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Tag Archives: truth

Every Leader is Toxic

For years I heard the maxim: “Hire to your weaknesses.” A more important truism, however, might be: “Hire to minimize your toxicity.” I used to idealize gifted leaders who were “successful,” projecting on them a weight they could not bear. Getting close up to them always revealed their “dark” side, their limitations, and their toxicity. I found out they too were sinners, deeply impacted by the Fall just like me. What can we do then? None of us wants to unleash our toxicity into the organizations and communities we lead. Here are three suggestions: 1. Grow in Self-awareness. Ponder. Reflect. Invite feedback. Slow down to listen and ask questions.  My 22 year old recently commented on the way I took for granted the time of a young New Life staff person who was waiting to meet with me. After defending myself for a few minutes, the Holy Spirit quietly whispered, “Shut up and listen.”  I. Read more.

The Illusion of a "Strong" Church

What looks like great strength is actually great weakness. What appears to be great weakness is actually great strength. We think a “strong church” is big in numbers, powerful in influence, has great programs, lots of money, great buildings, a gifted staff, and tens of thousands of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram followers. As Jean Vanier says, the push of the world is to pretend we are big. We are not. We are extremely,  fragile, dependent, and vulnerable. Paul learned a hard truth over many years and though much pain – that “God’s power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12:9). What will it take for me, for us, to deeply learn this and thus become the change our world so desperately needs?

10 Top Quotes from Elie Wiesel's Memoirs

I finished Elie Wiesel’s memoirs last night. He is a Nobel Peace Laureate who lived through the horror of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. I find his writing a sharp, challenging contrast to the kind of sanitized spirituality found in most Christian leadership bookstores. We had an inexplicable confidence in German culture and humanism…We kept telling ourselves that this was, after all, a civilized people, that we must not give credence to exaggerated rumors about an army’s behavior. (27) Moshe the beadle… madness in his eyes. He talked on and on about the brutality of the killers. “Listen to me!” he would shout. “I’m telling the truth. On my life, I swear it!” But the people were deaf to his pleas. I liked him and could not bring myself to believe him. (29) Yet we practiced religion in a death camp. I said my prayers every day. On Saturday I hummed Shabbat songs at work. I. Read more.

Not Giving to Others What We Have Received for Ourselves

Recently, three other New Life staff joined me in attending a Spiritual Formation Academy, bringing home with us varied treasures. Among those riches were the following words from Bernard of Clairvaux: “We must not give to others what we have received for ourselves; nor must we keep for ourselves that which we have received to spend on others. You fall into the latter error, if you possess the gift of eloquence or wisdom, and yet—through fear or sloth or false humility—neglect to use the gift for others’ benefit. And on the other hand, you dissipate and lose what is you own, if without right intention and from some wrong motive, you hasten to outpour yourself on others when your own soul is only half-filled.” – Great Devotional Classics: Selections from the Writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, ed. Douglas Steere (The Upper Room, 1961), p.24. I have been meditating on these lines for the past week. It is true: It may sound selfish. Read more.

Not Giving to Others What We Have Received for Ourselves

Geri, along with three other New Life staff, recently attended a Spiritual Formation Academy, bringing home with them varied treasures. Among those riches were the following words from Bernard of Clairvaux: “We must not give to others what we have received for ourselves; nor must we keep for ourselves that which we have received to spend on others. You fall into the latter error, if you possess the gift of eloquence or wisdom, and yet—through fear or sloth or false humility—neglect to use the gift for others’ benefit. And on the other hand, you dissipate and lose what is you own, if without right intention and from some wrong motive, you hasten to outpour yourself on others when your own soul is only half-filled.” — Great Devotional Classics: Selections from the Writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, ed. Douglas Steere (The Upper Room, 1961), p.24. I have been meditating on these lines for the past week.  It. Read more.

The Boston Marathon Tragedy

Yesterday’s attack at the Boston Marathon was tragic.  What can we say to others? to ourselves? Where was God? I offer you two fragments that help me in times like this. 1. Be comfortable in being silent. Job’s three friends “wept aloud, tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was (Job 2:11-13). It is when they started talking that they got in trouble! Notice their presence “with him,’ i.e. Job, in his suffering. 2. The ultimate knowledge of God is to know that we do not know. Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant theologian who had written 20 very large volumes about who God is and how He works. On December 6, 1273 something happened to him that brought his teaching and writing to an end.. Read more.