Geri and I just returned, this past Tuesday, from an eventful, seven-day trip with our ministry partners (Ministerio Espiritualidad Emocionalmente Saudavel or MEES for short) in Brazil. I always journal after a trip around the question: “God, how did You come to me, and what did You say?” The following are the top four things I heard: 1. Gift. Every culture and country in the world reflects aspects of the beauty of God (see Revelation 21:24). Brazilians offer a joy, a warmth, an optimism, and a passion for life that is a wonder to behold. I heard God’s invitation afresh to marvel and worship Him for such creativity to place such amazing gifts in so many cultures around the world. 2. Global Church Shift. We experienced first-hand, once again, the shift of the church from Europe and North America to the global South (Africa, Latin America, Asia). The church in Brazil continues to grow. Read more.
Would the apostle Paul have engaged social media for the sake of the expanding the message of Jesus? Based on the way he creatively utilized the pax Romana (Roman peace), along with Greek culture and language, the answer is, I believe, a resounding yes. Can you imagine Jesus giving us a few tips on our use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube? Based on his Sermon on the Mount, the following are a few parameters He might recommend to us: Be careful not to show off or pretend. The definition of hypocrisy is to pretend to be something we are not or to present an idealized version of ourselves that is not true. Jesus calls us to avoid being “showy” or doing anything “spectacular” to call attention to ourselves. Seek the notice of our Father in heaven. Our goal is to impress Him, to hear Him say, “well-done” at the end of each tweet,. Read more.
Unmet and unclear expectations create havoc in churches, families, friendships, marriages, and leadership teams. We expect other people to know what we want before we say it, especially when we know them well. The problem, however, is that most of these expectations are 1. Unconscious; 2. Unrealistic; 3. Unspoken; and 4. Un-agreed upon. In this podcast, I talk with Rich about the power of this Emotionally Healthy Relationship Course skill to transform our lives and teams. We discuss how the issue of expectations intersects with discipleship, job descriptions, and the grief we experience when they remain unmet. Listen at the link below. LISTEN HERE I am also very excited to announce that The Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference Video Package (May 3-4, 2017) is now available for only $49. Not only will you receive our best and most current thinking about EHS as a radical discipleship paradigm for the 21st century, you will also learn. Read more.
I recently rediscovered these “Turning Point Lessons” that emerged out of a strategic planning retreat of our New Life Fellowship staff team in 2010. At this point, the church was twenty-two years old. What struck me as I re-read these is how timeless and relevant they are for today. The following are my edits and summary out of that discussion: Character is more important than gifting. Being is more important than doing. When we have overlooked issues of character because of anointing, effectiveness, or natural abilities, we have always paid a price. Do not rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and process implications, we always experienced regrets. Seeing the Promised Land without carefully discerning God’s timing led us on detours and painful disciplining from God. Be sure each leader takes responsibility for their growth and development. Our world and church are constantly changing. Thus, every leader needs to be. Read more.
The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, by Rod Dreher is an important book. It serves as a prophetic wake up call to the church, challenging us to take a fresh look at what is happening around us: We must “make a decisive leap into a truly countercultural way of living Christianity, or we doom our children and our children’s children to assimilation.” “The spiritual crisis overtaking the West is the most serious since the fall of the Roman Empire near the end of the fifth century. The light of Christianity is flickering out all over the West.” “If believers don’t come out of Babylon and be separate, their faith will not survive for another generation or two in this culture of death.” “Too many of our churches function as secular entertainment centers with religious morals slapped on top, when they should be functioning as the living, breathing Body of. Read more.
The fruit of a mature spirituality is to be an incarnational presence to another person. It was for Jesus. It is, I believe, for all his followers, especially for those of us in leadership. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus’ interactions with individuals — Matthew, Nathaniel, a prostitute, Nicodemus, a blind man, a Samaritan woman, and many others. When the rich young ruler came up to him, Jesus “looked at him and loved him.” He listened. He was present, never in a rush or distracted. He took the time to explore stories. When is the last time someone said to you, “Let me tell you about those Christians — they are fantastic listeners! I have never seen a group of ¬people more sincerely interested to know my world, who are curious, who ask questions — who actually listen to me!” Listening is not simply a key discipleship issue. It is a core. Read more.