Archive for June, 2011

10 Pre-Marital Questions on Sex (Part 10)

This series of blogs comes from FAQ’s from the guys in Summit’s “Preparing for Marriage” ministry. They represent a conglomeration of questions from many different husbands-to-be during the Engaged Discovery Weekend. If you are interested in serving as a marriage mentor or are engaged, click here to learn more about Summit’s “Preparing for Marriage” ministry.

How do you ensure you and your spouse are having “enough” sex given a hectic and busy weekly schedule? How “intentional” do you find yourself having to be to have a “good” sex life? Are encounters scheduled a la date nights? What is the best way to maintain passion within sex as your marriage progresses?

Take this as a general rule: your sex life will not be healthier (consistently or for long, anyway) than the weakest part of your marriage. If you try to improve your sex life without taking seriously the responsibility to manage the rest of your life well, you will fail.

So the place to begin in answering this question is to challenge the assumption that you should try to begin your marriage with a “hectic” life as a “given.” That is a strong indicator that you are not beginning your marriage with your family as the appropriate priority in your life. Your sex life will only be one of many things that suffer in your marriage if you begin by molding your home to fit the rest of your life.

I would encourage you to take some time and examine how you plan to spend your 168 hour week. How many hours are you reserving for your wife (and eventually kids) that are off limits to the rest of the world and with which you give them your undivided attention? I recommend at least 17 hours (that is a mere tithe or 10% of your time for family). Start with allocating “enough time” for your marriage and then you will have much less concern regarding “enough sex.”

Once you have time protected, then you can begin to examine the frequency of intimacy. Now when the two of you are together you are rested, unrushed, and know what is going on in each other’s lives (assuming you make good use of the time you have set aside). That is a relational environment in which a “good sex life” can thrive.

With this amount of time protected, you can engage in the breadth of interactions that allow for a vibrant marriage: conversation, prayer, going for walks, mutual interest activities, Bible study, flirting, planning, etc… Without time and intentionality, your interaction with your spouse will become monotone and repetitious. It is this variety and quality of interaction that keeps a marriage fresh and passionate. That passion is expressed through sex not created by sex.

Many (if not most) married couples do begin to have some degree of schedule to their sex life. Even with intentionality, schedules have rhythms. There are times during the week when each of you will consistently have more energy. There will be some nights when at least one of you have responsibilities.

Schedule and rhythm should not mean taken for granted and that is one of the temptations that drains the vitality of marital sex. You do not want to begin to “check in” for sex every Tuesday and Saturday at 9:00 pm. This is where I think your date night parallel is effective, but I would emphasize the “forethought” aspect of dating more than “scheduling.” Going on a date implies preparation. So should sex.

If the two of you walk in the bedroom, take off your clothes, kiss for a minute, and then have sex 2.5 times per week for the next 10 years, statistically your sex life will be “above average” in terms of frequency. But I doubt either of you will be excited about it. However, if each of you put thought into how to please and arouse your spouse for one sexual encounter per week, statistically your sex would be “below average” and (probably) much more satisfying.

A satisfying sex life is not created by frequency. A satisfying sex life creates frequency. If you put your energy (which you protected with your schedule) into anticipating and satisfying your spouse, then you (plural) will mutually enjoy your intimacy enough that frequency will take care of itself.

Pour your energy into thinking of new compliments for your wife (don’t let the old ones become stale), ways to make your wife laugh, interesting conversations to have, playful ways to initiate sex, ways to remind her you’re thinking of her throughout the day, how to facilitate her spiritual growth, ways you can help her relax or feel safe, and other encouraging ways to engage your wife. This is the intentionality that fuels the passion of a life long marriage.

Pray that God will give you a passion and creativity in these areas. If you maintain your passion and interest in your spouse, then it will be hard to lose your passion and connection in sex. If, however, you neglect your time and attention upon your spouse outside of sex, then it will be hard to maintain a passion and connection in sex.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Sex and Sexuality” post which address other facets of this subject.

