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.
We desperately need leaders today, particularly Christian leaders. How else will we effectively make disciples and bring Christ to the world amidst the enormous challenges confronting the church today? In Jesus’ commissioning of Peter in John 21:15-21, he lays down four indispensable truths about Christian leadership for us. They describe what I call: a shepherd leader. Jesus uses problematic humans like Simon Peter as leaders. Jesus addresses Peter as “Simon Peter,” reminding him he is more “Sandy” (up and down) than “Peter” (an immovable rock). Maybe he is first among the apostles because he is the chief sinner and the most broken? Be encouraged. Jesus seeks one quality from leaders above all else – love for himself. Three times, Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” This one simple, penetrating question is the first item Jesus wants on our job description. So simple, so clear. Be encouraged. Jesus gives us one major mission — to. Read more.
I received a phone call to turn on the news as a story was breaking about a local supermarket burning to the ground. Images of fire trucks, destruction, and towering flames filled my computer screen. A New Life Fellowship Church member had invested 25 years of his life to build that business. His life work was now in ashes. We met over dinner a few weeks after the tragedy, and Geri and I listened to the story. What surprised me most was not his response but mine. His grief and disorientation were so great that my first thought was that he speak with a good Christian counselor. It was only when Geri and I were in the car returning home that I realized how I had failed to ask a far more important question – that of discernment. Where was God in the fire? This is what I failed to remember: Death and resurrection. Read more.
Thomas L. Friedman released an important book a few months ago called Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. I usually take notes on the blank white pages in the back of a book. For a few seminal books, however, I actually type out key things God might be saying to me personally and as a leader. Thank You for Being Late was one of those books. My goal here is not to do a book review, but to share with you my top applications: We must be self-motivated, life-long learners. The world is changing at a pace so fast it has risen above the rate at which most people can absorb all the changes. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, says it best: “The 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able. Read more.
The word “listen” or “hear” is found more than 1500 times in the Bible. The problem is that it is easy to lead FOR God without listening TO God. That is why the most important question every one of us must ask throughout our days is: “God, how are you coming to me, what might you want to say?” The question then needs to be applied specifically to different areas of our lives. Let me provide you with a few examples of what that looks like in my life: Time with God. “God, how are you coming to me in Scripture and silence today?” At times he leads me to linger over a passage, a phrase, or a text for days – even weeks. At times he leads me to read whole books of Scripture in one sitting. While I practice 20 minutes of silence and stillness each morning, I am also listening to. Read more.
One of the great questions confronting the church today in the face of our growing secular culture is: Can you be a believer and not a disciple? In this podcast, I talk with Rich Villodas about this question and the challenges facing leaders today. How do we make disciples when people are already over-committed and busy? What can we do to address the many under-developed, stunted, nominal Christians filling our churches? Click below to listen and wrestle with us on what it will take to make disciples who are deeply transformed so we can change the world for Christ. LISTEN HERE Save Save Save Save Save