Leading out of Meekness: Monday Monologues (podcast) May 4, 2020

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Leading out of Meekness. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Leading out of Meekness: Monday Monologues (podcast) May 4, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

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Meek Leadership Prayer

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Almighty Father,

We give thanks for the gift of faith and the call into ministry that reaches out to our families, friends, and beyond.

Guard our hearts in times of weakness, hardship, and temptation.

Keep our minds sharp so that we can offer you our praise with clarity, coherence, and dedication, not tainted by vain desires, cultural confusion, or subtle idolatries.

Grant us a spirit of meekness, a spirit of humility seated deeply in our character—not loosely held, superficially worn, or overshadowed by cherished sins.

Place in us hearts eager to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

Give us the assurance of your providence so we can offer sacrificial hospitality to those around us.

In the face of suffering, make your Holy Spirit especially visible so that we would not fail in our ministry due to temptations to be relevant, powerful, or spectacular in the eyes of those in our care.

In the strong name of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Savior. Amen.

Meek Leadership Prayer

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 

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Oración de Liderazgo Manso

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Padre todopoderoso,

Damos gracias por el don de la fe y el llamado hasta el ministerio que llega a nuestras familias, amigos, y más allá.

Protege nuestros corazones en tiempos de debilidad, dificultad, y tentaciones.

Mantén nuestra mente aguda para que podamos ofrecerte nuestras alabanzas  con claridad, coherencia y dedicación, no manchados por vanos deseos, confusión cultural o idolatrías sutiles.

Concédanos un espíritu de mansedumbre, un espíritu de humildad asistida profundamente arraigado en nuestro carácter, no atenido a la ligera, desgastado superficialmente o eclipsado por pecados preciados.

Coloque en nosotros corazones ansiosos por perseguir la justicia, la piedad, la fe, el amor, la firmeza, y la gentileza.

Danos la seguridad de tu providencia para que podamos ofrecer hospitalidad sacrificada a quienes nos rodean.

Ante de sufrimiento, haga tu Espíritu Santo especialmente visible para que no fracasemos en nuestro ministerio debido a tentaciones a ser relevante, poderoso, o espectacular en los ojos a quienes están bajo nuestro cuidado.

En el poderoso nombre de Jesucristo, tu Hijo, y nuestro Savador, Amén.

Oración de Liderazgo Manso

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Lead Out of Meekness

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, 

and he will guide them to springs of living water, 

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. 

(Rev 7:17)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Meekness marks a natural leader, yet few aspire to be meek, as Nouwen (1989, 82) observes:

Christian leadership…is not leadership of power and control, but a leadership of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is made manifest.

Like the one who sent him, the ideal Christian leader is meek, but meekness also creates tension within us it, between us, and with God, to which we will now turn. 

Tension Within

For church leaders, the Apostle Paul advises elders and deacons to pursue fruits of the spirit, such as “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Tim 6:11), where gentle is a good synonym for meek. In pursuing fruits like meekness, however, success is not easy to obtain. Even Paul points to inner tension:

For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (Rom 7:18-19)

As with any fruit of the spirit, progress in obtaining meekness requires the intervention of the Holy Spirit.

Tension With Others

“Isn’t meekness a personal attribute?” A friend recently inquired. “How can you be meek when you are responsible for other people?” One response is that modeling meekness creates space in our lives for other people, which is foundational for servant leadership.

During his time in prison, for example, Bonhoeffer continued to function sacrificially as a pastor offering counsel to other inmates and even the prison guards. When offered an opportunity to escape from prison, Bonhoeffer refused to leave because escaping would put his family outside prison and his ministry inside prison at risk (Metaxas 2010, 448). Sacrificial leadership can be risky, painful, and, yet, unappreciated, as the Apostle Paul writes:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Cor 4:7–10)

Several levels of meekness may need to be developed.

Tension With God

Sacrificial leadership can also lead to the cross. In a moment of weakness and despair on the cross Jesus cried: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) These words are taken from Psalm 22:1 that later ends in praise: “You who fear the LORD, praise him!” (Ps 22:23) Emptied of our despair, we are able again to turn to God in praise.

We can lead with meekness, even in the face of suffering, in part, because the story does not end in suffering. Just like the cross of Christ is followed by the resurrection of Christ; when we share in his suffering we know that we will also share in his victory (2 Cor 1:5).  

As the Apostle Paul writes: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55) Because our future is in Christ, today we can embrace Christ’s meekness.

References

Metaxas, Eric. 2012. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Nouwen, Henri J. M. 1989. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company

Lead Out of Meeknes

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 

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Lide desde de la Mansedumbre

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Pues el Cordero que está en medio del trono los pastoreará

 y los guiará a manantiales de aguas de vida, y 

Dios enjugará toda lágrima de sus ojos. 

(Rev 7:17)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

La mansedumbre marca un lider natural, pocos aspiran a ser mansos, como Nouwen (1989, 82) observa:

El liderazgo cristiano . . . no es un liderazgo de poder y control, sino un liderazgo de impotencia y humildad en el que se manifiesta el siervo sufriente de Dios, Jesucristo.⁠1

Al igual como el quien lo envió, el lider cristiano ideal es manso, pero la mansedumbre también crea tensión dentro nosotros, entre nosotros, y con Dios, a lo que nos dirigiremos ahora.

