My Story: New Blog Feature!

Blog Header New 2017 July logo
Sample Photo 3


What is the Ivory Tower?

There will be more said about this later…. but the Ivory Tower is a well-known ‘thing’ in Higher Education (like in seminary!).  It’s a term that means ‘having to do with higher education’ and it symbolizes the lofty ideals of education and how gaining such knowledge has been, historically, not easy to do because knowledge wasn’t as easily accessible in the past.

But it signifies something different for me and Podcast Seminary.  “The Ivory Tower” is a phrase I’m using to explain how Podcast Seminary wants to help people with ‘discipleship’ and it symbolizes the lofty ideal of Christian education– namely, the biblical responsibility we have of making disciples and taking them into ever-higher levels of commitment, knowledge, freedom, and victorious living.

More about that later, but the Ivory Tower will be revealed soon, and it will show and explain how Podcast Seminary wants to help you grow spiritually, and will give you a step-by-step spiritual growth strategy for personal growth, to help you become all God has made you to become!  I can’t wait to share it.


OK, Now What Is “My Story?”

“My Story” is a new inspirational blog post I want to offer regularly here that tells you the inspirational story of interesting people who we’ve gotten to know and who are growing in their faith, and who are using Podcast Seminary resources to encourage their growth.  I plan to share stories like mine– and theirs– and YOURS here on this blog through regular “My Story” features like this.

Has Podcast Seminary helped you?  Contact Dean Freddy Cardoza and he will tell you how to share your story, and will give you the tools you need to get it ready to be shared here with others!


MY STORY… BEFORE

My story begins as a child in my first hometown of Huntsville, Tennessee. We lived in an old white farmhouse without running water right here where the trees now stand.  This photo is from this year.  Just take yourself back to the 1970s and that’s where it was– only gone now and grown up with trees and weeds where it used to stand.
Little Creek, Huntsville After mom remarried, we moved to a nearby town named Oneida, TN (take a look around– this image starts off not in the most beautiful part of town). We went irregularly to our original church, but not that often and I really had no understanding of faith or a relationship with God at the time.
Ultimately, I was invited to a leading church in town to hear famed football player, Reggie White, then still a college player at the University of Tennessee. He and player Willie Gault were speaking. That evening I heard the truth of the gospel, the message of God’s love, and invited Jesus into my life. For the first time, in the months to come, I started to put some of the pieces of life together.
In those days I had several people help me grow. Had it not been for people who took time and were transparent enough to encourage me to grow, I would have gone nowhere spiritually. This included people who made an indelible mark on my life, that stretched from the earliest days of my faith until college.
It all began with Judy Adkins Chitwood, who met with me and one of my best friends EVERY WEEK for two years on Saturdays, to help encourage my growth. Without Judy I’d be nowhere. Then came Paul Stith, my first youth minister. He ever so patiently helped answer the hundreds of questions I had about God and faith and life. From taking me on long road trips across the state to sharing about his family’s faith, I grew so much under his tutelage. Then came Scott Andrews, my second youth minister. He and wife Jennifer were treasures that unconditionally loved me and opened their home regularly to me and others, encouraging my growth—and remaining friends for years, even until now. Along with them came the late Pastor John Shepherd, a giant among men, who was simply “The Man,” and I’ll never exhaust my thanks for him. Them, plus very influential people like Rose West, Jack E. Lay, Allen Matthews, Dale Smith, and Tom McBroom—all of these were crucial in helping me grow spiritually. They helped disciple me. That’s what the Christian life is about! That’s the ‘point!’

My Story… Now

Today, due to the investment of those people and a few decisions of my own, I am what I am. I am approaching my 35th year as a believer—hard to believe—and I’ve sought to walk with God like I was taught in my youth and early adulthood after becoming a Christian. God’s given me enough insight and training that I want, and have a responsibility, to make disciples like those who helped me become one.

My Story…. In the Future

That’s where Podcast Seminary comes in. I understand that Podcast Seminary isn’t ‘really’ a seminary! But it’s sort of like a seminary, in that it’s meant to provide systematic and comprehensive training over a large area of discipleship content that most Christians don’t get. They don’t get it because not enough people are “making disciples.”
I believe that “being” a disciple is great—but that’s only half of it. We then have to go from “being” to “making” disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). So Podcast Seminary is a resource and set of tools I’m creating to help people grow in their faith and relationship with God.
I want to help people gain access to discipleship content that is broader and deeper, but also more condensed. I want to provide it in easy to access ways (like social media) and in more substantial ways people learn (like video, blogs, and audio). Using audio, I will create more substantial content through producing audio courses, which will be a big part of the type of teaching and training I want to provide. In time, as people discipline themselves to listen and learn to my discipleship-based podcast audio courses, they will begin to build strong, renewed minds that are comprehensively informed and systematically instructed in all the essential areas of the Christian life.
My vision is to help people become and make disciples all over the world, wherever they are, by providing these and other resources and by personally connecting to them through other things I have planned, so more people will have access to substantial, life-changing truths that I believe every Christian should be taught. That’s what discipleship and Podcast Seminary are all about.
That’s my story. And just like Judy, Paul, Scott, John, Rose, Jack, Allen, Dale, and Tom helped teach me, I hope you’ll let me be a part of teaching you to “observe everything (he) commanded” like the Great Commission commands me and us to do! Then, my prayer is that you’ll “teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).


