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A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE WILLITS FAMILY


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Willits Family #2The next big adventure is here…

It is with a ton of excitement and a bit of sadness that I share with you that Andrea and I will be packing up this June and moving north. I will be attending a seminary in Wisconsin — Nashotah House Theological Seminary. We’ll be on campus for the 2015-16 academic year and making big plans for the future!

Our sadness comes from knowing how much we will miss all of the amazing families at our church and all the incredible friends we’ve met in Texas! We’ve been Texans now for over 3 years. It feels like home and we will miss it!

Our family is loved, our kids are well cared for and we have really come to love the people and place in return!

Our year at seminary will be really exciting. Nashotah House is a very unique place and will offer our family a great opportunity to be formed spiritually through prayer, worship and education. There is also a great community of families, students and faculty that we look forward to sharing life with.

We take this step after a lot of thought and prayer.
We sense God leading and we want to follow!

If you know me, you know that I’ve had church planting on my heart for a long time! Andrea and I are beginning to feel like it might just be the time to do that. WOW!! But we want to be ready! Our hope is that Nashotah will be just the right place for us to be formed spiritually and to prepare through prayer and conversation for the adventure of church planting! We’ll be on campus for about one year and then I will finish up my education through their distance program while living in the place we have discerned to plant a church.

In conversations with my Sr. Pastor / Rector, Fr. David Roseberry, he also recommended I pursue this education with my sense of a calling to ordained ministry, leadership and church planting in mind.  So, I’m looking forward to the theological studies and Anglican formation, but Andrea and I are really excited to take this year to pray and dream about church planting.

Our prayer will be where, when, and with whom God might want us to plant a church. Our leaning right now is that we will end up back in McKinney, Texas. McKinney was rated the #1 place to live in America this past year! And we think it just might need a strong new church to participate in God’s mission of love and redemption among the growing population!  We’re open to where God will lead us and who he will put in our path to partner with, but this is what we are currently thinking about and praying about.

It really is exciting!
But it’s a bit scary as well!

We need all the prayer and support you can give!

We are going to be doing fundraising over the next six months to cover some of the tuition and living expenses, so plan on hearing from us.

We also plan on setting up a blog specifically to keep all our friends and family in the loop on how you can pray for us and support us as we embark on this new journey!
(Look for that in the next month!)

We know that God is leading us and that we have a strong community of friends and family that will come alongside us to participate in what God is doing!

We are excited to see how God will lead and provide over these next couple years. Thank you in advance for your prayers and support!

With love and excitement,
Erik and Andrea

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LENT 2015 :: An Intro


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Lent has become my favorite liturgical season. Not because it’s fun and festive but because it has produced the most significant spiritual growth in my life. One of my proposals is that every liturgical season is a gift from God that enables a person to become fully human and experience spiritual growth in particular ways.

Lent is the space we are given that allows us to experience temptation, difficulty and dryness. We are reminded during Lent that God is not distant when God is quiet and that our difficulty isn’t necessarily because of a problem but rather it may be a preparation.

Either way, because you are human, because you are dust and to dust you will return, you will experience not only the good but the difficult and tempting parts of life.

Lent is God’s gift to us, creating space to experience this while affirming His love for us as He did in the life of Jesus.
So in all of this we share in His suffering and are prepared to participate in His resurrection.

There is a lot more to Lent but those are my thoughts for today. 
I wrote a little Lent devotional book if you want to read a bit more. 
Here is the intro to that book which will briefly introduce you, if you’re not familiar to some of the Lenten basics…
I also plan on blogging every Wednesday about Lent and my experience.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.25.50 AMFrom Lent…

Lent is the time in the Christian year that leads us to Easter and our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. For most of my Christian life, I was aware of Lent but didn’t engage in the creative aspects Christians have participated in for hundreds of years. However, for the past several years, my engagement in Lenten exercises has provided water for my thirsty soul. Lent is usually a period marked by prayer, penitential activities, helping those in need and radical self-denial.
I have simplified those ideas in my own life focusing on three things. With the hope and expectation of participating in the resurrection, during Lent I will:
• add something,
• subtract something, and
• spend intentional time in self examination.

And here is a prayer to begin your Lenten season
(and I hope you will find a community to experience an Ash Wednesday service today. You won’t regret it.)

From the 1979 Book of Common Prayer
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Books of 2014


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Last year was the year of the audio book for me. My friend Brad and I have an argument about reading vs listening. I still feel like I am cheating when I say “I read” a book when I actually only listened it. This doesn’t diminish listening to books, as you will see I listened to a lot of them BUT they are definitely 2 different things.

