Acedia is the most burdensome of all the demons -- so says Evagrius of Pontus. Acedia attacks around midday (10 am to 2 pm for a monk who rose at dawn and went to bed at dark). Sometime after lunch, the day DOES seem to drag on forever....My early burst of energy is gone. The … Continue reading Contemporary Pastor Reports Midday Acedia Attack
Staff meetings early in my ministry left me exhausted. After the meeting, I would expend more energy replaying the meeting, trying to understand what happened, how I had been misunderstood once again, what my co-worker "really" meant by, etc. etc. etc.... After one particularly intense and conflicted staff meeting, I crashed into my colleague's office … Continue reading The Noon Day Demon
What should be the goal of ministry? Success? Productivity? An increasing "platform"? I'd argue that the goal of ministry is to produce fruit worthy of the Gospel (Col. 1.10). So how to be fruitful in ministry? We bear fruit when we abide in the Vine (John 15.4-5). We abide in Jesus when we learn how to … Continue reading Success in Ministry?
"Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves....the knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find [God]" John Calvin wrote these words in 1536 … Continue reading “I Praise You that I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”
Self-knowledge is vital to knowing God and serving him. But self-knowledge is hard, messy work. We don't always like what we find. This week I led a staff team from a local non-profit through a development exercise using the Gallup Strength Finders assessment. I was first exposed to this instrument in a D.Min. Class at … Continue reading “O Lord, You Have Searched Me…”
"The problem was, I made these ways to connect with God into burdens and self-improvement efforts. Disciplines that should have brought life were bringing condemnation." In my last blog post I mentioned the two authors who first introduced me to spiritual disciplines: Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster. Nouwen told me of my deep value before … Continue reading “Learn the Unforced Rhythms of Grace”
In 1988 I wrote in a journal: "Life without prayer -- I'm trying to build something with blocks but there's no foundation. Some of the blocks won't fit; some teeter wildly, some fall off. Pretty soon they all fall down and I'm left in the rubble, covered." I've been attracted to prayer and other spiritual … Continue reading Learning from the Masters of Spiritual Disciplines
"...we can only live through periods of quietness and rest in God. Here we get a perspective on problems and events. And here we see what we must do about them." I have been drawn to the power of listening to God since my college days, probably because I am very prone to be distracted … Continue reading Foundation for Ministry: Listen to God