I have spent a long, relaxed time in the Sermon on the Mount over the last seven months, meditating and studying what may be the greatest sermon ever delivered in human history. The radical nature of discipleship, as laid out by Jesus, has shaken me to my core and reminded me of Karl Barth’s famous dictum: We are always only beginners. Jesus ends Matthew chapter 5 in verse 48 with the words: Be perfect (i.e. perfectly mature) as your heavenly Father is perfect (i.e. perfectly mature). The word for perfect refers to a person coming of age, someone who is no longer a child or minor. They are now adults, i.e. spiritually mature. The question I have asked myself is: Am I really a spiritually mature adult according to Jesus’ standard? In chapter 5:17-47, Jesus describes the qualities of spiritual maturity. They are a challenge, to say the least. In this podcast I explore. Read more.
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.
“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left” Chinese proverb. Geri and I now depart with respect (for our partners The Willow Creek Association New Zealand and Australia, and Eagles Communications in Singapore, along with New Life Fellowship Church out of which EHS flows), with affection (for the many wonderful people we have met), and with gratitude (for the people who worked hard to serve EHS in this part of the world). I think we are finally getting it that EHS offers a powerful message of deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation that resonates around the world, and not simply in New York City. At the same time, a consistent thread weaved itself through this trip – our doing must flow from our being. In other words, live the message we preach, giving out of the overflow of a full cup. What does that look like when we are traveling?. Read more.
Here are my final 3 books that have shaped my walk with Christ: Fill These Hearts, Christopher West All of us are here because of sexuality. God has built it not only into our bodies but into the core of the universe. To read Christopher West is to ignite one’s heart about all the ways God has given us to know Him and satisfy our deepest hungers. The study of God (theology) is built right into our bodies. Dance of Anger, Harriet Lerner I have found that anger is a very complex, misunderstood emotion and causes a lot of pain by being ignored and/or abused. We’re not any holier for stuffing it and worse off if we explode. Christians need to learn how to acknowledge and process anger. Lerner practically unpacks the emotion of anger. Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer, David Benner David’s book brought me to heaven each time I opened it reminding. Read more.
After 9 months of planning Pete and I celebrated our daughter’s wedding last Sat. with about 180 guests. Out of that experience we realized there is such a thing as an “Emotionally Healthy Wedding.” Here are a few reflections as to what made it such a distinct, rich experience: 1. We Recognized Our Peerage. Our peerage with Christy had been established years ago. (We have done it with each of our daughters in young adulthood). We were not in a one-up, adult-child relationship. 2. We Clearly Expressed that the Most Important Thing for us was their Premarital Preparation. This was part of our gift to them. 3. We Gave a Gift of a Fixed Amount of Money and Let Go. Because this was a gift, they controlled the wedding, not us. There were no strings attached. They made the decisions and asked us for input along the way. 4. We Recognized the Most Important. Read more.
Benedict (480-547 AD) lived in the time when the Roman Empire was disintegrating. He founded a monastery near Rome around “a little rule for beginners” now famously known as the “Rule of Benedict” (RB). I reread this short, powerful work regularly for my own grounding, both as a leader and a follower of Jesus. Prayerfully consider the following, letting God speak to you through one or two of Benedict’s radical insights into discipleship/spiritual formation: 1. “This message is for you, then, if you are ready to give up your own will” (Prologue 3). 2. “Therefore we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service” (Prologue 45). 3. “Above all, he (the abbot) must not show too great concern for the fleeting and temporal things of this world…but should keep in mind that he has undertaken the care of souls for whom he must give an account” (RB 2:33-34). 4. “Your way of acting should. Read more.