In this week’s podcast, I build on last week’s message, “Listen,” and move to practical applications that have served me to sharpen my own discernment process. In particular, I draw from the insights of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of Jesuits, a work that has endured 450 years. His joining of active mission in the world with the riches of a slowed-down spirituality, along with a deep awareness of God moving through our feelings, is unique in church history. After discussing Ignatius’ unique contribution, I share four insights that have served me in listening and discerning God’s will: Silence: Responding to God’s Invitations to Greater Silence. There are seasons where God invites us to carve out larger blocks of time for silence and stillness with him. Feeling: Listening to God in Your Feelings. We don’t blindly follow our feelings but acknowledge them as a part, a significant part, of the way God communicates to. Read more.
Listening and discerning what God is saying is one of the most important areas of discipleship for any Christian. This especially applies to leaders. When we listen wrongly, the ripple effect is far-reaching. In this classic passage from Matthew 17, we observe Peter in a hurry to advise Jesus. He attempts to do the right thing for Jesus, but instead of waiting and listening, he is too eager to make plans. God the Father rebukes him and calls him to right listening, a listening that allows the word of Jesus to do its full work and create a relaxed, un-frenetic obedience in and through him. In the same way, God invites us to know all that we have in Jesus of Nazareth. Revering and listening to him is more important than any cause, program, or project we may be involved in. Why? Our notions of what is good for Jesus are often far off.. Read more.
In this podcast, I share the 6 unique contributions Emotionally Healthy Discipleship brings to the challenge of bridging barriers of race, culture and class. These gifts emerge out of journey at New Life Fellowship Church as we committed ourselves to be a multiracial community core to our witness to Christ here in New York City. God met us powerfully in our 32 year journey, shaping us into an incredibly diverse community with over 75 nations. The theological, personal and practical gifts that came with our failures and successes were innumerable. In this podcast, nonetheless, I talk about the final four contributions of EH Discipleship to this pressing global issue that confronts us as the church in the 21st century: Calling people to a radical desert spirituality with Jesus Utilizing genograms for self awareness and transformation Valuing brokenness and vulnerability Creating a new language with a new culture as the new family of Jesus Embracing. Read more.
In the midst of a Roman Empire marked by severe prejudices and hatreds, the first Christians viewed themselves as part of world-wide family that transcended national, class, cultural, and racial barriers. They understood Jesus, through his blood shed on the cross, had destroyed these barriers and created a “new human race,” a new society, a new people, i.e. the church (Eph. 2:14-15). It is significant that millenials and Generations Z’ers are so passionate for a multiracial, multicultural church in our day. And it is also significant that one of the biggest stories of our time is the mass movements of people around the world (i.e. migrants, refugees, internally displaced people, and asylum seekers). In this podcast, I share my own journey and story in coming to grips with this complex reality over forty years ago as a new believer, and how it led us to plant New Life Fellowship Church in New York City. Read more.
It has been said that all of life is one person handing off their anxiety to another. There are few places this applies more clearly than in leadership. After the mass defection of thousands of disciples, Jesus withdraws to the despised, “un-strategic” region of Galilee to continue his ministry. His brothers arrive, apparently frantic with worry that Jesus’ ministry is in deep trouble. They offer him a strategy, urging him to go to Jerusalem for the upcoming national festival so the crowds can see his miracles and he can rebuild his following. Jesus refuses to take on their leadership anxiety, replying: “My time has not yet come; for you any time will do” (John 7:1-9). How did Jesus so calmly deal with their anxiety? He remained in loving union with the Father in a posture of ongoing surrender of his will. He understood deeply that his Father was in charge of the global mission. Read more.
On August 17th of this year, our daughter, Faith, was married to Brett, a wonderful young man from Australia. They were married here in the New Jersey which meant we were hosting an international wedding with 20-25 guests coming from the other side of the world. As a result, a one-day wedding grew into a larger five-day event. The wedding offered a window into a unique, high-level application of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship. (Our first wedding was six years ago but didn’t have as many moving parts.) After reflecting on the event, Geri and I reflected on the qualities of an Emotionally Healthy Wedding. Here they are: We Kept the Focus on the Most Important Part of the Day: the Exchange of The Vows. We invested the necessary time to keep first things first, and served them in shaping a beautiful, sacred ceremony. We Monitored our Own Hearts and Anxieties. Not only was this an. Read more.