I received a phone call to turn on the news as a story was breaking about a local supermarket burning to the ground. Images of fire trucks, destruction, and towering flames filled my computer screen. A New Life Fellowship Church member had invested 25 years of his life to build that business. His life work was now in ashes. We met over dinner a few weeks after the tragedy, and Geri and I listened to the story. What surprised me most was not his response but mine. His grief and disorientation were so great that my first thought was that he speak with a good Christian counselor. It was only when Geri and I were in the car returning home that I realized how I had failed to ask a far more important question – that of discernment. Where was God in the fire? This is what I failed to remember: Death and resurrection. Read more.
Thomas L. Friedman released an important book a few months ago called Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. I usually take notes on the blank white pages in the back of a book. For a few seminal books, however, I actually type out key things God might be saying to me personally and as a leader. Thank You for Being Late was one of those books. My goal here is not to do a book review, but to share with you my top applications: We must be self-motivated, life-long learners. The world is changing at a pace so fast it has risen above the rate at which most people can absorb all the changes. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, says it best: “The 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able. Read more.
The word “listen” or “hear” is found more than 1500 times in the Bible. The problem is that it is easy to lead FOR God without listening TO God. That is why the most important question every one of us must ask throughout our days is: “God, how are you coming to me, what might you want to say?” The question then needs to be applied specifically to different areas of our lives. Let me provide you with a few examples of what that looks like in my life: Time with God. “God, how are you coming to me in Scripture and silence today?” At times he leads me to linger over a passage, a phrase, or a text for days – even weeks. At times he leads me to read whole books of Scripture in one sitting. While I practice 20 minutes of silence and stillness each morning, I am also listening to. Read more.
One of the great questions confronting the church today in the face of our growing secular culture is: Can you be a believer and not a disciple? In this podcast, I talk with Rich Villodas about this question and the challenges facing leaders today. How do we make disciples when people are already over-committed and busy? What can we do to address the many under-developed, stunted, nominal Christians filling our churches? Click below to listen and wrestle with us on what it will take to make disciples who are deeply transformed so we can change the world for Christ. LISTEN HERE Save Save Save Save Save
Sadly, Advent is a low point spiritually for most Christian leaders. This was surely the case for me–especially in my early years. I was told Christmas was THE time we had to do everything possible to get as many people to the church. I was told that the number of visitors at Christmas Eve services would indicate our growth over the next year. I was also told this was THE time to close the financial year strong, THE time to thank all our leaders, and THE time for me to model reaching out to our neighbors for Christ. This results in very few of us actually celebrating the wonder of the Incarnation, that the truly divine Son of God became truly human mortal flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. Here are my top 4 Advent killers along with their antidotes: Anxiety. After thirty years of pastoring, I can now say with authority: “The growth and vitality. Read more.
Jesus said we must lose our lives to find it. One essential way we do this is by learning the art of interior silence. This choice to turn away from internal and external noise in order to be with Jesus is work…a difficult work. Externally, we face the unrelenting pressure of our culture– the noise, the clutter, the grasping, the confusion, the distractions, the excessive amount of information – all of which make it difficult to hear ourselves think. Internally, our stillness and silence muscles are weak. As beginners, we have problems focusing attention and facing the normal distractions of body and mind. Just like we cannot simply read a how-to book on running a marathon and run, so we must build up muscle and stamina slowly over time. Maggie Ross, in her Silence: A User’s Guide – Volume 1: Process, argues that the tradition of silence was handed down unbroken from the time. Read more.