UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual Formation: Life Abundantly

Spiritual Formation: Life Abundantly

This post is the last entry of our blog series on Spiritual Leadership while the Freedom to Lead team is in India and Nepal this month. Spiritual Formation This past month we have been talking about the Streams of the Spiritual Life.  Our discussions have addressed both the leader’s personal spiritual development as well as his or her role in the spiritual development of others.  And to do that we need to understand where we’ve come from. First, we explored about what it means for us to live in the “in-between,” and the significance of understanding each of the streams of the spiritual life, knowing the source to be Christ. From there we moved on to the New Life.  We asked honest questions when looking at the Abiding Life. We then examined the Empowered Life. We asked ourselves what it means to live out the fullest meaning of the presence of

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The Witnessing Life: Fed to the Lions, Burned at the Stake

The Witnessing Life: Fed to the Lions, Burned at the Stake

This post is part of the Spiritual Leadership Blog Series while the Freedom to Lead team is in India and Nepal this month.  Only two more posts remain in the series.   An Example of the Witnessing Life Their names were Carpus and Papylus.  And they demonstrated the Witnessing Life. In A.D. 165, Carpus and Papylus were brought before a governor in Rome and charged with the “crime” of being Christian. The governor of the district had discovered that Carpus and Papylus did not celebrate the pagan festivals. He ordered the men to be arrested and commanded them to accept the Roman pagan religion. The men replied that they would never worship false gods. Carpus, who was a leader in the church.  Not even torture could persuade him to change his mind. He simply kept repeating, “I am a Christian and because of my faith and the name of our

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The Compassionate Life: Let’s Call Evil For What It Is

What about terrorists? Yesterday we were challenged to look at The Compassionate Life a little closer.  In the attempt to write a modern day parable similar to The Good Samaritan, we look at different kinds of people that cross our paths every day.  I believe God brings certain people across our path for a reason, but sometimes we have to go TO them. As we think of these people, though, we ask ourselves the hard question: “what type of person is the hardest for me to extend compassion to?” And what does exactly does it mean to live the Compassionate Life? So, what about the terrorists? I’m not limiting ourselves to people like ISIS or extremists half a world away who strap bombs to their chests.  I’m talking about people closer to home, those who make the local news because of things like violence, rape, and murder.  Inner city gangs

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The Compassionate Life: Go and Do Likewise

The Compassionate Life: Go and Do Likewise

Jesus chose to communicate “The Compassionate Life.” When Jesus saw the crowds “he had compassion for them.” (Matthew 9:36)  With a broken heart he said aloud to whomever was listening, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Later, he spoke of ministering to “The Least of These” (Matthew 25), demonstrating how we are called to help those that cannot help us in return.  Jesus often spoke of his own mission to “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18).  Jesus came to save people from their sins, but he also cared about the whole person.  Evangelism and social justice go hand in hand. The Compassionate Life “stream” emphasizes that Christian spirituality is not just a set of disciplines to benefit the devout, but a trumpet call that seeks the care and transformation of persons, institutions, and

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What is Compassion Fatigue?

We’ve had a good couple of weeks so far, haven’t we? The next “stream” of the Spiritual life that we are going to discuss is “The Compassionate Life.”  However, before we dive into the topic, I’d like to bring something to your attention that is very serious. There is an ailment that is infecting many well-intentioned Christian people around the world, including myself.  These people are good people.  They are generous people.  And they are sacrificial people.  But this disease is infecting them. It is called compassion fatigue. You are probably familiar with the symptoms.  Maybe you are coming down with a case of the sickness yourself.  It begins with a genuine desire to help, especially for the downtrodden.  Acting out this desire to help starts out very well, but even too much of a good thing can lead to hard consequences to life and spiritual health. Without us realizing

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A. B. Simpson’s Story

A. B. Simpson’s Story

People know this pictured spiritual leader as A.B. Simpson, especially those who associate themselves with a Christian denomination called the Christian & Missionary Alliance.  But, before that he was simply a young man named Albert. And Albert was one who exemplified The Empowered Life. Albert was born in Canada in 1843.  He was raised in a strict religious tradition, and was converted to Christ under the ministry of a visiting evangelist from Ireland when he was a teenager. Physically frail as a child, he wasn’t exactly the ideal picture of someone who would be thrive in ministry. But he was determined as he prepared for the ministry.  He had his first pastoral appointment in Ontario, and by age 30 he had settled in the United States as the pastor of the largest Presbyterian church at the time. As a Canadian, he played a major role in healing the divisions in

