REPLAY of the LIVE class (on Periscope)! with notes!

REPLAY of the LIVE class (on Periscope)! with notes!

I was a sweaty, nervous wreck on my first periscope.

It’s comical…did anyone ever see Broadcast News (the movie)?
I needed two tissues for my sympathetic nervous system.

(Some technical difficulties threw me just before broadcast and I talked SO VERY fast.)

If you didn’t get to see it here you go!




THE #1 Myth about the SOUL…

is that we have one.

But first….we should get on the same page…


(what are we talking about?)

This is how I’m describing it:


In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for soul is nephesh. We might use it this way, “1,517 souls were lost in the Titanic disaster.”

SOUL ≠ dead BUGS BUNNY …like a floating ghost and that sort of stuff.

Not a faint rendering of bugs bunny leaving his body to play a harp on a cloud with Porky Pig. Not something that is ghosty and haunting a house or helping Demi Moore on a Pottery Wheel. (Patrick it, young people.)


Ancients thought of the mind and heart differently (the will and the emotions)…

Maybe these verses come to mind…but you’ve been thinking about them in your own context instead of the ancient context from which they were written.


Remember this one?

The heart is deceitful and wicked above all things JER 17:9

(Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life)

or Proverbs 4:23 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

….The writers of these scriptures were not talking about emotions and feelings when they said “heart” (like we associate the heart today…they were talking about the HEART as one’s will and control center of a person…(the thing we now associate with the mind.)

For them, the emotions (the heart for us in our context) were associated, instead, with the bowels. Perhaps a bit gross..but there is some

MEDICAL TRUTH/correlation : anxiety and stress are closely associated with disease and problem that happen in the intestines…like….ulcerated colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (bloating, constipation, gas, and other fun things), digestion issues, food sensitivities and problems in that part of the body. These are extremely related to one’s emotions and levels of stress.

The GEM MODEL of the Soul (my version)


Think of the SOUL as a gem and the facets are ways to see the soul.

You can go as far as saying other things beyond these are facets:

family of origin, social economic situation, skin color (if that has been a defining factor in your life)

education, the country you live in,

Even Christianity is a facet. A worldview is a facet that we can gain a kind of look at who we are.

Grace is central to Christianity, for instance. We can look at our soul through the facet of grace.

When light is added to a stone you can see its flaws and imperfections and you can see its quality (color, cut, clarity, caret)

UGLY soul? Is that possible? what do you think?

In his book Care of Souls, David Benner writes, “We can define soul care as the support and restoration of the well-being of persons in their depth and totality, with particular concern for their inner life. Soul care is done in the context of community.”

The vantage point of Soul Care views struggle or failings not as fatal flaws or illness to be “cured”. Not therapy or self-help. 

It’s a sustaining endeavor for our interior lives and our relationships, like water and food is for the body. Incidentally, caring for the body falls within the bounds of Soul Care.

Ten Signs that You Need the Renewal of Soul Care 

1. Fruitlessness. Are there observable deficits in the enacted your Fruit of the Spirit? That means, is there any lack or slack in the


areas of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control? (If not, I think E.T. went home without you. Phone again. You might want to text, and retweet as well.)

2. You find yourself perceiving things others say as personally offensive, or as direct attacks. 

3. You are “venting” more in person or online.
4. You feel unloved.
5.You feel increased frustration, restlessness, or disconsolation.

6.Your fears and anxiety are more prevalent.

7.You have increased tension in relationships.
8. You struggle with one or more of the “seven deadly 

sins”: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. 

9. You have problems sleeping or bad dreams.

10. You’re in a creative slump. 


THE #1 myth about the soul is that…. you have one. You don’t have a soul you are a Soul. You have a body. George MacDonald, in 1892 (C.S. Lewis quotes him and the quote is mistakenly attributed to him sometimes)

Think of the Soul as “the real you” the essence of you. contained in a body, yes, but made up of everything about you in a pure sense.

Some might say the soul gets extinguished or goes to paradise or gets absorbed into the great Life Force (God) …but in terms of what you need…you always need Soul Care, because you are a soul and that include both the visible and the invisible.

All this more and much more is available in my book. Shame-filled plug.

Finding your PURPOSE: 4 Surprising Ways

Creative Commons photo
Creative Commons photo

Today, I’m sharing with you my thoughts and draft notes as I prepare a talk.


If you’re getting stuck and feeling like you can’t find your purpose, or if you thought you knew your purpose and now you don’t really–don’t worry.

Although your basic human purpose changes very little, the details can change at different stages in life or in different circumstances. You are normal.

If you don’t know this bit about the shifts of purpose, you can go through dark periods needlessly and have longer slumps. Well, enough of that!

The WISP technique is something I came up with to keep me on track.

Not that there could be a “technique” per se.

Think of it as a rule of thumb or guide, if that helps.

