Christmas Tales from the Perilous Realm – Episode #8

Show Notes: In episode #8, Sean and Josh spend some time telling stories that drill deeper into the meaning of Christmas. If you think you have heard all that the Bible has to say about Christ’s birth, wait until you hear about Jesus Christ’s four great grandmothers. Besides this, you will hear a couple of tales from WWII and some sappy tales from Josh and Sean’s own lives. Enjoy your Christmas season!

Check out a fantastic article that helped inspire this episode: “Let’s Rethink Our Holly-Jolly Christmas Songs“.

Ray Bakke audio: Subscribe to a collection of his sermons in iTunes – “The Women of Matthew 1” is number 9 and a good place to start with his preaching.

This link will provide more context regarding the news story about the children gassed in Syria.

Here’s a picture of the letter that the American Commander sent to the German Commander from Sean’s story from WWII:
Nuts LetterThis is a list of books we referred to throughout our conversation:

Soul Detective – Fasting from Media – Episode #7

Show Notes: In episode #7, we interview one of our students regarding the media fast which recently happened here at the college and discussed why this practice is so powerful. Most of our time together focused on the ways that media affect our desires and habits.

We started out by talking about the way that using technology can affect our physiology, and Josh mentioned a recent article titled: “Gadget Sickness” from the New York Magazine.

The amazing album by Brian and Katie Torwalt, Kingdom Come, is available from iTunes here.

Also, if you want to read the humorous article about how we don’t remember information but rather where to find it, is called: “Remembering How vs. Remembering What” from a great blog on faith and technology called “The Second Eclectic“.

This is a list of books we referred to throughout our conversation:

The infographic that Josh created is below:

True Grit – An Interview with Wes Mills – Episode #6

Wes 2012
Wes Mills – President of ACOP

Show Notes: In episode #6, Sean and Josh talk about how to stay encouraged.

Our discussion revolved around the topic of resiliency and its importance for young people. Resiliency refers to an object’s ability to return to its original state after experiencing pressure. Josh had a chance to interview Wes Mills, the President of ACOP about a study he recently did regarding longevity in ministry and factors that can lead to inactivity. Wes’s study affirms the value of reading Scripture, the importance of  sabbath-keeping, and many more topics. Finally, we conclude with some comments about Gordon Macdonald’s book, Restoring Your Spiritual Passion. Specifically, we discussed the five different kinds of people who fill and drain your energy. This is hugely important because of the implications it can have for burnout, along with the potential for growth as we learn what it means to stay encouraged as we seek to grow early in our careers and ministries.

If you are interested in looking closer at Wes’s study, you can find it here.

This is a list of books we referred to throughout our conversation:

Covenant over Cost – An Interview with Ben and Jo Anne Pullar – Episode #5

Show Notes:

996189_10152858287360538_1674480317_nIn episode #5, Sean and Josh talk through the implications discipleship should have for young people planning their wedding. After some discussion they interview Ben and Jo Anne Pullar about their wedding this past summer. Ben is currently a student at the college, and Jo Anne works as our ESL teacher.

Here are the two sources we mentioned before the interview:

  1. Reveal Results of Largest Wedding Study of Its Kind, Surveying More Than 17,500 Brides
  2. In regard to the fact that cohabitation rates are going down, Josh can’t find his source, but he is sure he heard this on a podcast in the last 2-3 months. If we find it in the future we will update this web page.

Some tips from Ben and Jo Anne:

  1. Consider buying your wedding rings online.
  2. Pinterest is probably a better resource than bridal shows.

Finally, Sean and Josh give four ideas for young disciples about how to plan a wedding:

  1. Stop using brido-centric language – if you want it to be Christ centered, than don’t make it about yourself or your guests, instead make your wedding a parable or a prophetic gesture to the relationship between Christ and his church.
  2. Live within cultural norms, but find creative ways to subvert them.
  3. It is about prioritizing covenant over cost.
  4. Don’t date yourself (from this article).

Book Recommendations:

A book on how to make it to the altar: “Five Paths to the Love of your Life” by various authors.

A book that Josh highly recommends on the topic of marriage: “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller, which he highly recommends.

This book gives you the Christian background for the various aspects of a wedding: “Christian Wedding” by Mark M. D. Thomas.

