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Tag Archives: soul

Exponential, Church Planting, and the Temptations of the Wilderness

This past week I presented two workshops at “the largest gathering of church planters in the world” – at the Exponential Conference.  Over 5000 people attended while another 20,000 leaders watched through a live webcast. It was extraordinary to see so many men and women with a passion to serve Jesus and offer their entire lives to advance His kingdom in the 21st century. I was in awe of God as I listened to speakers and learned new things about what God was doing in different parts of the world. As I interacted, however, with young pastors, missionaries, superintendents, and denominational leaders, it became readily apparent (to me at least) that at least four temptations threaten to derail what God wants to do through His church going forward: 1. Drivenness – Cattle are driven. Sheep are led. The word doesn’t belong in our vocabulary. The primary call for us as preachers/leaders/pastors is to embrace a. Read more.

I Will Quit Dying to the Wrong Things

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.

Staying Grounded

Last year, a large psychiatric hospital in Queens opened up a small bookstore a few blocks from my house. The employees are “severely mentally ill adult patients.” I initially began going to buy cheap, second-hand books for $2.00 or less. But I have found myself returning more and more. Why? I finally got it. I return for my soul. I love being with the staff. They are kind, unassuming, and unpretentious. I finally understood why Henri Nouwen became a chaplain for mentally and physically challenged adults at L’Arche. His words below are worth reading slowly. “The first thing that struck me when I came to live in a house for mentally handicapped people was their liking or disliking me had absolutely nothing to do with any of the many useful things I had done until then. Since nobody could read my books, they could not impress anyone, and since most of them never went to. Read more.

Only Silent Leaders Hear

Rosa Parks was an African-American woman living in the segregated South in the 1950s. On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks did something she was not supposed to do: she sat down at the front of a bus in one of the seats reserved for whites — ​a dangerous, daring, and provocative act in a racist society. [When asked,] “Why did you sit down at the front of the bus that day?” Rosa Parks did not say that she sat down to launch a movement . . . She said, “I sat down because I was tired.” She meant that her soul was tired, her heart was tired, her whole being was tired (quoted in The Emotionally Healthy Woman, by Geri Scazzero). Rosa Parks made a decision that day to live divided no more. Rosa Parks said to herself: “I cannot not do this.” She changed history. Leadership requires we ask the difficult question: “Is the life. Read more.

Sorrow that Transforms – Newtown, CT

We join the families of those twenty children as we watch their funerals – two yesterday and, probably, more today. Jeremiah wrote a book called Lamentations in the midst of his unspeakable horror. David wrote two-thirds of the Psalms out of his pain. Consider the words of Gerald Sittser. May they serve you as they have served me. In A Grace Disguised, after the horrific loss of his daughter, wife, and mother in a car accident, he wrote: “Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same. There is no going back to the past…It is not therefore true that we become less through loss – unless we allow the loss to make us less, grinding our soul down until there is nothing left…Loss can also make us more. I did not get over the loss of my loved ones; rather, I. Read more.

Leading Yourself

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.