Saying no to leadership opportunities, and with it increased impact and influence, is not a topic talked about very often today. For that we need to look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the history of the church. In this podcast, I look at two towering figures in particular: Bernard of Clairvaux and Gregory of Nazianzus. Bernard of Clairvaux was an active leader who established hundreds of monasteries in Europe by the time of his death in 1153 AD. He had little patience for an activism that was not nourished by a deep interior life with Jesus. In fact, he called it the sin of sloth because it was a busyness that refused to bear the effort demanded by a life of solitude and prayer. When one of his spiritual sons, Eugene III, became Pope, he wrote him a series of letters, warning him against being engaged in activity before the time. Read more.
As people who lead in the name of Jesus, we are not to enter every open door or seize every new opportunity. Why? Doing so prematurely, i.e. outside of God’s timetable, damages both ourselves and his long-term kingdom mission in the world. We see this in biblical examples such as Jesus’ limits on the authority of the Twelve as he discipled them as well and the seven sons of Sceva’s premature attempt to drive out evil spirits for Jesus without a life with Jesus. The ancient church talked about this saying of no to leadership opportunities a lot more than we do today. In this podcast I tell the story of Theodore of Pherme (a 4th century desert teacher) who said no to pastoral leadership in his day: Time after time, the old men brought him back to Scetis saying, “Do not abandon your role as a deacon.” Abba Theodore said to them,“Let me. Read more.
Before I put pen to paper in writing The Emotionally Healthy Leader, I spent six to eight months creating charts contrasting the standard practice of how we typically do leadership vs. an emotionally healthy way. These eight charts became the skeleton upon which the EH Leader book was fleshed out. Now we have placed them, in their original form, in an e-book entitled: Why Leadership Matters for a Discipleship that Deeply Changes Lives. The following is one sample chart: In this podcast, I offer highlights from the 8 charts (e.g. lead out of your marriage, planning and decision making, culture and team building, power and wise boundaries). Remember: Who you are is more important than what you do. We cannot give what we do not possess. We can only give what we do possess. Live Stream Training | November 29th 1-4:30pm EST Register Now!
In this podcast, I explore the story of God directing Elijah to go to a desert for silence and solitude. Under the rule of Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, idolatry in Israel reaches an all-time high. In their attempt to stamp out worship of Yahweh completely, they exile and kill a large number of the Lord’s prophets. And Elijah finds himself alone and under enormous pressure. Elijah is told by God to wait for the presence of the Lord to pass by. But God does not appear in ways he had showed up in the past. Instead he comes in a new way. God is not in the wind (as with Job), an earthquake (as when he gave the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai), or fire (as in the burning bush with Moses). God reveals himself to Elijah in “a gentle whisper,” which is better translated from the original Hebrew as “a sound of. Read more.
Most of us are so steeped in the achievement values of our contemporary Western culture that we take for granted that an intense level of ministry activity is normal. If a door of opportunity opens for us, we assume walking through it must be God’s will. It is not. The reality, however, is that this tendency to blindly seize more and more opportunities for God has destroyed many a leader. Throughout Scripture and the history of the church, the desert has been a place of spiritual preparation, purification, and transformation. Moses spent forty years in the desert before God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. The prophet Elijah lived in the desert and, as a result, stood firm in one of the lowest moments of Israel’s history. John the Baptist spent much of his adult life in the desert. Paul spent three years in the Arabian Desert receiving God’s revelation before. Read more.
Most of us are chronically overextended, doing more activity for God than our relationship with God can sustain. The notion of a slowed-down spirituality — or slowed-down leadership — in which our doing for Jesus flows out of our being with Jesus is more of a dream than a lived experience. Jesus spent over 90 percent of his life — thirty of his thirty-three years — in obscurity. In those hidden years, he forged a life of loving union with the Father. He continued to prioritize his relationship with the Father throughout his three-year ministry. As a result, Jesus modeled contentment amidst pressure, calmness in the face of betrayal, and power to forgive at his crucifixion — the fruit of a long history of living in knowing deeply that he was “beloved” by his Father. I am convinced that a significant reason many of us lack the qualities Jesus modeled in public is because we skim in our relationship with God in private. Instead. Read more.