Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
STRESS & BURNOUT
Here are the powerpoint notes for a seminar I've just prepared for Urban Neighbours of Hope (a missional group our daughter Lindy ministers with). They're in note-form, but you'll get the message):
1. WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is pressure. We all experience pressure. It's how you manage pressure that's the key
Stress is hurry-sickness / Needing more than God
Why do we need more than God? Because parents / teachers / significant others told us we were not OK unless we achieved this or that
WHAT IS BURNOUT?
Why do so many feel they’re ‘running on empty?’ Because they don't have a match-up between emotional input and emotional output
FAMILY-OF-ORIGIN EXPERIENCES ARE THE KEY TO LOVE, FAITH, HOPE: YOU CANNOT LIVE YOUR LIFE AS IF YOUR CHILDHOOD/ ADOLESCENT EXPERIENCES DID NOT HAPPEN
HOWEVER… CAN GOD SAVE/HEAL US FROM CHILDHOOD DEPRIVATION/ TRAUMA? YES… ‘IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO HAVE A HAPPY CHILDHOOD’… BUT AGAIN… ‘AS THE TWIG IS BENT…’
2. THE MAIN KEY: LOVE – FOR GOD, OTHERS
LOVING GOD (= WORSHIP): THE 9 TESTS
* We love God by loving other people (and you love God just as much as you love the person you love least!)
* Jesus said if we love him we will obey him
* If you love someone you'll want to linger in their company
* Our speech is an index of our loves
* If you love someone you'll love what they have created (yourself, this beautiful earth etc)
* If you love someone who is absent you'll long for their return
* The 'idolatry test' asks 'what other, competing, loves turn me on?'
* Loving another means you'll forgive them when they do something you don't understand
* The ultimate test is martyrdom: who or what am I prepared to die for?
0 God, I love thee, I love thee
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Not fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me.
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesus, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake; not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst love me
I, I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
LOVE FOR OTHERS: If you were in a court of law charged with being a Christian, and one of the tests was 'love for others' what evidence would be used to convict you?
3. LOVE OF SELF
Love of Self for Self’s Sake
Love of God for Self’s Sake
Love of God for God's Sake
Love of Self for God's Sake
(The twelfth-century monk Bernard of Clairvaux)
VALUE? GIFTS? LIMITS?
* PEOPLE OF THE LIE
* MONEY / SEX / POWER
* EXTERNALIZING FEAR, GUILT, ANGER, GRIEF
THEOLOGY - spiritually healthy thinking about God
COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING – changing your thinking (paradigm shifts)
6. PERSONAL GROWTH AND RISK-TAKING
20 ASPECTS OF MENTORING:
God helps us through others:
1. Father, especially in the area of self-esteem
2. Mother, nurturing
3. Spiritual Director, 'discernment of spirits'
4. Prayer Partner, prayerful support
5. Mate/spouse/siblings, intimacy, 'sharing'
6. Friend, support in life's trials and recreation
7. Mentor, skill-development
8. Supervisor, accountability
9. Counsellor, behaviour
10. Encourager, emotional strength for the journey
11. Role-model, life-skills
12. Small Group, mutual prayer, brain-storming, reality-checking
13. Ministry Team, vocational support
14. Coach, specific skill-development
15. Sponsor, opening opportunities for ministry
16. Teacher/Master, development of understandings
17. Consultant, advice from someone with a wider perspective
18. Bishop/Board, authority
19. Pastor, soul-nourishment
20. Faith Community, a sense of belonging
The Picture and the Frame (In Western cultures we often think of time as the 'frame' within which we achieve things)
The message of the Bible: there are four dimensions to time -
Chronos - measurable time
Kairos - the appropriate time
Aion - God's time in our time
Telos - the 'omega point', end-time
One life: what do you want to see happen? If you aim nowhere, you're bound to hit the mark.
(But if you set specific goals and don’t reach them… what then?)
See Luke 5:15-16: Jesus had something more important to do that heal or teach!
