Month: August 2012

Dream Centers Colorado Springs – One Year Later

Today we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of our women’s medical clinic here in Colorado Springs. The clinic is the first Dream Center to open which was in response to a tremendous need in our city for primary medical care for women 18-64. The free clinic is run by a dedicated team of medical professionals and over 100 volunteers who have cared for over 1000 patients, many of them multiple times.

The stories we hear every week are remarkable. Women who are caught in the nasty cycle of poverty are finding hope once again because they can get the care they need to continue working and providing for their children. Almost all of the women who come to our clinic ask us to pray for them and many of them are deciding to follow Jesus. This past Sunday, we baptized an entire family at New Life because the mom found Jesus through the ministry of our clinic.

More Dream Centers are scheduled to open soon, including Mary’s Home, which is an apartment complex we are purchasing this Fall to provide housing and hope for homeless single mom’s in our city and county.  Stay tuned for more details on this and other Dream Center projects in the months ahead.

All of these ministries are big steps of faith for us. We believe the promises of Proverbs 19:17 and are praying and trusting for the funds to move forward. If you would like to donate toward either of these ministries, click here. I am so grateful for all the volunteers and staff who have labored with such love this past year. This is not easy work, but it is certainly rewarding to see lives changed and families restored.

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Adrenaline vs. Holy Spirit

Our American ministry landscape is filled with strong, competent, visionary pastors and leaders who have an unending passion to build and equip the local church and subsequently the Kingdom of God. There is no shortage of ideas, dreams, plans, strategies, and innovations. What is missing or what is being missed, in some cases, is a sustainable fuel source.

It is hard for many Type A, driver personalities to distinguish between competitive adrenaline and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Most of the leaders of “successful” ministries were once either competitive athletes or high academic achievers who were driven to succeed by sometimes overworked adrenal glands. I was doing some research on this topic for a message to pastors at our upcoming New Life Leadership Conference. Here are some of my findings:

You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if you regularly notice one or more of the following:

  1. You feel tired for no reason.
  2. You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
  3. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
  4. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
  5. You crave salty and sweet snacks.
  6. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.
This sounds like a lot of pastors and church leaders, doesn’t it? I wonder how many of us are running on the wrong batteries. Our bodies will simply stop working if we continue to abuse our adrenaline glands with unnecessary stress. That is a medical fact.
There is good news, though. If we will lean solely on the Holy Spirit to empower us for ministry, we can all cross the finish line with our bodies, our marriages and our families in thriving, good health.
There are some signs that point to an unhealthy dependence on adrenaline:
1. We long for the applause of the crowds and therefore we crave the attention of the stage. Can we sit in the audience and let others teach and speak without a compulsion to take over?
2. We have to be super excited about every Sunday gathering, as if it were the spiritual Super Bowl. Every. Single. Week.
3. We cannot take a day off without feeling some guilt and missing a Sunday is almost unthinkable. We really believe the church cannot survive without us being there.
Adrenaline is available in only limited quantities but the Holy Spirit is like a well that overflows and never runs dry. Let’s all take a long look at what is fueling our mission and our work. Let’s lean into the right source so we don’t run out of steam just as we head down the home stretch.
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Reflections from a Visit With Eugene Peterson

I just spent a couple of days in Montana at the home of Eugene Peterson, talking about church and our call as pastors. The conversation was filmed in his pastoral study overlooking Flathead Lake for our upcoming New Life Leadership Conference. Spending time with Pastor Eugene and his wife Jan was a real joy and I drove away from their home with several thoughts.

1. We need more spiritual grandfathers.

Pastor Eugene will be 80 later this year and most of his adult life has been spent in relative obscurity as pastor of a Presbyterian church he planted in suburban Baltimore. He is finishing the race really well and his wisdom and integrity are evident in his words and actions. We need to hear the stories of more men and women who have served so faithfully. We must seek them out, linger with them and hear about their struggles, their fears and their victories. The Abraham generation has a lot to teach those of us who are in the Isaac and Jacob stage of ministry.

2. Hospitality is powerful.

Pastor Eugene and Jan welcomed us into their home. They admitted that age and fatigue does not allow them to extend as much hospitality as days past, but they genuinely welcomed us. We ate meals at local restaurants and stayed overnight at a nearby B&B, but the time in their living room and on their back deck were powerful reminders that all of us need to open our homes more often to unhurried conversations.

3. We have more in common than not.

Pastor Eugene is from a different generation and his pastoral challenges were not always the same as ours today. He laughed when I asked him about worship bands, light shows, smoke machines and other potential distractions to our worship. What we do have in common is our love for the local church, a real desire to see people learn to listen and pray and a tenacity to teach the continuously articulate Scriptures. Some things transfer naturally from one generation to another.

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