Great Article For Twentysomethings

Don’t pass up this article by Relevant Magazine: 20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Know How to Do. In light of our last episode, we really liked this quote: “Limit Your Online Life – This cannot be over-emphasized. The inability to manage an online presence has toppled promising careers and made …

Unreached People Groups and Your Quiz Tomorrow – Episode #4

Show Notes:

In this episode, Sean and Josh talk about how Festival of Missions impacted them this year. Our speaker for this event was named David, and we both believe he was one of the most powerful preachers we have ever heard. He works with unreached people groups, so to protect his identity we refer to him as “David the Speaker”. Following Festival of Missions, Josh preached on our Tuesday night chapel about how to connect missions to our everyday lives. The podcast ends with an excerpt from that sermon called: “Is Jesus Lord When Your Bored?”

  • The Joshua Project is probably the best resources for learning about missions with regard to unreached people groups. Click the image to the right to learn more about them, or download their iOS app.
  • Rachel’s Tears: Book about the martyrdom from the Columbine Shooting
  • George Muller biography – not an academic approach, but incredibly good as a story!

Action Points:

  1. Share your faith at least once a week in order to keep growing as a disciple.
  2. For every penny of your extra income that you spend on yourself, give a penny to support world missions amongst unreached people groups.

A Prescription for the Perfectionist – Episode #3

In this episode, Sean and Josh discuss Josh’s long-time wrestle with perfectionism. The prescription for perfectionism will surprise you! Enjoy our second full length episode.

Freed to Color Without Any Lines
Freed to Color Without Any Lines

If you want more detailed show notes, please contact Josh here.

The books we talked about are below (please note that the college gets a small donation if you buy anything after clicking through to Amazon using these links):

The show notes follow:

Young people under 30 are pretty stressed out:

  • Dr. Richard Leahy, a prominent psychologist and anxiety specialist, was quoted as saying, “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s. (From One Way Love) 

What drives perfectionism?


1. Fears of inadequacy or fears of failing people (these examples come from Tim Keller’s books, The Reason for God and The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness).

    • Rocky
      • In the movie Rocky, his girlfriend asks him why it is so important for him “to go the distance” in the boxing arena. He replies, “Then I will know that I am not a bum…”
    • Chariots of Fire
      • In the movie, one of the main characters explains why he works so hard at running the 100-yard dash for the olympics. He says that when each race begins “I have ten lonely seconds to justify my existence.”
    • Modonna:
      • if you want a perfect example of what I am talking about, here is an excerpt from an interview with Madonna in Vogue Magazine some time ago where she is talking about her career. This is what she says: ‘My drive in life comes from a fear of being mediocre. That is always pushing me. I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being but then I feel I am still mediocre and uninteresting unless I do something else. Because even though I have become somebody, I still have to prove that I am somebody. My struggle has never ended and I guess it never will.’ I will tell you one thing: Madonna knows herself better than most of us know ourselves. Every time she accomplishes something, these are the kind of thoughts she has: ‘Now I have got the verdict that I am somebody. But the next day, I realize that unless I keep going, I am not. My ego cannot be satisfied. My sense of self, my desire for self-worth, my need to be sure I am somebody – it is not fulfilled. I keep thinking I have won it from what people have said about me and what the magazines and newspapers have written. But the next day, I have to go and look somewhere else. Why? Because my ego is insatiable. It’s a black hole…” 

·         2. A Comparison Mindset:

    • Tim Keller’s book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness says that “The way the normal human ego tries to fill its emptiness and deal with its discomfort is by comparing itself to other people. All the time.”
      • 1 Corinthians 3:21-22: So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you…

·         3. Bad theology!

    • Feeling like we need to earn God’s favour…
      • Religion says, “I obey–therefore I am accepted.” The operating principle of the gospel is “I am accepted by God through what Christ has done–therefore I obey.” The two can look the same in our behaviours, but stem from radically different motivations: fear and gratitude. Keller, 186, The Reason for God.

·         The gospel is really hard to understand on a heart level! Especially grace.

  • Tullian Tchividjian says in his book One Way Love that “we are, by nature, allergic to grace.” He goes on: “Grace offends because it is offensive. Unlike every other kind of love there is, one-way love does not depend on our loveliness. It precedes loveliness. And while we see it mirrored in countless ways in our daily lives and relationships, the Gospel is the only place where we find this kind of paradigm-shattering grace in its pure, unadulterated state. Jesus is its starting point, and yet we must never forget that it got him crucified.”
    • What is grace?
      • “Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable.… The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing.… Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold.… Grace is one-way love.”

