Why I Decided To Go To Seminary…Or Not

Published on August 9, 2011 by CT in Blog, News


I have decided to go to seminary. Or not.  And this is a big step for me.

You see, I’m cautious, and I care too much about how I’m perceived, and I’m fearful of not hearing God’s voice clearly, and I’ve long held a wrong view about the nature of Christian service and ministry.  And this wrong kind of view is something that God has been working on within me for years.

This wrong view can be understood by imagining a ladder of spirituality, where each successive rung marks an increasing commitment to and love for Jesus.  At the bottom was a businessman, an occupation I’ve held for the past 10 years.  Next in line was service to God in the form of parachurch ministry.  Above this rung was a local pastor, then church planter, then stateside missionary.  Further up the ladder came the foreign missionaries in developed nations, then foreign missionaries in developing nations, with frontier missionaries, carrying the gospel to unreached people groups, crowning the ministers of grace within the body of Christ.

I sought to climb to the highest point on this ladder, believing that wanting God above all other things meant taking the greatest risk for God.  But God was not in this desire.  As I stepped down this spiritual ladder, pursuing some of the rungs in thought and prayer, while pursuing others more fully through research, training, and conversations, I inevitably returned to my job as a businessman feeling as though God was pleased to use me there.  It was a humbling process, and a frustrating one, as I grieved the loss of dreams of a life I thought merited the glorious salvation I had received from God.

Intellectually, I believed in the priesthood of all believers, and the gifts of the Spirit to all believers, and the need for each member of the body to fulfill his or her role under the headship of Jesus, and the sanctity of all professions done for the glory of God.  And I never would have acknowledged believing in this internal hierarchy, but in God’s providence, I now see what I did not see for so many years:  that not all gifts are equally profitable to the church (1 Corinthians 12), but the use of all of these gifts can be equally pleasing to God.

We do well when we desire to be profitable to God’s people, but we do better when we desire to please God, because in doing so, He receives more glory and we receive more joy.  And in a way that only God can work, He makes us most profitable to His people when we seek to please Him above all else.  This is a profound truth, and it’s having a big impact on the way I delight in and obey my King.

You may recall that I lost my job in September of 2010.  Well, I spent 10 of the months since that time finishing the building of our first house.  And now that the house is done, I’m at a fork in the road.  Do I continue down the path of business, or do I respond to a longing I’ve felt, strongly at times, weaker at others, to teach God’s people His word?

This goes back to my being cautious.  When I encounter this kind of question, I find myself at a standstill, waiting, I tell myself, on direction from God.  But what I’m really doing is entertaining my fears.  One fear is telling people I’m going to do one thing and then end up doing something else (this goes back to caring too much about how I’m perceived).  Another fear is doing what I think God is telling me to do and then finding out I was following my own voice (this goes back to being fearful of not hearing God’s voice clearly).

But God has been gracious to me this past week, and through the ministry of friends and family, I’ve come to see that, sometimes, waiting on the Lord means standing still and listening.  And sometimes, waiting on the Lord means walking and listening.  Either way, waiting on Him means believing Him, exercising faith in the hope and expectation that He will act on my behalf, for my good, and in a way that brings Him glory and brings me joy.

So I’m waiting in faith by applying to business jobs and applying to seminary.  I will soon walk down one of these paths, or one of hundreds of other paths I’m not yet considering.  But there’s movement in my soul and in my steps, and it feels good to stretch my spiritual legs again.  Pray for me, that God will humble me in the process, and teach me to trust in Him, even if it costs me my pride and my fear.

Question:  How have you waited on God in big decisions?

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Published on October 10, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


Pause is a lost virtue these days, one I find fruitful but too often missing in my life.  And pause with reflection is even better.  Being creatures hurried along by time, we run the risk of failing to pause and reflect, to learn from ourselves and from others, and we live our lives in peril when we fail to remember.

We just passed the one year anniversary of Crave Something More, and as I reflect on the past year, I am deeply grateful to God for His faithfulness in my life.  To revisit blog posts or pictures or journal entries is to walk with warm memories.  I can remember feelings of elation or pain that stoked my writing fires on certain nights, or I can recall comments you wrote that touched me in ways you will never know this side of eternity.  These memories are good, and I am thankful you have been a part of them, in reading, in sharing, and in praying.

We tend to remember the events of our past as better than the originals, but there’s no great harm in that.  What does imperil us is our failure to see God’s working in us, through His grace, for our good, in both blessing and loss.  Without these times of reflection, whether daily, or monthly, or yearly, we trade a larger perspective for a smaller one.

