Why do so many Christians make lousy human beings? Why are so many of us judgmental, unaware, and defensive? Part of the answer lies in a failure to biblically integrate emotional health and spiritual maturity. A vast industry exists around emotional intelligence that ignores spirituality. A vast amount of information also exists that defines a “mature” Christian. Rarely are the two integrated. The following are 11 signs of an emotionally mature Christian: You anchor your life in the love of Jesus. You don’t divide your life into “secular” and “sacred” compartments. Instead, you rather enjoy communion with Him in all areas of your life – work, recreation, church, and parenting. Towards that end, you regularly practice spiritual disciplines (e.g. meditation on Scripture, silence, solitude, community, confession, worship) to position yourself to practice His presence all throughout the day. You break the power of the past. You can identify how issues from your family of origin (e.g. character flaws, ways of. Read more.
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.
I don’t know. Only God can judge and sort that out. But I do know that our obsession with getting people to make a decision for Jesus has led us to a reality where we have large numbers of severely under-developed, stunted, nominal Christians filling our churches. This two-tiered USA gospel, unlike the witness of the New Testament, supposes that a person can become a Christian and not follow Jesus. A disciple follows Jesus, allowing Him to change him/her for the sake of the world. A “believer” assents intellectually to what Jesus and Scripture says. But their lives are not directed by Jesus or oriented around Him. A disciple, however, is characterized by the following: A first-hand, personal relationship with Jesus A commitment to listen to Him for direction A love for Scripture Self-awareness–reflected in the ability to take their feelings and lay them out before Jesus. Read more.
A few years ago, a Christian publisher strongly recommended we reduce EHS discipleship into four, one-hour sessions because that was all that most American Christians can handle. “Let’s keep it simple,” many pastors and leaders argue. “If your people attend weekend services, participate in a small group and serve, that is all you can expect.” People are not experiencing deep transformation in our churches. Large numbers of people live off other people’s spirituality (e.g. worship teams, sermons, Christian radio and podcasts) and do not intentionally cultivate their own personal relationship with Jesus. We now have tens of thousands of believers in Jesus who are not necessarily disciples. And we continue to work day and night to add to this number. This raises a number of questions: Can a person be a Christian without being a disciple who makes daily, intentional choices to follow Jesus and remain/abide with Him? Can a nominal Christian who has. Read more.
The anger and fears unleashed after the USA Presidential election last week took a lot of us by surprise – especially as it now bleeds into the church. I speak daily to my 21-year-old daughter, a college senior, protesting Trump’s win on the streets of Manhattan, as well as to my older brother, a professor in the Midwest, boasting about the end of the Democratic Party’s arrogance and elitism. How are we to respond? I am not fully sure, but I am sure of one thing: Loving well is the essence of true spirituality, requiring that we practice the presence of people within an awareness of His presence. But learning this is no small task. Martin Buber, however, a Jewish German theologian, can serve us here. In the early years of his life, the “religious” for Buber was the mystical experiences that lifted him out of the so-called earthly, ordinary experiences of life. Buber. Read more.
Transitions and letting go are critical leadership tasks every leader must master if we are to do God’s work, God’s way, in God’s timing. If we don’t discern the endings God has for us, we will surely miss his new beginnings—both personally and in our ministries. In this podcast Rich and I will talk about the 2 questions I consistently ask myself: What is it time to let go of in my personal life and leadership? And, what new thing might be standing backstage, waiting to make its entrance? Then, we engage in a robust discussion around the interior blockages we carry that hinder us from letting go (e.g. fear, loss of control, power, unbelief). Click on the video below to watch or click on the button to listen. LISTEN HERE GET READY TO LEAD THE COURSE — REGISTER TODAY