The center of Christianity is endings and new beginnings, death and resurrection, leaving and launching into new unknowns. I have written and preached it. Now I am living it in a new way. Tonight is the Celebration of our 26 years at New Life Fellowship Church. This Sunday I preach my final message as Senior Pastor on “Lessons Learned in 26 Years at NLF.” I then officially transition to a new role within New Life under the new leadership (i.e. Rich Villodas and the Elder Board) on October 6th. I am continually asked by leaders around the country: “Really, Pete, how are you?” My answer: “I am thrilled and excited beyond words. I could never have imagined such a gift. Yes. I have some normal apprehensions, but this has been one of the highlights of my life. I would recommend it to every senior pastor!” This is the culmination of a 4½ year succession process.. Read more.
“To materialists this world is opaque like a curtain; nothing can be seen through it. A mountain is just a mountain, a sunset just a sunset; but to poets, artists, and saints, the world is transparent like a window pane––it tells of something beyond…a mountain tells of the Power of God, the sunset of His Beauty, and the snowflake of His Purity.” Bishop Sheen. My journey towards “sacramental living” has been slow yet, in some respects, I feel that I am finally getting it. Sacramental living understands that all matter is meant to lead us into God’s heavenly presence, to bring about communion with Him and a participation in His life. In fact, the entire universe is meant to serve as a “sacrament” — i.e., a material gift from God in and through which we enter into the joy of His heavenly presence. I have been helped by the great poet, Gerald Manley Hopkins,. Read more.
The journey into a profound spirituality for me began when I said, “I quit.” Take the following assessment below and see if you need to quit: You need the approval of others to feel good about yourself. You are angry, sad, or disappointed and feel guilty about it – or don’t want to admit it. You believe you don’t have choices. You do for others what they can and should do for themselves. You are so focused on others that you rarely consider your own hopes and dreams. You say “yes” when you would rather say “no”. You have difficulty speaking up when you disagree or prefer something different. You’re becoming a less loving person instead of a more, loving person. You are resentful and tired because you regularly “try to do it all.” You are afraid to admit your weaknesses and flaws. If two or three apply to you, you may need to. Read more.
What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life? Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in with the dying. She began to ask them their most common regrets at the end of their lives. Ware writes, “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.” And among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Here are the top five regrets of the dying that she discovered: 1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. She notes: “When people realize. Read more.
I spent the day yesterday with Leighton Ford, a mentor of mine for the past 30 years. Leighton again shared out of his life as he approaches his 81st birthday and looks forward to another five years of encouraging mentoring communities around the world. The following are a few golden nuggets from our time: 1. The time “between dreams” is perhaps the most important in the spiritual journey. Alan Jones, in Exploring Spiritual Direction, writes: “If we are willing to wait in the darkness “between dreams,” a larger and wider reality appears and life’s dream takes on richer images and more liberating structures. It’s often at a place such as “between dreams” that a guide, a friend, or spiritual director can wait with us in a dark place until a new way of looking at things emerges for us. Many a marriage, for example, turns sour and dies precisely at the point of its. Read more.
God came to me through two great biographies that I finished reading recently. The first was about Micky Mantle. was one of the greatest, most gifted American baseball players that ever lived. When I was growing up, everyone wanted to be like Micky. He enjoyed unprecedented success, wealth and fame in his twenties. He seemed to be immune to the suffering and pain of life. All his dreams and more were his. By the time he was in his early 60’s, however, as he lay dying of liver failure, he grieved and wept over his life. “I’d like to say ot he kids out there, if you’re looking for a role model, this is a role model. Don’t be like me… Everything I’ve got is worn out. Although I’ve heard people say they’d like to have my heart… it’s never been used.” Nelson Mandela’s reflections on the end of his life, as recounted in Conversations with. Read more.