Question: I Feel Bad For Being An Introvert

Two anonymous questions:

– I have two questions related to introversion: 1) When people start praying out loud, I get distracted, weirded out and don’t know what to say, so I just pray in my head. My mom says it’s something I have to correct. Is it? 2) Any tips on how to embrace my introversion and just be me? I’ve always felt misunderstood my whole life. I just want to be comfortable in my own skin without letting society’s standards pressure me.

– I’m starting college this fall and it seems the closer it gets, the more anxious I’m becoming. I’m an introverted person naturally but I want to be confident about making new friends. Even so, I end up doubting and convincing myself that everyone is just ‘better’ than me just because they are outgoing. I even get anxious that I didn’t choose the college God wants me to go to, which is dumb. I want to have faith in his plan and become secure based on the fact that God loves me, but I feel stuck.


Hello fellow introverts.  I’m glad we found each other.

You need to know first that there is nothing wrong with being introverted. 

God made you this way for a good reason — you can trust Him on that one.  As I’ve heard a fellow pastor say, God made you the way you are because He wanted to say something to the world that He couldn’t say through anyone else.

Some time ago, I wrote a post on introverts that got a response which I wasn’t prepared for.  I honestly had little idea that so many felt the same way: hamstrung by over-thinking, taking a long time to process things, staying quiet in Bible studies and small groups, and feeling sort of ashamed about it all.  I’m not really into labels — I think they can hurt us — but many, many people self-identify as introverted because they’re not sure how else to explain themselves.

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Question: Helping A Friend Start The Bible

Anonymous asked:
Hi, I recently asked a friend of mine to read the bible with me over the summer and she said yes! I am hoping you could give me suggestions on what bible passages to read with a non-Christian? I want to stick with one of the gospels! I’m not sure how much time we will have to be reading together what with work and going back to school in September, so I want to get the most out of the passages we will be reading that really show the love and hope we have in Jesus! Thanks!

That’s really awesome! I totally applaud you on this.

The best gospel to start with is John. My personal favorite is Mark because it’s short, fast, and incredibly detailed, but John really has a high focus on theology and the nature of God.

Some things to remember:

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The Qualification of the Non-Qualified

What I love about God is that He picks weird, awkward, empty, broken vessels like you and me to flex his crazy glorious Kingdom. No one else does this.

When others write you off, He writes you in.

Not because we are awesome, but He is.

It’s an amazing thing to witness God-powered purpose light up someone’s eyes as they’re brought from death to life. There’s nothing else like seeing the hollow shelled-out eyes of a self-loathing loser suddenly get a new license for glory. It takes no talent, no money, no status, no qualifications — but only the explosive interrupting grace of God, infusing veins with renewal.

One testimony is just as great as another — he kicked heroin and quit racing cops and stopped stealing purses and went to seminary, or she grew up in church her whole life and finally caught grace. Both are moving. Both are resurrection. Both tell His story.

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Question: Breaking Through The Fear of Prayer

Anonymous asked:

Hi, I recently decided to get serious with my relationship with God. I really want to draw close to him and have an intimate relationship with him. But one of the things I’m not so good at is prayer. Most of my prayers sound empty and dry to my ears and sometimes I don’t feel like sitting and talking with God. I really want to get to a point where I am constantly seeking him. Do you have any advice on how I could do this?


You know, dear friend: I have never met a single person that ever said, “I’m really good at prayer.  I got that so locked down.”

Almost everyone I know has four major fears about praying:

1) I don’t pray as much as I should.

2) When I do pray, I can’t focus.  It’s like a bad signal.

3) When I pray, it feels like I’m using God or just asking for stuff.

4) I don’t know if prayer is doing anything or I’m just talking to myself.

And it doesn’t help that some preachers are beating you up about the “spiritual disciplines” and piling on the guilt.  I mean it’s not entirely their fault: we all switch to guilt-mode when we try to follow God because for most of us, that’s the only way we know how.

So please allow me the grace to respond to these four fears.

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Quote: Different Doors

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.

— C.S. Lewis

Have Some Grace for the Corny Christian Guy


We all know the middle-aged dude in church who is really soft-whispery on the microphone and makes you wish you didn’t bring your friends, and he loves all the kitschy Christianese catchphrases like “Let Jesus into your heart of hearts” and other sprinkled sugar cliches. 

But hey: please have grace for this guy.

He might be a little cornball, but I think he really does love Jesus.  We need guys like him.

We could all stand to have some of that unjaded, invigorated energy on a Sunday. 

We could stand some of that soft gooey goodness to round out the kick drum and the loud preacher.

We could stand to be a little more positive.

Continue reading “Have Some Grace for the Corny Christian Guy”

The Impossible Love of God Meets Our Impossible Climb of Faith

Hello beloved friends!

This is the second part of a series called “Faith Struggle: The Messy Uphill Climb of Faith.”

The message is titled: The Impossible Love of God Meets Our Impossible Climb of Faith

It’s about moving forward in our Christian walk by grace instead of guilt.

Stream here or download directly here!  Save it for a car ride or work-out, or listen before you sleep.


The Scripture is Hosea 1-3.  Some things I talk about are: What church service looks like to an atheist outsider, manipulative preacher tactics and guilt-trips, the prophet Hosea as a Korean Drama, and how my first pastor uppercut my stubborn heart with grace.

