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JULY 24, 2017

 

Becoming A Spiritually & Emotionally Healthy & Mature Christian

 

 A Sermon Series on the Principles of

The Emotionally Healthy Church

by Dr. Pete Scazzero

 

Transformation through Jesus Christ.  This is the journey that we are on!

           

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And as Christians, with no more masks, we reflect the Lord’s glory.  We are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

 

These words from Jesus guide us our journey:

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  WALK with me and WORK with me - watch how I do it.  LEARN the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

 

This is a teaching series on 6 biblical principles to help us become an Emotionally Healthy Christian.  Dr. Pete Scazzero presents these principles in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church.

 

Those Six Principles Are: 

 

1) Look Beneath The Surface Of Your Life

2) Break The Power Of Your Past

3) Live In Brokenness And Vulnerability

4) Receive The Gift Of Limits

5) Embrace Grieving And Loss

6) Make Incarnation Your Model For Loving

 

WARNING:  This will NOT be an easy task!  But the rewards for being faithful to this journey of Transformation through Jesus Christ, are worth more than you can even imagine!

 

 

So far on this journey, we’ve studied PRINCIPLE 1: “Look Beneath The Surface Of Your Life”, Principle 2: Break The Power Of Your Past, Principle 3: “Live In Brokenness And Vulnerability,and Principle 4: “Receive the gift of limits.”

TODAY, let’s revisit . . . Principle 5: “Embrace Grieving And Loss.”

 

Emotionally Healthy Christiansembrace grief.”  WHY?  Because embracing grieving and loss is the way, as a follower of Jesus Christ, that we become a truly compassionate person to others!

 

Two Truths About Pain And Loss

 

1) It is not enough to just FEEL pain.

 

We will not take healing action against unfair pain

until we own the pain that we want to heal.”

 Lewis Smedes

 

2) We grow spiritually DEEPER when we take time to GRIEVE OUR LOSSES before we move on in life.

 

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,

to those who are called according to His purpose.

 

 

Grieving & Loss are a PART OF LIFE!

 

Losses in life is the norm, NOT the exception!  Big or small . . . loss is loss!

 

Grieving & Loss In Jesus’ Life

 

AT THE CEMETARY -Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

 

If that had been me, I probably would have said . . . Get a grip!  Get over it!  It’s really OK.  I’ll take care of this mess!”

 

OVER A CITY -As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” (Luke 19:41)

 

If that had been us, we might have said . . . Hey!  You snooze, you lose!”

 

ON THE CROSS -My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

 

If that was us, we might have said . . . God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good!”  (Well . . . I doubt we would have said that !)

 

 

Grieving & Loss are NOT just INTERRUPTIONS IN LIFE!

 

The process of forgiveness always involves grieving before letting go . . . whether you are the person giving forgiveness or the person asking for it.

“Forgiveness is NOT a quick process.  I do not believe it is possible to truly forgive another person from the heart until we allow ourselves to feel the pain of what was lost.  People who say it is simply an act of the will do not understand grieving.”

 

The Emotionally Healthy Church, p. 164

 

 

DON’T FORGIVE QUICKLY . . . JUST TO AVOID PAIN!

 

Pay attention to losses . . . big AND small.

 

Embrace losses, and WAIT . . . knowing that they are working through God’s hands.

 

Grieve losses Biblically . . . using the Psalms.

 

 

“The worst events in human history that we cannot understand are only compost in God’s eternal plan.  God transforms evils into good without diminishing the awfulness of the evil.”

 

The Emotionally Healthy Church, p. 175

 

Grieving & Loss can PRODUCE GODLINESS AND LOVE! 

 

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.  You do not want a burnt offering.  17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

 

A simple prayer, in brokenness, is greater to God than an expensive sacrifice!

 

Embracing Grief & Loss” can feel:  IMPOSSIBLE, COUNTER TO OUR CULTURE, LIKE IT WILL ONLY MAKE THINGS WORSE.

 

BUT, for Christians, death and deserts always bring NEW LIFE!

