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What Will You Give Your One Little Life For?

What would your life look like if you found the one thing you were called to do?

Think of the great leaders of the past. Men and women who gave their lives for something that mattered. People like Benjamin Franklin, Ronald Reagan, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

People who actually changed the world.

At some point they stepped into their God-given destiny and pursued it with all their might.

…now think about what matters to you.

What do you constantly think about?

What makes you mad?

What do you want to change?

These are hard questions to answer.

Figuring out your “calling” is not easy if we’re honest. read more…

Without “David and the Bear” there Would Be No “David and Goliath” Story

The story of David and Goliath is one of the most popular Bible stories.

Even unbelievers know it and use it when referencing underdogs who defeat big enemies.

A young shepherd boy with a slingshot defeats Goliath, a 9-foot tall giant trained in combat.

In order for this story to have a happy ending God had to show up. It had to be 100% him, right?

…all God and none of David. That sounds very Christian-like, right?

We love to sing songs like:

“All of You and none of me…

I must decrease so he can increase.”

But is this way of thinking really how God wants us to operate?

I think there’s a better way. read more…

Do You Know What’s Wrong with the Church Today?

Do you ever get enticed into a conversation about something you later feel kind of yucky about?

It happened to me recently.

I met someone who wanted to talk about politics right away.

He told me his take on Donald Trump and why he wouldn’t be voting for him — unless his vote was actually the deciding vote, in which case he said he would vote for him (I didn’t understand his logic… but it made sense to him).

Anyway, I’m a sucker for political and philosophical talk (I don’t like admitting that, but it’s true), so I engaged with him in discussion.

So after my new friend told me about Trump he proceeded to say a phrase that I’ve also uttered many times before:

“Do you know what’s wrong with the church?”

It doesn’t really matter what he said after that (if you’re curious he said the main problem is that read more…

Why Write About God if You’re a Spiritual Amateur?

Why Write About God if You’re a Spiritual Amateur-I recently read this quote by C.S. Lewis:

It often happens that two schoolboys can solve difficulties in their work for one another better than the master can. The fellow-pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten.

After reading that I felt inspired to start writing on here again. Why?

Because I’m convinced that there’s value in sharing my journey with others, even if I’m an “amateur” when it comes to God and spiritual things.

And when I talk about being a “spiritual amateur” I’m just being honest. It’s not some false humility or anything like that. And I’m not saying I don’t know God or haven’t matured in my relationship with him over these past 12 years. I have. I pray, read the Bible and all that good stuff. But yet I feel like there’s a quality of life with God that I’m missing.

I feel like my “spiritual life” has been anything but “spiritual.” It’s been more intellectual. Lots of thinking, talking, reading and teaching about God. But not much in the way of real tangible spiritual experiences. I’ve had some. And I’ve even witnessed some amazing miracles with my own eyes. And I’m grateful for everything I’ve experienced. But the point is I still consider myself an amateur when it comes to walking in the spirit, hearing from God and operating in the supernatural.

An Amateur at Love

And if I’m really honest I also consider myself an amateur when it comes to love.

You know that four letter word that’s we’re supposed to be so excited about as Christians?

Well, frankly, the topic of “love” hasn’t interested me much. For example, I’d rather read or talk about a lot of things before talking about loving people. I’d rather learn more how to be more productive, how to impact the world, how to meditate and hear from God, etc.

Love just sounds kind of lame. 
read more…

Attraction Rather Than Promotion: A Better Way to Grow a Church

A.A. and the 12-Step Program has a special place in my heart because that’s where I first became open to “spirituality.”

It’s also the first place I experienced grace from people. I remember opening up my heart and really letting people know what was going on inside of me.

And the strangest thing happened… nobody judged me! They didn’t even give me “concerned” looks.

It was like they were saying,”Josh, it’s OK. You’re not alone. We know what you’re going through. And you’re not a bad person.”

It was certainly an “attractive” culture. And later on I learned that this was part of their “growth strategy.” In other words, the founders of the program made a deliberate decision to focus on “attraction rather than promotion.”

You’re probably familiar with A.A.’s “12 Steps” but they also have “12 Traditions” they use to govern their groups. And Tradition 11 is all about attraction vs promotion. It reads:

“Tradition 11: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.” read more…

What I Learned in My Crusades to Ban Alcohol, Legalize Pot, Destroy Religion and Save the Nation

For the last 20 years I’ve been involved in some sort of “crusade.” I’ve argued that:

  • Alcohol should be banned.
  • Pot should be legalized.
  • Religion should be destroyed.
  • America should be delivered from crazy liberals.

