One of the high points of our EH Leadership Conference this past week was Geri’s opening message around Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. The following is an excerpt. “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Nicodemus, one of the top spiritual leaders of all Israel, seems clueless to the deep transformational spirituality that Jesus is talking about. Jesus looks at him with a bit of shock and says: “How can it be that you’re a leader in God’s Kingdom and… You have little or no emotional connection with your spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, or congregation You have not had emotional or physical intimacy with your spouse for weeks, months, years You intimidate others with your anger You are defensive, critical, and judgmental You avoid. Read more.
The following chart and prayer were highlighted at our EHLeader PreConference Session today as we explored the power of making marriage our first ambition and passion. The first contrasts standard and biblical sexuality for married couples while the prayer reflects something we invited couples to pray each day.
For the first 1500 years of the church, singleness was considered the preferred state; it was considered the best way to serve Christ if you were a leader. Singles sat in the front of the church. Marrieds were sent to the back. After the Reformation in 1517 AD, single people were sent to the back and marrieds moved to the front – at least among Protestants. Yet the New Testament describes, and deeply affirms, two types of Christian singles. The first is a vowed celibacy, for those who “renounce marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.” They freely choose not to marry but to set themselves apart in a total, exclusive and lifelong gift to Christ and His church. A very few are invited to receive this grace and gift from him (Matt. 19:11-12). The vast majority of Christian single leaders fall into the category of dedicated celibates. This term encompasses a broad range. Read more.
Our marriages are meant to be our first ambition in life. When we marry we make a vow to love our spouse exclusively until we die. That vow informs every decision we will make the rest of our lives. When a man or woman take a monastic vow, they take years to move through a process that typically takes 6-8 years. First, they are observers, then postulants, and eventually novices. After that they take temporary vows, usually for two to three years, until they finally make permanent vows. At that point, they change their name, divest themselves of all their wealth, and commit to be part of a particular community the rest of their lives. Every decision they make from that point forward is informed by that vow. In the same way, if we are married, we have made a vow. That vow informs every decision we make. The pace of the church, and. Read more.