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.
I have pondered the Sayings of the Desert Fathers/Mothers for more than 15 years. We may not be monks, but we can learn many things from them as we seek to lead for Jesus in our day. We each have a solitary, a monk, within us, i.e. a part of us that longs for rich, creative, deep communion with God apart from the gods of the world that tempt us away from Jesus. We are not called to do exactly what these desert teachers did, but we are called to the same ruthless determination to break every spiritual chain that keeps us from becoming who God has called us to be and doing what he has called us to do. In this podcast I talk about 4 gifts/applications that offer a challenge to us in leadership today. Here are a few of their sayings that I discuss: 1. Grow in Love and Not Judging. Read more.
At the end of the third century in the deserts of Egypt, North Africa, an extraordinary phenomenon occurred. Christian men and women began to flee the cities and villages of the Nile Delta in Egypt to seek God in the desert. They discerned that so much of the world filled the church that they had to pursue God in a radical way by moving to the desert. They saw the world: as a shipwreck from which each single individual man had to swim for his life. . . . These were men who believed that to let oneself drift along, passively accepting the tenets and values of what they knew as society, was purely and simply a disaster. . . They knew they were helpless to do any good for others as long as they floundered about in the wreckage. But once they got a foothold on solid ground, things were different. Then they. Read more.
Benedict (480-547 AD) lived during a time when the Roman Empire was disintegrating and eventually founded twelve monasteries near Rome. To guide these monks to live a simple, orderly life around Christ, he wrote “a little rule for beginners” now famously known as the “Rule of Benedict” (RB). This “Rule” became one of the most powerful documents in shaping Western civilization and has guided tens of thousands of people around the world over the last 1500 years. In this podcast, I expand on the 7 primary lessons (or gifts) from the Rule of Benedict that have profoundly influenced my life and leadership since my first exposure to it in 2003. These 7 lessons are: Rhythms and the Daily Office. Benedict structured these prayer times around eight Daily Offices. He realized that stopping for the Daily Office to be with God is the key to creating a continual and easy familiarity with God’s presence the rest of the. Read more.