Benedict (480-547 AD) lived in the time when the Roman Empire was disintegrating. He founded a monastery near Rome around “a little rule for beginners” now famously known as the “Rule of Benedict” (RB). I reread this short, powerful work regularly for my own grounding, both as a leader and a follower of Jesus. Prayerfully consider the following, letting God speak to you through one or two of Benedict’s radical insights into discipleship/spiritual formation: 1. “This message is for you, then, if you are ready to give up your own will” (Prologue 3). 2. “Therefore we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service” (Prologue 45). 3. “Above all, he (the abbot) must not show too great concern for the fleeting and temporal things of this world…but should keep in mind that he has undertaken the care of souls for whom he must give an account” (RB 2:33-34). 4. “Your way of acting should. Read more.
Stopping 3-4 times a day and cultivating rhythms to be with God each day out of which we serve Him is foundational to our staff life at New Life. The following is Geri’s midday prayer handout that she led the staff through this past Wednesday. Savor it before the Lord during one of your Offices (pauses) during the day. There are actually five movements of Lectio Divina: Silentio–Preparing to be read by God. Lectio – Ingesting the Word Meditatio – Wrestling with God Oratio –Letting God know how we feel Contemplatio – Abandoning ourselves to God in love Incarnatio – The Word becoming flesh in us. Lets now, together do each of these overlapping phases togetherSilentio 1 min. Lectio – Ingesting the Word My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed myself and quieted my ambitions.
. Read more.
Last week I preached on this at the twentieth anniversary service of Iglesia Nueva Vida. I was senior pastor of the church for five years before Pastor Julio Rodriquez took over leadership and greatly expanded the work. They now number about a 1000 people and have over 90 works in Latin America. You can listen to this bilingual message if you like by clicking here. (I actually begin speaking 1 hour and 12 minutes into the video). The following are the hard lessons that I wished someone had taught me 24 years ago when I began pastoring: 1. Be Yourself. I spent too much time in my early years trying to be someone I was not. As Rumi said, “To live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage.” David models this for us in 1 Sam. 17 as he takes off Saul’s armor. This takes great courage and faith. 2. Seek. Read more.
Can you imagine with me what it might be like if every Christian in our churches understood their identity as the following: “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a first grade teacher.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a nurse.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a mom at home”? Last week I began a series on Your Life, Your Work and Your Calling. It is one of those truths I have believed my whole life, but recognize that I have not fully integrated into my own life or leadership. The main points of our calling, from Scripture, are simple. 1. Every Christian is fully called. 2. Your calling is your whole life. 3. All your work and life is holy/sacred/spiritual. Everyone, everywhere in everything, by God, to God and for God. The division of sacred and secular spheres has a long, long history (going. Read more.
I just finished reading A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists:Musings on Why God is Good and Faith Isn’t Evil by David G. Myers. Worthwhile read filled with valuable nuggets. What I appreciated most was his invitation to a “humble spirituality”, a third alternative to a purposeless scientism/rationalism and a narrow fundamentalism so prevelant in my own tradition of contemporary evanglicalism. I don’t agree with all he has written, but I believe he is in the right direction. We do need a more profound spirituality rooted in biblical wisdom and history, one that connects us in supportive communities and offers genuine hope in the face of adversity and death. We need to learn from the larger “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.” The following is the rich content of a moving letter sent to me from my mentor Leighton Ford this past week. It is a portion of an email message he recently received. Read more.