It’s like a 20 minute church service! Including a sermon from Yours Truly.
A new episode of The Bridge Podcast is up! A sermon from Unka Glen preached just last week at our Bridge Service in Chicago, an original worship song from Jed Brewer, and a song from Nashville singer/songwriter/producer Zach Hughes. A free, 20 minute worship service right in your earbuds.
WATCH THIS VIDEO! You’ll be glad you did. Talk about breaking it down, and giving the people some peace! Lee Younger knows his stuff.
How can you move past lust?
What if there’s a truth in Scripture that would totally revolutionize the way you battle sexual temptation? What if there’s something about Jesus you need to remember that will set you free to have more victory and less defeat in that particular struggle? Here’s a short video lining out the perspective we need to have as we face the temptation everyone is fighting.
(via thebridgechicago)Source: leeyounger
Anonymous asked: Hey Unka, awhile back you posted that we should be better informed about the Christian books we read. So I did what you said, I went to a nearby Christian bookstore, and I wrote down the names of the four most popular authors, and went home and looked them up on Wikipedia.
One author just bought a $10 million house! Another has defrauded the government out of nearly a million dollars in taxes, every year for the past several years. Another just left his church after being accused of plagiarism (with his books still on the shelf!), and the last one I didn’t even bother to look up! Is there a sane explanation for all this? Is it as bad as it looks?
Unka Glen answered: I’m sorry, but yes, what can I say, it’s as bad as it looks. As for the sane explanation, well, I’ll give it a shot. Here are a few simple problems that might help us explain things:
Problem #1 Publishers want to sell you books, not minister to you. That’s just how the marketplace works. It remains a fact that most people tend to buy what’s already on bestseller’s lists, and in order to get on those lists, you’d be shocked at how FEW books you need to sell.
So if you’re a “mega-church” pastor, you can just about guarantee enough book sales to dent the bottom of the chart, then your church, rich as it is, can simply buy enough copies to get you the rest of the way up the chart. This has been going on for years. It’s a publisher’s dream of practically guaranteed sales.
Problem #2 Nobody screens these authors. From a certain point of view, I suppose it doesn’t make sense to expect publishers to turn down a solid money-making book, because it’s a poor quality book, or because the writer has a bad reputation behind the scenes. So it’s up to you and I to do our own screening.
Problem #3 You and I do NOT do our own screening. Look, if you ask me if I want to eat a healthy energy bar, or say, a doughnut, I’m going to ask, “why not two doughnuts?” That’s just the kind of guy I am. But when it comes to the spiritual food I eat, I’m SUPER picky. God gives us the wisdom to know good spiritual food from junk food, but it’s up to us to eat right.
Problem #4 Publishing is not like the internet. When you reblog a post, it’s because you like it, and you feel as though it will help bless and equip other people to read it. YOU found that post, and you, in a sense, “publish” that post to your followers. If that post spreads, it’s because people agree with you that it has value.
But at the Christian bookstore, you don’t have all your friends there, helping you make good selections that are right for you.
Problem #5 Advertising often makes the decision for us. And to beat that trend, we’re better off finding our own writers that minister to us, even if they’re only available on the internet. I follow a number of blogs, and I read much better stuff there than I could ever find in a bookstore. That’s just the way things are these days.
And make no mistake, there are amazing Christian authors out there, ones that don’t use megachurch numbers to drive their sales, and that work hard to put out materials that will truly minister to our hearts. It’s just a sad reality of Christian publishing: you have to kiss quite a few frogs before you find your prince.
Anonymous asked: Hi Unka! I’ve been in a Christ-centered relationship for a year, but two months ago my boyfriend seemed to loose enthusiasm for me and our relationship. After discussing it, he told me he wasn’t sure if he loved me anymore, but had no idea why and wants to so desperately! He prays so diligently about it, is so remorseful for the hurt he’s causing and is so confused as to why he can’t seem to give me what I need. I’m on my knees, seeking God, but practically what steps are wise to take?
Unka Glen answered: I think we’re missing a detail here. I mean sure, that spark of romance can flare up and sometimes be snuffed out by, well, all kinds of things. It might be differences in your lifestyles, communication problems, or just life itself getting in the way. It happens.
But love is something else. It doesn’t really come and go in that way. Once you love someone, there’s always a bit of that love in your heart for that person, even if it morphs into something more like a brother-sister kind of feeling. So when he says he isn’t sure if he still loves you, he might really be referring to the romance part.
