Three Messages Focusing On the Secret to Making Your Relationship Great

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Does it ever seem like every couple around you has it all together, while you can’t even agree on what’s for dinner? Wanna know the secret? Watch these 3 messages by Andy Stanley:

  • Nothing
    A great marriage doesn’t happen by accident. It requires care and regular maintenance. But sometimes we don’t want to make the effort. As long as it’s not broken, do we really need to talk about it?
  • It’s Mutual
    We all enter into marriage with hopes, dreams, and desires. They create expectations. But when you put those expectations onto your spouse, it turns your marriage into a debt/debtor relationship. Your relationship becomes marked by the belief that your spouse owes you something. So, how do you keep your hopes, dreams, and desires from becoming expectations?
  • Sometimes You Have to Throw Things
    As long as you think your spouse owes you, your marriage will be all about keeping score. That destroys intimacy. It destroys love. But what are we supposed to do about our hopes, dreams, and desires?

PS: this is a 4 week series. Week 4 is called It’s a Choice. Here is an overview of that message: Happy couples decide they owe each other everything but are owed nothing in return. But that requires effort. Every married person makes a choice every day. That choice feels more like a reaction, so most people don’t think they have a choice at all. But they do. Happy couples make the happy choice.

Erich’s note: make sure you check out the discussion questions for each lesson (consider watching each message with your spouse or a small group and discussing it together).

Your turn… What resonates with your from these messages?

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Three Resources to Help You Create and Give Better Talks

Public speaking is often listed as one of people’s greatest fears. Whether you give talks on a regular basis or have to occasionally make a presentation I think you’ll find these resources very helpful:

  • Something to Say by Rob Bell
    This is 7 hours and 45 minutes of Rob’s best teaching on how to communicate. Note: I’ve already listened to it twice (full of so much good stuff).
  • Poets/Prophets/Preachers by Rob Bell
    This is a five part film series devoted to reclaiming the ancient, beautiful, provocative, healing, inspired art form known as the sermon. These five live talks explore the theological, conceptual, practical and personal dimensions involved in giving a talk, sermon, message, or teaching. Note: I actually attended this event back in 2009, I believe, when it took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson
    For anyone who has ever been inspired by a TED Talk… this is an insider’s guide to creating talks that are unforgettable.

Erich’s notes: Rob Bell is one of my favorite communicators (he’s so talented and always has something significant to say). I think you’ll love both of his resources. I haven’t read the TED Talks book yet but based on some reviews I’ve seen I think you’ll find it to be a great resource too.

Your turn… What are some other resources you’ve found helpful in this area?

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Three Podcasts Every Leader Should Be Listening To

Leaders are learners and should always be looking for ways to grow. One of the things I do on a regular basis is listen to all types of podcasts (this is a habit everyone should create since there are so many incredible podcasts available). Here are three I believe every leader should listen to:

podcast-cover StoryBrand podcast_channel_artwork

Erich’s notes:

  • Michael Hyatt, Your Leadership Mentor, has a plethora of resources designed to help you win at work, succeed at life, and lead with confidence. You will love his new podcast!
  • Donald Miller’s StoryBrand Podcast and resources are designed to help you clarify your message so customers will listen. His resources provide tons of value and insights. Make sure you pick up a copy of his new book, Building a StoryBrand.
  • Jeff Brown’s Read to Lead Podcast is designed to give you quick overview of great books. Dig into his archives to find some real jewels. Episode 188 is a great one to start with as Jeff interviews Clay Scroggins to talk about the book, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge.

Your turn… What are some other podcasts others should check out?

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Three Things Necessary for Lasting Change to Occur

Dallas Willard has had an enormous impact on my life via his books and teachings (if you haven’t read The Divine Conspiracy or Renovation of the Heart yet, stop whatever it is you’re doing and start reading them today — then proceed to read everything else he has written).

