“But they soon forgot what he had done, and did not wait for his counsel.” (Ps. 106:13). In other words, they did not wait for “God’s activity in and around them to unfold” (literal translation of the Hebrew). They were in too much of a hurry. They allowed mistrust and impatience to blind them. This may be our most difficult task. Like my friends in 12 steps groups for alcohol and drugs, I remain in recovery as an “impatient leader” who will wrestle till I die with the slow, unfolding plans of God. God is shaping the work we do for Him as an expert potter. There is no way we can understand what He is doing from our limited perspective as clay. We must do our due diligence in strategic planning, thinking, and setting goals. At the same time, we must pray with an open hand and wait. God’s plans always take time. Read more.
I spent a good part of this week reflecting on more than twenty-five years of preaching as I spoke this morning at a Preaching Rocket conference here at New Life in NYC. Others, like Andy Stanley, have done an outstanding job describing the craft around preaching. My task was to consider the unique applications of emotional healthy spirituality to the preaching/teaching task. The following are the ten questions to which I return over in preparation my own sermons and work with our NLF Preaching Team: Am I contemplatively grounded in God Am I centered in myself? Am I allowing the text to intersect deeply with my family of origin? Am I preaching out of my vulnerability and weakness? Am I allowing the text to transform my spiritual journey? Am I surrendering to the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension process? Am I taking sufficient time to think through clear and pointed applications? Am I thinking. Read more.
Geri and I were in the car last weekend driving in beautiful upstate New York, taking one of our daughters to look at colleges and began talking about the dynamics of leadership. Soon, we realized we had stumbled upon a simple, but powerful process of leading well – at least in God’s church — that is now helping us quite a bit. 1. Monitor Your Heart. Whether it is preparing for sermons, reading a book on strategy, sitting through a staff meeting, or deciding on priorities, I am guarding my heart. Is my motive really God’s glory or is this about me? Am I anxious? If so why, and how is that impacting my decisions now? Am I avoiding a challenging reality? a confrontation? Is the content of this sermon I am preparing simply head knowledge? How does it speak to my life? Am I really living what I am preaching? This of course requires. Read more.