However, the line that really rings hollow is where he has “no idea why” the love/romance has gone out of the picture. C’mon now. These are thoughts in your own head, and you’ve been carrying that head around with you this whole time.
There’s a chance that he doesn’t like something about the relationship that he isn’t mentioning, maybe because he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. And in that case, it might be worth mentioning that you’re a big girl who can handle criticism, and that you have enough character to change what needs changing.
But I don’t think it’s about you, I think it’s about him. The idea that he “doesn’t know why” he doesn’t feel the love, but that “he wants to desperately” suggests that he either has such a severe negative self image that he can’t imagine you loving him, and he can’t imagine being a loving person in return, or…
Or he knows exactly why things are falling apart on his end, and he’s simply not telling you. Maybe it’s something he doesn’t want to admit to, who knows, but you can’t seriously tell me that you have feelings this strong, and no idea where they came from. If you’ll throw away a good relationship for reasons unknown to you, then you really aren’t ready to be in any kind of relationship.
Either way, I think it would be good to tell him that, okay, we’ve had the “feelings” discussion, where everyone talked about their mysterious emotions, but now you’re looking for him to pray about his mindset, and the situation, and that you want him to meditate on the fact that you love him, and that he can tell you anything, AND THEN we’re going have a conversation where he will explain everything.
Otherwise, Unka Glen’s First Rule of Dating applies: you deserve to be with someone who is CERTAIN they want to be with you. All that “who’s to say” and that “will they or won’t they” works great in sitcom or movie plots to build tension, but in real life, grown folks don’t want that kind of tension.
Anonymous asked: Hi Unka, I’ve been dating someone for a year now, and I have started to have feelings of attachment towards him. Most of the times these are happy thoughts, but I’m afraid he does not feel the same way. I know I need to have the courage to ask him what really our relationship is, but I don’t know where to start, or if I have the right words.
Unka Glen answered: You may have heard of a scientist named Heisenberg who came up with something called the uncertainty principle. He said that by simply observing atomic particles, we change them. That is, if we could put an atom in a well lit microscope in order to observe it, the light itself would heat up the electrons, causing them to rotate faster. Thus, you change things in crazy ways just by looking at them.
Relationships are NOT like that.
You may have heard of a scientist named Schrödinger, he said that if you place a cat and some poison in a box and sealed it, you would not know if the cat was dead or alive until you opened the box, so that until the box was opened, the cat was both “dead and alive”.
That’s what your relationship is like.
It’s alive, but maybe dead. So, ya know, let’s open the box and see. Sure, nobody wants to deal with a dead cat, but it’s better to know. It’s the uncertainty that’ll drive you nuts.
Someone who will run for the hills just because you ask them to define the relationship, is someone not worth keeping around. Of course, the other possibility is that you want to bring up this discussion because you feel insecure, and you want your partner to promise to be with you forever, no matter how much you may suck as a girlfriend.
If that’s the case, we should remember that the cure for insecurity is for you to work through it in prayer, not pressuring good people to put up with low-quality relationships. So let’s set that aside.
If you’re wondering where to start, then start with yourself. Tell him how YOU feel, and where you see things going. “But what if I scare him off?”, I can hear you ask. If you have one tool you can use to make bad relationships die and go away, and that same tool will make good relationships deeper and more committed, then don’t be afraid to use that tool.
Sure, you could go too far and be creepy about it, you could tell him that you want to be with him forever, and if he died, you’d have his skin made into a suit that you would always wear. That would be bad, yes, agreed. But sharing your feelings with someone you care about in a simple and mature way isn’t something to be afraid of. Whatever the result, it’s better than the uncertainty.
Give us the courage Lord, to open the box.
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Anonymous asked: Hi Unka Glen! I have problems with prayer. I’ve realized that there really isn’t much difference between me praying, and me just thinking to myself. It bothers me that the same “channel” that connects me with God, is the same channel where I think terrible thoughts. Would you recommend any other methods of prayer? Thanks a lot for your guidance! Keep on being you! The world needs it. [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: Oh sweetie, I imagine the world needs less of me, and more of what God is working out in me, but I see what you mean, there’s something powerful about Christians being able to talk openly and honestly, and get to the truth that sets us free, whether that’s between us, or communicating with God in prayer.
