10 Ways You Know If It’s Your Shadow

Everyone has a shadow.

Shadows are those untamed emotions and behaviors that lie, largely unconscious, beneath the surface of our lives that constitute the damaged versions of who we are.  They may be sinful; they may simply be weaknesses. Most importantly, they lie concealed just beneath the surface of our more proper selves.

You know it’s your shadow when:

  1. You are defensive when someone corrects you or point out your flaws.
  2. You are triggered by a person, or circumstance, saying things you often later regret.
  3. You act out inappropriately when under pressure.
  4. You dismiss others when they bring up a difficult issue about you and your behavior.
  5. You keep doing the same thing over and over despite the negative consequences.
  6. You are angry, jealous, and envious – a lot.
  7. You do and say things out of fear of what other people think.
  8. You become busier when you are anxious rather than more reflective.
  9. You are a driving perfectionist.
  10. You have contempt for someone you formerly admired.

Podcast: The Launch of the EHS Course

This month join Rich Villodas and Pete Scazzero as they discuss the new Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course.  Rich shares the impact that the course is having on New Life Fellowship in New York and Pete discusses the global movement that is growing out of this course.  In this 12 minute podcast you will learn more about the goals for the EHS Course and the impact that it can make in the life of your church.


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Pete’s Top Ten Books of Summer 2014

I love reading 4-5 books at a time. This summer was no different. The following are my recommended top 10 picks from this summer:

 1. The Gospel of John: A Commentary by Frederick Dale Bruner

The Gospel of John

Bruner is my favorite scholar/writer of commentaries in my thirty plus years of preaching.  I have been in John 6 for the last three months, meditating on the Greek text, English text, and Bruner’s keep insights. He offers a rare combination of devotion and scholarship.





2.  Spider in a Tree  by Susan Stinson

 Spider in a TreeThis is a well-written and well-researched, historical novel about Jonathan Edwards around the time of the First Great Awakening in New England. It gives a brilliant insight on our need for a broad view of church history. We all have flaws. Here is a story of how a great theologian like Edwards can bring you to heaven and, at the same time, both have slaves and defend the great evil of slavery.  See my “Lessons from Church History” 10 min video on YOUTUBE for more. Click here. Stinson’s description, based on excellent sources, of the First Great Awakening and George Whitfield are worth the price of the book as well.



3. Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature by Connie Zweig

Meeting the Shadow

 I read broadly on the shadow in preparation for writing my first chapter “Face Your Shadow” in The Emotionally Healthy Leader book which I am writing. I found this anthology most helpful in breaking down a very challenging, difficult theme.




4. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Writing Life


 I reread this amazing little book every time I engage in a large writing project. It gives me perspective, a sense of the holy, and grace to remember that I am not crazy!




5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet-The Power of Introverts


 I asked God for forgiveness after reading this. I have not been sensitive to the introverts in the building of community at New Life for the past 27 years. This book is a must read for every pastor/leader responsible for building small groups and community in their church.




6. Selling All: Commitment, Consecrated Celibacy, and Community in Catholic Religious Life (Religious Life in a New Millennium, V. 2                                           by Sandra M. Schneiders

Selling All


Best book on the call to celibacy out there (cf. Matthew 19:12ff). We can’t understand marriage without understanding the call to celibacy as laid out here. This should be must reading in Protestant seminaries and Bible colleges.



7. A Spirituality of Caregiving (Henri Nouwen Spirituality) by Henri J.M. Nouwen and John S Mogabgab

A Spiritality of Caregiving


I found this richly devotional. I read it over and over as part of my midday prayer. This is a gift for every pastor/leader.




8. Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann

Sabbath as Resistance


Outstanding theological insight on how practicing Sabbath relates to overcoming powers and principalities in our culture. It is not simply for us but for our churches and communities.




9. To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue

To Bless the Space


   This book of blessings, beautifully written, will lift you to heaven through his thoughtful integration of Celtic spirituality and gift of writing. Read this very slowly.





10. Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now by Gregory A. Boyd

Present Perfect


I appreciated this thoughtful, personal, and pastoral perspective on practicing the presence of God through history and his own life.



Limits, Loaves, and Leadership

How we respond to the limits Jesus intentionally places before us is a core issue for every leader. The feeding of the 5000 (actually the 10,000-20,000 when we include women and children) offers us an opportunity for transformation – if we patiently allow this revelation of Jesus to penetrate us. It is the only miracle, except for the resurrection, found in all four gospels.

This summer God has invited me to patiently listen to Him through the John 6:1-15 account. The following are four of the insights I continue to ponder:

  1. Jesus intentionally places limits before us to mature our faith. One third of the account concerns itself with Jesus testing and growing their faith. He placed them in an impossible situation. What is an impossible leadership challenge before you today?
  2. Jesus is more than enough. Andrew said: “Here is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish, but how far will these go among so many?” Imagine if he had said: “Here is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish. I know You can handle it.”
  3. Even less than mustard seed faith unleashes the creative power of God. Even Philip’s faith, which started out okay, fell into unbelief by the end: “…but how far will these go among so many?” Jesus takes even the little, less than, mustard seed faith that we have and creates something totally beyond us.
  4. Trusting in Jesus – especially in impossible situations –is the core challenge of leadership. Jesus summed up the work of leadership in one simple sentence: “The work of God is this: to trust in the One He has sent” (John 5:29).   Jesus does not strive, grumble or grow frustrated. He offers the loaves back to the Father with thanks, and somehow, an amazing, invisible miracle takes place.

What impossible barrier or limit is before you? What might it look like for you to come and rest in Jesus, saying, “Lord, here are my five loaves and two small fish. I know You can handle this.”

Learning from the Church in Southeast Asia

Geri and I recently returned from a ten-day trip to Singapore/Malaysia, our fourth in the past five years. Habakkuk 1:5 describes the wonder of our experience there.

Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

The following are a few highlights:

1.     The power and the size of the move of God in Asia is difficult to describe for us who live in North America. Every time I sat through worship, whether it was with the Pentecostal Anglicans, the Pentecostal Methodists, or the Assembly of God Pentecostals, I found myself in awe of the experience. (Oh yes, most everyone seems to be into Pentecostal in that part of the world – regardless of denomination).

2.     Pastors and leaders, along with the churches, face the same challenges we face in North America.

  • We are too busy. Our “being with God” is not sufficient to sustain our “doing for God.”  One staff team I met will be sleeping at the church this week since they are working till 3 a.m. each night completing their plans for next year! The notion of slowing down for Sabbath and Daily Offices are shocking to most.
  • We have compartmentalized our spirituality from our marriages and sexuality.  Very little discipleship exists in this area anywhere in the world, including Asia.
  • Emotional awareness and social skills are very weak and not integrated with our spirituality.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality strikes a deep chord in this part of the world. This past year, an outstanding team dedicated countless hours translating the EHS Course and Emotionally Healthy Day by Day (the Daily Office) into Chinese and Bhasa Malaysian.

3.     The work of EHS has grown so much that EHS appointed a National Director for EHS Singapore/Malaysia –Steven Loh. Steven, along with his wife Leslie, have been teaching EHS in Shanghai since our first visit in 2009. He is a retired CEO and passionate about EHS. Fluent in three languages, he will work closely with Eagles Communications in Singapore to follow up on the churches doing EHS in those countries.

4.     The launching of “Become an EHS Course Coordinator” met with a great response in both Malaysia and Singapore. We will be launching this in NYC on Sept. 17th for North America. The embedding of The EHS Course for spiritual formation, much like the Alpha Course is embedded for evangelism, is one of the great turning points in our EHS strategy. I continue to be amazed at how God led us here over the last two years.

I want to thank so many of you for praying for our trip. One of the great privileges of EHS being used around the world is that we are able to learn from what God is doing around the world.