Anyway, here are the books I took in in 2014…

I READ ::

Sabbath As Resistance by Walter Bureggemann
Creed by Winfield Bevins
Prayer; Our Deepest Longing by Ronald Rolheiser
A Spirituality of Living by Henri Nouwen
( I read this twice this year and have read it in previous years. It’s so good!)
In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen
(This is also a repeat, I read this once in college. It’s profound!)
Discerning the Will of God; An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making by Timothy Gallagher

I read bit of A LOT of other books but these are the only ones I made it through. Honestly, they were all pretty amazing. The Brueggeman book and the Rolheiser book are ones that I will be recommending for years to come! Nouwen is already on that list. Timothy Gallagher has a whole series of books in his Ignatian Spirituality for everyday life series. They are really good, I like them a lot but they aren’t amazing. Worth ready, yes! But I won’t be buying copies for all my friends or anything. I ready half of his Discerning the Spirits book as well. Also good not great.

Now here is my list of audio books. Because the list is so long I’m going to start with my top 5.

Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
I’ve been wanting to read this for awhile, the paperback is on my shelf. But then I saw it on Audible, DONE! And it was really good, so good in fact, I will still pick it up and actually read it sometime. Loved it. I learn to love Eugene Peterson more more… I have 2 books of his in my Audible queue right now!

Malcom Gladwell!
David and GoliathThe Tipping PointBlink
I’m not sure which of these I liked better. They were all extremely fascinating! I probably like David and Goliath the least but again, they were all good. Malcolm Gladwell is probably my favorite author to listen to. His books are packed with amazing stories and he is always drawing such incredible conclusions. Yea, he’s amazing! I plan on listening to more of this stuff this year as well!

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
Rohr is a bit crazy at times. He says some stuff that I’m like, “Really, that seems a bit weird.” But more often then not he is spot on and draws me into the deep end of life and faith! I’m currently re-listening to his book The Art of Letting go. I’m listening slowly and take through notes this time through! Falling Upward, also absolutely phenomenal!

Vagabonding By Rolf Potts
This was recommended by a couple people and it didn’t disappoint. I now want to go travel the world but other than that, the call to simplicity and openness. The call to be a traveler and not a tourist. These are all things that the follower of Jesus should listen to, take to heart and, by the grace of God attempt to live! It was a great book! I’ll definitely get a paper copy and read it at some point!

The Fish That Ate the Whale by Rich Cohen
I’m not exactly sure what captured me about this book and this story but I was captured. Super interesting story about the banana man and the start of the banana industry.

Here is the rest of my list — with a 1 – 5 star rating!

Present Perfect by Gregory Body (**** )
The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography by Alan Jacobs (**** .5)
Bad Religion by Ross Douthat (**** )
Too Busy Not to Pray (**** )
Evil and the Justice of God (****.5)
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry (****)
What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell (**** )
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig (***.5 )
The Holy Spirit and Power (Sermons) by John Wesley (***  )
The King Jesus Gospel (**** )
7 Men by Eric Metaxas (***.5  )
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson (***  )
Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley (***  )
The Art of Procrastination by John Perry (***  )
Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola & George Barna (*    )
The Book Thief by Markus Zusah (***.5  )

There ya go! What’s on my 2015 list…
I’ll tell you soon!

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The “Fridays” of Life….


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“On all the Fridays of our lives, when with Jesus we want to say, “God, where are you?” maybe He (Jesus) is just hanging there present and absent all at the same time, waiting for the subversion of your story and ultimately His story to be proclaimed. After all, Sunday isn’t far away.”

This is a little bit of a Good Friday reflection I gave awhile back. I put it in the Lenten Devotional I published and came across it today as I read and prepared for the current writing i’m doing. I needed to read it. Maybe you do to.
Resurrection & harrowing-of-hadesTrying not to let stress and stifles control my focus and joy.
It may feel like Friday but Sunday is coming.
(I think Tony Compolo has something to say about that as well.)

To read the rest of the reflection above pick up my Lent devotion for yourself and your community.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18th, 2015.
(If you are curious about Lent and what it’s all about check this out [ CRI Voice on Lent ] or just know this, Lent is all about getting your heart and mind ready for Easter, the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.)

 

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Epiphany — Let’s keep it going!