However, over the last several years I’ve been learning how to spend less time arguing, and more time encouraging people.

And today I want to share my story in case you’re tired of wasting so much time arguing and debating.

So if you find yourself getting sucked into debate after debate… if your blood pressure spikes every time you open Facebook and you want to change that then keep reading. read more…

Thankfulness Is A Choice

Is it possible to always be thankful?

I think it is because the Bible commands us to. So how do we do it? How do we cultivate a thankful heart and attitude despite what’s going on?

I don’t know. But I want to find out.

I do know one thing though… thankfulness isn’t dependent on circumstances or things going our way. At least that’s true for me.

For example, I’m a goal oriented person. I enjoy starting new projects, getting things done and taking steps towards my goals. I guess you could call me Type-A. And I realized there’s a danger to constantly living this way if I’m not careful to pause to be thankful.

The danger is that I could always be living in the future and never take time to enjoy the present. This hit me hard this morning, let me explain… read more…

Delayed Obedience Is Better Than Disobedience

Or at least at I hope it is.

Recently, I met two new people. Shaun, was at a business prayer meeting I attended in Vancouver, WA (link to his blog) and Tim, is a pastor I met online (link to his blog).

And they both essentially told me the same thing: “Josh, I’ve read your blog and I hope you keep writing on it.”

I thought, Yeah, maybe I should start writing there more. 

So I pulled up this blog to see when the last time I posted was and it was 11 months ago! Wow. And then I read my last post and felt convicted when I read what I wrote:

When I heard, “to obey is better than sacrifice” I knew God was referring to something specific in my life: writing. More specifically, writing on this blog, Beyond Cliches.

I haven’t been writing on here even though I believe God wants me to. I have a million excuses why I keep “putting it off”.

Then I thought, Great, I’m not only disobeying God… I’m doing it publicly. How embarrassing.  read more…

To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice

As I was praying this morning I was reminded of the verse that says, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” I didn’t remember the rest of the verse so I googled it and found 1 Samuel 15:22 which reads:

“So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

When I heard, “to obey is better than sacrifice” I knew God was referring to something specific in my life: writing. More specifically, writing on this blog, Beyond Cliches.

I haven’t been writing on here even though I believe God wants me to. I have a million excuses why I keep “putting it off”. Some of my favorite are:

  • I have nothing important to say.
  • I should do everything with “excellence” so I don’t want to write on here again unless it’s quality writing.
  • I don’t want to start writing and then quit like I did before.
  • My time would be better spent in my prayer closet than writing a blog.

And it was that last one that I believe God was confronting. I’ve gotten in the habit of waking early at 5:00 am, making my coffee and toast and then setting my timer for  60 minutes of devotional time. I’m definitely a creature of habit and I believe strongly in the value of developing good habits. read more…

The Lost Art Of Saying No

NoNo is a powerful and important word.

And now that I have a 1-year-old daughter I use it now more than ever.

“No Emma, don’t touch that!”

“No Emma, don’t crawl up the stairs!”

“No, Emma don’t take Daddy’s chess pieces!”

I say no a lot.

But I’m also learning that saying no is important in other areas of life.

When I first became a Christian I was pretty much incapable of saying no.

I’d say yes to every volunteer activity, church meeting and group. So much so that I wound up having a commitment 6-7 nights a week!

And after a while I realized that being busy with Christian activity was not the same as growing spiritually.

I also realized that I didn’t like to say no because I really wanted to please everyone.

Fast forward 9 years and I no longer say yes to everything. In fact, I say no to most things. And I don’t feel bad about it.

And it’s not just because I’m “too busy.” It’s because in order to focus on what I’m called to do I must say no to a hundred different things in order to focus on the big yeses.

So that’s all I got today. An admonition to say no more often. For obvious reasons this message isn’t a popular one at most churches.

But most churches focus on Christian activity instead of spiritual growth. Remember that.

And remember that you only have one life to live. When it’s all said and done will it matter how many church activities you were involved in or that you took the time to know Him?

Just food for thought.

Sorry this post isn’t more organized… I wrote it on the fly tonight. But hope it speaks to someone out there.