I was recently teaching at my church on Psalm 131 (currently my favorite of all the Psalter), and I shared seven ways to kill pride every day. This list is from C.J. Mahaney's little book, Humility. I have personally benefitted from looking over this list every morning before I start my day. You can see the entire list below or you can download it here.
1. Begin the day acknowledging your dependence upon God and your confidence in God.
2. At the outset of each day express specific gratefulness to God.
3. Practice the Spiritual Disciplines.
4. Seize Your Daily Commute as an Opportunity to Meditate on Scripture.
5. Throughout Each Day Cast Your Cares Upon Him.
6. At the End of the Day Transfer the Glory to God.
7. Before Falling Asleep Acknowledge the Purpose of Sleep.
Silence is hard. It's an art form, a discipline, a science of sorts. Most importantly, silence is needed.
What's odd, however, is how our culture caters to noise. It's all around us. Cell phones. Music. Movies. Podcasts. And that is just audible noise. There is noise all around us that we can't even hear, yet it crowds our minds and causes our hearts to feel like a neglected junk drawer. Noise like social media, the internet, magazines, and advertisements. While none of this "noise" is terrible in and of itself, it does cause what I call soul clutter.
Soul clutter is the absorption of noise to the neglect of silence. When we take in so much noise at the neglect of silence, our souls begin to feel like a messy desk—unorganized and scattered. I'm no stranger to this illustration. I find that when my desk is clear and in order, I'm able to concentrate on the tasks in front of me with higher intensity and focus. However, when my desk is messy, I have a hard time thinking, working and even concentrating. The same is true for our souls. When our souls fill up with noise and distraction, we feel hurried, anxious, and frantic. In other words, we experience soul clutter.
How are we to clean out the junk drawer of our hearts? How can we organize our messy souls? Through silence.
Silence slays soul clutter as nothing else can. Silence is a meeting between you and your own heart before God. As we embrace this meeting, God works wondrously to clear away the noise from our bombarded souls and instead fills our souls with His joy and peace as we gaze into His glory. Adele Calhoun sees the need for this silence before God when she writes,
"We need to realize that the world can go on without us for an hour or a day or even longer. We don't need to respond to every word and request that comes our way. The discipline of silence invites us to leave behind the competing demands of our outer world for time alone with Jesus. Silence offers a way of paying attention to the Spirit of God and what he brings to the surface of our souls."
Therefore, I am planning to take the whole month of December and purposefully shut down the noise of social media. While I love social media and don't feel dominated by it, I have a renewed desire to embrace the gift of silence to declutter my soul. I plan on continuing to write on this site which will automatically post new blog posts on all my social media outlets (so don't worry, I won't be cheating!). I will also still be sending out an email every week with my most recent posts.
Silence is a gift God gives us to see our hearts before Him—will you accept it?
There are currently approximately 7,584,202,520 people in the world right now. While I'm not entirely sure if those numbers are accurate while you are reading this, I am sure of one thing.
There is only one Chas Singer.
Sure, there might be another person in this world of 7.5 billion people named Chas Singer, but there is no one like Chas Singer. This audacious statement begs the question...
What makes Chas Singer so unique?
Perhaps it's because he is a Beatles-loving, guitar-playing, take-it-easy hippy living in the year 2017. Maybe it's because of his love for various kinds of music—no exaggeration. The man loves the Beatles and Austin Stone Worship. Perhaps it's because of his outrageous, always-on, hilarious, gut-wrenching humor. Or maybe it's because of his stupendous story-telling ability (no one tells a story better than Chas Singer).
While all of these things (and many more!) are aspects of the man I know as Chas Singer, there is one thing that sets him apart from all the rest: Chas overflows with joy.
Like a water faucet turned on full blast, Chas pours forth joy wherever he goes. Joy exudes from him as He enjoys God through the simplest of things: A walk on a crisp fall day. The drink of a Pepsi (with grenadine, of course). Watching a Pacers game with friends. Listening to music. Playing with his grandkids. Talking on the phone to an old friend. Watching the stars on a calm Summer night. Chas enjoys life more than most people I know.
His joy is so evident that it is contagious. From his recognizable laughter to his embracing smile—you always leave Chas wanting to be more like him. His joyous passion in worship inspires others to sing and lift Jesus high. His love for the Bible that exalted a joy-giving, joy-filled God is evident whenever he preaches or teaches—he is a real Christian hedonist. His love for people is apparent through his joyful care for others. Whenever you need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a word of wisdom, or just someone to be there, you can always count on Chas being there—with joy.
How does Chas live a life of such overflowing joy? Because he trusts in a God who takes sin and gives righteousness. He placed his faith in a God who sent His Son to die in our place so that we can have eternal fellowship with our Creator. Chas is filled with joy because He is filled with hope.
Hope in a Christ that forgives.
Hope in a God whose love never fails.
Hope in a life beyond the grave.
What makes this man so unique? Chas Singer overflows with joy because he knows the Joy of all joys--Jesus.
I recently received an ad from Christian Book Distributors with a list of books that will be on sale for Cyber Monday. I found five books in particular that I would recommend anyone getting (especially with 50+% off). Give them a look:
For the Fame of God's Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper (Sam Storms, Justin Taylor)
Regular Price: $35.99
Sale Price: $1.99
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (John Walton, Victor Matthews, Mark Chavalas)
Regular Price: $40.00
Sale Price: $18.99
Acting the Miracle: God's Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification (John Piper, David Mathis)
Regular Price: $16.99
Sale Price: $3.99
The Sermons of George Whitefield (George Whitefield)
Regular Price: $65.00
Sale Price: $27.99
God's Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey (Andreas Kostenberger, Margaret Kostenberger)
Regular Price: $22.99
Sale Price: $7.99
Early in 2016 I was presented with an opportunity to put the material I had used for a short lecture I gave on mentoring into a book that would be published by Warner Press Publishing. I gladly accepted and began the joyful (yet grueling) process of researching, writing, and editing a book I titled, Mentoring Like Jesus: Making Discipleship A Part of Everyday Life.
The book was recently published and I couldn't be happier. In the book, I attempt to answer three questions:
I am especially grateful for friends Dr. Donald Whitney & Dr. Josh Moody for their kind endorsements of the book:
"Helpful, practical, biblical, insightful. You will want to read Brad Merchant's grace-filled, resourceful guide to discipling. And buy it for friends at your church to encourage them to make disciples too."
Josh Moody, Senior Pastor, College Church, Wheaton, IL. Author of John 1-12 For You and Jonathan Edwards and Justification.
"Unsure of what it means to disciple another believer in Christ? Unsure of where to start or what to do? Then this little book by Brad Merchant will help you with the very first steps, and show you how doable the Great Commission of Jesus is for every Christian."
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. Author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Praying the Bible.
The book is a 4x7, 56-page book (pictured below) that can easily be read in one sitting.
The book can be purchased on Amazon, Christianbook.com, and the Warner Press Publishing website. Christianbook.com currently has the book at a discount cost of $3.99. If you purchase the book, snap a picture and tag me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter)—I'd love to know what you think after you've read it!