Your Turn

Do you have a story? I want to hear about it. I am even willing to consider featuring your story on PodcastSeminary.com/blog in a future post like this one.
Your StoryConnect with me through leaving a comment below or by going to the Contact page, and we’ll get started!

3 Steps to Make Men From Mice (Audio Podcast)

Podcast Seminary Email Header, red
Facebook, 3 Steps to Make Men From Mice


God doesn’t want us to live in fear—but many do.
This session is to challenge us not to fear, but to overcome it with courage.
Throughout scripture, God says it again, and again, and again—Fear Not; Be Not Afraid, Be Strong and Courageous, and other similar phrases— a few hundred times, in fact. So it’s clear that God doesn’t want us to be afraid.
But how do we overcome debilitating fear? Important tips are presented here in this special episode.
Want even more? Check out my long-talk given at a men’s retreat for Saddleback Church in 2016. Check it out


Listen Now

What Every Dad Ought to Know About Being Their Kids' Hero

Podcast Seminary Email Header, redFathers Day Devotional


Special Father’s Day Devotion


You’re a great dad– or at least trying. 
Great! 
Now it’s time to begin thinking about upping your game, by setting your sights on the real prize: Winning Your Children’s “World’s Greatest Dad” Award OR AT LEAST the title of “Hero.” 
But what does it take to become our kids’ champion?
It’s probably not what you think.  Oh sure, “things” are nice. 
Kids always enjoy stuff, after all. … Another pair of Vans shoes.  A new A&F t-shirt.  The latest and greatest mobile phone. 
But then what?  What do we do after our kid’s survival (aka “hygiene”) needs are secured?  Easy.
Kids are Relatively Easy to Please
Most kids are surprisingly easy to please– much easier than other people in our lives (you know who I’m talking about!).  Kids, first and foremost, want YOU; not stuff you give them.  Now, that doesn’t mean that our kids don’t have moments of weakness.  They are, of course, susceptible to the occasional materialistic binge.  That’s understood.  But, when it all comes down to it, our kids want to believe– and to know with certainty– that we love them unconditionally.
And to them, unconditional love means having your time.  Relax– not “all” of it.  Nobody said that.  But SOME of it.  That’s reasonable, yes?   As someone rightly said, “Love” is spelled “T-I-M-E.”  So giving OURSELVES to our kids is the quickest way to be coronated as the Official “King” of Your Castle.  And failing to give time to our kids is a great way to slowly fall from the pedestal of paternal glory into irrelevant ignobility.  (Don’t know what ignobility is? Well, it ain’t good).
Read: “Distraction Free” Time
So kids want some of our time.  And they want it undistracted from whatever it is that distracts us.
You know, like… your preoccupation with work.  Or griping about cutthroat fast food drive-through workers and slow baristas.  Or that phone of yours. 
Now, I’m “as OR more” hyper-connected to technology as anybody.  But there are boundaries.  Like going to dinner tonight without my phone, so I could focus on my family. The fact is, we need these types of boundaries. We have to remember that Technology is a “Little G-god” that can command all of our thinking and time.  Not because we’re bad people, but because we need a distraction from the crushing weight of, you know, running the world– or whatever we do. 
The key to giving our kids “time” isn’t taking them to Dairy Queen and buying them a giant Dilly Bar to occupy their mouths, so we don’t have to talk to them about their day.  Sorry– just trying to keep it real.
So, to summarize, kids (wives, anyone?) want “focused-only-on-them” time; distraction free.  If you can do that, you’re half-way to Goal Line Glory, where you can spike the Father’s Day football for winning the day.
But then what?  Or, better, HOW exactly should we spend this distraction-free time with our kids?
Ahh.  Good question.
That’s a question I was discussing with a trusted friend just today.  A friend who, by the way, has had an ongoing and significant influence on the way I am building this ministry.

