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Communication and Leadership Development with Jon Imbeau

Watch as Jon Imbeau gives me a challenge that will change my communication for the rest of my life.

Communication and Leadership Development with Jon ImbeauI love to learn. There are some sessions when I finish the interview and know that God was challenging me in a very personal way to take an area of my life to the next level.

This was one of those sessions!

Jon Imbeau is our guest on the podcast today. I first met Jon when he was a pastor in the Fraser Valley. I always admired him as a prolific public speaker, family man and man of God.

Today he serves as the Executive Director for Awana Canada where he is doing amazing work in children and youth ministry all over our great nation.

In this session, we talked about camp, the gospel, Awana Canada, and preaching without notes.
Jon has always been a role model to me. There were times when he would take me aside and speak into something I needed. This session was no different. You can literally hear me being challenged and changed as the conversation goes on.


If you would like to contact Jon personally, you can email him here.

If you would like more information about Awana Canada, you can find their website here.

(This podcast is by Jon Morrison. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)


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A Manly Interview with Darrien Hodson

What up, guys! On our Friday shows, we normally just have me flying solo, but today, we’re going to do something a little bit different. I have one of the most manly men that I have ever come across in my life, and he is going to talk to us a little about being a man. So, please introduce yourself… what’s your name?

Darrien Hodson.

MIKE: Is it true that you are my nine-year-old son?


MIKE: Awesome. So, Darrien, let me ask you a few amazing questions. First, what’s the greatest Pokemon in the world?

DARRIEN: Dialga.

MIKE: What does Dialga do?

DARRIEN: He’s a legendary Pokemon.

MIKE: But, of course. Okay, what’s better: Pokemon or Mindcraft?

DARRIEN: I won’t answer that question.

MIKE: (Laughter) Okay, so Darrien, you’re going to grow up to become a man. Why do you want to be a man?

DARRIEN: Because I want to grow up to be exactly like you.A Manly Interview with Darrien Hodson

MIKE: Hopefully you do that better than I do! So, what makes a man A MAN? What do men do?

DARRIEN: They’re helpful, kind, generous. That’s pretty much all I know because I’m not a man yet.

MIKE: Okay. Let me ask you this, buddy: Who are some of the men in your life that you look up to? Who are men that you think are really cool and you want to be like them?

DARRIEN: My principal, Mr. Seacrest, you, my two older brothers… that’s pretty much all… basically my family.

MIKE: I know of a few others, so I’m just going to suggest a few. What about Grandpa? Ben? Ryan? And then, there’s Micah, Andy… the list goes on and on. So, of those guys we named, what did they do that you look at and say, “Hey! I want to do some of that!”

DARRIEN: They are polite, funny, careful, and care much about their families.

MIKE: Cool. So, since we love Jesus and we talk about Jesus a lot in our house, tell me, why do you follow Jesus?

DARRIEN: I follow Jesus because… well, first, I didn’t really know about Him until I joined this family. And then, you took me to church and I sorta liked it. And, Jesus sounds like a cool man and so I sorta wanted to grow up to be like Him. I want to be polite and do the good stuff that He does.

MIKE: So, what are some of those good things that Jesus does?

DARRIEN: Well, He is very generous. He saved a lot of lives. He is very, very outgoing. And He’s not afraid of anything.

MIKE: So, do you think you could be a man and not follow Jesus?


MIKE: What would that look like?

DARRIEN: Well, I don’t have to follow Jesus to be good. I could be good without following Jesus by being polite, helpful, generous, outgoing, and brave.

MIKE: Okay. Now, when you add Jesus into that mix, does it make it better?


MIKE: So, what about following Jesus makes life different?

DARRIEN: Now that I believe in Him, I can trust Him and do more things than I could before.

MIKE: If there was somebody that asked you, “Darrien, how do I become a man? How can I become a man who follows Jesus and does good things?” What advice would you give them?

DARRIEN: Well, I would tell them, “You should be polite, be helpful, be outgoing, brave, strong… and basically anything that is good.”

MIKE: Who did you learn that from? Who taught you “how to be a man”? Who are your “man teachers”?


MIKE: Ahh… shucks.

DARRIEN: Tylie, Micah, Ryan, George, Andy, Grandpa… a lot of people who are men… and some women.

MIKE: Women taught you how to be a man?

DARRIEN: Well, they taught me how to be polite.

MIKE: What are some dumb things that men think are important but we either don’t really need to do or shouldn’t do?


MIKE: Women are dumb??!


MIKE: Then, what do you mean by that?

