Most Christians are more focused on the here-and-now than on the then-and there, i.e., our future life that is anchored in heaven (Heb.6:19). Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1647-1652) and his sculpture of Teresa of Avila. and the angel with the spear, portrays the following episode from her autobiography where she describes her encounter with God. We see in her a picture of our greatest longing: I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could. Read more.
Early coal miners didn’t have the special equipment miners have today to measure carbon dioxide in the air, so it was impossible to tell if the gases were building up to dangerous levels. Miners started to use canaries (they were highly sensitive to gas in the air) to test the air quality in the mines. The canaries would chirp and sing all day long. But, if the carbon monoxide levels got too high, and the canaries were no longer singing, miners would know that the gas levels were too high. Soon the canaries would have trouble breathing, swoon, and then die. Miners, who had gone into the mines looking for gold, would leave the mine quickly avoid being caught in an explosion. Many of us leaders want the gold of great fruit out of our leadership. Yet if we are not sensitive to the carbon monoxide, i.e., the integrity gaps in ourselves, our churches,. Read more.
I received a letter recently that I wrote to myself after a 3 day retreat over seven months ago. It reminded me again that I am the most difficult person for me to lead! The following are a few rich nuggets of gold from this short letter: 1. Remember what you are all about. (In my case, it was to take 30-50% of my time to write). 2. Guard your spirit from trifles, fast from overconsuming, and forget what others think. (See “The Woodcarver” story). 3. Feel your own weight and density. There is no need to wear other people’s faces (See the poem, “Now I Become Myself”). 4. Go to the fields and be lovely. Come back when you are through with blooming. (See the poem entitled, “Camas Lillies). 5. Stay the course and be kind to yourself. For a free sermon I preached on what it means to live a life where. Read more.