11/26/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

There is a mistake I have seen pastors make time and time again. I am surely guilty as well, on numerous occasions. It's a mistake that has the potential to cut down even those we see as strong and mature in the faith. And it's ignored in some major seminaries and ministry training programs.

Pay attention to how you stretch. Responsible soul care demands it.

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Not for Eternity

11/10/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

"They tolerate you sometimes, but they don't want to be around you."
"You had some good ideas for a while, but you're not useful anymore."
"God knows you're just following him to try to get what you want."

You know that voice - the one inside our brains that somehow knows just what to say to tear us down. Many of us experience these types of intrusive messages to some degree.

But the things the inner critic tells a follower of Christ can't possibly be true in the life to come.

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10/30/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

The music swells, hands are raised. The crescendo of band, lyrics, and lights are all unified to lead the crowd in a passion of worship. The messages fall thick and fast about what we should all be feeling.

They are all so talented, and the words so appealing. And yet I feel... so tired.

So what gives? Are there aspects of Jesus they resonate with that I'm just missing?

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Balance Next to Chaos

9/29/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

We plan out our days, we lay groundwork for large life goals, and we try to set our ducks in a row so things go our way. We like to control our life stories as much as humanly possible and balance everything in our minds, in our families, and in our checkbooks.

But when you think you have yourself well-balanced, the prime test will come when you find yourself in close contact with someone who is not.

We talk a lot in the Fog Life blog about the experience of being in that fog. Today, let's switch gears - we need to talk about the other people around the suffering soul.

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The Anxiety of Mission

8/1/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

"Follow the example of Jesus!" The preacher expounds, "He set aside his heavenly glory to die for our sins - how much more we owe! We ought to live our lives completely in his service and lay them down each day!"

And we try, pricked as we are by the Spirit. But there are two ways to go about it. Of course, we want to serve from the overflow, don't we? But many, many people up and down the hierarchy of the church order are stuck in the other way: doing our best from the empty.

It's difficult to come to a place where you can admit to yourself that you are there. It can be even harder to change it.

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We are the Ignorant and Misguided

6/26/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

We hear so much truth among the intrusive thoughts impinging on our consciousness, that we expect the presence of God, where truth implicitly dwells, to be full of the same. We can have this picture of our high priest Jesus talking smack about us with God the Father all the time. We expect the most holy over the universe to match our own inner critics. And when we allow those thoughts to be the voice of our perception of God, we turn ourselves over to that reality.

In Hebrews, God says something we probably didn't see coming: the high priest can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided. But we don't want to be in that category, do we? Instead, we want to be the ones who figured it out quickly and who did it the right way the first time. We want to be those who achieved efficiency in a walk with God. No - we are the ignorant and misguided - and we have to lean into that reality to experience the gentleness of our savior.

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Probing the Edge

6/3/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

One part of us is subjected to Christ completely. The rest, not so much. So there are parts of us that seem to have the light of Christ, and other parts that are just dark as night. Some of us are drawn toward probing that edge between.

But what we tear at in the darkness often looks like the same anxiety, the same depression... Things that are not our fault. It doesn't feel right. And it can be the greatest test of our faith.

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Unwanted Reality

5/24/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

I'm sitting in the kitchen again, holding the child who won't stop kicking and screaming. Closer to teen than toddler, my child left rational thought behind a while ago. A switch flipped, and here we are. Here we've been, really - many times over many months.

When we deal with extreme behaviors, we are often (rightly) so focused on the parenting of it and the child's experience, we don't deal with our own story in those moments. When it becomes a more pronounced point in our story, though, we must take the opportunity to reflect.

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5/9/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

Who wins the shouting matches that go on inside your head?

We spend our lives cultivating coping mechanisms to survive the war between the flesh and the Spirit. When we've spent a lifetime learning one way of doing spirituality - let alone mental wellness - imagining another approach becomes almost impossible.

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Guard the Garden

4/6/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

Where would you go to meet Jesus in the most holy of moments in his earthly life and ministry? Take your pick. Birth? Baptism? Sermon on the Mount? Lazarus rising?

There is a moment in the Christ story more holy than any other. And not one of his disciples was there. While our experience is certainly not equal to his, let's look at how it can resonate deeply.

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