In our early years of equipping marriages at New Life, Geri and I regularly used a very helpful curriculum called Third Option. We soon discovered, however, that a few of their concepts also were applicable beyond marriages for the reshaping of the culture of our family and teams at church. This included a definition of respect as “how we treat each other” (over against how we think or feel about a certain person at a given moment). Initially, we kept these “Bill of Rights” posted on our refrigerator to serve us in the first steps of our journey into emotionally healthy spirituality. These are the simple “Respect” guidelines: I, and others, have a right to: Space and Privacy Be Different Disagree Be Heard Be Taken Seriously Be Given the Benefit of the Doubt Be Told the Truth Be Consulted Be Imperfect and Make Mistakes Courteous and Honorable Treatment Imagine how our churches, families, and. Read more.
Located in the Tigray region of northeastern Ethiopia is the Abuna-Yemata-Guh Church, rightly called the world’s most inaccessible place of worship. (I also call it “the world’s least seeker-sensitive church” as well). My daughter and son-in-law visited there last month and returned, like many before them, struck with wonder at the vitality and richness of the church and her ministry. The church is carved into the rocks (from around the 6th century) and located at the top of a mountain. The 2-hour hike involves climbing barefoot and walking along narrow cliffs. (I am told, however, that people from the village can do the hike in around thirty minutes). Consider the pictures below: Evangelical Protestantism has a very short history compared to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that traces her history back to Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). Perhaps you can help me with the question I am holding before the Lord: How. Read more.
We measure our attendance and our giving in our churches. Sadly, we don’t measure people’s transformation in Christ. (This is much more difficult). Genuine transformation takes place when people: Intentionally develop their own relationship with Jesus and do not live off the spirituality of others. Seek to discern and follow God’s will in all areas of life. Cultivate a deliberate rhythm and sustainable pace of life that enables them to be consistently attentive to Jesus. Grow in their ability to love well, evidenced by humility, vulnerability, approachability, and an increasing capacity to forgive. Live in community for the sake of their own formation and others. Bear witness to Jesus Christ in their workplaces and homes out of their own on-going transformation. Serve and give to others out of the overflow of their life in Christ. This is my short list. What other markers might you add?
Two very significant events happened last week. Firstly, we launched our first one-day training for churches to implement The EHS Course. Since the EHS Course was only released in late August, we expected only about 25 people. To our great surprise, over 100 people came with some people traveling as far as Nova Scotia, California, and Chicago! It was a great success on many levels. Most importantly, we were able to tighten the training and more accurately rename the day “Transforming Your Church through the EHS Course.” I will be doing this live, one-day training two more times this fall – in Austin, Texas on October 17th and in Grand Rapids, Michigan on December 5th. Following this, we plan to empower our EHS Consultants to teach the course as well as offer an on-line version. Secondly, we commenced our second cohort for EHS Certified Consultants. Forty people gathered from six different countries – Brazil,. Read more.
Jesus compared His kingdom to a mustard seed – almost invisible, apparently powerless, defeated, and insignificant. Yet He assures us it will grow into something magnificent that will cover the whole earth (Matthew 13:31-32). This smallness was a scandal then. It is a scandal today. In our efforts to copy the ancient great cities of Rome, Athens, and Corinth, and our desire for “real disciples” who aren’t like Peter, James, John, Thomas, and Judas, we end up chasing after goals that aren’t His. We easily miss His movements. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (EHS) is a mustard seed that has rediscovered and applied a few simple biblical truths. For example: Slowing down for loving union with Jesus is the foundation of all leadership. We are to lead out of a marriage, or our singleness, as a sign and wonder for Christ. Spiritual formation requires we break the sinful patterns of our family of origin and culture. Read more.
Geri is my guest blogger today as we just returned from our 2 weeks in Italy. The following are her reflections from her blog: I loved our vacation in Italy. It was my third time and hopefully will not be my last. It’s a kind of magical place with so much beauty, culture and incredible food at your fingertips. It’s a place I want to return to to introduce others to its magic – pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets, hikes over mountains through vineyards and olive groves high above the sea, stops at ancient villages to rest and sip cappuccino, rolling Tuscan hills dotted with terra cotta villas and cypress trees, a place where wine costs as much as water, where thousands of years of history can be experienced, where our villa apartment has been family-owned for nine hundred years, where fantastic bread and cheese is always a few steps away, and the gelato is indescribable. But. Read more.