DARRIEN: We shouldn’t think about women in inappropriate ways. Because, that basically means that we only think about how they look and how rich they are. We need to look at them of how strong, beautiful, and brave they are… things that are encouraging, not just like… “Hey, you’re pretty!” and that’s it.

MIKE: I totally agree. Because they are sisters, they are moms… they are our family in Jesus. And that’s why men protect women, right?


MIKE: And are we real men if we treat women bad?


MIKE: So, we are protectors and providers, and we support and help out. So, what would you tell a guy if he doesn’t treat a girl right?

DARRIEN: You’re a bad guy!

MIKE: Very powerful. Are there any questions you’d like to ask me?

DARRIEN: What’s it like being a man?

MIKE: What’s it like being a man? Umm… It’s a lot of responsibility because other people depend on me and because I want to be a good example for you, your brothers and your little sister. I want to show you what it’s like to be a man, but I also want to show your sister what it’s like to be loved by a good guy and a husband. So, I need to love mom right, so she sees what’s going on. I need to make good choices that are not just about me, but about you guys. It’s also cool because I’m hairy and I can make funny shounds with my butt and my mouth and..

DARRIEN: Okay… you just crossed a line a little!

MIKE: It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s awesome. I wouldn’t change it for anything else. I love being a man!

DARRIEN: How do you become a man? Especially a man like you?

MIKE: A man like me? First, you make a whole lotta mistakes, then you pray to Jesus and ask for help!

DARRIEN: Okay… maybe I should ask someone else!

MIKE: Yeah, probably! How do you become a man? You make “the tough decision”. Meaning, if something is easy – like lying, cheating or stealing – but something might be tough – like telling the truth or being generous and caring and taking care of others – you choose to do the right thing, even though it may be tough. When you see something that needs to be done, you take care of it. Because, that’s just what you do. For me, it also means that I follow Jesus because Jesus gave me the ultimate example of what being a man looks like. So, it’s tough. Being a little boy is easy, but being a man takes some work sometimes. You know what I mean?

DARRIEN: Uh huh.

MIKE: Alright… last question. Who is a better singer/rapper/producer/MC: Bizzle or me?

DARRIEN: You suck. Bizzle!

MIKE: (Laughter) Don’t ask a question if you can’t handle the answer! Well, son, I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m very excited to be a part of your “Manhood Journey”. And I pray everyday that I am a good man to lead you and our family. Thanks for helping me, and all the other guys out there, learn to be a man!

DARRIEN: Can we do this again?

MIKE: Maybe some other time! Any last words of advice? Any final words for all your fans out there?

DARRIEN: You guys should know that I am pretty majestic with my words and actions.

MIKE: True story!


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Unorthodox Strength In Numbers

We believe a lie!

This lie tells us that we are man enough to stand-alone. We got this lie at an early age from books, comics, movies, where the one hero stood against the world and defeated all evil forces. As a child of the 80’s all my action heroes had one gun that never ran out of ammo, they never missed a shot and they knew all forms of martial arts.

I wanted to be that man.

The truth is as real men we know that that hero doesn’t exist. Sure there are amazing fighters and guys who can shoot almost ant target, but those men are all apart of a team. No one stands alone.

You know what’s funny? The fact that I know that… You know that… But we still try to do life alone.

Somewhere we started to believe we could be “Lone Wolves”. But a lone wolf isn’t anything to aspire to. A lone wolf is a wolf that’s been rejected by their tribe, they are probably sick or injured and they are going to die alone.

One of my favorite verses about relationships has got to be…Unorthodox Strength In Numbers

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

There is strength in numbers, there is the opportunity to accomplish so much more in life when we get honest and ask for help.

Don’t believe the lie – no man stands alone.


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Is There A Way Out of the Desert?

I am here to tell you I don’t think there are short cuts into true Kingdom living.

  • You want to walk with God?
  • You want to grow up in Him?

Then there’s going to be testing.   I’ve learned that kicking and screaming my way through does not move God.  He even told me once that though He loves me, He isn’t moved by my attitude.

If you have been guilty at looking at someone else’s exciting faith filled life and wish you could be like them to the point of envy, I would say to you; are you ready to walk in their shoes awhile?   Do you have any idea of the perils and trials they have endured to get to the large place they are in now?   It’s NOW that you notice their fruit.

  • But did you notice the pain?
  • Did you see them in their desert place?

Were you even there as an encouragement when they were suffering?

Did you see how long they suffered to get to this place?

No one who is truly used of God, out there where the multitudes are in the marketplace, has escaped the growing up period and seasons of total silence, when it looks like all of the gates of hell has broke loose against you.

Consider the time these guys out of the Bible spent waiting on God in their lives when God seemingly disappeared.

