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Tag Archives: formation

Solitude: The Pathway to Your True Self

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.

My Top 10 Books: Spring/Summer 2013

A key to good leadership, and good preaching, is reading broadly. I continue to read a few of these books very slowly over time (e.g. The Interior Castle and The Writing Life). Others I have read in a couple of days (e.g. Making Friends Among the Taliban). Enjoy! Interior Castle – St. Teresa of Avila Making Friends Among the Taliban – Jonathan P. Larson The Little Way of Ruthie Leming – Rod Dreher Fill These Hearts – Christopher West Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Tell Us About Surviving and Thriving – Bob Burns 24/6 – Matthew Sleeth The Writing Life – Annie Dilliard Dead Man Walking – Sister Helen Prejean Delighting in the Trinity – Michael Reeves I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t)…” – Brene Brown Grieving a Suicide – Al Hsu

You Know You Need a Sabbath When…

You know you need a Sabbath when: The only time you are alone is in the bathroom. It takes you over thirty minutes to fall asleep because your mind is racing about things you forgot to do. You think rest is standing still in traffic. You go to check your e-mail for a moment and are still there an hour later. You cannot remember anything you ate the last 3 days. You drove upstate for an hour and had so much on your mind that when you arrived, you are not sure how you got there. You don’t know what day it is. You find yourself jealous and angry when someone else is enjoying life. When you can’t remember the last time you sat down to eat breakfast When you tweet during movie, text during dinner, read e mail during meetings and classes, and learn about your spouse’s day from Facebook. Sabbath is as. Read more.

How We Form Spiritual Leaders Today

How are you being formed spiritually as a leader? This formation does not take place in a vacuum; it occurs within a certain environment and context. There are, at least, four primary ones today: Active leadership. The emphasis is on learning skills, cutting edge ideas, and creative means to preach Christ and be a more effective leader. Most conferences and para-church ministries in North America focus here. Intellectual leadership. The emphasis is on theological formation, Scripture, orthodoxy. Evangelical seminaries and a few denominations and conferences focus here. “Revival” leadership. The emphasis is on growing a heart with passion for Jesus. Awesome worship gatherings, power encounter conferences, and growing hearts on fire for Jesus are prized. Much of my charismatic, prophetic formation occurred here. Contemplative leadership. The emphasis here is on developing a contemplative, prayerful life that is rooted in Scripture and results in loving union with God in Christ. Out of this we are. Read more.

God, Tweets and Sound Bytes

God can’t be reduced to a tweet of a sound byte.  Transformation in Christ cannot be done in our present culture’s attention span. A saint is someone who sees the beauty of God in and through all things. This can’t be done on the run. We can communicate creative ideas in this format — but let’s distinguish that from the very large, costly work of the time needed in Scripture and stillness to be truly changed by God.

Desert Rhythms: Part 2

I have just completed a month reflecting on Mark 1 and the rhythms of Jesus. The following is a nice visual of His being with God (contemplation) and His doing (activity). So the question is what might it look like for us to withdraw to a desert in our daily lives, to engage in the rhythms of Jesus of “Being with the Father” and “Doing/Activity.” The following are a few suggestions, many of which come from David Benner’s excellent new book Opening to God. •    Pause for Sabbath for 24 hr. each week (Stop, rest, delight, contemplate). •    Pause for Daily Office two to three times a day. •    Sunday worship/Small group– to worship/sit under the Word. •    Read a passage of Scripture and listening for God’s personal word to you. •    Light a candle in your home. •    Allow music to draw your spirit to God’s Spirit. •    Review your day and noticing. Read more.