Sabbath-keeping: who do we think we are that we have to work harder than God?
Meditation/Contemplation: the practice of stillness
Sleep: you should, in an ideal world, get enough sleep not to need an alarm to wake
Diet/Exercise: the fuel you put into your body is an index of the worth of the gift of your God-given physical being. And exercise-to-perspire three times a week!
Hobbies: it's a good idea to have a pleasurable distraction from work (what's yours?)
Remember: ‘A great evil in the world is people taking themselves too seriously’
Visit the humor section of the JMM website – 4,000 funny jokes/stories
ENJOY YOUR LIFE!
(YOU’LL NEVER GET OUT OF IT ALIVE!)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
There's a brand of milk in Australia called 'Big M'. On the 'Net, there's also a big M, masturbation. The following (from various newsgroups) are typical:
'Addicted To Masturbation'
*** 'I am a born again Christian and pornography is probably the one of the toughest issues that I and probably everyone else face. The Lord let me know that pornography was no longer something I needed nor was it EVER good for me. I used to be the guy with a drawer full of Playboys in the bathroom and I would masturbate every day! I also know that all of my friends have most of their problems when it comes to pornographic and other sexual issues. I am telling you that the Devil is really pouring on his attack right now and everyday it's getting a little easier to get your hands on some of the junk.
Although I threw out every shred of pornography and cleaned out my hard drive quite some time ago, I notice that my addiction to masturbation has in no way been broken. The Devil is sneaky and it's absolutely true that he attacks from behind and little by little people become enslaved. I am not concerned any longer about salvation (I am a believer and know the grace of the Lord - that is faith and not works)...
I have remained a virgin through all of this for which I am VERY thankful, but I know that Christ reigns in glorious victory and I wish to become stronger in His Spirit and I NEED some help all of this stuff.
The thing is that sex is everywhere!! I don't need to look at pornography. I can open a People magazine and start to masturbate although I may not EVEN HAVE ANY DESIRE to do some other then psychologically.
The truth is that I was on the Internet just about 30 minutes ago and I was running all over the place looking for some pornography. Just a naked body, that's all I wanted to see. I knew that it was certainly not a good thing, but I find more and more porn every time I look and after I was through masturbating I knew things were just not right and that I need some extra insight into this particular struggle of mine.'
*** And another: 'I have been wondering why God has made the mechanism of women having menstruations and men having wet dreams and yet call it "unclean" as in the book of Leviticus. I guess the "unclean" here refers to poor hygiene and not sin. Regarding masturbation, I know that lust is a form of adultery and thinking about the act before putting it into action may be a sin, but what about "fantasies"? Are fantasies sinful? And if it's just the action and mechanism alone, is masturbation still sinful? I believe some of you out there would think that God does not give boys penises to "play with themselves" but eventually make love with a women and masturbation is actually misusing the organ, then isn't sucking our thumb, bitting our fingernails sinful too? Men have sex drives and it is very very difficult to control it, and if the penis is only for sex alone (as well as urination) then why did God give us the ability to erect (babies as well) even if we are not having sex? Why doesn't he make it that only married men can have sex? Why does he give people sexual feelings before marriage?'
*** A single woman, in her forties, a staff-member in a fundamentalist church came for counseling. She'd been referred by her senior pastor, who didn't know her 'problem', and she didn't want to tell him, but she said she 'needed to talk to someone about something.' She sat nervously on the edge of the chair, briefly sketched some aspects of her history, and then paused for a long time. Eventually she stuttered: 'Actually my problem's a terrible one. My church preaches that I'll go to hell for doing this... It's the 'big M'.' 'Oh,' I said, 'masturbation'...
Read the full article here.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.
From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing....Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.
This alone is amazing. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse's halter is a small bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.
As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting that he will not be led astray.
When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening it stops occasionally and looks back making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.
Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.
Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way....
Good friends are like that... You may not always see them, but you know they are always there. Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.
And remember... Be kinder than necessary - everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Jack the AZBeeman
We need another to listen to us...