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Category Archives: Faith

What Voice Drives Your Leadership?

Henri Nouwen, towards the end of his life, articulated a core struggle for every leader. He described the two different voices that come to each of us. One voice constantly pushes us to succeed and achieve, and comes from below. It was the voice he spent most of his life heeding. It led him to make decisions and plans without God. He taught at prestigious Ivy League universities. He wrote a book a year. He kept an active speaking and ministry schedule. But his spiritual life was suffocating. He was praying poorly and living isolated from people. The other invites us to listen to God’s voice. This voice reassures us we are loved without conditions or performance. We have nothing to prove. Our primary goal is to recognize the Lord’s voice, his face, and his touch in every person we meet. Only in the last ten years of his life, Nouwen said, did he. Read more.

5 Mistakes Leaders Make at Christmas — EH Leader Podcast

It is hard to be a Christian at Christmas, especially if you are a pastor or leader. These are at least five mistakes that we often make: We skimp on our time with Jesus in our work for Jesus. We speak of profound spiritual realities, but our hearts slowly shrink because we have so much to do. We become perfectionistic. We forget that to be human is to make mistakes. Eugene Peterson says it well: “Perfectionism is a perversion of the Christian way. To impose it on either oneself or another…is decidedly not the way of Jesus.” We do more than God asks. When we do more than God asks, we open the door for all kinds of disorder and chaos. We engage in faulty thinking. Mark Twain once said, “It isn’t what you don’t know that hurts you; it is what you know that isn’t so.” We forget our greatest gift is who. Read more.

The Dark Nights of Leadership – EH Leader Podcast

In the week entitled, Journey Through the Wall from The EH Spirituality Course, we introduce the “dark night of the soul” as foundational to discipleship in Christ. The “dark night” refers to the major upheavals we confront in life, from betrayals to shattered dreams, from divorces to cancers. These deaths are God’s ordinary way of transforming us, of purging us of deep-rooted sin, and emptying us for a life of deeper communion with Him. I am convinced also that God prepares a greater level of “dark nights” for leaders and shepherds. Why? The answer is simple: so much is at stake! Yes, it is the only way we will mature into the unique leaders He has destined us to become. But God is also deeply concerned about His sheep (and the world). So with our greater gifts of influence (e.g. gifts, talents, experience, platform) His work in us must include a particular intensity in. Read more.

Jesus’ 7 Qualities of Spiritual Maturity – EH Leader Podcast

I have spent a long, relaxed time in the Sermon on the Mount over the last seven months, meditating and studying what may be the greatest sermon ever delivered in human history. The radical nature of discipleship, as laid out by Jesus, has shaken me to my core and reminded me of Karl Barth’s famous dictum: We are always only beginners. Jesus ends Matthew chapter 5 in verse 48 with the words: Be perfect (i.e. perfectly mature) as your heavenly Father is perfect (i.e. perfectly mature). The word for perfect refers to a person coming of age, someone who is no longer a child or minor. They are now adults, i.e. spiritually mature. The question I have asked myself is: Am I really a spiritually mature adult according to Jesus’ standard? In chapter 5:17-47, Jesus describes the qualities of spiritual maturity. They are a challenge, to say the least. In this podcast I explore. Read more.

Meeting God in the Wilderness: A Summer Reflection

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.

“Gone to the Fields to be Lovely” Summers as Sabbaticals

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.