As one means of reflection, I’ve pulled together several lists of posts from the past year that I hope will prove to be encouraging to you in your own journeys.  Perhaps there’s a post that you’ll want to revisit as you might an old friend, or there may be one you missed that nudges your heart even now.  So here they are:

Your Favorites (Most Read)

  1. Can We Overemphasize the Gospel?
  2. I Just Lost My Job, And God Is Good
  3. I Hate to Read…Well, Then, Here’s a Book
  4. He Didn’t Even Notice
  5. I’ve Given Up Everything For This

Your Favorites (Most Commented, Not Above)

  1. To Will Or Not To Will
  2. 7 Reasons To Not Care About Blog Traffic
  3. Unseen Fruit Of Obedience
  4. What Advice Would You Give New Parents?
  5. A Jew, A Muslim, An Agnostic, And Pizza

My Favorites

  1. Why The Cross Matters Most
  2. Dear Kayli Anneke
  3. I Am A Thief
  4. God Spoke To Me This Very Morning
  5. I Almost Sold My Integrity for $2.25

In all this, my hope is that Jesus is being proclaimed as the greatest satisfaction to our soul’s deepest cravings, because He is superior in every way to all else life can offer.  I hope and pray you are finding Him to be your all-satisfying treasure, and I look forward to many more occasions to delight in Him with you.

Question:  As you reflect on the last year of your own life, what do you see?

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Published on October 1, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


I love my dog.  She’s small, annoying, cute, hops like a deer when excited, the perfect lap dog when she’s tired, and a brand new swimmer.  I know I’m probably misusing the word “love” here, that we don’t really understand what we’re saying when we say we love hamburgers, our wives, God, and our dogs.  I know there are four kinds of love in Scripture.  And that’s all good.  But I still love my dog.

Many of us do, and that is a good thing, so long as we keep a God-centered perspective about it.  One of my closest friends just put his dog down—a dog he has had for many, many years, and a dog that meant a lot to his family.  Here’s what he wrote to a few of us:


Just thought I would send an e-mail from my heart.  Today was a tough day.   Our dog had really slowed down in the last two weeks and stopped eating about 3 or 4 days ago and for the last two days could not even stand up anymore.   It was finally his time.   I took him to the vet this morning and I made the decision to put him down.  We had prepared the boys last night that he would probably be put down today.   They said their goodbyes last night and again before they went to school today.   I slept by his side last night (well until about midnight when the baby woke up wanting a drink).  He was a great dog and will be missed.  I was thankful to our Creator today for making such a great creation and letting our family enjoy him for 10+ years.  Big dogs like ours tend to only live about 9 years but he made it almost 12.5 years.  In some ways we were sad that it kind of happened quickly but we are also thankful that he didn’t suffer for years.   He had greatly slowed down over this last year and I thank God for the times that He prepared my heart and soul over this last year that our dog would go soon and that I should enjoy the time with him.

He was such a great dog to our boys and the bond that the boys and he had was very special.  We took him to the property that we are building on and buried him in the back corner.   (Thank goodness for the bobcat because he was a big dog and needed a big hole).  We built a cool berm and placed a big rock (“Dog rock”)—it kind of looks like a dog.  When the boys got home from school we took them over there and talked to them about him, the stories they remembered, the great times with their dog.   We also talked about death and what happens when we die.   That God gave us a soul that is eternal and that Jesus allows us to have our soul be with God for eternity.   It was a great talk.   We also talked about animals and the role that they play, that the Bible is pretty silent about if animals go to heaven.   But we all decided that God created a great dog for us, and that God loved his creation, and that if any dog happens to get to go to heaven then ours would be one of them.

Losing a beloved dog, or any pet, is a shadow of losing a beloved spouse or friend or family member, which is a shadow of the kind of loss that will be no more in the age to come.  The pleasure we feel in the simple things in life, like a warm body next to us on the floor, or a big paw on our knee, echoes the infinitely greater pleasure we will know in the presence of Jesus.

I’m thankful for my friend, and his dog, simply because I love them both, in a different way of course, but mainly because the pleasure I feel in this relationship points me to a greater pleasure that is ours to have in Christ.

Question:  Who has been your favorite pet, and what have you learned from loving that pet?

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I Just Lost My Job, And God Is Good

Published on September 23, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


My wife is 8 months pregnant, we are halfway through building our first home, and I just lost my job. The news came suddenly last Thursday evening.  A short phone call with a senior partner in our firm, and quick call with HR on Friday, and I was done.  My salary, our health coverage, and a core part of my identity slipped away with the passing of the seconds from Friday to Saturday.

Having reflected on this turn of events for a few days, I am now convinced even more that God is good.  Blessing and loss exist for the glory of God, but sometimes, trials bear the greatest means for remembering the time-tested, rock-solid promises of God.  In the midst of loss, here is what I remember about my God and His word:

