The Truths and Myths of Christian Dating and Relationships


Hello wonderful friends! Here’s a seminar that I gave in San Jose, CA about the truths and myths of dating & relationships within both the church-culture & pop-culture. Stream below or download directly here.

Some things I talk about are: “The time I overheard a couple have their final knock-down drag-out fight, my absolutely favorite type of scene in the movies, what everyone really wants in the hospital, dating theology from Taylor Swift, when God looks at you through the ceiling, and Christianity according to a cologne sample.”

I also did a follow-up Q&A which you can stream below or download here.

Some of the content is from my book on relationships.
Be immensely blessed! — J.S.

Photo from my engagement shoot, by Angel He Photography


The Better Version Of Yourself: Before You Stopped Asking The Hard Questions

I love the intensity of a person who is seeking the truth. The openness, the curiosity, the humility, the sudden flash of understanding, the questions. There’s an endless thirst there that is admirable, stirring, almost naive, bursting with wonder.

It has nothing to do with being Atheist-Muslim-Hindu-Jewish-Buddhist-Pagan-Wiccan-Christian-Whatever.

It has everything to do with posture, attitude, the ferociousness of sculpting out a fresh identity, the fascination of a soul on fire, connecting new things for the first time and still treating old things like they’re new. The discipline, the digging deep, the thrill of revelation and epiphany.

There’s a deep sadness over people who lose that spark. I see it in their eyes. It’s not so much that they don’t care for the truth — but that they lost interest in seeking it. They call it too hard, or too much, or settle for something less. In turn they’d rather not hear anything about themselves either: good, bad, or ugly.

The walls rise, the fog drops, and the fire is put out. A wasted mind.

At some point they just gave up; their conversations full of shallow, surface, thoughtless, bland statements that have nothing to do with anything. The only urgency is for what time the movie starts.

I can’t help but think, You used to be a better version of yourself.

Continue reading “The Better Version Of Yourself: Before You Stopped Asking The Hard Questions”

Question: Not Talented

Anonymous asked:
Does God give everyone talents? I haven’t figured mine out yet and i’m starting to believe that I dont have one.

Yes. God just about everywhere in the Bible is clear about uniquely wiring people with certain gifts for specific tasks, and I’d say every single person has got at least one super-wow ability to be unleashed on the world. Our brothers Oholiab and Bezalel were filled with the Spirit of God to sculpt the freaking temple where God lived. So God gave these brothers even the skill to swing a hammer in a ferocious way.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and Romans 12, God talks about individual gifts given from the Holy Spirit to serve the church and the world. Most would argue this is different from a “talent.” Theologically, they may be right. But I do think we sometimes separate too much the “secular” talents and the “spiritual” gifts. Both are inherent to each individual, meaning we can’t really copy someone else’s abilities down to the letter, and these gifts are also to be cultivated and trained.

Discovering how God has uniquely wired you is the easy part. Just try everything. Not just what you like, and try it in large groups, and alone. Read a lot. Ask around.

The harder part is gut-checking your motives. Get this right: the purpose of your life is not the purpose of your life. You find a talent or a million, great, but that by itself is worthy of two seconds of applause or a search on YouTube. The purpose of your unique purpose is for God’s purposes. Seek that first and you know, everything else will be thrown in.

Everyone Else’s Vision For You

We do not fit each other’s shoes, even if they are the same size. We don’t think alike, so our expectations from each other will often miss or explode. You’re scared of spiders, I’m scared of heights, and we both think the other’s fear is a little silly. We cry at different parts of the same movie, don’t laugh at the same parts of different movies, I hate the movies you like, and you hate the food I love. Even if we had the same goals, we would chase it in our own unique way.

Still we forget this, that everyone is two different people, and we burden each other with our own vision of life as if we must all have the same one or die.

Every single thing on earth is trying to wrap you in its vision. That shoe company wants you in their shoes. That teacher thinks you’d make a good lawyer, or engineer, or accountant. Your friend says be single like me. Your parents want you to be a surgeon, a lieutenant, part of the family business, but not an artist or writer. The television tells you to lose weight, put on make-up, have eye surgery, get this car, buy these clothes, and then you will be successful. Nearly everyone will tell you what you can do, can’t do, shouldn’t do, and will do. Some are right, some are wrong, but you’ll be darn sure to hear their opinion anyway. As long as you don’t, heaven forbid, think for yourself.

Nothing is satisfied with how you are and wants you to be how they think you should be. But nothing on earth has that kind of authority over you. No one has business being the boss of your vision, to inform the fixture of your individually designed soul: but we let it happen.

Over time, by degrees, fooled by the bright signs and detours, we turn our will over to everyone else’s vision. Until we are merely a concoction of pop culture, radio songs, the latest jeans, and a hairdo that will not impress your kids and their kids — it is the slow death by marketing and conformity into an eclectic pastiche of cheap imitation.

Continue reading “Everyone Else’s Vision For You”