Tag Archives: what matters most

One-Minute Review: “Free” by Mark Scandrette

This week my pal Dallas Friesen gave me a copy of Free: Spending Your Time and Money On What Matters Most by Mark Scandrette.  My goal was the read it in a week.

I read it in a little over 5 days.


Here’s my one-minute review:


“What’s ‘Free’ all about?”
Free is a no-nonsense, how-to guide on living with greater presence and purpose.  Free offers a steady stream of ideas, experiments, stories, and worksheets (lots of worksheets!) that are all focused on one thing: getting you to take practical, simple steps to live into a life that is free from anxiety, fear, meaninglessness, debt, and self-centredness.

“Should I read it?”
Absolutely.  I’ve read a lot of books on the subjects of stewarding one’s time and money, and Free would contend for the top spot.  At worst, it will provide you with quite a few Kingdom “gut-checks” as you explore whether or not your use of time and money is actually aligned to what matters most.  At best, this book could launch you into an entirely new way of living out your faith with integrity, joy, and purpose.  I think Free is particularly helpful for those of us who are seeking to exchange the self-serving, materialistic scripts we’ve inherited from our culture for Jesus’ counter-cultural path of simplicity, generosity, and self-sacrifice.



Beginning To Live For The First Time

A Christmas morning reflection via Richard Rohr that perfectly captures the power and glory of Christmas:

On this Christmas Day, let me begin with a quote from the twentieth-century writer G. K. Chesterton:  “When a person has found something which he prefers to life itself, he for the first time has begun to live.”

Jesus in his proclamation of the kingdom told us what we could prefer to life itself.  The Bible ends by telling us we are called to be a people who could say, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20), who could welcome something more than business as usual and live in God’s Big Picture.  We all have to ask for the grace to prefer something to our small life because we have been offered the Shared Life, the One Life, the Eternal Life, God’s Life that became visible for us in this world as Jesus.

What we are all searching for is Someone to surrender to, something we can prefer to life itself.  Well here is the wonderful surprise:  God is the only one we can surrender to without losing ourselves.  The irony is that we actually and finally find ourselves, but now in a whole new and much larger field of meaning.


Changes, Changing, and Change

October is shaping up to be a month of change, and all the changes so far have been necessary and good.

First, there’s been a change to the site. As you can see, Andy Montgomery has totally redesigned www.meredisciple.com and the new changes are fantastic. I’m very excited to take advantage of the new format and try out some new things in the future.

Second, I’m going to be changing how I blog. Self-disclosure doesn’t come naturally to me, so I’ve tended to blog on ideas or topics in a somewhat abstract way. I’ve done more teaching than sharing. That’s my preferred form, but I want to push myself to be a bit more candid and vulnerable in my writing, and not so polished and careful. I think that’s a dimension that I want to develop within every aspect of my life, because for different reasons I hesitate to really share the inner workings of my heart. Sometimes that’s because I assume people don’t care, but most of the time it’s because I’m concerned that if I do, I’ll lose credibility. Whatever my hesitations have been, I’ve definitely come to see the need for me to be more transparent and unguarded. This month I’ll be taking some new steps in this direction, some of which will express themselves through meredisciple.com.

Finally, Change conference. I took part in the Change conference this past weekend, and it was a very different experience going to a conference without students or leaders joining me. I was tasked with leading a focus group of about 30 people for 1.5 hours in the afternoon, but had the rest of the day open. I took in the main sessions (led by BlueTree and Jarret and Jeanne Stevens), and got the chance to connect with some other leaders, and was encouraged by how many people were taking the spiritual development of emerging leaders seriously within their churches and ministries.

A few things I learned from being involved with Change conference 2010:

1. There are a lot of gifted, passionate leaders out there whose work will never be seen or appreciated by the masses, but their influence on the lives of students is incalculable. I felt very humbled to hear their stories and found myself genuinely inspired by their love for Jesus and the courageous lengths they were going through to follow God’s call on their lives.

2. Regardless of the particular context, the concept of discipleship to Jesus is being taken more seriously by more and more youth pastors. It’s very encouraging to see and hear leaders who are thinking beyond “youth ministry,” and taking risks to try something–anything–that forces them and their students to engage Jesus in a more transformative way.

3. I really love my job. I can’t really pin down what sparked this realization for me, but on the drive home, with all the conversations and experiences of the day colliding in my mind, I remember thinking, “I just love what I do.” I know how rare a gift that is, and for some reason the Change conference gently reminded me how passionate I am about helping students embrace their place within God’s kingdom as agents of change and influence.

4. I really love my family. Being at Change also helped me realize just how much I increasingly dislike being away from my family. Being at Change was great, and being invited to lead a workshop was exciting, but I thought a lot about my girls throughout the day. My two daughters are at an age when they seem to change overnight, and I hate missing a moment with either of them. And I really feel like Heather and I are in a great space at the moment, and I really miss when I don’t get to spend focused time with her.