Courage and Illogical Fear

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“The bad psychological material is not a sin but a disease. It does not need to be repented of, but to be cured. And by the way, this is very important. Human beings judge one another by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. (p. 91).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Let’s forego the disease-model (addiction, depression, etc…) debate for a moment and focus on Lewis’ main point. God evaluates us on the basis of what we have to work with. This is the point of Luke 12:48,

“But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”

With this in mind, it makes sense that God would be more pleased with the slight expression of other-minded compassion from someone with Autism than He would be with large compassion from someone who writes Hallmark cards for a living.

In the same way, we get really excited when a toddler takes three steps without falling, but are disappointed when an Olympian takes a half step when landing a triple-backflip-summersault with a half twist (I have no idea if that is even possible).

I think even those of us who are skeptical of the disease-model can get closer to what Lewis is saying. We believe that every person is born with a flesh nature and that these sinful natures are unique. We would also agree that each person is born is a unique personality, intelligence, set of social skills, and interests. These things can be developed with practice and shaped through life experience, but we all start with a unique “base package.”

Every person’s “base package” set them up for some life struggles. This is what it means to be a fallen person in a broken world. This distribution is not “fair” (if by fair we mean equal). Therefore, some people naturally struggle more than others.

It goes beyond the scope of this reflection to try to define what does and does not fit into the category of a biological disease. For those interested in exploring that subject further, I would recommend Ed Welch’s book Blame It On the Brain?

The ultimate goal of this reflection is to draw on Lewis’s call to look beyond (but not over) our choices. Looking over choices harms everyone. Even “a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats” needs to be led towards truth. It would be unloving to be a silent people as others suffer with irrational fears or self-destructive behaviors even if they are biological.

Looking beyond choices would require considering who the person is who is making these choices. What are they working with (experientially, intellectually, dispositionally, physically)? Where are they in their spiritual, emotional, and relational maturity? I think if we heed Lewis’ instruction in this way, it will help us keep from getting ahead of God in one another’s life without condoning immoral or irrational behavior.

Seminar: Overcoming Anger (Video)

Below is the material needed to complete the “Overcoming Anger” program at The Summit Church (Durham, NC). For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

STEP 1.
ADMIT I have a struggle I cannot overcome without God.

Equip Seminar – Anger Pt1 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

STEP 2.
ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my sin.

Equip Seminar – Anger Pt2 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

STEP 3.
UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my sin.

Equip Seminar – Anger Pt3 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

The PDF anger journal from chapter 3 — Overcoming Anger Journal

STEP 4.
REPENT TO GOD for how my sin replaced and misrepresented Him.

Equip Seminars – Anger Pt4 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

STEP 5.
CONFESS TO THOSE AFFECTED for harm done and seek to make amends.

Equip Seminar – Anger Pt5 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

The PDF anger confession guide from chapter 5 — Confession Guide

STEP 6.
RESTRUCTURE MY LIFE to rely on God’s grace and Word to transform my life.

Equip Seminars – Anger Pt6 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

The PDF life restructuring tool from chapter 6 — Life Restructuring Plan

STEP 7.
IMPLEMENT the new structure pervasively with humility and flexibility.

Equip Seminars – Anger Pt7 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

The PDF implementation evaluation tool from chapter 7 — Plan Eval Form

STEP 8.
PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me.

Equip Seminars – Anger Pt8 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

STEP 9.
STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory.

Equip Seminars -Anger Pt9 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Anger” post which address other facets of this subject.

C.S. Lewis on Sigmund Freud

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“When Freud is talking about how to cure neurotics he is speaking as a specialist on his own subject, but when he goes on to talk general philosophy he is speaking as an amateur… But psychoanalysis itself, apart from all the philosophical additions that Freud and others have made to it, is not in the least contradictory to Christianity…But [psychoanalysis] does not run the same course all the way, for the two techniques are doing rather different things (p. 89).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

This quote could serve as a Rorschach test for Christian counselors. Hold it up in a room of Christian counselors and they will all see different things and may begin to act bizarrely.