To stream other podcasts, click here.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J

Question: The Church Is Messed Up But I Still Love Her — A Mega-Post On The Church

Four anonymous questions (edited for length) —

– Why do people try to make being a Christian harder than it already is? … That is daunting in itself if you’re prone to doubt and self-loathing … On top of THAT we’re expected to be smiling faces, loud singers, waving our bibles and screaming the Word from the mountain tops…

– Hello … I do not attend church due to unhealthy amount of judgement and alienation .. I am constantly made to feel I’m an abomination because I do not want to be a housewife or a mother. I am a writer, an illustrator, introverted. I’ve also fallen into depression and this feeling of alienation, even damnation, has gotten worse.

– I’ve left church for about a year now because of a friendship … which developed many complications … I felt that somehow God would want me to go back to church but pride (or whatever it is) is stopping me… Something feels amiss but I can’t figure out why. I do miss fellowship. Any thoughts on this?

– Hello. I’ve been feeling lost and alone for a while now. Although I attempt to join a church, I seem to not have a connection with them …  I would love to connect with the people around me, but they seem so distant. I have been praying to god that I would be able to find a community where I comfortable praise/worship him


I’m really sorry each of you have been made to feel this way.

As St. Augustine supposedly said, “The church is a whore, but she is my mother.”  He probably didn’t say that, but I agree.

Please know: I feel exactly what you’re feeling on both sides of the pulpit. I’ve been in backroom meetings with church leaders and I know all the horrible language they use to talk about the congregation.  I’ve visited at least forty or fifty churches in my lifetime, which is probably not a lot, but enough to know how little they preach on grace or Jesus. I have enough dirt on at least three ministries to ensure they never receive support again (let’s just say I know how to press “record” when the drama starts).  I’ve been in places where you are ridiculed for not following “their rules” and it’s just an inch away from being a cult.

There are preachers who preach grace like crazy, but act like complete a-holes behind the scenes.  My mom (not a Christian) visited a church where the pastor offered to sleep with her.  I’m not kidding.  I’ve been recently hurt by church so badly that, as of this writing, I’m currently not involved in any church staff (I was a youth pastor for three years and on staff for five, and admittedly, I never thought I was a very good pastor). However bad you think it is, it’s even worse.

Yet …

Yet I still love her. I still love the church.  I am not mad about these things anymore — I am just grieved and heartbroken.

As difficult as she can be, the church is still God’s idea.  Jesus said “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).  I often get questions like, “Do I have to attend church since ___?  Why do so many Christians suck?  Can I just pray and read Scripture by myself?”

My answer is always the same.  God created us to be in community together (Hebrews 10:19-25).  There’s no avoiding it.  It will not be easy, but without it, we will never be the fully formed individual we were called to be, nor can we become the collective countercultural force for good in the universe.

There are certainly guidelines to consider before committing to a home-church or leaving one — but please, find a church and build your roots.  As crazy as she is, we’re called to be part of God’s body for His glory.

While I can’t hope to answer all your specific concerns, here are a few things to consider.  Please feel free to skip around.

Continue reading “Question: The Church Is Messed Up But I Still Love Her — A Mega-Post On The Church”

Quote: Turn The Cheek

If somebody jabs you and you jab back, you better believe the person who jabbed you in the first place is going to frame it so you get all the heat. They won’t mention the instigation, they’ll just tell everybody what you said and did and pretend they never lifted a finger.
If a person has so little integrity that they jab you, you better believe they’re gonna win in the slop.
Here’s what Jesus says to do: Turn the other cheek.
Insane, isn’t it? Jesus says to take the hit and walk on.
It stinks, I know. And it’s not like it’s a tactic that helps you win in the end. It doesn’t. But it’s great damage control, it’s humbling, and it’s saying to the world you don’t think you’re God.
By turning the other cheek we avoid the pig slop.

— Donald Miller

Preachers: A Sermon Gut-Check


Fellow pastors and teachers and leaders: I know the frenzy of Saturday night when you’re scrambling to get your sermon just right. After you got your three points, consulted all the commentaries, and fit in your illustrations, here are a few checks to consider that have helped immensely. 

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Quote: Papa Daddy

When the disciples ask, “How do we pray?” Jesus says, “Pray like this: Dad.” … Muslims don’t use that word. Pantheists, pluralists, polytheists don’t use that word “Dad.” That’s a radical word. My seven year old daughter, she’ll just come sit on my lap. She’s very affectionate, she’ll kiss me on the cheek. “Hey papa daddy, can we go for a walk?” She holds my hand, she wants to go for a walk. So when I get silence and solitude with the Father, maybe His heart feels a little bit like when I go for a walk with one of my kids. My son who is nine comes up to me and says, “Hey dad, something happened at school today. Can I talk to you about it?” I wonder if this is what God feels like when I pray to Him. My son who’s just turned twelve, he’s real smart, he’s got a real complex question, something he’s trying to untie the knot to, he comes to talk to me. I wonder if this is what the Father feels like when I pick up His Word trying to hear His voice.

People are drawn to God in a way they’re not drawn to religion. You’re talking about a Father who loves His kids, who enjoys His kids, who pursues His kids, has compassion on His kids, forgives His kids, and gives gifts to His kids. Tell me more about that dad.

— Mark Driscoll