 

 

“The ability to embrace our losses and grief will equip us to love others as Jesus did.  We will then be able to model our lives effectively and authentically on the Incarnation (of Jesus).”  The Emotionally Healthy Church, p. 179

 

That’s what we will study next week:

Principle 6:  Make Incarnation Your Model For Loving.

 

 

JULY 17, 2017

 

Becoming A Spiritually & Emotionally Healthy & Mature Christian

 

 

For many weeks now, we have been on the journey of Transformation through Jesus Christ.  This is a journey toward spiritual AND emotional health & maturity.

 

Following is an interesting article by Lisa Murray, which may help us in our ongoing work (struggle) to understand / embrace / apply the principles that we are learning.  Enjoy!

           

 

“Is Emotional Health a Spiritual Issue?”

(#emotions   #broken   #spiritual health)

                

I learned the hard way.  Just because I was raised in the church and was a passionate follower of Christ, that didn’t mean that I was whole on the inside.  The truth was, I was an emotional wreck.

 

I was demanding and critical of myself.  I was obsessed with winning other’s approval.  I was terrified of rejection.  I had a hard time listening to criticism.  I felt it impossible to say no to other’s demands.  I could never speak my thoughts and feelings and I did my very best to avoid any conflict that came my way. 

 

For so many years, I sat in church and listened to amazing sermons by profoundly gifted pastors.  Yet somewhere in the deepest shadows of me, what I could believe for so many others, I could not believe for myself.  Other people could be whole, but that must not be for me.  No amount of study, prayer, or faith ever seemed to glue together what was terribly broken inside.

 

My healing came in an altogether different way.  God’s greatest gift to me was the gift of emotional healing.  He brought me to a place where my emotional wounds could be safely exposed, understood, healed. My emotional healing did not detract from my faith, my emotional healing increased my faith.

 

God created us as multi-dimensional beings - we are physical, spiritual and emotional beings.  God wants peace for us.  “Peace” in Hebrew refers to wholeness, completeness, safety, soundness, and fullness.  God wants us to be whole - physically, spiritually, and emotionally.    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT) states, “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.”

 

According to a study by Jocelyn Rebisz, there is a significant correlation between emotional health and spiritual maturity.  Rather than pulling us away from our faith, it appears the more healthy we become emotionally, the more healthy and mature we become spiritually.

 

There are three reasons that emotional health is a spiritual issue:

 

1. God wants His children to be whole.

 

God’s purpose for us is to be continually “transformed into His image” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV).  He wants us to be spiritually holy (set apart and pure), as well as emotionally whole (complete).  If we ignore the emotional aspect of our lives, we can never experience the peace and abundance we desire.  We are left to carry with us the emotional scars from our past.  That is not God’s plan.  James 1:2-4 encourages us to, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

 

2. God wants His church to function properly.

 

How can we be the hands and feet of Christ when we come to church on Sunday and feel so isolated, so veneered, so incredibly invulnerable?  We smile the appropriate smile, we say the appropriate prayer, yet we never feel safe enough to get real.  We rarely let anyone know what’s really going on.  We raise our hands and celebrate God’s victory and yet we walk into the rest of our week feeling depressed, anxious and anything but victorious. 

 

The truth is, the church can be uncomfortable with broken things.  We don’t typically like things that are messy.  Yet Jesus always found Himself in the messy.  He was quite at home with the brokenhearted, with the diseased, with the downtrodden.  He didn’t need them to fix themselves up for Him.  He, rather, drew a picture of a church as a hospital, a triage, a place where the broken could feel comfortable exposing their wounds, where they could be invited in and welcomed to bring their bruised and bothered selves to experience a fellowship of compassion, grace, and healing from God’s people.

 

3. God wants His light to shine into the world.

 

He wants the light of His love and healing to shine radiantly through our lives.  He wants us to be “set-apart,” to be different, and to make a difference in our sphere of influence, whatever and wherever that may be.  We cannot accomplish His purpose, we cannot be powerful ambassadors if we are just hanging by a thread.  Emotional abundance not only empowers our faith, it fills us with a reservoir of strength, of stability, of peace in Christ that overflows into our relationships with others.