I think we see several things in Lewis’ interaction that serves as an excellent model. In other posts we will examine his view of psychoanalysis, its compatibility with Christianity, and its usefulness to Christianity. Here our purpose is to examine his style of interaction rather than the content of his statement.

First, Lewis was humble towards those with a different expertise than his own. Whether or not you believe Lewis is overly ambitious about the ability to separate philosophical presuppositions from counseling methods, we should applaud his
tone.

Lewis’ purpose was to winsomely present the foundations of “mere” Christianity. To create common ground in order to demonstrate the key difference (self-reliance vs. God-dependence) was important to his purpose and respectful to the audience he was seeking to win.

Second, Lewis was not intimidated by “outsiders” who spoke in his field of study. Making friends and honoring expertise did not mean conceding everything. Being an excellent philosopher, Lewis knew he could talk from core philosophical
differences to the heart of the Gospel. Therefore, he did not cower from pointing out weak philosophical work to guide the conversation towards the matters of first importance.

Third, Lewis was willing to acknowledge commonality even with those with whom he disagreed. In the same paragraph Lewis is going to say they are after different things, but this does not cause him to disregard areas of common interest. In
this instance, Lewis is referencing the desire to see people free from irrational fears.

If we dismiss (assume the worst or assign ill motive) people because we disagree with them, we lose the ability to engage them in meaningful conversation. While the word “freedom” means different things in Christianity and psychoanalysis,
Lewis was willing to acknowledge that both want people to experience freedom from what ails them.

Fourth, Lewis recognized that points of agreement do not necessarily mean a shared mission. Lewis has a heart to walk with non-Christians as far as he can (whether you think he goes too far or stops prematurely), but to highlight the
significance of the difference where his path parted from his companions.

While I disagree (and that is painful for me to say) with his content, I believe Lewis’ approach is very Christian in this excerpt. I would hope my journey with those whom I rightly disagree would win me a hearing when it is necessary to
highlight the parting of our journey.

False gods & False Teachers — Galatians 4:8-20

Chapter 4 Verse 8:

“By Nature Are Not gods”

 How can you be a slave to something that does not exist?  You bypass the question of truth and skip to the question of pragmatics.  Can this (which is not what I believe it to be) get me what I want?  If I begin to dream of the life I want and can imagine this thing giving it to me, I will serve it!

Didn’t this tendency die out with the advent of science?  No!  Do we really still do this?  Absolutely!  This is the daily, moment-by-moment functioning of the human heart.  We long for things and look for ways to attain them.

What are the modern things to which we become enslaved?  In the list below rank the items on a scale of 1 to 10. (1 least compelling; 10 most driving).

_____ Approval of Others
_____ Affection of a Loved One
_____ Power, Influence, Position
_____ Education & Knowledge
_____ Popularity
_____ Entertainment (non-boredom)
_____ Peace & Order
_____ Accomplishments
_____ Money & Nice Things
_____ Other: __________________

These are the kind of things that we tend to build our life around and think, “If only I had more of this my life would be complete.”  When we begin to base our contentment, security, identity, or confidence around one of these items we begin to make them our functional god.  They begin to determine right and wrong; worth my time and not worth my time; hope and despair.

“But, wait a minute, these things are not bad.  I thought idols had to be evil or false.  These things are good and real.”  You are right on the last point.  These things are real and good.  But you are mistaken on the first point.  To be an idol all something has to do is to take God’s place in our lives.

Begin to recognize what you elevate to the level of God in your life. Then your goal is to submit it (not eliminate it) to “the one who by nature is God.”  The items in the list above are good desires but cruel masters.  As idols, they make promises of fulfillment they can never keep.  Monitor your levels of anxiety, depression, guilt, planning, hoarding, secrecy, and daydreaming regarding these items.  When one of these levels become intense you likely need to take Galatians 4:8 to heart.

