Unmet and unclear expectations create havoc in our churches, places of employment, friendships, and families – especially around holidays like Thanksgiving. Of course you’re coming to Thanksgiving this year. We’re important to you, aren’t we? I’m so disillusioned. I expected that you would make an effort to get here early to help. If you cared about me, you would take time to ask me how I was doing. I can’t believe they didn’t ask what they could bring to dinner this year and just showed up! We expect other people to know what we want before we say it. Most of our expectations are unconscious, unrealistic, unspoken and un-agreed upon. Clarifying Expectations is one of the most important skills we teach in The Emotionally Healthy Skills Course. The principle is as follows: Take a few minutes to consider the expectations you have around this Thanksgiving – ones that that may leave you angry, disappointed,. Read more.
The first inner life issue addressed in The Emotionally Healthy Leader is our need to face our shadow. Why? It is one of our greatest challenges. Our shadow undermines our ability to serve others and undermines the best of who we are. This is nowhere more true than in our preaching. The following are ten signs your shadow is negatively impacting your preaching: You are overly concerned with people’s approval and affirmation after you preach. You exaggerate, spin, or tell half-truths from the pulpit for impact or to get laughs. You preach about things you don’t live. You spend an excessive amount of time focusing on being clever, smart, and finding great illustrations rather than taking time to allow the biblical text to transform you. You use the pulpit to inappropriately manipulate a particular response, failing to do the hard work of developing your speaking gifts. You use the pulpit to indirectly address conflicts. Read more.
A fundamental kingdom of God principle is that God’s ways are little and small. This smallness has been a scandal since Jesus’ day. Next to Herod’s massive Temple, the intellectuals of Athens, and Artemis’ temple in Ephesus, Jesus didn’t look like much. I can understand why Judas quit. I am learning this principle in a new and deeper way these past 12-24 months as the EHS movement has expanded remarkably around the world. I write from Asia where Geri and I are conducting 3 different EHS conferences for very large audiences in Singapore and Malaysia with participants from 19 countries. Last month we were in South Korea partnering with Onnuri church, an amazing global ministry with 75,000 members. And just a couple of months before that we were in Brazil with an outstanding Willow Creek Brazil team who are conducting EHS seminars around their country. Add to this the release of The Emotionally Healthy. 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.
Differentiation is hard. Not differentiating is even harder. Differentiation involves remaining connected to people and yet not having your reaction or behavior determined by them. Our primary task, like Jesus, is to calmly differentiate our “true self” from the demands and voices around us, discerning the vision, pace, and mission the Father has uniquely given us. Jesus, of course, models for us a 100% differentiated person. Engaging this challenging, interior work with God is great. The price for not doing so is even greater. The following are my top ten costs: Our church, ministry, or organization slowly declines. Our resistance to make unpopular decisions with ineffective people and programs limits our ability to do the mission God has called us to. We damage the community. A lack of clarity around expectations and roles permeates the community. Disappointments and frustrations are not talked about honestly and respectfully. The wrong people exercise power and leadership. In. Read more.
God’s kingdom always appears small, always appears insignificant, and always appears powerless. God’s ways are always slow. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches. Matthew 13:31-32 Jesus’ life and ministry modeled the slow, hard ways of God. How can we expect it to be any different for us? I was asked, after returning a few days ago, from a one-week trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil: “What was the biggest thing you learned on your trip?” “God’s ways are slow… and hard,” I responded. I surprised even myself with my answer. Our trip was rich, fruitful, and powerful. We partner with Willow Creek Brazil and their gifted staff in bringing EHS. Read more.