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Tag Archives: Contemplative Life

God and My Blackberry

I cancelled my blackberry internet service yesterday. For the last year I have been able to receive e-mails at any time of the day or night. I was told it would make me more productive, effective. It would save me time. No one talked about its impact on my soul and rhythm. Actually, it hasn’t worked for the last month and I realized how much I loved not having it. I loved not checking e-mails during my daughter’s soccer practice as I waited in the car. (She is in junior high and prefers that her ‘uncool’ Dad keep a very low profile). I loved not looking at it in traffic. I loved not looking at it in the office. If it was the time to check e-mail, I simply chose to look at it during work hours. If we are going to follow Jesus in the 21st century as leaders and model a contemplative life,. Read more.

Reflections on a Weekend with the Trappists

This was my fifth retreat with the 70+ monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Massachusetts. Maybe since it was the end of my 6 weeks away from the responsibility of leading New Life, but I entered into a deep calm, silence and rhythm with their life almost immediately. One of the highlights of the weekend was a conversation with Father Kizito Kwame, a West Indian who has been with them for 49 years. He joined at the age of 17 when the monastery was at its height (1958-1960) of 200 monks. He recently returned from 10 years of serving among the 25 Trappist monasteries in Africa. A part of me so longed to remain on the mountaintop with God and not leave return to checkbooks, house, problems, needs, noise and traffic of NYC, that I complained to him for a while, shared with him this inner compulsion I often feel to be a monk, etc.. Read more.

"Madness" as Our New Christian Identity

 “A time is coming when men will go mad, and whey they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, ‘Your are mad, you are not like us’” (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Benedicata Ward, SLG, 5). Imagine the Body of Christ choosing to live a contemplative life of Daily Offices, Sabbath keeping, meditation on Scripture throughout the day, simplicity of life, a commitment to purity of heart (watching our intake of information/media/etc. for the sake of seeing God) – yet all the while activing serving others and making Christ known to others. Imagine the impact of our evangelical churches around the world filled with people who are not consumers of religion for a better life but men and women filled with passion for God and delivered from this present evil age! How can we escape the illusory Christian identity proposed by the world  (that is our present worldly church mindset) and choose. Read more.

Spiritual Warfare and Unhealthy, Immature Lives

I spent my first fifteen years as a Christian studying and absorbing some of the best books and materials around the subject of spiritual warfare. I have encountered demons in Sunday services and in one-to -one sessions. I have sat under people deep into the field of deliverance. Yes, we have plenty of material here about demons from our years here at New Life in Queens, NYC.  Yet something was deeply wrong — with me.  In some ways, an imbalanced understanding of warfare (powerful and true discipleship paradigm as it is), only reinforced some of my immature, unhealthy behaviors rather than liberate me for Christ. So as I approached Ephesians 6 on the armor of God to preach on it, I wanted to do one sermon on it and move on. I could not imagine what I would say with all the pathology and craziness that goes on around it in the church. (That is the great. Read more.

Late For Church

We just completed our pastor, leader and spouse conference here at Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. It was a whirlwind of preparation, people, meetings, and speaking. We added a preconference on the skills Geri and I have been working on since September. People came from South Africa, Eastern Europe, England, Mongolia, Canada as well as from around the USA. It was wonderful and, of course, a great output of energy from us. Between that, our regular two day conference and then preaching on Sunday, I was quite spent and am taking it very slow this week.             Something major, however, happened in me this weekend.             I followed Christ and took a next step in my spiritual journey with Him by showing up LATE for church on Sunday. Yes LATE – for the first time in 20.5 years as Senior Pastor at NLF. Like slowing down for silence, Offices and Sabbath can feel like one is. Read more.