Tag Archives: #insideout

Inside Out – All Will Be Well – Lacy Finn Borgo – 01/11/23



From the loss of school connections during the pandemic to the death of a grandparent, sometimes well-meaning adults misstep as they try to help grieving children.   

I think we can get a little clouded around making ourselves feel more comfortable rather than kind of accompanying the child where they are,” says Lacy Finn Borgo. Her 2022 children’s picture book “All Will Be Well: Learning to Trust God’s Love” is written to help children face loss and grief. “So we might say things that make us, as adults, feel better, but it might not meet the child where they actually are.” 

Borgo emphasizes that, with God, we can know that all will be well even when someone we love dies. But how do we help children see that “all will be well” does not mean that “everything will be the same as it was”? “Children and even adults, we can’t sort of get our minds logically around that. We learn it and we live it a little bit every day.” Borgo says. “We can know it in our heads, but learning it in our souls and our bodies are something else.”  

What we can do for children—and this helps with adults as well—is to help them feel secure right now as they express their emotions, long before it feels like “all will be well.”  

“So making space for them to have a place to talk about how they feel, and accepting the emotions, and giving them a place and a way to process them, helps them to know that all will be well,” she says.   

Learn more about Lacy Finn Borgo’s book “All Will Be Well: Learning to Trust God’s Love.”  


22-1214_Inside Out_ Avoiding Holiday Discord  



Are you dreading the big family Christmas get-together because of the potential for conflict?

“Our love for Christ makes a great difference,” Dr. Chet Weld says, “so we remember the Scripture that says: ‘love triumphs over judgment,’ and we want to be filled with the love of Christ and love everyone unconditionally as Jesus does.”

Weld draws from 42 years as a Christian therapist to suggest several strategies to keep our focus positive and our attitude encouraging.

“My first point is to be in prayer in the weeks and days before a family occasion,” he says.

There really is a lot on the line.

“Entire family dynamics revolve around these get-togethers such as weddings, or memorial services, or Christmas,” he says about big family gatherings. “These gatherings are so important because the effects of them can last for years and years and years.”

Because of that, it’s good to also include prayer on the day of celebration.

“This sort of sets the tone,” he says. “I think it’s very important.”

And how we engage in conversation that day can make a difference for good, too. Weld recommends focusing on others: on how they’ve overcome difficulties over the past year, what they’re thankful for, and how knowing what they have control over could make for a smoother new year.

Weld’s recommendations could make for a more joyful gathering and warmer connections moving forward.

“You’ll get to build the relationships if all goes well,” he says.

Dr. Chet Weld’s upcoming book is titled “God is in the Crazy.”


Inside Out – You Really Have the Time



Your life is probably not too busy to fit in prayer, Bible reading, or another of the disciplines that draw us closer to God.   

“We all the time think: ‘Oh well, at the end of the day I just didn’t have time to read my Bible today,’ or, ‘I just didn’t have time to pray today.’ And we thought, ‘I wonder how much time it actually takes to do those things?’” 

The “we” Megan Evans Hill is referring to is Hill and her co-author Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, who pulled out their stopwatches and reported what they learned in the Gospel Coalition article “Build Spiritual Habits in Just a Few Minutes.”   

“We timed ourselves to see exactly how long that thing would take, so that then, when we were planning our days, we would have a realistic sense of, ‘You know, actually I do have five minutes. I could do one of these things,’” Hill says in our six-minute podcast. 

So we actually can include what we say are our priorities in our day-to-day lives.  

“For example,” the book author and managing editor for The Gospel Coalition says, “there are something like 10 books of the Bible that you can read in 10 minutes, which is the same amount of time that it takes to make a cup of tea or take a shower.” 

And today is as good a day to start as any. 

“You can start with some things that take very little time. Praying for someone can take as little as 30 seconds. Or reading one Bible verse can take less than 30 seconds. So start with those little things,” she says. 

What’s stayed with Hill most significantly after writing the article is not how much she can include in her days, but how much she can be used to add to the lives of others. 

“Part of what has really stuck with me is how little time it takes to do good to someone else, as well. And so, not just me reading the Bible, me praying, but going, ‘Hey, if I’ve got time to do a few things for myself, I probably have time to do a few things that would encourage others also.’”  

Read the article that inspired our conversation here


22-1116-Inside Out_ Your Friend, Cancer, and the Holidays



People with cancer are already in a club nobody wants to be a member of. Add holidays to the mix and it gets even more complicated.  

“As far as the holiday season, because of the emotion, and the community and the family gatherings, it’s a tough time to be dealing with a cancer diagnosis. But God likely, very likely, is at work,” says author Deborah Barr, who interviewed people fighting cancer for her latest book, Strength for the Cancer Journey.  

How can we help our friends with cancer, especially this time of year?  

First of all, we can pray.  

