Monday, February 25, 2008

South African Trip

I am preparing to depart tomorrow for a three week trip to South Africa (Klerksdorp, Pretoria, Springs, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Stellenbosch). For all my friends "down south", have a look at my itinerary on the right below - maybe we could meet up - you are all firmly in my heart and prayers.

We will be travelling with five other professors from Regent, speaking at local Universities, churches and ministries. We hope to have many discussions with others on the definition and practice of Christian Leadership that could change our world.

Above all, I ask for your prayers during this time. May we be able to discern God's actions in our world and work with Him.

“I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all of our great wilderness.” – Nelson Mandela

Larry Norman - The Great American Novel."

i was born and raised an orphan
in a land that once was free
in a land that poured its love out on the moon
and i grew up in the shadows
of your silos filled with grain
but you never helped to fill my empty spoon

and when i was ten you murdered law
with courtroom politics
and you learned to make a lie sound just like truth
but i know you better now
and i don't fall for all your tricks
and you've lost the one advantage of my youth

you kill a black man at midnight
just for talking to your daughter
then you make his wife your mistress
and you leave her without water
and the sheet you wear upon your face
is the sheet your children sleep on
at every meal you say a prayer
you don't believe but still you keep on

and your money says in God we trust
but it's against the law to pray in school
you say we beat the russians to the moon
and i say you starved your children to do it

you are far across the ocean
but the war is not your own
and while you're winning theirs
you're gonna lose the one at home
do you really think the only way
to bring about the peace
is to sacrifice your children
and kill all your enemies

the politicians all make speeches
while the news men all take note
and they exagerate the issues
as they shove them down our throats
is it really up to them
whether this country sinks or floats
well i wonder who would lead us
if none of us would vote

well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped
from whispering through the fence
you know every move i make
or is that just coincidence
well you try to make my way of life
a little less like jail
if i promise to make tapes and slides
and send them through the mail

and your money says in God we trust
but it's against the law to pray in school
you say we beat the russians to the moon
and i say you starved your children to do it
you say all men are equal all men are brothers
then why are the rich more equal than others
don't ask me for the answer i've only got one
that a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

Larry Norman (1947-2008)

I grew up listening to the songs of Larry Norman - who could easily be called the first leader of Christian Rock music. Larry's gentle, vulnerable and honest leadership inspire me to this day. May we all learn to follow Jesus with great honesty and commitment.

Larry dictated the following to a friend on Saturday, a day before going home:

"I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement, transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.

I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die.

Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.
Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God.
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

In the Footsteps of Benedict, Francis and Clare of Assisi

If you have a passion for discovery, consider joining us for an incredible learning journey as we retrace the footsteps of Saints Benedict, Francis of Assisi and Clare of Assisi.

This study abroad program, offered by the Regent University School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, will take you to some of the most significant sites of our Christian history and examine, firsthand, the dynamics that changed the world.

  • Retrace the footsteps of Saint Benedict, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Clare of Assisi.
  • Explore key historic sites through private tours.
  • Examine biblical perspectives, archaeology, theology, religion, humanities and the arts.
  • Gain spiritual insights and a deeper understanding of biblical leadership and its contemporary applications.
  • Enjoy the program as a leisure traveler or enroll for optional graduate-level credit (M.A. or Ph.D.).
For the first few years, the Leadership Study Abroad Program concentrated on the work, ministries and leadership of the Apostle Paul in Asia Minor and Greece, covering most of the sites of Paul's first, second and third missionary journeys. The 2008 PROGRAM takes us to Italy, where we will walk in the footsteps of Saints Benedict, Francis of Assisi and Clare of Assisi.

For more information see the website for this tour:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Becoming Ourselves

I am reading Ilia Delio's (O.S.F.) new book on Clare of Assisi, entitled " A Heart Full of Love" (2007). I am deeeply taken by Delio's deep insights and critical engagment with Clare's theology of finding our deepest identity in Christ. My morning reading of Merton reflected a similar thought. We serve God best when we accept who He has created us to be:

"Brilliant and gorgeous day, bright sun, breeze making all the leaves and high brown grasses shine. Singing of the wind in the cedars. Exultant day in which even a puddle in the pig lot shines like precious silver.

