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Showing posts from October, 2013

"The wise man will simplify his life"

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Most of us want to live impactful lives. Here's a key to it: an impactful life is a life with focus. When you know what is important, you devote everything to it. You become a person with a cause.

The trouble is, too many people lack focus. That's why the first main theme in my new book Luminous is Purpose. Life becomes simple when we know why we are here. And if we aren't sure why we are here, then our culture will be glad to give us all the agendas it values: making money, being happy, having a great body, etc. Jesus came with a radically different agenda: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).

A. W. Tozer wrote:
The wise man will simplify his life by going to the center of it. He will look well to the foundations and, having done that, he will not worry about the rest. Life as we know it in our painfully intricate civilization can be deadly unless we learn to distinguish t…

Growing in prayer and how a desire to control it can hold you back

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In the literature of the prayer masters of the Christian tradition, there is a consistent refrain that there are distinct stages of prayer. The beginner stages are characterized by intentional, verbal prayers that are done either because one wants to see something happen (a job, salvation of a loved one, a better marriage, etc.) or because one is committed to prayer as a discipline. One never grows out of this kind of prayer, but there is much more to it.

As prayer grows, there is a transition from prayer as a one-way street (you to God) to prayer as a two-way street (back and forth between you and God). The transition from one-way to two-way is a critical juncture in the deepening of prayer. I know that in my own prayer life, I am continually learning how to be carried along more by God's Spirit. I "generate" prayer mainly to get into a prayerful state, but then I try to let it flow.

The catch is, you can't make two-way prayer happen. God has to do that. Furthermor…

"Stick to the plan" -- what baseball, business, and Jesus have in common

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Last night I had the luxury of watching the entire game 5 between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. In one moment after the game, I made some connections between the Cardinals, the spiritual life, and good leadership.

I am a fourth generation
Cardinal fan, and I have been following the Cards closely this season. It has been a year full of intrigue. Due to injuries to key veterans, the Cardinals have used no fewer than 20 rookies in their lineup this year. In game 4 against the Pirates, rookie pitcher Michael Wacha pitched 7-1/3 innings of one-hit ball. He was relieved by rookie Carlos Martinez, who finished the eighth inning. Then rookie Trevor Rosenthal closed out the ninth inning. Rosenthal looked like he was hyperventilating when he took the mound, but he got the job done.

There is a system in St. Louis called "the Cardinal Way." The team has produced manuals and materials that outline in detail how the team goes about things. There is a saying in the clubho…