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Living Out the Fullest Meaning of the Presence of God

Yesterday we started examining The Empowered Life. We acknowledge that we are tired of living this upright kind of life and that we have come to the end of ourselves.  We say with our mouths that we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, but how much do we really hold that to be real?  The fact is, Jesus – through the sanctifying Spirit – is able to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  Not only that, He can empower us to do great things for the Kingdom, much as he did at Pentecost for a group of ordinary disciples. But this can happen nothing short of an encounter with the Supernatural. The Presence of God However, in order to embrace the empowered life we have to tap in to the resources that God makes available for all believers.  And frankly that scares us.  Because when

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The Empowered Life Stream

The Empowered Life Stream

Is anyone tired?  Not the kind of tired that comes from staying up late last night or from having a busy week at work.  I’m talking about the kind of tired that is bone-weary, the kind of tired that says, “I’m ready for the next world.  Jesus, take me home now.” Do you feel that you are sludging along in a field of molasses, weary in this struggle of just trying to live life, let alone an “upright” life? The kind of tired that no amount of exercise or eating right or developing good habits or other people can solve? I know I experience that.  Every single day. Not hopelessness, just resignation. We’ve heard it sung from the church risers and we’ve heard it shouted from the pulpit:  Jesus, through the empowering, sanctifying Holy Spirit, is able to do for us what we are not able to do for ourselves. 

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The Abiding Life Stream

The Abiding Life Stream

The last few days we’ve been talking about the New Life.  Yesterday we heard John’s story.  Now we’re moving on to the second stream of Spiritual Leadership: the Abiding Life. What exactly do we mean when we talk about the Abiding Life?  Basically our main idea is this: Both the receiving of the sacraments (baptism and communion) and human intuition can be means by which believers experience intimacy with God; however, both sacrament and intuition can potentially lead to idolatry. Neither is a guarantor of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Ultimately God is the initiator, and we are respondents, not the other way around.  We are in this journey of an abiding life with God. Included within this Abiding Life are the Spiritual Disciplines: prayer fasting meditation worship and Scripture reading, to name a few. We use vivid images like the Vine and the Branches of John 15. Will

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John Newton’s Story

John Newton’s Story

This post is part of the blog series on Spiritual Leadership.  Our Freedom to Lead International team is currently in India doing our final module on the subject to church and ministry leaders from all parts of India and Nepal.  These discussions on this blog are a way to invite you into the experience. I’d like to introduce you to John.  I’ve never met John personally, though I have benefitted from his influence. Perhaps his story will influence you as well. John’s life is a great example of one who embraced the New Life in Christ. This New Life was not something that was not just born overnight, but, rather, involved a complicated journey.  This journey that spanned several decades brought him to the place of being able to touch many people through the gift of music. Although he had heard some stories from the Bible due to the faithfulness of

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The New Life Stream

The New Life Stream

This is part of a blog series on Spiritual Leadership.  As you are interacting with the themes, please be praying for the Freedom to Lead team that is currently in India and Nepal this month teaching on this important subject with national leaders there. October 15, 1974. As an elementary student I went to the Good News Club after school, and through the story of the Wordless Book, I prayed and invited Jesus into my heart.  Today I celebrate 40 years of being a follower of Jesus. July 27, 1972.  I was a teenager on a destructive path.  On this day Jesus radically changed my life. April 6, 2000.  I was a college student that thought he knew everything.  I was a philosophy major, after all.  But then someone shared Jesus with me and I surrendered my life to the One who is THE way, the truth, and the life.  My

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Of Bullock Carts and the Tension in Spiritual Leadership

Of Bullock Carts and the Tension in Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual Leadership Tell me, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of spiritual growth or discipleship?  A solitary individual meditating or praying?  People who are always ready to tell others about who God is and what He has done?  The woman who reaches out to her neighbors in their time of need?  People gathered together doing service on behalf of their church?  Healings, miracles, and speaking in tongues?  Administering the sacraments? When we talk about Spiritual Leadership we talk about something that addresses both the leader’s personal spiritual development as well as his or her role in the spiritual development of others. Those “streams” we’ve been talking about are different images of what a healthy spiritual life looks like.  They also give definition to Jesus’ command to “make disciples,” the emphasis being to lead others to “Follow me, as I follow Christ.” Jesus said that

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