Tensión entre Nosotros

Por los líderes de la iglesia, el apóstol Pablo aconseja a los ancianos y diáconos que busquen frutos del espíritu como “la justicia, la piedad, la fe, el amor, la perseverancia y la amabilidad” (1 Tim 6:11), donde gentil es un buen sinónimo de manso. Sin embargo, al perseguir frutos como la mansedumbre, el éxito no es fácil a obtener. Incluso Pablo señala la tensión interna:

Porque yo sé que en mí, es decir, en mi carne, no habita nada bueno. Porque el querer está presente en mí, pero el hacer el bien, no. Pues no hago el bien que deseo, sino el mal que no quiero, eso practico. (Rom 7:18-19)

Como con cualquier fruto del espíritu, el progreso en la obtención de la mansedumbre requiere la intervención del Espíritu Santo.

Tensión con los Demás

“¿No es mansedumbre un atributo personal?” un amigo recientemente inquirí. “¿Cómo puedes ser manso cuando eres responsable de otras personas?” Una respuesta es que modelar mansedumbre crea espacio en nuestras vidas por otras personas, lo cual es fundamental para el liderazgo siervo.

Durante su tiempo de prisión, por ejemplo, Bonhoeffer continuó funcionar sacraficio como un pastor ofreciendo consuelo a otras reclusos, incluso a las guardias de prisión. Cuando se le ofreció un oportunidad de escapar del encarcelo, Bonhoeffer se negó a irse por que escapando podría su familia fuera de la prisión y su ministerio dentro de la prisión en peligro (Metaxas 2010, 448).

El liderazgo sacrificial puede ser arriesgado, doloroso y, sin embargo, poco apreciado, como el apóstol Pablo escribe:

Pero tenemos este tesoro en vasos de barro, para que la extraordinaria grandeza del poder sea de Dios y no de nosotros. Afligidos en todo, pero no agobiados; perplejos, pero no desesperados; perseguidos, pero no abandonados; derribados, pero no destruidos. Llevamos siempre en el cuerpo por todas partes la muerte de Jesús, para que también la vida de Jesús se manifieste en nuestro cuerpo. (2 Cor 4:7-10)

Es posible que sea necesario desarrollar varios niveles de mansedumbre.

Tensión con Dios

El liderazgo sacrificial puede también conducir a la cruz. En un momento de debilidad y desesperación por la cruz Jesús gritó: “Dios mio, Dios mio, ¿Por que me has abandonado?” (Mark 15:34) Estas palabras están tomadas de Salmo 22:1 que luego termina en alabanza: “Los que temen al SEÑOR, alábenlo.” (Ps 22:23)  Vaciados de nuestra desesperación, podemos volver otra vez a Dios en alabanza.

Podemos liderar con mansedumbre, incluso en medio de sufrimiento, en parte, por que la historia no termina en sufrimiento. Al igual que la cruz de Cristo se sigue por la resurrección de Cristo, cuando compartimos en su sufrimiento sabemos que también compartiremos en su victoria (2 Cor 1.5).

Como el apóstol Pablo escribe: “¿Donde esta, oh muerte, tu victoria? ¿Donde, oh sepulcro, tu aguijon?” (1 Cor 15:55) Debido a que nuestro futuro está en Cristo, hoy podemos abrazar la mansedumbre de Cristo.

Notas

  1 Nouwen (1989, 82) observes: “Christian leadership…is not leadership of power and control, but a leadership of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is made manifest.

Referencias

Metaxas, Eric. 2012. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Nouwen, Henri J. M. 1989. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company.

Lide desde de la Mansedumbr

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 

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Water Cooler Observations, April 29, 2020

Hiemstra_FHFA_02052009

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Eccl 3:1 ESV).

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Thinking about the lesson of Ecclesiastes 3 is easy: the best time to take out the garbage is on garbage day! While this seems like a brilliant statement of the obvious, we often respond, not pragmatically, but with denial and, so to speak, try to put garbage out on the wrong days.

My own career as an economist is a case in point. In the 1980s, U.S. agriculture was in crisis and many agricultural banks failed. I had trained as a European analyst, learning French, Spanish, and German, and studying abroad twice during my graduate school years, expertise that was quickly becoming obsolete because of such things like the Internet. Seeing that recruiters wanted financial economists, not European analysts, I went into finance in spite of a lack of specific training and set aside my beloved work in European affairs. This career move was painful, but financially was the best career move that I ever made.

My point? Crises create both problems and opportunities. It’s garbage dayare you willing to take out the garbage?

What Season is It?

Whether or not the politicians open the local economy or not, the corona pandemic is likely to a multiyear event, ending either when we have an effective vaccine or “herd immunity.” Pronouncements to date about a vaccine suggest that a vaccine may be available as early as 2021. Herd immunity will be reached once most of the population gets the corona virus and develop immunity. To date, less than one percent of the U.S. population has been exposed to the virus suggesting a long, uphill battle with this pandemic.

