After 9 months of planning Pete and I celebrated our daughter’s wedding last Sat. with about 180 guests. Out of that experience we realized there is such a thing as an “Emotionally Healthy Wedding.” Here are a few reflections as to what made it such a distinct, rich experience: 1. We Recognized Our Peerage. Our peerage with Christy had been established years ago. (We have done it with each of our daughters in young adulthood). We were not in a one-up, adult-child relationship. 2. We Clearly Expressed that the Most Important Thing for us was their Premarital Preparation. This was part of our gift to them. 3. We Gave a Gift of a Fixed Amount of Money and Let Go. Because this was a gift, they controlled the wedding, not us. There were no strings attached. They made the decisions and asked us for input along the way. 4. We Recognized the Most Important. Read more.
Out of the experience of our daughter’s wedding last Saturday, we realized there is such a thing as an “Emotionally Healthy Wedding.” Here are a few reflections as to what made it such a distinct, rich experience: 1. We Gave a Gift of a Fixed Amount of Money and Let Go. Because this was a gift, they controlled the wedding, not us. There were no strings attached. They made the decisions and asked us for input along the way 2. We Were Aware of and Managed Our Own Anxieties. There were plenty of things to worry about, from 6 inches of rain the day before our outdoor wedding, to the groom’s grandfather dying 4 days before the big day, to other people’s attitudes that were challenging. We paid attention to it and responded appropriately. 3. We Rejoiced. This was not simply a weekend event, or nine months of preparation, but a lifetime of labor in. Read more.
“Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?” Jim Collins tells this story while a student at Stanford’s graduate business school. His teacher said to him, “Instead of leading a disciplined life, you lead a busy life.” This led Collins to make a major shift in his how he allocated the most precious of all resources: time. In his monograph Good to Great and the Social Sector, Collins argues that great organizations have piercing clarity about the intersection of three questions: 1) What are you deeply passionate about? 2) What can you be the best in the world at? 3) What drives your. 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 am acutely aware of God’s work in me in three areas – contemplation, romance with Geri and the exercising of godly leadership. Spiritual Formation – I have been reading slowly Thomas Merton’s The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation. I relate to his description of the Desert Fathers who “knew that before they could see His face, (knew) they would have to struggle, instead, with His adversary. They would have to cast out the devil subtly lodged in their exterior self…By their renunciation of passion and attachment, their crucifixion of the exterior self, they liberated the inner man, the new man “in Christ” (p.33). I have been pondering the phrase “subtly lodged” for the past few weeks as it relates to my active life outside the desert here pastoring in Queens, NYC, married with four daughters. Romance –It would be easier to move to the desert (I think) than learn to cook and romance. Read more.
In this final and fourth section of the Rule of Life we are piloting at our local church, you will notice that I have intentionally kept this section short (It contains only 3 of the Rule’s 16 points!) I will conclude with a little example of how this is working out in my own life. Work/Activity • Savor the sacred in all I do — at work, rest or play. Psalm 104; Eph. 6:5-8; I Tim. 4:3-4. All of life is a gift from God. The word savor carries the notion of pausing to taste the deliciousness of our work, rest and play. It is the God-like celebration of delighting over His creation, exclaiming that it is “very good” (Gen. 1:31). • Remember the poor and marginalized. Exodus 2:23-25; Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27.This is about a heart that carries the poor and marginalized, that remembers them like God. We are referring to a passion, not so. Read more.