I continue to be grateful for those of you who take time to reply to your email version of these posts or post comments here on the blog. Thank you. Below are posts that have received the most attention in the last 40 days or so:
“Solitude Just For Introverts?” – I spoke to the assumption that practices like solitude are only for introverts, and that extroverts would be better off practicing more communal or engaged disciplines.
“An Unexpected Path to Freedom” – I shared a quotation from Anthony Bloom about how the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land via the wilderness is a metaphor for our own journey from spiritual slavery to spiritual freedom.
“Playing Games With God” – I reflected on a quotation by Robert Mulholland about how our practice of faith can actually be more rooted in our false, old self rather than in a real, true self rooted in Jesus.
Below are among the most visited posts of the last three months. Two major events drove a lot of blog activity: 1) The publishing of my book, An Unhurried Life, in April and 2) the death of Dallas Willard in May.
“Notes from Knowing Christ Conference” – Following Dallas Willard’s passing in May, many of the pages of notes, including my 20 posts from this February conference in Santa Barbara, have been, by far, my most visited pages on the blog. This page lists a link to all 20 posts from that conference, as well as a downloadable Word document of the whole.
“Dallas Willard: An Unhurried Life” – I mention in the first few pages of my book that a couple of comments Dallas made on the theme of unhurry were significant catalysts for writing An Unhurried Life. In this post, I share a few reflections on participating, with Gem, in Dallas’s memorial and graveside service on May 14.
“The Sin of Overwork” – Here I shared a quotation from Reginald Somerset Ward on this theme. Many highly engaged Christian leaders are quick to feel the guilt of underwork or possible laziness, but not the guilt of overwork.
You may or may not have heard that this morning, Dallas Willard lost his ongoing battle with cancer but won the realization of the eternal life in Jesus he so beautifully described and embodied. I cannot find words to express how deeply our lives and our work at The Leadership Institute have been touched by his.
In February, I was grateful to attend the “Knowing Christ” conference held in Santa Barbara. Dallas and John Ortberg shared the teaching role. It was such a powerful experience. I ended up with twenty posts of my notes and reflections from those days. I gathered up all the links and put them on one page. I offer them to you as a tribute from us at The Leadership Institute to Dallas’ life and work.
As a starting point, the most read of those twenty posts was Dallas’s “Eternal Life Begins Now.” It was the opening presentation and I broke my notes from that one into four parts. It is so very rich and insightful.
On behalf of the team here at The Leadership Institute, grace be with you.
P.S. – An Unhurried Life is preparing to ship from Amazon, but the Kindle version is live now. I share in the first few pages that a couple of insights from Dallas Willard served as catalysts for this project. (It is possible now to purchase other ebook formats at ivpress.com).
Thanks for your interest in this blog over the year. It’s hard to believe I’ve got over 1,400 posts here. Over the last year, here the the most visited ones, #10 to #1. (I’m not including static pages like my bio, calendar, etc.)
The “Ministry Burnout Statistics” post from June 2009 is still the most visited page, with more hits than #2-4 combined. The “Hiatus for Israel Trip” in March is an odd one in that all I wrote there was that I wasn’t going to be posting much because I’d be in Israel for two weeks. I think it got so many hits because of concern about conditions in Israel. The title looks like I might be talking about holding off on planned visits, but I’m not sure.
May you have a 2013 full of new experiences of the unhurried grace, mercy, peace and love of Jesus.
Good afternoon. It’s been a full season of ministry for which I’m deeply grateful. We’ve begun a Generation 21 group made up of marketplace and academic leaders late last month. We’re seeing the same powerful response from this group as we’ve seen from leaders in church and ministry settings. I’ve just completed edits on my book project for InterVarsity Press, An Unhurried Life, due to be available June 2013. (You can see the cover design on the Amazon pre-order page. We’ll have a pre-order campaign as we get closer to the actual book launch). Today, I gave a brief radio interview with a Christian station in Pittsburgh on the theme of my recent post, “What is a Saint?” It was my first of hopefully more to come. (It should show up as a podcast tomorrow on their website).
Meanwhile, here are a few of the blog posts from the last few months that have received the most attention:
One of the strange posts to be a popular one was my March post, “Hiatus for Israel Trip,” where I was simply mentioned my upcoming trip to Israel and how I probably wouldn’t be posting as often. Countless web searches for “Israel” brought a lot of folks who usually don’t visit my blog.
” The Importance of Listening to God” – This post from last month was my attempt to respond to those who don’t expect to hear anything from God in our day and age. It was a journal reflect on one of our recent day retreats.
