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Tag Archives: Bernard of Clairvaux

Leadership, Heaven, and the Love of God

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153 AD) was the greatest Christian leader in Western Christendom in the 12th century. He was a very active abbot with a “sphere of influence” over tens of thousands throughout Europe. I spent a good part of my annual retreat last week pondering just one of the insights from his sermons on the Song of Songs  — that our thirst for God, and His love, only increases through eternity!     All I could think of was what a contrast this was to the leadership seminars and books we promote in our day. Bernard writes that in heaven: We find satiety (i.e. the state of being full beyond the point of satisfaction) without the sense of having indulged too much. We find a desire to penetrate deeper that which is never quenched, yet which has no sense of unrest about it. We experience the eternal and incomprehensible desire that knows no. Read more.

Three Country EHS Tour: Reflections on New Zealand

Our 3 country, 6 city tour. First up was New Zealand. What does an “emotionally healthy speaking tour” look like? What are the unique factors that have to be built in – at least for us? How does the gift of limits apply to us as we step into this new arena? We arrived in NZ with a full cup and began a 3-city tour, in different parts of the country, each separated by a plane flight. This was akin to getting on the bus “SPEED” – with fifteen-hour days (EHL seminar from 9-4:30 and a 7-9:15 EH Marriage Seminar in each city.) We thought the travel days would be recovery days but they turned out to be a different kind of “work” – traveling by car and plane, encountering storms and 2 days of lost luggage, along with the unpredictable factors that come with a new culture. By the end of the week,. Read more.

Slowing Down (Pilgrimage Reflection #3)

Geri and I arrived in NZ with a full cup and began a 3-city tour, in different parts of the country, each separated by a plane flight. This was akin to getting on the bus “SPEED” – with fifteen-hour days (teaching an EH Leadership seminar from 9:00-4:30 and a 7:00-9:15 EH Marriage Seminar in each city.) We thought the travel days would be recovery days but they turned out to be a different kind of “work” – traveling by car and plane, encountering storms, 2 days of lost luggage, as well as the unpredictable factors that come with being in a new culture. By the end of the week, we were sadly exhausted. Too many people, too much work, and too little silence and downtime. Partnering with WillowCreek New Zealand was a joy. The issue revolved, primarily, around our decisions. We asked ourselves: “What does an “emotionally healthy,” global partnership, speaking tour look like? How. Read more.

Not Giving to Others What We Have Received for Ourselves

Recently, three other New Life staff joined me in attending a Spiritual Formation Academy, bringing home with us varied treasures. Among those riches were the following words from Bernard of Clairvaux: “We must not give to others what we have received for ourselves; nor must we keep for ourselves that which we have received to spend on others. You fall into the latter error, if you possess the gift of eloquence or wisdom, and yet—through fear or sloth or false humility—neglect to use the gift for others’ benefit. And on the other hand, you dissipate and lose what is you own, if without right intention and from some wrong motive, you hasten to outpour yourself on others when your own soul is only half-filled.” – Great Devotional Classics: Selections from the Writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, ed. Douglas Steere (The Upper Room, 1961), p.24. I have been meditating on these lines for the past week. It is true: It may sound selfish. Read more.

Leading as a Reservoir that Overflows

King David led out of a place of deep rest and contentment. He sang: “My cup overflows” (Ps. 23:5). Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) changes the metaphor from a cup to a reservoir. I invite you to slowly and prayerfully mediate on this photo and his words. If you are wise, therefore, you will show yourself a reservoir and not a canal. For a canal pours out as fast as it takes in; but a reservoir waits till it is full before it overflows, and so communicates its surplus. We have all too few such reservoirs in the Church at present, through we have canals in plenty. . .they (canals) desire to pour out when they themselves are not yet inpoured; they are readier to speak than to listen, eager to teach that which they do not know, and most anxious to exercise authority on others, although they have not learnt to rule themselves. .. Read more.

Not Giving to Others What We Have Received for Ourselves

Geri, along with three other New Life staff, recently attended a Spiritual Formation Academy, bringing home with them varied treasures. Among those riches were the following words from Bernard of Clairvaux: “We must not give to others what we have received for ourselves; nor must we keep for ourselves that which we have received to spend on others. You fall into the latter error, if you possess the gift of eloquence or wisdom, and yet—through fear or sloth or false humility—neglect to use the gift for others’ benefit. And on the other hand, you dissipate and lose what is you own, if without right intention and from some wrong motive, you hasten to outpour yourself on others when your own soul is only half-filled.” — Great Devotional Classics: Selections from the Writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, ed. Douglas Steere (The Upper Room, 1961), p.24. I have been meditating on these lines for the past week.  It. Read more.