Just returned from an EHS trip to Brazil to train Pastors and leaders who represented over a hundred thousand people. Here are some “fun facts” and reflections. No black tea in the country. We are tea drinkers but Brazil is the world’s largest producer for coffee of the last 150 years. We were in tea withdrawal. “Fala ingles?“ When I went to the mall looking for chocolate I could not find anyone who spoke English (I asked at least a dozen people). I bought the wrong chocolate (it was wrapped and I didn’t know it was white chocolate). Sao Paulo alone has enough cars to go around the globe twice. That explains why there are so many auto shops and why a 27 min. ride to the airport takes 90 min. in rush hour. People everywhere. Sao Paulo has 20 million people. NYC has 8 million. But Sao Paul is less than ½ the size of. Read more.
It is always a rich privilege to step outside one’s context and world. This trip was no exception. The following are a few additional learnings I noted on the way home yesterday: 1. God is moving all over the world. God reminded me of this text often during this trip – “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you” (Colossians 1:6). 2. The impact of China. With 1.3 billion people and a church about 100 million strong, the economic, spiritual, cultural, and political influence of China is staggering. Few of us in the USA or the West, I think, appreciate this reality. 3. South Africa. One church we visited had about 400 white South Africans. Perth, Australia has over 100,000 more. Why? Violence and racial tensions. Having spent a most of my adult life wrestling with racial tensions here in the USA,. Read more.
As with our time in New Zealand, we experienced a very full 7 days in Singapore, teaching 3 different seminars to over 500 pastors/leaders, and speaking to 1600 people at a plenary session. We had the privilege to interact and learn from leaders from China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myunnmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei. How did God come to us? 1. The groundswell of the life of God in Asia is quite distinct from our 35 years of leadership in the United States. There is an aliveness, a power, a passion, a creativity, and a movement of the Holy Spirit that is impossible to miss. The sheer number of Christians in China (estimates put it at 100 million) dwarfs North America. The center of Christianity truly has moved away from North America and Europe to Asia (along with Latin America and Africa). 2. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality seems to meet a profound felt need. Read more.
Our 3 country, 6 city tour. First up was New Zealand. What does an “emotionally healthy speaking tour” look like? What are the unique factors that have to be built in – at least for us? How does the gift of limits apply to us as we step into this new arena? We arrived in NZ with a full cup and began a 3-city tour, in different parts of the country, each separated by a plane flight. This was akin to getting on the bus “SPEED” – with fifteen-hour days (EHL seminar from 9-4:30 and a 7-9:15 EH Marriage Seminar in each city.) We thought the travel days would be recovery days but they turned out to be a different kind of “work” – traveling by car and plane, encountering storms and 2 days of lost luggage, along with the unpredictable factors that come with a new culture. By the end of the week,. Read more.
The following is from Rich Villodas, our associate lead pastor at New Life. Rich, along with Geri and two other staff, spent 5 days together at a spiritual formation academy last week. His reflections provide a unique perspective (that of an outstanding, 34 year old leader/pastor) on the application of EHS to a large growing church. Last week, Geri Scazzero, Phil Varghese and Rosy Kandathil and I, completed a 5-day intensive spiritual formation retreat. The retreat was put together by the Academy for Spiritual Formation. The retreat was in Wichita, Kansas (my first time in KS). I wanted to capture some highlights and reflections as a way to remind myself of the deep work that God did in me this week, as well as to share some learnings/highlights to our New Life community. So, here are my top 10 highlights from this past week: 1) The Faculty: Marjorie Thompson and Robert Mulholland know Jesus. I mean, really know Jesus. They have. Read more.
Having too much to do in too little time is normal. Leighton Ford, my wise mentor for over 30 years, once told me: “Pete, the problem is that if you are faithful to Christ over the long-haul, the demands on your time and energy will only increase as you get older. This problem of having too much to do in too little time is never going away.” The great challenge is to lead yourself first. Consider the following reflections (written to myself) from my journal: Be calm and clear about yourself. You can only be clear about where you are and your own “true self in Christ.” Your inner tensions today are a call from God for additional time for prayer and reflection to wrestle with your “inner demons” so that you can to listen to His will and priorities (See Matthew 4:1-11). Hold onto what God has given you to do and do. Read more.