Each day brings new stories and images of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. An old friend had his house completely washed away in the storm. He had built it himself. The following is from his e-mail to me two days ago: “I’m having trouble accepting this all as the will of God…The realization that everything a man has worked for in his whole life has been washed away in just one 2-3 hour period. I don’t know, but I wish I did.” Sandy is an invitation to pause and ponder. The following are a few thoughts out of my journal from this past week: 1. God is Greater and More Powerful than I Realize. He remains “seated on his throne, high and exalted” (Isaiah 6:1). The force and size of a hurricane is humbling. 2. You and I Are Not in Control of Our Lives or Destiny. Take another long look at the roller coaster. Read more.
A good friend recently encouraged me to post this 3-4 minute introductory video on the Daily Office. I love the Offices. They shape my days, my weeks, my months, my life. They have revolutionized my being with God the last seven and a half years. Take a look: Introducing the Daily Office The Daily Office differs from what we label today as “quiet time or devotions.” These normally take place once a day, in the mornings, with the emphasis on “getting filled up for a day,” or “interceding for the needs around me.” The Daily Office normally takes place at least twice a day, and is not so much a turning to God to get something; it is about being with God, about communion with Him. My aim is to pause for time with God in the morning, midday, evening and for Compline (right before bed). My morning Office normally is longer (45 min-1+hours),. Read more.
If you ask 10 different leaders what they had learned over a long period of time, you will receive 10 different lists. It is determined by your unique journey and your strengths and weaknesses. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of what a leader needs to learn. Rather it is what I wish a mentor had helped me understand from the beginning. I wish some kind mentor might have said the following words to me: 1. Be Yourself Pete, calmly differentiate your “true self” from the demands and voices around you. Discern the desires, vision, pace, and mission the Father has give you as you lead. Take off Saul’s armor. Be clear about yourself. Learn to control your reactivity. And remember, “to live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage.” Rumi 2. Your First Work is to be a Contemplative before God. (i.e. to be with Him) You are not. Read more.
As I was reading Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, by Peter Steinke (an excellent read), I began to wonder. Are we being honest about the depth nor extent of the fundamental illness afflicting our leadership of the church in the 21st century? Maybe better said, am I being honest with myself? As we work with denominations and pastors, many of whom are now doing the church-wide initiative in emotionally healthy spirituality, it is becoming increasingly clear that the call to slow down our lives so we have integrity, is much more comprehensive and far-reaching than we initially realized. Our faulty training and models for church leadership have so negatively shaped us that, to sustain long-term change, we need an enormous inward passion from within and external support for a new direction. Steinke cites an illustration out of the medical field. For thousands of years, women were dying of fever at childbirth. This. Read more.
After another couple of weeks of pondering and passing this around our staff team for a second round of discussions, here is a second, more precise listings of our learnings. This is a living document, borne out of twenty-one years of labor, mistakes, and fruitful suffering. For this reason, I am prayerfully re-reading these lessons with a healthy reverence before God. 1. Character is more important than gifting. The power of God really is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we have overlooked issues of character, and humility in particular, we have paid a price. 2. Do not rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and proces implications, we have had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land without seeing the pillar of cloud and fire is foolishness. 3. Leaders need to take responsibility and initiative for their own growth and development. As leaders invest time in personal growth and development, they shape all those who look. Read more.
Last week we did an exercise listing our “Turning Point Lessons” out of our twenty-one year history. The following are my edits and summary out of that discussion. Character is more important than gifting. Being is more important than doing. When we have overlooked issues of character because of anointing, effectiveness, leadership abilities, etc., we have always paid a price. Don’t rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and process implications, we have had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land is one thing. The pillar of cloud and fire saying it is time to go in is another. Leaders need to take responsibility for their growth and development. My journey, along with Geri’s, has had a profound impact on NLF. As we invest time in our personal growth and development, we are shaping all those who look to us for leadership. A clear, differentiated vision results in a unified leadership and. Read more.