Showing posts from August, 2015

The Shocking Sins of John Wesley

While celebrating our anniversary in Stillwater, Minnesota last week, my bride, Cathy, graciously agreed to accompany me to Loome Theological Booksellers -- a treasure trove of used and rare books.   I was like a kid in the candy store!

I found Albert Outler's work on John Wesley's theology for $2 on the bargain table, and snapped it up immediately.   What a find!  I've heard of this book for years and am now reading it during my daily quiet time. It contains so many rich insights.
John Wesley was a practical, rather than systematic theologian.  He was a thinking doer --  too busy leading a revival movement to sit down and write a comprehensive book of doctrines.  Wesley's beliefs, however, can be gleaned from his vast collection of journals, sermons and letters.  Outler does exactly that: drawing John Wesley's thoughts into grand themes that reflect Methodist understanding and priorities.  
I found this excerpt from the introduction insightful.  John Wesley had f…

The Surprising Seed of Heaven

Poem by Mark Wilson  Photo by Hannah Wilson

Faith, the seed of heaven
planted by surprise in earthen soil.

The barren ground reluctantly invites, mostly disdains
this small possibility of hope.

Stirs slightly, irritated, yawns and then settles
back in lazy slumber mostly convinced
that the interruption is merely
a burial of another empty dream.

Entombed in heavy darkenss
the seed of heaven sings
as it reaches for a land beyond its grasp
and hopes for the hand of God it cannot see.

But no dark place can silence
the song of faith and hope.
And calloused soil cannot withstand
for long refreshing rains.

Slowly, steadily, the seed of heaven toils
upward, onward,
through the dark
towards heaven's gate.

Sometimes singing.
Sometimes sighing.
Always longing
for destiny awaits.

Heaven beckons,
Earth responds.
That is the order of
all created things.

The earthen tomb
becomes a womb
of life anew --
and resurrection!

A seed, a sprout, a stalk,
and then a slendid crimson flower
Blooming …

What Story Are You Telling Yourself?

Two people can experience the same event, yet see it in different ways.

This happens all the time at accident scenes.  Eyewitnesses often give conflicting accounts.  The difference isn't in the facts -- but rather, in how the facts are interpreted.
When writing books, I share many stories that involve other people.  My publisher makes me obtain permission from the people who are going to be in the book.  I send them the passage where they are mentioned and they usually reply, "I remember it a little differently."
Then I respond, "Of course, it happened this way.  I recall it clearly."
And they reply, "No, it happened like this. . ."
So I go back do a bunch of editing until the story matches, at least to some degree,  how we both remember it.
Why does this happen?  I'm not making things up.  I really remember it that way -- but we end up with different perspectives based on how we processed the event.
We all have stories to interpret the facts.  Br…

Earth's Crammed With Heaven

Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;  
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries."
-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Resist the Urge to Settle

"Leadership is resisting the urge to settle." says Shannon O'Dell.

Otherwise, we will spend our days (weeks, months, years) in the land where the bland leads the bland.

We all have the natural inclination to settle into a routine -- also known as a rut.  My daddy used to say, "a rut is a grave with both ends knocked out."

As an old church leadership goes: "Be we high, or be we low, the Status is the same . . . Quo."

Four Types of Thinkers

There are four different kinds of thinkers in every organization, and they are all equally important.
“What If” Thinkers:
These are the folks who look for the possibilities rather than the problems.  They are the kind of people that would see something that hasn’t been made yet, and ask, “Why not!”  They creatively seek possibilities, and are quick to see potential.  They look beyond present reality to what could be, and thrive on positive change.
Sometimes, “What If” thinkers are criticized for being na├»ve and unrealistic.  They can exhaust more practically minded people --   but it always takes an idea person to get things launched.  Every great accomplishment starts with a good idea.
“Why” Thinkers:
“Why” Thinkers look beyond the surface to the deeper meanings.  In order to buy in, they need to understand the reason behind it.  They live on purpose, and are intentional in what they do.  “Why” Thinkers look underneath every idea for the grand purpose, and won’t invest themselves if t…

Familiar Strangers

Reflecting on the large number of out of town guests who flock to Hayward each summer while taking a stroll in the woods.  I wrote the following poem:

little flowers
familiar strangers
we have not learned each others' names
but that's alright
we smile the same
and give a friendly nod and wave
whene'er we pass
because they're summer residents