The Sure-Fire Way to Clinch Your Kid’s “Hero” Title

First, as I said, let’s assume that basic  survival/called “hygiene needs” are already met.  Now, if not, then let’s make that happen.  Without essentials being met, kids become insecure.  That that insecurity leads to fear.  Unresolved fear leads to bitterness and the embrace of someone or something who promises to provide the security that we can’t or won’t.  Don’t let that happen.
But on to the central issue here: Becoming Our Kid’s or Kids’ (for all you English majors out there) Hero.
I believe that there are 3 things better than mere material things (“stuff”) that will utterly excite and fascinate the imagination of your kids and draw them infinitely closer to you.  Here they are:

    1. Provide Memorable Experiences

Experiences can produce memories, but for life-changing experiences and riveting and unforgettable experiences, you’ll need to do more than just “show up.”  I suggest planning for memory-making… Otherwise the experience alone (and whatever happens to happen, planned or not) can dictate the content of the memory.
So my advice is to begin by creating a meaningful experience.  And what, exactly, constitutes this type of experience?
First, create an experience that is novel-different/utterly unique OR at least a different version of something familiar.
Second, make that novel experience multi-sensory.  Making experiences multi-sensory means deliberately thinking about how you can include the five senses.

Sense 1: Engage their Hearing or sound.  Try playing fave songs-radio or relying on the diverse sounds from the place or event or experience.

Sense 2: Engage their Sight or vision.  Think about visually -stimulating visuals, views, or perspectives.  Example: instead of just going to dinner, wait on a seat with a view of the vineyard (disclaimer: stock art, not my bottle of wine) or on the top floor, in the kitchen itself like at Buca de Peppo, or in the private dining room like the Pope Room, or wherever.

Sense 3: Engage their Sense of Taste.  Enhance the memory with a drink, food, or meal.  For example, a trip down to Balboa Island in Newport Beach isn’t complete without the added memory of a frozen banana. There’s about a million ways to enhance the experience in nearly any situation.

Sense 4: Engage their Sense of Smell.  Smell is perhaps the strongest sense and provides powerful memories.  It can be highlighted or remembered.  Imagine retelling the story where you say, “Kids, do you remember the overpowering salty smell of the foaming waves on our trip to La Jolla Beach on the afternoon we searched for new sea shells to decorate your bathroom?

Sense 5: Engage their Sense of Touch.  To touch is to experience and to know.  There is something about the tactile nature of things and the impression they make on us.

Sixth Sense: Then seal the deal and make it memorable with cheap or expensive, but most importantly “meaningful”  keepsakes, tokens, whatnots, photos, or photo albums (like chatbooks), or by adding meaningful discussions, prayers of remembrance, and so on.

You’ll find that a little planning can make it really unforgettable… Then your kids have tons of memories, all good, all shiny and polished, and experiences with you that can’t be forgotten… And those reduce the impact of material things– which (often though maybe not always) will be viewed as little more than useless trinkets when compared to these amazing experiences you provide your kids.

2. Spiritual Wisdom and Godly Advice

Add to those things providing your kids with “spiritual wisdom” or godly life advice.  Kids want AND need your wisdom.  You have experienced more life than they have.  You, of all people, can give your kids loving direction.  That doesn’t mean overdoing it.  Kids have a certain tolerance level for sage advice, even ours.  So it’s important to give life advice and wisdom to our kids, along with an open door and our encouragement to discuss “things that matter” to them at any time. One thing I’ve said over the years, particularly the last 11 years since my mom passed away, is that I wish I’d gotten more advice. It’s not so much that I didn’t figure some things out along the way, but experience is a cruel teacher. Life’s touch is not as soft as a loving mom’s or dad’s advice. For that reason, I give my own sons advice. And mostly I think they appreciate it and take it for what it is. Our kids need that, whether or not we think they need (or want) it. And they often do!

3. Inject Experiences With Adventure and Play

Finally, deliberately work to make events with your kids to be fun and ‘times of play,’ mingled with adventure.  If you do this, you’ll always win with your kids.


Make It Happen

We all want to be great dads.  We want to win the day.  That is a title that is earned.  And we can rightly take the Throne of our Family Fiefdom if we’ll give our kids and families these important things: memorable experiences, wisdom, and adventure.
Give these, all wrapped up in T.I.M.E., and you’ll quickly become their hero.  That’s something all the material things in the world can’t compete against.
Make Plans Now to Make This Father’s Day a special time with your amazing kids– and they’ll celebrate you as their amazing dad!


Happy Father’s Day, Dads!

Me with my Sons on a Special Recent Trip

2016-2017-misc-pics_32740430154_o

What Mature Christians Should Know (Podcast Episode 002)

Podcast Seminary Banner4

What should Christians know?  Click to discover the answer.


