For the last two weeks I have been meditating/memorizing Isaiah 53:2-6 and the spirituality of descent of Jesus. Out of a desire to offer a “sincere gift of Himself,” Jesus chose a downward journey of ordinariness, obscurity, rejection and powerlessness. He chose crucifixion. It preaches well but my resistance to death (and thus resurrection) is deep. Contemplating the cross, however, has made me sensitive, at least recently, about the choices I make each day to follow, or not follow, the crucified Jesus. The following are three simple gifts God gave me this past week: 1. I visited one of our core church family members this past week. Their child has Lennox Gestaut Syndrome –www.lgsfoundation.org, a severe type of epilepsy. For the past four years, they have been in and out of hospitals, working with countless doctors and specialists to control their son’s seizures, and carrying full time jobs in the NYC school system. Their son, once. Read more.
Over my 22 years of pastoring NLF, we have contracted with an outside coach to lead our pastoral staff in a strategic planning process at least 5 different times. I was reluctant to do a strategic plan again. The church was doing well. Yes, we were at a transition in a number of areas. We were growing. But I carried bad mem0ries of striving, about internal my own motivation (e.g. Was this really for God, or was this really about me and the need to prove something?), and of tensions between staff that I had been unwilling to address. This is my first time since my journey into the contemplative almost six years ago. It has been a wonderfully relaxing, enjoyable process. Why? I think the answer is the addition of contemplative spirituality and deeper integration of emotional health into our leadership. What has been different? The following is my short list. 1. God’s will is really what matters. Something. Read more.