 

We live in a broken world, in hurting communities made up of dysfunctional relationships between wounded individuals.  They need Jesus.  They need to see Jesus in us.  They need to experience the hope of Jesus through us.

 

Is emotional health a spiritual issue?  Absolutely. 

 

 

JULY 10, 2017

 

Becoming A Spiritually & Emotionally Healthy & Mature Christian

 

 A Sermon Series on the Principles of

The Emotionally Healthy Church

by Dr. Pete Scazzero

 

Transformation through Jesus Christ.  This is the journey that we are on!

           

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And as Christians, with no more masks, we reflect the Lord’s glory.  We are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

 

These words from Jesus guide us our journey:

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  WALK with me and WORK with me - watch how I do it.  LEARN the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

 

This is a teaching series on 6 biblical principles to help us become an Emotionally Healthy Christian.  Dr. Pete Scazzero presents these principles in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church.

 

Those Six Principles Are: 

 

1) Look Beneath The Surface Of Your Life

2) Break The Power Of Your Past

3) Live In Brokenness And Vulnerability

4) Receive The Gift Of Limits

5) Embrace Grieving And Loss

6) Make Incarnation Your Model For Loving

 

WARNING:  This will NOT be an easy task!  But the rewards for being faithful to this journey of Transformation through Jesus Christ, are worth more than you can even imagine!

 

 

So far on this journey, we’ve studied PRINCIPLE 1: “Look Beneath The Surface Of Your Life”, Principle 2: Break The Power Of Your Past,and Principle 3: “Live In Brokenness And Vulnerability.”

 

TODAY, let’s look at . . . Principle 4: “Receive The Gift Of Limits.”

 

EVERY Church, Ministry, Small Group, and Individual has God-given limits.

 

Emotionally healthy Christians understand the “limits” God has given them.  They DO NOT simply try to do life like any other Christian.  They joyfully receive the one, two, seven or ten “talents” that God has given them.  AND, they confidently live the life that God (not others) intends for them!

 

A huge temptation, for people who are seeking to do God’s work with their lives, is to ignore the limits that God has placed on his or her life! 

 

Today, let’s learn from the life of Jesus to both recognize ANDreceive The Gift Of Limits” . . . which God gives to us.

 

Matthew 3:13-17 (NLT)

13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.  14 But John tried to talk him out of it.  “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”  15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”  So John agreed to baptize him.  16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

 

Just like Jesus did, we too must accept “The Gift Of Limits” . . . and sometimes
LET THE ROCKS REMAIN ROCKS.

               

Matthew 4:1-4 (NLT)

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.  For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.  During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But Jesus told him, “No!  The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

 

This is a difficult truth for some Christians to embrace:  Jesus did NOT heal every sick person in every hospital.  He did NOT cure every demon-possessed person in the world.  He did NOT chase after the crowds when they left Him. 

 

Jesus did NOT meet ALL of the needs of ALL people ALL of the time!

 

A lesson for us to learn here is . . . Wait On God For His Provisions!

 

Just like Jesus did, we too must accept “The Gift Of Limits” . . . and sometimes WALK OUT the front door of the church WITHOUT seeing any MIRACLE.

 

Matthew 4:5-7 (NLT)

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!  For the Scriptures say,He will order his angels to protect you.  And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”  Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

 

The Enemy of our soul WHISPERs to us,Let people see you . . . let them see that you have something special . . . or else they will think that you are a nobody!” 

 

We REALLY do nOt have to DO anything sensational to prove ourselves to anyone.  ONLY GOD DOES MIRACLES, ANYWAY!

 

A lesson for us to learn here is . . . Wait On God For His TIMING!

 

Just like Jesus did, we too must accept “The Gift Of Limits” . . . and sometimes head back into OUR WILDERNESS and BEAR OUR CROSS for God.

 

Matthew 4:8-11 (NLT)

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”  10 Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him.  “For the Scriptures say,You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”  11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

 

The Enemy of our soul WHISPERs to us,Just skip over the God-given limits of brokenness and suffering . . . and I will give you whatever you want (Athens, Rome, Egypt, Jerusalem, Corinth, the world).  And, if you feel like that’s sinful . . . you can always repent - later!

