Vacations offer a unique opportunity to integrate and apply our theology. But like all areas of discipleship (e.g. relationships, sexuality, work, singleness, marriage, retirement, money), this requires intentionality. Otherwise, we fall into the pattern of doing vacations like our family of origin or the wider culture. Each of us comes into vacations differently. Some of us, for example, have small children, aging parents, a special needs child, or severe financial constraints. Moreover, each of us has a specific temperament, personality, and set of passions. Last year, I wrote a blog entitled Turning Your Vacations into Sabbaticals, applying the principles of weekly Sabbaths to our vacations. Here I want to offer you five words, or principles, that have helped Geri and I structure our “vacations” each year: Prayer. This is so obvious that we easily miss it! Take time to be still before the Lord and listen (Ps 37:7). You may be surprised. Thoughtfulness. Wise. Read more.
At our New Life staff retreats, and occasionally at our staff meetings, we create “being” experiences with God before our “doing” of the actual work. This importance of grounding our doing out of our being is so critical we look for as many creative ways to keep ourselves grounded in Jesus. I have received many requests over the years from teams for this material. In response, I provide a sample called “Fire” in The Emotional Healthy Leader book in the “Culture and Team Building”. The following is another that I have used multiple times over the years and am planning to speak on at our upcoming Emotionally Healthy Leadership 2016 Conference on April 20 and 21. Feel free to use this personally and with your leadership team. The miracle of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes is the only miracle, besides the resurrection, that occurs in all four gospels. It is that important!. Read more.
I wrote The Emotionally Healthy Leader with one primary goal in mind – to profoundly transform the leadership culture in our churches. Why? Long-term, sustainable, and effective mission in the world requires a deep spirituality which informs the way we: build cultures and teams, engage in planning and decision making, handle power and boundaries, and do endings/new beginnings. For this to take place, our leadership teams need time to talk about the core concepts from The Emotionally Healthy Leader for our specific leadership contexts. Towards that end I wrote a free EH Leader Study and Discussion Guide and now have recorded 3-8 minute video introductions on each of the chapters as you launch into the discussion of the book. (These have been immensely helpful for us in our New Life Staff Team discussions). Introduction to the EH Leader Chapter 1: The Emotionally Unhealthy Leader The Inner Life Chapter 2: Face Your Shadow Chapter. Read more.
“Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading – that is a good . . . life” Annie Dillard. That is so true! The following are my recommended top 10 picks from this past year: 1. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma – Bessel van der Kolk This is a critical, important read for every one of us wrestling with discipleship in the church. Bessel van der Kolk , medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston and one of the foremost authorities on trauma in the world, offers innumerable insights on how to serve the increasing number of people in our churches stuck due to trauma. I continue to prayerfully read and study this book weekly. 2. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie This timely book gives us insight from the perspective of a Nigerian immigrant who comes. Read more.
As we enter a New Year I like to take time to review and listen afresh to what God might be saying and doing. This process includes my blog. The blogs that I thought were most important (e.g. Beyond an Airbrushed Spirituality) didn’t make the top ten. Blogs that I considered less important did. A key lesson for me is that people are very interested in detailed applications of EHS in different, real life situations (e.g. “Emotionally Healthy Birthday Planning” is a future blog). Here are my top ten posts from 2015: 10 Qualities of an Emotionally Healthy Wedding Top 10 Quotes from Elie Wiesel’s Memoirs Characteristics of the Emotionally Unhealthy Leader Quit Living Someone Else’s Life Four Steps to a Meaningful Sabbath You Know Your Not Doing Endings Well When Quit Overfunctioning Four Unhealthy Commandments of Church Leadership My #1 Mistake as a Leader Why Can’t We Slow Down
God invites us to practice the presence of people within an awareness of His presence. That is no small task, especially at this time of year. How then can we do this? By intentionally practicing His presence first. No greater teacher can offer us insight on how to do this better than Brother Lawrence, a 16th century Carmelite from Paris. I reread The Practice of the Presence of God every couple of years to remind myself of his simple, timeless wisdom. Here are a few of his gems for you to prayerfully consider this Christmas: I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence…which I may call an actual presence of God; or, to speak better, a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God. The time of business does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of the kitchen, while several persons. Read more.