Monday & Tuesday I was at the desert house that my friends Butch & Ann Whitely so graciously let me use for days of solitude, silence & prayer. After a couple months away, I’m planning to get back into rhythm of a monthly time out alone with God.
I really needed this one. I didn’t realize how much I missed quiet until I got out there & experienced long periods of wonderful absence of human noise. Sometimes my times out there seem like wrestling matches; sometimes it seems like the agenda is to force me to face some of the dark places of my soul; sometimes it seems like I’m just supposed to rest.
This time I really tried to let go of my agenda & just kind of go with God’s flow. I didn’t work on the message (so I’m behind even as I type ☺), work on laying out the year, think about future series… none of that, which is really hard for me. The result was a really refreshing time.
Here are a few things I did do:
• LONG LEASURLY TIME OF SOAKING IN SCRIPTURE & JOURNALING & PRAYING. Tuesday morning I got up before the sun was over the ridge, made coffee, put feed into the feeders, sat in the back porch & enjoyed the fact that I had nothing to do but enjoy the presence of the Lord. It feels great even writing this. In the Bible reading plan I use, the mid-40s of Isaiah were on tap – stellar, rich scripture! God, spoke some wonderful things to me. About 20 quail come walking up to eat. The sun was illuminating the mountains & the canyons in the distance while I still enjoyed the perfect 80-degree morning.
• FUN LONESOME STRETCH OF THE LEGS – I ran 30 some minute on this highway called “S2” saw 2 cars.
• WATCHED ANTHEM – Monday night I pulled out a DVD I’ve been carrying around of an awesome worship event put on by my friends at Iowa State U. It’s called Anthem & my friend Mark Arant (I’ve referred to Mark’s blog before – Metropuritan) is the pastor of the ministry & one of the worship leaders. Passion for God is stoked by being around, well, passion for God! I felt my fire for God fueled. You can check out ANTHEM here.
• READ SOME AXIOMS – I started Bill Hybles book AXIOM. It might appear as if I think every book I read gets dubbed “must reading”. Well so is this one. Especially if you are trying to lead something. Really especially (what kind of phrase is this?) if you are trying to lead a ministry.
• WENT OVER OLD JOURNALS – I read through last January & February. 2 points of interest. Last January / February our church did a 21 day fast – people picked different days. This was the season of dealing with tragedy & loss as we worked through the memorial services for the 3 children killed in the house fire. I also did one of the largest services I’ve ever done for Patsy Early. She’d found Christ in the last 5 or so years in a real vital way before succumbing to cancer. What a day of testimony to the Amazing Grace of God.
• LEADERSHIP SUMMIT NOTES – I went through my notes. Here are some of lines from my notes that jumped out at me. I present them in no particular order. Hopefully they will make sense standing alone & I really hope they will spark something of the spirit of anointing that God has given each of these Summit peeps. You can see the Leadership Summit Web Site here.
– How do we lead when the calling feels hard, hopeless & scary?
When it seems SCARY
• Jesus didn’t come to make us SAFE, He came to make us BRAVE – we remind the people of God this!
• Liberated from the mediocrity of safe bets, from triviality of safety – totally safe & totally stuck!
o We’re on the journey w/ Jesus but we’re missing the adventure
o “Follow me beyond what you can control”
o Risk the vulnerability of a child to see how strong my Father is
o Take my strengths on a more demanding climb
o Am I leading more like Jesus or more like the Pharisees
1. Cultivate the soil with GRACE –
– Grace says come as you are
– Many people don’t ever experience grace giving acceptance from Xians
– E.g. The Lost messy people to whom Jesus sent us: like Finding a Rembrandt covered in mud – don’t treat it like mud, probably don’t even take the mud off yourself for fear
o Jesus saw the masterpiece
o Pharisees saw the mud 1st
My favorite prayer: “Bring it on God”
How did I get from there (Wall Street) to here (Prison): one act of obedience at a time.
Bill Hybles – from his talk on Mother Teresa’s life & leadership
September 10, 1946 she called inspiration day. My birthday & the day she got the vision for her work in Calcutta
Key Quotes from MT
I will withhold from you NOTHING
I will obey without delay
Even though I don’t feel His presence, I am going to love Him like He’s never been loved before!