  1. Work is a gift from God.  God is the giver of great gifts, and one of the first gifts He gave to man was work (Genesis 2:15).  Losing a job can turn a “have to” into a “get to” in a moment, and nothing reminds us of the value of something until it is gone.
  2. His promises are true.  God commends the ant for storing up provisions in the summer (Proverbs 6:6-8).  When we follow His word, as our family has done, then we find we are not lacking during this time of winter.  God’s provision may come when there are no stores, but it may also come as the fruit of obedience.  Both are means of grace.
  3. He brings rain on the just and the unjust.  The sun and the rain rise and fall on the good and the evil (Matthew 5:45).  God extends His common grace as a gift to all His creation, so my sense of entitlement about the prosperity and stature of my work is shown to be a liar.  We are gifted and placed by the Lord for work that will bring His glory, not bring us comfort and pride.
  4. He tells us this life is a vapor.  Careers are built brick by brick.  We invest hours, and sweat, and passion, and we do well when we build them to the glory of God.  But careers are like family, and prosperity, and suffering, and fame, and success—they are all but vapors (James 4:14).  We grasp at mist when we hold too tight to anything but the firm reality of Christ.
  5. He gives and He takes away, but blessed be His name.  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return,” says Job (Job 1:21).  The covers of life that bookend our work and our passions and our pursuits have one central theme—whatever happens, whether success or failure, whether blessing or loss, comes from the hand of God, for our good, and His name is worthy to be praised.
  6. Trials heat the furnaces of our joy.  We can only “count it all joy when [we] face various trials” (James 1:2) if we value joy in God more than joy in this world.  Losing a job may be a trial, but it is also an occasion for joy because of the lasting value of what is produced in us.
  7. The testing of our faith produces endurance.  Is endurance better than a salary?  Only if we desire to “lack in nothing” (James 1:4).  Faith steps out of the stands and onto the track during times of trial, and the labor of testing produces a steadfastness that works and stretches and grows up into the powerful gait of perfection.
  8. His power is made perfect in weakness.  The shame felt in losing a job can cripple and weaken the soul.  But Christ’s power is made perfect in this kind of soul, testifying to the sufficiency of His grace.  Wherever there is loss, there also stands grace, and in this grace lies the power to boast in weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  9. He abundantly supplies our every need.  God provides, not my employer or my own strength.  God feeds my family, not my employer or my own strength.  God prepares our home, not my employer of my own strength.  In Christ are infinite riches in glory, and from them, God will meet our every need (Philippians 4:19).
  10. Contentment is better than cash.  We do well to be brought low, and to abound, to face plenty, and to face hunger, to live in abundance, or to live in need.  For all of these provide a training ground in which we learn to be content, so that we might know the power of Christ through whom we can do all things (Philippians 4:11-13).
  11. Loss of a job is the battlefield for an anxious heart.  “Do not be anxious,” Jesus tells us, because “life is more than food and clothing” (Matthew 6:25).  Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a fight of faith—believing God that He knows that we need these things, and that He will add them unto us, as we pursue Him above all else.
  12. Everything is to be counted as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus.  The “surpassing worth of knowing Jesus” makes the greatest career to be rubbish (Philippians 3:8).  When God strips things from our lives, we find out what we have left, and having Jesus, and knowing Him, is worth suffering loss of any kind.
  13. The cross is weightier still.  Our work, our families, and our ministries are the fields of our lives in which we toil.  And they are good, as gifts from God, to be used to further His kingdom and bring renown to His name.  But even our greatest work doesn’t tip the scale of significance when compared to the work of Christ on the cross.  Our labor reminds us of His labor; our loss reminds us of His loss, for our gain.

I am also reminded that my loss is but a fraction of the suffering in this world, and that billions of others would call me immeasurably rich, even now.  And they would be right.  My story is no sob story of destitution, and our family will be provisioned for a time by my previous employer and our emergency funds.

But the riches I want to rest in and taste at this moment are those that can only be found in the glory of Christ.  I want to count this trial as joy, to sit in the reality of my weakness, so that I might know the strength of Christ.  And I want to proclaim to the world that God is good, that He gives and takes away, and in all this, blessed be His name!

Question:  Have you lost a job before, and how have you seen in it that God is good?

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Becoming Numb To “For Just a Dollar a Day”

Published on August 2, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


Advertisements have ruined compassion. OK, maybe they haven’t ruined it, but how many times have you heard that a dollar a day will save the life of some child in a third world country, and you flip past that channel or turn the page or click to the next site without thinking any more about it?  I’ve probably seen a thousand ads for kids that desperately need my help, and I’ve actually helped maybe 3 of them.

This is the tragedy of familiarity.  We tend to go numb at too much exposure.  We may be moved to compassion by the first starving kid who comes up with her hand out to us, but if we see a hundred of them, it’s easy to get over the whole thing.  This is unfortunate, and I don’t know that there’s a fix for it other than to abide in Christ and trust God for more grace, which sounds a lot easier than it is.

Having said all of this, I want to share with you something that moves me to compassion—and is one of the Top Ten Things I Love:  ACTS Ministry.  ACTS is a group of men and women in Burkina Faso (West Africa) who love widows and orphans.  It would be cliché if they weren’t such genuine people—and if they didn’t love Jesus as much as they do.

ACTS started when a woman named Joanna bought some land to raise chickens as extra income.  This is Proverbs 31 woman kind of stuff:  “She considers a field and buys it” (Proverbs 31:16).  But as she spent time out in the village where the land was located, she found herself in front of a few orphan kids who didn’t have any food.  So she started giving them some rice.  Then a few more showed up, and she fed them too.  Then she ran out of rice.  Then a stranger dropped a bunch of bags of rice on her doorstep.  So she fed some more kids.

