Book Recommendations

By | books | No Comments

In this post, I share some book recommendations.  Pretty straight forward. .. Smiley face.

My sister-in-law recently asked me for some recommendations so I thought it might be helpful to post it here as well.  This list is not targeted at any group specifically, but I would say that the audience in mind is roughly 18-35.  It is by no means comprehensive, but meant to give anyone a good running start who is looking for some good books to check out.

Each one has a link to Amazon make it easy for you to click and see details.

Enjoy!

Have you read any of these?  Share below your thoughts on any of them or if you have other recommendations.

Chimney Point Fall Highlights

By | Chimney Point, pine cove | No Comments

It’s hard to believe the Fall of 2015 is almost over.  There has been so much that has happened.  Sometimes I think how crazy it is to have moved my family across the country!  However, it has been an awesome process of trusting God through this awesome adventure.

A little later this Fall, we were thankful to be joined by Jonboy and Annie Ellis as our first Chimney Point staff members.  After that, camp begin to come alive through their presence and hard work!

Overall, it was a great first season to getting our first camp outside of Texas off the ground.  It’s not much, but here are some fun snapshots and highlights from the fall.

Brooke and I attended an awesome fundraising event in Atlanta to help support Atlanta and also promote Pine Cove.

Brooke and I attended an awesome fundraising event in Atlanta to help support Atlanta and also promote Pine Cove.

They made it! The Ellis family arrives at camp to stay for a few weeks while they find a home.

They made it! The Ellis family arrives at camp to stay for a few weeks while they find a home.

 

Of course Jonboy needs Annie to explain what to do.

Of course Jonboy needs Annie to explain what to do.

 

Our family on a camp visit.

Our family on a camp visit.

 

Having some fun with perspective!

Having some fun with perspective!

 

Working on remodeling the cottage bathroom!

Working on remodeling the cottage bathroom!

 

Jonboy solders some copper pipe while Bunga documents. We have been working to get the cottage ready to be lived in.

Jonboy solders some copper pipe while Bunga documents. We have been working to get the cottage ready to be lived in.

 

Thumbs up for INTERNET!

Thumbs up for INTERNET!

 

On a town run, we saw a guy spraying off the concrete with a hose WHILE it was raining! I guess they do things a little different out here.

On a town run, we saw a guy spraying off the concrete with a hose WHILE it was raining! I guess they do things a little different out here.

 

We have our first Chimney Point tradition! Whenever we have guests, we light the fire in the chimney that greets every visitor to camp.

We have our first Chimney Point tradition! Whenever we have guests, we light the fire in the chimney that greets every visitor to camp.

Thanks for all the prayers and support!  Can’t wait to share more soon.

Sunday Smackdown

By | productivity, Sunday Smackdown, tips | No Comments

Today when we got home around noon, I turned on this playlist on spotify and locked in to my desk activities.  I have had tons pile up on me so rather than be eaten by this week, I am going to start snackin’ first. My kids are napping and my wife is chilling so now is the time.

First order of business:  EMAILS.  Emails just need to be killed.  They represent to-dos and conversations.  It’s go time.

I have ONE personal email account, THREE side business accounts and ONE work account.  I prefer this type of insanity.

I keep my ONE personal and THREE side business (total of FOUR) all available via one application (postbox) and my work email in another application (mailplane).

This separation helps me cope with a lot of volume and allows me to check one side of my life or the other or both at the same time whenever I choose.

I used a moleskin (that’s the one I officially use) notepad to jot down notes and to-do’s and I entered anything I needed to get done this week into my new #TODOLISTPOWERMACHINE.  I’ll talk about that later on this week.

Next was to clear out all my TEXTS!  I am #TEXTINBOXZERO fanatic.

I knocked out a lot of small conversations that needed to happen via text which was great.  I caught up on a lot of odd and end email tasks.  Sent a new client a contract and then ended with reading a few Tim Ferris Blog Posts which in turn inspired me to write this post.

Boom!  Now go attack or be ATTACKED!

How to Deal with Christian Depression

By | bible, help, life | 2 Comments

“Joy is gone from our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.”

Disclaimer: Although I have had experience working with and counseling high school and young adults for over 10 years, I am not a licensed counselor. If you need professional help or advice, please seek that out in addition to or instead of this post.

That being said, I think it is important to address the issue of depression from my standpoint. The intended audience of this post is a young adult Christian who has recently changed environments and come out of experiencing regular emotional happiness and joy in their lives from the following:

  1. A community of good people who challenge them and relate to them.
  2. A history of generally getting what they want or what they think they want.
  3. Sustained positive feelings when associating with Christian activities such as successful events, worship meetings and good conversations.

Typically, when a person leaves this environment and the generally sustained positive feelings and emotions that came with it, they become “down” or in their mind, they are “depressed.”  It is the same dilemma as when a great trip comes to an end or when one comes down off of a mountain top.  The experience and elated views they once had are now gone, and the thought of reality has set in which is not as enjoyable.

First, what is depression?

