[Interview] A Long Obedience in an Instagram Age

I was recently interviewed by Bill Feltner for the show His People on Pilgrim Radio. It was a great conversation based on an article I wrote a few weeks ago called “A Long Obedience in an Instagram Age.” Bill and I discuss how to approach discipleship in a distracted age.

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(Interview length: 27 minutes)

[Podcast] A Christ-Centered Leader is Called by God and Formed by Family

The opening lines of the book of 2 Timothy show us two important foundations of Christ-centered leaders—they are called by God and formed by family. Listen to this episode to see how both of these effect your leadership some two thousand years after Paul first wrote to Timothy.

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Episode length: 25 minutes

Show Notes

Main idea: A Christ-centered leader is called by God and formed by family.

Called by God

  • Paul viewed his suffering as an honor
  • Both Paul and Timothy, then, were called and set apart by God to lead

Formed by family

  • Paul served God with a clear conscience
  • Timothy was the result of a lineage of faith
  • Your faith was given to you so it could be given through you
  • The church is a family of faith

Reflection Questions

  1. Were you called by God to lead?
  2. Do you serve God with a clear conscience? When you think of how you live your life, spend your time, treat your family, or do your job, is there anything that comes to mind that would prevent you from saying that your conscience is clear?
  3. Are you sure about your group’s faith in the same way? Do you know with sincerity if those in your group who profess to believe actually do? You can look at someone’s life, listen to their speech, and observe how they treat people and see if their faith is sincere. Do the people in your group who say they follow Jesus look anything like him?
  4. Do you think of your group members and others you know at church like they’re your brothers and sisters, with all that implies?

Download a full transcript of this episode.

[Podcast] The Making of a Christ-Centered Leader

Almost two thousand years ago, an aging Apostle Paul penned a letter with his final words of wisdom for a young leader in the church. This fledgling leader was timid and reluctant to lead. If you’ve ever found yourself asked to lead beyond your capacity, you don’t want to miss Paul’s instructions for the making of a Christ-centered leader.

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Episode length: 15 minutes

Show Notes

Main idea: The book of 2 Timothy shows us the making of a Christ-centered leader.

Brief intro to the book

  • Paul is writing to Timothy from prison, about to face his execution
  • Paul’s thoughts are on ensuring the faith is protected, taught, and passed on

3 observations about 2 Timothy

  1. Paul was a prisoner in Rome
    • He was being held in a dismal underground dungeon with a hole in the ceiling for light and air
    • Emperor Nero was trying to destroy Christianity
    • Sensing his fate, Paul penned this letter to Timothy, calling him to guard the faith and ensure its passing on
  2. Timothy was being thrust into a position of Christian leadership far beyond his natural capacity
    • Timothy enjoyed a special relationship with Paul
    • Paul left Timothy in charge of the church in Ephesus
    • Timothy was hopelessly unfit for these weighty responsibilities of leadership in the church
    • Three reasons why: 1) Timothy was relatively young for leadership in his day, 2) he was always sick, 3) he was timid and reluctant to lead.
  3. Paul’s preoccupation in writing to Timothy is passing on the gospel
    • Timothy was charged with protecting, teaching, and spreading this gospel to the next generation
    • The gospel—the good news—of Jesus was Paul’s primary concern, and he urges Timothy to make it his

Reflection Questions

  1. Do you identify with Timothy—in over your head and called to lead beyond your capacity?
  2. How could it be a good thing that you feel unfit for your leadership role? What might your weaknesses reveal? Where do they cause you to look for help?
  3. To know how God wants to use you, you must discover your strengths and your weaknesses. Your strengths hint at where God wants to use you, but your weaknesses reveal how he wants to use you. What are your wordly weaknesses? (Are you not that smart, uncomfortable around people, slow to understand, awkward, do you have a speech impediment or handicap?) How might God want to work through your weakness?
  4. How do Paul’s leadership concerns differ from yours?
  5. Paul told the Corinthian church that his primary concern was passing on the gospel. If you asked your group or others you lead what you primary concern is in leading them, what would they say?
This is part of a podcast I do for group leaders at my church. Browse the archives for more.

[Podcast] What it Means to Follow Jesus

In the church, we talk a lot about “following Jesus,” or being a “Christ-follower.” But I fear that this is one of those terms we can hear so much that we become numb to what it actually means, or we assume we know what it means when we haven’t really thought much about it at all. When you look closely at what Jesus said, you might find that following him means something different than you thought.


(Episode length: 18 mins)

Show Notes

Main idea: A disciple is one who responds in faith and obedience to the gracious call to follow Jesus Christ. Following Jesus is a lifelong process of dying to self while allowing Jesus Christ to come alive in us.

What “following Jesus” really means

  • The word “disciple” literally means learner, but in Jesus’ day that meant something closer to apprentice

A disciple responds in faith and obedience

  • Responding in faith to Christ, then, means we are assured, we are confident, in his promises of salvation, restoration, and eternal life
  • But responding to Christ’s call to follow him is not merely about faith – it’s also about obedience, or doing what Jesus tells us to do
  • If we have truly put our faith in Christ, then our inward transformation will have outward results

The gracious call to follow Jesus

  • We accept a gift that we graciously given to us by God through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection (Eph. 2:1-10)

Following Jesus is a lifelong process

  • Following Jesus is a decision to enter into a pattern of recreating our lives to look more like his
  • God will see the work He began in us to completion (Phil. 1:6)

Dying to self while allowing Jesus to come alive in us

  • Jesus calls us to say no to ourselves so we can say yes to him
  • As we deny ourselves, we make more and more room for Jesus to take up residence in our hearts and minds


Download full transcript

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

[Podcast] The Most Important Thing You Can Do for Your Group Members

As a group leader, does it feel like you give the same advice to the same people and nothing ever changes? Maybe you’re doing a lot of good things, but not the most important thing. Listen to this week’s episode to find out what that is.

(Episode length: 17 mins)

Show Notes

Main idea: The most important thing you can do for your group members is pray for them.

Only God has the power to change the human heart

  • Ezekiel 37: Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of bones

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church

  1. Difference between knowing and tasting
    1. You can read about a relationship with Jesus in a book without actually tasting what that relationship is like
    2. Lives are not changed when people know about a relationship with Jesus; lives are changed when people taste a relationship with Jesus
  2. Paul prays for the Ephesians to have the eyes of their hearts enlightened to the taste of three flavors of a relationship with Christ…
    1. The hope to which God has called them. If people get that they will spend eternity with Jesus and that he came not only to redeem their future but to redeem their present, they will live differently.
    2. The riches of God’s inheritance in the saints. Paul prayed that the believers would know the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints. God’s inheritance is the people who believe in Him (the “saints”).
    3. Knowing that God is giddy to spend eternity with you changes how you live and think.
  3. The immeasurable greatness of God’s power towards those who believe
    1. The power God gives to each believer is the same power that raised Christ from the dead, and the same power that ascended Christ into heaven and seated him at the right hand of God

Download a full transcript of this episode.

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