God invites us to practice the presence of people within an awareness of His presence. That is no small task, especially at this time of year. How then can we do this? By intentionally practicing His presence first. No greater teacher can offer us insight on how to do this better than Brother Lawrence, a 16th century Carmelite from Paris. I reread The Practice of the Presence of God every couple of years to remind myself of his simple, timeless wisdom. Here are a few of his gems for you to prayerfully consider this Christmas: I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence…which I may call an actual presence of God; or, to speak better, a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God. The time of business does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of the kitchen, while several persons. Read more.
Are you suffering from “success” that is making you spiritually sick? The toxic success for most of us pastors and leaders has more to do with numbers and growth than it does with money or “things.” Nonetheless, it remains a very real sickness in the church. Here is a survey I adapted from an inventory Paul Pearsall developed in his provocative book, Toxic Success. Would the people how know you best say that: 1. Your success is coming at the price of being insensitive, and even oblivious, to the needs around you?2. You vacillate from high energy to total crashing.3. You are grumpy and don’t laugh easily.4. People are afraid to bother you because you’re too busy.5. You’re almost always doing several things at once.6. People have trouble getting and keeping your attention.7. You don’t touch or hug much.8. You are perfectionistic and controlling.9. You’re critical and intolerant of other people.10. You often feel annoyed. Read more.
Are you suffering from “success” that is making you spiritually sick? The toxic success for most of us pastors and leaders has more to do with numbers and growth than it does with money or “things.” Nonetheless, it remains a very real sickness in the church. Here is a survey I adapted from an inventory Paul Pearsall developed in his provocative book, Toxic Success. Would the people how know you best say that: 1. Your success is coming at the price of being insensitive, and even oblivious, to the needs around you? 2. You vacillate from high energy to total crashing. 3. You are grumpy and don’t laugh easily. 4. People are afraid to bother you because you’re too busy. 5. You’re almost always doing several things at once. 6. People have trouble getting and keeping your attention. 7. You don’t touch or hug much. 8. You are perfectionistic and controlling. 9. You’re critical. Read more.
Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities for people with severe mental and physical disabilities, recently offered an interview with Krista Tippett on her show, On Being. Vanier, one of those few hidden, great Christ-followers, is now 85 years old. The following are, in his own words, a few rich insights from that interview. I invite you to read them slowly and prayerfully. 1. The deepest desire for us all is to be appreciated, to be loved, and to be seen as someone of value. 2. Martin Luther King Jr. rightly said that we will continue to despise people until we have loved and accepted what is despicable in ourselves. 3. We need to love people, not because they are beautiful, but because they are human. 4. Those considered marginalized and disabled can restore balance to the world as to what is important, i.e. love and tenderness. 5. The goal of L’Arche is not to change. Read more.
Tony Campolo frequently points out that Matt.7:1-5 does not teach “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Instead, it means we are to: “Love the sinner and hate your own sin.” Thomas Merton made a similar point: “If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate those things in yourself, not in another.” Geri and I just completed our 3-city tour in New Zealand (EHS in partnership with the Willow Creek Association NZ). I was particularly struck by the generous spirit of believers on issues that are particularly contentious and divisive in the USA. Consider the following: Charismatic Baptists. While I know of one or two pastors who might identify themselves as such, this is quite common in New Zealand. Women pastors and elders. We met many here on this tour. Learning from the multicultural, global church. The church I preached in last Sunday had 38 nations represented. I particularly. Read more.
This is ABC TV panel is worth 15 minutes of your time. Observe a healthy, kind discussion around the divisive issues of our day in the USA. This is an excellent example of godly disagreement among Christians with an Islamic spokesperson and a woman representing atheism/secularism also at the table. I love Southern Baptist’s Richard Land gentle, civil disagreement with Jim Wallis of Sojourners: “There’s a difference between the authority of Scripture and our understanding of Scripture.” Calvin Butts from Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem also does a great job presenting his position. Unfortunately your browser does not support IFrames.