Practicing Sabbath, much like prayer or reading the Bible, doesn’t save us. We are saved by Jesus alone. But if we are not routinely reading Scripture or praying, it is unlikely we are growing much spiritually. Keeping Sabbath is a core spiritual practice – an essential means God uses to slow us down and mature us. In this podcast, I expound on ten core reasons Sabbath is so indispensable for us who lead in Jesus’ name: Sabbath is something God did, and being made in his image, we are created to do it as well. Sabbath was built into the DNA of the creation. Sabbath time is set apart as “holy” within God’s creation of a 7-day week. Sabbath helps us embrace our humanity, vulnerability, limits and finiteness. Sabbath protects us from doing violence to ourselves. It doesn’t save our souls, but it saves our lives. Sabbath reminds us God’s world is good, offering. Read more.
I am fragile. When I get out of my rhythms of being with God, I am dangerous. I make unwise decisions; I over-function; I cross boundaries; I fail to be present to those I love; I become anxious; I rush. In fact, the finding of God’s rhythms for my life, and living them, is a matter of life and death – for me and for those I serve. And I am not alone. We are all fragile. This podcast is an invitation to get deeply anchored by deliberately structuring your life in ancient spiritual practices that have stood the test of time. In particular, I focus on the revolutionary practice of Sabbath-keeping and God’s invitation for us to stop and rest for a 24-hour period each week. This inevitably leads to many new insights about God and ourselves. As one person wrote: “Tell me one thing that is productive or efficient about it? The. Read more.
Geri and I just returned from 7 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a 1,090,000-acre (4,400 km2) area on the border of Minnesota and Canada. A motorized boat carried us deep into the wilderness. They picked us up 7 days later at the same location. There would be no emergency number for us or our family, no cell phone contact, and no ability to leave early. This was on Geri’s bucket list. She has been preparing since January and was thrilled. I was reluctant but following her, hoping for the best. Nonetheless, it turned out to be one of the best weeks of my life. God had a few things He wanted to teach me: His love really is found in nature. We canoed from campsite to campsite and portaged, i.e. carried our canoe and gear over land between lakes, as needed. For years Geri had been telling me to get my nose out of a book. Read more.
This blog is an update from last year called Summer Spirituality. I re-wrote it because I believe this theme needs to be revisited each year by each of us, starting with me. The Bible teaches there is a time and a season for “everything under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). God has built this into the very fabric of nature’s seasons as we observe the cycle of death and newness every winter and summer. Our churches experience seasons. And so do we. These seasons are limits given to us by God. They are gifts from His hand meant to keep us grounded and humble. I have violated God’s seasons in my leadership more times than I want to remember. But treating our vacations, and summers, as mini-Sabbaticals can be powerful if we build this into our lives. The way we do this can be summarized in three words. Receive. Summers are a time to do less. Read more.
On Monday I begin a three-week vacation. Part of that will include not blogging, tweeting, or posting on Facebook and Instagram. Why? To Honor Sabbatical Rest. I prefer to frame vacations as sabbaticals from the Lord, a gift to let the soil of one’s soul get replenished by stopping our work, resting, delighting, and contemplating Him. A good part of my work now includes social media engagement. So I will stop and let it rest. To Respect My Vulnerabilities. I like Sherry Turkle’s point that “laptops and smartphones are not things to remove. They are facts of life and part of our creative lives. The goal is to use them with greater intention. We are faced with technologies to which we are extremely vulnerable and we don’t always respect that fact.” Is it possible to be addicted to social media? I think so. (Not all researchers agree.) Disconnecting will be good for my soul.. Read more.
I like to read more broadly than usual in the summer months to stretch me and to open up doors for God to speak in unexpected ways. The following are my top 10 picks for the first half of 2016: 1. Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age – Sheryl Turkle I consider this the most important leadership book I’ve read so far this year because of the implications of her research on how digital technology is impacting our culture. I find myself returning to her insights in discussions on building community, discipleship, preaching, and developing next generation leaders. Click here to read the blog I wrote on this book. 2. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi At the age of 36, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. A brilliant neurosurgeon and excellent writer, he records for us, with penetrating insight and clarity, his process of. Read more.