One of the key tasks of leadership is to become increasingly differentiated. Our primary task, like Jesus, is to calmly differentiate our “true self” from the demands and voices around us, discerning the unique life the Father has given us . This requires that I get calm and clear about what God has given me to do, that I take the necessary time to get clear about my values and goals, and that I get the core of my validation needs met from His love. The following is a self-inventory to help you determine if you are growing in your level of differentiation: Your life is becoming easier. You are able to distinguish between thinking and feeling. You have a greater ability to manage your triggers. You worry less about what others think. People in your family do better. Your goals become clearer. You have an ability to “stay out” of others’ emotions. You. Read more.
One of the topics God opened up to me on Sabbatical was related to the indispensability of growing in humility. I was struck at what a major theme this was for the early church, especially in her first 500 years. Their understanding was that humility is the face of a pure heart. It was considered the one, unmistakable quality of the Christian life. I recommend Humility Matters: For Practicing the Spiritual Life byMargaret Funk. Her work led me back to John Cassian and Benedict of Nursia’s excellent writings on humility. The following is my adaptation and applications for my own leadership. I am following their classic schematic of progressively climbing a ladder with rungs. (Please note that any of these can be easily abused without a framework of emotional health). Step 1 – Put to death all desires but God – Application: Ensure I have ample time with God, balancing time alone with Him. Read more.
Last Sunday was a historic moment at New Life as had our first ever “Silent Sermon.” The following is a sheet I handed out to our congregation to provide guidelines for them to practice silence as a spiritual discipline. To see the video, click here When God appeared to Elijah after his suicidal depression and flight from Jezebel, He told him to stand and wait for the presence of the Lord to pass by. But God did not appear in ways he had in the past. He was not in the wind (as with Job), an earthquake (as in Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments), or fire (as in the burning bush with Moses). As we read in 1 Kings 19:12, God finally revealed Himself to Elijah in “a sound of sheer silence.” The English translation of God coming “in a still, small voice” does not capture the original Hebrew intent, but what could. Read more.
How can this be true? The answer is simple: If I pray and spend large amounts of time and energy meditating on Scripture, fasting, silence, solitude, along with other spiritual disciplines, but do not love my enemies, it is not worth much. I think I am finally connecting the dots that the degree to which I love my enemies really does indicate the measure of my spiritual maturity. I have some growth to do! I attempted to summarize my learnings on this in my sermon last Sunday on Isaiah 58 called “Love Your Enemies, the ‘Saint Makers.” I began by asking: “Who is your enemy today (someone who drives you crazy, irritates you, you avoid or resent, or simply have a hard time loving)? The following are a few of the themes I continue to meditate on this week as I ask God to help me connect what I so often disconnect: 1. Nothing is more. Read more.
While I am a high extrovert who gathers energy from being with people, I love silence. So the highlight, up till now on my yearly visits to the Trappists has been the rhythms of the Daily Office, especially Vigils at 3:30 in the morning! And when the chants conclude at about 4:10 am, I generally go back to my “cell” and try to follow them in meditation and prayer until Lauds (the 2nd office of the day) at 6 am. I love their emphasis on the ordinary, the obscure and simplicity of work. This year, however, God met me very powerfully in a new way – through my spiritual direction and conferences with Father Dominic, the prior of the monastery. The prior would be like the COO or executive pastor of a large church. Formerly a professor at Georgetown University and a Dominican priest, he joined the Trappists 26 years ago to focus on. Read more.
I am often asked, “Pete, what exactly is emotionally healthy spirituality?” The above chart describes her five different components. 1. Contemplative Spirituality (Slow Down to Be With God). EHS is a commitment to slow down our lives in order to create a rhythm to be with Jesus. It is about creating space through contemplative practices (e.g. Daily Offices, Sabbath-Keeping, silence, solitude and Scripture) so that we remain in Jesus’ love. We draw deeply from the radical movement of the desert fathers as well as Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist in order that we might love others out of the love we have first received from Jesus Himself. 2. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – EHS recovers a number of lost biblical themes often ignored in evangelical discipleship. These include a theology of grieving (e.g. Psalms, Lamentations) and limits, of breaking the sinful patterns of our family of origin and cultures, loving well and brokenness as the basis by which we. Read more.