A Long Obedience in an Instagram Age

We’re more distracted than ever, constantly feeling overwhelmed by the torrent of information that floods our eyes and ears each day. Arcade Fire’s newest album, Everything Now, captures the spirit of our distracted age.

In a surging song that sounds like several playing at once, frontman Win Butler holds up a mirror to the modern world with these words:

“Infinite content
Infinite content
We’re infinitely content
All your money is already spent on it
All your money is already spent
Infinite content”

Butler is warring against the Instagram age, mocking our contentment with endless streaming, infinite music, and never-ending social media feeds.

One of Eugene Peterson’s books on following Jesus is titled A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. His message is that discipleship to Jesus takes discipline and attention, and he’s right.

But how do we get people’s attention long enough to disciple them?

Read the rest of my article at Gospel-Centered Discipleship to learn more.

Struggling to Read the Bible?

Over and over again, studies show the most important thing for spiritual growth is reading the Bible, yet most people in the church aren’t doing it. Only 45% of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. For each church attender who does read their Bible every day, there’s someone else who doesn’t read it at all.

Biblical illiteracy is an epidemic.

I say this as a pastor who talks to people every week, inside and outside the church, with next to no biblical knowledge. The most concerning thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a distinction between those who are new to the faith and those who isave been Christians for several years, sometimes even a decade or more.

Why is it that despite the evidence, despite our sincere longing to grow spiritually, we don’t do the one thing most capable of producing that growth?

In my experience, there are two main reasons people don’t read their Bible. The first is that people honestly don’t understand the Bible holds transformational power. Second, they don’t read the Bible because they don’t know how to find delight in reading it. Both issues are worth understanding in more detail.

Read the rest of my article over at Gospel-Centered Discipleship.

[Podcast] Do You Like the Person You’ve Become?

I know—that’s a heavy question. But all of us ask it of ourselves at some point, and I guarantee some of the people in your group are asking it right now. We come up with standards we think will make us into the person we want to be, but we end up feeling crushed beneath the weight of it all. So what hope is there when you feel like that? Listen to this week’s episode to find out.

Listen Now

(Episode length: 15 mins)

Show Notes

Main idea: There’s only one Person who can bear the weight of living.

All of us are trying to live up to something

  • The tendency today is to set up some standard for yourself then judge your value and self-worth based on how well you think you’re performing next to your standards
  • We’re all bound to something; we’re all trying to live up to something

The weight of living is crushing

  • When you make your performance the measure of your self-worth and value, then you will always be crushed beneath the weight
  • Every one of our life-lies can and will be taken from us at some point because everything in this life is temporary

Jesus can bare the weight

  • Jesus didn’t promise for us not to be yoked to anything—he promised to give us rest, relief, from the weight of living, if we yoke ourselves to him instead
  • Jesus alone can bear the weight of living

This is part of a podcast I do for group leaders at my church. Browse the archives for more.

How Do You Know Where God is Calling You?

If your heart has been gripped by the gospel, sooner or later you’ll find yourself asking, “Where is God calling me to go?” That’s a normal question, because the gospel that saves is also the gospel that sends. That doesn’t make it an easy question, though, because it creates all kinds of follow-up questions.

Does God want me to go overseas? Does He want me to quit my job and work for a ministry? Or does He want me to stay where I am when I thought it was clear I had to go?

Read the rest of my article at Gospel-Centered Discipleship for four questions and answers to help you discern where God is calling you.