Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sneaking a Peek At Our Next Life-Changing Book

I always took pride in being a pretty good listener.  Especially since that's what I do for a living.

Clients and friends told me so.  A few family members.  And I believed them.  Until two years ago when I read Adam McHugh's The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction.

Turns out that some of my rather prideful assumptions were, well ... wrong and somewhat out of kilter. 

The Listening Life is our 2nd Book Open House selection.  To say I'm excited would be an understatement.

I can't help but believe that Adam's award winning book will upend, shake around, and pivot much of what you perceive about your own ability to listen.  In your personal relationship with God.  As you connect with others, especially those in deep pain.  As you consider what nature whispers.  As you pay attention to your body, your emotions, and those ongoing 'scripts' you believe.

And how we do listening in the church, oh the church.  God have mercy on us all.

The section on How To Be a Bad Listener is worth the cost of the book alone as you discover how bad listening often masquerades as good listening.  You might spy yourself in the scenarios he paints ... you'll smile, you'll wince, you'll find yourself convicted.

I'd venture to say that the discussion that emerges during this second Book Open House will enlighten and give us all plenty of those priceless 'aha' moments.  Comfort and hope mingle as we share our stories ... and realize, once again, 'Phew, I'm not the only one.'

Adam muses, 'The question that drives this book is, how would our relationships change, and how would we change, if we approached every situation with the intention of listening first?  What if we approached our relationship with God as listeners?  What if we viewed our relationship with nature as one of listening?  What if we approached our relationships using our ears rather than our mouths?  What if we sought to listen to our emotions before we preached to them?' 

McHugh's the kind of guide you'd choose if you were taking a long, winding journey to someplace unknown.  He's wise, he's got a keen sense of humor.  He knows where he's headed, because he's the first to admit the mistakes he's made in the past.

If you like reading with a highlighter or pen in hand, you'll be using yours full throttle.

This is a soul-stirring and convicting read, yet not at all ponderous or preachy.  Adam's anecdotes will crack you up ... his wry humor is even interlaced in the books's end notes.  Christianity Today listed The Listening Life as one of the 'books most likely to shape Evangelical life, thought, and culture' in their 2017 Book Awards.  It's that much of a game changer.

I'd love if you'd ... 

1.  Grab your paperback or Kindle edition of the book.  {As I hit the publish button, the Kindle edition is only $3.99!}   

2.  Mark your calendar for Thursday, April 19th.  Our weekly discussion kicks off that day and will run for 5 - 6 weeks.  

3.  Share this invitation with your FB tribe, blog, Twitter feed, small group, and book club.

4.  Subscribe so you don't miss a single post.

I can't think of a single soul that won't benefit from reading this book, but you're absolutely welcome to drop by and participate even if you don't read the book.

Anticipating ...  

P.S.  Curious what a Book Open House looks like?  Click here to check out our first.



listening at

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What's On Your Night-Table?

That piece of oft' unnoticed furniture lodged bedside speaks volumes about what's necessary for us at first dawn and as we burn the midnight oil.

And I'm guessing that the volumes stacked or strewn on our night stands say more about our reading than what's prominently displayed on coffee tables, tossed on desks, or perched perilously in random piles.

For these are the pages we reach for first thing in the morning and the ones that rock us into slumber late evening ... or maybe offer a soothing whisper in the middle of the night when we find that sleep eludes all efforts.

Here's the three books holding court this unedited morning ...