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Advent seemed to gain some traction this year! Guys like Louie Giglio and others spoke and wrote about Advent, even calling for people to “bring Advent back.” Which among some of my friends was a bit humors. Our thought is that Advent didn’t really go anywhere, you did. But regardless, it’s great that communities are embracing the rich resource that the church calendar offers us.

Let’s keep it going!

At the end my Advent book that was published 2 years ago I left the reader with this though on Epiphany as a springboard to continue their journey through the year with the church and her calendar.

Epiphany

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The Season of Epiphany begins after the Twelve Days of Christmas and continues until Lent, 40 days before Easter. What exactly is it, and how do we observe it? Well, we’ve all had an “aha” moment when the lights go on and everything makes sense. That’s an epiphany. It can happen slowly, like when the lights are gradually turned up in a room, or suddenly, when everything goes from black to full color and light in a moment.

I’ve had epiphanies take place both ways but it’s always God who turns on the light! He reveals Himself and makes it clear that life will never be the same. This experience is different for every individual, but it’s all a revelation of God’s self.

Thus, Epiphany is the season in the church calendar when we watch and listen as God is quietly—or sometimes not so quietly—revealed before us once again. Sometimes, even when we try hard to do so, we just don’t see God in our everyday lives or in the events of our world. Epiphany gives us the time and resources to watch, wait, listen, look and be open to the revelation of God. Watching and waiting are practices we can intentionally carry over from our Advent journey because Epiphany is a season that reminds us God constantly wants to reveal Himself to us. He longs to turn on the lights, connect the dots and show us the way!

The Lectionary will guide us through three key Scriptures readings during Epiphany. We traditionally focus on the Magi, who literally had the bright light of a star turned on above them to reveal what God was doing in the world. We also consider the baptism of Jesus, which more fully reveals who Jesus is, the Son of God. The season concludes with pondering the story of the Transfiguration, the scene that gives us a glimpse at the pure radiance of Jesus, the light of the world, as He reveals Himself to some of the disciples. Epiphany is a season to really explore these aspects of Jesus’ story that reveal Him in new ways.

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So there you go! I hope this could be a great springboard to guide you through this next season of the church!
If you want more reading for flection during Epiphany check out these resources. And keep an eye out toward the end of 2015 for a new resource I’m putting together. I can’t wait to share it! More on that coming soon.

The Book of Common Prayer
(Of course! The reading and prayers are all here.)

A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God
(This is a great resource that follows the liturgical calendar. It includes explanations of the seasons, daily devotional liturgy with scriptures, prayers and reading for reflection. It’s a must have!)

Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year by Robert Webber
(Webber is the forerunner for all us “Evangelicals on the Canterbury trail.” This is a really good resource on the calendar and it’s significance. Less devotional and more informational but great nonetheless.)

Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God by Bobby Gross
(I haven’t fully got into this resource but it seems great and what I have read in it I really liked. Check it out!)

 

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What you win them with | Advent


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It feels kinda weird but I have been reading my own Advent devotional along with this one. (which is really good!)
But reading my own words has been like reminding myself what God has been teaching me over the last few years when it comes to Advent. It’s like hearing my best self give my current self advice for the Advent season. It’s been weird but God has really been using it. It’s almost like re-reading your journal or watching a video you recorded a few years back as you give your future self advice or something. (I’ve never done that but I’ve see it in the movies ;-)

So this is the thought I had written last week in the Advent Book, day 13 if you’re curious.
(it’s cut up, edited & shortened a little from the original for this blogs purposes)

Nativity Cosmic IconHave you ever hear the phrase, “What you win them with, you win them to.” …
As we engage the Advent story try and think honestly about God’s means and method of winning, of saving and redeeming the world in Christ. Jesus comes poor and powerless. He come humbly; He comes as a minimalist. He comes needy and he comes crying. Not as a powerful king, flashy entertainer or a crafty politician but as a baby. A BABY! In this form, He begins His redemptive mission to win the world to himself and to make all things new.
In Christ’s birth, we get a glimpse of God’s means. If this is how God is choosing to win and redeem the world, maybe this is also how He wants to shape our lives, our purposes and our mission.

Adding to the thought from the book I would say that maybe God wants us to use some of the same means as we spread His love and help people to see the God who is wooing them and winning their affection for the abundant and redemptive life He has created us all for.

Church leaders.

How would this Advent idea change what it looks like as you plan Christmas services and evangelism efforts?

Christians. Followers of Jesus. Those on mission with and for God.

How would this Advent idea change how live and how you share your faith?