 

The frightening truth is that we can sometimes bypass our God-given limitations, and end up doing God’s work . . . without God!

 

A lesson for us to learn here is . . . Wait On God For His LEADING!

 

If we are going to be faithful and live within our God-given boundaries and limits - the core spiritual issue that we must settle is: Is God GOOD AND Is God Really SOVEREIGN?

 

God IS Sovereign and He will ALWAYS minister to our needs through our limits!

 

Matthew 4:11 (NLT)

Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

 

“People in emotionally healthy churches trust in God’s goodness, by receiving his limits as gifts and expressions of his love.  At times, this involves grieving the loss of dreams and expectations that we may have for our lives.” 

 

The Emotionally Healthy Church, p. 151

 

This week, as you read God’s Word (the Bible) watch for examples of ‘limits’ that God places upon the lives of people He loves.

 

Also, pray for God to help you to really understand, receive, and embrace his Gift Of Limits on your life.

 

WE MUST DO THIS (Receive The Gift Of Limits) BEFORE WE CAN EMBRACE THE GRIEVING AND THE LOSS OF SOME HOPES AND DREAMS IN OUR LIVES THAT WILL NOT BE MET.

 

This is Principle 5, which we will study next week: Embrace Grieving And Loss.

 

 

JULY 3, 2017

 

Becoming A Spiritually & Emotionally Healthy & Mature Christian

 

 A Sermon Series on the Principles of

The Emotionally Healthy Church

by Dr. Pete Scazzero

 

Transformation through Jesus Christ.  This is the journey that we are on!

           

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And as Christians, with no more masks, we reflect the Lord’s glory.  We are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

 

These words from Jesus guide us our journey:

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  WALK with me and WORK with me - watch how I do it.  LEARN the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

 

This is a teaching series on 6 biblical principles to help us become an Emotionally Healthy Christian.  Dr. Pete Scazzero presents these principles in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church.

 

Those Six Principles Are: 

 

1) Look Beneath The Surface Of Your Life

2) Break The Power Of Your Past

3) Live In Brokenness And Vulnerability

4) Receive The Gift Of Limits

5) Embrace Grieving And Loss

6) Make Incarnation Your Model For Loving

 

WARNING:  This will NOT be an easy task!  But the rewards for being faithful to this journey of Transformation through Jesus Christ, are worth more than you can even imagine!

 

 

The last 2 weeks we’ve studied PRINCIPLE 1: “Look Beneath The Surface Of Your Life”, and Principle 2: Break The Power Of Your Past.”

 

TODAY, let’s look at Principle 3: “Live In Brokenness And Vulnerability.”

“Everyone is broken, damaged, cracked, and imperfect.

It is a common thread of all humanity -

even for those who deny its reality in their life.”

The Emotionally Healthy Church, p. 118

            

As human beings, and as followers of Jesus, we will either:  FLEE, FIGHT, FREEZE (hide) - OR we can BECOME VULNERABLE AND ADMIT THAT WE ARE BROKEN!

 

“Twenty-first century culture measures strength in terms of power.”

The Emotionally Healthy Church, p. 120

 

CONSIDER “BROKENNESS” AS GOD’S DESIGN FOR YOUR LIFE!

 

 

The Apostle Paul’s growth in Christ parallels his increasing sense of weakness & sinfulness:

 

In A.D. 49, after being a Christian for 14 years, Paul writes about the other Apostles this way:

 

Galatians 2:6

As for those who seemed to be important - whatever they were makes no difference to me.”

 

(Paul appears to be proud and headstrong.)

 

 

Six years later, in A.D. 55, Paul writes to the Corinthians in a much more humble manner: 

 

1 Corinthians 15:9

I am the least of the apostles.”

 

 

Five years after that, about A.D. 60 (25 years after he had become a Christian), Paul proclaims:

 

Ephesians 3:8

I am less than the least of all God’s people.”

 

 

Finally, two years before his death - and perhaps after walking with Christ for 30 years - Paul is able to see and say clearly: 

 

1 Timothy 1:15

I am the worst of all sinners.”

 

What happened? 

