During my summer vacation (or mini-Sabbatical), I had the opportunity to visit a few churches. I heard some well-delivered sermons with excellent illustrations, sharp deliveries, and technological grabbing support. I had, however, some observations that, I think, are worth pondering about what makes preaching out of a paradigm of emotional healthy spirituality quite distinct. While this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, this is what I would like to say to myself and my fellow-communicators who have the unique privilege to speak for God to His people out of what I heard this summer: 1. This is not about us or our validation. It is not about people moving towards us but towards Jesus. 2. We must preach out of deep place of prayer as foundational to our preparation. 3. Respect complexity. especially as it relates to applications. What does it mean, “God wants us to triumph?” “Position yourself properly?” Praise God sacrificially?” “Trust. Read more.
I am in the process of re-reading John Cassian’s Conferences (c.365-c.435) and am so deeply affected by the depth and care with which his accounting of the desert father’s concern for purity of heart and for a life of unceasing prayer. What a contrast to the books and writings coming out of the church of today! I am both chagrined for I love the church and challenged to live free from the idols of power, money, approval, earthly security, etc. Cassian encourages me to call both myself and the larger church to a level of “apartness” difficult to understand living in the wealthiest country in the world. But I am challenged to go forward to pressing in here at NLF to go outside the box of contemporary church life and be a community that learns from the riches of the monastic tradition. So here is the third (of four) sections of the NLF Rule of Life we have only. Read more.