Soundtracks, by Jon Acuff

Soundtracks, by Jon Acuff, a Review

Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking, by Jon Acuff, is enjoyable, motivating, and perfect for overthinkers. This is a book your internal monologue needs to hear!

My name is Bret Hammond, and I am an overthinker.

(This is the part where you say, “Hi, Bret.”)

I am an overthinker. This is very true; my thoughts are loud and are not always helpful or kind. I’ve not exactly been a big believer in motivational writings and speeches. I find a lot of them to be kind of hokey. However, I love Jon Acuff’s work and have always found him both inspirational and relatable.

Soundtracks, by Jon Acuff

Jon calls the interior thoughts that we’re always listening to “Soundtracks.” As with a movie, the soundtrack sets the tone and the mood for your life. If your soundtrack is always telling you “I’m not good enough” and “I’m going to fail,” then you’ve got to find a way to change the soundtrack—turn it off or turn it down. You cannot allow your overthinking to control what you don’t do.

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Preaching Hope in Darkness: Help for Pastors in Addressing Suicide from the Pulpit

Preaching Hope in Darkness, a Review

Preaching Hope in Darkness: Help for Pastors in Addressing Suicide from the Pulpit by Scott M. Gibson and Karen E. Mason is excellent for addressing one of the most vital and yet ignored topics from the pulpit.

For every fourteen suicide deaths each year, approximately five hundred people attempt suicide, and three thousand people think about suicide. About 8 million Americans have suicidal thoughts each year.

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Preaching Hope in Darkness: Help for Pastors in Addressing Suicide from the Pulpit

The first time I preached a funeral for a victim of suicide, it was overwhelming, numbing, and I felt ill-prepared to care for the survivors afterward. That also describes every other time I have preached a funeral following a suicide. It’s easy to complain about the things we didn’t learn in Seminary. However, we are blessed with resources from experienced pastors and caregivers that continue to sharpen our service and give us the help we need to minister in the most challenging circumstances.

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The Invisible Fence: Barriers We Build for Ourselves

Razor Wire Fence

I recently read a story about a family that had an all too common problem with their dog—it wouldn’t stay in the yard. Rather than chain Fido to a tree, they opted for the modern high-tech solution and installed an invisible fence. A wire was buried in the yard and an electronic collar was placed around the dog’s neck. If the pooch got too close to the wire a warning tone went off. If he got way too close he received a light but effective shock.

The Shocking Reality

It didn’t take long for the dog to discover his limitations. Even with the promise of treats, he would not dare cross the line. He couldn’t see the barrier, but it was all too real for him. He had been trained to know exactly where he couldn’t go.

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Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Jesus Cleansing the Temple Does Not Excuse Your Lousy Temper

What if Jesus isn’t flying off the handle while cleansing the temple? What if there’s something other than anger in his outburst?

You can always count on certain memes to make the rounds with the church crowds every few months. There’s the one about how Moses was technically the first person to download data from the cloud using a tablet (hilarious). Of course, you can’t forget the meme that encourages you to like and share a picture of Jesus, but it’s actually Obi-Wan Kenobi (cringeworthy when your sweet old aunt doesn’t get the joke).

Another favorite that regularly pops up on newsfeeds is an image of Jesus cleansing the temple, with the text:

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

This one seems to be a favorite for those who long to excuse their tempers and turn their bad attitudes into something holy. They see Jesus’ actions in this story as giving them permission to fly off the handle and offer someone a beat down—y’know, just like Jesus. But what if Jesus isn’t flying off the handle while flipping tables? What if there’s something other than anger in his outburst? And what if it’s something more deserving of our imitation?

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What I Learned from a Broken Dog

Trixie was a great dog, but she was broken. The only problem was, she seemed normal to me. Here’s what I learned from a broken dog.

Growing up, we had a dog named Trixie. Everyone thinks their dog is special, but none of them were as special as ours. Trixie was smart, happy, and very protective of the youngest member of the family (that was me). One of the most distinctive things about her was her tail. A car had run over Trixie’s tail long before I was born. As a result, she couldn’t wag her tail. It just hung there, limp and lifeless.

Trixie and Me - What I Learned from a Broken Dog
Trixie and Me (Trixie is the one on the left)

Having a dog with a broken tail gave me a strange perspective on dogs. Trixie was the first dog I knew, so to me, she was a perfectly normal dog. When I saw other dogs wagging their tails, I assumed there was something wrong with them. “Tails can’t do that!” I knew that was true because Trixie’s tail didn’t do that. And yet there they were—wagging tails, curly tails, happy tails, tails in the air, and tails that moved so fast they were a blur. Those tails weren’t anything like my dog’s tail!

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