  • Jacob laboring 14 years to earn his bride (Genesis 29-30) 14 YEARS!  I am sure the bride felt like she was going to be an old woman before she could marry him.  I mean, really!
  • Joseph, falsely imprisoned, pleading to be remembered by the man whose life he saved, and then “…2 YEARS PASSED and he remained in prison…” (Genesis 40-41)  Do you think he had times of discouragement?  Feeling forgotten?  Anger?  He was human!!
  • The great angel, sent as an answer to Daniels prayer, held up for 21 days, in a great battle in the heavenlies against the prince of Persia… (Daniel 10)  This says a lot about warfare.  We have an enemy, who is dumb enough to think he has defeated us when he sees us in our misery.  He never sees God’s purposes when we are miserable.  There is a lot going on that we can’t see, folks!
  • Abraham, known as the “father of nations”, was nearly 100 years old, and still the husband of a barren woman… (Genesis 15-17)  All I can say is “poor Sarah”…

Jesus says it plain and simple:

  • “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

I recently read a blog in Ransomed Hearts Ministries blog page that quoted A. W. Tozer’s teaching on this in Pursuit of Man and it says this:

  • “In my creature experience I am often caused to wish that there were some way to bring modern Christians into a deeper spiritual life painlessly by short, easy lessons; but such wishes are vain.  No shortcut exists.”

I realize in many ways I have been tempted by shortcuts in my work, my health, my fitness, my finances, my parenting, my spiritual life…the list goes on.  Wouldn’t it be grand to not have to grow through adversity?

Maybe… But for me, I don’t think I would appreciate what it really means to lean heavily into Jesus as the sole means for my survival if I weren’t forced into it.  I would take the easy way out, wouldn’t you?

Do we really know what is coming in our country in all its entirety?  How many believers will fall apart when all of their natural means of survival is tested to the point that all they have left is Jesus?

Best we learn now and welcome our testing’s of patience and long suffering and faith so that not only can we help others of weaker faith when the time comes, but so that we won’t be blindsided with sudden terror for our own survival.

We know the definition of faith.

  • Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (Hebrews 11:1)

NOT REVEALED TO THE SENSES!!! Standing on thin air to the carnal eye, but a solid rock of faith that I can’t see!

We say we walk by faith.  Faith is believing something YOU CAN’T SEE!!!   Really think about that.  You see it in the spirit, but in the natural, you see NO WAY OUT!!

Will we stand the test?  Will we persevere without giving into fear?

Will we let ourselves free fall off that cliff, giving full surrender to His purposes in our lives?

I want life. This is what Jesus said to me this week.

  • “Hang on my child.  I have you.  I love you and will not let you down. I am healing your life.  I want what you want. I want you to not be affected by what you see or can’t see. I don’t want you pulled back and forth.  You must determine to focus on only me and no other. I am lifting you up above the attack. Warfare is all around you for your life but I assure you it will not succeed in destroying you.  A miracle is getting ready to transpire.  Be watching with your whole heart.  I love and delight and desire all of your heart as my bride.”

When you exhaust all of your resources and having done all you know to do you keep on standing.   God has a plan…Whew, this way of living is not for the faint of heart I have to say.


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How to Stay Christian in College

Local college students return to class in a few days, and as the fall semester begins, we have an email from an incoming freshman named Sharon. “Dear Pastor John, I graduated from high school this summer, and I will be moving across the country to attend college this fall. It troubles me because I have seen many kids who stopped going to church and gave up their relationship with God after they moved out and moved to campus. Do you have any advice for me as to how to stay close to God despite all the distractions and temptations that come with campus life? How do I continue to grow spiritually? How do I balance time for school and time for God? Thank you, Pastor John!”

How to Stay Christian in CollegeThis is such a good question. I wish every high school graduate who’s heading off to college or university would be thinking this way and asking this question.

Let me say a word to Sharon and to all of them in the hope of being of some service to this generation of younger Christians who are heading off to school. I’ll limit myself to five words of counsel which, of course, will leave many specifics unanswered. I think these five have the effect of enabling students, if they accept them, to answer the other specifics as they arise.

Prepare for War

First, students, recognize that maintaining a Christian faith is war.First Timothy 6:12 reads, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life” Ephesians 6:11 reminds us, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

First Peter 5:8 declares, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” He will seek to devour on campus and everywhere else. Finally, James 4:7–8 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

Let me put a particular twist now on this exhortation — the exhortation that you recognize maintaining a Christian faith is war. Here’s the twist. Sooner or later somebody who’s a little too smart for their gospel breeches is going to belittle your habit of meeting with God every day in the word and prayer. They’re going to say something like, “Do you still think that you have to be that legalistic? You think you must have a ‘quiet time’ and a ‘personal devotion’? Haven’t you grown up? Don’t you know that your relationship with Jesus should be more free, more natural, more spontaneous?”

Here’s the twist. I want you to have your answer to that immature objection. You say something like this: “Well, I don’t know about you, but I know that I am in a war with the highest possible stakes because of what the supreme commander says to me in his manual — the Bible. I don’t think mainly in terms of legal requirements or pious platitudes like quiet time and devotions. I think about keeping my guns clean and making sure my ammunition is ready and reviewing the battle plans. I think about making sure I know the enemy and his deceptions and restoring my zeal for the glorious cause, like George Washington, who caused the revolution. If that’s a glorious cause, what is this? This is what the Lord has enlisted me for. Whatever you’re talking about, I know what I’m doing. Join me if you want every morning, but I’m going to be there.”

That is exhortation number one. As you head off to college, the Christian life is war — no matter where it’s lived. And Christians who try to pretend like it’s not are almost certainly going to be captured by the enemy.

Love the Word

Second, make the word of God a priority in your life. When you look at the armor that Paul describes in Ephesians 6:11–17 — an armor that every Christian is supposed to put on at campus or anywhere else — it’s amazing that, among the six pieces of armor, four of them are related to the word of God.

Most obviously, the sword is called the word of God. Second most obvious is the belt. It’s the belt of truth. Third most obvious is the shoes. They’re shoes of the gospel — readiness to run to the gospel.

Fourth — not as obvious, but plain when you think about it — is the shield of faith. Faith in what? Faith in God when he talks to you — when he speaks in his word. We’re going to trust. Faith doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God — faith in the word of God (Romans 10:17). And, of course, the other two are salvation, the helmet of salvation, and the breastplate of righteousness. Those two, salvation and righteousness, are all rooted in the gospel, which is the word.

My second exhortation is make the word of God a priority in your life. Read it every day, meditate on it every day and night, memorize key portions of it that are relevant to your situation and carry them with you all day long.

Here’s another twist I want to put on this — a special aspect of this exhortation. Just as college life will lead you into increased depths and complexities of cultural and personal and intellectual life, similarly, college can increase your grasp of the depths and the complexities of the glories of Scripture. Don’t stay at a high school level, don’t stay at a Sunday School level or homeschool level. Some of you may have gone very, very deep in homeschool, but don’t stay anywhere.

The Bible says grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). Now, what that means particularly is, as you spend time in the word, also find new challenging authors. You’re going to be introduced to all kinds of secular, global, relevant authors to all kinds of issues in your classes. Do the same for your faith.

Find out who J.I. Packer is, and read Knowing God. Find out who Wayne Grudem is, and read Systematic Theology. Yes, even if you’re not a theologian. This book is designed for every Christian. Find out who R.C. Sproul is, and readThe Holiness of God. Find out the classics like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.

The point is, make the word of God the substance of all the armor in this warfare — both the offensive and the defensive. Make it a priority in time, a priority in focus, a priority in maturation deeper and deeper into the depths and the complexities of the Scriptures.

Invest in a Church

Third, never, never, never leave the local church. The university is an institution created by man. The local church is an institution created by God. If you prioritize allegiance to university over allegiance to church, you are prioritizing man over God.

This, by no means, implies that Christians will work less hard at learning in the university — less hard than non-Christians do. No way. You’re going to give yourself with all your might to learn as much as you can in every class. It simply means that the church will remain central to the rhythm of your life.

God has designed corporate worship and the preaching of his word and fellowship of his people to be an essential part of maintaining a military discipline in your life with joy and triumph for the next sixty years. Think of it that way.

You are forming military habits of mind for the next battles you will fight thirty years from now. Gathering with your comrades every week in corporate worship under the word of God is essential for being ready to follow the commander into victory when you are at your peak at fifty years of age. That’s what’s at stake right now. You think you’re going to take a break from church and be powerful at fifty? You’re dreaming. Soldiers don’t function that way.

Find Good Friends

Forth, as an overflow from your experience with God’s people in church, be sure you have a handful of Christian comrades in arms who are speaking into your life and listening to your heart day in and day out.

Hebrews 3:12–13 is so important. It says, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another.” How is that going to happen now? You’ve got to obey this. “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

God has designed human beings so that no battle is to be fought alone, none. Jesus never sent anyone out on a solo reconnaissance mission — never. They were always two by two, and Paul’s missionary adventures were always in teams. We’re not designed to meet the enemy alone. The challenges of college are meant to be encountered arm in arm with fellow combatants.

Ask for Help

Fifth, live a life of prayer. That is, turn everything you read in Scripture, everything you hear in corporate worship, everything that is spoken into your life by your comrades — turn it all into prayer. That is, plead with God. Plead with God to work in you what you have seen in his word or heard from others founded on his word. Never presume that you can do anything on your own. Ask for God’s help ten times a day. Be weak in the presence of God so that you can be strong in the presence of men.

Make the Lord’s Prayer the outline of your daily cry. Cry out that God would make his name holy and revered and cherished and treasured above all things in your life and through your life and the lives of others. Plead with him to enable you to do his will the way the angels do it in heaven. Plead with him to lead you out of temptation and into righteousness as you extend his kingdom. Plead for the protection against the evil one, the enemy and all his schemes.

Yes, ask for your daily bread. Why? Just so that you can get on with the battle. It’s a glorious life in front of you. You have a great commander. Those are my five exhortations as you head off to school. So much more can be said, but I really believe if you make these five things a priority, God will guide you to all the help you need in all the things that I haven’t addressed.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)


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We get a steady stream of questions from mothers of young kids, like this one from a listener named Beth. “Dear Pastor John, my husband and I are new parents to a two-month-old son. Caring for him has been joyful and exhausting. I can barely concentrate on anything I used to but need the Lord more than ever to sustain me. What counsel do you give to new mothers on continuing their walk with God?”

Soul Care for Exhausted Young Mothers

I am not a mother, never have been, but I lived with one for 47 years. I still live with one, and I watched her be a young mother with five children: four of them born into the family, one carried into the family at eight weeks. And I do try to read my Bible with an eye to what is helpful for moms and dads and everybody else. So, here are a few pieces of counsel from experience and from the word. And they may not be the most important, but they are off my prayerful front burner.

Seek God

Soul Care for Exhausted Young MothersNever lose sight, Beth, never lose sight of the fact that your walk with God is as essential for the good of your child as is your milk or the formula that you may be giving him. Children do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). If you lose your communion with God, you will lose not only a source of strength for the sake of parenting, but you will lose the very thing you want most to impart to this child.

And you want him to know God more than you want him to live. You want him to taste and see that God will be sufficient to meet all of his needs, including his needs for his own parenting. And if you lose God while parenting, the very thing you want to give him most you have lost. So, that is how important it is for you to fight for whatever it takes to maintain a sweet, growing, satisfying walk with your God.

Discipline Well

Don’t let this little boy become a little emperor. I see far too many parents who are dominated by their children: out of control on airplanes, out of control in restaurants, out of control in the mall. All the trouble that these parents have spared themselves at home by not disciplining comes back on their own heads in public.

It will come back with a vengeance on their children’s heads later in life. Children are designed, intended by God to be submissive and to be obedient to their parents. They are not intended to dominate the house, dominate relationships, dominate when company comes over. And it is important for them to learn this early, because if they think they are the center of the world, it will be hard to break them of this destructive illusion later on.

Practically, that means that the child doesn’t so rule your schedule that you don’t have time for what you need to do for your own soul. He does not need your ever-present attention. You can show him lavish attention and provide him with all the affection and touch he needs without training him that you have to respond every time he has a peep in his crib.

God loves us lavishly, and as part of that love he makes sure we know we are not the center of the universe. That is what love does. Let your child become secure not in your ever-present hovering, but in the certainty that you always return in love.

Worship Without Ceasing

Turn all your practical mothering into worship. Make the food, change the diapers, push the stroller, “whatever you do, whether you eat or drink” — or play peek-a-boo with your baby — “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). And that means, I think, practically, as you are doing it, all these things, hundreds of them:

  1. Depend upon the sustaining, empowering, guiding grace of God.
  2. Give thanks for all the blessings of this child and your strength to care for it.
  3. Be amazed at the miracle that he is and what he is becoming, and turn your amazement into praise.
  4. When you become irritable, confess it: the worship of confession. Confess it and honor God with your confession and your reception of his promised forgiveness. And constantly pray, pray, pray, pray for whatever you need. That is how you make your days an act of worship. And then there may not be in your mind such a huge gulf between tending to your child and tending to your soul.

The Role of Church

Stay in church and be involved with other people. Beware of withdrawing into solitude with the child. You need other people. The Bible makes that plain, especially in 1 Corinthians 12. And that need doesn’t go away just because children come into the house. So, strap that baby on and be out and doing with other people — especially be in worship and be in fellowship around God’s word.

I can remember 44 years ago with our first child born in Germany. As soon as we brought that chubby little beached whale home and tried to learn how to be parents, as soon as we got him home, we went straight to our Friday night small group meeting which we did every Friday night while we are in Germany.

It was our lifeline, because our church life wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be. But we had a small group. So, we would get there early in the evening. The baby would have already eaten or we would feed him there while everybody else was eating. Then, when it was time to study and pray, we would lay him down, tummy down, on a double bed, put a pillow on four sides of him, pat his bottom, walk out of the room, and leave him there for the next three hours.

And then, we would take the bus home — we had no car in Germany — and put him to bed at home at 11:00, and he never woke up between 7 o’clock in the morning usually or, if he was very young, yes, he would have to wake up and eat for a while. So, don’t let the baby slow you down. Do what you need to do for your own souls.

Share Diaper Changes

Negotiate with your husband to take turns in getting up in the middle of the night. He should know you need sleep as much as he does. God’s ideal for child-rearing is two parents. There is a reason for that. So, tell your husband that I said he should help you. Make room in your schedule not only for rest, but also for reading.

And that leads me to the last thing I want to say. Read Bible-saturated books. And the most Bible-saturated book is the Bible. But read others as well, maybe audiobooks while you are working. And the reason is this: The book of Proverbs begins, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). Your responsibility is to pour glorious, wonderful teaching about God and his ways and his world into the mind of this little child. So, don’t fail the child by failing to read and grow in what you need to teach him about God and about life.

So, I pray that the Lord will give you the strength and the wisdom that you need to take up this, perhaps, greatest-of-all tasks: raising this child in the nurture and discipline of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)


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Carlos Nicasio – Gang Affiliated to Urban Advocate

This week in the “Shed” is our tool of the week –Carlos Nicasio

Carlos Nicasio - Gang Affiliated to Urban AdvocateCarlos is the Founder of Concrete + Canvas, a nonprofit startup dedicated to leveraging resources to empower change and strengthen urban youth in under-resourced communities. Based in San Diego, California, he serves as a mentor, leader, life coach, and strategic thinker to youth workers and other leaders locally and around the nation.​ Passionate about this generation, driven to share his faith to inspire the young to succeed. He spearheads Concrete + Canvas’s mission to train and equips generation leaders to serve the urban poor to transform communities (

Carlos is also the Executive Director of Staff Development for Urban Youth Collaborative developing next generation leaders for urban ministry work. (

In this episode Carlos shares his story…

”In 1985, I was a teenager in the midst of an emerging hip-hop generation. The era’s culture, music, art, fashion, and design was ingrained in me and fueled who I was becoming as a young, entrepreneurially minded man.

 Quickly, I slipped into a lifestyle of illegal graffiti art, drugs, violence, and crime. My influences were west coast gangster rappers whose lyrics terrorized youth culture and threatened political movements. This threatened my future. For the next 10 years, I lived with no sense of purpose or direction, no desire to become anything, no understanding about life and consequences.

 In 1997, after a weekend retreat, I was transformed; I encountered God. Since that moment, I have been on a mission to serve the needs of urban youth who live the same story I did. Unlike my experience at age 13, I want the church to give our youth direction away from the negative influences that bombard them. I want to change this reality for the youth of today.

 At Concrete + Canvas, we are on a mission to reach a generation whose father figures, role models, and values are lost. Our work focuses on teaching teenagers practical leadership skills to empower them to make a difference in their communities and the world.

 After dropping out of 9th grade and working dead-end jobs, I’ve since graduated from college, seminary, and various leadership programs. My story isn’t finished; I am committed to transforming our youth, offering the chance for them to lead and contribute to the growth and well being of our neighborhoods.”

We also discussed distinctives of urban youth work and tools everyday people can use to engage their communities in impactful ways.

“Do life with people that most people wouldn’t share any of their life with.” – Carlos Nicasio

To learn more about what’s going on in the Relational Toolshed, check out our Facebook page and join the conversation!


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What & How Do We Grieve? with David Achata

This week in the “Shed” is our tool of the week – David Achata.

David is the Founder & Director of Achata Coaching (, Author, and Director of Coaching for leadership development at Saturate. Although David is an incredible executive coach and counselor we took a look at a more specific aspect of his life and journey of late. In the midst of his work as an executive coach, community leader, and father; David walked through an incredibly exhausting and painful period of life in the last few years.What & How Do We Grieve? with David Achata

In this episode David shares his personal journey of caring for his dying mother and the season of life he walked through as he learned how to grieve and mourn his losses. From high functioning executive coach to disorganized and disoriented the grieving process took him for many unexpected turns and discoveries.

David shares some insights into a skill and life reality that many of us are ill-equipped in…grieving. His book set to release in late 2017 is an incredible insight into his own personal discoveries but also practical tools for helping others learn to grieve as well and experience deep healing & comfort.

We also discussed practical relational tools on what to do and not to do when we are in a process of grieving as well as when we are trying to help someone in our life during a hard season of life or loss. Specifically, I asked him:

  1. What are unhelpful ways we can attempt to help those in our life who are grieving?
  2. What are ways that we can be helpful and empathetic when our friends/family are in a season of grieving?
  3. What’s the difference between grieving and mourning? Why is the difference necessary?

If you enjoy David’s content he also contributes articles on his blog, as well as on the Saturate Blog with a more spiritual focus specifically.


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Guiding Discovery with Scott Schimmel

This week’s tool of the week is Scott Schimmel, the Founder, President, and Chief Guide at The YouSchool. After spending over ten years in a non-profit helping college students become world changers, Scott is deeply aware of the challenges students face when stepping into the professional world. This is why he’s invested his time guiding young people. Outside of YouSchool, Scott is an avid reader, speaker, writer, and golf fiend—and his latest challenge is learning how to coach Little League baseball. His wife and three children keep him anchored. Connect with him on LinkedIn or email.Guiding Discovery with Scott Schimmel

YouSchool has a variety of applications. For one, it is an educational life-planning program for high school students that helps unlock individual passion, drive, skills and preferences.

The YouSchool also works with Navy SEALs, military special forces units, athletes, coaches, executives, parents, etc. and is a guided coaching program that helps people in life’s transitions answer important questions:

What’s my purpose?

Where do I belong?

What great story could I tell with my life?

Who will journey with me?

Scott joined us this week and shared insights into what drives his passion for helping others discover their uniqueness’s, life purpose, vocation & sense of calling. As we spoke Scott shared multiple examples of where people find themselves getting “stuck” and tools YouSchool uses to help people get “Un-stuck”. Whether it be students deciding on college, career or relationships; or everyday people trying to discover a deeper sense of purpose in their work, vocation and family. Scott had fascinating insights in relationship dynamics and what can help us everyday folk be better listeners and guides for our friends, family and relational networks. Scott also shared some tools that we as influencers, mentors, coaches, parents and advisers can do to help the next generation find clarity in chasing their dreams and passions.

YouSchool also has an amazing blog that consistently publishes outstanding resources, articles, and tools.

This episode is loaded with tools we hope equip you to build stronger relationships. Hope you enjoy!


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Have you ever felt FOMO? That’s the Fear Of Missing Out. And in this day and age of social media, it not only makes friendships between women difficult…it can make them feel downright impossible. Even if you’re not on social media you can experience FOMO when you hear about friends getting together for playdates or coffee without you. That fear of being left can easily set in. FOMO is real!

Friendships can be difficult for a variety of reasons. We as women compare ourselves to each other and feel like we fall short. Many of us carry baggage and hurts from friendships that went wrong. I share in this episode about a little “friendship PTSD” I experienced when I was hurt deeply by a friend. It made me want to pull back from friendships entirely, rather than put myself at risk of experiencing that pain again. I still second guess myself constantly years after this happened. I’m always worried that something I’ve said might be taken the wrong way.The Power of Friendship

Well, my guest today, Lisa-Jo Baker, knows a thing or two about friendships between women. For the past 7 years, she has served as community manager for (in)courage, a website devoted to encouraging women in their everyday stories of faith. Lisa-Jo shares with us from her brand new book, Never Unfriended:The Secret to Finding & Keeping Lasting Friendships. She made me giggle when she described her stage of life as the “wonder years” since the kids can now get up, get dressed, and go to the bathroom by themselves…oh what a wonder that is!

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

Lisa-Jo’s shares her biggest tip for keeping things simple, and what she requires of her kids to keep their evenings both simple and joyful.

In This Episode…

I so thoroughly enjoyed talking with Lisa-Jo in this episode!! We discussed how we as women thwart friendships, how we can look to Jesus for the true example of how to be a friend, and how to speak the truth to ourselves when our heart wants so badly to deceive us.

We also talk about the difficulty of developing and maintaining friendships between women, how the internet has affected that, and what we can do about it.

Well, you are in for such a treat!! I just know you will be so blessed by my conversation with Lisa-Jo! I hope this episode inspires you to develop friendships with women, to encourage them through Christ, and to reach out even when it is difficult.