Do you have a notebook?

Grab one.

Purpose – the finding and keeping of it – can be slippery. So, field notes help.

Keep track of your progress. It gives you a structure and a history to check on.





Does this sound a bit odd? Worship.
The more odd it sounds to you as a starting point, the more you need to do it to get properly orientated straight-away.

Worship is other focused, by nature. Yes?

That new perspective alone can help you make a break-through. But, really it’s much more than that at work.

“As we worship a fundamental shift happens because we remember who we really are.” -LD

At first blush it seems like worship is for God, because he is owed our worship. True?

That’s really only part of it. Let’s dig deeper:

1. God doesn’t need ANYTHING from us. He’s not insecure.

2. This means that Worship is to him (or toward him), but for OUR benefit.

To put it simply, God commands us to worship him because he wants it to be well with us.

[He knows we need it. Sure it’s his due, but he’s not an egomaniac. He’s always been taking care of us, even through the vehicle of worshipping him.]

When we fail to worship God, we start to worship lesser gods, like…ourselves, other mortals, our ambitions, the gods of the secular, dying world, and countless vanities.

Astray is where we go without properly directed worship.

Few things can create more clarity than a rightly worshipful heart.

• Clarity is a byproduct of worship and so are many other positive things I won’t get into this time.


Remember what Worshiping God helps us remember:

  • Who we are
  • Who we love (and who loves us)
  • And to whom we belong



Don’t feel like worshiping?…well you have to start somewhere.

Loosen your grip on your desires and expectations until you finish this stage. Shift your posture and you will find a new take on your life and on your purpose.

Back to that Handy-dandy Notebook!

(Shout out to Dora the Explorer)

Note feelings, changes, attitudes in your field notes now and during worship.  


So where or how should you start in worship?

You can start with something that tends to speak to you and get through to you. What worked before? Start there and keep pushing through. Maybe you’ll find something new or maybe something familiar will help.


For some this may mean getting a true break from others and a return and appreciation of the created world. (A walk, a camping trip, a hike, a solo picnic.)

For some it’s music and song. (Just listen, create some, or sing along.)

For some it’s just praying for a while. (It’s talking to God, so it’s a great place to start, if possible.)

For some it’s a with the help of a spiritual exercise like… “Praying the Names of God”

Here’s a quick “course” on how it works:
“Praying the names of God” is to first, come up with 10, 20, or 100 names of God. There are plenty: Savior, Redeemer, Creator, Father, Shepherd, Mother Hen, Majestic…you get the idea. As you say, write, and pray the names, roll them over in your mind. What do they mean? Let them affect you, be thankful and rejoice, and (of course) express your thanks and gratitude to God in prayer…which would be the actual worshiping part.

Example: “God you are my Provider. You have taken care of me and continue to. I thank you for providing for me, even in ways I don’t now about. God you are my Rock…”

Reading the Bible might help trigger true worship. Reading the psalms or the great Bible stories like the one of Joseph can inspire a true attitude of worship. You can read using the practice of Lectio Divina for some extra punch too. As you read thorough a portion, note the works or wonders of God, and pray about them, giving glory to God. Worship.


Maybe you have other ways to get the worship started. So, just get started!



You thought this was just some quick reading or some mental exercise, huh?

Nope. I’m asking more of you.


Use a notebook to record your mode of worship and your attitude at the start, during the time of worship, and afterwards. Then, continue to enter into times of short (5-15 minutes) and uninterrupted worship experience for a few days, or until the next post (which ever is longer).

Next post we will continue and with I in WISP

Click Here 

On Camping and “The Chatter of the Mind”


For the last 10 years in a row, we’ve gone to Camp Swatara to…almost rough it as a family.

We just got back yesterday afternoon and began the de-camping process. 6 loads of laundry and putting things away for 3 hours. It’s more tiring than camping, and camping includes foraging for firewood to sustain your life.

For the first time, I didn’t take a single picture of our time away. (The photo above is from the camp website. It’s nondescript enough to resemble us.) It seems strange that I didn’t take any now that it’s done.

It’s an interruption to take photos sometimes, so honestly, I didn’t even think about it. My mind was chattering and I was more “in the moment”.

Later, off course, the photos come in handy to help you remember what happened. Right now, I think I remember something about killing 30 flies with the swatter and the surge of gratification that gave me–and something about S’mores.


My least favorite things about camping:

1. Too much humidity (Towels dry outside on the clothesline….never.)

2. Feeling covered in dirt and sweat 95% of the time

3. Feeling covered in sunscreen and bug spray over the layers of dirt and sweat

4. Bugs and all sort of biting and buzzing insects

5. Walking outdoors to use the indoor bathroom facilities

6. Thin mattresses that cause aches and pains

7. The hyper-vilgilengce about poison ivy and occasionally getting it.

(It all sounds like a dream-come-true, right?)


