Introducing Rush podcast: Holy Spirit in Modern Life 🎉 

Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched!

Hey there,

Today is the day! Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched! Consider this your personal invitation to listen to the trailer, our first five episodes, and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, so you can be one of the first to hear new episodes when they drop each Tuesday and Friday.

Plus, we have a brand new website where you can subscribe to the podcast directly. We’d love to hear what you think about it all, so drop us a line!

With much joy and anticipation,

Justin

It Matters

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It Matters

. . . work with a smile on your face
. . . you’re really serving God—Ephesians 6:5-8

How do you think about work, about your work? Is it awesome? Drudgery? A calling? A means to an end? Separate from your faith? An expression of your faith?

God designed us, built us, for work (Genesis 2:15). Work is his gift, not his punishment, nor even a necessary evil. It’s how we’re brought into how he’s blessing and helping his sons and daughters (Ephesians 4:28). You see, God provides his blessings and help . . . through people . . . through us. The blessing of a house, for example, is given by God, but through the people who build it; who assist in its purchase, like the realtor and the banker; who make and sell the furnishings; who maintain it; and even those who insure the house against its loss. All this seemingly secular work becomes sacred when it’s done (1) to love and serve God and his purposes, and (2) to love and serve God’s sons and daughters. It may not seem like it sometimes—especially with supply chains as long and complex as they are today—but it does. There’s no menial or meaningless work as long as it helps someone else in a positive way.

It’s in this, in being part of God’s blessing and helping others, that we find our purpose and meaning (Matthew 20:26-28). It’s also how we find joy. Our King, Jesus Christ, teaches us this: “You’re far happier giving than getting” (Acts 20:33-35; John 15:11-15 MSG). Contrary to what our culture teaches, we’re happier exhausting ourselves for the good of others—putting their needs before our own.

Living With Urgency

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Living With Urgency

The night is about over, dawn is about to break—Romans 13:11-14

No question, a lot of us men are living in“I know, I know” mode . . . in “I’m gonna do it, but just not right now” mode. You see, we know what’s important; we’ve just convinced ourselves we’ve got all kinds of time. And, because life is crazy busy right now, we’ve resolved to get around to doing what we know we should be doing, later—when things slow a bit. We’ll change our ways, later. We’ll get around to actually living out our faith, later.

But, what if there’s no later? What if this day, today, was our last day?

It couldn’t possibly be. Waking up this morning was just like waking up yesterday. Tomorrow’s sure to be the same. There’ll always be plenty of time . . . right? Well, the Apostle Peter wrote that God’s right now “restraining himself,” because he loves you and me (2 Peter 3:8-9 MSG). He’s “holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change” (2 Peter 3:8-9 MSG). But, warned Peter, it won’t last forever: “. . . when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief” (2 Peter 3:8-10 MSG). When the last day comes, the “space and time” God’s been giving us will vanish. So Peter made his appeal: “Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life?” (2 Peter 3:11-13 MSG). So Peter made his appeal: live with urgency.

Unmitigated Genius

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Unmitigated Genius

. . . he will teach you all things—John 14:26

What’s the Holy Spirit like? Well, we know he’s a genius, but not the kind we’re used to. His genius is “not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age” (1 Corinthians 2:6). His genius is beyond human discovery. He “searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). He’s an unmitigated genius. A perfect genius.

We also know, he’s here for us. He was sent by God the Father, at the request of our King, Jesus Christ, to bring truth “out into the open” and “make everything plain”—all to “bring out his best in us” (1 Corinthians 2:6-10; John 14:25-27 MSG). He was sent to take you and me “by the hand” and guide us “into all the truth there is” (John 16:12-15 MSG). Think about that . . . “all the truth there is” . . . suffused into our lives. Well, that’s his mission.

So, the only question is, what do we do? The answer is, not that much, actually. We just give him a chance, by doing the simple things Jesus taught: meditate, pray, study, fast, serve, confess, repent, worship, celebrate. He does everything else. Of course, the more we do, the better—though, even one of those, even imperfectly done, allows the Spirit to introduce some of his genius into our lives. When we fail to do even a little, though, it doesn’t: “The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 MSG).

It’s Almost Here! 👊

podcast is an opportunity in the middle of the busy of your day to consider what God is saying to you.

Hey there,

As a WiRE reader, you appreciate seeking God’s truth. You know it’s powerful, life-giving, and life-changing. But, I bet you are eager for more wisdom and practical encouragement in your life.

Yeah, me too.

This is why I created something that I think you’re going to love as much as I do. It’s an invitation to take another step, to encounter God in a new, fresh way.

So what’s the exciting news? Very shortly, Gather Ministries is launching a brand new podcast! It’s called Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life. Rush is the resource you need to galvanize your relationship with God. It’s designed specifically for men and women who want to encounter the breath of God and practice responding to Him in their lives.

Here is what each episode will include: (1) a hook designed to grab your attention (2) a portion of Scripture to challenge, encourage, and energize you, (3) a prophetic message of wisdom filled with fresh perspective; and (4) a contemplative exercise that will inspire, provoke, and invigorate you. It’s changing our lives and our hope is that it will change yours!

