Four critical factors form the foundation of personal and organizational goal setting. When ignored, we will find ourselves, eventually, anxious and rushing, with too much to do in too little time. These include: 1. God’s First Goal for You. My first goal is to be a contemplative who dwells in God’s presence (See Ps. 27:4 for David’s modeling of this). Establishing these daily, weekly, annual rhythms to be with God comes first. 2. The Interior Movements of the Heart. I listen for the consolations and desolations of the Holy Spirit inside me. Does this initiative give me life or death as I imagine myself going this direction? 3. The Gift of Limits. Rebellion against God is tightly tied to making good plans for God that are not His. (See The Emotionally Healthy Church, chapter 8). For example, since I am called to lead out of a great marriage, every initiative is filtered through its impact on my. Read more.
As we are in the process of doing our annual job reviews at New Life Fellowship, I have been struck anew by the need to include in our job descriptions that our number one task is to love God, ourselves and our spouses (if applicable). Out of a “cup that runs over,” we offer the life of Jesus to those whom we serve. What else do we have to give? When we overextend ourselves, we grow resentful, love with a “human love,” lose our passion and gradually hear His voice less clearly. The fruit is short-lived. The reason this is so challenging for us (and I begin with myself) is it touches the core of our relationship with God. Limits touch my desire to do my will, not His, to rebel rather than surrender, to keep going rather than stop. Adam and Eve crossed God’s limits in eating from the tree in the Garden.. Read more.
I recently finished Ruth Haley Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry (IVP,2008). I enjoyed it thoroughly and found a number of valuable insights for my own leadership at New Life. I recommend it to you. One unique insight was to clearly articulate the values of your leadership team as you enter into challenging, difficult discussions. The following is my first draft for our NLF staff team (Her team’s can be found on pp.176-178 of her book). 1. Personal Spiritual Transformation – We consistently labor to maintain balance in our lives as leaders, ensuring that we have time for prayer, rest, healthy relationships (play) and work. Our rhythms are our first work and foundational for both our lives and leadership. 2. Community – We are a microcosm of the larger New Life and seek to maintain and build unity in our relationships as Christ did with the Twelve. While the work itself can easily distract us away. Read more.
Last week at our NLF monthly teaching team meeting (Drew Hyun, Rich Villodas, Geri Scazzero and myself), I summarized our learnings over the last two years. I am convinced that training and developing teachers/preachers is essential for the future of the church. This process has been a great learning experience for us. And I pray we are laying a foundation to develop other communicators for the future of the church – both inside and outside New Life. Many of you who read this blog are in a teaching role of leadership – whether it be preaching, teaching classes, leading small groups or worship, doing retreats or providing spiritual leadership. The following summary has applications, I believe, for a variety of settings beyond preachers/teachers: Integrity in our lives is first. This involves taking care of ourselves, our marriages and making sure we live what we preach. One of the most important things we can do is to invest in our. Read more.
I am often asked, “Pete, what exactly is emotionally healthy spirituality?” The above chart describes her five different components. 1. Contemplative Spirituality (Slow Down to Be With God). EHS is a commitment to slow down our lives in order to create a rhythm to be with Jesus. It is about creating space through contemplative practices (e.g. Daily Offices, Sabbath-Keeping, silence, solitude and Scripture) so that we remain in Jesus’ love. We draw deeply from the radical movement of the desert fathers as well as Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist in order that we might love others out of the love we have first received from Jesus Himself. 2. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – EHS recovers a number of lost biblical themes often ignored in evangelical discipleship. These include a theology of grieving (e.g. Psalms, Lamentations) and limits, of breaking the sinful patterns of our family of origin and cultures, loving well and brokenness as the basis by which we. Read more.
China is on the move! I saw this clearly while in Southeast Asia this summer and recently read When China Rules the World: the Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World, by Martin Jacques. In 10 years China will have 1.4 billion people, or 21% of the world’s population. Their economy, unlike ours, is booming. By 2027, experts say China will overtake the USA as the largest economy in the world and that, in 50 years, Beijing will be the world’s capital, not NYC. The drivenness , speed, and intensity to be bigger, larger, richer, and upwardly mobile in China is staggering. This contrasted sharply with two novels by Wendell Berry, that I read this summer — Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow. His themes include limits, the finite, the local and the small. These limits enable us, he writes, to grow in humility. And that this is the great. Read more.