The world may minimize, rationalize, deny, or medicate their losses, but God calls us to a different path in the new family of Jesus. Simply put, grieving well is a core discipleship issue – especially for those of us who lead. Consider a few of the great men and women in Scripture who were great grievers and great leaders: Isaiah, Hannah, Jeremiah, Moses, Mary, Paul, Peter, and most importantly, Jesus. Unless we courageously allow our losses to break open our hard hearts, we will project or inflict our unprocessed pain on others. But if we follow God’s pathway for us – paying careful attention to our pain, waiting with him in the confusing-in-between, and letting the old birth the new – we experience a stripping away of our false selves in order to become the new men and women we were truly meant to be. We move from spiritual babies with an incessant need. Read more.
I covered over my losses for years and years, unaware of how they were shaping my current relationships and leadership. God was seeking to enlarge my soul and mature me, while I was seeking a quick end to my pain. For my first seventeen years as a Christian, I treated grief as an interruption, an obstacle to my path to serve Jesus. In short, I considered taking time to grieve a waste of time that prevented me from maximizing my leadership. “Just get over it, Pete. It will pass,” I would mutter to myself. The problem here is that this is unbiblical and a denial of our common humanity. The ancient Hebrews physically expressed their laments by tearing their clothes and utilizing sackcloth and ashes. Jesus himself offered up prayer and petitions with loud cries and tears (Heb. 5:7). During Noah’s generation, Scripture indicates God was grieved about the state of humanity (Gen. 6).. Read more.
The word “listen” or “hear” is found more than 1500 times in the Bible. The problem is that it is easy to lead FOR God without listening TO God. That is why the most important question every one of us must ask throughout our days is: “God, how are you coming to me, what might you want to say?” The question then needs to be applied specifically to different areas of our lives. Let me provide you with a few examples of what that looks like in my life: Time with God. “God, how are you coming to me in Scripture and silence today?” At times he leads me to linger over a passage, a phrase, or a text for days – even weeks. At times he leads me to read whole books of Scripture in one sitting. While I practice 20 minutes of silence and stillness each morning, I am also listening to. Read more.
To airbrush something is “to prettify or sanitize something” by means of an airbrush. I asked a photographer friend if he could airbrush my photo. Here is what he came up with: Now I may “feel” like I am the younger version of myself on the left. I may have a vision for it. But it is not reality. I am the man on the right. It is important we ask ourselves: “How might I be participating, or even encouraging, an airbrushed spirituality?” Unconsciously, it is so easy to do. I know. I’ve done it. As long as we had good weekend services, good attendance, and good programs, I felt okay. The problem was I ignored the reality that: 85% of Christians admit to being stuck in their walk with Christ. They are not experiencing transformation in our churches. The sexuality of people inside the. Read more.
Every stage of our life offers us new opportunities to mature- especially in our leadership. One of the most difficult areas to do this, of course, is with our own families. Last month, two of our four daughters set out for an extended time away – one to Spain with her husband for one year, and a second to Australia to work/travel for 1-2 years with her friends. Over the years I have wrestled with the question: How do I respect their independence/separateness (especially in their journey with Christ), while at the same time, keep Jesus as a core value in our family? There is no one “right way” to do devotional time with our children –regardless of their age. So I do have my share of stories about failed “devotional times” with our children at many stages in our family history. But in this case at least, three things bore great fruit. I. Read more.
#2 Connection is more important than rules. When they leave the kitchen a mess, don’t clean their rooms, miss the bus, wear attire that’s less than desirable, must have the last word, are sulky, moody or non-talkative, don’t do their chore they way you want, etc, don’t sweat the small stuff. I know that it may not feel like small stuff to you in the moment, but in the realm of what is most important in life it is small potatoes. In the bigger picture it is much more important to stay emotionally connected to them than for you to get your way and get them to follow a rule. It’s not that rules are unimportant. They are. You need, for example, rules for boundaries (they can be angry but no verbal attacks) and rules of engagement (no cell phones at dinner table so we can be present with one another). But do not. Read more.