Chapter 4 Verse 17:

“The Danger of Isolation”

Galatians 4:17 (NIV)
“Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good.
What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them.”

Isolation is a sign of danger in both relationships and religion.  When a relationship, teacher, or organization begins to ask you to leave behind most or all of your relationships you should be very leery.

Isolation Red Flags (not meant to be exhaustive)

  • Being asked to isolate from Christian because they are Christians
  • Being asked to isolate from family for non-moral reasons
  • Being asked to not participate in same sex social outings
  • Being asked to not socialize with “people who do not like me”
  • Being made to feel guilty or demanding to come on normal social outings (i.e., grocery, post office, family reunions, etc…)
  • Posing your relationship as an all-or-nothing (i.e., “If you want to be in relationship with me, then you will not talk with [name].”)
  • Being threatened about reporting or confronting illegal or immoral activities

Effects of Prolonged Isolation

  • Increases the influence of the controlling person or organization
  • No outside relationships by which to measure “normal”
  • “Facts” of the controlling person or organization cannot be verified
  • Legitimate and good social outlets/resources begin to feel threatening
  • Self-doubt increases due to social awkwardness and fear

Ally, Master, or Judge?

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the view of our own party. We are looking for an ally where we are offered either a Master or—a Judge (p. 87).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Lewis may be better known for his trilogy of liar, lunatic, or Lord, but this three-piece deserves some attention. This collection of phrases serves to convict the nominal Christian, politically Christian, or ethically Christian person. But it also convicts any of us who tries to reduce Christianity to a collection of teachings.

The core of Christianity is not what we think but Who we rely upon and Who has the final say in our life. Inevitably these things will impact what we think, but there may be others who think similarly for other reasons who are not Christian.

Pick your favorite moral position: abortion, honesty, equality, or marriage. There are many non-Christians who would agree with Christians on these subjects. Actually, there are many people who would be offended by Christianity who would agree with Christians on these subjects.

These same people would have no problem saying the Bible was enlightened, wise, or beneficial in its support of “their” position. What they would not say is that the Bible is authoritative on “their” position. They would not say that their position was rooted in the created order of the author of Scripture who invaded history to die for their sin and call them to repentance.

This is what it means to look for a Master (or find a Judge if you disagree) rather than an ally in Christianity. Christianity is not primarily rooted in what ethical or political system we prefer. Christianity begins with how we view our selves. Are we good people in need of better information, examples, training, and environment? Or, are we broken, selfish people in need of a Savior?

If we are good people, then finding a “Master” would be offensive. It would infringe upon our freedom and be a violation of our rights. However, if we are broken people who are blind in our sin, then to find a Savior who is a benevolent Master to lead us to life would be a literal dream come true.

The questions are, “What are we looking for?” and “What does our search reveal about us?” These questions echo us to some of God’s early words with His covenant people in Deuteronomy 4:29, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

When we search with all our heart and soul it means that we have abandoned the notion of finding the solution in our selves. We are aware of our need. We are not searching for an ally, but a Master.

For a period of time, it would be good to write this quote from C.S. Lewis on an index card and use it as a bookmark in your Bible. Each day as you read Scripture allow it to remind you of why you come to the Bible and what you hope to find.

Fear By Another Name: “Enough”

This post is meant to offer guidance to common “What now?” questions that could emerge from Pastor J.D.’s sermon “Fear: Homewreckers #3” preached at The Summit Church Saturday/Sunday June 18-19, 2011.

There are many people who deny that their life is marked by fear, but for whom fear is one of their primary motivators. The problem is not necessarily some form of denial or defensiveness. Instead, they don’t recognize their fear as fear because it registers in their thoughts and speech under a different term – enough.

Often this change of language is because the fear does not (at least yet) paralyze them, but merely motivates them (for better or worse). In this way, fear is very similar to stress. Certain levels of stress are healthy and cause us to “perform better” in life. We refer to this when we say, “Competition can bring the best out of people.” However, there comes a point where stress (or fear) is detrimental.

