Jesus said we must lose our lives to find it. One essential way we do this is by learning the art of interior silence. This choice to turn away from internal and external noise in order to be with Jesus is work…a difficult work. Externally, we face the unrelenting pressure of our culture– the noise, the clutter, the grasping, the confusion, the distractions, the excessive amount of information – all of which make it difficult to hear ourselves think. Internally, our stillness and silence muscles are weak. As beginners, we have problems focusing attention and facing the normal distractions of body and mind. Just like we cannot simply read a how-to book on running a marathon and run, so we must build up muscle and stamina slowly over time. Maggie Ross, in her Silence: A User’s Guide – Volume 1: Process, argues that the tradition of silence was handed down unbroken from the time. Read more.
I like to read more broadly than usual in the summer months to stretch me and to open up doors for God to speak in unexpected ways. The following are my top 10 picks for the first half of 2016: 1. Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age – Sheryl Turkle I consider this the most important leadership book I’ve read so far this year because of the implications of her research on how digital technology is impacting our culture. I find myself returning to her insights in discussions on building community, discipleship, preaching, and developing next generation leaders. Click here to read the blog I wrote on this book. 2. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi At the age of 36, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. A brilliant neurosurgeon and excellent writer, he records for us, with penetrating insight and clarity, his process of. Read more.
Moses understood that when we are still, God fights for us. When the Israelites were under enormous pressure from Pharaoh, he said: “Do not be afraid… The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” (Ex. 14:13-14) One of the greatest gifts we can offer the church, and the world, is a return to the biblical practice of silence and stillness. But like Moses, we must learn it first. All religions practice silence. What makes silence unique for us is that we are silent before the Lord. For unless we learn to be quiet in God’s presence and not simply talk, how will our relationship with Him develop any depth? How will we hear Him? The core of the EH Spirituality Course and the EH Relationships Course is about equipping people to be with Jesus in silence, stillness, and Scripture. We do. Read more.
Let me invite you to prayerfully watch/listen to an extraordinary sermon given by 3 women this past Sunday at New Life. This was one of those very rare moments when I have realized the inexpressible holy was among us. We were being offered a glimpse of the risen Jesus in brokenness, vulnerability, and suffering. God’s glory was passing by. And He removed His hand, allowing us to see His back (Ex. 33:20-23). Geri delicately and skillfully draws out the stories of these 3 amazing women and their journey with Jesus: Kim – rejected by her parents as “ugly” at birth due to a cleft palate. Fathima – a victim of domestic abuse. Marie – a Mom of two “differently-abled” (or “disabled”) children with myotubular myopathy. Every person in our church has a story, a beautiful story where the Living Jesus wants to intervene and reveal Himself – if they allow Him. My prayer is. Read more.
I have loved studying church history and global Christianity for well over 30 years. This passion has been fed by my thirty-year friendship with Scott W. Sunquist, a gifted scholar who now serves as a Dean at Fuller Theological Seminary. While God led Scott into PhD work and seminary teaching, God led me to pastor a local church. Yet our different paths, along with our common passion for Christ and His mission, have served as an “iron sharpening iron” experience over the years for us. Scott recently released an important book entitled – The Unexpected Christian Century – that captures some important insights as we consider the work of God today. Consider the following image: The graphic illustrates the following: Christian faith has deep roots going back to Creation and the work of God in Israel over the centuries. What holds The Church together is Jesus (God incarnate who has entered our world as. Read more.
Elijah understood that silence and listening are the starting points for true, authentic spiritual leadership. Without it we lead from our own mind and ideas. But the only way to listen is to deeply engage the radical spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude – the most challenging and least experienced disciplines in the church today. Elijah lived in the desert for years – dependent on God alone for food and sustenance without projects or programs. The silence and solitude positioned him to listen and be formed into the leader God desired. The longer he remained in the silence of the desert, the more free he became to follow God’s direction. Studies say that the average group can only bear silence for 15 seconds. Most of our personal lives and church services confirm this. Yet it is essential that silence and solitude become a regular and normal part of our days and weeks. How else. Read more.