  • Is there a body of beliefs that represent what it means to be a Christian? 
  • Are there essential ideas that comprise a Christian way of thinking?
  • Is there such a thing as a biblical worldview?
  • Are there truths that, if known, could help us live with more certainty?
  • Should people expect to live their lives in spiritual confusion?

These are the types of questions answered in this podcast, Episode 002 – What Mature Christians Should Know.

Take the journey with Podcast Seminary Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, long-time pastor and professor, who explores the idea with you, to help equip you to grow in your faith.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe!

Like it? Share it! 

 

 

 

 


Maundy Thursday Inspirational Art

Maundy Thursday

The week prior to Resurrection Day is called “Holy Week.” Thursday of this week is sometimes called “Holy Thursday” or “Great Thursday” or historically, “Maundy Thursday.” Maundy (“mondee”) is from a Latin Word, mandatum, which means “commandment” signifying the command Jesus gave at the Last Supper on Thursday– to serve one another and to remember His sacrifice. Many free Protestant churches don’t celebrate the holiday specifically or have special services, but where it is celebrated it sometimes includes footwashing as an act of service. Since Footwashing is only mentioned once as a religious practice in scripture (John 12), and not using the same language and type of instruction of the “ordinances” of baptism and the Lord’s Table (communion, eucharist), it is typically not considered an ordinance and only a very small number of Christian denominations practice it regularly as an ordinance. Even so, it is sometimes done in association with Maundy Thursday as a devotional practice.
In commemoration of this year’s Maundy Thursday, I wanted to share this expandable (click to expand) image of Bellini’s Agony in the Garden, signifying Jesus after the Last Supper in Gethsemane. It’s stylized for that time period, of course, but it gives a glimpse of how the event was characterized in art, and it provides inspiration and opportunity for reflection. Enjoy!

The Agony in the Garden (Giovanni Bellini, c. 1465)

Giovanni Bellini, active about 1459; died 1516 The Agony in the Garden about 1465 Egg on wood, 81.3 x 127 cm Bought, 1863 NG726 http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG726
Giovanni Bellini, The Agony in the Garden (c. 1465)
The Agony in the Garden is an early painting by the Italian Renaissance master Giovanni Bellini, who painted it around 1459–65. It is in the National Gallery, London.  It portrays Christ kneeling on the Mount of Olives in prayer, with his disciples Peter, James and John sleeping near to him.  The picture is closely related to the similar work by Bellini’s brother-in-law, Andrea Mantegna, also in the National Gallery. It is likely that both derived from a drawing by Bellini’s father, Jacopo.[1] In Bellini’s version, the treatment of dawn light has a more important role in giving the scene a quasi-unearthly atmosphere. Until the mid-19th century Early Renaissance paintings were regarded as curiosities by most collectors. This one had probably belonged to Consul Smith in Venice (d. 1770), was bought by William Beckford at the Joshua Reynolds sale in 1795 for £5, then sold in 1823 with Fonthill Abbey and repurchased by Beckford at the Fonthill Sale the next year (as a Mantegna) for £52.10s. It was bought by the National Gallery for £630 in 1863, still a low price for the day.[2]  Source

Call To Action

  • Read the passage in each of the Synoptic Gospels

Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV)
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Mark 14:32-52 (The Message)
The Message is a modern paraphrase of the Bible. Though a loose ‘translation’ or, better, paraphrase of the text, it still provides inspirational insight into God’s Word and is beneficial for reading. Try it.

32-34 They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

35-36 Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: “Papa, Father, you can—can’t you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?”
37-38 He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don’t be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
39-40 He then went back and prayed the same prayer. Returning, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open, and they didn’t have a plausible excuse.
41-42 He came back a third time and said, “Are you going to sleep all night? No—you’ve slept long enough. Time’s up. The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up. Let’s get going. My betrayer has arrived.”
 
Luke 22:39-46 (CSB)
39 He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. 40 When He reached the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 42 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
[43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.][a] 45 When He got up from prayer and came to the disciples, He found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief.[b] 46 “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation.”

  • Next, meditate on the experience of each of the people in the painting
  1. How might Peter have experienced the Garden of Gethsemane and its events, especially when Jesus personally confronted him?
  2. How might James and John have experienced the Garden of Gethsemane, especially when they were found sleeping while Jesus was in his pain?
  3. How might Jesus have felt and what was He experiencing, knowing that He was soon to be falsely arrested and would soon have to suffer separation from God for the sins of humanity at the crucifixion?
  • Finally, end with a time of prayer, asking God to give you the grace to serve others as He did.  

Devotional Questions:

  1. How can I serve God more?
  2. How can I serve my spouse/significant others more?
  3. How can I serve my children more?
  4. How can I serve my parents more?
  5. How can I serve the world to show them God’s love?

Amen.