Saturday, March 28, 2020

Courage, Fear, and God's Future (Walking and Talking Spirituality #13)

Feeling anxious and fearful? Are you worried about what the future holds?
Courage is the key that unlocks the door to the future of God’s dreams for you.
Aristotle wrote, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others."
Mark Twain added, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.”
God encouraged Joshua three times in Josh 1:1–9 “Be strong and courageous.”
Remember the courage won’t “feel good” in the moment. But it is the key to opening the door to the future of God’s dreams for us. It is the antidote to the constricting power of fear.
Commit to God’s future. Imagine a bigger and brighter future.
Cultivate habits, skills, and practices in anticipation of God’s future. Who do you need to become? What do you need to learn?
Practice consistency. Take action daily toward God’s future.
Create. Craft new ideas, content, models, and visions for your bigger and brighter future.
Connect. Joshua led God’s people to the promised land. Who are you leading? Who is looking to you for leadership in this moment? Find ways to connect with them and bolster their faith. Share your courage with them.
Courage is the key that opens the door to the future of God’s dreams!
What does courage look like for you today?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Deep Dive Spirituality for Seasons of Winter (Walking and Talking Spir...

Do you have a spirituality that will sustain you during the seasons of winter in life?

What would it look like for you to go back to the basics and double-down on your spiritual
practices and means of grace? 

Open yourself up to new levels of God’s grace by experimenting with journaling and 
contemplative practices such as centering prayer.

What are you doing to sustain yourself spirituality so that you can serve as a voice of 
hope to others during these difficult days?

Remember that Spring is coming. Be a witness today.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Setting a Vision for the Future (Walking and Talking Spirituality #11)

Where do you sense that God desires for you to be 1 year from now?

Yes I'm aware of the coronavirus but as people of hope we need to be mindful that tomorrow will arrive.

What kind of person do you need to become today so that you'll be ready to lead well tomorrow?.

Where do we need to grow? What do we need to learn?

What would our communities of faith look like in one year if we faced our present obstacles and began moving toward God's future?

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Power of Silence and Solitude Practices (Walking and Talking Spirituality #10)

Arthur Schopenhauer observed, “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”

Schopenhauer’s words are powerful because they remind us of our high capacity for self-deception and for misunderstanding the world around us…

We all limit ourselves (often unconsciously) through beliefs, patterns, and values that if someone else voiced them we’d immediately recoil. Some of these block the work of God’s grace in our lives and leave us stuck and frustrated.

How can we gain the self-awareness to open ourselves up fully to the work that God desires in our lives? How do we open ourselves up to the expansive and abundant life that God promises?...

I’ve found that intentional practices of silence and solitude are critical…

There are two practice in particular that serve as the foundation for my rule of life: centering prayer and journaling.

Virtually every morning, I practice the prayer of silence (Centering Prayer) for at least 20 minutes. I’ve been doing centering prayer for 4-5 years in shorter blocks of time but have committed to a full 20 minutes for over a year now. It’s been transformative.

If you aren’t familiar with centering prayer, here is a link to my YouTube Playlist on Centering Prayer:

I also advocate a intentional journaling practice.

Mine include three elements:
  1. In the morning, I write down five things for which I’m grateful. I’m specific and try to “feel” emotion as I write down my gratitude list. 
  2. I then listen carefully to my body. Do I feel any discomfort or anxiety? I try to write about whatever it is that I think is bothering me. This gets my thoughts and feelings down on paper. This process has slowly unearthed much junk and poor thinking. 
  3. At night, I write down at least three “wins” that I experienced during the day. There is always some takeaway or accomplishment if you look carefully. This is true even on the “bad” days. 

What practices help you to live expansively as God’s ambassadors of abundance?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Lessons from a Stoic and Jesus about Living in the Present

This is Episode #9 of Walking and Talking Spirituality with Dr. Brian Russell
Seneca (in Letter #5) from Letters from a Stoic talks about the problem of being lost either in the past or in the future rather than being present. He writes, “A number of our blessing do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.”
I like Seneca because he helps me to think clearly about my interior life. Many Christians through the ages have found the Stoic writers (in particular Seneca and Epictetus) to be helpful.
Seneca hits a key theme that can hinder us in our spiritual growth. It is not only a Roman Stoic who can be trapped in the past or in the future. So can we.
Jesus taught us to realign continually in light of the good news of the kingdom of God (see Matt 4:17). What does it mean to realign or repent? It means to recenter ourselves on the ethics and mission of the kingdom of God. In essence it means to follow Jesus moment-by-moment. When we find ourselves focused on a past pattern, we realign with Jesus. When we feel anxious about the future, we realign with Jesus.
Try a prayer like this:
“My past is forgiven in Christ; my future is secure in Christ; so I can live and breathe and move moment-by-moment in the abundance of this new day.”
What do you do to stay centered in the present so that you can serve the world that is right in front of you rather than one that you remember from the past or one that you hope to encounter some day?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

What kind of person do I need to become? (Episode 8: Walking and Talking...

Dr. Brian Russell explores this question: What kind of person do I need to become to live out my calling within a missional community?
Growth into the person God created us is vital for our long term spiritual and physical health. Does the way that we live our lives model the actual mission that we believe we are serving?.
Here are some deep dive questions that can help us to grow in our love for God, others, and self:
Who am I apart from the roles that I play and the experiences that I’ve had?
What am I trying really hard not to feel? What do I do to avoid these feelings?
How am I complicit in the reality that I claim I don’t desire for my life?
Interested in a deep dive conversation? Email Dr. Brian Russell: