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Ethical Evangelism: What to Expect from Season One of the Upwardly Dependent Podcast

It's finally happening!

I have never had an absence of words, but I have often felt a tug holding me back from sharing them publicly. Now, that might be hard to believe seeing as how often I write and teach online, but there is something really sacred and intimate about inviting God to do this speaking for you, and his work is often slow.

I've found a real safety in going slow too and this podcast is being born out of years of testing my own beliefs, and wading through big question marks surrounding my faith. It's kind of like going undercover, purposefully placing yourself under the tutelage of Scripture, spiritual disciplines and the work of the Holy Spirit.

It makes me think about this rock turner that my science-loving kid got for Christmas this year. You put regular gray rocks into this yellow canister that spins on a small machine, you add some water and some special sand that acts as grit. Then, plug it in and listen for a week as that canister turns and turns and the act of the rocks bumping up against each other slowly chips away the rough outer layer, revealing incredible purple, blue, and white stones.

More and more turning and those stones keep polishing each other until they are shiny and smooth. Spiritual formation works a lot like this. The human touches that refine us are accelerated by the grit of a Holy Spirit that polishes our faith and knocks off our rough, carnal tendencies.

When we depend on something higher, someone upward, we rise above the limits of our own flesh and mind. We find new ways of thinking beyond trivial arguments. We find new skills to persevere through hard times. And we find new courage truly to see the world as God sees it.

It was almost 10 years ago when we were sitting around a living room in our house church in Southeast Asia. And one of our friends, Michael, mentioned a need for upward dependence on our Creator to get through a hard season. It resonated so much with me. And I asked him if I could snatch that phrase for encouragement. So I changed my social media channels to @upwardlydependent the next day.

Over the last 10 years. I've lived in four countries growing our family to four children via birth and adoption, lost two jobs holding on to my values, somehow finished a dissertation and also started a few businesses and a nonprofit. But when I lay my head down at night, it's not anything that I've done that I care to think about. It's who I'm becoming that is most important. Those moments of personal growth are intimate to each of us.

The Upwardly Dependent podcast is meant to welcome you into that journey you're already on of discerning your faith path.

How do we tackle some of the most divisive and challenging topics while being the best thinkers and learners we can be? How can we believe in God's delight with us even as we wrestle through tough conversations.

Each season I will invite guests who have been formative influences to my own spiritual growth and we will learn together. I've already been so impacted by these interviews, and I am confident you will find incredible nuggets of wisdom in these episodes.

To kick things off, we're tackling the big question of evangelism. Is it ethical and how can we practice it well? You'll hear from incredible voices like Brian Fikkert, the author of When Helping Hurts, Mekdes Haddis, an Ethiopian missionary to the United States, and Mats Tunehag, perhaps the greatest person of influence within the Global Business as Mission movement.

We're going to talk about how, when, and where to share our faith with others in a way that diminishes colonial influences from Western culture and invites all people to experience God in their own, appropriately contextualized ways.

My hope is you'll continue to peel back the layers of your own cultural influence to reveal new and exciting truths about your maker and the sustainer of your faith. Thanks for being here. You guys really are the brave ones. And it is an honor to live the upwardly dependent life alongside of you


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