Practicing Sabbath, much like prayer or reading the Bible, doesn’t save us. We are saved by Jesus alone. But if we are not routinely reading Scripture or praying, it is unlikely we are growing much spiritually. Keeping Sabbath is a core spiritual practice – an essential means God uses to slow us down and mature us. In this podcast, I expound on ten core reasons Sabbath is so indispensable for us who lead in Jesus’ name: Sabbath is something God did, and being made in his image, we are created to do it as well. Sabbath was built into the DNA of the creation. Sabbath time is set apart as “holy” within God’s creation of a 7-day week. Sabbath helps us embrace our humanity, vulnerability, limits and finiteness. Sabbath protects us from doing violence to ourselves. It doesn’t save our souls, but it saves our lives. Sabbath reminds us God’s world is good, offering. 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.
Limits are often the last place we look for God. We want to conquer them, plan around them, deny them, and fight them. We attend leadership conferences so we can step out in faith and break through the limits before us. The problem is that when we fail to look for God in our limits, we often bypass him. And we get ourselves, our families, and those we lead in a lot of trouble. Why? Because in God’s economy, the obstacles before us are often the path itself. When God sets limits before us, he rarely provides a reason or explanation. Limits do, however, confront us with his authority. They force us to make a decision – to trust his goodness or to rebel against him. For this reason, limits take us to the heart of the spiritual warfare that rages around our leadership and relationship with Jesus. In this podcast, we will consider. Read more.