For the first 1500 years of the church, singleness was considered the preferred state; it was considered the best way to serve Christ if you were a leader. Singles sat in the front of the church. Marrieds were sent to the back. After the Reformation in 1517 AD, single people were sent to the back and marrieds moved to the front – at least among Protestants. Yet the New Testament describes, and deeply affirms, two types of Christian singles. The first is a vowed celibacy, for those who “renounce marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.” They freely choose not to marry but to set themselves apart in a total, exclusive and lifelong gift to Christ and His church. A very few are invited to receive this grace and gift from him (Matt. 19:11-12). The vast majority of Christian single leaders fall into the category of dedicated celibates. This term encompasses a broad range. Read more.
I preached a sermon last Sunday called: Relaxing In The Deep Center at New Life Fellowship. It brought together weeks of wrestling with the the key to unlocking how Jesus lived and breathed out of a deep centeredness of loving union with the Father. He stated simply: “My Father is at work to this very day and I too am working” (John 5:17). What can we do, in our 21st century world, to also mature into deeply anchored people who relax in loving union with the Father? The following are the 3 spiritual practices that, I believe, are indispensable: 1. Silence and Solitude. These are the two most countercultural, challenging disciplines today. As Nouwen has said, “Without solitude it is almost impossible to have a spiritual life.” How much do you have now? How much do you need? 2. Self-Care Sabbaths – God built this intentionally into ancient Israel’s life. We too are to pause weekly, monthly,. Read more.
I won’t put things most important, like self-care, at the mercy of things least important, like always putting others before myself. I will actively pursue a day of rest and what is fun for me. I will make time for those things that are a delight to my unique soul.
I received a letter recently that I wrote to myself after a 3 day retreat over seven months ago. It reminded me again that I am the most difficult person for me to lead! The following are a few rich nuggets of gold from this short letter: 1. Remember what you are all about. (In my case, it was to take 30-50% of my time to write). 2. Guard your spirit from trifles, fast from overconsuming, and forget what others think. (See “The Woodcarver” story). 3. Feel your own weight and density. There is no need to wear other people’s faces (See the poem, “Now I Become Myself”). 4. Go to the fields and be lovely. Come back when you are through with blooming. (See the poem entitled, “Camas Lillies). 5. Stay the course and be kind to yourself. For a free sermon I preached on what it means to live a life where. 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.
When I was in high school and elementary school, I did what most of my friends did — I skimmed for tests. Learning the material was not important. What was important was to get a good grade, to survive, to get through it. Most Christian leaders/pastors skim today. We skim on ourselves, our self-care. We have so much to do, so many demands that we figure we can catch up on our sleep some other time. The space we need for Sabbath-keeping, replenishing our soil, reading, relaxing, etc. can happen later, some some other time. We lie to ourselves that all is okay. We skim on our relationship with God. There are sermons to prepare, calls to return, people to visit, e mails to read. So our devotional lives are weak and we carry a general cloud of guilt. We skim on our marriages and children. Our families rarely demand us out of a crisis so we. Read more.