use your request as an impetus to begin writing some new goals and plans for next year. Thank you for making me better! Thanks for reading all of this! Thanks for caring and encouraging!

 

 

EnneaWhat?

I was listening to a podcast where I heard Andy Stanley briefly mention that he was an Enneagram #1, which he said explains his inclination to be a perfectionist. I had no clue what he was talking about and decided to do some research. I Googled “any-a-gram” and thankfully Google knew exactly what I was looking for and quickly showed me thousands of webpages on the subject.

Here are the Nine Enneagram Types along with each types greatest strength.

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1 โ€“ Reformers/Perfectionists: They have the ability to improve anything.

2 โ€“ Helpers: They have the ability to see the needs of other people and meet those needs.

3 โ€“ Achievers: They are very productive, they know how to get the job done.

4 โ€“ Individualists: They have the ability to say clearly what other people feel vaguely.

5 โ€“ Investigators: They have the gift of observation, they are the most objective.

6 โ€“ Loyalists: They have the ability to spot what could go wrong.

7 โ€“ Enthusiast: They bring the joy juice to every situation, visionaries.

8 โ€“ Challenger: They have the power to make the big decisions.

9 โ€“ Peacemaker: A sense of peace and harmony, they have the ability to see the world through every other lense.

Enneagram is an incredibly useful tool to help you understand your own personality and the personality of others. I do not yet know enough about the Enneagram to speak with much authority, but here are a few things that I have learned so far.

  1. My results caught my attention like no other test I have ever taken.
    I took this test, 140 questions, 30 minutes and then began to read my results…Generally, Sevens are excitable, spontaneous, curious, optimistic, eager, outgoing, future-oriented, adventurous, variety-seeking, quick, and talkative.Sevens get into conflicts by being scattered, distracted, restless, impatient, thrill-seeking, escapist, over-extended, irresponsible, demanding, and excessive.
  2. At their best, Sevens are appreciative, bountiful, thoughtful, accomplished, versatile, receptive, grateful, content, and passionate.
  3. Sevens are probably the most enthusiastic, extroverted, and outgoing type of the Enneagram. They are spontaneous and upbeat; they find life exhilarating. They are the kind of people who make ordinary life into a celebration. Sevens like to fill up their calendar with things to do…
    As I read this 18 page summary of my top 3 enneagram numbers, I was blown away. There were many things about myself that I thought were just quirks or my own silly tendencies that I began to realize are actually common to all 7’s.
  4. I was partly excited because I just realized that I am not that weird, and partly disappointed because I realized that I am not quite as unique and unpredictable as I thought. In any case, now that I know, I can capitalize on the strengths of my personality and work to improve the common struggles.
  5. Enneagram taught me that many of my habits are not eccentric, but they are normal.I like to talk, and I don’t like to sit still, I love to be with people, but if not careful I am often distracted when I am with those people. These are very common to 7’s.
  6. I often claim to have a terrible memory, but in reality, I probably don’t have a bad memory, I just have a bad habit of not paying attention when I should. Therefore, this evaluation shows me what is common and how I can work to develop and improve those areas of strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Enneagram helped me process and understand my deeper motivations.These are personal and I am not quite sure how to articulate them yet, but woah baby. This study has caused me to get very honest with myself about my deeper motives which help me understand why I am so inclined to do the things that I do.
  8. Enneagram helped me articulate things about myself that I have never been able to clearly communicate before.Katie and I both said the same thing as we discussed our results. These are things that I have known about myself, but I didn’t know how to articulate so well. Often times I will take a personality test and feel like I do not believe the results about myself, however, there was no denying the results of the Enneagram.
  9. Enneagram helped me gain a much better understanding and empathy for the people that I live and work with.A six is a Loyalist and their greatest need is security. This means that they want a savings account in the bank, they want safety and comfort as much as possible. It also means that if there is any possible way to find a problem with something, they will find the problem. Often times in my interaction with a six it is easy for me to get annoyed. As a seven, I do not need to worry about security. I have learned that everything always works out, at least from my perspective.  My seven personality says that there are no problems anywhere that we cannot fix and get through, but as a result, I often overlook problems in life. A six, while they do have a tendency to focus on the negatives, they also are much more likely to see potential problems and help others prepare and avoid those problems. Each personality type has positives and negatives and when you understand the types of the people in your life, you can begin to appreciate their differences instead of getting annoyed by their differences. The Enneagram system has helped me understand that the differences that I have with family and friends are actually blessings.

So, what number are you? Take a test and begin to learn about yourself and others in your life. Here are three ways you can take the test:

Free and Simple: https://enneagramtest.net

$12 and Comprehensive: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com

$60 and Super Comprehensive: https://ianmorgancron.com/assessment

Other Great Resources:

Podcasts:

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Annie has a great series where she does interviews with each Enneagram Type. They are incredibly helpful and entertaining. My favorite is the podcast on 7’s. Duh!

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June and July of 2019 Andy Did an Interview with Ian Cron, author of The Road Back to You. This two-part series in an incredible way to learn how Enneagram can influence your leadership.

Book:

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This is the book that has helped Enneagram spread to its widest audience. It is from a Christian Perspective and offers great information and insight about how we can learn from and grow in our Enneagram type.

Enneagram Marriage Compatibility Site

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/the-enneagram-type-combinations

This is an incredible page that shows strengths and struggles for different marriage types! Get your spouse to take the test and then study how your types work together!

If you have any other great resources, or if you have taken the test and want to share your number, please share below in the comments! Thanks!

 

Lessons from Joseph

Last week I was privileged to lead the Missionary Kid Program at the 2015 BBFI Missionary Reunion. We had missionary kids from all over the world, including countries like Russia, Singapore, Argentina, Australia, Zambia, and more. It was an incredible week where we focused on the theme: Living the dream.

We discussed how often times in our lives, we get focused on the negative aspects of our life and ministry instead of focusing on the positive things that God is doing. We spent some time looking at different men in the Bible like Jonah, David, Solomon, and my favorite, Joseph.

Joseph was living a life that seemed to get worse and worse around every corner. He was betrayed by his family, betrayed by his authority, and possibly thought that he was even betrayed by God from time to time. In the end, however, God worked every detail out and proved that his plan was to use this difficult path to bring him to a special place where God could use him in great ways!

Sometimes, I feel like can relate (on a much smaller scale) to Joseph. I have my dreams, my plans, and I am on my way to seeing them accomplished, and then something that happens that makes me say… WHAT?!?!?!?! It is in those moments that I must remind myself of Genesis 50:20, where Joseph told his brothers: What you meant for evil, God meant for good, to save much people alive.

Wow! Even in the darkest times, God was still working his plan, all that He required was that Joseph be faithful and trust Him. I hope to live with a testimony that I trust God and serve Him faithfully no matter the path He chooses for me.

I am privileged to speak at Sagmount Youth Camp in just about 2 weeks, I will be sharing about the life of Joseph! I am very excited to share the things that God is working me through in my own heart.