It’s Christmastime! No, Jesus was not born on December 25. But this remembrance of His birth is a worthy time to celebrate. It’s up to you and me to make this season special. Here are some of the things that have given me special moments. These have inspired me, filled my heart in some way, or brought me growth and value recently.
I’ve discovered that both taking in and giving out are critical if you want your soul to be full of life, and able to give life to others in some way. These are some ways to take in the internal nourishment you need.
Some of these are worship moments that you can take and adapt for yourself. Some of these are organizations I am excited about and believe in the work they do. And some of these are books or podcasts that you may want to check out for yourself or perhaps even give as a gift.
More than any other single activity or “thing,” entering God’s presence in worship eclipses everything else. In His presence is where we find comfort and healing. It’s where we are transformed into the likeness of Jesus. I would trade everything else, EVERYTHING ELSE, for time in His presence.
Worship is how you get there. Worship is not praise. True worship is where you forget everything around you and your senses are totally enraptured by Him.
There are a few of the songs that have helped me get there.
- Anastasis (O Praise the Name)
- What a Beautiful Name it Is
- The Cross has the Final Word
- Who You Say I Am
- Thou, O Lord, Art a Shield For Me
- Chain Breaker
Here are some organizations I connect with, believe in, and am happy to recommend.
- Christian Healthcare Ministries – believers helping to share the costs of medical care for each other. (I am honored to be a member of the Board of Directors.)
- Compassion International – releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. (I sponsor a precious child, Luz Esther.)
- Charity Water – they do water – and charity – right. I love donating to this organization.
- Catalyst Leader – equipping and empowering leaders who love the church. If you’re a church leader, check them out.
- Covenant Eyes – amazing organization providing help for those who want to break free from pornography and related issues.
- Be Broken – Helping adults find freedom from a life of sexual brokenness and addiction.
- Ransomed Heart – a bunch of resources and events helping men and women regain the life of the heart as Jesus intended.
- Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – helping believers move from shallow Christianity to depth in Christ. At least take the free personal assessment, and discover if you’re a spiritual/emotional infant, adolescent, or adult.
I rarely go anywhere with a book handy. Here are some of my favorites.
- Boundaries Updated and Expanded, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan, 2017). A new expanded edition, still one of the best ever, especially for anyone struggling with relationships or emotional health.
- Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl (Beacon Press, 2006, other editions available.) A classic, but this book’s message is especially important today.
- Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World, by Andy Stanley (Zondervan, 2018). One of the books that significantly changed my thinking this year.
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazzero (Zondervan, Updated Edition, 2017). If your faith is not resulting in true joy and lasting growth in every area of your life, you need this book.
- The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship, by Dallas Willard (HarperOne, 2014). Read this if following Jesus has become a list of things you try to do, rather than who you are.
- The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion, by N.T. Wright (HarperOne, 2018). I enjoy most of Wright’s books, but this one is perhaps my favorite to date.
- The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation, by Dallas Willard and 9 others (NavPress, 2016). A deep and varied read, but a great resource to stretch you in becoming like Jesus.
- Loving Him Well: Practical Advice on Influencing Your Husband, by Gary Thomas (Zondervan, 2018). An updated volume for wives from one of the most useful marriage coaches around.
- The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile (IVP Press, 2016). A highly readable and usable guide to the enneagram for those who want to grow and be useful in God’s kingdom.
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, 2006). I read this on a recommendation, and was truly moved and inspired by both the writing and the true history.
I’ve become rather voracious in consuming podcasts. You can gain an education while you jog, drive, or clean the house. Here are some I enjoy.
- Catalyst Podcast, for leaders who love the church. Conversations with both young and seasoned church leaders, authors, and influencers.
- The Emotionally Healthy Leader, with Pete Scazzero. Exploring themes around spiritual authenticity and growth in the Christian life.
- Java with Juli, from Authentic Intimacy. Conversations about sexuality, intimacy, and culture from a solidly Biblical worldview.
- Ransomed Heart with John Eldredge. Conversations about the life of the heart, and the restoration God intends.
- Entreleadership, from Ramsey Solutions. Lively conversations with many of the top minds in business, in a faith-friendly way.
- Building a Storybrand, with Donald Miller. Conversations about marketing, human nature, and more with many of the top minds in business today.
- 48 Days to the Work You Love, with Dan Miller. Talk about finding or creating work that is meaningful, purposeful, and profitable, from a man with a deep faith.
- Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. Practical insights from the leader of one of the largest multi-site church organizations in America.
- Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. From successful pastor, author, and awesome communicator, helping leaders go farther faster.
May these resources be inspiring, and fill your winter days and evenings with meaning and growth.
** Note: Listing a resource here does not imply that I or Dr Carol Ministries endorse every idea promoted in these resources.
Your Turn: Have any of these resources been helpful to you? Which are you planning to check out next? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: Sharing my list of favorite things. Here are some songs, organizations, books, and podcasts I’ve enjoyed recently. May they be inspiring to you as well. Tweet that.
Do you want to live FULLY ALIVE?
There are simple steps you can take EVERY DAY that will propel you forward in experiencing the kind of life you want, and that God wants for you physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
Get your FREE Resource Guide now: 7 Keys to Living Fully Alive – from the Inside Out.