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Tag Archives: centering prayer

Learning to Pay Attention

I crossed an important threshold last Sunday. In my sermon on Psalm 23, I called our people to practice five minutes of silence/stillness before the Lord each day (i.e. Centering Prayer). I was clear, unapologetic, and passionate. Why? I am absolutely convinced that unless we help our people encounter God through Scripture and silence, it is virtually impossible for them to grow spiritually. Psalm 23 is a brilliant text, reminding us that we are sheep, unable to find safe pastures, discover good waters, rest without guidance, and defend ourselves. We are weak and vulnerable. Let me invite you to watch the message on YouTube or listen to it on audio. We must acknowledge the tragic reality that most of our people are living off other people’s spirituality and not developing their personal relationship with Jesus. The two minutes of silence to which we call our people in The EHS Course and a Daily Office. Read more.

Rebuked by the Buddhists

The front page of Time magazine last week focused on the international interest in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Based on Buddhist practices, it has proven to help people reduce stress in our frenetic world. I attended a seminar on this years ago and was saddened how few people associated Christians and churches with contentment, joy, and “centeredness” in life. The tradition of “centering” is rich in our biblical, Christian tradition. Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness in God’s presence. Elijah was a prophet of the desert who learned to hear God in silence. John the Baptist’s ministry flowed from the quietness of the desert. Jesus had rhythms of activity and aloneness. John Cassian wrote extensively on meditating on Scripture in “mindfulness” before the Lord in his Conferences. The desert fathers and monastics, through history, have continued this tradition. The ministry of Contemplative Outreach, founded by Trappist monks in the 1960′s, was an effort. Read more.

Silence, Mindfulness, and the Buddhists

I recently attended a seminar on mental health/personality disorders in which the leader taught about the need to teach patients “mindfulness.” She defined it as stillness, openness, and silence, leading to the ability to radically love others. She then proceeded to share how her “profession” has learned this from the Buddhist tradition. While she is an atheist, she commented, a number of mental health professionals have converted to Buddhism as result. Sadly, she didn’t think of Christianity as the originator of silence and solitude (e.g. Ps. 37:11, Ps. 46:10, Luke 10:38-42, Elijah, John the Baptist, Moses, Jesus). She also did not associate Christians with “radical acceptance” and love. We have forgotten that other religions and movements may benefit from God’s truth, but it all belongs to Him! (What is really tragic is when Christians mistakenly say that an emphasis on silence and solitude as spiritual practices is New Age or Buddhist). Research with Buddhists. Read more.

Silence, Mindfulness, and the Buddhists

I recently attended a seminar on mental health/personality disorders in which the leader taught about the need to teach patients “mindfulness.” She defined it as stillness, openness, and silence, leading to the ability to radically love others. She then proceeded to share how her “profession” has learned this from the Buddhist tradition. While she is an atheist, she commented, a number of mental health professionals have converted to Buddhism as result. Sadly, she didn’t think of Christianity as the originator of silence and solitude (e.g. Ps. 37:11, Ps. 46:10, Luke 10:38-42, Elijah, John the Baptist, Moses, Jesus). She also did not associate Christians with “radical acceptance” and love. We have forgotten that other religions and movements may benefit from God’s truth, but it all belongs to Him! (What is really tragic is when Christians mistakenly say that an emphasis on silence and solitude as spiritual practices is New Age or Buddhist). Research with Buddhists. 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.

10 Highlights from The Academy of Spiritual Formation

The following is from Rich Villodas, our associate lead pastor at New Life. Rich, along with Geri and two other staff, spent 5 days together at a spiritual formation academy last week. His reflections provide a unique perspective (that of an outstanding, 34 year old leader/pastor) on the application of EHS to a large growing church. Last week, Geri Scazzero, Phil Varghese and Rosy Kandathil and I, completed a 5-day intensive spiritual formation retreat.  The retreat was put together by the Academy for Spiritual Formation.  The retreat was in Wichita, Kansas (my first time in KS).  I wanted to capture some highlights and reflections as a way to remind myself of the deep work that God did in me this week, as well as to share some learnings/highlights to our New Life community.  So, here are my top 10 highlights from this past week: 1) The Faculty: Marjorie Thompson and Robert Mulholland know Jesus. I mean, really know Jesus.  They have. Read more.