At the turn of every New Year, I do two things. First, I step back to prayerfully consider: What might God want us/me to do in 2015? What are the 5-6 measureable goals He is inviting us/me to focus on in 2015? Which is the most important? The second most important? Etc. Secondly, I remember Tertullian’s (160-220 AD) keen insight on patience: Tertullian writes: “Impatience is, as it were, the original sin in the eyes of the Lord. For, to put it in a nutshell, every sin is to be traced back to impatience. I find the origin of impatience in the Devil himself.” In a brilliant essay entitled “Of Patience,” he expounds on a truth we rarely talk about – i.e. God’s nature to be patient. “When the Spirit of God descends,” he writes, “Patience is His inseparable companion. If we fail to welcome it along with the Spirit, will the latter remain. Read more.
When we do staff retreats at New Life, we create “being” experiences before our “doing” of the actual work. We began, for example, one staff retreat by reviewing Jesus’ rhythms of solitude and ministry (Luke 4:1,11; Lk.4:42-43; 5:12-13; 6:12-18) followed by a discussion on an ancient, Chinese story called “The Woodcarver.” This truth of doing out of our being is so profound that I look for as many creative ways as possible to keep it before us through a wide assortment of mediums. Feel free to use this with your leadership team. Slowly read the poem twice, underlining and taking notes on what speaks to you. Afterwards, answer the questions that follow. THE WOODCARVER Khing, the master carver, made a bell stand of precious wood. When it was finished, All who saw it were astounded. They said it must be The work of spirits. The Prince of Lu said to the master carver: “What. Read more.
We need a radically different kind of spiritual formation of leaders in the 21st century. Rosy Kandithal, an assistant pastor/contemplative artist on our New Life staff team, is taking a year to learn at a monastery in Wisconsin. Why? To deepen her being and her roots in Jesus, to learn hiddenness with God, to learn to pray. She is going to learn Christian leadership from the margins. Scott Sunquist, Dean of Fuller’s School of Intercultural Ministry and one of the great historians of global church history of our day, writes:”from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries, Christian mission was kept alive not from the ecclesial center, but from them margins…The rise of monasticism was in part a missional renewal movement: to tear the church away from its early captivity to worldly power and riches.” In the famous School of the Persians at Nisibis, for example, over a thousand students lived in monastic cells. Trained. Read more.
Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them. Roslyn H. Wright, a Director of Field Education at Whitley College in Australia, visited me in NYC recently. The following are reflections out of her work with seminary students around “Incarnational goal setting”: 1. God’s calls us to courageously lead out of our ‘true self.’ “The problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self” (Thomas Merton). God gives to each of us a “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” with a unique working out of that gift in the Body and the world. The forces, internal and external, that move us away from that place of leading from within are enormous. 2. Prayer, particularly the Examen, along with a trusted community, is the foundation for. Read more.
“He who does not learn from the past is condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana This applies to all of life, especially to leaders called to discern the movements of the Holy Spirit. The following is an 11-minute church history lesson. It is intended to encourage us to learn from streams in the global church that are vastly different from our own. Take a look.
My prayer life has widened over the years. Daily silence and stillness before the Lord remains foundational for me. Yet now, I find myself additionally drawn to “the prayer of groaning” (I am not sure what else to call it). Scripture teaches that “the whole creation groans as in the pains of childbirth. We groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption…the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Rom. 8:22-26). The longer I follow Jesus, the more aware I am of my limitations. The needs around us are staggering – globally, nationally, locally, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in ourselves. Paul is right: “We don’t know what to pray.” Try allowing the Spirit to groan in and through you today as you carry different people or situations to the healing waters of the love of Jesus. Allow the groans to come. This “prayer of groaning” may be the kind of leadership He. Read more.