One of his greatest contributions to the area of transformation is what he calls The Reliable Pattern for Change (he unpacks this in chapter 5 of Renovation of the Heart and in this article, Living a Transformed Life Adequate to Our Calling. Willard reminds us that transformation is possible but it’s not likely unless the path you’re on includes these 3 elements (he refers to them as the VIM pattern):

  1. VISION: is the clear picture of the goal you are striving to reach.
  2. INTENTION: you have to intend to do it (transformation doesn’t happen by accident).
  3. MEANS: this includes the resources available to you to help bring about the change you are pursuing.

If you are missing any of these 3 elements, transformation simply will not happen. However, if all 3 are present and properly put in place then lasting transformation is possible.

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Note: What I love about this pattern is that you can apply it to any type of change or transformation you are pursuing (losing weight, learning a new language or skill, growing as a follower of Jesus). In Willard’s writings you’ll see that he primarily uses the reliable pattern of change in the context of spiritual transformation (you’ll see a clear example of this fleshed out in the article I mentioned above — it’s well worth taking a few minutes to read today).

Your turn…How have you seen or experienced this reliable pattern for change in your life?

PS: this was originally posted last year under a different title.

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Three Articles by Dallas Willard

The writings of Dallas Willard have greatly influenced me in the area of Spiritual Formation. I believe you’ll enjoy these three articles focusing on transformation:

Your turn… After reading these, share one thing you learned and plan to start applying to your life.

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Three Books by Rob Bell

Rob Bell is one of my favorite communicators. Here are 3 of his books that have shaped me in profound ways including his most recent release, What Is the Bible?…

VelvetElvis     howtobehere_cover_square1     witb-cover

Your turn… What books have shaped you recently?

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Three Books by Brené Brown

I’m a “Recovering Perfectionist”. I’ve struggled with perfectionism and the fear that “I’m not enough” and the fear of “I don’t measure up” for most of my life.  I’m a 1 on the Enneagram (The Perfectionist) and I also grade high as a 3 (The Performer). That’s a volatile combination and makes me a difficult person to live with (and I’m just talking about me living with me — you have no idea of the ongoing conversations I have running in my head most of the time, ha!).

So, when I discovered the works of Brené Brown via her TED Talks a few years ago it was like a breath of fresh air that my soul needed to continue to recover daily from the toll of being a perfectionist who is also a high achiever.

Here is how she defines perfectionism:

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

If you’re not familiar with Brené here is how she describes herself:

“The official line: I’m a research professor at the University of Houston where I hold the Huffington Endowed Chair. I’ve spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, empathy, and shame. I’m the author of four books: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness.

The bottom line: I believe that vulnerability – the willingness to be “all in” even when you know it can mean failing and hurting – is brave. I do NOT believe that cussing and praying are mutually exclusive. And, I absolutely believe that the passing lane is for passing only.”

Check out these 3 must-read books by Brené Brown:

the-gifts-of-imperfection  daring-greatly  rising-strong

Your turn… How have these resources impacted your life?

PS: Her most recent book, Braving the Wilderness, released last week (I started it last night and read half of it in one sitting; so good and relevant… Get your copy today!)

2 7 2013-SSS - Brene Brown

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Three Must Read Books

I usually have 2-3 books going at one time. The 3 I’m currently going through are must read books you should dive in to ASAP:

MereChristianity   How To Lead When Not In Charge   TheDayTheRevolutionBegan

Erich’s notes: recently I’ve been drawn to go back and read more of C. S. Lewis. So, I listened to Mere Christianity and read it again. I forgot how amazing that book is and how extremely relevant it still is (do yourself a favor and check it out). I’m currently reading How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins (it’s loaded with some great insights on leadership). I’ve mentioned The Day the Revolution Began by Wright once before as one of the most significant books I’ve ever read. I recently started the 15 hour audio version via Audible (make sure you check it out soon).

Your turn… What have you been reading lately?

