Archive for 2018

The Major Imperatives Within Mature Discipleship

stacked rocks

In his autobiography, Morris West suggests that at a certain age our lives simplify and we need have only three phrases left in our spiritual vocabulary: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! He is right, if we understand fully what is implied in living out gratitude. Gratitude is the ultimate virtue, undergirding everything else, even…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 12 | For the Sake of Others

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Why does Ruth end a book on silence and solitude with a chapter on for sake of others? Listen to find out. Ruth describes her own journey of moving out of silence and solitude and how it transformed her interaction with teenagers. A great discussion of words and why silence and solitude are important for…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 11 | Receiving Guidance

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Why does Elijah say the same things again? We expect Elijah’s experience of God’s presence to transform him, but there is a comforting interpretation of this passage. The good news: we don’t have to beg God for guidance. He is our shepherd and wants to guide. A great conversation ensues around how silence and solitude…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 10 | Pure Presence

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We begin this episode with a quick review of the story of Elijah. There is a payoff to waiting, and not running away.  God is becoming Elijah’s ultimate orienting reality. Entering a silence that is not empty but full of God’s presence. Good news, God is a much better parent than we ever could be.…

Read More

Practicing Relinquishment: The Enneagram Goes on Retreat 

“Every movement toward the humiliation of the false self, if we accept it, is a step toward freedom and inner resurrection.”  – Fr. Thomas Keating  Many of us have no idea how addicted we are to human striving, hard work, and performance-oriented drivenness until we actually stop. This may be one of the most shocking…

Read More

Transforming Gift Creates Endowment Fund for Scholarships

When Anjuli Seth Nayak arrived for the first retreat of her Transforming Community, she was clearly a force to be reckoned with!   Anjuli was not our typical retreatant.  She was Indian in background and a physician by profession, certified as an allergist and immunologist.   She was also a cancer survivor, enjoying a temporary…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 9 | Facing Ourselves

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We are in the chaos with Elijah. In solitude and silence we feel the battle between the false self and the true self. Some of the most important questions emerge from the chaos. Ruth and Steve discuss what facing ourself really means and how our true self is hidden with Christ in God. This is…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 8 | Emptiness

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

It takes stamina to stay in silence and solitude. Why does God meet us in such vast emptiness? Ruth has a thought. There is great encouragement in Elijah’s journey and how long it took. Emptiness can be very lonely, yet you don’t have to go alone. It is good to have some human support and…

Read More

Retreat: Invitation to a Counter-Cultural Practice

 “I have lived too long where I am reachable.”–Rumi It is a wonderful thing to be invited—especially when the invitation is particularly well-suited to our needs, our desires, our delights. A gifted communicator receives a significant invitation to speak on a topic that is important to them. An artist is commissioned to create banners for…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 7 | Rest for the Soul

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We have made it to the cave with Elijah and he is telling the whole truth. The good news is God can handle anything. Ruth shares about being in solitude and silence with gratitude and how restful and energizing it can be. What if we feel like God didn’t show up? Ruth has some advice. Faithfulness to these practices…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 6 | Rest for the Mind

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We are moving through this story slowly and it is good. At this point God asks Elijah a question. Allowing the mind rest into the heart is a helpful way to describe letting the mind rest without discounting the contribution of the mind. Ruth shares a personal example of resting and trusting God. We end…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 5 | Rest for the Body

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

What is not to like about the fact that God instructed Elijah to take not one but two naps? Why do we treat our body so poorly? Ruth and Steve discuss a powerful psalm to better understand the dynamic of silence and solitude. They also discuss how the daily examen can help us get in…

Read More

Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God

 “If we don’t come apart for while, we will come apart after awhile.” –Dallas Willard Brad is a pastor whose church is going well. Attendance at weekend services is growing steadily, and they have just completed a building project that is enabling them to grow and provide a variety of ministries to meet needs within…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 4 | Dangerously Tired

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

We pick up with the story of Elijah, and why it is important that he rested first. We talk about how to recognize being dangerously tired, with Ruth sharing some concrete examples. How does one surrender to exhaustion. We get into describing what sane rhythms look like, and we close by practicing again. Subscribe on…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 3 | Resistance

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Our lives are not in danger like Elijahs, but we all have to face resistance. If you feel the push pull, then this is likely a signal God is at work.  How do we push through our fear? What if we are afraid God will not show up? It is good to know our own baggage.…

Read More

Justice and the Inner Life

In October of 2004, I gave each of my colleagues at International Justice Mission two gifts: a blank leather journal with the words “8:30 Stillness” embossed on the cover and Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton. As an organization, we were experiencing incredible growth on a global scale. We were bringing rescue to…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 2 | Beginnings

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Learning to be present with God alone – where do we begin? How do we get to the point where we recognize that what needs done in our lives only God can do? We define our terms in this episode – what is silence and what is solitude? Steve is already overachieving, Ruth encourages people…

Read More

Season 5: Episode 2 | Beginnings

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Learning to be present with God alone – where do we begin? How do we get to the point where we recognize that what needs done in our lives only God can do? We define our terms in this episode – what is silence and what is solitude? Steve is already overachieving, Ruth encourages people…

