King David led out of a place of deep rest and contentment. He sang: “My cup overflows” (Ps. 23:5). Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) changes the metaphor from a cup to a reservoir. I invite you to slowly and prayerfully mediate on this photo and his words. If you are wise, therefore, you will show yourself a reservoir and not a canal. For a canal pours out as fast as it takes in; but a reservoir waits till it is full before it overflows, and so communicates its surplus. We have all too few such reservoirs in the Church at present, through we have canals in plenty. . .they (canals) desire to pour out when they themselves are not yet inpoured; they are readier to speak than to listen, eager to teach that which they do not know, and most anxious to exercise authority on others, although they have not learnt to rule themselves. .. Read more.
The following is a six minute interview with Father Meninger, a Trappist monk for the past 52 years. We have just finished 4 very enjoyable days with him at New Life. Perhaps the greatest challenge for us as leaders is to drink from an interior life with God sufficient to sustain our activity/work for Him. Lessons from the Trappists, one of the most contemplative monastic orders, enable us to step back and examine our leadership from a fresh perspective. Enjoy this brief interview or, for more in-depth insights, click here for a full 40 minute sermon in which I interview Father William.
Last Sunday was a historic moment at New Life as had our first ever “Silent Sermon.” The following is a sheet I handed out to our congregation to provide guidelines for them to practice silence as a spiritual discipline. To see the video, click here When God appeared to Elijah after his suicidal depression and flight from Jezebel, He told him to stand and wait for the presence of the Lord to pass by. But God did not appear in ways he had in the past. He was not in the wind (as with Job), an earthquake (as in Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments), or fire (as in the burning bush with Moses). As we read in 1 Kings 19:12, God finally revealed Himself to Elijah in “a sound of sheer silence.” The English translation of God coming “in a still, small voice” does not capture the original Hebrew intent, but what could. Read more.
The following are a few of my recent questions, puzzles, and reflections around the working out of my active life as a Christian leader with a commitment to serve out of a foundation of a deep, interior, contemplative life. Much like Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings, some of this is disjointed as it comes out of my journal reflections, my puzzles in prayer with god, along with my readings over the past couple of months (This includes: Bernard of Clairvaux’s sermons on the Song of Songs, the Desert Fathers, Merton on St. Bernard, and Alicia Britt Chole’s little book Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years and Yours.) 90% percent of Jesus’ ministry, 29 years, was spent in obscurity, hiddenness, and the unseen. This was as important as his 3 active years. They provided the character foundation for Him to walk through the temptations of the wilderness and the pressures from the people around him. These years also empowered Him to live an eternally fruitful. Read more.
The Holy Spirit has created, I believe, a holy discontent with our contemporary spiritual formation models that are not changing lives deeply. Without genuine, authentic testimonies of people profoundly transformed by Jesus Christ, our mission, strategies and plans will ultimately fall short. Let me begin by affirming: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Tim.1:15). This being said, I remain passionate as you might be, that the church be transformed into all Jesus Christ has called her to be. In the past few years, a growing number of pastors, leaders and others have reached out to us in their efforts to live out a radical discipleship paradigm that remains solidly evangelical and missional, while at the same time, integrates the riches of contemplative spirituality and emotional health. I seek to do this in my context at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, NYC with people from. Read more.
A hermit saw someone laughing , and said to him, “We have to render an account of our whole life before heaven and earth, and you can laugh?” Sayings of the Desert Fathers This coming, at New Life, we will bring in New Year’s Eve, starting at 6 p.m. with food, a couple of dance lessons, games, a brief time of worship around midnight and then dancing till 2 a.m. We have done this for the last nine years. Each year I struggle with the few nasty e-mails we receive (this year they are national). A voice in my head argues, “Every other church in NYC is praying and you are leading your people to a party!, you worldly compromiser! What are you mad?” Geri is the one who patiently encouraged me to break from the pack years ago and “allow” an intergenerational, pleasureable, clean, fun event as part of our spiritual formation/discipleship here at NLF. Most of us leaders are “pleasure/delight deficient”,. Read more.