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
I am a great lover of books. I am also a believer that reading broadly and deeply is foundational if we are to offer good leadership in a rapidly changing and global context. Reading offers unique opportunities for us to grow, expand into worlds beyond our own, and to be mentored by people we will never meet. Here are my top 10 books from the last six months that you may want to consider adding to your list: 1. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis – Robert D. Putnam Putnam, a Harvard social scientist, has written a classic that I believe is a “must read” for church leadership teams. He explores in penetrating detail how rich and poor Americans are now living, learning, and raising children in increasingly separate and unequal worlds. Moreover, he shows convincingly that we are facing a crisis in that kids from privileged backgrounds are starting and finishing further and further. Read more.
It is hard to be a Christian at Christmas – especially for pastors and leaders. Why? We can blame the culture, the powers and principalities that want to cut us off from Jesus, or the unrealistic expectations people place on us. While these are indeed factors, the primary responsibility rests with how we understand our role as leaders. These are 5 common mistakes we make: 1. We skimp on our time with Jesus in our work for Jesus. As a result, we preach revelations about the eternal Word of God assuming human flesh without the time to swim and worship in the wonder of it all. The pressure of too much to do, in too little time, causes us to push a button into an “autopilot” spirituality. We speak of profound spiritual realities, but our hearts slowly shrink. What can we do? Follow Jesus by going off “to a solitary place and pray” (Mark 1:35).. Read more.
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.