So let’s start by throwing out all the methods. No more rules. From now on, pray however you want to pray. Uncut, unedited, pure, raw, no holds barred. Yes, it’s great to have guidelines, like the ones that Jesus gave us in the Lord’s Prayer, but when we turn guidance into a formula, we begin to throw out any authentic human involvement.
And that defeats the whole purpose.
As you rightly point out, when you switch into simple, open, and honest communication with God, it gets real messy, real quick. But mature Christians recognize an authentic walk by recognizing this messy-ness, as opposed to the fake “holy” act that less mature Christians insist on projecting.
As you say, once you take prayer life out of the “formula” stage, and start being real, you invite Jesus into a conversation that takes place within your thought life. And I don’t know about you, but I regularly have various ideas floating across my mind that are both DARK and UGLY.
This is where I do that thing Paul talks about in 2 Cor. 10:5b, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. Because some thoughts need to be arrested and removed. Yet, I can’t get away from the fact that my prayer life lives in this crazy, confused, and sometimes dark world of my thoughts.
Lord knows, sometimes my thought life is like a Stephen King version of Cirque du Soleil, set in Middle Earth. Just orcs runnin’ buck wild everywhere.
However, this means I can easily recognize the Lord’s voice in all the madness. It’s the only part of this crazed soup of messed up thoughts that isn’t completely nuts. And for my part, I’m super thankful that God is in there, leading me out of my own craziness.
But I’ve noticed some people really worry about inviting God over into their head-space. It’s like, “hey, Jesus is coming over, I’d better clean up this mess, and run off these weird clowns on stilts before I let Jesus in! Oh no, Jesus is knocking at the door, I can’t let him see me like this!”
The power of God manifests itself in this way: you don’t clean things up to receive it, you receive it and then it cleanses you.
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"Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil”
The Poolhouse Guru takes those words, written by a struggling man thousands of years ago, and combines them with elements of jazz, disco, hip-hop, and electronica. The kind of thing you will only find in BridgeBox.
rnncynth asked: Unka Glen, what should love be like in a romantic relationship? How should one demonstrate love? What do you think are the basic indicators that someone is really in love with you?
Unka Glen answered: Ah, well, romantic love manifests itself in endless different ways. And love sometimes overcomes us in such a way that we find ourselves acting in strange new ways. That’s why love is the very substance of our relationship with God, because love transforms us.
So when we don’t quite recognize and understand our own behavior as we fall in love, how then can we hope to understand another person who may be feeling that love back to us? I’ll give you one word: sacrifice.
You may know that the word the Greeks used for romantic love is “eros”, and the word that they used for the love that God gives us is “agape”. Okay, here’s the thing, the word eros does not appear in the Bible. Everything about love between men and women, is described as agape love. That is to say, for Christians, true love, even romantic love, is agape love.
The perfect picture of agape love is the cross, where Jesus sacrificed himself for us because of His great love for us. Then Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love (agape) your wives, just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her”. As Paul said in the famous love chapter (1 Cor.13), “love is not self-seeking”.
You see, many people will be romantically drawn to you for what they can get out of you, but it’s those who want something for you that love you. When you love someone, you see their potential, you grieve their pain, you want to invest your life in the life of this other person.
Operating in fear has no place in agape love, neither does the horribly mis-quoted verse about “guarding your heart” (which instructs us, ironically, to guard ourselves from bad teaching). Indeed, 1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear”.
Agape love is bold, and it cannot be silent, it must speak forth.
Love compels the shy person to be courageous. Love compels the insecure person to drop that self-focus. It’s the guy who sees that his date is cold, and puts his jacket around her shoulders. It’s the girlfriend who stays up late baking cookies because she knows her boyfriend is up late studying for an important test.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty self-glory, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
In the end I can only tell you what this kind of love sounded like in my own life, when I told my soon-to-be wife how I felt about her:
“You can find a better looking man, or a taller man, or, for sure, you can find someone better behaved than a scoundrel like me. But in the end, when they all grow tired of sacrifices made, I will just be getting started. I don’t know how to treat you the way you deserve, but I will spend the rest of my life figuring it out. If you needed me, and my arms and legs fell off, I would walk a thousand miles on my lips for you. My heart and my determination are bigger than any obstacle or tragedy. I’ll get better, and treat you better, and celebrate you more each day.”