When we keep this in mind maybe we can more fully participate in God’s redemptive love and His rescue plan and maybe even it could inform how we prepare for His return. After all, it’s always Advent right!  #Advent

This is connected to the Advent Book and the Advent Webguide — Check them both out today!

And look for the hashtag #AdventWG2014 for more Advent connected content

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Advent isn’t really about Jesus…


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Advent isn’t about Jesus
Advent is all about Jesus

Those statements seem contradictory don’t they. Well, they are both true. In a way…

You see Advent is more about the absence of Jesus and less about the presence of Jesus. So you might say Advent isn’t about Jesus at all, it’s about you!

Advent is about you and that hunger that lies at the core of your being. That longing that you feel deep in your bones. It’s about that edge of your seat anticipation that you just can’t shake.

Advent is best experience in all of these moments, when you roll over, gasp for air, grit your teeth, and hold your breath… when in those moments the only words you can get to slip through your angst are the words, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

This Advent cry, “Come, Lord Jesus, come” is what also makes Advent all about Jesus.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 12.36.59 AM

I was doing some reading today and this was my Psalm,

Psalm 35:22-25

“Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me. Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!” or say, “We have swallowed him up.””

You see, this is an Advent Psalm!

AWAKE! Come, help a brother out! Nothing is going right and there are all these people about to crush me!

That’s the Psalm. And that is an Advent cry! That’s a familiar cry!

We cry out for Jesus to come in his birth.

We cry out for Jesus to come again.

We cry out for Jesus to come in all the moment in-between.

Advent is the time God gives us to remind us how to wait. How to be patient. How to be honest in those moments, like the Psalmist, when God seems absent and ruin seems immanent. We’ve all been there. We’ve all cried out, “COME LORD JESUS!” or maybe “HELP ME JESUS!” 

It’s during Advent that we, the Church, practice together the art of longing and waiting and preparing. It’s during Advent that we learn to live faithfully instead of extravagantly because we are reminded that all the toys and goods are not what we really want or need anyway.

So we learn to wait for the right thing, not just the thing I want right now.

We learn to pray, hope, want and wait faithfully. 

This is the gift of Advent. 

This is all about Jesus!

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Advent has begun!


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Today is the 1st Sunday of Advent! I hope you are ready to get ready! Advent literally means “come”. It’s all about the coming of Jesus. During Advent we focus on preparing for the coming of Christ, first in his birth and secondly when he will come again. And really, it’s a time set aside to raise one’s aware of all the little moments in the busyness of life when Christ comes and sits besides us, incarnate in every moment. He is the God who comes, always, already and still to come. ADVENT!

I have a little book I put out last year, if you are still looking for some good Advent meditations, devotional readings and scriptures to help you focus check that out. It’s created with the family in mind. Great for teens, parents and everybody in-between.

Well today is the 1st Sunday of Advent and here are some great readings I would like to share.

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(from The Book of Common Prayer :: I always just this link to check out the Collect [and we say it in church])

Here are Scripture readings form The Book of Common Prayer
Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

My family ready this Psalm around the lunch table today, PERFECT!
Psalm 130 (NRSV)

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
    Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
    so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
    from all its iniquities.

 

TEAR OPEN THE HEAVENS, O God;
we are your children who long for your coming.
Sorrow, injustice, and fear surround us on every side.
With our hearts on bended knee, we cry to the heavens:
Come Lord, Jesus, set your people free!
Free us from the snares of darkness that drive us away from you,
that we may entrust ourselves to your love.
In the confidence of your love, we march toward Bethlehem
as our souls await the dawning of your redeeming light.
Amen.

from Alive Now, Nov/Dec 2014
I got this reading form an email devotion I get from The Upper Room, Check it out!
This reading reminds me of our Scripture for today, Isaiah 64:1-9 — they start off the same!

I look forward to this Advent journey. I would love to hear about what you are ready, watching, looking at during this Advent season.

Grace and peace

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In The Name Of Jesus: Reflection of Christian Leadership


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IMG_0659I recently picked up Henri Nouwen’s book In The Name Of Jesus; Reflection of Christian Leadership. I’ve been reading and dialoging over another leadership book with some folks at church and this book came to my mind. It’s a very different angle on leadership and is structured largely around Jesus and his temptations in the desert that took place right before he stepped into his earthly ministry / leadership role. The thought is that if Jesus faced these temptations as he was getting ready to lead so will we.

