Instead of highlighting The Fastest Growing Churches, I recommend we highlight The Slowest Churches, i.e. those that help us most to slow down and pay attention to God, ourselves, and others. When our churches continually remind our people that “only one thing is needful,” we strategically position them to be a gift to the world (Luke 10:42). Here are 5 reasons why I believe this is true: Going slow makes possible… The doing of God’s best plans. I love the story, told in Wayne Mueller’s Sabbath, of a USA international agency in the 1990’s and their frenzied plan to address needs of a famine in equatorial Africa. In failing to be quiet, listen to the people, and study the soil, they developed a short-term solution that actually worsened the problem in the long term. We too are dangerous when we move at high speed. The receiving of Scripture in our hearts. According to Jesus,. Read more.
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.
Take a few minutes to meditate on this lovely poem by William Stafford (1914–1993). It lays out the indispensable foundation for both the Christian life and great leadership. The Way It Is There’s a thread you follow. It goes amongthings that change. But it doesn’t change.People wonder about what you are pursuing.You have to explain about the thread.But it is hard for others to see.While you hold it you can’t get lost.Tragedies happen; people get hurtor die; and you suffer and get old.Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.You don’t ever let go of the thread.
Take a few minutes to meditate on this lovely poem by William Stafford (1914–1993). It lays out the indispensable foundation for both the Christian life and great leadership. The Way It Is There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.
One of the topics God opened up to me on Sabbatical was related to the indispensability of growing in humility. I was struck at what a major theme this was for the early church, especially in her first 500 years. Their understanding was that humility is the face of a pure heart. It was considered the one, unmistakable quality of the Christian life. I recommend Humility Matters: For Practicing the Spiritual Life byMargaret Funk. Her work led me back to John Cassian and Benedict of Nursia’s excellent writings on humility. The following is my adaptation and applications for my own leadership. I am following their classic schematic of progressively climbing a ladder with rungs. (Please note that any of these can be easily abused without a framework of emotional health). Step 1 – Put to death all desires but God – Application: Ensure I have ample time with God, balancing time alone with Him. Read more.
Last Sunday was a historic moment at New Life as had our first ever “Silent Sermon.” The following is a sheet I handed out to our congregation to provide guidelines for them to practice silence as a spiritual discipline. To see the video, click here When God appeared to Elijah after his suicidal depression and flight from Jezebel, He told him to stand and wait for the presence of the Lord to pass by. But God did not appear in ways he had in the past. He was not in the wind (as with Job), an earthquake (as in Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments), or fire (as in the burning bush with Moses). As we read in 1 Kings 19:12, God finally revealed Himself to Elijah in “a sound of sheer silence.” The English translation of God coming “in a still, small voice” does not capture the original Hebrew intent, but what could. Read more.