soul care


Mark Licitra:

Mental illness continues to be incredibly misunderstood in our society, and unfortunately more-so within the Church. My work in mental health has led me into some very interesting conversations over the past couple of years, in which several themes have recurred. Some of these myths are things people have actually said to me, others were more implicit.

10. “I don’t know anybody with a mental illness.”
9. People with mental illness did something to deserve it.
8. Mental is the same as mental retardation.
7. People with mental illness have dysfunctional families.
6. Mental illness is caused by demon possession.
5. People with schizophrenia have “multiple personalities.”
4. People who suffer from mental illnesses are inherently violent.
3. People with mental illness can will themselves out of it.
2. The mentally ill cannot recover.
1. The mentally ill have no place in the Church.

Licitra plans on addressing these myths one at a time over the next several weeks. Check out his blog to learn more.

(HT: Todd H)

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Dr. Chuck Hannaford:

Stress is the imbalance between the demands of my environment (real or imagined) and my inability to meet those demands.

Dr. Chuck Hannaford says that one of the big reasons why pastors fall into sexual immorality is they fail to develop authentic relationships with other men.  Hannaford, licensed Clinical Psychologist and Executive Director of HeartLife Professional Soul-Care in Germantown, TN, has counseled pastors for over 28 years.  We had the pleasure of hearing him speak at one of the breakout sessions at our Promotiong the Gospel Conference this week. 

In counseling pastors, he gives 3 elements of developing authentic relationships below:

  1. Truth
  2. Transparency
  3. Trust

I like this list.  All of us need relationships where we can be honest and real.  How do you cultivate these “environments of grace” in your life and in your church?

Can you believe Christmas is only two months away?  Last Christmas I had the opportunity to hear my friend, Eric Schumacher, preach a sermon from the book of Ruth.  He ended the service with this song he wrote below entitled, A Sweet and Pleasant Providence.  The tune is “Carol” to which we typically sing the Christmas song, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” 

A Sweet and Pleasant Providence

Events that seem unfortunate
May often line the way
That God has paved to guide his saints
To bright and happy days.
Naomi’s dismal hopelessness
Was shown to be untrue.
Remember this the next time God
Deals bitterly with you.

In faith let your heart learn to trust
That ’round the corner lies
A sweet and pleasant providence
Designed through sov’reign eyes.
Like Ruth, take refuge in the Lord
And rest beneath His wings,
You do not know what God intends
Nor what his kindness brings.

The cloud is black before it breaks
And dark before it yields
A flood of kindness over you
To bloom your barren field.
So turn your eyes upon the One
That ev’ry good flows from,
For in his great redemptive plan
The best is yet to come!

Tune: Carol
Text: (c) Eric M Schumacher
Permission granted to reprint unaltered text in temporary, nonsalable worship media. For other uses, please contact the author.

After taking a week away from most of the “media” and “technology” in my life (i.e. blog, computer, T.V.), I learned a few things:

  1. I’m self-centered and technology often serves to increase my self-centeredness
  2. I’m impatient and technology often serves to increase my impatience
  3. I’m relational and relationships serve to center my life on others and make me more patient

There is much more I could say here, but I won’t because a different Doug says it better:

Any area of culture that decreases godliness and enhances worldliness must come under the loving discipline of Jesus Christ–for his glory, for our good, and for the good of those we serve. Christians need to withdraw from aspects of our technological culture (which Neil Postman calls a “Technopoly”-a culture dominated by technology) in order to gain perspective on ourselves, God, and our culture.                 ~ Doug Groothuis Ph.D. (Denver Seminary)

You may have noticed I’m taking a little break from blogging for awhile.  Actually, I’m attempting a little “media fast” and trying to just slow down, reflect, and engage more thoughtfully with God, family, and friends.  For example, yesterday I spent some time with my daughter, Lily.  We had so much fun playing at the park together and looking at the leaves.  I have to admit, it was the first time in a long time that I was fully engaged in the moment, enjoying the time with my little girl and not thinking about all the stuff on my plate.  God also led me to Psalm 81 where he commands his people over and over again to simply “listen to [Him]” (v. 8,11,13).

So, if you think of it, pray for me as I take a little break from the world of technology (as much as I can) and make time for reflection, prayer, and engaging with people more intentionally.  See you in a week or so!

My pastor, Tony Rose, with a much needed word for weary pastors in preparation for our Promoting the Gospel Conference coming in November:

Pastor, who do you tell about the internal realities of your soul?  One of the most dangerous places on earth is the the land of pastoral loneliness.  When you doubt, who do you talk to?  When your hurt, who is your healer?  When your mind is full of thoughts that should have no place in a pastor’s mind, how do you deal with it?

(Read the rest here)

The primary speaker at our conference will be John Dickson from Australia.  We all agree that he is the best we’ve heard on a realistic, biblical, and clear way to do evangelism through the local church.  Tony Rose, and others will help us apply this great gospel to our own souls.  As Tony puts it, “John will help us run with the gospel.  I will help us rest in the gospel.”

  • Check out the Promoting the Gospel Conference website here
  • Read more about John Dickson, our main speaker, here
  • Buy John’s book, Promoting the Gospel here

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