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself and, if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted. When it has been accepted--it is my own stepping stone to what is above me. Because this is the way man has been made by God. Original sin was the effort to surpass oneself by being "like God"--i.e. unlike oneself. But our God-likeness begins at home. We must first become like ourselves and stop living "beside ourselves."

May we be brave enought to accept our truest identity in Him.

Thomas Merton. A Search for Solitude. Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996): 220-221

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spirit and Scripture: A Symposium on Renewal Biblical Hermeneutics

Pentecostal, Charismatic and renewal movements throughout the world share a common theological experience. However, several seminal questions about renewal biblical and theological studies have not been sufficiently treated for today. For example:

  • What is the role of the Holy Spirit in biblical hermeneutics?
  • What are the distinctive presuppositions, methods and goals of renewal biblical hermeneutics?

With the present growth of both renewal scholarship and the movement around the world, we believe that the time has come for a focused and concerted treatment of this topic. You are invited to a gathering of scholars to address this vital subject for biblical and theological studies in the 21st century. Six prominent renewal scholars, representing important trajectories in the renewal movement, will each present a constructive way ahead for biblical hermeneutics:

  • The Holy Spirit, Scripture and Interpretation: The Perspective of a Pentecostal African-American in Old Testament StudiesHarold V. Bennett (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; President-Dean, Charles V. Mason Theological Seminary).
  • The Roadmap to Restoration through the Window of the Spirit of God: The Perspective of a Pentecostal in Old Testament StudiesWonsuk Ma (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary; Director, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies; Co-editor, Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies).
  • Faith is a Way of Knowing: The Perspective of a Charismatic Catholic Biblical ScholarFr. Francis Martin (S.S.D., Pontifical Biblical Institute; Professor of Sacred Scripture, John Paul II Institute, Washington D. C.).
  • The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Interpretation of Holy Scripture: The Perspective of a Charismatic Biblical TheologianClark H. Pinnock (Ph.D., Manchester University; Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, McMaster Divinity School).
  • Biblical Criticism and the Prophetic Spirit: The Perspective of an Anglican Charismatic in New Testament StudiesMark Stibbe (Ph.D., Cambridge University; Vicar, St. Andrew’s Church, Chorleywood, England).
  • Hearing What the Spirit is Saying to the Church: The Testimony of a Pentecostal in New Testament StudiesJohn Christopher Thomas (Ph.D., Sheffield University; Clarence J. Abbott Professor of Biblical Studies, Church of God Theological Seminary).

The symposium will convene on Friday evening, October 17th, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., and end at noon on Saturday, the following day. This symposium will consist of six, forty-five minute papers, each followed by a ten minute response.

Here is a link to the Registration Page:

The Entrepreneurs' Guild Spring 2008 Series

The [e] guild is co-hosted by Distinguished Professor and former Regent University President David Gyertson, Ph.D. and Regent Global Business Review Editor Julianne Cenac. Each digitally recorded program features leading and emergent entrepreneurs in dynamic and engaging interviews to uncover each guest's unique path to success.

All recordings will take place at the Regent University Communication & Performing Arts Center.

You are invited to be our guest as part of the studio audience for the live recording of the Entrepreneurs' Guild. A complimentary reception will follow each recording, enabling audience members to meet and speak with guest entrepreneurs.

Spring 2008 Series guests include:

Tom KnoxFounder & CEO, SeniorcorpTuesday, February 19, 20086:00 p.m.

Anne BeilerFounder, Auntie Anne's, Inc.Thursday, February 21, 2008
6:00 p.m.

Seating is limited, so click here for more information and to reserve your seat today!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Call to the Quiet

“But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2, NIV)

The Call to Center
Something is seriously wrong in our church communities today. Many people suffer from what Albert Schweitzer[1] once referred to as a “sleeping sickness of the soul.” Its symptoms are loss of vision, community, morality and compassion. Many voices have been raised to lament the loss of soul and heart in our faith communities, where desperate activity and incessant busyness have replaced simple devotion and true worship. How do we regain our focus and balance in a world of distraction and performance-orientated ministry? The ancient witness of the Christian Scriptures calls us refocus our attention and heart on the center of our faith: the reality of a living and active God that chooses to dwell within us (compare Paul’s comment on this in Colossians 1:27).