Before long, Joanna quit her job and started working full-time with these orphans.  And then she found the village had a bunch of widows because the men had left for Ivory Coast looking for jobs and hadn’t come home.  So she started working with them too.

Fast forward to today.  ACTS has provided the village of Saonre with an orphan center, primary school, secondary school, fresh water well, medical center, dental center, bakery, and evangelical church.  The ministry teaches villagers about the Bible, educates them on AIDS prevention and good hygiene practices, trains young women in sewing, teaches young men carpentry skills, and generally paints a glowing portrait of Jesus for this village.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar ministries throughout the world, advancing God’s kingdom, bringing the gospel to people, and meeting their needs.  But I love this one in particular.  Anna and I have spent a month in Burkina over the last few years, and we’ve hosted Joanna in our home here in the US on two occasions.  She is family to us.

The reason I tell you all of this is because I promised Joanna that I would share one of her needs with my friends and family.  And you count as part of that group.  The primary and secondary schools are starting up again in October, and because giving is down so much over the last 18 months, ACTS doesn’t have the funds to sponsor the kids’ education.

Joanna wrote to me to say she is looking for sponsors for 37 secondary school students (at $405 per student for a year) and 85 primary school students (at $225 per student for a year).  If you’re interested in being part of this work, you can contact ACTS or hit me up at ct@cravesomethingmore.org.

Don’t feel bad if you bypass this request.  We’re not all supposed to meet every need we encounter, so it doesn’t mean that you’re numb.  Unless you’re actually numb, at which point you should take that up with God first and then reconsider.

But I would ask that you pray that God’s will would be done in the lives of these kids, and that He would reveal Himself more and more to their hearts, and that their passion for His glory would become an all-consuming movement in this village.  Education is great, as is food, and medical attention, but they should all serve the end of pointing all of our hearts towards the One who meets our every need.

Question:  Irrespective of this particular request, why do you think we go numb to these kinds of needs?

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The Devotion of Devotions

Published on March 19, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


I just realized the reason we call our devotions devotions is because we’re expressing devotion to God when we do our devotions.  This is the kind of brilliance you should come to expect here at Crave Something More.

This all makes sense.  Setting aside a part of our day to focus on our relationship with God, to read His word, to hear from Him, to confess to Him, to share with Him, are all expressions of a loyal, affectionate commitment to God.  We’re telling Him:  You are important to me, and I want to spend time with you.

Of course, active devotion to God, the kind where we pick up our cross to follow after Jesus, is far more than the part of our day we set aside to focus on our relationship with God.  This kind of devotion consumes and permeates the fullness of our lives.  We live and breathe His word as we walk each step in His presence.

Renee Johnson figured all of this out a while back.  She started writing devotions seven years ago, and she now has compiled these daily thoughts into a new release called Faithbook of Jesus (NavPress).  I had the chance to get her thoughts on the role devotions should play in our daily walks with God.  Enjoy!


Renee, you write for your own generation—the “twenty-something” generation.  Why is that?

Why follow everyone else?  I’ve read devotionals daily for the past 14 years, and I’ve read the same ones over and over for the past 7 years.  Where are all the relevant devotionals for my generation?  I know there are specific devotionals written for teenagers, or men/women only, but the ones written for women assume you’re married with children, which I’m not!  Seriously though, I love encouraging other 20-somethings to read the Word daily.  It’s the single most important thing you can do in your life!

Why is being in the Word on a regular basis so important?

Being in the Word daily helps establish a foundation for right living.  It helps us line up our actions, behavior, and intentions when we otherwise might not have a clue.  It encourages, saves, sharpens—there are so many benefits to being in the Word.  I know when I miss out on being in the Word I find myself doing what I want, when I want it, which is not always good for me (pride).  For instance, I speed more, spend more money, and am more impatient.  Help me fill in the blank =).

What do you see as the differences between recreational reading of Scripture, devotional reading, and Biblical study, and why are those differences important?

On my nightstand I have a devotional book, One-Year Bible, journal, and other books I’m reading.  For recreational reading, I’m enjoying your book Crave and 66 Love Letters.  For devotional reading, I’m reading Streams in the Desert this year, and for Biblical study I enjoy reading the One-Year Bible.  I can tell that when I spend more time reading recreationally, my mood doesn’t change, and I still find myself living the way I want.  However, when I’m spending time in the Word and reading more in depth study of it, it’s different.

Where can devotionals serve the body and where can they hinder?

Devotionals can serve the body by expounding upon a Scripture, and the commentary is often encouraging and/or challenging.  But they hinder when we use them as an excuse to not read the Word itself.

There’s a recurring theme in Faithbook of Jesus:  one of a struggle to find our purpose or calling.  Why do you feel this struggle is so prevalent in this age group?