“In a culture such as ours, where there is a high priority placed on performance and success as symbols of worthiness and where there is a diminishing opportunity to be successful, is bound to give rise to an increased gap between expectations and accomplishments.” – Dr. Archibald Hart (Coping with Depression)

It is actually hard to define exactly what depression is. It is the same as trying to describe what “feeling bad” is. What might make it easier is to evaluate the symptoms of it. Here is what Dr. Archibald Hart says in his book, Coping with Depression, are some of the main symptoms of depression:

  • Confused thinking
  • Slowed speech
  • Loss of interest in work or hobbies
  • Inertia
  • Fear of losing one’s mind
  • Flogging oneself with guilt and self reproach
  • Thoughts of death and death wishes
  • Feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of appetite or a marked increase in appetite
  • Feelings of total futility
  • Inability to sleep or oversleeping
  • Stomach discomfort

You might look at that list and realize that it’s not that bad. Or you might look at that list and realize that it is that bad. Either way, if you are dealing with some or most of these and you have recently moved from a “mountain top” environment that I described earlier, here are some ways to help.

1. You are not alone.

According to healthline.com, 1 in 10 Americans report that they struggle with depression. The first thing you need to understand that you are not alone. This is actually quite common.  Satan (our great enemy) wants you to feel like you are the only one that deals with this.  It is also very easy to think that if you are a Christian, you are not allowed to be depressed.  Where in scripture is this to be found?  Literally nowhere.  Be encouraged by that!

2. This is actually normal and quite healthy.

Just like the weather has seasons, your body has seasons. Most, if not all plants cannot bear fruit year round. That would destroy the plant. The world is full of mountaintops and valleys, which are both necessary and needed. Unfortunately, what happens in young Christians who are involved in churches, Para-church ministries and media start to equate high emotional feelings and excitement with being possible all year long. In America, we are a generally positive driven culture, especially in Christian circles. Our Christianity has blended with America’s success and humanistic values and created a monster.  Go into a Christian bookstore and look at the titles.

  • “You Can Overcome!”
  • “Your Best Life Now!”
  • “Sun Stand Still!”
  • “5 Ways To Get Your Life Back.”

On and on the titles go. The reality is that while this is appealing for all of us, it is not reality, nor should it be reality. We live in a cursed world. Genesis 3 tells us that this world is cursed and we are all broken. Depression in many cases actually serves as a helper throughout this broken world and with the broken bodies we live in. Again, Dr. Archibald Hart reminds of this.

“Ideally, depression performs a very important function. It triggers a series of important responses in the body to deal with the chaos in life.”

Maybe what you are dealing with is a sign to get out, slow down and change perspective.

3. It’s biblical For Crying Out Loud

Watch this. Most Biblical heroes struggled with depression. This is a reminder that you are not alone. The verse that I started this post with is from Lamentations 5.

“Joy is gone from our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.”

Read the Psalms. You will see very quickly that David and author Psalmists were incredibly depressed many times. In Matthew 5, Jesus says that blessed are the poor in spirit and blessed are those who mourn. What?!  This is in stark contrast to what our excitement driven and self-help Christian culture is selling. Jesus didn’t start out his famous sermon with “Blessed are those that feel great!”  or “Blessed are those that are successful!”  And praise the Lord for that!  Again, walking into a Christian bookstore is an alarming indication of the contrast.

4. What To Do.

Well here is the fun part. We all want OUT of depression. Here are a few things to do.

  1. Wait. Ouch. You didn’t want that. But here is the deal friends. Winter lasts for months in some places and weeks in other places. But it is always a part of the year. You cannot force winter to be over. You cannot force fruit to grow.
  2. Read. First, read your Bible. Actually listen to what it says. Learn from Biblical heroes about their depression. Then, gather some good resources and read. You can spend a few bucks right now on Amazing and have a kindle book delivered to your computer and start reading. Don’t just run to a counselor or doctor. See if you can help yourself first. I will recommend some books later.
  3. Do. Do something.  Activity does the body and soul good.  Sit down and evaluate some old loves or hobbies of yours and just take a day and go for it.  Doing something that makes you sweat is good to.  Also, making sure you are eating healthy and hydrated can make a huge difference in how your body feels.
  4. Talk to someone that is more than a friend. I know, you don’t relate well to someone who is older. But truthfully, find someone in your community or church that is older that will relate to you but also give you great perspective. Many people who ask me to meet are surprised that I deal with depression on and off like everybody else even though I am I serve in a vibrant ministry.
  5. Seek professional help. If you are still dealing with these things, seek professional help. But before you go to a “doctor” I recommend finding a good church and asking to meet with one of their counseling pastors. If you have been in your Bible and done some reading yourself, you will be far better prepared to spot someone who is giving you bad advice and move on to someone else.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Resources.

Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Depression
http://www.amazon.com/Womans-Guide-Overcoming-Depression-Archibald-ebook/dp/B00B8587GU/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409336354&sr=1-6&keywords=archibald+hart

Unmasking Male Depression
http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Male-Depression-Archibald-Hart-ebook/dp/B007V95C0G/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409338758&sr=1-4&keywords=archibald+hart

New Light on Depression
http://www.amazon.com/New-Light-Depression-Answers-Depressed-ebook/dp/B003MVZOZU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409339054&sr=1-1&keywords=new+light+on+depression

The Freedom from Depression Workbook
http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Depression-Workbook-Minirth-Clinic/dp/0840762070/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1409339147&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Freedom+from+Depression+les+carter

A Great Bible Reading Plan on Your iPhone/iPad

By | bible, tips | No Comments

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the “M’Cheyne” Bible Reading plan and I love it.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne was born in Scotland and lived from 1813-1843.  He only lived to be 29.  But he made a huge impact as a minister. He came up with a reading plan through the Bible where one reads the Old Testament once, the New Testament twice and the Psalms twice. It is about 4 chapters a day and is very doable.

There is also a Bible reading app for the iPhone/iPad that makes reading this plan even easier.

I made a PDF of the instructions here.