spiritual formation

The Pursuit of Wisdom: Words From the Wise

Bear with me for a minute... or if the next few ideas are too abstract, then just go to the quotes.

  • Meta-thinking is thinking about how to think.
  • Epistemology is the philosophy of knowing, which wants to know - how do we know?
  • Philosophy literally means, "the love of wisdom."
  • Theology is "the study of God" or the study of the things of God.

Wisdom is a major theme in the Bible. Tomorrow I will share a few thoughts about the Bible on wisdom. But today I simply wanted to show you that the world's great philosophers and religious founders are quite unanimous on the goodness of you and I pursuing wisdom. Some might even say that it is the pursuit of wisdom that is the way to happiness.

A Vital Truth and a Challenging Word for Today's Church

Christian Monasticism, David KnowlesTHIS MAY BE ONE OF MY MOST IMPORTANT POSTS

Here is a profoundly insightful, long sentence from David Knowles. I was really moved by how it describes one of the GREAT TENSIONS that is core to my own calling and ministry. What is authentic faith? Why does it seem authentic faith is so often missing in the church?

It is from his book Christian Monasticism, pp. 12. It is in the context of why the monastic movements of the 3rd and 4th centuries flourished with thousands of Christians flocking to the desert to find a space and community of deep spirituality.

The Spiritual Life of Young Adults

Here is an incredibly insightful article about the spiritual life of young people. It was published in 2010 and comes from Biola University where evangelicals are doing some of the best work on spirituality you will find in North America. It will take about 10-15 minutes for a good, engaging read... or you can skim it over in about 3 minutes to see what is there.

Spirituality at a Crossroads

Again - this is very, very good.

I am doing some more reading and study on these issues. This article captures in a concise way what the longer studies are showing.

Life Long Learning (The Jesuit Way)

Eric Hoffer  the learned and the learningThe busier you are, the harder your work, the more demanding your challenges, the more pressed you are, the greater the stress levels in your life, THEN - the more absolutely imperative it is that you have integrated rhythms of learning, study, prayer and reflection in your life.

As the complexity of life accelerates, as change is massively and wickedly continuous and disruptive, it is only those Life Long Learners who will be relevant, wise and fruitful. This is why Life Long Learning is a core value of Leadership ConneXtions International. This is why we spend as much time as we do in our own personal learning, in creating learning environments and communities of transformation and in empowering leaders to be architects of such environments.

At this, the Jesuits were MASTERS. 

My Own Worst Enemy

my own worst enemyI rarely have less then a dozen appointments a week. Some weeks it can be quite a few more. I am privileged to spend a lot of my time working with peope who are growing, pressing on, hungry for more, invested in the process, committed to the journey, open and curious learners. Therefore, these conversations are usually some type of mentoring. Either leadership coaching, life coaching, spiritual direction, skill training, supervision. Occasionally I have conversations that enter into the deep brokenness and dysfuction of the other. Occasionally there is full blown resistance in one of these conversations... occasionally (fortunately).

The Flywheel of Spiritual Formation

Long. Slow. Deep. Difficult. Particular.
That is a mantra that I use to help people understand the process of spiritual formation. Each of those words is necessary to understand the process.

I wish it wasn't that way. I wish that spiritual formation, maturity, wisdom, holiness, Christ-likeness, fruitfulness of missional engagements were short, fast, simple and easy. I wish it wasn't a race, a stroll would be nice. I wish it were not a battle and war, a playground park would be nice.

Hebrews 12:1  let us run with endurance

As I listen to many Christians, I can tell that is what they wish as well. That is certainly what so many of our programs and events offer. 

Reliable Authors and Wise Spirituality

Core Authors and Reliable Guides: For me - Gordon T. Smith is one of that tribe.

I read widely. I think carefully. I reflect deeply. I synthesize constantly. And then I seek to implement and integrate into life, ministry and mission the fruit of reading, thinking, refelction and synthesis.

At the core of my ministry/vocation is that of developing people. Through preaching and teaching, through writing, through seminars, courses, classes, workshops and retreats - the desire of my heart is to empower followers of Jesus (and especially those called to leadership) for maturity, fruitfulness and finishing well. It is an UNDERSTATEMENT to say this is important. It is urgent, vital, critical . . . The challenges facing the evangelical church of Christ in North America are difficult and daunting. The culture is not simply post-Christendom, it is post-Christian . . . and I believe, increasingly antagonistic to the Christian faith.

Thomas Merton on the Monastic Way

Thomas Merton is one of the most famous of monastics of recent times. He was a prolific writer, a man who experienced deep tensions within him and who knew how to name and describe those tensions (for the benefit of his readers). Merton was one who made accessible to the larger world, what was at the time, a rather hidden, mysterious, confusing Monastic Way. Merton was a Cistercian Monk. The Cistercians were a renewal movement  (begun in 1098) in the Benedictine tradition. The Cistercians sought to recapture the original simplicity and austerity of the Benedictine Way. Bernard of Clairvaux and Aelred of Rievaulx were among the most famous of the founding Cistercians. (Please note the Final Note about Merton at the end of the post.)

"Fixed Intent" to do God's Will


Obedience to God's word is foundational to a life of spiritual formation.  That is easy to say but it's where 'the rubber meets the road' the reality of our faith.The Message puts it this way in James 2:14-15 'Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?'  John Wesley refers to a 'fixed intent to do God's will'.  I am often so half-hearted about my intent. I want to do his will as long as it is convenient and easy, doesn't require much pain or difficulty and of course it makes me look spiritual.  But 'fixed intent' is much more substantial, primary and basic to obedience.  It is not about feeling it in the moment but a deep longing and desire to follow God's will and direction for my life.


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