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Tag Archives: sabbath keeping

Singapore and Southeast Asia (Pilgrimage Reflection #6)

As with our time with Willow Creek 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 large 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 me/us? 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). Emotionally Healthy Spirituality meets a profound felt need of. Read more.

Sabbath and the False Self

Henri Nouwen writes in The Way of the Heart that “solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.” He explores how we can fashion our own desert where we can withdraw (since we are not in a monastery), shake off our compulsions, and cultivate a life in the presence of the Jesus. “Solitude,” he writes, “is not simply a means to an end. Solitude is its own end. It is the place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us.” Nouwen notes that since our secular culture does not offer us spiritual disciplines, we have to cultivate our own. “We are responsible for our own solitude,” he argues. I believe the baby step to begin the pathway to this kind of transforming solitude is Sabbath-keeping. I have yet to find a detour around this. Read more.

Sabbath and Our Terror of Death

I have been teaching pastors and leaders about Sabbath-keeping for over a decade. Why is it then that so few actually stop to receive this wonderful gift (Mark 2:27)? The root answer lies, I believe, in the place from which we have our sense of self. If our sense of self comes from our work, accomplishments, or ministry, then stopping our work to can be quite terrifying. It touches our deep anxieties about our own deaths. Many of us come carry a great deal of shame, an intensely painful feeling or experience of being flawed. It may come from a background of abuse (as was my history), or a deep well of pain and regret. We feel unworthy of the rich delights and love God offers us in Sabbath. It is easier to just keep working –even if our lives are spinning out of control. Sabbath is about letting ourselves be seen by God. Sabbath. Read more.

Hard Lessons Learned (Revisited)

  Last week I preached on this at the twentieth anniversary service of Iglesia Nueva Vida. I was senior pastor of the church for five years before Pastor Julio Rodriquez took over leadership and greatly expanded the work. They now number about a 1000 people and have over 90 works in Latin America. You can listen to this bilingual message if you like by clicking here. (I actually begin speaking 1 hour and 12 minutes into the video).  The following are the hard lessons that I wished someone had taught me 24 years ago when I began pastoring: 1. Be Yourself. I spent too much time in my early years trying to be someone I was not. As Rumi said, “To live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage.” David models this for us in 1 Sam. 17 as he takes off Saul’s armor. This takes great courage and faith. 2. Seek. Read more.

Autism, Slaughterhouses and the Spiritual Life (Temple Grandin)

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.

Contemplative Leadership — of Yourself and Others

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love (John 15:9). I  have just concluded an active season, more active than I would have liked. I am sobered how easily, through one or two new commitments, the pace of my life quickened. Rushing increased.  My anxiety level heightened. I struggled to remain thoughtful. Contemplative Leadership of ourselves, out of which we lead others, is challenging. I have to remind myself of the following four guidelines that are indispensable if I am “to remain in His love.”  1. Do One Thing At A Time— For me this means being present in every meeting, whether it is in worship, a one-on-one mentoring time, answering an e-mail, or watching my daughter’s track meet. This means limiting e-mail to fixed times during the day and not trying to squeeze more into the day than God intends. 2. Honor Transitions– Taking time between meetings at church is very difficult but key. Read more.