Following Jesus is not first doing things for Jesus; it is first listening to him speak, and then doing what he says. Peter, James and John were the cream of Jesus’ leadership team. Yet when Jesus was transfigured before them, Peter was unable to resist making plans to maximize this exciting new open door. Fortunately, a voice from heaven shut him up, commanding him to listen to Jesus (Matthew 17:5)! It is easy to lead FOR God without listening TO him. The word listen or hear is found more than 1500 times in the Bible. 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?” In this podcast, I give specific examples of how I regularly apply this question to different areas of my life and discernment process. I apply it to: How I. Read more.
I did a podcast a year ago based on a mentoring conversation I had with two young Bulgarian pastors who were visiting with us in New York City. Their questions revolved around the following theme: “Why has God allowed so much suffering in our lives when we are serving Him faithfully?” This year they returned with more understanding on this question but continued to struggle as to why painful Walls continued to block their dreams. Our discussion was so significant that I decided to record a podcast to revisit this very important theme. God has a great plan for you. But if you are going to become the extraordinary human being He intends and be a blessing to the world, you too will have to navigate the dark nights that will come your way. God purged Moses, Abraham, David, Daniel, and Hannah, for example, of deep-rooted sin and emptied them for a life of. Read more.
Discerning what season you, and your ministry, are in right now is one of our most important leadership tasks. Scripture teaches us there is a time or season for everything under heaven: There is “a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh… a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:1 – 8). Discerning properly the season we are in determines our priorities, decisions and pace. Failing to do so results in all kinds of internal anguish for ourselves and unnecessary pressure on those we lead. In this podcast I will expound on the seasons of Fall (transitions), Winter (death), Spring (fruitfulness), and Summer (abundance), examining how each holds its own gift from God – if we cooperate with it. A number of questions, hopefully, will emerge for you out of this podcast. For example: What does it mean for you to. Read more.
The world may minimize, rationalize, deny, or medicate their losses, but God calls us to a different path in the new family of Jesus. Simply put, grieving well is a core discipleship issue – especially for those of us who lead. Consider a few of the great men and women in Scripture who were great grievers and great leaders: Isaiah, Hannah, Jeremiah, Moses, Mary, Paul, Peter, and most importantly, Jesus. Unless we courageously allow our losses to break open our hard hearts, we will project or inflict our unprocessed pain on others. But if we follow God’s pathway for us – paying careful attention to our pain, waiting with him in the confusing-in-between, and letting the old birth the new – we experience a stripping away of our false selves in order to become the new men and women we were truly meant to be. We move from spiritual babies with an incessant need. Read more.
I covered over my losses for years and years, unaware of how they were shaping my current relationships and leadership. God was seeking to enlarge my soul and mature me, while I was seeking a quick end to my pain. For my first seventeen years as a Christian, I treated grief as an interruption, an obstacle to my path to serve Jesus. In short, I considered taking time to grieve a waste of time that prevented me from maximizing my leadership. “Just get over it, Pete. It will pass,” I would mutter to myself. The problem here is that this is unbiblical and a denial of our common humanity. The ancient Hebrews physically expressed their laments by tearing their clothes and utilizing sackcloth and ashes. Jesus himself offered up prayer and petitions with loud cries and tears (Heb. 5:7). During Noah’s generation, Scripture indicates God was grieved about the state of humanity (Gen. 6).. 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.