Rush podcast is an opportunity in the middle of the busy of your day to slow down, even if just for a few moments, and consider what God is saying to you. Each episode is between 11 and 12 minutes long and goes live on Tuesdays and Fridays.

I’ll soon send you one final reminder about the launch of Rush, so you can be one of the first to listen and subscribe. You’re not going to want to miss an episode!

Feel free to respond back to this email. I’d love to hear what you think!

With respect and excitement,

Justin

Solve the Scripture Problem

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Solve the Scripture Problem

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path—Psalm 119:105

We must read Scripture, brother. God chose those words for you and for me. “Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us” (Romans 15:4 MSG). God chose those words, carefully, so we could read them. And he designed us to need to read them. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Most of us can do better—reading Scripture more and with more regularity. Figuring out how is the problem. But it’s a problem we should approach with excitement and intentionality and optimism, not with guilt or reluctance or resignation. It’s a problem we should approach with creativity, recognizing our unique designs and identities, our unique preferences and tendencies—for the solutions to the problem are as unique and varied as we are.

Something New for  You! 

We’ve created something for you. 😀 It’s free. It’s inspiring. It’s practical. It’s a tool that could potentially change how you experience God.

Hey!

There is something I am excited to tell you. We’ve created something for you. It’s free. It’s inspiring. It’s practical.

It’s a tool that could potentially change how you experience God.

I will be sending you more information next week. So, stay tuned!

With excitement and gratitude,

Justin

What You Love to Do? Do That!

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What You Love to Do? Do That!

Get away with me and you’ll recover your life . . .
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace—Matthew 11:28-29

We’re all built by the same creator. And we’re built by him to “come home,” every so often. This coming home is integral to the lives we’re meant to live. God’s built us to need, and to receive, his loving care. He’s built us to be restored, by him. (Psalm 23:1-6; Matthew 11:28).

The thing is, many of us men don’t know how to come home. We’re each designed to do it uniquely, so it takes some discovery. Few of us do that. If we do discover how, though, and if we begin to come home regularly, we live in a condition of abundance. We get filled up—and are able to overflow onto others, onto spouses, children, friends, people in need. We are able to give, for we’ve first received. We’re able to love and serve as we were meant to. We’re able to be who we were created to be and to do the work we were created to do.

If we neglect the task of discovery, if we fail to learn how to come home, we operate instead in a condition of depletion. We tend to try to pull what we (think we) need from other people. We tend to try to take from them, rather than overflow onto them.

Grabbing Some Solitude

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Grabbing Some Solitude

. . . he would withdraw to desolate places and pray—Luke 5:16

Why are we men so bad at solitude? Our king did it quite well. As a man, Jesus knew his limitations. He understood his need to connect with his father—to his guidance and power. He knew how good that connection was. He wants us to know too.

If it’s so good, though, why do we struggle? Well, it’s a little because we’re busy. Solitude is hard when you’re working and/or married and/or have kids and/or have friends. And, it’s a little because we’re not well practiced. Our culture trains us for motion and multitasking—not for slowing and simplifying. And it’s a little because, deep down, we know solitude means confrontation. You see, solitude removes distractions and leaves us, for a few minutes, alone with God the Holy Spirit. Solitude is sometimes defined as being alone, but we aren’t. The Spirit dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). God’s right there. And we never know what might happen when we’re alone with God. He might ask us to stop something we don’t want to stop or start something we don’t want to start. He might. He does that (Hebrews 12:5). But if we avoid his confrontation, we’ll miss his companionship, counsel, comfort, restoration, and rescue. So, we must take courage. We must not worry that we don’t yet do it well. And, we must make solitude a priority, just as Jesus did.

Can You Handle The Truth?

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Can You Handle the Truth?

. . . woe to him who is alone when he falls
and has not another to lift him up—Ecclesiastes 4:10

Support and encouragement are crucial for friendship, of course. But by themselves, they aren’t enough—not even close. True friendship requires more. The kind of friendship God intends requires that we look deeper, that we try to see things only friends can see. And it requires that we tell the truth (Ephesians 4:15). So, when friends are stuck or struggling with denial or passivity or sin, true friendship requires that we face awkwardness or embarrassment or fear of rejection head-on, and that we name problems honestly (though gently, too) and make every attempt to challenge and push, rescue and restore (Galatians 6:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:14). True friendship requires that we go “all in.” It requires that we be willing to initiate tough conversations, when tough conversations are needed.

The inverse, of course, is that we need friendship like that too. To lead robust, upright lives, we too need friends who are willing to be honest. To lead robust, upright lives, we too need friends who, like God, love us too much to let us to get stuck or struggle on our own. To lead robust, upright lives, we too need friends who are “all in” and willing to initiate tough conversations. We must be intentional about surrounding ourselves with such men . . . and, as hard as it might be, we must be willing to learn how to hear honest feedback without indignation, defensiveness, or counterattack.