“Prayer is the one thing that Christians can do that unbelievers can’t do for someone with cancer,” Barr says. “But, of course, support takes many forms beyond that. And this is just where we just become the Lord’s extension to that person.” 

Do offer to help, she recommends, but resist placing the burden on your friend to come up with the way to help.  

“Especially during the holiday season, a lot of people with cancer are reluctant to ask for help because they don’t want to inconvenience us,” she says.  

So it’s on us to think about our friend’s day-to-day life, and then offer to do something specific.    

“Sometimes it’s just practical help. It’s can I pick up a prescription for you? Or babysit so they can take a nap. Sometimes the best support is just listening, sincerely, with real interest.” 

As we think of friends with cancer, it’s good to keep in contact with those who are nearing the end of their treatments. Some handle chemo and radiation well enough but crash emotionally after it’s all over.   

“It’s because sometimes, when the treatments end, so does the support,” Barr says. “The need for support doesn’t go away when the treatments are finished. For many people, that may be when your support means the most.” 

In other words, it’s never too late to begin supporting a friend who’s fighting cancer.

“I believe God can make us sensitive to that so we can step in when others are stepping away,” Barr says. 

Hear our full conversation in this 13-minute podcast. 

Learn more about Deborah Barr. 

Read about her book Strength for the Cancer Journey.  


22-1102_Inside Out_ Humility in an Age of Disagreement



Jesus calls us to humility, and that’s what’s needed to mend divisions in our churches and communities.  

“There’s a really kind of twisted pressure in Christianity in this day and age to sort of make a name for yourself. And that can blatantly happen as we’re seeing people professionalize their brand, like try to build a name for themselves instead of God’s Kingdom,” says author, broadcaster, and podcaster Aubrey Sampson. 

Jesus calls us instead to choose the place of least honor and leave it to God to raise us up to honor, Sampson points out. That means exercising humility in every interaction, whether on social media, in the neighborhood, or with family. Even when we think we’re right.     

“Even if we don’t mean this, we say it in our minds: ‘We don’t agree on this thing. My way is right. Therefore I’m better than them.’ And suddenly we are no longer humble servants that Jesus called us to be, we’re putting ourselves in that place of honor, even if in our own minds. And that posture is just not the way of Jesus,” she says. 

God’s people are called to unity, which is not the same as uniformity. 

“We are called, by God Himself, we are called by Jesus: ‘Love one another. Build each other up. Serve one another,’” she says. “It doesn’t mean agreeing on everything, but somehow we have to begin asking the Lord to help us be humble, even with people we think are blatantly wrong. And I think that maybe shows us the plank in our own eyes, too, right?” 

None of it is easy. But Jesus, who humbled Himself and gave His life for us, never intended for us to do this on our own.    

“Truly, it’s the Holy Spirit transforming you to help you become more and more like Jesus and put the other person first,” she says.  

Hear our entire conversation during this 14-minute Inside Out podcast.  

Read Aubrey Sampson’s article that inspired the conversation here.

Read more about Aubrey Sampson here.

 


22-1019-Inside Out_ What to Do with Anger



Learning to negotiate anger is key if we’re going to have good relationships.      

Dr. Josh Straub and his wife Christy Straub want to help children learn that early. The Straubs are family and leadership coaches who head up the organization Famous at Home, and their newest book for children is What Do I Do with Anger? 

“I think it’s our God-given emotion that helps protect us from something that could potentially harm us,” says Josh Straub, my guest on this Inside Out podcast. 

Though it’s God-given, it’s important to know that anger is a secondary emotion, Straub points out. There’s always something behind it. If recognizing that we’re angry is going to be beneficial, we need to look for what’s fueling it. 

“If you think about what’s in the seat behind, driving the bus, it’s another emotion,” he says. 

It’s important to teach children to go looking for what that is. To help them, the Straubs use a repeated phrase in the book: “Anger can show you what’s deep in your heart. Naming that feeling can bring a fresh start.”  

Listening, Straub says, will be key to discovering and naming that feeling. 

“James, chapter one, says to be ‘quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.’ And then in verse 20 it says, ‘because human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness,’” Straub says. “And I think it’s so important for us not just to look at the verse to go, ‘Hey, we have to listen to others,’ but we also have to listen to what’s going on with ourselves.”  

It’s a skill that will help children throughout their lives.    

“Feelings can teach us a lot about situations, so we know how to set boundaries and enter into healthy relationships, and then manage those relationships well,” he says. 

Learn more about Dr. Josh Straub and Christy Straub and their books here.  


22-0921-Inside Out_ Growing Disciples Like Jesus Did



Around the country, Christians are exiting the Church or adapting the faith to accommodate their preferences. Dennis Allen believes the way to grow resilient, mature disciples is to return to the way Jesus did it.  

