While few people in Western culture, including Christian leaders, think much of heaven, Scripture calls us to set our hearts and minds on things above (Col.3:1-3). Heaven as “a great lake of beer” is Bridgid of Irelands’ (451-524) attempt to describe the bliss and fulfillment that awaits us when we see Him face to face. One of my great learning curves the last few years is how foundational this is for the leadership we offer our churches. The following is my summary of Thomas Aquinas’ excellent description of heaven and how it is meant to inform our daily lives. Take a few minutes to prayerfully ponder his insights. When you taste God, there is nothing else to wish for. God’s love for us is both eros and agape – i.e., passionate, ecstatic, and joyful, as well as loyal and faithful. Your human soul was built for a joy the world can’t offer you. You. Read more.
Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them. Roslyn H. Wright, a Director of Field Education at Whitley College in Australia, visited me in NYC recently. The following are reflections out of her work with seminary students around “Incarnational goal setting”: 1. God’s calls us to courageously lead out of our ‘true self.’ “The problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self” (Thomas Merton). God gives to each of us a “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” with a unique working out of that gift in the Body and the world. The forces, internal and external, that move us away from that place of leading from within are enormous. 2. Prayer, particularly the Examen, along with a trusted community, is the foundation for. Read more.
While speaking to pastors and leaders in Armenia, Colombia this week, I was introduced to two amazing women pastors whom you can meet in this photo below: Edelmira Sanchez, the woman on my left, a married mom with 6 children lives in a town near Cali, Colombia. She was a leader in their Christian and Missionary Alliance church in 2006 when a paramilitary group assassinated their senior pastor. (The church is located in an area with significant guerrilla activity). She became the senior pastor in his place. Then the same people that killed her pastor threatened her. She was afraid but remained. She told me the story of when they arrived in the church with their guns to reinforce their point. She refused to be intimidated. The church has grown to more than 600 people under her leadership and has built a foundation to serve over 350 orphans in their area. They have also. Read more.
Geri and I have been deeply influenced in how we lead teams and small groups by Circles of Trust developed by Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage to Renewal http://www.couragerenewal.org/ . The insights from Circles of Trust form the backdrop and foundation of our efforts to create healthy community at New Life. In fact just last month we launched our small group of 22 people! The following are a few sample guidelines we shared with our small group at our first meeting: Speak for Yourself – Use “I” statements as much as possible. No Fixing, Saving, or Advising – Jesus alone is the Savior Turn to Wonder – If you feel judgemental or defensive when someone is sharing, ask yourself, “I wonder what brought him/her to this belief?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about me?” Silence – It is okay to have silence between responses as the group shares, giving members opportunity to reflect. Share for Yourself,. Read more.