To live and lead like Jesus requires that we embrace the fact that we are people with deep weaknesses and vulnerabilities. At the same time, it also requires we embrace the glorious truth that we are incredible – with unique passions, histories, gifts, experiences, sufferings, and destinies. In the early years of my faith, most of the discipleship I received focused primarily on depravity and sin. The good seeds of God hidden beneath my unique person as an image-bearer of God were rarely mentioned. Granted, every part of our being is flawed and disfigured by sin. Nonetheless, because of God’s image in us, goodness also dwells within every human being. Henri Nouwen describes it well: For a very long time I considered low self-esteem to be some kind of virtue. I had been warned so often against pride and conceit that I came to consider it a good thing to deprecate myself. But now. Read more.
In this podcast I complete a 2-part study on the radical contrast of the world’s easy-to-follow discipleship to Jesus’ hard-to-follow discipleship. The Twelve had to hear it repeatedly from the lips of Jesus. We do as well. We may have many goals and sub-goals throughout our lives, but the single great goal of every Christian is to hear “wonderful” spoken at the end of their life at Final Judgment (Matthew 25:23). Our human hearts desperately crave praise, notice, and honor (usually from the wrong places). But actually, we were made to be noticed and honored by God as the primary aim of our lives. Join me as I finish expounding on this chart below on the formidable task of making disciples today: Listen to Part 2 here: Warmly, Pete
Discerning what season you, and your ministry, are in right now is one of our most important leadership tasks. Scripture teaches us there is a time or season for everything under heaven: There is “a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh… a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:1 – 8). Discerning properly the season we are in determines our priorities, decisions and pace. Failing to do so results in all kinds of internal anguish for ourselves and unnecessary pressure on those we lead. In this podcast I will expound on the seasons of Fall (transitions), Winter (death), Spring (fruitfulness), and Summer (abundance), examining how each holds its own gift from God – if we cooperate with it. A number of questions, hopefully, will emerge for you out of this podcast. For example: What does it mean for you to. Read more.
I stumbled into EHL conference in May 2014 on biblegateway.com website and I immediately signed up to attend online. It was a life changing experience. Since then I have been on your website feeding on every free resource I can find. Having been a Christian for 20years, I have been made to believe that Christianity excludes everything emotions and to make matters worse I am married to an emotionally distant spouse who has been a church leader in one form or another. Though I know there is an element of lie to that belief system, I was so comforted and free when I attended the conference. I believe this knowledge is so lacking in our Christianity today. I would love to become an EHS coordinator to first help myself and also others. I look forward to when I will have an opportunity to become one. I live in Canada. Thank you for the work. Read more.
At a Fuller Theological Seminary event I attended last week, a student from the Congo named Patrick asked an Anglican bishop, “How do you forgive those who have killed a member of your family?” The bishop answered, “It is very difficult.” In a private conversation afterwards, I asked Patrick, “Were any of them Christian?” “Yes,” he answered, “But they were of a different tribe.” This put my forgiveness struggles in perspective. Robert Muholland, a theologian and retired New Testament professor of Asbury Theological Seminary, recently said at our New Life Leadership Conference that forgiveness is the most difficult spiritual discipline. I think he is right. I have not thought of forgiving others as a discipline like prayer, Scripture study, worship, etc. This is a fresh nuance for me. It can take weeks, months, even years to forgive certain hurts done to us. The deeper the relational investment, the deeper the wound. Every leader in God’s church I have. Read more.
Geri and I have led a small group in our home for 25 of our 26 years at New Life. In fact, we begin our next one this coming week. We take a group of 16-18 people, marrieds and singles, and spend an intensive year together. Why do we do it? The answer is simple: this is foundational to being a church where people are deeply transformed. Scripture teaches that both Christian singleness and marriage are sacramental vocations and prophetic. They each make visible the invisible reality of our marriage to Christ and are signs of God’s kingdom to a broken world (See Matt. 19:10-12 and Eph. 5:32). This vision is a far cry from both our secular and present church culture. I am daunted by the number and the complexity of issues bearing down on our people – the sexualization of our culture, dating, pornography, homosexuality, divorce, cohabitation, objectification of people, the challenges. Read more.