“Until leaders, leaders in Christ, until we start changing the culture, to realize what relationship means, and true biblical discipleship means, we’re going to keep Xeroxing brittle Christians,” says Allen, a corporate CEO and the author of the new book The Disciple Dilemma.

“We need to walk alongside each other,” he says. “And we don’t know how to do that well in the church. We know how to go to church, but we don’t know how to walk alongside each other well.” 

We can return to building disciples relationally, the way Jesus did, helping believers see the importance and cost of commitment. But making the change to labor-intensive disciple-building will take time.  

“We like to think in our culture—the American culture—everything’s a microwave pizza. The reality of this is it’s more of a greenhouse model. Leadership needs to make that richer, fuller soil, to raise up disciples. So if you were raising up plants, bushes, and trees, that’s not an overnight moment, that’s not one sermon, not one program.” 

This isn’t a church culture change that rests on the shoulders of leadership alone. The people in the pews are key to helping to grow Jesus-dedicated disciples.   

“We owe these wonderful followers of Christ who are leading us great respect, love, and support,” Allen says. “And what we do not owe them is a spectator in the pew. We owe them coming up and saying, “Put me in, Coach.” 

Hear my conversation with Dennis Allen by listening to this 8.5-minute podcast.  

Learn more about Dennis Allen and his book  The Disciple Dilemma here.


22-0824-Inside Out_Discernment: Pursuing What’s Good



Both Church and country are deeply divided. Author Hannah Anderson believes developing the biblical discipline of discernment can help us sort through all the messages so that we can determine what is good and then pursue it.  

“We are being flooded with information and the conversations are often so polarized, so tribal, that we almost need more discernment, maybe, than previous generations,” she says.  

Anderson’s the author of three books. One of them is All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment.  

“A lot of the polarization that we’re experiencing is because we’re missing this longer, harder process of discernment,” she says. 

Discernment, as expressed in the Bible, is more than identifying what’s wrong. It’s “knowing the difference between good and bad so that you can pursue the good,” she says. 

Every day there’s more to wade through to find what’s good. Unlike in any time in history, our phones and laptops bring the debates of the public square right to our kitchen tables.  

“We’re flooded with conflicting opinions,” she says. “And I think to handle that, sometimes we will take shortcuts.” 

Shortcuts can seem attractive because they simplify a complicated world.  

“Some of those shortcuts can just be something as simple as polarization and tribal affinity: ‘If my guy said it, then it’s true. And if your guy said it, then it’s false.’ That really is just a way for human beings to cope with this very chaotic world,” she says. “But it is a shortcut, and it won’t necessarily lead us to goodness.”  

That’s because when we retreat into safe spaces, or hunker down in like-minded tribes, the people we depend on to tell us what to think could be wrong, and should be challenged. 

“That’s why developing discernment in the way that the Scripture speaks about it, as testing things for whatever is true, pure, lovely, of good report, whatever is excellent–that that list of virtues that ultimately reflect the nature of God, those kinds of tests are harder in many ways,” she says. “But they actually lead us to goodness.” 

Learn more about Hannah Anderson and her books here.


22-0810-Inside Out_Pro-Life Post Roe



The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade promises to save lives. But women continue to face the circumstances that motivated them to choose abortion in the past.  

“In every state we will have women who–married and unmarried–face an unwanted pregnancy, face fear, anxiety, and real challenges for bringing that baby into the world,” says Jen Pollock Michel in today’s Inside Out conversation. Michel is an award-winning author whose recent Christianity Today article is titled, “I Was Pro-Life In Theory. It Took Much More to Actually Help.”  

To be pro-life in America after Roe, Michel believes, means that for many the work–and sacrifice–is just beginning. 

“A pro-life position means that we’re helping to reimagine a world where every baby is not only brought into the world, but able to flourish,” she says.  

Many who choose abortion are poor or alone, overwhelmed, unsupported, or in fragile health. Bringing a baby to term can make any of those circumstances more difficult. 

“I don’t think the majority of women want to give up their children–want to abort their children. I think they just can’t imagine raising them well,” she says. “How could we change that equation for women is what I’d love to think about.” 

If many of the babies and their mothers are going to be surrounded by a supportive community, and have healthy food and good medical care, it’s going to mean sacrifice by those who’ve wanted Roe v. Wade overturned.   

“What I think Christians could really start to think about, and what I’d like to challenge myself to think about, is: how do I care about children who don’t have the resources that my own children have, so that we can help women consider wanting to bring a child in to the world, and feeling like she might have the resources available to her.” 

Learn more about Jen Pollock Michel here

Read her article “I Was Pro-Life In Theory. It Took Much More to Actually Help” here.

“I would love for us to imagine all the ways that we could create the kind of world where not only is abortion illegal, but is actually undesirable,” Michel says.