I enjoy listening to podcasts when I run, when I drive and when I’m working. I love the ability to discover stories, learn new things, stay up-to-date with the news, and more. Lately, several podcasts that are part of my regular listening rotation featured episodes about church and faith. Here is a rundown…
StartUp is a show about what it’s really like to start a business. I have been a listener from day one. Over several seasons, they have shared the ins and outs of starting a business from scratch. The most recent season is a bit of a shift and one that is particularly fascinating for me – church planters. While I have never planted a church, I have resonated with the real life stories from Restoration Church. Here are the episodes so far:
There is more to come, so don’t forget to subscribe to StartUp here.
Unlike StartUp, I have not been listening to This American Life from the beginning. I have been listening for a number of years. The storytelling is world-class. I have appreciated many episodes over the years, though the one that brings them to this post includes a segment about Restoration Church and brings in a bit different angle. You can take a listen at If You Build It, Will They Come?
I have been an on and off again listener to Hidden Brain – usually depending on the opportunities and challenges of a particular season of life. This episode, Creating God, takes a look at how religions have evolved, almost like living organisms, to help human societies survive and flourish. This approach to religion is from a social psychologist and it is fascinating, challenging, and hopeful. You can take a listen at Creating God.
After you listened, what was your response? What podcasts do you listen to on a regular basis?
I took this photo over I-70 from my hotel room in Salina, Kansas. Several days later, I was adding keywords and titles and couldn’t immediately remember whether it was a sunrise or a sunset. I had to open the thumbnail to see the full image and pause to remember which direction I was facing.
This is a sunrise.
Someone who was familiar with Salina would be able to pretty easily determine whether this was the beginning or end of the day — whether it was dusk or dawn.
At times in our life, it can be difficult to determine whether a given event, happening or series of encounters represents a sunrise or sunset — the beginning or end of something.
Significant events in our life tend to be both endings and beginnings.
Over the past few days, I have continued in prayer for Charleston. I want to share a portion of my response to the Charleston Church Shootings which I preached this morning at First United Methodist Church. I believe it is important and inadequate. You can find the entire sermon and manuscript online here.
Let me be clear:
God never intends us to choose evil.
The Charleston Church Shootings were not part of God’s plan.
Racism, murder and tragedy will never be God’s will.
Evil is never, ever God’s plan.
Each one of us has choices to make every day.
We choose between good and evil.
We choose between forgiveness and resentment.
We choose between light and darkness.
The choices that we make – both big and small lead us closer to God or further away from God.
Choose light and life.
Choose to follow Jesus Christ, Emmanuel – God is with us.
The only response I can manage right now to to a story like this in the New York Times, is deep sadness, anger and prayer.
- “A gunman … opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the nation’s oldest black churches, on Wednesday evening, killing nine.
- Police arrested the suspect in Shelby, N.C., a town east of Charlotte and just north of the South Carolina state line.
- The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a state senator, was killed, according to the minority leader of the State House of Representatives.
- The police said the other victims in the Charleston church shooting were six women and two men.
- The Charleston police chief, Greg Mullen, called the attack a hate crime.”
It is senseless…
Will you pause to pray?
At a recent bedtime, I read Bulldozers (Mighty Machines) to our children as one of our stories. After reading, my son stood up and said excitedly,
“One day, I going to drive the biggest bulldozer in the world!”
I replied with a smile, “You sure could.”
In those brief moments, I was struck at how wide the possibilities are for him at three years old. He really could drive the biggest bulldozer in the world one day. Then I considered this possibility for myself. Would I ever drive the biggest bulldozer in the world? It seems a bit little less likely that I would ever would. The reality is that the choices that we make open some possibilities in the future and close others.
Part of the amazing power of the gospel is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Even, one day, drive the biggest bulldozer in the world.
I recently learned that Relaxation is a Skill. One of the ways to relax is to breathe deeply. Our son is 9 months old and it doesn’t do us much good to tell him to take a deep breathe. What we can do is to hold him close and breathe deeply.
This helped me know more about my relationship with God. One of the ways to relax in life is to be close to God and breathe deeply in and with God’s spirit. Deep breathing is good for the body and soul.