Orange Soda and Painted Palm Trees: Greta Sheppard – Episode #12

Show Notes: In episode #12, Josh interviews Greta Sheppard, a blogger, author, evangelist, wedding chaplain and long time Christ follower. She provides advice for young people about hearing God’s voice, calling, art, and abuse.

Greta bigGreta’s web page is Also, Greta writes fantastic content on Facebook, follow her here.

Finally, if you want to ask Greta a question, please leave a comment on this episode, and we will make sure Greta sees it and responds to you!

Recommended books:

If you want to buy Greta’s book “EXCUSE ME, YOUR UNFORGIVENESS IS SHOWING!”as an audiobook, you can get it from iTunes: Excuse Me Your Unforgiveness Is Showing! – Greta Sheppard.

Her other book on abuse is called: FALLING SPARROW: Overcoming the Ghosts of Sexual Abuse is available here, or in most e-book stores.

Finally, this is the book Josh mentioned near the end of the episode: Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung.

Escape the High School of the Mind: Mentorship – Episode #11

Photo from Flickr - Click for Source
Photo from Flickr – Click for Source

Show Notes: In episode #11, Sean and Josh first describe what discipleship looked like in Jesus day. Then they try to differentiate between mentorship and discipleship, provide some tips for initiating a mentorship relationship, and conclude by discussing the importance of mentorship for 20-somethings today.

Opening quote from Church History from a letter to Francois Fenelon by Father Tronson (this is a different translation than Josh read during the podcast):

“You are in a land where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is little known, where those who know it make use of it for personal advancement. You now live among people whose conversation is practically pagan, whose example tends to dangerous things. You will find yourself surrounded by everything calculated to indulge the senses and awaken dormant passions…In truth, Monsieur, yours is a dangerous position ; it must be candidly acknowledged that it will be difficult to remain steadfast in it, that you will need the highest principles to sustain you. If ever you needed study and meditation on the Bible, it is now; until now you have looked to it to strengthen you with the Truth, and inspire you with good thoughts, now you will need it to banish evil ones and shield you from lies.”

Quote about the “High School of the Mind”: Joseph Epstein says that today many adults are “locked in a high school of the mind, eating dry cereal, watching a vast quantity of television, hoping to make sexual scores” and generally enjoying “perpetual adolescence, cut loose, free of responsibility, without the real pressures that life, that messy business, always exerts.”

The 10-10-10 rule comes out of a book called: Decisive: How to Make Better Choices by Dan and Chip Heath.

If you want to read the story about the airplane, you can find the source over at Josh’s blog: I Spy With My Digital Eye.

Finally, you can learn more about our contest and enter to win a mystery prize box that makes Sean and Josh jealous.

How to be a Global Neighbor – Episode #10

Show Notes: In episode #10, Sean and Josh attempt to tackle a topic as big as the planet–globalization and what it might mean for a Christian to become a global neighbor. As 20-somethings, we are hyper-aware of poverty as well as a host of other humanitarian issues. Our awareness of these things sometimes makes us feel overwhelmed to the point where we don’t actually respond at all. Since we can’t claim ignorance, it is essential that we reflect on what our role as Christians should be in a global world.

You should watch this video on being a world neighbor by Paul Borthwick:

Here are some links to the various resources and topics mentioned in this episode:

Books we mentioned throughout this episode:

Learn more about our contest and enter to win a mystery prize box that makes Sean and Josh jealous.

Resolutions are like Rattling Cans – Episode #9

Show Notes: In episode #9, Sean and Josh talk about the difference between a goal and a resolution. They explained some of their own victories (and failures) with goal setting and provide some tips and tricks on how to become more successful with accomplishing your goals. They also talked about a fascinating book called: The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! by Josh Kaufman.

Here are some links to the various resources and topics mentioned in this episode:

Strategies for making your goals more likely to succeed:

  1. Remove friction while in a cold state: when you are facing the temptation to give up on your goal, you have already set in place the things necessary to win (e.g., setting two alarm clocks, getting your hoodie ready, and setting the coffee on a timer).
  2. Pre-invest in the process: buy an expensive piece of equipment so that you feel like it would be a waste not to use it.
  3. Remove distractions: uninstall video games, and place the new skill in a place where it won’t take any energy to begin practicing.
  4. Lift App: an app designed to encourage you in the pursuit of your goals. Provides coaching and regular reminders, as well as a community.

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.

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…”