Centering prayer is a simple, ancient and Biblical approach to prayer that sets up the ideal conditions to enter into that restful place of quiet awareness of God's healing presence. The primary purpose of this kind of prayer (sometimes referred to as Christian meditation or meditative prayer) is to open the "eyes" of our spiritual perception in order to become aware of His indwelling presence and to center our complete attention on Him. Richard Foster[2] speaks of this kind of prayer when he writes: "In meditative prayer we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart." Centering prayer is a simple and quiet resting in the knowledge of the God’s presence within. It is important to note this approach to prayer is powerful in its very simplicity and not complicated at all. This is reminiscent of the admonition of Jesus to approach the Kingdom of God like a little child (see Matthew 18:3).

The Practice of Centering Prayer
The practice of Centering prayer is very simple, it almost so simple that we might want to discard it. Love is simple, intimacy is simple, but it is often the very simple things that we seem to struggle with. This way of prayer is alluded to in many passages in the Old and New Testaments and probably dates from then. The ancient Greek Church Fathers referred to it as monologion, "one-word" prayer. The desert father, Abba Isaac taught a similar form of prayer to John Cassian who later wrote of it in France, transmitting it to Benedict of Nursia. This simple approach to prayer is not only Biblical, but ancient in the witness of the Church. The guidelines for centering prayer as developed by contemporary devotional authors such as Thomas Keating[3], are as follows:
· Let yourself settle down. Let go of all the thoughts, tensions, and sensations you may feel and begin to rest in love of God who dwells within (compare Revelation 3:20).
· Effortlessly, take the name of Jesus, the focus of your intention to surrender to God's presence, and let the name of Jesus be gently present in your heart.
· When you become aware of thoughts or as internal sensations arise, just take this as your signal to gently return to the name of Jesus, the focus of your intention to let go and rest in God's presence.
· If thoughts subside and you find yourself restfully aware, simply rest in God, in His presence. Be in that stillness. When thoughts begin to stir again, gently return to the name of Jesus.
· End your time of prayer with thanksgiving, adoration and intercession.

The Effect of Centering Prayer
The most basic effect of centering prayer is a renewed sense of God’s presence within. Being in the presence of God brings profound changes. Nothing is more powerful than our Lord’s presence in our hearts and minds. This is the foundation for change (compare the Apostle Peter’s words on this great truth in 2 Peter 1:2-4). Being aware of the indwelling presence of Jesus sets a powerful platform for all other forms of prayer and devotion. We can now approach every day, every action, every thought with the powerful knowledge that He lives within us. We are now able to live life from the center. The center of every action, every thought is now Jesus. He has been given pre-eminence in our lives (compare Colossians 1:16-18). Our lives become a living witness of His presence in the world, and in and through us.

One of the most profound results of centering prayer is the transformation of the believer. The central act of centering prayer is the act of beholding, centering upon Jesus. Scripture is very clear that the devotional act of transformation is the same (compare 2 Corinthians 3:18). When we constantly gaze, look and center ourselves upon Jesus we are changed in to His glorious image. As we center upon God and the indwelling presence of Jesus in our hearts, we are bombarded by a myriad of thoughts, feeling and perceptions. This is direct result of us focusing on Jesus. In His presence all that is not pure and holy must flee.

The Power of the Quiet Place
The reason we engage in this kind of prayer is to make our lives, lives of being completely centered in Jesus. Centering prayer is an expression of our faith and love. The way to the center, to the experience of God, is love. From love comes our ability to sense God present. Love for God and faith in Jesus are the two pillars that form the foundation for centering prayer. This does not mean that this might always be easy. Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and discipline. This discipline of listening and of attention is a discipline, a rather difficult one to maintain. In this listening, in the tranquil attention to God, God acts directly upon the one who prays, doing it by Himself, communicating Himself to that person. God and the beloved are together in great intimacy. Thomas Merton[4] who lived his life as one sitting at the feet of Jesus and yet had a powerful effect on the world, prayed this prayer of faith before he died and in doing so illustrates the ultimate purpose of centering on Jesus:
“To be here with the silence of Son-ship in my heart
is to be a centre in which all things converge upon You.
That is surely enough for the time being.
Therefore, Father, I beg you to keep me in this silence
so that I may learn from it the word of Your peace
and the word of Your mercy
and the word of Your gentleness to the world.
And that through me perhaps Your word of peace
may make itself heard where it has not been possible for
anyone to hear it for a long time.“

