Why are endings and transitions so poorly handled in our ministries, organizations, and teams? Why do we often miss God’s new beginnings, the new work he is doing? In part because we fail to apply a central theological truth—that death is a necessary prelude to resurrection. To bear long-term fruit for Christ, we need to recognize that some things must die so something new can grow. If we do not embrace this reality, we will tend to dread endings in the same way our wider culture does, as signs of failure rather than opportunities for something new. You Know You’re Not Doing Endings and New Beginnings Well When . . . • You can’t stop ruminating about something from the past. • You use busyness as an excuse to avoid taking time to grieve endings and losses. • You have a hard time identifying your difficult feelings (sadness, fear, anger). • You often find. Read more.
Everyone has a shadow. Shadows are those untamed emotions and behaviors that lie, largely unconscious, beneath the surface of our lives that constitute the damaged versions of who we are. They may be sinful; they may simply be weaknesses. Most importantly, they lie concealed just beneath the surface of our more proper selves. You know it’s your shadow when: You are defensive when someone corrects you or points out your flaws. You are triggered by a person, or circumstance, saying things you often later regret. You act out inappropriately when under pressure. You dismiss others when they bring up a difficult issue about you and your behavior. You keep doing the same thing over and over despite the negative consequences. You are angry, jealous, and envious – a lot. You do and say things out of fear of what other people think. You become busier when you are anxious rather than more reflective. You. Read more.
This past week I presented two workshops at “the largest gathering of church planters in the world” – at the Exponential Conference. Over 5000 people attended while another 20,000 leaders watched through a live webcast. It was extraordinary to see so many men and women with a passion to serve Jesus and offer their entire lives to advance His kingdom in the 21st century. I was in awe of God as I listened to speakers and learned new things about what God was doing in different parts of the world. As I interacted, however, with young pastors, missionaries, superintendents, and denominational leaders, it became readily apparent (to me at least) that at least four temptations threaten to derail what God wants to do through His church going forward: 1. Drivenness – Cattle are driven. Sheep are led. The word doesn’t belong in our vocabulary. The primary call for us as preachers/leaders/pastors is to embrace a. Read more.
Pastoral busyness is a “blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for Him”(Hillary of Tours). I reread Eugene Peterson’s The Contemplative Pastor in preparation for my sermon last week on Sabbath. Written 24 years ago, who would have imagined how much our busyness would have increased? A “busy pastor, ” he argues, is like being called an “embezzling pastor” or an “adulterous pastor.” Our calling is to pray, bring God’s word out of quietness and solitude, and to listen to others with unhurried leisure. The roots of our frenetic activity come from two sources, says Peterson: 1) vanity and 2) laziness (it is easier to let others decide how I will spend my time). Take a deep breath. Close your eyes for a 2-3 minutes. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7). Read Peterson’s book. Remember: It is very difficult, if not impossible, to lead people to a quiet place beside still. Read more.
I am in the process of finishing a Daily Office book that I have been working on since last Fall. It is going to the printer within 2 weeks and I recently made a change in one of the Offices (there are two per day, five days a week for eight weeks and are based on the themes from the workbook/book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality). One final change I made was to replace a devotional from one of the Offices to the one from Leighton’s Ford excellent new book that was recently published: The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things (IVP, 2008). The book is filled with insights and learnings from his 76 years as a follower of Christ. I highly recommend it. He has been a personal mentor of mine for over 25 years. Geri, in fact, is with him now in North Carolina for 4 days on a spiritual mentoring retreat.. Read more.