So what do we do in the meantime?

With roughly 26 million Americans out of work, the economic crisis parallels the Great Depression of the 1930s, which lasted about a decade. Social programs (the New Deal) introduced during the 1930s include the minimum wage, social security, various work programs, and encouraging students to complete high school (to keep them out of the workforce). A lot of the monuments and government buildings in Washington DC were constructed during this period. Unfortunately, the government’s best efforts to deal with the crisis did not end the pain. It was World War II that put Americans back to work.

Because of the economic stresses that many people currently feel, I expect that once this pandemic is over many more people will be living in three-generation households. We are smarter and stronger together when we depend on each other. The same is true for our church families.

Now is a Good Time to:

Now is a good time to take stock of your life and career while you have time on your hands. If you are employed and can pay your bills, count your blessings.

Now is a good time to spend time with your friends and family. On Easter Sunday, I visited my parents for the first time in six weeks. We watched their church online, ordered pizza, and held a family Zoom conference. (Check out Zoom.com for a free account). My parents had previous done none of these things so it was fun for all of us. Later, I learned that my parent’s church offers a telephone worship service on Sunday mornings that allows one to call in and listen to the entire service without the need for a computer.

Now is a good time to start an exercise program. Corona virus sickens most people and kills those with pre-existing conditions. Obesity is a contributing factor in many of those pre-existing conditions and it is something that you can do something about. Watch what you eat and take walks with your spouse in the evening. It could reduce your chances of a severe case.

Now is a good time to learn new things. In 2003, when I was between jobs, I visited a seminary for the first time. Feeling God’s call on my life, I began studying Greek (the New Testament was originally written in Greek) and began playing hymns daily.

Now is a good time to begin a new spiritual discipline. Pray when you get up and when you go to bed. Start a journal. Start a bible study. Check out a new church online. Join a small group. People are often surprised when I tell them that I view exercise as a spiritual discipline, but I often pray when I am jogging or swimming laps—it is only time that I am truly alone.

May God bless you during this stressful time.

Water Cooler Observations, April 29, 2020

Also see:

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 22, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 15, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 8, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 1, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, March 25, 2020

Corona Virus Versus the Flu

Black Plague

CDC Flu Statistics

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

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Card Explores Lament

Card_review_20200325Michael Card.  2005.  A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament.  [Also:  Experience Guide].  Colorado Springs:  NavPress.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Grief is a postmodern embarrassment.  American society has abandoned the idea of Sabbath rest; even the pre-eminent American holiday, Thanksgiving, is being pushed aside to make more room for holiday shopping.  As the pace of life keeps accelerating, the rhythm of life allows little room for honest reflection; honest emotions.  Grief often comes as a kind of alien invasion.

In this context, Christian musician, Michael Card, observed after 9/11—we, in the American church, had no songs to sing in response to the horrific attack (7).  Songs to sing?  When Jerusalem was burned to the ground by the Babylonians, the Prophet Jeremiah wrote the Book of Lamentation.  Lamentation is a song of grief.

Introduction

In his book, A Sacred Sorrow, Card set out to rediscover the lost art of lamentation.  He studies lamentation in the OT and NT focusing on the characters of Job, David, Jeremiah, and Jesus.  A key verse in this study is found in Exodus 7:16 [Moses said to Pharaoh] The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. The desert in this context is interpreted literally but also figuratively. It is often in the desert that we meet and learn to depend on God.

Biblical Walk

In this sense, grief is a walk in the desert that can lead us to God.  In our grief we almost invariable get angry at ourselves and at God.  Lament helps us turn from self-pity to access our anger and express our grief—the only healthy response to death.  Lashing out at God means we finally take him seriously.  In turn, God honors our anger.  Many of the Psalms are laments which explicitly model both the expression of rage and the subsequent turning to God.  Here lies the path of our salvation:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 43:1-5 ESV).

Card cites this passage from Isaiah and makes the important point that God promises to be with us. He does not promise to give us a care-free life or life without pain—grief exposes the carefree life promised by the postmodern lifestyle as a lie.  When we pray, it is accordingly important to ask for and treasure God’s presence. God’s gifts follow his presence.

Assessment

A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card deepened my conscious relationship with God.  In addition to A Sacred Sorrow, Card also has an A Sacred Sorrow: Experience Guide which is usefully studied in addition to this book. Between the two, the experience guide is more accessible.  Both are worth reading and studying either alone or with a small group.

Card Explores Lament

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

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Pastoral Meekness: Monday Monologues (podcast) April 27, 2020

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Pastoral Meekness. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Pastoral Meekness: Monday Monologues (podcast) April 27, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

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Meekness Prayer

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Beloved Good Shepherd,

We praise you for your teaching heart and gentle spirit.

We thank you for modeling meekness in leadership and for your patience with us as we learn.

Heal our hearts, humble our spirits, open our hands that we might lead with gentleness and hospitality.

Grant us open minds and a teachable spirit that we might lead those around us only to you.

Through the power of your Holy Spirit, now and always, Amen.

Meekness Prayer

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 

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