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.
At a Fuller Theological Seminary event I attended last week, a student from the Congo named Patrick asked an Anglican bishop, “How do you forgive those who have killed a member of your family?” The bishop answered, “It is very difficult.” In a private conversation afterwards, I asked Patrick, “Were any of them Christian?” “Yes,” he answered, “But they were of a different tribe.” This put my forgiveness struggles in perspective. Robert Muholland, a theologian and retired New Testament professor of Asbury Theological Seminary, recently said at our New Life Leadership Conference that forgiveness is the most difficult spiritual discipline. I think he is right. I have not thought of forgiving others as a discipline like prayer, Scripture study, worship, etc. This is a fresh nuance for me. It can take weeks, months, even years to forgive certain hurts done to us. The deeper the relational investment, the deeper the wound. Every leader in God’s church I have. Read more.
When I asked my PhD friend to reflect, after over 30 years of therapy with high-powered executives and pastors, why leaders have such a difficult time stopping and being still. He laughed. “Pete,” he replied with a smile, “They are terrified. They can’t stop. Their self is so tied into achievement, into their doing and work, they are afraid they will die if they stop.” This Isenheim Altarpiece painted by Matthias Grünewald some time between 1512 and 1516 captures the intense struggle to die to the false self. We see ugly demons trying to torment Anthony of Athanasius to leave the place of solitude with Jesus. Each of us needs to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw and allow the gentle touch of Jesus free us. The shape of the discipline of solitude will look different for each of us. But one thing is sure — a fruitful life can only flow out. Read more.
“Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?” Jim Collins tells this story while a student at Stanford’s graduate business school. His teacher said to him, “Instead of leading a disciplined life, you lead a busy life.” This led Collins to make a major shift in his how he allocated the most precious of all resources: time. In his monograph Good to Great and the Social Sector, Collins argues that great organizations have piercing clarity about the intersection of three questions: 1) What are you deeply passionate about? 2) What can you be the best in the world at? 3) What drives your. Read more.
I’ve always been fascinated by Colin Powell. Four-Star General, Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, Commander of US Army Forces. Yet he grew up in the Bronx, NY and attended City College. I recently read his memoir,It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership where he talked about lessons learned. I appreciated his simplicity, discipline, and wisdom in a number of areas. The following are his “13 Rules to Live By” that he keeps on his desk: 1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning. 2. Get mad, then get over it. 3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. 4. It can be done! 5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it. 6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision. 7.. Read more.
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.