Rich Villodas, who is now Lead Pastor of New Life Fellowship, led one of the workshops at our recent Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference on “Emotionally Healthy Preaching.” Once again, it made a large impact on all who attended. One of Rich’s greatest gifts to the larger body of Christ is, I believe, in the art of preaching. The following is the core of what he shared: Preaching is foremost not about preaching. It’s about a life with God; a life of integrity, out of which we speak. This is the core of emotionally healthy preaching. Like many pastors and preachers, I love the art and science of preaching. I work hard for stories and illustrations that make biblical content accessible to our congregation. I work hard to understand the text exegetically. I think critically about how a passage of Scripture applies in our NYC context. All of these things are important. In addition to. Read more.
Slowing down can be terrifying because doing nothing productive leaves us feeling vulnerable, emotional exposed and naked. Overworking hides these feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness, not just from others but also from ourselves. As long as we keep busy, we can outrun that internal voice that says things like: I am never good enough. I am never safe enough. I am never perfect enough. I am never extraordinary enough. I am never successful enough. Do you recognize that voice? Far too many of us use workaholism to run from these shaming messages. I count myself among them, though I would consider myself more of a recovering workaholic at this point. When meeting someone for the first time we usually ask, “What do you do?” We ask because, in our time and culture, identity is defined in large part by occupation or job title. It is how we typically define ourselves. Read more.
Dallas Willard has called silence and solitude the two most radical disciplines in the Christian life. Henri Nouwen said “without solitude it is almost impossible to live a spiritual life.” If solitude is the practice of being absent to people and things to attend to God, silence is the practice of quieting every inner and outer voice to attend to Him. Yet, I have become increasingly aware, as I teach The EHS Course at New Life Fellowship Church each year, how incredibly difficult the practice of silence is for people. A core part of The EHS Course is spending time with God twice a day, five days a week using Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day: A 40 Day Journey with Daily Office. Each devotional begins and ends with two minutes of silence. That is where the problems begin. Each week we talk about different issues that arise around practicing silence such as: Why is. Read more.
Our two-week vacation in Italy confirmed what I had heard for the last 30 years: Italy is one of the least evangelized countries in the world. It is a country filled with beautiful, historic churches and, perhaps, the best Christian art in the world. While open to spirituality, the population is alarmingly disconnected to Christ and His church. As much as I attempted to shake off my grief (and enjoy vacation), I had a deep sense God might be saying something. Allow me to offer you a few gleanings that emerged out of my wrestling and listening: We need to recognize that the old wineskins and ways of doing church are over. We need new wineskins today for the wine of God that flows from His throne. The way we presently do church cannot contain what God wants to do, not only in Europe, but in North America, Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe,. Read more.
As with our time with Willow Creek New Zealand, we experienced a very full 7 days in Singapore, teaching 3 different seminars to over 500 pastors/leaders, and speaking to 1600 people at a large plenary session. We had the privilege to interact and learn from leaders from China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myunnmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei. How did God come to me/us? The groundswell of the life of God in Asia is quite distinct from our 35 years of leadership in the United States. There is an aliveness, a power, a passion, a creativity, and a movement of the Holy Spirit that is impossible to miss. The sheer number of Christians in China (estimates put it at 100 million) dwarfs North America. The center of Christianity truly has moved away from North America and Europe to Asia (along with Latin America and Africa). Emotionally Healthy Spirituality meets a profound felt need of. Read more.
“He who does not learn from the past is condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana This applies to all of life, especially to leaders called to discern the movements of the Holy Spirit. The following is an 11-minute church history lesson. It is intended to encourage us to learn from streams in the global church that are vastly different from our own. Take a look.