While Pete is unplugged, we looked back at the most read blogs from the past two years. We thought you would enjoy taking a look back as well: 10 Qualities of an Emotionally Healthy Wedding Characteristics of the Emotionally Unhealthy Leader 4 Steps to a Meaningful Sabbath Quit Living Someone Else’s Life Quit Over-functioning My #1 Mistake as a Leader You Know You’re Not Doing Endings Well When… Four Unhealthy Commandments of Church Leadership Symptoms of the False Self Change Your Brain Through Silence and the Daily Office As you plan your discipleship courses for the fall, the How to Lead the EHS Course Training Pack is an excellent practical resource for maximizing the impact of your course in your church. Click here or on the image below to learn more.
Moses understood that when we are still, God fights for us. When the Israelites were under enormous pressure from Pharaoh, he said: “Do not be afraid… The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” (Ex. 14:13-14) One of the greatest gifts we can offer the church, and the world, is a return to the biblical practice of silence and stillness. But like Moses, we must learn it first. All religions practice silence. What makes silence unique for us is that we are silent before the Lord. For unless we learn to be quiet in God’s presence and not simply talk, how will our relationship with Him develop any depth? How will we hear Him? The core of the EH Spirituality Course and the EH Relationships Course is about equipping people to be with Jesus in silence, stillness, and Scripture. We do. Read more.
Theologian Robert Barron argues, at the heart of original sin is the refusal to accept God’s rhythm for us. God gave Adam and Eve enormous freedom in the Garden. Then, without explanation, God set a boundary before them. They were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen.2:15-17). They were to trust and surrender to Him, bowing humbly before His incomprehensible ways. They were to be active, then passive. They were to work, then they were to surrender in trust. They were to be active, and then they were to let go. The essence of being in God’s image is our ability, like God, to stop. We imitate Him by stopping and resting. For this reason, when we stop to practice Sabbath each week, or the Daily Office (fixed hour prayer) each day, we touch something deep within us as image-bearers of God. How are your rhythms today?. Read more.
Most people in our churches are living off other people’s spirituality. In fact, many are imitating a spirituality with Jesus for which they have little first–hand experience. It is easy to live off the life of God in someone else (e.g. the Apostle Paul’s handkerchief, Peter’s shadow, or Elisha’s bones) than to have our own direct experience. Anointed sermons and worship can keep people excited about Jesus and in the pews, but that may still be second-hand. The question is: Are our people developing and growing in their own personal, immediate relationship with Jesus during the week? How can we know? That is much more challenging to measure than numbers and budgets. In our overloaded culture where people are so distracted and busy, this may be our greatest challenge to effectively impact our communities. How can our people give away something (i.e. Jesus) if they do not possess Him? We invest enormous time, energy,. Read more.
Geri complained this past week that I had books all around the house – from the living room to the bedroom to the car – reading three to four books at a time. That has been my rhythm for years. If you are like me, you look for a variety of material to peruse during the summer. The following are a few recommendations: 1. The Gospel of John by Frederick Dale Bruner I have been studying and reading John’s gospel for the last 9 months as part of my morning time with God. As part of that process, I prayerfully read this wonderful commentary. Bruner is one of the best commentators I know, combining both great scholarship and devotional passion that leads me to Jesus. I also recommend his 2 volume commentary on Matthew as a must resource in every pastor’s library before preaching on any passage from the synoptic gospels. 2. The Art. Read more.
One of the turning points in my leadership happened 12 years ago while spending a week praying the Offices at a Trappist monastery. My prayer life had been marked by waiting on God FOR “THINGS” –e.g. leaders for specific ministries, creative strategies, breakthroughs, key donors to support the work, healings, growth in our church, family blessings, etc. At that point I moved to waiting on God FOR GOD. It turned out to be life-changing – both for my relationship with Jesus and my leadership. While praying for those “things” is good and biblical, I realized that my will was inseparably mixed with God’s will. The lines between the two were blurry. I always seemed to need something else from him. During that week with the Trappists, I sensed from God an invitation to seek his face (Ps. 27:4) and wait for Him alone. Out of that, I trusted, He would reveal himself and his. Read more.