“Experiences in Unhurried Leadership” (part one and part two) shared insights from our increasing work of consulting Christian ministries in “contemplative planning process.”
“Practicing Unhurried Leadership” (part one and part two) was a follow-up to the series above on how a team might spend a full day in unhurried planning.
“I Own Nothing” was a reflection on Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” Do we really believe this when it comes to our stuff?
“A Practical Tool for Solitude” – I shared a long list of questions I use at the end of a day alone and quiet with God for myself in journaling, or with a group in debrief.
“Being Saved by What God Says” – A reflection on James 1:21b, “…humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” Are we letting the word be planted in us like a seed, or are we becoming merely seed collectors or seed experts?
“Thoughts on Seeking God First” – What are we tempted to seek first other than God alone? Are we looking more for something from Jesus or for Jesus Himself?
A quick update on my book for InterVarsity Press (2013) An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest: I was able to send along my first draft of 67,000+ words and 240 manuscript pages in last Friday. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement along the way. I’ll be waiting for edits to work through later this Summer.
Below are the posts that have received the most attention in the last 40 days or so:
“Necessary Neglect” – this post received a surprising number of visits. I shared a good word from Elton Trueblood on the practical reality that Jesus, in his practice of regularly withdrawing to be alone with the Father, had to step away from real needs of people around him.
“Giving Up Too Soon” – Here, I spoke about our tendency to give up when things get hard, just when we might break through to a place of greater fruit.
“Morning Prayer: Courage for the Work” – Here I shared a journal entry from morning prayer in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
“The Power of Leaders Who Listen” – So much of my work as a Christian leader in the past seems to have been focused on what I say. Christian leaders, of course, are to speak on God’s behalf. But what about the power of simply listening—to God, to others, to our own hearts?
I find myself in the midst of a very full ministry schedule in addition to my focused work on the Unhurried first draft for InterVarsity Press. In the midst, I’ve enjoyed writing two or three blog posts a week. Below are the newer ones that have been most read:
“Pray Honestly” – I shared and reflected on a quotation from Simon Tugwell on how we are sometimes a little too ‘polite’ in our prayers.
“Israel: The First Two Days” – many of you know that Gem and I were able to make our first trip to Israel in the last two weeks of March. This was a repost of some images Gem uploaded early in our trip. She has since written a number of posts with images from Petra in Jordan, Bethlehem, Gamla, the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Caesarea by the Sea, Jerusalem and other sites. You can visit her blog here and scroll to see dozens of images.
“The Classic Three-Fold Path” – This is more of an article-length post in the spiritual direction section talking about the three-fold spiritual formation structure of purification, illumination and union with God.
“Grace in Disguise” – Here I shared an extended quotation from Philip Yancey’s Reaching for the Invisible God on God’s unexpected expressions of grace. “A relationship with God does not promise supernatural deliverance from hardship, but rather a supernatural use of it.”
“Learning to Pray the Hard Way” – This post from just a few days ago has had a lot of traffic. I shared my paraphrase of a quotation about the challenge of helping younger Christian leaders feel their need for prayer before they’ve had experiences of their own inadequacy.
It’s been since mid-September since I listed here those posts that have received the most attention. Usually, I do this monthly, but today I”ll share the posts that have been most visited in the last three months:
“Richard Rohr: Healing the Father Wound (Pt 1)” – Again, even though I posted this in February, I continue to receive many visitors from Google searches for Richard Rohr’s teaching on this topic.
“Church: Machine or Body” – Last month, I posted some thoughts on whether we imagine the church primarily as the people, or as the programs, events and buildings that people attend. This was the most commented on post of the last quarter.
“Brennan Manning on Gratitude” – Around Thanksgiving, I shared this little quotation from someone whose books have meant a lot to me over the years.
Today is the first full day of the Journey Generation 1 in the Dominican Republic. I will be preparing the group for a few hours of solitude and silence with God. This is always a stretch in this very communal culture. Pray for our time together this week, would you?
“Why Did the Early Church Grow?” – I reviewed and reflected on the book of Acts and each of the places where Luke mentions the expansion of the church. I noticed factors in the growth of the church that aren’t usually at the top of our popular lists.
“Where Temptation Fails” – I shared a wonderful quotation from one of the desert fathers about how a fly doesn’t land on a hot pot. It’s a metaphor for how a warm passion for God makes temptation less tempting.
“Incubation Places” – For some reason, this post from April 2006 popped up on someone’s Google search and this resulted in a large number of visits to this page. In this post, I talked about the metaphor of incubation as a way of talking about how God grows something new in us, and how this often involves hiddenness and darkness.