Here are the temptations as Nouwen sees them and the corresponding discipline for said temptation…

* The temptation to be relevant // the discipline of contemplative prayer
* The temptation to be spectacular // the discipline of confession and forgiveness
* The temptation to be powerful // the discipline of theological reflection

I think these temptations in Christian leadership, really any kind of leadership, are spot on! I’m have see then, experienced other leaders who have given into them and have struggle with them myself.

Nouwen provides great thoughts and challenges as he reflects on Jesus’ life and his own life. He largely draws from his experience as a priest living with and serving alongside folks who are mentally handicapped in his community L’Arche .

For me, this book raises some extremely helpful questions and challenges some very common notions that are prominent for myself and for anyone in leadership but are questions and challenges that I think every Christian leader will be better for having engaged.

Here are just a few quotes and thoughts.
Really I wanted to record these quotes for myself, as reminders and recurring challenges to the ever present temptations I will face as a leader in the modern day church. Since I was typing up some of my favorites I thought I would share here as well.
ENJOY!

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“I asked myself, ‘What decisions have you been making lately and how are they a refection of the way you sense the future?’ Somehow I have to trust that God is at work in me and that the way I am being moved to new inner and outer places is part of a larger movement of which i am only a very small part.”
— Intro, p.9

(personally for me that is HUGE these days and I really want to live into this and believe it deep in my bones! But it’s hard, right?!?!)

“I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of human life.”
— From Relevance to Prayer, p.17

“The leader of the future will be the one who dares to claim his irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows him or her to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success and to bring the light of Jesus there.”
— From Relevance to Prayer, p.22

“The question is not: how many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? How can you show some results? But: Are you in love with Jesus? Perhaps another way of putting the question would be: Do you know the incarnate God? In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, that cares, that reaches out and wants to heal. In that heart there is no suspicion, no vindictiveness, no resentment, and not a tinge of hatred. It is a heart that wants only to give love and receive love in response.”
— From Relevance to Prayer, p.24
(As like most of these quotes I could keep going. This is a really great little chance though!)

“Through contemplative prayer we can keep ourselves from being pulled from one urgent issue to another and from becoming strangers to our own and God’s heart. Contemplative prayer keeps us home, rooted and safe, even when we are on the road, moving from place to place, and often surrounded by sounds of violence and war. Contemplative prayer deepens in us the knowledge that we are already free, that we have already found a place to dwell, that we already belong to God, even though everything and everyone around us keeps suggesting the opposite.”
— From Relevance to Prayer, p.29

“I have found over and over again how hard it is to be truly faithful to Jesus when I am alone. I need my brothers and sisters to pray with me, to speak with me about the spiritual task at hand, and to challenge me to stay pure in mind, heart, and body.”
— From Popularity to Ministry, p.41

“Somehow we have come to believe that good leadership requires a safe distance from those we are called to lead.”
— From Popularity to Ministry, p.43

“Medicine, psychiatry, and social work all offer us models in which “service”takes place in a one-way direction. Someone serves, someone else is being served, and be sure not to mix up the roles! But how can anyone lay down his life for those which whom he is not even allowed to enter into a deep personal relationship? Laying down your life means making your own faith and doubt, hope and despair, joy and sadness, courage and fear available to other as ways of getting in touch with the Lord of Life.
We are not healers, we are not the reconcilers, we are not the givers of life. We are sinful broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for. The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God. Therefore, true ministry must be mutual.”
— From Popularity to Ministry, p.43-44

“The leadership about which Jesus speaks is of a radically different kind from the leadership offered by the world. It is a servant leadership, in which the leader is a vulnerable servant who need the people as much as they need him or her.”
From this it is clear that a whole new type of leadership is asked for in the Church of tomorrow, a leadership which is not modeled on the power games of the world, but on the servant-leader, Jesus, who came to give his life for the salvation of many.”
— From Popularity to Ministry, p.44-45

“When ministers and priests live their ministry mostly in their heads and relate to the Gospel as a set of valuable ideas to be announced, the body quickly takes revenge by screaming loudly for affection and intimacy. Christian leaders are called to live the Incarnation, that is to live in the body—not only in the their own bodies but also in the corporate body of the community, and to discover there the presence of the Holy Spirit.”
— From Popularity to Ministry, p.48

“Ministers and priests are also called to be full members of their communities, are accountable to them and need their affection and support, and are called to minister with their whole being, including their wounded selves.”
— From Popularity to Ministry, p.49

(He goes on here to talk about ministers and priests needing a truly safe place to share with people who do not need them. This is where some of the tension comes in, right. Most ministers and priests use this tension to disconnect themselves and have a good “professional distance” from their parish. I think that can’t be the best and only option. Thoughts?)

