I remain firmly committed to doing our study/exegesis of texts that we preach, basing our sermons firmly on having dug deep into Scripture. Eugene Peterson says it well: “Exegesis doesn’t take charge of the text and impose superior knowledge to it; it enters the heart of the text and lets the text “read” us. Exegesis is an act of sustained humility. There is so much about this text I will never know.” (Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book). However, the following are ten questions to which I return over and over again – both for myself and our Teaching Team at New Life: 1. Is my “heart at rest?” This is a phrase out of the famous Lao Tsu poem “The Woodcarver“. It parallels Jesus’ time with the Father before His own preaching. This is about slowing down enough to ensure my life and teaching is flowing from the love of God. 2. Have. Read more.
I have just completed a month reflecting on Mark 1 and the rhythms of Jesus. The following is a nice visual of His being with God (contemplation) and His doing (activity). So the question is what might it look like for us to withdraw to a desert in our daily lives, to engage in the rhythms of Jesus of “Being with the Father” and “Doing/Activity.” The following are a few suggestions, many of which come from David Benner’s excellent new book Opening to God. • Pause for Sabbath for 24 hr. each week (Stop, rest, delight, contemplate). • Pause for Daily Office two to three times a day. • Sunday worship/Small group– to worship/sit under the Word. • Read a passage of Scripture and listening for God’s personal word to you. • Light a candle in your home. • Allow music to draw your spirit to God’s Spirit. • Review your day and noticing. Read more.
I just finished reading Jim Collins’, How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, and found it filled with excellent insights. While his study and work is focused on corporations and why great ones decline, a number of the principles he lays out have application to the leadership of churches and non-profits. The following were 3 highlights for me with particular application to my journey in answering the question, “What does an emotionally healthy leader look like? How does one bring contemplative leadership that waits on the Lord and actually leads?” Be careful about being distracted from your primary, core values that make you who you are (He calls it your primary flywheel). In our case, it is emotional health and contemplative spirituality, reconciliation and leading people to deep, personal relationships with Jesus Christ here in NYC. He observed that great painters (Picasso), musicians (Beethoven), and companies (Walmart) continue to intensely and. Read more.
As thirty churches have finished up the EHS Church-Wide Initiative and I have continued to interact with Pastors around North America, I am now convinced that defining success is a critical question for us in leadership. Sadly, it has been defined narrowly as numbers and budgets. I don’t think I am going too far in saying that may be idolatry and the very antithesis of the mustard-seed nature of Jesus’ kingdom. To do leadership in the church differently is no small challenge. The following is my first draft for success as a Senior Pastor (for me): 1. Walk in Integrity – with God, self, and others. This is reflected in a sense of peace, rest and a life filled with communion with Him. 2. Experience a joyful marriage with Geri where our we serve our children and others out of a cup that overflows. 3. Provide leadership in short, mid and long range issues that is thoughtful, prudent,. Read more.