I have been an avid reader and lover of history since college. And I have learned a lot from Scott Sunquist, a close friend for the past 34 years since our days in seminary together. Scott went on to get his PhD in Asian Church history and missiology, and is now a Professor of World Christianity and a Dean at Fuller Theological Seminary. I recently sat down with him around the question: What are lessons we need to learn today on how the Holy Spirit has expanded God’s kingdom these last 2,000 years? Here are a few of his insights: Look for the life of Jesus on the margins. From Jesus and the 12 in Galilee, to the surprising growth of Christianity among slaves in North America and the Caribbean, to the church explosion among farmers in northern Korea in the early 20th century, to the launch of the Pentecostal movement at Azusa Street. Read more.
A number of years ago, a friend who had quit attending church asked me privately, “Why is it that so many Christians make such lousy human beings?” In other words, why are so many of us judgmental, defensive, unapproachable, and touchy? A large part of the reason is a faulty, compartmentalized understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were passionate about holiness and purity in their relationship with God. They memorized books of Scripture, fasted twice a week, gave generously, evangelized, prayed three times a day, attended worship without fail, and kept Sabbath. The problem was that in their zeal to love God, they were not equally zealous to love people. This put them on a collision course with Jesus. A Pharisee in Jesus’ day would say, “First, complete your worship to God, and then be reconciled to your brother. God is more important than humans.” Jesus. Read more.
I have spent a long, relaxed time in the Sermon on the Mount over the last seven months, meditating and studying what may be the greatest sermon ever delivered in human history. The radical nature of discipleship, as laid out by Jesus, has shaken me to my core and reminded me of Karl Barth’s famous dictum: We are always only beginners. Jesus ends Matthew chapter 5 in verse 48 with the words: Be perfect (i.e. perfectly mature) as your heavenly Father is perfect (i.e. perfectly mature). The word for perfect refers to a person coming of age, someone who is no longer a child or minor. They are now adults, i.e. spiritually mature. The question I have asked myself is: Am I really a spiritually mature adult according to Jesus’ standard? In chapter 5:17-47, Jesus describes the qualities of spiritual maturity. They are a challenge, to say the least. In this podcast I explore. Read more.
Geri and I just returned from 7 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a 1,090,000-acre (4,400 km2) area on the border of Minnesota and Canada. A motorized boat carried us deep into the wilderness. They picked us up 7 days later at the same location. There would be no emergency number for us or our family, no cell phone contact, and no ability to leave early. This was on Geri’s bucket list. She has been preparing since January and was thrilled. I was reluctant but following her, hoping for the best. Nonetheless, it turned out to be one of the best weeks of my life. God had a few things He wanted to teach me: His love really is found in nature. We canoed from campsite to campsite and portaged, i.e. carried our canoe and gear over land between lakes, as needed. For years Geri had been telling me to get my nose out of a book. Read more.
This is the last in a series of 3 podcasts we are sharing while Pete is on vacation/sabbatical. We hope that these podcasts have been an encouragement in your leadership journey. Blessings! Social media has become perhaps the largest universal communication platform for sharing new information, ideas, current events, and discussion. Sadly, it has also become a forum for unhealthy conflict. Pete shares his thoughts, based upon the Sermon on the Mount, on how Jesus might have us engage in social media. Listen and ponder how Jesus might be asking you to engage in your social media circle. – The EHS Team on behalf of Pete Scazzero PS – The soon to be released Emotionally Healthy Relationships Course offers practical skills to empower people to love and relate to one another in a way that builds community. You’ll want to consider attending Pete’s training session on how to bring this powerful course to your. Read more.
During Pete’s vacation/sabbatical this month, we are sharing a series of new podcasts as an alternative to Pete’s weekly blog. This is the second podcast in the series of three. Hope you enjoy listening! Millennials have become the largest segment of the U.S. population and have increasingly become the dominant culture in many of our churches. Pete shares some of the critical issues church leaders must address to make mature disciples of the Millennial generation, build sustainable communities, and reach the world effectively. – The EHS Team on behalf of Pete Scazzero PS – The soon to be released Emotionally Healthy Relationships Course offers practical skills to empower people to love and relate to one another in a way that builds community. You’ll want to consider attending Pete’s training session on how to bring this powerful course to your church. Empower Your Church to Really Love Others in Difficult Situations. Join Us from Anywhere. Read more.