Soul Keeping

July 28, 2015 — 1 Comment

“Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

These were the words given to John Ortberg by Dallas Willard. They were the foundation on which Ortberg launched into a journey to discover a healthy soul life.

Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You is a collection of reflections on his conversations with and mentorship by Dallas Willard. Ortberg blends in decades of pastoral experience into this work.

For me the book started solely with some “scholarly” definitions of the soul, but soon branched into loads of practical application.

Ortberg tackles rest, gratitude, works and grace, as well as the disappointing seasons known as the “dark night of the soul.”

Here are some of the best quotes from the book: (JO=John Orterg, DW=Dallas Willard)

Remember

July 21, 2015 — Leave a comment

The idea of “Remember” is key in many areas of our lives.

To remember means:

  • To not forget.
  • To remind.
  • To reorient oneself to a previously determined course.

It is no wonder God uses this term often. With Israel, He always challenged them to remember the covenant. They were to observe many festivals and feasts, all designed to remind themselves of God’s deliverance, provision, and character.

These were holidays built into the calendar. In South Africa, we do this as well. One of my favorite ones is Freedom Day. This day remembers the struggle against apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.

The Bible is full of things to remember:

  • Remember your Creator. (Ecc. 12)
  • Remember the Sabbath. (Ex. 20)
  • Remember the wife of your youth. (Prov. 5)

Why all this talk of remembering?

Simply put, because we are forgetful.

No President will get elected on a platform of restraint and cutting back. Political and economic decisions are often made for today without thinking of the future.

In South Africa, where I live and work, we are having an electricity crisis. They need rolling blackouts because the demand exceeds capacity. The attempt to shut it down as little as possible, puts us dangerously close a national blackout because the buffer is so little.

Perhaps they should shut down power in more of the country so they can fix the problem faster?

Even in our personal lives, how often does the lure of “now” influence our purchases? That new cell phone or the upgraded car seem so needed, so we lock ourselves into a long-term contract. Don’t even get me started about debt versus savings rates in most homes!

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.”        Thomas Merton

Can you relate to this thought? Do you sometimes wonder what God’s direction is for your season or even your life?

This thought is not coming from a spiritual lightweight, but Thomas Merton! A giant in the faith!

Greg Garrett shares this thought in his book, No Idea: Entrusting Your Journey to a God Who Knows.

He shares how discerning the will of God for our lives is always a challenge.

“…any attempt to know what God is trying to tell us is complicated by the fact that God rarely writes down his desires for us on a slip of paper and hands it to us.”

Being a Good Follower

June 30, 2015

Most leadership books and teaching centers on being the top guy; the number one in the organization.

I recently read a refreshingly different perspective. Creative Followership: In the Shadow of Greatness centers on influence, while not being the top guy.

Jimmy Collins retired as the President of Chick-fil-A restaurants. He was a great leader to many. But, he knew his role was to serve the founder and chief visionary leader, Truett Cathy. Together they built a successful organization which is seen as a model for business around the world, in both style and substance.

His philosophy on leadership is different than most. Rather than considering how to be the best number one and always looking to climb the ranks, he knew he could succeed by being a successful follower.

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He gives a few principles which are equally powerful for both leaders or followers.