“Interested in personal growth? Read this.”
This briefing may have the power to change your thinking like none before it. Judy, Charles and Barry, please give me a bit to set the stage, will you? Over the last three decades, I have had a world of experience with people and faith – all different sorts, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a credentialed schoolteacher, I taught both high school and elementary; I have decades of writing and teaching women—Bible studies, retreats, conferences, etc., Fellowship of Christian Athletes (high school), homeless ministry—on the streets of Long Beach, and serving a team of corporate brothers for 15+ years for whom I started writing Morning Briefings (which have an international readership). There have been thousands of authentic, personal conversations on airplanes, in taxis, and in coffee shops from Flagstaff, Arizona to Tiberias, Israel to downtown Chicago.
Here is what I have learned in brief: people need God.
But our world tells them ‘you are enough just as you are’ and ‘if you want to be happy, just look inside’. Both are lies that serve as distractions that first detour and then ultimately rob people from lives of meaning and purpose.
Passionate about being an influential Christian thinker for a long time, I have been desirous for people to know the radical love of God in their lives, I have devoured hundreds of books, podcasts, and sermons, augmented by conferences to inform my thinking and knowledge of God and my place in the world. Several years ago, I was certain my next step was securing a Master’s degree from Talbot Seminary in Apologetics.1 Once accepted, I realized I could not maintain my current writing and teaching along with seminary coursework, and in sadness, withdrew.
And then I found something so very valuable. In July of 2022, I embarked on the Colson Fellows program, which has radically informed and influenced my thinking.
HOW SO? you ask. Through 10 months of study with a group of other like-minded people, I have honed a biblical worldview2 that addresses the big questions everyone asks themselves at some point, not always in the same order.
Who Am I?
WHY AM I HERE?
How did I get here?
What is wrong with the world?
What happens when I die?
Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy had six questions he sought to answer:
Why am I living?
What is the cause of my existence and that of everyone else?
Why do I exist?
Why is there a division of good and evil within me?
How must I live?
What is death—how can I save myself?3
Once having satisfactory answers, can we communicate them—especially with the people we care about most? Are you able to share your convictions with your 23-year-old partner at work, Megan? Jeff, can you communicate these things to your sons in a compelling manner? And regarding business and the broader culture, what is the best way to navigate the world in which we live? Is it even possible to influence the culture around us rather than being sucked into or influenced by the one in which we live??
These are fascinating, stimulating questions and conversations to be had. After my last 10 months of study, I feel more encouraged and empowered by my place and purpose in this world and wish that for you as well. [By the way, do you know your purpose?]
“So what was involved?” Bill asked.
“Well, Bill – it was a well-crafted program that included personal study of 14 valuable books, webinars, videos, Breakpoint podcasts, and a monthly cohort—a day when a group of us discussed, wrestled with and entertained these ideas, prayed and ate great food together. (Please see the required books from this year in the picture.) Most of the folks in my cohort worked fulltime and fit this vital program around it. If you did nothing more than listen to or read Breakpoint4, you would be better equipped to handle the cultural challenges we face today--things like the transgender movement and its impact, recognizing Progressive Christianity, answering claims like science being incompatible with the Bible and so much more."
Here's the thing: Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his followers standing nearby—‘Go, be my witnesses in all the world.’ 5 We have the greatest news, the hope people want. I want to be able to tell of Jesus and why he is the Way, the Truth and the Life and do it with intelligence for all matters of life and culture. So, read, think, grow, and engage, my friends! Hit ‘reply’, ask me questions – check out: Colson Fellows, https://colsonfellows.org. Let's do this.
Want a song, Bree? Here you go, Sweetheart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APATH3ea-D0
1 – Talbot Seminary, LaMirada, CA. Apologetics: the study of knowing and being able to give a defense of Christianity, using the overwhelming evidence for the veracity of Scripture and the historical Christian faith
2 – worldview: simply, the way you see the world
3 – from one of my favorite Colson reads: Making Sense of Your World by W. Gary Phillips, William E. Brown and John Stonestreet
4 – Breakpoint - https://www.breakpoint.org
5 – Acts 1.8