 

Paul grew in his understanding of the love of God, as found in the Gospel. 

 

He had become stronger in Christ by becoming weaker (less dependent on) himself!

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)

7 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)

So I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.  Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.  No danger then of walking around high and mighty!  At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it.  Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
 My strength comes into its own in your weakness.  Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.  I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.  It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.  Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size - abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

WE ARE ALL FLAWED (have issues) AND WE Need to

live in brokenness & vulnerability!

 

Look at a few characters from the Bible . . . and their ‘flaws’:

 

Moses stuttered (and had a short anger fuse . . . just like Peter, Paul, etc.)

 

Abraham was too old; David was too young; and young Timothy worried a lot and had ulcers.

 

Jacob was a liar.  Noah was a drunk. 

 

Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.

 

David’s armor didn’t fit; plus, he had an affair / sanctioned a murder / abused his power as king.

 

Naomi was a widow.  Amos was only a farmer.

 

Gideon and Thomas both doubted. 

 

Poor Elijah was burned out.

 

Jeremiah was suicidal.  Solomon was too rich . . . and Jesus was too poor.

 

John Mark was afraid, and he deserted Paul. 

 

John the Baptist was a plain old loudmouth.

 

Martha was a worry-wart.  Peter was afraid to die.

 

AND, Lazarus was dead!

 

 

Luke 15:11-32 is the story of The Prodigal Son

 

Luke 15:11-32 (NLT)

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.  12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’  So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.  13 A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.  14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.  15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.  16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him.  But no one gave him anything.  17 When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!  18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.  Please take me on as a hired servant.”’  20 So he returned home to his father.  And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.  21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’  22 But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick!  Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him.  Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.  23 And kill the calf we have been fattening.  We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life.  He was lost, but now he is found.’  So the party began.  25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working.  When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on.  27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf.  We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ 28 The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.  His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to.  And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.  30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’  31 His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.  32 We had to celebrate this happy day.  For your brother was dead and has come back to life!  He was lost, but now he is found!’”

 

 

Following is a copy of Rembrandt’s famous painting, “The Return of the Prodigal Son” . . .

 

 

Rembrandt’s Painting

“The Return of the Prodigal Son”

Luke 15:11-32

 

 

The Younger Son . . . the Father runs to him!

 

God dances with his shattered, broken child.”

The Emotionally Healthy Church, p.130

 

In the painting, the younger son is kneeling; resting his head on the Father’s chest; he’s bald; seemingly exhausted & emaciated; without a cloak; wearing only one worn out shoe.  He is a picture of a life that has been broken!

 

If we don’t intentionally live like the younger son, we WILL end up like his older brother! 

 

The Older Brother 

 

It is possible to obey God’s commands and be lost.”

The Emotionally Healthy Church, p.132

 

In the painting, the older brother is well clothed; judgmental; seems annoyed.  His respectability and morality have blinded him to his own lostness.  He is a picture of a life of loneliness! 

 

THE Older Brother Test:

 

1) Do I hold on to anger instead of processing it?

2) Do I grumble & complain a lot?

3) Do I have a hard time letting go of offenses?

 

If my answers are “YES,” then . . . I am the lost older Brother!

 

THE TALE OF TWO CHRISTIANS

 

The following chart describes two very different ways that people seek to be “spiritual.”  Read through the columns and categories.  Which column seems to best describe YOU?

 

 

 

PROUD & DEFENSIVE

 

 

BROKEN & VULNERABLE

 

1. I am guarded and   

   protective about my  
   imperfections and flaws.