“I am also getting in touch with the mystery that leadership, for a large part, means to be led.”
— From Leading to Being Led, p.57
(And he isn’t simply spiritualizing and talking about being led by Jesus. That’s part of it be even the leader needs to let their community lead them from time to time.)

“The temptation to consider power an apt instrument fro proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest of all.”
— From Leading to Being Led, p.58

(I think of the recent implosion of a certain mega church illustrated this perfectly.)

“…we always see that a major cause of rupture is the power exercised by those who claim to be followers of the poor and powerless Jesus.
What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love.”
— From Leading to Being Led, p.59

“Here we touch the most important quality of Christian leadership in the future. It is not a leadership of power and control, but a leadership of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is make manifest. I, obviously, am not speaking about a psychologically weak leadership in which the Christian leader is simply the passive victim of the manipulations of his milieu. No, I am speaking of a leadership in which power is constantly abandoned in favor of love. It is true spiritual leadership Powerlessness and humility in the spiritual life do not refer to people who have no spine and who let everyone else make decisions for them. They refer to people who are so deeply in love with Jesus that they are ready to follow him wherever he guides them, always trusting that, with him, they will find life and find it abundantly.”
— From Leading to Being Led, p.63-64

“Wealth and riches prevent us from truly discerning the way of Jesus. Paul writes to Timothy: ‘People who long to be rich are a pretty to trail; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and harmful ambitions which plunge people into ruin and destruction’ (1 Tim. 6:9).

“If there is any hope for the Church in the future, it will be hope for a poor Church in which its leaders are willing to be led.”
— From Leading to Being Led, p.64

“The Christian leaders of the future have to be theologians, persons who know the heart of God and are trained—through prayer, study, and careful analysis—to manifest the diving event of God’s saving work in the midst of the many seemingly random events of their time.”
— From Leading to Being Led, p.68

(I would completely agree with this but might also point out I don’t think this necessarily means a seminary degree or Phd. It might, but it might not.)

“I leave you with the image of the leader with outstretched hands, who chooses a life of downward mobility. It is the image of the praying leader, the vulnerable leader, and the trusting leader. May that image fill your hearts with hope, courage, and confidence as you anticipate the next century.”

(I typed up all these quotes. There may be some typos, I did it fast! Go pick up the book to get the official goods!)

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A New Normal // Music Monday


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When I’m working / writing I need music with just the right rhythm, drive and vibe. Not to much going on, not to little. I like some vocals but mostly vibey, ambient, driving kinds of music. I listen to a lot of Explosions in the Sky, The Album Leaf, Sigur Ros, Olafur Arnolds… that kind of stuff. I’ve written a post about Olafur Arnolds [ LINK ], maybe some of these other folks will be future posts as well but today I’m writing about A New Normal. 

Justin Wright is the brains behind the operation. I know Justin a little bit, he’s a great dude and I’ve been listening to his music a ton lately! It’s perfect for my writing and study time. Mostly great ambient, electronic type stuff. Every once in awhile there a great voice added in. I love it and it probably helps that I know Justin and have worked with him.

This summer I was speaking at a camp and I had this idea to have song composed and a video crafted to illustrate one of my messages. I contacted Justin and this is what we came up with. I am stoked about how it came out…

RHYTHM — Creation Full from Erik Willits on Vimeo.

There is a bunch of A New Normal stuff I really love. He has an album entitled Taize which is inspired by this time with the Taize Community in Europe. It’s really good, prayerful ambient music. Use it for study or for your prayer and meditation time.

Probably my favorite album is entitled A Narrative. Unfortunately you can’t listen to this on Spotifty like some of his other stuff but pick it up on the web, totally worth it. I think it might be the first album released, It’s the first stuff i listen to and I REALLY like it. It’s just the right amount of drive and pace for my attention deprived brain.

My favorite song of his, which is on Spotify and features a mutual friend singing is I Can Feel Your Heartbeat. Joran Frye, which is the person who introduced me to Justin and A New Normal and plays in the band Urban Rescue (Justin also play in Urban Rescue), but Jordan sings and Justin works his A New Normal magic and creates an amazing song! 
Check it out on Spotify or listen below or even better, go buy the album (or just the single) and there is also a live video on youtube you can hunt down if you want. ENJOY!

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