May 29, 2024
Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Disciplines

Solitude

Solitude is one of those spiritual disciplines that is quite challenging for me. But more and more, I am convinced of its significant value in my life. What I commonly experience is a flood of thoughts and distractions the very moment I pursue quiet and solitude before the Lord. I am like the disciples, attempting to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. Tiredness can also wash over me as I seek to slow my mind and body and listen to the Lord’s voice. Jesus’ example of solitude When reading the Gospels, you can’t miss the fact that Jesus spent time in solitary places.1 See Matthew 14:13, 23; 17:1; Mark 1:35, 45; 6:31-32, 45-46 and Luke 4:42; 5:16; 6:12; 9:10. Often times, these “escapes” into solitude were early in the morning or withdrawing from the crowds of people vying for His time and attention. What this shows me is… Read the whole post
Learning Attitude, Books

Recalling what you have read

Like many of you, I read a lot of books each year. Last year, I finished 63 and I should be pretty close to that number by the end of 2023. But reading a lot of books is not the same as being “well-read”. According to Collins Dictionary, “a well-read person has read a lot of books and has learned a lot from them.” How much have I learned – and how much of the learning can I recall? I frequently find myself trying to recall a book I have read on the topic we are currently discussing. Maybe someone is asking me for a book I would recommend. Or I am trying to find additional information about a topic that I am teaching. Or maybe I am just trying to support a position that I am arguing for, and I remember an idea from a book that I read… Read the whole post
Mission Methodologies

Surveys: Small Effort – Much Fruit

Sometimes a small amount of effort can yield much information and fruit. In making decisions, and especially when we are making decisions about large amounts of money, we want to have accurate and up-to-date information. When we are dealing with a huge international crisis impacting tens of millions of people, it is hard to know where to look for information that we can trust. A survey of those whom we already know and trust is a great place to start. Mission organizations often do not recognize how simple it really can be to conduct such a survey. When the current phase of the war in Ukraine started in February 2022, SEND created a Help Ukraine Fund and assembled a Eurasia Emergency Response Team. The team quickly put structures in place that would effectively and efficiently distribute donated funds. Our goal was to have maximum impact for the Kingdom by working… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Spiritual Formation, Training, Adult Education, Pre-field Training

Why do missionaries need pre-field training?

A legitimate question When I first began leading our Member Orientation Program more than 10 years ago, I seldom, if ever, had to defend its legitimacy. All new missionaries assumed that they would need to go through the pre-field training program before leaving for their place of assignment. In fact, one of our greatest struggles was to convince new missionaries and their coaches that they should wait to enroll in Member Orientation until they had raised more of their support. The primary question was “When?”. When do I get to go to MOP? As we began conducting the training in the Philippines as well as in Michigan, a secondary question then became “Where?”. Where will I complete this training? But in more recent years, the questions have been different. Now we are dealing with the question of “Why?”. Why do I need to go through this particular pre-field training program?… Read the whole post
Spiritual Disciplines, Book Reviews, Prayer

Set times of prayer – a discipline of preparation and love

I have recently finished listening to Tyler Staton’s book on prayer – Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools: An Invitation to the Wonder and Mystery of Prayer. I listened to Tyler Staton preach on the topic of the Lord’s Prayer at a leadership retreat a few months ago. Both his passion for and his experience in prayer impressed me.1 You can listen to these same sermons on the Bridgetown Church’s website. I did not expect this in such a young pastor. In his book, I was further intrigued by his emphasis on the importance of daily set times of prayer. He pointed out that both Jesus and the early church practiced regular times of prayer each day. Jesus and his prayer life Over the years, I have noticed that the Gospels (and particularly Luke) often note that Jesus gave himself to prayer. At this baptism, before he begins a busy… Read the whole post
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