Highlights from This Show…

  • Lisa-Jo talks about friendship PTSD and how it affects our ability to make and maintain friendships.
  • We talked about whether it was possible to invest in friendships in a culture where you can be unfriend someone with a swipe of your finger.The Power of Friendship 
  • “Eve is the original FOMO girl. She’s basically like, ‘Oh my goodness, God has left me out of something.’” — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • I reference the first time that I heard the term “FOMO” being here on the podcast with Jill Savage. (Now I hear the term everywhere.) ?
  • Lisa-Jo talks about how coveting what our neighbors have has exploded with the invention of the internet, when the whole world is now our neighbor. We can be perfectly content with our life, then open Instagram and start scrolling and we aren’t content anymore.
  • Lisa-Jo and I laugh about how moms will actually dress up when getting together with other women, yet don’t usually put as much thought into how we dress for the men in our lives. We feel such pressure to maintain appearances for other women.
  • Lisa-Jo gives the world’s definition of friendship, “What’s in it for me?”, as opposed to Jesus’ definition of friendship, “What’s in it for you?” Lisa-Jo and I also discuss how Jesus came to be our friend and how He pursues relationships with us.
  • “It’s about saying to your friend, ‘How could I show up and be a friend to you?’” — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • Lisa-Jo talks about why it’s important to pursue friendships with others. She also points out how we are hard-wired for relationships by God Himself. Relationships are actually beneficial for us, even if it is hard or we’ve struggled with friendship “failures” in the past.
  • I shared with Lisa-Jo about how her story about her mom passing away when she was just a teenager really touched me as I read her book…especially since we had just lost my father-in-law over the summer. The power of friendships during crisis moments like these really touched both of us in our time of grieving.
  • “It’s okay if it feels awkward…it is better to say the wrong thing than to say nothing.”
    — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • ‘Friendship is Jesus with skin on. It’s how we bring Him to sit on the sofa next to our friend who’s grieving.” — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • Jesus is our Emmanuel and He demonstrates the gift of “presence” in our lives and how we need to show up and be present in the lives of others…especially when friends are going through hard times.
  • Lisa-Jo talks about the story of the good Samaritan in Scripture and how Jesus was asked, “WHO is my neighbor?” He taught how to go and BE a good neighbor. He shifts the burden from “What’s in it for me?” to “What’s in it for you?”
  • Lisa-Jo got very practical in the episode and shared some great tips for women who are ready to reach out and be a friend. She shared an acronym with us from the book: S.T.A.Y.S. {S= Shows up! T= Takes time! A= Assumes the best! Y= Asks “Why?” Friends ask good questions of each other & aren’t afraid of the answers. S= Stops comparing & Starts encouraging}
  • I mention how I’ve struggled as a people pleaser for most of my life and how I have to fight the lie of the enemy that others don’t like me and may have possibly taken something I’ve said out of context. I share how I try to mediate on Philippians 4 and believe “what is true” of others and not what I “think” they might be thinking. The importance of prayer over situations like these is so important.
  • “Nobody lies to me quite like I do.” — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • Lisa-Jo shares a second acronym about the L.I.E.S. we tell ourselves. {L= “Left out” on purpose I = That we’re “invisible” E = That “everything” is about me  S = Skinny jeans friendships! Ha!}The Power of Friendship
  • “Friendship is not like skinny jeans; it’s more like sweat pants. It gives everybody room to breathe just the way they are.” — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • Lisa-Jo and I talk about how being a good friend to others starts with being a good friend to yourself. Lisa-Jo confesses how she realized that she was constantly speaking negatively to herself and how she’s had to learn to turn off the “devil static.”
  • Lisa-Jo discusses how to handle a “friendship break-up.” She also reminds us that even Jesus Himself suffered from failed friendships; think about His relationship with Judas.
  • “At the end of the day, it is not our job to fix other people; it’s our job to love them.” — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • “It’s better to have a scar that hurts than an open wound.” — Lisa-Jo Baker
  • Lisa-Jo encourages moms to take the daily opportunities to die to ourselves.
  • “What I love about Jesus is that He’s never going to get tired of you coming to Him, or asking for validation, or asking Him how you look or how that project went…like NEVER. He’s never tired of that. You can come to Him as much as you want, about everything under the sun…and He will love you. He is fascinated by your life, and He wants to share it with you.” — Lisa-Jo Baker

Words to Remember…

“The heart is deceitful above all things…” — (Jeremiah 17:9)

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Connect with Lisa-Jo…

Lisa-Jo has three kids, a well-traveled passport, and a very patient husband who has never run through an airport for me. She  sincerely believes motherhood should come with its own super hero cape. She’s the community manager for the beautiful, come-just-as-you-are, bring-your-girlfriends, let’s talk faith while we sit with feet up on the coffee table website (in)courage. She’s also the author of Surprised by Motherhood and Never Unfriended.

You can check out Lisa-Jo’s books HERE on Amazon! You can find Lisa-Jo on her website at and at

Thank you, Rend Collective for allowing me to use your incredible song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)


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