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Filed under Books, Church Leadership, Discipleship, Gospel, Spiritual Formation

Three Resources That Focus on Work

Since today is Labor Day, I thought I would mention 3 resources that focus on work:

“In a work world that is increasingly competitive and insecure, people often have nagging questions: Why am I doing this work? Why is it so hard? And is there anything I can do about it? …With deep insight and often surprising advice, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about our work. In fact, the Christian view of work—that we work to serve others, not ourselves—can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life. Keller shows how excellence, integrity, discipline, creativity, and passion in the workplace can help others and even be considered acts of worship—not just of self-interest.”

Erich’s note: make sure you check out the Center for Faith and Work (a ministry extension of Redeemer Presbyterian Church). See this page for an overview of their vision.

“Have you ever felt caught between the tension of a day job and a dream job? That gap between what you have to do and what you’d love to do? …From figuring out what your dream is to quitting in a way that exponentially increases your chance of success, Quitter is full of inspiring stories and actionable advice. This book is based on 12 years of cubicle living and my true story of cultivating a dream job that changed my life and the world in the process. It’s time to close the gap between your day job and your dream job. It’s time to be a Quitter.”

Note: you can find more of Jon’s resources here.

WorkLife was birthed 10 years ago out of the vision to provide ALL individuals and organizations with the opportunity, ability and tools to find Life in work. Today, WorkLife effectively serves all types of workers in all types of occupations. Its reach lets it serve throughout the world with curriculum, tools, and a highly effective online workweek companion called Maestro WorkLife Subscription. Maestro has the unique ability to pinpoint the specific spiritual work challenges a person encounters and direct content and encouragement to help that individual address that pain. This is the first “needs-based” coaching system used in workplace ministry.”

Note: this post is from my archives (it first appeared on Labor Day in 2013).

Your turn… What are some resources that focus on work that you’d recommend to others?

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Three Books that Provide An Overview of the Life & Teachings of Dallas Willard

By now you know that the writings and teachings of Dallas Willard have had a profound impact on my spiritual formation and my understanding of the kingdom of God. You really should read everything he’s ever written. If you’re new to Willard you might want to start with these three and then work back to others such as The Divine Conspiracy (which is the most significant book I’ve ever read outside of the Bible):

EternalLiving        LivingInChrist        DivConCont

  • Overview of Eternal Living (Edited by Gary W. Moon)
    Dallas Willard spent his life making eternal living concrete for his friends. After his unexpected passing in 2013, the kaleidoscope of memories and the diversity of the lives he had touched could not be confined to one or even two memorial services, but three. It is this wide breadth of impact that inspired friends, family, colleagues, students, and leaders of the church to gather their reflections on this celebrated yet humble theologian and philosopher.
  • Overview of Living In Christ’s Presence (with John Ortberg)
    Dallas teamed up with John Ortberg in February 2013 for the Dallas Willard Center’s inaugural conference in Santa Barbara, California. John and Dallas have been ministry partners for decades, which was quite evident as they taught together and shared insights into living more fully in the presence of Christ daily. The primary passion for the conference was to provide an overview of Dallas’s writings and ministry. His most impassioned ideas. The conference was built around the theme “Knowing Christ Today” and as a way to present the golden thread that runs through all of his primary writing: that it is possible to know the Trinity intimately and to step into their glorious kingdom.
  • Overview of The Divine Conspiracy Continued (with Gary Black, Jr.)
    Co-authored by Dallas Willard and Gary Black Jr., this book is the sequel to The Divine Conspiracy and continues Dallas’s series on the Kingdom of God by looking at God’s plan to intervene in human history through His disciples who live out His calling in their life through their professions. To fulfill the Christian calling is not to remove oneself from the outside world and take shelter from its shortcomings, but to step into the world to lead and serve as agents of change. Dallas and Gary provide wise guidance on how to enter into our culture’s leadership positions and transform the world from the inside out. The material in the manuscript began in a course Dallas designed at USC called The Professions and the Public Interest in American Life. Dallas and Gary worked together with the concepts from the course and applied them to many different contemporary contexts for Christian leaders and professionals throughout our society. The manuscript was largely assembled prior to Dallas’s passing in 2013.

Your turn… What impact has Willard’s writing and teachings had on you?

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