I read the following in 66 Love Letters, where it says, “No matter how great your pain or how confusing and intense your suffering, live in the mystery of My love.  Struggle to trust Me.”  I think the struggle to find our purpose and calling is the greatest between ages 20-29.  It is in those years that we take giant leaps of faith to move away from our parents, choose our career, and find the person with whom we’ll spend the rest of our life.  I certainly hope that all of those decisions will not be made in haste and that the struggle to find our calling in Jesus is made carefully through being in the Word daily.  This is my goal with Faithbook.

You draw on Psalm 27, saying that seeking and dwelling in the presence of the Lord and gazing upon His beauty is “worship in its purest form.”  How do you see these devotionals as serving that end?

When we take time out of our busy schedule to practice the presence of Jesus by worshiping him through reading the Word, we transform our Sunday Christianity into daily growth.  We don’t just worship corporately in a church with four walls, but rather in the comfort of our own home where we pray, and when we read the Scriptures, or when we spend time in community amongst our friends, or when we are in nature on a hike.

You end each devotional with a prayer to Jesus.  In doing so, it seems you use Scripture as a prism to see Jesus in a different light each day.  Why is that?

I love using Scripture as a prayer.  When we personalize Scripture, it no longer becomes dead, boring, and lifeless, but rather a living double-edged sword with which to pierce the darkness of fear, hopelessness, and desperation in our lives.

What does Faithbook of Jesus exist to do?  Or to say it another way, what is your mission with this book?

Faithbook of Jesus exists to help lead others into spending daily time with God.  My mission is Hebrews 10:24, which says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” When we are no longer focused on ourselves, but are instead living the Word daily, our lives become a catalyst into spurring others forward!

Besides Faithbook of Jesus, what are two other devotionals you recommend to people?

Streams in the Desert and Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.

You can find more info about Renee at Faithbook of Jesus.


Question:  Do you read devotionals, and if so, why?

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The Man Who Saw The Need

Published on February 11, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


There’s a disruptive tear in the fabric of life when someone dies.  Tens of thousands of people die each day, but we live unaware of this fact until death comes close enough for us to touch.  Death becomes real during those moments as the fabric is torn, shaking us to our bones, opening up the depths of our souls to a reality we all must one day face for ourselves.

Death brings a perspective we need but would rather not have.  James tells us our lives are like a vapor, and death rips open the belief we have that our lives are as solid as earth.  We don’t want to be told that we are to appear for a while and then vanish; this does violence to the sense we have of our own permanence and our own importance.

But death is a vital part of life.  It remains the ultimate unknown for the human, which is why fear is its closest companion.  But God does not mean for it to be this way.  He has a perspective on death that is healthy and right; in fact, God felt death was so necessary that He clothed His Son in flesh so He could taste it Himself.  Jesus prophesied of His own death:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

This was Jesus’ mission:  to be the grain of wheat, so that by His death much fruit would be borne.  And in a similar way, all those who have been made alive by His fruit share in this mission.  Our physical death does not produce the kind of harvest that Jesus’ did, but He doesn’t mean for it to.  He means for us to die to self while we live, to remain in Him as a branch in the vine, so that He might continue to produce a harvest within us.

This brings us to our story of a man who lived this kind of life and produced this kind of harvest.  Bob Hawkins, Sr. was a man of great consequence:  an entrepreneur, businessman, publisher, evangelist, soldier, husband, father, and grandfather.  Perhaps his most notable achievement was founding Harvest House Publishers, now one of the world’s largest Christian publishing houses whose books have impacted the lives of tens of millions.

But his core identity, the one which made all the others most fruitful, was as a disciple, servant, and friend to King Jesus.  It was this relationship above all others that gave Bob Sr. the wisdom to know the world as it is:  in great need.  And it was this relationship which gave him the eyes to see the answer the world needs:  Jesus.

Today, the publishing house Bob Sr. left years ago to the care and leadership of his son, Bob Jr., is committed to “providing high-quality books and products that affirm biblical values, help people grow spiritually strong, and proclaim Jesus as the answer to every human need.”  But the legacy of Harvest House is not simply a legacy of a company; it is also a legacy which envelopes both you and me.

I am part of Bob Sr.’s legacy, and so are you.  The publishing house he started in his garage in 1974 has now taken me in as part of its family, and I have taken up this same banner of proclaiming Jesus as the answer to our soul’s deepest needs.  And as you read these words, the calling to you is the same:  to die to self so you can proclaim Jesus as the answer to the world’s greatest need.

Bob Sr.’s death ultimately reminds us of the harvest of Jesus.  Because Christ deigned to become the seed that fell, Bob Sr. was able to die to self so that he might truly live.  And we bear the same glorious mission as Bob Sr., to die to self so that we might truly live.  We are Jesus’ harvest, the fruit of His death, to be gathered into His Father’s house where we will taste and see His infinite and all-satisfying goodness.

May we be inspired by this life so well lived, and may it cause us to reflect on the lives we lead today.  But may his death also give pause to the living, to remind us that life is but a vapor, that dying to self is the means to true living, the kind of living that joins us once more to the Seed who has risen and lives forevermore.

