“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left” Chinese proverb. Geri and I now depart with respect (for our partners The Willow Creek Association New Zealand and Australia, and Eagles Communications in Singapore, along with New Life Fellowship Church out of which EHS flows), with affection (for the many wonderful people we have met), and with gratitude (for the people who worked hard to serve EHS in this part of the world). I think we are finally getting it that EHS offers a powerful message of deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation that resonates around the world, and not simply in New York City. At the same time, a consistent thread weaved itself through this trip – our doing must flow from our being. In other words, live the message we preach, giving out of the overflow of a full cup. What does that look like when we are traveling?. Read more.
Geri and I finished our one month tour with a full week in Australia, speaking in Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane to over 550 pastors/leaders. Each consisted of an all-day Emotionally Healthy Leadership seminar and an Emotionally Healthy Marriage seminar in the evening. How did God come to me/us? We found Australians warm, winsome, hospitable, direct (like good New Yorkers), and immediately responsive to us. We were deeply appreciative and humbled by the great privilege of speaking to so many pastors here. We also found that Emotionally Healthy Spirituality meets a profound felt need for deep, beneath the surface spiritual formation here. A great sense of God’s presence permeated the meetings, even when we found ourselves tired from the travel. A number of denominations (e.g. The Salvation Army) and churches were already deeply engaged with EHS before we arrived. A number had done the EHS Church-Wide Initiative. The Emotionally Healthy Woman book and DVD course along. Read more.
Geri and I left, last night, for a one-month global partnership trip to New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. We are going both to give and to receive as we embark on a pilgrimage to be encountered by God. For most of Christian history, going on pilgrimage was understood as a spiritual discipline for devout believers. The first Christians learned about pilgrimage from the Jews who made the journey to Jerusalem each year for the three major feasts. It was only natural for the early Christians to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After the excesses and abuses connected with pilgrimage during the Reformation, Protestants dismissed the entire concept as unnecessary. This changed in the 20th century as Protestants, along with Roman Catholics and Orthodox believers, been returning to Israel in significant numbers. It is common to meet believers making pilgrimages today to Jerusalem, Rome, Ephesus in Turkey, monasteries, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. A. Read more.
Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them. Roslyn H. Wright, a Director of Field Education at Whitley College in Australia, visited me in NYC recently. The following are reflections out of her work with seminary students around “Incarnational goal setting”: 1. God’s calls us to courageously lead out of our ‘true self.’ “The problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self” (Thomas Merton). God gives to each of us a “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” with a unique working out of that gift in the Body and the world. The forces, internal and external, that move us away from that place of leading from within are enormous. 2. Prayer, particularly the Examen, along with a trusted community, is the foundation for. Read more.
Imagine a church service where there were two sermons: a 20 minute “Sermon of Silence” followed by a 20 minute “Sermon of Words.” A new friend from Melbourne, Australia visited me this past week. She teaches field education in a seminary, using Emotionally Healthy Spirituality as one of her texts. She shared the work of South Yarra Community Baptist Church, along with their ministry called Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources. (Don’t you love that name!) Without the silence, the Scriptures can’t penetrate our lives. Without Scripture, silence is empty. While I am not quite ready for 2 sermons each week at New Life, there is something here from God for us in our frenetic, multi-tasking, always-plugged-in world.