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.
Every new year marks an ending and a new beginning. In fact, embracing endings in order to receive new beginnings is one of the fundamental tasks of the spiritual life–and this is especially true for Christian leaders. Join Pete Scazzero and Rich Villodas in this month’s EH Leader Podcast as they look deeper into this central leadership theme. Click the video below to watch or the link to listen to the audio file. LISTEN HERE
The song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol. From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone then wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It had two levels of meaning: first, the surface meaning of being a fun song and secondly, a hidden meaning known only to members of the Church. The “True Love” in the song, for example, is not a smitten boy or girlfriend but Jesus, because truly Love was born on Christmas Day. Geri wrote this for our small group that meets in our home for greater integration of EHS in their own lives. I hope you enjoy it. On the First Day of EHS…My True Love Sent to Me One Gift to Explore My Iceberg Journal or share with a trusted companion today: What are you mad about? What are you sad about? What. Read more.
As we enter a New Year I like to take time to review and listen afresh to what God might be saying and doing. This process includes my blog. The blogs that I thought were most important (e.g. Beyond an Airbrushed Spirituality) didn’t make the top ten. Blogs that I considered less important did. A key lesson for me is that people are very interested in detailed applications of EHS in different, real life situations (e.g. “Emotionally Healthy Birthday Planning” is a future blog). Here are my top ten posts from 2015: 10 Qualities of an Emotionally Healthy Wedding Top 10 Quotes from Elie Wiesel’s Memoirs Characteristics of the Emotionally Unhealthy Leader Quit Living Someone Else’s Life Four Steps to a Meaningful Sabbath You Know Your Not Doing Endings Well When Quit Overfunctioning Four Unhealthy Commandments of Church Leadership My #1 Mistake as a Leader Why Can’t We Slow Down
God invites us to practice the presence of people within an awareness of His presence. That is no small task, especially at this time of year. How then can we do this? By intentionally practicing His presence first. No greater teacher can offer us insight on how to do this better than Brother Lawrence, a 16th century Carmelite from Paris. I reread The Practice of the Presence of God every couple of years to remind myself of his simple, timeless wisdom. Here are a few of his gems for you to prayerfully consider this Christmas: I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence…which I may call an actual presence of God; or, to speak better, a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God. The time of business does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of the kitchen, while several persons. Read more.