One of the greatest spiritual challenges for every leader revolves around how we frame and respond to the limits God places around us. Yet receiving limits as a grace disguised touches the core of our relationship with God and thus the core of our leadership. I began exploring a theology of limits in 1996 in the midst of my own spiritual, leadership, and marital crisis. This theology has continued to deepen and broaden for me over time. My interaction with young, middle-aged, and older leaders also confirms this is one of the most critical issues we face as pastors and leaders – personally, biblically, and practically. We are not alone. Paul wrestled with it. So did John the Baptist, David, and Jesus. In this podcast, I begin offering a biblical framework to understand limits as disguised gifts of grace coming from the hand of God to us and our leadership. At the same time,. Read more.
Most leaders are starved for time. We cram as much as possible into our to-do lists, trying to maximize every spare minute we have. We’re often scattered, distracted, overloaded, and tired. So, instead of being who we are and where we are, we are frequently on the way to someone or something else. Amidst the busyness and hurry of life, few of us have a sustainable, long-term plan that answers the question: How can I live and lead in a way that is calm, relaxed, and filled with contentment in Jesus? The answer is found in deliberately structuring our lives around God’s rhythms, in ancient treasures of spirituality that I have been integrating for over two decades: Daily rhythms Weekly rhythms Annual rhythms Larger rhythms every 7-8 years Let me invite you to Part One of this very important theme, a topic that comes up in almost every conversation I have with leaders. And. Read more.
To allow Jesus’ and Scripture’s view of success to shape the way we lead is very, very challenging. Teaching about it is one thing. Living it is another. In this podcast, I offer three examples of how to redefine success in ways that look beyond numbers in different arenas: at New Life Fellowship, for an upcoming family wedding event, and in the ministry of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship. The remainder of the podcast then looks closely at the three factors necessary to internalize the kind of radical change necessary to make the doing of God’s will, regardless of where it leads, the measure of our success: A deep integration of silence and solitude A deep integration of Ignatius’ concept of indifference, remembering that a true surrender of our will to God’s will is a learned, struggled-for, and prayed-for obedience; and A deep theology of God coming in our limits. Here is Part 2 of this. Read more.
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.
Few times in the year present more pressure and stress than the week before Christmas and Easter. In fact, the demands feel so overwhelming that we often lose our own center in Jesus. So allow me to offer, in a few words, three reminders that may help you this week: Jesus wants you more than your leadership. You were called. Chosen. You didn’t initiate your discipleship. He did. Why? First, to be with you, to enjoy loving union with you. Any work we do for him is to flow from that place. The Eastern Orthodox church, historically, has placed a healthy emphasis on breathing and prayer as a tangible way to abide in Jesus. Close your eyes for a few seconds now. Inhale and exhale slowly, and allow his love to wash over you. Jesus is building his church – not you. Jesus said: I will build my church and the gates of hell. Read more.
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.