All of My Recent Writings
Below are articles I’ve written on my other websites or across the web. If you want to see only posts I’ve shared here on my personal blog, click here.
Social networking is fun, useful, and can even be profitable if you’re into that. Brands and businesses are catching on to the direction media and promotion is moving, so we’re really just scratching the surface of what is to come in forging online connections between people. But some stern warnings are needed for all who are venturing into the world of social networking. I thought I’d share them — as kind of a warning label for you who are getting your feet wet as well.
If you’re a leader walking into or through a season of burnout, you must address the pain and tend to the wounds, and you will almost always need help doing so. It’s hard to be, as the late Henri Nouwen termed it, a wounded healer.
Are we living through a collective ‘dark night of the soul?’ Is this a season in which we, as the human family in the current cultural climate, are profoundly lonely and abundantly anxious?
In our modern era, particularly in America (and perhaps the West as a whole), leaders are burning out at an increasing and alarming rate. There are many factors leading to this trend, but at the forefront are certain cultural issues that have affected the way we do church and church leadership. There are four issues, in particular, that have invaded our thinking in toxic ways.
We don’t choose our circumstances. We don’t choose the weather, the direction of the economy, what people around us will do, or the direction of world events. But we do get to choose our attitudes.
I know, as a Pastor who has trudged through the valley of burnout, that church growth can be a powerful drug for a church leader. The temporary “high” of a well-attended event, a high-attendance Sunday, an influx of new members or baptisms, etc. can have a numbing effect that keeps us distracted from the brokenness deep within us that needs to be addressed.
You and I don’t have to make things happen. We should certainly work hard to become faithful leaders and shepherds, but the enormously impossible task of generating real spiritual change is left in the hands of the very capable Holy Spirit, for whom anything is possible.
I recently asked myself, if I were starting a church again today, what would be the values that I would consider most pertinent and timely in our current cultural moment in which the nonbelieving world is asking so many hard questions about the church. These four came to my mind rather quickly…
If you want to become who you’re supposed to become… do the dailies.
Here’s a vision for us. When we all begin to see and feel and notice and appreciate the image of God in the pictures we see of those who suffer, the world immediately around us will become a softer, slightly warmer, safer place.
Real freedom is when you’re able to spend your time on that which is meaningful. That includes self-care, family time, volunteering, worshipping, and working in a way that makes a contribution to the larger human community.
I’ve found lectio divina to be one of the most beautiful and productive ways to ingest the words of the scriptures and to hear from God.
In the end, a faith that is willing to flex with each new discovery about the mysteries of God, life, and the universe is far less likely to fail us.
Physical healing will keep us on earth for another day, but awakening to a relationship with God changes everything, forever.
Podcast Episode #006: Three Phases of the Spiritual Life: Construction, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction
The spiritual journey we’re all on, whether we asked to be on this journey or not, is anything but simple. I see a life of faith unfolding in at least three movements.
May we never forget the generosity shown by those who donated their time, their money, and their blood to the cause of recovery. May we never forget our collective, universal need for forgiveness, grace, mercy, and peace – all gifts freely offered by the One whose love is readily available to us all.
Spiritual awakening can be more than a moment; it can be a lifestyle. And it can be more than a personal, individual experience with God in mystical terms. Spiritual awakening can be a process whereby, over time, we leave behind the old life, the old us, and the old nature and put on the life of Christ instead.
You only have a limited amount of mental energy and focus. Spend it on the things that make you more like Jesus, healthier in your relationships, and closer to God.
Confused? Have questions? Good. Embracing the mystery surrounding God’s ways is a far better course to follow than being absolutely certain and yet still wrong.
The rat race describes the constant rush of the culture around us. Everybody’s trying to get somewhere, even when we’re not sure where we’re eventually headed, and you can follow one of several routes to compete.
God is always present with you, and in the holy space in your soul where you experience his presence, you also get to be touched by a larger inner community. Never take that for granted.
Being lost, at least in this sense, isn’t the problem. The problem is our unwillingness to admit we need a bit of direction now and then and we don’t have all the answers within ourselves.
While I believe in the power of repetition for forming our minds, I also think variety is helpful, too, so I have other sets of morning affirmations I read at other times.
There isn’t a simple formula for fixing all the big family messes. Rather, there is the encouragement that we can alter the trajectory of our own lives, and the lives of those under our care, to make the future better than the past.
You can be cynical and, even after reading this, roll your eyes at the possibility that joy can be chosen by expressing gratitude, appreciation, and hopefulness. Or you can give it a shot and see the difference between the cynical you and the joyful you.
Today, I’m reflecting on Danny Kirk’ss life, which reminds me about the goodness and faithfulness of God, the potential for any of us to really love other people deeply.
If you’re looking around for someone to lead you, fix your eyes on leaders with a limp who have something to share out of their journey through brokenness and healing.
Are you tired yet? Have a “come to Jesus meeting” – the kind where you lay your burdens down and he wraps his grace around you.
I’m convinced that grief comes in waves. Whatever losses we absorb in life, grief is the reality that follows. And yes, grief comes in stages, but the stages repeat.
I can testify that, in the absence of absolute certainty, my very best days are the days on which I choose to take that leap. To trust. To believe that God is there, ready to catch me again, ready to hold me safe.