The center of Christianity is endings and new beginnings, death and resurrection, leaving and launching into new unknowns. I have written and preached it. Now I am living it in a new way. Tonight is the Celebration of our 26 years at New Life Fellowship Church. This Sunday I preach my final message as Senior Pastor on “Lessons Learned in 26 Years at NLF.” I then officially transition to a new role within New Life under the new leadership (i.e. Rich Villodas and the Elder Board) on October 6th. I am continually asked by leaders around the country: “Really, Pete, how are you?” My answer: “I am thrilled and excited beyond words. I could never have imagined such a gift. Yes. I have some normal apprehensions, but this has been one of the highlights of my life. I would recommend it to every senior pastor!” This is the culmination of a 4½ year succession process.. Read more.
Jiji Harner, from the Philippines, assisted me in my “I Quit” seminar in Singapore. I thank her for gathering these insights and helpful observations through her experience as a Filipina and her diverse experiences as a professional counselor. Quit being afraid of what others think…poses a much greater challenge in Asian Culture compared to Western culture. You could see the puzzle in the faces of the participants. “If I quit being afraid of what others think – then who will I become?” The desire to please and submit to authority has been inculcated in our minds. To undo this tendency is almost impossible because it is considered disrespectful, bad and ungodly to not do what those around you expect of you. To varying degrees Asian cultures tend to be other-directed, thinking: “How will others view my actions?” Instead of self-directed: “What do I think of my action?” People in Asian cultures tend to be. Read more.
For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than the are the people of the light. (Luke 16:8) I was deeply moved by a front page article in the New York Times yesterday, along with Angelina Jolie’s editorial a day earlier, about her courageous decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. She writes: “On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved…I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience.” While Angelina does not, as far as I know, consider herself a Christ-follower, we can learn a few things from her. Leading out of brokenness and vulnerability is powerful. She went public on an issue few Christians have been willing to talk about. We are imperfect human beings with limits. Beautiful and rich as she may be, she humbly acknowledged that she is. 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.