Toxic In, Toxic Out

Beatitudes, Jesus, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth

I was sitting on the porch swing of a cabin at a campground near Eunice, Louisiana. It was my first 24-hour retreat since being in full-time vocational ministry. And it was long overdue.

I was a couple years into my current role as a Lead Pastor and feeling somewhat overwhelmed. I was beginning to feel a desperate need for something different in my spiritual practices.

So I spent some time at this campground for the singular purpose of meeting with God. On that sunny afternoon, I sat on that swing praying with my Bible, a small notebook, and a bag of Doritos (Not the fun-size, mind you. The family-size).

As I sat there chomping on those Doritos, I thought to myself, “It’s 2 o’clock. If I keep eating these Doritos, I’m not going to have any room for dinner.”

And just as clear as can be, a stream of thoughts began to flow through my mind. I began to realize that in order for my spiritual health to change, I had to first change my “spiritual diet.” Just as one’s food intake is limited by stomach space, my spiritual appetite is also finite. If all I do is consume the spiritual junk food of the environment around me, there is not enough space in my soul to crave (let alone receive) the true nourishment of God’s living presence.

The Six Most Influential Books I’ve Read Within the Last Decade

Books, Kingdom of God, Spiritual Growth

I’m a book geek. I won’t hide it, nor will I apologize for it.

Over the last few years, reading has played an indispensable role in helping me discover a richer, deeper, more satisfying life with Christ.

But it’s not just reading, per se. It’s learning what to read and who to read. Like digging for gold, you’ve got to know where to look.

So I figured I’d share some of the books and authors that have impacted me the most. There are many, many really good books that I could recommend, to be sure. But for me, these are in a separate category.

So here goes, in no particular order…

Staying on the Journey

Kingdom of God, Spiritual Growth

One recent Saturday morning, my son Carson and I decided to go on a little hike on the Acadiana Park Nature Trail in Lafayette. Ill-advisedly, we decided to bring our chihuahua, Deuce. Just us three guys hanging out.

Deuce is named after famous New Orleans Saints running back, Deuce McAllister, who retired after the 2006 season.

So as you may have already guessed, Deuce (the chihuahua) is getting up in years. He is 14 years old. And it shows. He can’t run as fast or jump as high as he used to. His joints give him problems. He also suffers a bit with asthma. Not to mention, he can also get rather cranky if you have the audacity to pet him while he’s taking one of his frequent power naps.