Rushing ahead of God and impatience were re-occurring themes for me in My Biggest Regrets podcasts that I recorded these past two weeks. As a result, in this podcast, I want to invite you to listen to a message from the life of Abraham when he grows weary of waiting and executes an apparently successful plan for God without God. Based on Genesis 16:1-4, we observe amazing parallels to the leadership challenges, pressures, and frustrations we face today. Abraham and Sarah, out of their impatience, birthed a physical son – Ishmael. We too, out of our own impatience, often birth “Ishmaels” as well. This podcast explores The Ishmael Test, four questions to ask ourselves before we launch large decisions for God and his work. They are: Am I afraid to ask God what His will is in this situation? Am I uncomfortable exploring my hidden motivations? Am I avoiding getting counsel from mature others. Read more.
This podcast is Part 2 of my biggest regrets over the last 40 years of my leadership. I complete the list that I began last week. This has been a sobering process for me – deleting some, adding others, digging up a one or two painful ones that I preferred to bury, and then realizing they too deserved to make the list. The early church fathers considered the most precious gift, or charism, in the church to be discretion (i.e. discernment). They understood that without discretion, we are dangerous – speaking too freely, giving people burdens they cannot bear, and offering superficial spiritual counsel. Reflecting on our mistakes and regrets can be a gift if we learn from them. In Part One of My Biggest Regrets I shared my top four: 1. Not understanding dual relationships and power 2. Impatience and rushing in making key decisions 3. Not leading (or listening to God) out of. Read more.
Recently, at a meeting with a number of young pastors, Geri and I were asked, “What has been your greatest regret in leadership?” I was taken aback by the question, unsure of where to begin. There were so many. We talked about dual relationships and power (which led the group into a lively, spirited discussion), but I realized that I needed to think much more about that penetrating question. This led me, over the next several weeks, to ponder the list of my greatest regrets over the last 40 years. I categorized them, edited them, and placed them in an order that began to make sense – at least to me. The process was both painful and freeing. The painful part revolved around vulnerability required to put them down on paper; the freeing part was seeing the love of God who brought me back to himself each time I strayed. I marvel at how. Read more.
This podcast emerges out of what is, perhaps, my greatest burden for leaders – to carve out sufficient time TO BE with Jesus and TO BE with ourselves – out of which we go and offer our lives as a gift to the world. I am referring not to a superficial being simply to stay functional but to a deep waiting on Jesus – a life with deep stillness and silence that serves to center our leadership. In this podcast I talk about the ancient practice of the Daily Office as one powerful means to build such a life. God has used this treasure to transform my life, along with tens of thousands of others through the centuries. I first observed and experienced the Daily Office during a one-week visit with Trappist monks. The basic structure of Trappist life includes four elements: prayer, work, study, and rest. Yet it was their intentional arranging of their. Read more.
I regularly get asked what I am reading or if there any books I might recommend. In this podcast I answer that question by sharing a number of books I’ve read in the last six to twelve months. I begin, however, by talking about reading for wisdom and not simply for information – suggesting we re-learn how to read. Many of us as leaders consume enormous amounts of information, reading (or listening) to lots of books. We read to GET the information, the ideas, the insights. But that doesn’t mean what we read is GETTING us. That requires a slower, more prayerful and contemplative pace. It means we may read the same page or paragraph or chapter many times. Why? Our commitment as leaders is not simply to head knowledge but to heart knowledge. As Proverbs 8:11 says: “Wisdom is more precious than jewels, nothing else is so worthy of desire.” The following is. Read more.
It is possible to build a church, an organization, or a team by relying only on our gifts, talents, and experience. We can serve Christ in our own energy and wisdom. We can expand a ministry or a business without thinking much of Jesus or relying on him in the process. We can boldly preach truths we don’t live. And if our efforts prove successful, few people will notice or take issue with the gaps between who we are and what we do. Remember, Jesus doesn’t say we can’t lead or build a church without him (see Matthew 7:21-23). What he does say is that our efforts are worth nothing unless they flow out of a relationship of loving union with him (John 15:5). In this podcast, I share an excerpt from the audio version of The Emotionally Healthy Leader where I talk about slowing down for loving union with Jesus. I do this. Read more.