More information on the life of Bob Hawkins, Sr. can be found at the Harvest House Memorial Page.

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Publisher’s Weekly Reviews Crave

Published on January 11, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


Publisher's Weekly Reviews Crave

One of the things I’m getting used to in publishing is the concept of reviews.  It’s strange to put such personal thoughts down on paper and then have professionals tell me what is worthwhile and what is lacking in what I’ve written.  I know it’s part of the business, and I realize my thoughts are in a book on store shelves rather than in my personal journal, but it’s strange nonetheless.

More than strange, I’m finding it’s both a blessing and a danger.  It’s a blessing because these kinds of reviews can serve to promote the message of this book—that Jesus is the only true satisfaction to the deepest cravings of our soul.  And I think that is a message worth sharing to as many people as will hear it.  But it’s a danger as well because I can begin to believe that writing is about me.  I can soak in the praise and defend myself against the criticisms, and I can far too easily fall into a season of making much of myself, when the reason I write is to make much of Jesus.

Publisher’s Weekly recently reviewed Crave in its November 2009 issue.  They are the standard in the industry, and from what I hear, they can be fairly hard on books, and they don’t often review first-time, unknown authors.  My publisher was very excited with this review, and I’m grateful PW took the time to go through the book.  The parts that aren’t as positive as others sting a little, but mostly because they’re accurate.

Here is the review:

Crave: Wanting So Much More of God Chris Tomlinson. Harvest House, $13.99 paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-7369-2693-5

This first book by Tomlinson, a management consultant, is a perfect fit for the booming spirituality market, particularly for enthusiastic, evangelical 20- and 30-something audiences. He begins his personal musings with a simple thesis: it is too easy to become a “comfortable Christian” and we must always search for ways to express our active devotion to God and Jesus Christ. This premise is not particularly innovative, but his writing style is straightforward and personally honest. The author acknowledges his own struggles with pride while retelling, often with humor, his only-too-human attempts to reach lofty spiritual goals such as charity and purity. Every chapter opens with vivid and iconic imagery—a spoon, a bit of floss, a pager—tangible symbols throughout the book for more abstract ideas like obedience, joy, and comfort. In sum, the product is endearing and inspiring, especially appealing to young, male evangelicals. One chapter specifically devoted to the intersection of his spirituality and military service will also draw the interest of Christian men and women in the armed forces. Tomlinson’s debut leaves room for future development while it meets the expectations of readers and the genre as a whole; he is worth watching. (Jan. 1)

If the concept of the book strikes a chord with you, you can find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, or at many of your local Christian bookstores.  It should be on shelves within the week!

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Crave Giveaway

Published on January 8, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


Edit:  the contest ended Feb 1 and books were mailed out to the 50 winners.  Sorry if you missed it!  Maybe you’d be into getting what you pay for (see below).

If you believe you get what you pay for, you should go to Amazon to get a copy of Crave: Wanting So Much More of God.  However, if you’re into free stuff, then this is the post for you.

I wrote a guest post today on Mike Hyatt’s blog entitled “7 Ways to Build Your Online Platform From Scratch,” and the traffic to my site increased almost tenfold in just a few hours.  I should probably add an 8th way to build your online platform:  write for Mike Hyatt’s blog.

I didn’t tell my publisher about the guest post in advance–I just didn’t think about it and wasn’t sure that many people would stop by.  (Note to writers:  don’t be like me; coordinate with your full team whenever you’re doing something like this).  They were really excited about the whole thing and thought this would be a great chance to reward you, the readers, for stopping by.  So they’ve generously offered up 50 copies of the book for me to give away for free!

To register for the drawing, just drop your info into the fields below, check the box, and click “Submit.”  On Feb 1, we’ll randomly select 50 names from the entries collected and send the book out to you straight away.  If you are my mom, you’re not qualified for the drawing.  And if you aren’t one of the 50 chosen peeps, my apologies; maybe you can become one of those people who get what they pay for.

Happy registering!


P.S. I have Harvest House Publishers’ assurance that they won’t use your info for purposes other than this giveaway.

First Name

Last Name





ZIP code

I accept the terms and conditions of the giveaway. *

*Official Rules for the Crave Giveaway


ELIGIBILITY: The giveaway is open to all residents of the continental United States (excluding Puerto Rico) over the age of 18. The following persons and their dependents are not eligible to enter or win: employees of Harvest House Publishers or their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and the immediate families (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) of each of the above.

HOW TO ENTER: The giveaway is open from 1PM on Friday, January 8, 2010 thru Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1PM (Pacific Time). While the giveaway is posted on CraveSomethingMore.org, you can enter by filling out the entry form above.

HOW TO WIN: Total number of eligible entries received determines odds of winning. One entry per home address. From all eligible entries received, CraveSomethingMore.org will randomly select fifty (50) winners to receive one (1) copy of the book Crave (Approximate retail value: $14.00).

LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY/RESERVED RIGHTS: Neither the Sponsor, nor the parent, subsidiary or affiliate companies, nor the promotional agencies shall have any obligation or responsibility with regard to (i) entries that contain inaccurate information or do not comply with these rules, (ii) entries, prize claims or notifications that are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, damaged or otherwise not received by the intended recipient, in whole or in part, due to computer or technical error of any kind, (iii) telephone, electronic, hardware, software, network, Internet or computer malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or (iv) any damages or losses of any kind caused by any prize or resulting from acceptance, possession or use of any prize. The Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Web Site or otherwise violating these rules. The Sponsor further reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the Sweepstakes if the Sweepstakes cannot be completed as planned because of infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort.

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It’s Here

Published on January 4, 2010 by CT in Blog, News


This week marks the release of my first book, Crave: Wanting So Much More of God.  This is an exciting time for me, because the hours of writing and editing and dreaming are now neatly bound into a book I am holding in my hands.  It’s been 4 years in the making—3 full rewrites based on 3 rounds of feedback from 15 friends, family, and professional editors—and it’s exhilarating, and relieving, to finally have it all complete.

Jan 1, 2010 has been a date that has been looming in my mind for some time.  I thought it was going to be the date my life changed.  Perhaps this would be the first step in a new career, or the beginning of a ministry, or validation that I have something worth saying.  Of course, all this means that I need the message of this book more than anyone.

The heart of Crave is that our longings for love, acceptance, and purpose are deep and real things we all deal with throughout our lives.  And we seek to satisfy these longings with something—like money, or sex, or relationships, or work—or even career, ministry, or validation.  But there’s only One who can satisfy these cravings, and He’s the one who made them in the first place.  In fact, He made them so we’d seek Him out as the Great Satisfier, so that we would spend our lives making much of Him rather than focusing on ourselves.

So you can see how this is a message that needs to take root again in my own heart and mind.  Jan 1, 2010 has come and gone, and my life isn’t all that different.  Even if my career does change because of this new journey into writing, I will still search in vain for satisfaction so long as I look to anything other than Jesus.

One of the fun things about writing a book is that you get to dedicate it to someone.  I decided to dedicate this first book to Jesus, not because He needs to read what I’ve written, but because I have written it so He might be treasured more and more by anyone who reads it.  That’s my hope for you as well—that you would find Him to be the greatest satisfaction to your soul’s deepest cravings.

Crave: Wanting So Much More of God is now available online at Amazon (the site indicates the book will ship in 2-3 weeks; I think the books will ship sooner than that).  You can also find the book online at Barnes and Noble, Borders, or at many of your local Christian bookstores.  It should be on shelves within a week or two!

Here are what some folks who’ve read the book are saying about it:

“In this creative blend of autobiography and devotional, Chris Tomlinson paints for us a Christ who satisfies our cravings for himself.  An inspiring work from a gifted and anointed writer.”
–Christian George, Author of Godology and Sex, Sushi, and Salvation

“Chris Tomlinson addresses the noblest and most necessary question in the most disarming style…How do we satisfy our hunger for God?  No mortal can answer the question with finality.  But this book takes us a long way in the right direction.”
–Ronnie Stevens, Pastor, Danube International, Hungary

“Chris Tomlinson possesses a skill rare in Christian writing today:  a clean, clear, powerful perspective.  Crave is deftly written, with a sneaky comedic sense, but what sets Chris apart is his heart.  He’d never say it himself, but he has a lot to teach, and we have a lot to learn.”
–Jordan Green, Editor-in-Chief, Burnside Writers Collective

“An honest exploration of doubts, fears, missteps and victories from an authentic, ‘not-yet-arrived’ follower of Christ.”
–Rev. Joseph Pensak, RUF

“I love how Crave challenges cultural and comfortable Christianity, both in how we internally experience the reality of Christ and externally express the gospel to the world around us.”
–David Robbins, Campus Crusade for Christ

“Crave is an engrossing read that not only had me laughing out loud but also thinking about my own personal beliefs, even from an athiest’s perspective.”
–Andy Wang, Friend and Athiest

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Top Ten Posts of the Year

Published on December 31, 2009 by CT in Blog, News


OK, so we’ve only been cranking for 3 months here at Crave Something More, but all the cool kids are doing Top Ten Posts of the Year, so let’s go for it.

Here they are in order:

  1. Tiger…And The Prowling Lion
  2. Dear Kayli Anneke
  3. You Don’t Want To Read This
  4. My Dog Has a Cone:  Thoughts on Suffering
  5. Tomorrow’s Phantom
  6. The Multiple Means to Joy: Spurgeon on Suffering
  7. See a Need, Meet a Need?
  8. How to Not Waste Time Blogging
  9. A Jew, a Muslim, an Agnostic, and Pizza
  10. Go Tell Him I Love Him

My hope is that Jesus has been proclaimed as the greatest satisfaction to every human need by pointing to His superior worth over anything else life can offer.  And I’ve enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with many of you in the process.