Three principles to help us overcome perfectionism:


·         1. The freedom of self-forgetfulness:

    • “Do you realize that it is only in the gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance?” The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness
    • Keller’s description of the gospel: “The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. I don’t need to notice myself–how I’m doing, how I’m being regarded so often.” The Reason for God, 187.

·         2. Praying and longing for Jesus’ return:

    • 1 John 3:2-3 – Dear friends, now we are children of God. He still hasn’t let us know what we will be. But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like him. We will see him as he really is. 3 He is pure. All who hope to be like him make themselves pure.
      • If we have this hope in Christ’s return, John tells us that it should spark a zeal in our hearts for ethical living. The point here is that since in the future we will be made like Jesus, we should now live as if this were already true.
        • As the message puts it, “All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.”

·         3. Purposefully balancing Obscurity and Excellence:

    • Do things on purpose that you never mention to anyone, but when you can use your influence for God’s kingdom do so without apology.
      • You are replaceable, yet God has made you for such a time as this.
      • Say yes whenever possible but learn that you have a limited amount of time and resources 

Let the following message from One Way Love wash over you:

  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ announces that because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak. Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose. Because Jesus was Someone, you’re free to be no one. Because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary. Because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail. One way to summarize God’s message to the worn out and weary is like this—God’s demand: “be righteous”; God’s diagnosis: “no one is righteous”; God’s deliverance: “Jesus is our righteousness.” Once this good news grips your heart, it changes everything. It frees you from having to be perfect. It frees you from having to hold it all together. In the place of exhaustion, you might even find energy. No, the Gospel of grace is not too good to be true. It is true! It’s the truest truth in the entire universe. God loves us independently of what we may or may not bring to the table. There are no strings attached! No ifs, ands, or buts. No qualifiers or conditions. No need for balance. … Grace is the most dangerous, expectation-wrecking, smile-creating, counterintuitive reality there is. Grace is a bit like a roller coaster; it makes us scream in terror and laugh uncontrollably at the same time. But there aren’t any harnesses on this ride. We are not in the driver’s seat, and we did not design the twists and turns. We just get on board. We laugh as the binding law of gravity is suspended, and we scream because it looks like we’re going to hurtle off into space. Grace brings us back into contact with the children we once were (and still are)—children who loved to ride roller coasters, to smile and yell and throw our hands up in the air. Grace, in other words, is terrifyingly fun, and like any ride worth standing in line for, it is worth coming back to again and again. In fact, God’s one-way love may be the only ride that never gets old, the only ride we thankfully never outgrow. A source of inexhaustible hope and joy for an exhausted world…”

Rob Parkman: From Mazda to Ministry Coach – Episode #2

In our first full-length episode, Sean and Josh interview Rob Parkman about his ministry experience. Rob is an alumnus of Eston College and a regular lecturer for the college’s mini-semester courses. Currently, Rob is entering a new season of entrepreneurial ministry and brings a wealth of experience to our conversation.

The main theme that emerged from our discussion was that if you want ministry to remain exciting for the long haul you must learn to live faithfully while still engaging risks for God’s kingdom. Another key idea in our discussion was the absolute essential need for young people to become involved in mentoring relationships.

If you want to keep up with Rob, you can become friends with him on Facebook or follow his blog at

Detailed show notes:

  • Rob shares his story from how he came to faith, and his journey doing ministry with his wife Camille.
  • Roughly 80% of people drop out of ministry, and the main thing that helps people remain in ministry is if they have a close friend/mentor (Rob has a great article about mentoring on his blog).
  • What it means to think from an entrepreneurial mindset and how adding to your financial capacity opens doors for ministry.
  • Rob mentioned Dan Miller, who argues that if you love what you do for work you will make more money than if you do something that pays more but you don’t actually like (from the book 48 Days to the Work You Love).
  • The connection between small steps and the big picture. The goal in your twenties is to remain faithful. We need to learn to trust the process, even if we aren’t seeing the results we want. Most importantly, it is essential to establish a practice of daily time with God.
  • Rob explains how important is it to have a partner who shares the call of God on your life, and how does giving up a regular pay check affect your wife and family.
  • The idea of risk can reinvigorate our ministries and lives. If we start feeling like we are stagnating, it is important to trust God and pursue the gifts he has given you. In this regard Rob mentioned T. D. Jakes, who talks about “making yourself interesting again.”
  • Why do people struggle to attain longevity in ministry? Rob argues that if you have been intentional about having mentoring relationships in your lives, you can stay encouraged, which is the most important part of staying in ministry for the long haul.
  • We concluded with some practical tips on how to establish strategic mentoring relationships.