Elijah understood that silence and listening are the starting points for true, authentic spiritual leadership. Without it we lead from our own mind and ideas. But the only way to listen is to deeply engage the radical spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude – the most challenging and least experienced disciplines in the church today. Elijah lived in the desert for years – dependent on God alone for food and sustenance without projects or programs. The silence and solitude positioned him to listen and be formed into the leader God desired. The longer he remained in the silence of the desert, the more free he became to follow God’s direction. Studies say that the average group can only bear silence for 15 seconds. Most of our personal lives and church services confirm this. Yet it is essential that silence and solitude become a regular and normal part of our days and weeks. How else. Read more.
In our current hurried, multi-tasking culture, an increasingly large numbers of Christ-followers are not spending time to cultivate their personal relationship with Jesus. They are Christians but are stuck, living on a spiritual auto-pilot. I am teaching the EHS Course at New Life this Fall to about 130 people. It has been an eye-opening experience for me to dig deeply into people’s spiritual practices around spending time with God, and calling them to an intentional rhythm with God integrating silence and the Daily Office (through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day book). Not surprisingly, silence is the greatest challenge for most people along with the cultivation of a rhythm of stopping to be with God. My stopping to be with God four times a day is indispensable for my life. (In a future blog I will describe my rhythms). Let me invite you to watch this 3-4 minute introduction on the Daily Office and. Read more.
For years I heard the maxim: “Only the one who has learned to be silent is prepared to speak.” I would also add: “Only the one who has learned to be silent is prepared to lead.” Think about it: Paul, after his conversion, spent three years in a silent retreat in Arabia. Jesus spent thirty years of silence until he opened his mouth and began to teach. John the Baptist spent his adult life in the desert before he brought a word from God. Ezekiel said, “For seven days I sat in silence and was dumbfounded.” Job seven days in silence until he opened opened his mouth in anguish. Habbakkuk and Samuel waited before the Lord before they spoke. How can we learn to lead out of silence in the midst of our noisy world and churches? Slowly practice silence…. before, during, and after our words. This is a life work, and it can. 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.