Read More

Part Four: Reenvisioning the Promised Land

Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses

“We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.” —Bishop Ken Untener Strengthening the soul of your leadership is a journey that begins, continues and ends with a tenacious seeking after God in the crucible of ministry. It is an invitation to stay connected with your…

Read More

Part Three: The Conundrum of Calling

Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses

“Calling is a much abused word today. In the church it can be little more than a pious euphemism for doing what we feel like doing. Such abuse is brought to celebration in the secular culture, when doing what we feel like doing, attained by any way we feel like doing it, seems often to…

Read More

A Bold New Vision and $30,000 Match Opportunity

It has been a thrilling three months since I stepped into the role of Chief Operations Officer. A bold new vision, moving our retreats to a new venue, six retreats, a cross-country move, a trip to Kenya, and contractors still at work in our new home have created a sense of excitement! All that God…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 7 | Leadership as Intercession

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Leadership opens leaders up to a whole world of pain. Moses is such a great leader because he always brings the difficulties people brought to God. You don’t hear much about the role of intercession in leadership circles. A rich discussion of differentiation and its importance in leadership ensues. Ruth shares how she makes intercession…

Read More

Part Two: The Power of a Well-Timed Pause

Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses

“Spiritual leadership springs forth in grace from our very desire for God’s presence. This does not take effort or striving.  It takes courage, a kind of showing up, attentiveness.” –Gerald May Moses remained in a solitary, non-public existence for a long time. It was as if—in some deep and fundamental way—he just let go. He…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 4 | The Conundrum of Calling

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

This episode begins a bit differently. Instead of starting with the biblical story (Moses) Steve dives in and turns the table on Ruth, asking her about her own calling and what it looks like right now. Steve and Ruth talk about the fatal question, and a great discussion proceeds out of understanding the difference between…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 3 | The Practice of Paying Attention

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

Don’t wait till you’re headed into a collision to recognize the need to pay attention. Ruth shares a funny, but sobering example. In this episode Ruth and Steve discuss practices to help leaders pay attention to their life in leadership, and you will find encouragement in Steve’s faith building experience of learning to page attention…

Read More

When Leaders Lose Their Souls

strengthening the soul of your leadership artwork

“For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16:26 (NLT) I want to talk to you about the soul—your soul, my soul, and the soul of our leadership. When I refer to the soul, I am not talking about…

Read More

Season 4: Episode 1 | When Leaders Lose Their Souls

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast Show Notes

It was 10 years ago that Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership was published by InterVarsity Press. Last year we launched this podcast by the same name, and this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary InterVarsity released an expanded edition with a group experience and an assessment tool (check it out). Ruth and Steve will…

Read More

Expanded Edition Now Available: Strengthen the Soul of your Team!

The expanded edition of the best selling InterVarsity Press book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, includes guidance for reflecting together on the soul of your leadership. This Transforming Resource also includes the popular “How Is It with Your Soul?” assessment for leaders and a new compelling forward by Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission. Order before May 31st and receive these book…

Read More

Staying Awake During Holy Week

Lent reflections week 5

Lectionary readings and guidance on using the lectionary Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42 “Stay together, friends, don’t scatter and sleep. Our friendship is made of being awake.” Rumi In her book Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris comments that in a monastery, Holy Week is “a total surrender to worship.” This surrender allows for a greater…

Read More

Join a worldwide prayer vigil on Good Friday 2018

For many years we have hosted a Stations of the Cross prayer service on Good Friday as a way of joining Jesus on his journey to the cross. Sadly, the beautiful chapel we have used is no longer in existence so this year we are inviting you to join us virtually. When we have invited people…

Read More

Lent: Dying That We Might Live

Lent reflections week 5

Lectionary readings and guidance on using the lectionary Fifth Sunday in Lent: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33 “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24 I’ll never forget walking to lunch with several…

Read More

Season 3: Episode 4 | Community at the Leadership Level

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership podcast Show Notes

What is corporate leadership discernment? Ruth kicks off this episode with defining each word and leads us through the movements of corporate leadership discernment. Discover why hikers and sailors value true north over magnetic north and why conviction is much different than understanding. Ruth and Steve answer the question: Do we all need to sing…

Read More

Season 3: Episode 3 | Leaders Who are Discerning

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership podcast Show Notes

Magical thinking not allowed in this episode… ok not in any episode. Steve leads by pondering whether the western church needs to make a confession. In this episode, Ruth and Steve go deep on five foundations of discernment. Through these foundations they uncover some hard truths – leaders struggle with believing in the goodness of…

Read More

Love, Lent, and Leadership: Fashioning Your Own Wilderness

ash wednesday and Lent

Lectionary readings and guidance on using the lectionary Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 First Sunday in Lent: Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days he was…

Read More

Transforming Center Welcomes Rob Kastens as COO

The Transforming Center is thrilled to announce that, through a long and grace-filled process of discernment, Rob Kastens has agreed to join us as Chief Operations Officer beginning in mid-February. Working in close partnership with founder Ruth Haley Barton and the Transforming Center board, Rob will provide day-to-day leadership for staff along with strategic leadership…

Read More