“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left” Chinese proverb. Geri and I now depart with respect (for our partners The Willow Creek Association New Zealand and Australia, and Eagles Communications in Singapore, along with New Life Fellowship Church out of which EHS flows), with affection (for the many wonderful people we have met), and with gratitude (for the people who worked hard to serve EHS in this part of the world). I think we are finally getting it that EHS offers a powerful message of deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation that resonates around the world, and not simply in New York City. At the same time, a consistent thread weaved itself through this trip – our doing must flow from our being. In other words, live the message we preach, giving out of the overflow of a full cup. What does that look like when we are traveling?. Read more.
A friend recently asked Pete and I for some of the books that have most shaped our journey with Christ.I was surprised at how easily several came to my mind. I noticed a couple things: I follow authors more than books so each author is a person whom I respect and resonate with. I love books that, for me, are profound but nuanced in very practical ways. I read them more than once. I read them slowly and prayerfully. Here are my first three: 1. Let Your Life Speak… Parker Palmer 2. A Hidden Wholeness….Parker Palmer These two books articulated for me the essential truth that life is lived from the inside out. Leadership/churches can have all the “best” programs in the world but if one is not in touch with the interior movements of their heart, then life is just a matter of adjusting chairs on the Titanic. Doing must flow from being.. Read more.
Geri spent fourteen years pondering the eight I Quits. Then we spent almost two years writing the book, excavating the biblical foundations and complexity of the material. We spent quite a bit of time reflecting on our journeys with these truths, looking at how they have become so intricately interwoven with our walks with Christ. This past week (Jan. 9, 2011) we began an 8 week sermon series at New Life to expand on these truths.We see I Quit as only an introduction to something much larger and far-reaching — on all levels (for leaders, pastors, communities,parents, singles, marriages, etc). They are essential if we are going to truly lead our churches to become life-transforming communities for Christ. The problem is so vast that there is no other way. Enjoy this recently published article from the Washington Post. “I quit!” I told my husband. “I’m leaving our church. This no longer brings me life. It brings me death.”. Read more.
Geri and I have been deeply influenced in how we lead teams and small groups by Circles of Trust developed by Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage to Renewal http://www.couragerenewal.org/ . The insights from Circles of Trust form the backdrop and foundation of our efforts to create healthy community at New Life. In fact just last month we launched our small group of 22 people! The following are a few sample guidelines we shared with our small group at our first meeting: Speak for Yourself – Use “I” statements as much as possible. No Fixing, Saving, or Advising – Jesus alone is the Savior Turn to Wonder – If you feel judgemental or defensive when someone is sharing, ask yourself, “I wonder what brought him/her to this belief?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about me?” Silence – It is okay to have silence between responses as the group shares, giving members opportunity to reflect. Share for Yourself,. Read more.
We invited two young Franciscan friars from a monastic community in the South Bronx to give the sermon at New Life last Sunday. We interviewed them for 35 minutes at each of our three services. [Spirituality and Simplicity – 10.31.10 from New Life Fellowship on Vimeo.] A Panel Discussion with Franciscan Friars from the South Bronx- As part of our Financially Healthy Spirituality series; Matthew 6:24 While we have been learning from Christians from other traditions (i.e.Roman Catholic and Orthodox) for many years, I was very aware that having monks in the pulpit might push the limits of “acceptable practice” for our interdenominational, evangelical church. It did push those limits outward and we had a few uncomfortable moments. Yet it was well worth the rich learnings for our community. These learnings included: 1. We are to be generous, not judgmental. We really are not the whole body of Christ. God is active and moving among people very different than us, even. Read more.
We (Geri and Pete) recently watched a movie that we have talked about for days – Temple Grandin. The movie describes her life as an autistic young girl who courageously overcomes the limitations and severe challenges of life with autism in the 1960’s when so little was understood about it. She goes on to high school and college, and today is a professor at Colorado State University. Through the telling of her life with autism, Temple gives to the world numerous gifts. Two of those gifts, in particular, resonated deeply with two of our foundational spiritual practices. 1.We Each Need a “Squeeze Machine.” Temple created this “hug box” or “squeeze machine” to help calm her down as a hypersensitive, autistic person when overwhelmed. We too know what it is like to have our nervous system overloaded by the crisis of life. Every one of us needs a means to calm us down and to. Read more.