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Tag Archives: commitment

An Invitation

The Holy Spirit has created, I believe, a holy discontent with our contemporary spiritual formation models that are not changing lives deeply. Without genuine, authentic testimonies of people profoundly transformed by Jesus Christ, our mission, strategies and plans will ultimately fall short. Let me begin by affirming: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Tim.1:15). This being said, I remain passionate as you might be, that the church be transformed into all Jesus Christ has called her to be. In the past few years, a growing number of pastors, leaders and others have reached out to us in their efforts to live out a radical discipleship paradigm that remains solidly evangelical and missional, while at the same time, integrates the riches of contemplative spirituality and emotional health. I seek to do this in my context at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, NYC with people from. Read more.

Building Healthy Multi-Ethnic Churches – Reflections

I wrote a brief article recently for Mark Deymaz that will appear in a book he is writing on diverse, ethnic Churches (Zondervan). It forced me to think through our history and what we have learned. The following is most of the what I wrote: Twenty-one years ago, when my wife and I planted New Life Fellowship, we chose Elmhurst/Corona, Queens, as a strategic location for the church due to the fact that individuals from more than 120 nations live in the area. So while we recognized the benefits of such a location and desired to bridge the racial, cultural and economic barriers for the sake of Christ, we underestimated the suffering this commitment would require for all of us of in leadership. For instance, I soon realized that our evangelical discipleship/spiritual formation model was too superficial to bring about the kind of in-depth transformation we would need to live in authentic community. There. Read more.

Surrender to the Inner, Downward Journey

I spent the last week and a half pondering, once again, the profound lessons buried in Jesus’ testings in the desert (Luke 4:1-14). His internalization of biblical truths in the desert enabled Him, in an extraordinary way, to walk through his fellow-townspeople who attempted to kill him by throwing him off a cliff (Lk. 4:28-9).  And to think these were his friends, neighbors, clients, cousins! What will it take for us to be so differentiated, so clear about who we truly are in Christ, and His purpose for lives that we too can walk through people who have agendas for our life and may not approve of us? I think the answer lies in a surrender to an inner, downward journey. Without this commitment to look at the hardest realities of our lives, I think it is inevitable that we will project them outwards. We will make other people into monsters when the real. Read more.

Abba Anthony, Henri Nouwen and CCDA

Last week I attended and spoke at the Christian Community Development Association conference (CCDA) in Miami. Over 2000 people were in attendance.  The work of John Perkins and CCDA, along with their commitment to racial reconciliation and relocation to live among the poor, helped shape my journey for Christ almost thirty years ago as well as our work here at New Life. Most leaders in attendance are very busy. I also became acutely aware of the growing impact of emotionally healthy spirituality around the country. Both realties concerned me. Then, as I sat in my hotel room one early morning, God came to me through the following:  Abba Anthony received letter from emperor Constantine to visit him in Constantinople. He wondered if he should go and asked Abba Paul who said, “If you go, you will be called Anthony, but if you stay here (in desert alone), you will be called Abba Anthony. “   An “abba’ was someone recognized as. Read more.

Leadership's First Task: Monitoring Your Heart

Geri and I were in the car last weekend driving in beautiful upstate New York, taking one of our daughters to look at colleges and began talking about the dynamics of leadership. Soon, we realized we had stumbled upon a simple, but powerful process of leading well – at least in God’s church — that is now helping us quite a bit. 1. Monitor Your Heart.  Whether it is preparing for sermons, reading a book on strategy, sitting through a staff meeting, or deciding on priorities, I am guarding my heart.  Is my motive really God’s glory or is this about me?  Am I anxious? If so why, and how is that impacting my decisions now? Am I avoiding a challenging reality? a confrontation? Is the content of this sermon I am preparing simply head knowledge? How does it speak to my life? Am I really living what I am preaching?  This of course requires. Read more.