When I was in a very painful season of differentiation during 2006 and 2007, I developed a set of questions that I wrote in my journal and returned to over and over again. They became an anchor for me as I regularly and prayerfully brought them to God during my morning prayer time, asking Him for wisdom and power to deeply change me. I mark that season as a crucible – painful, severe, purifying, yet liberating. Without doubt, it was a turning point in my 30 years of growing into a more effective pastor. And they formed the foundation of The Emotionally Healthy Leader book that I wrote eight years later. When I accidentally rediscovered them in an old journal recently, I was taken aback at how carefully I had crafted the questions for myself, and how they had become so much a part of me after that two-year period. I offer them to. Read more.
I am fragile. When I get out of my rhythms of being with God, I am dangerous. I make unwise decisions; I over-function; I cross boundaries; I fail to be present to those I love; I become anxious; I rush. In fact, the finding of God’s rhythms for my life, and living them, is a matter of life and death – for me and for those I serve. And I am not alone. We are all fragile. This podcast is an invitation to get deeply anchored by deliberately structuring your life in ancient spiritual practices that have stood the test of time. In particular, I focus on the revolutionary practice of Sabbath-keeping and God’s invitation for us to stop and rest for a 24-hour period each week. This inevitably leads to many new insights about God and ourselves. As one person wrote: “Tell me one thing that is productive or efficient about it? The. Read more.
Defining success as a Christian leader is one of our most challenging, vexing and difficult tasks. If we get this right, fruitfulness, contentment and joy follow. If we get it wrong, feelings of failure, misery, and envy follow. In part 1 of this podcast, we will look at two idols that dominate current Western culture and church leadership: 1) Measuring numbers; and 2) Excessive concern for what others think. Jesus shows us that success, as the world defines it, is NOT how God defines success. He was content in appearing to be a failure in the world’s eyes. He did not do much to change the basic structural problems in Israel during his 3-year ministry. The Pharisees/Sadducees still controlled the Temple and religious life. Herod still remained on the throne. And John the Baptist still remained in prison. On the surface, it appeared Jesus ran more of an ‘ambulance’ ministry than actually attack the. Read more.
I have spent a long, relaxed time in the Sermon on the Mount over the last seven months, meditating and studying what may be the greatest sermon ever delivered in human history. The radical nature of discipleship, as laid out by Jesus, has shaken me to my core and reminded me of Karl Barth’s famous dictum: We are always only beginners. Jesus ends Matthew chapter 5 in verse 48 with the words: Be perfect (i.e. perfectly mature) as your heavenly Father is perfect (i.e. perfectly mature). The word for perfect refers to a person coming of age, someone who is no longer a child or minor. They are now adults, i.e. spiritually mature. The question I have asked myself is: Am I really a spiritually mature adult according to Jesus’ standard? In chapter 5:17-47, Jesus describes the qualities of spiritual maturity. They are a challenge, to say the least. In this podcast I explore. Read more.
Geri shared the following out of a Conversations Journal article by Henry Cloud entitled “Getting Saved” at a recent NLF Marriage Leadership Meeting. Her goal was to help us refocus on the central themes of our spiritual formation for the ministry in 2012-2013. God wants to heal (i.e. save) us and the people we lead so that we can do the following: 1. Connect Deeply with God and Others. Emotional connection is central to life. The Trinity lives in unbroken communion and union. God exists, three in one, in an ongoing, unbroken relationship; He created us for the same. How are your emotional connections with God and your family? 2. Establish Boundaries. God is free from the ones He loves. He stands up to the ones He is in relationship with, and set limits when He is violated. He is free from being controlled by those He loves. For relational or psychological problems to. Read more.
We (Geri and Pete) recently watched a movie that we have talked about for days – Temple Grandin. The movie describes her life as an autistic young girl who courageously overcomes the limitations and severe challenges of life with autism in the 1960’s when so little was understood about it. She goes on to high school and college, and today is a professor at Colorado State University. Through the telling of her life with autism, Temple gives to the world numerous gifts. Two of those gifts, in particular, resonated deeply with two of our foundational spiritual practices. 1.We Each Need a “Squeeze Machine.” Temple created this “hug box” or “squeeze machine” to help calm her down as a hypersensitive, autistic person when overwhelmed. We too know what it is like to have our nervous system overloaded by the crisis of life. Every one of us needs a means to calm us down and to. Read more.