When I became a Christian my sophomore year in college, I was birthed into a community (IVCF) that linked the gospel and the bridging of racial, economic and cultural barriers. It was not a specific “calling” for some but a biblical mandate that filled us with visiona and hope. I see the Holy Spirit moving in a similar way today as large numbers of young people are passionate to build multicultural churches that demonstrate the power of the gospel. When Geri and I planted New Life Fellowship Church 22 years ago, we chose Elmhurst/Corona, Queens, as a strategic location for the church due to the fact that individuals from more than 120 nations live in the area. In addition, the neighborhood consisted then, as it does now, of poor, working, and middle-class New Yorkers. So while we recognized the benefits of such a location and desired to bridge the racial, cultural, and economic barriers for. Read more.
These are my further reflections , and changes, on the theological underpinnings and foundations for what it means to integrate emotionally healthy spirituality into our lives and the people we serve. It is much more than simply doing the small group material, Daily Offices, or the church-wide initiative. That is simply a beginning. A larger, more expansive training along the lines of the twelve points listed below. Over the next few weeks, I will blog on each and their implications for us. 1. Theology– We must root our lives and churches in the living Jesus who is God Almighty as revealed in Scripture by the Holy Spirit. We are first and foremost about practices biblically rooted. We take seriously the model of the early church fathers (e.g. Ignatius of Antioch, Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria, Basil, Gregory the Great, Augustine, Iraneus and others) who were leaders of local churches or bishops, theologians who studied Scripture. Read more.
Can you imagine with me what it might be like if every Christian in our churches understood their identity as the following: “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a first grade teacher.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a nurse.” “I am in the full-time ministry and I am a mom at home”? Last week I began a series on Your Life, Your Work and Your Calling. It is one of those truths I have believed my whole life, but recognize that I have not fully integrated into my own life or leadership. The main points of our calling, from Scripture, are simple. 1. Every Christian is fully called. 2. Your calling is your whole life. 3. All your work and life is holy/sacred/spiritual. Everyone, everywhere in everything, by God, to God and for God. The division of sacred and secular spheres has a long, long history (going. Read more.
The church, in the Western world in particular, is in serious trouble. The culture has so overwhelmed us that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the church and the world. Historically, when there has been decline in the church, often new monastic movements have emerged (e.g. desert fathers, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, the Cistercians). I interpret the yearnings of the emergent movement and the younger generation towards the contemplative as a cry for something different, a cry for God. I bring with me a strong ecclesiology. I believe God loves the local church bought at the price of His Son’s blood, and the development of mature, healthy communities is essential for global mission. So, after 4 + years of ponderings, I have written a Rule of Life to pilot in our local, missional, evangelical church. I believe that simply calling people to spiritual disciplines as we have for decades is not. Read more.
I am convinced living rhythmically is one of our gifts to our 24/7 world and a key to walking with God. Yet my life, like most, is full of interruptions. I love and affirm Wayne Mueller’s words in his book on Sabbath and our need for rhythms: To surrender to the rhythms of seasons and flowerings and dormancies is to savor the secret of life itself. Many scientists believe we are “hard-wired” like this, to live in rhythmic awareness, to be in and then step out, to be engrossed and then detached, to work and then to rest. It follows then that the commandment to remember the Sabbath is not a burdensome requirement from some law-giving deity — but rather a remembrance of a law that is firmly embedded in the fabric of nature. It is a reminder of how things really are, the rhythmic dance to which we unavoidably belong. Yet last week I experienced a classic challenge of having. Read more.