[1] Andrews, C 1997. The Circle of Simplicity. New York: HarperCollins.
[2] Foster, R J 1978. Celebration of Discipline. San Francisco: HarperCollins.
[3] Keating, T 1992. Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimensions of the Gospel. Shaftesbury: Element.
[4] Merton, T 1999. The Intimate Merton. Oxford: Lion.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Leadership Roundtables

Regent University's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship invites you to participate in the 2008 Annual Roundtables of Contemporary Research & Practice.

Featured Guest
Dr. Warren Bennis is known around the world as the preeminent expert on the subject of leadership and has devoted more than five decades of his life to understanding and sharing the effective practice of leadership.

Each roundtable will provide an opportunity for the presentation and discussion of contemporary research in the areas of business, global leadership and entrepreneurship.

  • Servant Leadership

  • Biblical Perspectives in Leadership

  • Human Resource Development

  • Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship

  • Consulting & Strategic Foresight

Call for Papers
Submission Deadline: March 15, 2008

Get more information online or register today at

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Teresa of Calcutta's Daily Prayer

help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go.

Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.

Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.

- Teresa of Calcutta

Listen to Mother Teresa pray this prayer:

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Dallas Willard on Organizational Vision

Gordon Cosby of the Servant Leadership School at Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. once asked Dallas Willard, "Why do churches and ministries so often lose the essence of their founding vision, to the point that the resulting institution, years later, is quite unlike the original dream? What happens along the way?" This essay is Willard's response to that question:

Whoever serves me must follow me,and where I am, there will myservant be also. Whoever servesme, the Father will honor." Jesus (John 12:26)

When you go to Assisi, you will find many people who talk a great deal about St. Francis, many monuments to him, and many businesses thriving by selling memorabilia of him. But you will not find anyone who carries in himself the fire that Francis carried. No doubt many fine folks are there, but they do not have the character of Francis, nor do they do the deeds of Francis, nor have his effects.

What is true in this case is not peculiar to it. Rather, this is simply one of the more obvious illustrations of a general tendency of human life —and of the spiritual life as well. It happens in the professional world, the world of business, of government, education, and the arts: A person of some great inspiration and ability emerges, and rises far above his or her origins and surroundings. Perhaps it is a King David of Israel, a Socrates, a St. Anthony or St. Francis, a Martin Luther or a George Fox or a John Wesley. In each of these people there is a ... well, a certain 'something'.

They really are different, and that difference explains why these individuals have such great effect, and why movements and institutions grow up around them. It is as if they stand in another world, and from there they have extraordinary effects in this world —as God acts with them. Organization of their activities takes place, and other organizations spin off from them as numbers of talented individuals are drawn to them and make their lives in their wake. But these other individuals —usually, but not always, very well-intending —do not carry the "fire," the "certain something," within them. The mission or missions that have been set afoot begin a subtle divergence from the vision that gripped the founder, and before too long the institution and its mission has become the vision.

This happens in "secular" settings as well. Arthur Anderson was a man of rock-solid integrity, with a crystal-clear vision of Accounting as a profession. He built a magnificent accounting firm on strong moral principles. But eventually the people who ran the firm became obsessed with money-making and success, and then with helping clients make money and be successful. Just that, instead of holding those clients responsible ("account-able") to the public goods they all professed to serve. These people —who acted in the good name of Arthur Anderson, but without his vision —brought disaster upon themselves and upon thousands of unsuspecting people who depended upon them. Had the moral fire burned in them that burned in Arthur Anderson, that would not have happened. But a false fire of greed and ambition burned in its place. The cuckold of 'success' laid its eggs in the nest of service-to-the-public-good, and a monster was hatched that destroyed the nest and all in it.

St. Francis and Arthur Anderson are among the more glamorous and notorious illustrations of a hard reality. In most cases, when the original fire dies out, the associated institutions and individuals carry on for a while, increasingly concerned about success and survival, and then they either find another basis to stand upon, or they simply disappear. (Consider the case of Charles Finney and Oberlin college, which he founded, or any number of other originally Christian colleges and universities.)

For the rest of this excellent article see