(some of) My most favorite things about camp

1. Having friends visit

2. The hospitality inherent in the camping community (sharing, chatting by the fire, friendly greetings as you walk around)

3. Family togetherness. Yes, it’s forced on you, but you can really start to enjoy it, usually.

4. The way things smell when the dew evaporates off the leaves in the morning.

5. How the day eases into the night and the darkness that comes to ease you into sleeping

6. Overcoming crisis together. Yes, it’s pretty awful at the time, but great memories and bonding come later.

7. Making fire and cooking with it, or using the firepit as a homing device. It’s hypnotic and primal and warm.

8. The refinement that happens when you realize what you truly need, compare to what you think you need. It turns out that you want things you don’t need.

What you really need: water, food, dry shelter and clothing, each other. What you think you need: a faster laptop.


In the end, you have kids that look forward very happily to the time away, and two parents (me and Tim, obviously) who are happy it’s part of our summertime, even though the whole process is challenging.

It’s actually the challenge that creates the satisfaction later, but you don’t know that unless you try it the whole way through.

If you aren’t psychologically ready to endure, you can get bitter or regretful (…um…so I’ve heard). Plus, it’s a dry camp, so there’s no wine to easy you into it.


The other thing is that intact families tend to camp together. I didn’t have this growing up and it’s a gift I give my children and myself now.

Yes, sometimes “split-up” families camp, too. But, mine didn’t.

Usually broken up families have a lot more scheduling issues and conflicts. Camping as an activity gets pushed to the side, unless you are very dedicated about it and keep it up.


And then there’s the Chatter of the Mind

And sometimes, though not this time, I get to hear less from the planning and inner monologue part of my “chattering mind”.

In general, this chatter may be telling you that you forgot ziplock bags at home or that, or that despite your efforts, you really aren’t worth much in the world, or that you should have cleaned out the vacuum filter more thoroughly, or that you made a mistake in explaining something, or that the people you were just talking to think poorly of you, or that you have to cook something that requires 14 steps… and how will be working out anyway, or the plans for the afternoon and where and how to apply sunscreen properly for it, or any number of things.

There isn’t much quiet in and about our minds, and not for very long. 

It’s called thinking. It can be incessant. It’s not just me, right?

If you finally reach that place in time and space where the chatter dies down, it’s almost deafening, actually. At first.

It tends to happen, not on family camping trips, but when I retreat away from home and I go alone. After 2-3 hours of intensional quietness–dialing down everything things improve. But that’s only when I’m being disciplined about getting away and pushing every nuisance thought back, or submitting it to paper, each time one surfaces. If not, it can take days, and too often never happens at all.

And after you tamp down or divert each thought pelting your brain you realize you’ve been breathing all wrong for much too long. You haven’t been able to separate the planning from the enjoying and looking around. You’ve forgotten the things you love or you have not noticed the things you should.

It doesn’t happen all at once that the chatter starts bullying you, but it happens.

(To come to my next retreat trip, click here.)

The chatter is an adversary that comes in pretending to be helpful and careful, as if it has your best interests in mind. But really, it’s just making you weary by using up too much valuable “mental RAM”, like (foolishly) running windows on top of a Mac Operating System.

How’s your mental RAM these days, anyway? Up to snuff?

Can you remember the last time you didn’t experience “the chatter of your mind” for some length of time?

(If you’re thinking about that now, or much of anything, then now is not one of those times.)

And if settling it all down sounds too close to death, then it’s been too long.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.


Funny Friday- featuring Jim Gaffigan!

Today’s Funny Friday is a treat.

jimgaffiganComedian Jim Gaffigan likes a lot of the same thing I do:
• Sleep

• Hammocks

• Breakfast in Bed (because it combines sleeping and eating)

• Bacon

• Talking about funny things the whole family can enjoy together

But, unlike Jim, I really enjoy camping.

It’s not because it’s comfortable. Jim’s right–it’s hardly that.

No, I like camping because I can get to seem like I’m getting out of my neighborhood for a legit reason instead of looking like I’m trying to run away. Camping helps me not feel guilty about about leaving to live somewhere else for a while.

Every single time, 3-4 days of camping is preceded by spending a 3-4 days of packing, just so I can go to another location and start feeling too hot, too cold, bug bites, a continual film of filth on my entire body, the wrenching pain of back spasms from the popup camper mattress I like to call “The Devastator”, and all towels feeling damp no matter what, I still have to talk myself into coming home again. (Then it’s 1-2 days of cleaning things, washing clothes, and unpacking.)

Nevertheless, Jim is correct, camping, as a concept where you pay actual money to leave your home and feel less comfortable, is admittedly quite odd.

Jim’s reflections on this and the other topics in this video made me laugh out loud. Enjoy!

He’s written a few books too.


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