NIV Bible 
I'm doing a chronological reading, finding myself in 1 Samuel these days.  While I follow a plan, I do so loosely and am not tied to specific chapters on specific days.  I move slowly through the Word, this pace works for me, and keeps false guilt at bay when I miss a day or two.  No racing to catch up to the calendar date on a piece of paper.  I like this grace.  And I enjoy reading the Bible in the order that the events unfolded.
Chronological Reading Plan

Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life
Sarah Young's devotionals have always hit close to where I live.  I'm drawn to her little dialogues, the honest appraisal of emotions and challenges that speak to right where I'm coming from.  Jesus' responses are filled with truth laced with deep kindness.  The Scriptures are printed out and not just referenced.  That's appealing to me.  And I often share her readings with counseling clients after a session together.
Hardcover & Kindle

As Bright As Heaven
I pretty much read just one book at a time ...and Susan Meissner's brand new novel is front and center.  I've only read 27 pages, but I'm pretty sure I'm in.  Set in 1918 Philadelphia, the inside cover tells me that the storyline focuses on the Spanish flu pandemic, the overwhelming loss of loved ones, and a little orphaned baby who becomes a family's single source of hope.  'A compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making that will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.'
Hardcover & Kindle

So ... what's on your night-table?

Other Night-Table Posts ...




Friday, March 9, 2018

Invitation to Solitude & Silence * Book Open House Conclusion

Dear Seeking Friends ~

I'm not sure how to conclude these Invitation to Solitude & Silence sessions we've had together.  I am so grateful to have been able to share Ruth Haley Barton's life changing little treasure with you.  I'm appreciative that you've shared this series with your Facebook friends and have found this to be a safe community where you are comfortable in giving us a peek into your own unique spiritual journey.

I've been touched by seeing God at work.

Some of you have written that you've said, 'yes, please' to God's very personal invitations during these past six weeks.  That's what spiritual growth is all about, isn't it.

As you finish up the book, you might find yourself yearning to do a bit of re-reading with highlighter in hand or perhaps some journaling on passages that have hit home for you.  Anticipate the delightful probability of God inviting you to consider a life-changing decision or two in the days ahead.

And in the process, may Jesus Christ continue to be praised.

'Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you and will bring you back from captivity' 
{Jeremiah 29:12 - 14}.

Two final quotes from Invitation to Solitude & Silence ...

Chapter 11 - Receiving Guidance
The capacity to recognize the voice of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit arises out of friendship with God that is sustained through prayer, silent listening and attentiveness to all that is going on outside us, inside us, and between us and God.  Through practice and experience we become familiar with the tone of God's voice, the content of his communications with us and his unique way of addressing us.  We learn to recognize God's voice just as we recognize the voice of a loved one on the other end of the phone.  There is a place deep inside each of us where God's Spirit witnesses with our spirit about things that are true (Rom 8:16).  It takes experience and practice to learn to recognize the communication that goes on in that place.

Chapter 12 - For the Sake of Others
We discover that much that happens in solitude and silence ends up being "for others" - as paradoxical as that may seem.  Our speech patterns are refined by the discipline of silence, because growing self-awareness enables us to choose more truly the words we say.  Rather than speech that issues from subconscious needs to impress, to put others in their place, to compete, to control and manipulate, to repay hurt with hurt, we now notice our inner dynamics and choose to speak from a different place, a place of love, trust and true wisdom that God is cultivating within us.  Over time we become safer for other seeking souls, because we are able to be with them and the issues they are dealing with without being hooked by our own anxieties and fears.  We are comfortable with our humanity, because we have experienced God's love and compassion in that place, and so it becomes very natural for us to extend love and compression to other in their humanity.


What's been your biggest aha moment from the book?

And where do you go from here with what you've gleaned?

Beyond Words

Dangerously Tired

Book Open House #3
Rest for the Body
Rest for the Mind

Book Open House #4
Rest for the Soul

Book Open House #5
Facing Ourselves
Pure Presence


You might like Ruth's book


Coming Up ...
* * * Blogging Pitfalls.  It's lots of fun to write up a storm, to share our faith, creativity, stories, to cultivate an online community ... and invest valuable time in running around visiting our online friends.  But fasten your seat belts because we're going to be talking about the behind the scene pitfalls that so easily come along with our passion to blog.

* * * The Next Book Open House Selection - Coming soon.

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