I’ve added a new web page with links to recent media appearances, including an appearance on The Harvest Show and a quote in the January-February 2014 issue of Christianity Today.

You can click the Media button at the top of this page or use this link: Media.

Now through the end of the month, ReCreatable is available in eBook format for only $2.99. This is a significant discount off the $15.99 retail price, so this would be a great time to download a copy for yourself and to let friends know as well.

The special price is available in these formats:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

Google Play

Here’s what Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, founder and executive director of Stephen Ministries, had to say about ReCreatable:

“All of us have brokenness in our lives, but ReCreatable reminds us that God is all about restoration. If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be hope—hope for all of us, hope for any of us.”

Want to learn more? Here are a couple of recent reviews of ReCreatable:

Luke Geraty - “I plan on having my people in small groups in our congregation take a look at this book because I think it is that fantastic. Plus, it comes with a small group discussion guide!”

James R.V. Matichuk – “I really loved this book. In part, this is because it contains both what I consider the single best analogy of human brokenness and one of the best summaries of the Christian life . . . This is the sort of book that makes me want to pursue Jesus full force.”

Download your copy today!

You probably think I’ve forgotten about my blog.

I haven’t, but discretionary writing time has been difficult to come by recently. I do have several topics I want to write about here soon, including topics such as faith and doubt, the devastation of miscarriage, and my recent visit with Wendell Berry.

As it stands, I am in the middle of a string of speaking engagements and book signings for ReCreatable that are keeping me very busy, along with the ordinary and sometimes extraordinary demands of family, church, and work.

Today I’m in Dayton, Ohio, in advance of a workshop I’m leading tomorrow morning. I’ve already had an excellent BLT with avocado at Butter Cafe followed by a delicious mocha at Press Coffee Bar.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 22, 2014, I’ll be signing books at Barnes and Noble at Dayton Mall on the south side of Dayton from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you’re in the area—or if you want to make to make a day trip of it—I’d love to see you there.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the privilege of leading workshops at churches in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Louisville, Kentucky, and to teach and preach at churches in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Louisville, Kentucky.

Last Saturday, I did my first book signing for ReCreatable at Barnes and Noble in Louisville.

That very busy weekend was capped off nicely with a memorable Sunday afternoon of coffee and conversation with Wendell Berry.

And then on Monday afternoon, I did my first interview for ReCreatable, which can now be heard online at KRVR.

And of course, if you haven’t yet had the chance to check out my book, it is available in paperback on all major online outlets and in major e-book formats.

Next up: Nashville.

Just a quick note to let you know that my first book ReCreatable is now available at major online outlets such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, and Powell’s.

It appears that Amazon has sold through their initial stock and will have more copies in stock in a couple of days. You can still order, and they will ship it as soon as their stock is replenished. You can also read several reviews at Amazon.

In addition, Goodreads is giving away 15 copies of ReCreatable. You can enter to win between now and Friday and add it to your “to read” list.

Also, check my speaking page for upcoming speaking engagements and book signings. I’ll be in Pennsylvania soon.

It has been a while since I have posted, mostly because of holidays and various writing projects, but I did want to give you an important update on my first book, ReCreatable.

The release date has officially been pushed back to February, due (I think) to the fact that the publisher moved their entire operation to a new location over Christmas.

However, the Kindle edition went live on Amazon on Sunday and is now available for purchase.

The print edition should be available online within the next few days, and it should start making its way through warehouses and into stores by mid-to-late February.

A heartfelt thanks to all of you who have been so encouraging throughout this entire process. I held a hard copy in my hands for the first time last night, and it really is gratifying to see it come together. I look forward to hearing the response from readers!

Update: ReCreatable is now also available on Google Play.

Another update: ReCreatable is now available for Nook.

The shy extrovert.

The confident introvert.

They sound like oxymorons, right?

In reality, both combinations are fairly common, despite many people equating introversion with shyness. True, shyness seems to rest more comfortably on the introvert, and that’s why it’s easy to confuse the two. But some introverts are not all that shy, while some extroverts are quite shy.

Shyness is a reticence to engage in particular kinds of social situations or relate with particular people. The reluctance may be driven by embarrassment, fear of misunderstanding or rejection, or feelings of inferiority. Both introverts and extroverts can be shy at various times.