I look forward to many more times of delighting in Jesus in 2010 with you all…


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Free Chapter Download and Video: Joy

Published on December 28, 2009 by CT in Blog, News


Free Chapter Download and Video - Joy

Welcome to the last of the Crave chapter downloads.  Next week, you can get the book (I wish I could give it to you in full here).

I used to think joy was the goal of the Christian life.  You know how we often hear that we’re supposed to count it all joy when we encounter trials and be joyful to the Lord in all things.  And we should do those things—Jesus means for our joy to be full.

There’s even this stunning promise in the Bible that’s raises the stakes in joy seeking:  “In [God’s] presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).  King David knew this well; simply being with God was the best way to satisfy the deepest longings of his soul.

As we’ve been going along in these chapters, we’ve been starting to dig deeper into the heart of our cravings.  And I’m seeing that one of our deepest cravings is this desire for joy.  So one of the things this chapter talks about is that our cravings acts as signs that lead us to Jesus.  Joy is one sign along this road:  but it’s not the end of the road.  The end of the road is Jesus.  When we value joy over Jesus, we value the benefit of being with Him rather than valuing Him.

If you find within yourself a deep craving for joy, I think you’ll enjoy this chapter.  You can go to the downloads page for more information, or you can download the chapter and watch the chapter video below.

Books are best experienced by the writer and the reader in community, so I would love to hear your thoughts about what you’ve read in this chapter.  You can share any comments or stories in the comments section below.  You can also send this chapter to friends or family using the email, Facebook, Twitter, and other icons at the end of this post.

May God grant us the grace to find our greatest joy in His presence.

Seeking For The Source of Our Joy With You,


*We had a little technical issue with including my normal commentary, so these two lovely ladies are carrying the load for this week.

Joy (from Crave: Wanting So Much More of God) from Chris Tomlinson on Vimeo.

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Free Chapter Download and Video: Hunger

Published on December 21, 2009 by CT in Blog, News



When’s the last time you were hungry? It may have been a few hours ago.  Or maybe you’re hungry right now.  So what are you going to do about it?  I imagine you’re going to feed yourself.  Then you won’t be hungry anymore.  Easy.

We talk about having a hunger for God, seeking to satisfy our deepest cravings with more of Him.  And hunger is a good proxy for this kind of desire because it’s so tangible—we all know exactly what it feels like to hunger for something.  But hungering after God isn’t the same as hungering after food.  It’s not quite as easy to be satisfied.

So hunger brings us close to the heart of our cravings but not all the way there.  It puts the notes on the page, but it doesn’t play them.  In our hunger, we hear deeper sounds within us, longing for more of anything that will satisfy.  We take in bread to satisfy our physical hunger, but we wonder how to take in the Bread of Life to satisfy our spiritual hunger.

This week’s chapter is titled “Hunger,” and in some respects, it’s the heart of the book. There’s a lot going on in this chapter, so bring your brain, but bring your heart as well.  Recognizing our hunger is one thing; feeling that hunger, and knowing what will satisfy it is something else entirely.

If you’ve ever hungered for more of God, I think you might enjoy this chapter.  You can go to the downloads page for more information, or you can download the chapter and watch the chapter video below.

Books are best experienced by the writer and the reader in community, so I would love to hear your thoughts about what you’ve read in this chapter.  You can share any comments or stories in the comments section below.  You can also send this chapter to friends or family using the email, Facebook, Twitter, and other icons at the end of this post.

May God grant us the grace to hunger for Him alone so we might be satisfied.

Hungering For More of God With You,


Hunger (from Crave: Wanting So Much More From God) from Chris Tomlinson on Vimeo.

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Free Chapter Download and Video: Different

Published on December 14, 2009 by CT in Blog, News



God is different.

I know, I know—where do I come up with this stuff? Well, this is the kind of brilliance you can expect from Crave Something More.  Wait, what do you mean this isn’t all that profound?  What do you mean of course He is different?

Well, I suppose you’re right.  It’s almost not worth saying.  But then again, brilliant or not, I think it’s something I need to hear—and hear on a regular basis.  I tend to fall into the trap of believing God is like me, and reacts like I react, and thinks like I think.  And nothing could be further from the truth.

This week’s chapter is titled “Different,” and I come somewhat close to being arrested in this story.  But the heart of the story is about exploring God’s supreme difference, and what it means for us to embrace a God who is more terrifying that we may expect and more beautiful than we can imagine.  It’s a chapter about finding the freedom to be different from the world, all because our Father is so different.

If you’ve ever put limits on your limitless God, I think this chapter might be worth your time.  You can go to the downloads page for more information, or you can download the chapter and watch the chapter video below.

Books are best experienced by the writer and the reader in community, so I would love to hear your thoughts about what you’ve read in this chapter.  You can share any comments or stories in the comments section below.  You can also send this chapter to friends or family using the email, Facebook, Twitter, and other icons at the end of this post.

May God grant us the grace to recognize His supreme difference, so we might be different like Him.

Embracing So Much More of God With You,


Different (from Crave: Wanting So Much More From God) from Chris Tomlinson on Vimeo.

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