Serving Millennials on the Journey Toward Significant Life
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Managing Anxiety

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Anxiety is often thought of as an individual struggle, yet it also invades systems and relationships, leaving not just people but whole communities stuck in its grip. Steve Cuss helps identify why anxiety affects people and groups but also practical steps forward to loosen anxiety’s grip.

Steve Cuss is a pastor and former hospital chaplain who has done a  lot of work on anxiety in individuals and systems, culminating in his recently released book Managing Leadership Anxiety.

Listen to the full episode below (click here email readers):

Or find the episode wherever you get podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Google Podcasts || Overcast

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About Called Out

Called Out is a show helping the church move from the reality of its brokenness toward the healing power of Christ.

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What is the Gospel?

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What is the gospel of Jesus? What does it mean to have faith? The answers to these questions intricately shape what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. For as much time as Christians spend emphasizing having faith in this good news, it is worthwhile to make sure we’ve understood it correctly.

Matthew Bates is a theology professor at Quincy University, and has written several books connected to the themes of the gospel and faith.

Listen to the full episode below (click here email readers):

Or find the episode wherever you get podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Google Podcasts || Overcast

Links from the episode:

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The Unlived Life

TheCrown season 3In episode 5 during the 3rd season of the Netflix series The Crown, Queen Elizabeth II (marvelously played by Olivia Colman) spends a month traveling to different parts of the world studying best practices for raising horses for racing. Toward the end of her trip she shares with her friend Henry Herbert that the trip was one of the best of her entire life—a chance to embrace “the unlived life.”

That phrase and the idea behind it has stuck with me since I originally watched the episode. Certainly, I can’t relate to the Queen’s level of having a life forced upon her. After all, she was handed responsibilities that were not her choosing. And that was only handed to her because an elder family member chose to pursue his own unlived life over the God-given responsibilities placed upon him.

I can’t relate to the specifics of this feeling, but I think deep down we can all relate to a desire to pursue the life we are (for whatever reason) unable to live. It’s the feeling you get toward the end of a vacation trip: “why can’t we do this all the time?” It’s the feeling you get when someone handles your main responsibilities for an hour or a day or a week: “just think of what life could be like if this was the new reality.” With this is a temptation to choose something else, but also is an opportunity to recognize the sacrifice that goes into embracing the life that is.

As I have written about often, I find myself in a vocational assignment of pastoral ministry, despite many personal reservations of its fit. I went to school to get into the finance business. I quickly quit the whole thing within months of receiving my degree. In answer to the “God what do you want to do with me?” question, I entered seminary and started volunteering at a church in the hopes of building experience and answering the question further.

Quite often I have found myself considering what life might have been had I stuck with my first post-graduation job. It’s not so much questioning God’s guidance, but wondering about what I sacrificed to be where I am now. And not just me, but my wife and children as well. Though she doesn’t harbor any resentment, my wife didn’t sign up to marry a pastor. I told her I was going to make lots of money if she married me!

The story of Jacob in Genesis is a warning about the pursuit of the unlived life over the given life. The blame doesn’t completely end with Jacob, because he had unhelpful influences, but the first half of his life is story after story of pursuing what wasn’t his to take. He was never comfortable with was he was given, not comfortable in his own skin. Chris Renzema articulates this beautifully in his song Jacob:

And I know that I’m not right
But I’m still putting up a fight
And I know my hands can’t hold all I aim to steal
And I know that there is a cure
For this sickness my heart endures
But it’s hard to walk naked into the light

The unlived life: the things we aren’t able to fully do because of the demands of the lived life; the things we desire over what has been given.

This year I find myself in a much more stable place when it comes to my vocation. I have not just a reluctant acceptance of where God has placed me, but a more genuine embrace.

It’s far more difficult to not only stick with but embrace the given life when the ever-elusive and more exciting unlived life remains.

Over the last year a number of opportunities have come my way simply because I have remained steadfast in my given life. I have sensed God’s blessing. Not in headline defining ways, but in the subtle ways where things only come about by embracing where God has placed you. Entering into Thanksgiving, I find myself thankful for God’s patience to have given me over a decade to embrace my given life, while extending me the grace to withstand pursuing my unlived life.

Friends, this Thanksgiving my prayer for you is God’s blessing over your given life. May you sense His provision in intimate ways.

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The Positivity Gospel

The positivity gospel of “you are enough” and “your positive words can overcome your negative world” is all around us, but what if it isn’t true?

On this episode Eric Nelson outlines what the positivity gospel is, what it gets wrong, how to handle conversations with those sharing its message, and much more.

Listen to the episode below (click here email readers):

Or find the episode wherever you get podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Google Podcasts || Overcast

Links from the episode:

About Called Out

Called Out is a show helping the church move from the reality of its brokenness toward the healing power of Christ.

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The Ministry of Touch with Lore Wilbert

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The #metoo #churchtoo movement has vividly shown how broken our understanding of touch is. At times we misuse and abuse physical touch, and then negatively react to these realities by offering weak side hugs.

This much is clear: we don’t know how to approach physical touch well. Listen as Lore Wilbert approaches an obviously needed discussion on Jesus and physical touch.

Listen to the full episode below (click here email readers):


Or find the episode wherever you get podcasts, including:

Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Google Podcasts || Overcast

Links from the episode:

About Called Out

Called Out is a show helping the church move from the reality of its brokenness toward the healing power of Christ.

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If God Knows Everything…

In Luke 5, the story of the healing of the paralyzed man is told, followed by an interaction with Jesus and some religious leaders. Here are the verses of this initial interaction after Jesus forgives the sins of the paralyzed man:

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?

—Luke 5:21-22

Though rarely shown within his earthly ministry, Jesus is displaying omniscience in Luke’s declaration that he “knew what they were thinking.” This has me considering the omniscience of God, which is a fancy word for God being all-knowing.

On the one hand, omniscience means God can understand your thoughts, but the significance of God being all-knowing goes far beyond that. Nothing has happened or will happen outside of God’s knowledge. This differs, of course, from God predetermining everything, yet is still significant.

God’s omniscience is truth embraced on some level by nearly every Christian I know, but the implications of it are not. Let’s consider two:

1. Nothing exists outside of God’s awareness. We often approach God as if he’s unaware of our deepest longings. We try to get God’s attention. 

2. God doesn’t need to learn anything. We often want God to evolve to our understanding of things. We try to inform God of how things are. 

Rather than approaching God as if he’s in need of a lesson from us, or that he may be unaware of what we need, I think God’s omniscience should prompt two responses from us:

1. Humility. God knows everything there is to know about you. He knows you better than you know yourself. That means he knows the parts you try to hide.

2. Security. God knows you and he promises that he will meet your every need. He knows all the parts you might try to hide and he still loves you.

This balance of humility and security is a helpful approach in relating with God and communicating that relationship to others. On the one hand, there is someone you are completely exposed before. On the other hand, nothing can stop the eternal reality and blessing over your life.

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