 

 

 1. I am transparent and
     open . . . in appropriate
     ways I disclose myself to
     others that I trust.

 

 

 2. I focus on the “strong”,
     positive, and successful  
     parts of myself.

 

 

 2. I am aware of the weak,
     needy, and limited parts
     of who I am - and I freely
     admit failure.

 

 

 3. I am highly “offendable”
     and defensive.

 

 

 3. I am approachable and
     open to input.

 

 

 4. I naturally focus first on
     the flaws, mistakes, and
     sins of others.

 

 

 4. I am aware of my own
     brokenness.  I have
     compassion and I am
     slow to judge others.

 

 

 5. I give my opinion a lot,
     even when I am not
     asked.

 

 

5. I am slow to speak and
    quick to listen.

 

 

 6. I don’t get close to
     people.

 

 

 6. I am open, soft, and
     curious about others.

 

 

 7. I keep people from
     seeing what is really
     going on inside of me.

 

 

 7. I delight in showing
     vulnerability and
     weakness, so that Christ’s
     power may be seen.

 

 

 8. I like to control most
     situations.

 

 

 8. I can let go and give
     people opportunity to
     earn my trust.

 

 

 9. I have to be right, in
     order to feel strong and
     good.

 

 

 9. I understand that God’s
     strength reveals itself
     when I admit my
     mistakes, weaknesses,
     and in statements like, “I
     was wrong” and “I’m
     sorry.”

 

 

10. I blame others.

 

 

10. I take responsibility for
     myself and speak mostly
     in the “I”, not the “you”
     or “they.”

 

 

11. I often hold grudges and
     rarely ask forgiveness.

 

 

11. I don’t hold people in
     debt to me, and I am
     able to ask others for
     forgiveness as needed.

 

 

12. When I’m offended, I
     write people off.

 

 

12. When I’m offended, I ask
     questions to explore what
     happened.

 

 

 

 

13. I deny, avoid, or
     withdraw from painful
     realities.

 

 

13. I honestly look at the
     truth underneath the
     surface, even when it
     hurts.

 

 

14. I give answers and
     explanations to those in
     pain, hoping to fix or
     change them.

 

 

14. I am present with people
     in their pain, and am
     comfortable with mystery
     and with saying, “I
     don’t know.”

 

 

15. I have to prove I am
     right, when I am
     wronged.

 

 

15. I can let things go.

 

 

16. I am demanding.

 

 

16. I assert myself
     respectfully and kindly.

 

 

17. I am highly self-
     conscious and concerned
     about how others  
     perceive me.

 

 

17. I am more aware of God
     and others than of the
     impression that I am
     making.

 

18. I see people as
     resources to be used for
     God.

 

 

18. I see people as gifts to
      be loved and enjoyed.

 

 

 

With God’s Holy Spirit guiding us . . . and our daily surrender in obedience to Jesus Christ . . . WE CAN learn to Live In Brokenness And Vulnerability, in our ongoing and daily Transformation through Jesus Christ!

 


JUNE 26, 2017

Becoming A Spiritually & Emotionally Healthy & Mature Christian

 

We are currently in a sermon series on the 6 Principles of The Emotionally Healthy Church, a book by Dr. Pete Scazzero.  This is a part of our journey of Transformation through Jesus Christ

 

One of those principles is, Embrace Grieving And Loss. 

 

We’ve just lost, and buried, one of our brothers in Christ, T.J. Mews.  I believe that we need to take a break from our sermon series . . . and actually practice this principle.  The unfairness of this life has caused a great loss for all of us, through the death of T.J.

 

 

 

He is at home with the Lord, now, but we remain here in this life . . . in our grief and pain.  Take time to be with Jesus in prayer.  Feel, and acknowledge your pain.  Grieve.  Allow God to minister to you through the pain and the loss.

 

I encourage you to read the following thoughts about Grieving. This was an article in Leadership Journal some years ago.  It’s was a lengthy article, so I’ve condensed it a bit here.  THIS IS PART OF THE PROCESS OF BECOMING SPIRITUALLY AND EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY!

 

A BETTER KIND OF GRIEVING


We are aware of infant deaths, horrible accidents, marital breakdowns, impending divorces, loss of employment, medical traumas, emotional melt downs, etc.  We all have some losses coming our way.  How will you manage grief?


1 Thessalonians 4:13

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep,

or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

 

This verse suggests there's more than one way to grieve losses.  The text also suggests that the biblical approach to grieving is a hopeful approach . . . so maybe the others aren't quite so hope filled.

Let’s summarize the world’s approach to grieving and contrast that with God's approach to grief management.  Then, you decide which is better.


The world’s approach to grief management:

 

A child’s dog dies.&n