So may we too, like Habakkuk, “watch and be utterly amazed.”


Comment on Discover your sealed orders by Melanie Lee

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Discover your sealed orders

God has a plan for each one of us. One way to discern our distinctive life is from the perspective of discovering our “sealed orders” from Him.

Sealed orders, historically, referred to specific written instructions given, for example, to the captain of a ship regarding his destination or mission. They were not to be opened until a specified time or place is reached. They were then opened and followed.

God has given each one of us sealed orders for our lives. He invites us to open them by paying attention to the little everyday things that give us life. God comes to us in so many ways when we are still before Him. A key way for me has been to pay attention to God coming through my body as I pray.

Author Sheila Linn simply and profoundly describes this process: “When I am in touch with the special purpose of my life in carrying out my sealed orders, I have a profound feeling of consolation or rightness and my whole body relaxes. I believe the sense of rightness expresses itself physiologically because the purpose of our life is built into the very cells of our body” (Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn, Sleeping with Bread, 21).

Discovering God’s special purpose for your life is a process. It’s impossible to anticipate everything we might encounter on the journey of following God’s will for your life, but there is one thing of which you can be sure – it will be take you to places you never dreamed.



Emotionally Healthy Leadership Podcast: Marriage and Sex Part 2

In part 2 of this conversation led by Rick Villodas we dig deeper into the implications of a healthy marriage on a leader.  Pete and Geri Scazzero share from their experiences and the critical importance of cultivating affirmation in your marriage.   We hope you will take 16 minutes today to listen to this conversation and that you apply these critical principles into your marriage today. 

To listen to this podcast on iTunes click here.

Symptoms of the False Self

In my sermon yesterday at New Life, I preached on “Listening to the Small Screen” out of Colossians 3:9-14. God calls us out of living a “pretend life” that accumulates as layers over us as a result of our families of origin and our culture. To find love, value, and worth, we often become people God never intended. Part of the gift of salvation in Christ is a deliverance from our false selves into our true selves in Christ, living out our unique “sealed orders” from Him. 

Paul calls us “not to lie to one another” (Col. 3:9) which can be translated, “Don’t be false with one another.”  The following is the brief assessment I shared during the message.

The degree to which we are living out of our false, or pretend, self exists on a continuum that ranges from mild to severe.  We are all in process, including myself. Use the simple assessment below to get an idea of where you fall on the continuum. Note each one that describes you.

False Self-Assessment

  1. I am reluctant to admit my weaknesses and flaws to others.
  2. I look for the approval of others more than I should
  3. I am highly “offendable” and defensive when people criticize me.
  4. I often become harsh and impatient when things are moving too slowly or my expectations are not met.
  5. I say “yes’ when I would rather say “no”.
  6. I beat myself up when I make mistakes.
  7. I have difficulty speaking up when I disagree or prefer something different.
  8. I have a number of people I am struggling to forgive.
  9. My fears often cause me to play it safe “just in case.”
  10. My body is more often in a state of tension and stress than relaxed.

If you checked two or three statements, you may be living out of your false self at times. If you checked four to five, you probably have a moderate case of pretending to be somebody you are not. If you checked six or more, you want to receive this as a gentle wake up call to a deeper journey with Jesus!


Comment on The EHS Course by R. O. Ogbebor

I stumbled into EHL conference in May 2014 on biblegateway.com website and I immediately signed up to attend online. It was a life changing experience. Since then I have been on your website feeding on every free resource I can find. Having been a Christian for 20years, I have been made to believe that Christianity excludes everything emotions and to make matters worse I am married to an emotionally distant spouse who has been a church leader in one form or another. Though I know there is an element of lie to that belief system, I was so comforted and free when I attended the conference. I believe this knowledge is so lacking in our Christianity today. I would love to become an EHS coordinator to first help myself and also others. I look forward to when I will have an opportunity to become one. I live in Canada. Thank you for the work you are doing, it is indeed changing lives one after another. R.O

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