Two weeks ago, I reviewed with our New Life Fellowship pastoral staff team our “Rule of Life.” First drawn up in 2007, it has been the abiding document to order our life together for over five years. I read through the document paragraph by paragraph, giving history, context, and theology around important sections. Our new staff asked many very good questions. I walked away convinced, more than ever, of how important, and powerful, this tool is for each church leadership team. How can we lead others to transformation in Christ if we are not experiencing transformation ourselves? I share this document with you with the hope and prayer you will consider thinking through some of these issues for yourself and your leadership team. I invite you to read the entire Pastoral Staff Rule of Life on our website. I am including here a few paragraphs that are particularly significant. NLF Pastoral Staff Rule of. Read more.
We recently hosted a Trappist monk at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, NYC named Father Williams . What made him such a gift to us was not his eloquence, his well-crafted sermons, his cleverness, or capacity as a leader. His prayer life, his walk with Jesus, his interior life with God built over many years pulled us toward Jesus in a very different way. It was transformative to be around him. He spoke as one “with authority,” (even though he uses an I-Pad!) The following are a few of my personal summary insights out of our time together that I have been reflecting on: There is no greater gift in the universe than to have a desire for the Triune God. Loving God for His own sake is God’s heart for us. God takes us where we are, not where we are not. Contemplation is awe and wonder in the face of God.. Read more.
During my Sabbatical I slowly read a thought provoking book entitled “A Book of Silence” by Sara Maitland that deepened my understanding of silence and its implications for my own life. I remain convinced that silence, along with solitude, remains one of the most indispensable and neglected spiritual practices today. The following are her insights (out of her journey into silence) that I noted in my journal: 1. Silence has a positive power and presence. It is more than simply “the absence of all noise and words.” It has at least eight effects: 1) intensification of our physical sensations; 2) stripping of our public self as “silence un-skins us”; 3) the hearing of voices; 4) connectedness; 5) a boundary confusion with time; 6) an exhilarating sense of peril; 7) bliss or ineffability and; 8) playful joy. 2. God has created many types of silence. The silence of the snow or the sun or the. Read more.
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.” Jesus modeled a regular rhythm of “Being with God” followed by “Doing for God” (i.e. activity). As a result, He remained anchored and centered amidst the chaos and stress around Him. Take the following inventory to evaluate your rhythms: Is Your Doing Out of Balance with Your Being? You avoid silence, and when you are quiet, your mind constantly races. You skip or skim on Sabbath. You hurry a lot. You position yourself so that others think well of you You say “yes’ when you would rather say “no” You are resentful and tired because you regularly “try to do it all.” You rarely taste your food as a gift of God. You have little mindfulness of delighting in Christ’s love during the day. You are. Read more.
Last Monday I arrived at the St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer Massachusetts for my annual weekly retreat with the 70+ monks living there. It was probably my most significant retreat of the last seven years. The following journal entries from my first day (that is until vigils at 3:30 am Tuesday morning) will give you a glimpse into my time: “The goal of this retreat is to keep company with You Lord, to be with You detached from all else, to get rid of all baggage and be cleansed of the world, and, most importantly, to listen. I am holding the following questions Lord”: How do I expand and strengthen the boundaries of my inner hermitage in order to live in deeper communion with You? What new direction and strategies do You have for me? How do I expand and strengthen my inner hermitage that Geri and might live more fully in an exceptional. Read more.