Shyness is often situational—a result of feeling uncomfortable in a given circumstance. An extrovert who is completely comfortable in one type of situation (such as mingling in a large group of new acquaintances) might find herself incredibly shy in a different social situation (such as speaking publicly to a group of peers). For an introvert, the reverse may (or may not) be true.

Shyness is not a personality trait so much as a behavior—a way people respond to a particular social situation. This behavior may be learned because of an uncomfortable experience in a similar situation in the past.

Since shyness seems to be a learned behavior—distinct from the personality traits of introvert and extrovert—it may also be unlearned as a person gains confidence. And gaining confidence in one kind of situation often quickly spills over into other kinds of situation. Thus the phenomenon of a seemingly introverted person “coming out of their shell.”

Perhaps you’ve been told such stories of “introverts” who suddenly became extroverts, as supposed inspiration for you to do the same. My guess is that the great majority of those “converted introverts” were never introverts to begin with, but shy extroverts who unlearned their shyness. Or in other words, they learned to get past their discomfort with particular settings and situations.

Introverts may be able to unlearn their shyness too. I’m not suggesting that shy introverts should necessarily remain shy introverts. There is room for growth at whatever pace you feel you can go. But gaining confidence and becoming more comfortable in a variety of social settings will still not turn an introvert into an extrovert. Nor should we wish that it would.

Rather than seeking to convert introverts into extroverts, we would do better to help introverts understand, embrace, and enhance their introverted personality. That’s one of the goals of this blog series—to help you or someone you love do just that.

And it begins with understanding.

The essence of introvert is that the person tends to receive energy by being alone and expend energy when with others. It’s not that introverts don’t enjoy or benefit from social interaction; they do. But they tend not to need as much of it as extroverts do, and when they get more than what they need, they begin to feel overstimulated or drained.

Here’s one way to think of the differences between shyness, introvertism, and extrovertism:

A shy introvert (or extrovert) may be terrified at the thought of speaking up in a meeting but be willing to do so at the urging and reassurance of others.

An introvert who is not shy is not necessarily afraid to speak up, but he or she may internally process what’s going on around them and then carefully choose key moments to contribute to the conversation. By doing this, introverts conserve their limited relational energy for when it really matters.

An extrovert who is not shy will have no such concerns about conserving relational energy, since interacting with others actually energizes them.

The same extrovert might find himself bursting with energy and eager to “get out” when forced to work independently or be alone for too long a stretch. But introverts crave that time alone and appreciate the opportunity to immerse themselves in their books, music, art, handiwork, or whatever else brings them calmness, peace, and deep productivity.

Once we begin to understand what it means to be an introvert and what growth for an introvert looks like (and what it doesn’t look like), then we can learn to embrace the introvert’s unique strength and potential for contribution.

For more reading on what it means to be an introvert, I recommend Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.

Being an introvert is not a weakness to be overcome; it is a strength to be nurtured.

It’s true that, for the last several decades at least, American culture has placed a high premium on being an extrovert, on having the ability to be outgoing and gregarious, to talk as much as (and sometimes before) you think, to fill a room. For example, we tend to hire extroverts more often, pay them more, and promote them faster. They are more often admired and held up as examples.

And if anything, the bias toward extroversion has become even greater in the church than in the culture at large.

Unfortunately, this can leave introverts feeling as if being admired or successful or even just being a faithful Christian requires becoming a different person—one who is energized by being with others rather than by being alone. This is what our dominant culture teaches us.

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I have just updated my speaking schedule for Fall 2013, with Stephen Ministry workshops in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. If you live near one of those areas, I encourage you to consider attending one of these workshops.

As the release date for my book, ReCreatable: How God Heals the Brokenness of Life draws closer, I will be available for a limited number of book-related speaking engagements around the country. If you think you might be interested in scheduling me to talk to your group, first take a look at my speaking page and then contact me right away, so we can begin exploring the possibilities.

The book itself is designed to help you learn what it means to be a disciple, how to make discipleship sustainable, and how you can do your part in helping others to follow Jesus. It comes with a small group discussion guide, which makes it a perfect fit for use in the discipleship ministries of your church. You can learn more about the book on my ReCreatable page.

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