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Tag Archives: Summer

Summer Spirituality

The Bible teaches there is a time and a season for “everything under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). God has built this into the very fabric of nature’s seasons as we observe the cycle of death and newness every winter and summer. Our churches experience seasons. And so do we. I have violated God’s seasons in my leadership more times than I want to remember. Over the years, however, I have discerned a summer spirituality, or rhythm, that can be summarized in three words. Receive. Summers are a time to do less and to be more. Providing leadership in God’s church is demanding. Our soil needs to be replenished. In summer, I read broadly (e.g. novels) and play more. Geri is taking an online course in spiritual direction in July and August. I am traveling to Philadelphia to visit with a long-term mentor. We are also attending a 2-day marriage conference integrating neuroscience and relationships. How. Read more.

Emotionally Healthy Preaching

During my summer vacation (or mini-Sabbatical), I had the opportunity to visit a few churches. I heard some well-delivered sermons  with excellent illustrations, sharp deliveries, and technological grabbing support. I had, however, some observations that, I think, are worth pondering about what makes preaching out of a paradigm of emotional healthy spirituality quite distinct. While this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, this is what I would like to say to myself and my fellow-communicators who have the unique privilege to speak for God to His people out of what I heard this summer: 1. This is not about us or our validation. It is not about people moving towards us but towards Jesus.   2. We must preach out of deep place of prayer as foundational to our preparation. 3. Respect complexity. especially as it relates to applications.  What does it mean, “God wants us to triumph?” “Position yourself properly?” Praise God sacrificially?” “Trust. Read more.

Summer Reading on Sabbath Vacation

A number of years ago Geri and I began structuring our vacations as mini-sabbaticals, taking the 4 principles of our weekly Sabbaths- Stop, Rest, Delight and Contemplate. One of the most delightful aspects of vacation for me is to read broadly. The following is a sample of what I have been reading the last few weeks. 1. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson.  This was my favorite read. I felt it was much better written than his Three Cups of Tea. It was so good I didn’t want it to end and put it down for 3 weeks before finishing.  I love Mortenson’s creativity and ability to think outside the box, his clear vision, and his willingness to take risks. God used this book to give me a love for the people of Afghanistan. 2. Russka: The Novel of Russia, Edward Rutherfurd. This outstanding historical novel on the founding and history of. Read more.

Summer Reflections: China, Wendell Berry and the Gift of Limits

China is on the move! I saw this clearly while in Southeast Asia this summer and recently read When China Rules the World: the Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World, by Martin Jacques.   In 10 years China will have 1.4 billion people, or 21% of the world’s population. Their economy, unlike ours, is booming. By 2027, experts say China will overtake the USA as the largest economy in the world and that, in 50 years, Beijing will be the world’s capital, not NYC. The drivenness , speed, and intensity to be bigger, larger,   richer, and upwardly mobile in China is staggering. This contrasted sharply with two novels by Wendell Berry, that I read this summer — Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow.  His themes include limits, the finite, the local and the small. These limits enable us, he writes, to grow in humility. And that this is the great. Read more.

Summer Reflections: WCA Leadership Summit

I normally like to write one  thoughtful blog per week. However, due to both vacation and the “pondering” time needed to reflect on the topics below, I am long overdue. I will start with the WCA Summit and finish with my next blog on China and Wendell Berry. WCA Leadership Summit, Aug.6-7, 2009. This was my first summit and I was extremely blessed, inspired, challenged, and encouraged by the speakers and flow of the conference. The gift of Bill  Hybels and Willow to the entire discussion around global church leadership was evident. There are few venues like the Summit to challenge and stretch leaders like this one. I plan to bring our entire staff next year. Concerns: 1. The Slowing Down Omission. The gift of leadership, like all spiritual gifts, has a shadow side and is potentially damaging. I know this only too well!  The fact that we can lead and seize opportunities for. Read more.

Summer, Our "Rule of Life," and God

I want to encourage you this summer to approach your vacations as mini-sabbaticals in which you build into your time away the same principles of weekly Sabbaths (Stop, Rest, Delight, Contemplate). Instead, then, of being time when you might drift from Him and return home tired, you actually renew your communion with Jesus and yourself. My vacations and summers were revolutionized a number of years ago when I began to do this. It takes planning, forethought, and prayer, especially when you are taking children into account! But it is well worth it! Ask yourself: STOP – What do I need to do to really cease from all my work? REST – What kind of things will enable me to rest this vacation? DELIGHT – What will replenish my soil and fill me with energy, and to delight in God’s gifts? CONTEMPLATE- How can I build in time with God during this extended time? What. Read more.