Who is your “enemy” today? I’m referring to someone who drives you crazy, who irritates you, a person you resent because they’ve hurt you or betrayed you. This is, undoubtedly, one of the largest challenges for each of us A number of years ago, while on a Trappist monastery retreat, the Prior shared a profound insight about enemies as “saint-makers,” and that, whenever we live in community, God sends them to us as a gift. Why? So that we mature into the likeness of Jesus. In this podcast I talk about a number of powerful truths around Jesus’ command: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? (Matthew 5:43,46). For example, you will learn why: Few things are more important than learning not to judge, or despise, others. Our enemies are not an interruption to our spiritual life with God,. Read more.
Instead of highlighting The Fastest Growing Churches, I recommend we highlight The Slowest Churches, i.e. those that help us most to slow down and pay attention to God, ourselves, and others. When our churches continually remind our people that “only one thing is needful,” we strategically position them to be a gift to the world (Luke 10:42). Here are 5 reasons why I believe this is true: Going slow makes possible… The doing of God’s best plans. I love the story, told in Wayne Mueller’s Sabbath, of a USA international agency in the 1990’s and their frenzied plan to address needs of a famine in equatorial Africa. In failing to be quiet, listen to the people, and study the soil, they developed a short-term solution that actually worsened the problem in the long term. We too are dangerous when we move at high speed. The receiving of Scripture in our hearts. According to Jesus,. Read more.
We often see elephants in the room as interruptions when, in reality, they are gifts and opportunities. Elephants, as I explained in last week’s blog, are those inappropriate or immature behaviors that remain unacknowledged and unaddressed on our teams. Dealing with elephants is a central part of what it means to be a leader. Of course, elephants show up on our teams. The higher up, or deeper in, people progress as leaders, the more their immaturities and gaps reveal themselves. Simply think of Jesus and his team of disciples. These are God’s gifts for us to invest in our team members and shape the culture of the ministry or organization we lead. I have 30 years of wrestling with elephants and have made innumerable mistakes, many of which are recounted in The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Nonetheless, out of these failures, and some successes, 5 elements on how to deal with elephants have emerged for. Read more.
The word “listen” or “hear” is found more than 1500 times in the Bible. The problem is that it is easy to lead FOR God without listening TO God. That is why the most important question every one of us must ask throughout our days is: “God, how are you coming to me, what might you want to say?” The question then needs to be applied specifically to different areas of our lives. Let me provide you with a few examples of what that looks like in my life: Time with God. “God, how are you coming to me in Scripture and silence today?” At times he leads me to linger over a passage, a phrase, or a text for days – even weeks. At times he leads me to read whole books of Scripture in one sitting. While I practice 20 minutes of silence and stillness each morning, I am also listening to. Read more.
I am a great lover of books. I am also a believer that reading broadly and deeply is foundational if we are to offer good leadership in a rapidly changing and global context. Reading offers unique opportunities for us to grow, expand into worlds beyond our own, and to be mentored by people we will never meet. Here are my top 10 books from the last six months that you may want to consider adding to your list: 1. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis – Robert D. Putnam Putnam, a Harvard social scientist, has written a classic that I believe is a “must read” for church leadership teams. He explores in penetrating detail how rich and poor Americans are now living, learning, and raising children in increasingly separate and unequal worlds. Moreover, he shows convincingly that we are facing a crisis in that kids from privileged backgrounds are starting and finishing further and further. Read more.
Moses understood that when we are still, God fights for us. When the Israelites were under enormous pressure from Pharaoh, he said: “Do not be afraid… The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” (Ex. 14:13-14) One of the greatest gifts we can offer the church, and the world, is a return to the biblical practice of silence and stillness. But like Moses, we must learn it first. All religions practice silence. What makes silence unique for us is that we are silent before the Lord. For unless we learn to be quiet in God’s presence and not simply talk, how will our relationship with Him develop any depth? How will we hear Him? The core of the EH Spirituality Course and the EH Relationships Course is about equipping people to be with Jesus in silence, stillness, and Scripture. We do. Read more.