For those who do still view their unhealthy fear as a form of motivation they might refer to themselves as:

  • not being good enough (generally or at a specific activity)
  • not having enough money (for security or compared to others)
  • not having achieved enough (compared to a peer or for their age)
  • not being attractive enough (based upon size or some perceived defect)
  • not being social enough (funny, outgoing, compassionate, etc…)

These types of fears can go by other names than just motivations: insecurity, shyness, being driven, over-achieving, thinking ahead, being a planner, etc…

At this point, I would advise you to pause and consider two questions:

  1. What areas of life do you use the word “enough” to signal an area of fear?
  2. What (if not fear) do you call this struggle with fear?

You have now identified an area in your life where you have the opportunity to rely on God and live out of your identity in Christ in new ways. Don’t begin this process with a sense of condemnation. God is calling you FROM bondage (to fear) TO freedom (in Christ).

If we are not careful, we can repent INTO the same bondage we were repenting OF. It sounds like this, “Great, a reminder that now I’m not spiritual ENOUGH. Just add that to the list.” Or “I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I just can’t trust God ENOUGH.” We begin to try to apply God’s Gospel in the same system as our previous slavery.

Start your journey from fear with the truth that you are being delivered by a patient God who loves you. God loves you by grace. Grace means that “enough” is no longer a relevant category to apply to the thing that matters most in life. That is the beginning of freedom from fear.

Enough” is a slave word. “Grace” is a free word. If I am motivated by “enough” then even my productive and worthwhile accomplishment will eventually become bondage. That is because “enough” always implies “a little better than before.” If I am motivated by “grace” then my successes are celebrations of God’s goodness and my failures are points to remember that I am a loved child still in the process of being made into the image of my Father – a Father who enjoys the process of grooming the character of His children over a life time (Heb. 10:14). This is why grace gives us BOTH comfort and motivation.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Anxiety” post which address other facets of this subject.

Family Devotion from Overcoming Anger Seminar

One of the desires of The Summit Counseling ministry is to be a part of the “normal” church life. We do not want to be a church with a counseling ministry (read “on the side; just for crisis cases”).  We want to be a church that uses our counseling ministry to EQUIP our members to counsel one another and our community.

We have put a great deal of time, energy, and conversation into designing the counseling ministry to strengthen existing ministries or core values of our church. This is something we are passionate about and want to continue to refine.

There are several ways that we have sought to accomplish this:

  • Each counseling initiative is designed to lead participants into a small group
  • The focal point of change in each counseling initiative is the Gospel
  • Counseling seminars are written and recorded to be available as small group studies

There is another core value the counseling EQUIP seminars want to strengthen – parents are the primary discipler of their children. Part of discipling our children is teaching them how to handle their anger, anxiety, conflict, grief, etc… in biblical ways. For this reason, each counseling EQUIP seminar will have an appendix that applies the material covered at a child’s level and in a family devotion format.

The following sample is taken from the second point of the upcoming “Overcoming Anger” seminar.

Devotion for Luke 6:43-45. Give your children a visual of the key teaching in this passage. Take a glass of water and shake it. When water comes out, ask, “Why did water come out of the glass?” Most likely they will answer, “Because you shook it.” Kindly say, “No,” and repeat the question emphasizing the word water. After a couple tries tell them, “Water came out of the glass because water was in the glass. If it were a glass of milk and I shook it milk would have come out.”

Our hearts are like that glass. When life shakes us the content of our heart is revealed. We cannot blame our sinful actions on the things that happen outside of us. “You cannot blame your brother taking your toy as why you hit him anymore than I should blame your disobedience for why I yell at you. In those situations you wanted to enjoy the toy more than to love your brother and I let my desire for a peaceful evening override my responsibility to honor you.”

Use this conversation as another opportunity to present the Gospel to your child. Christ comes to change hearts. He wants to keep their hearts and minds healthy. Only Jesus can change our hearts. Talk about how you still need the Gospel even as a Christian parent.

Follow Up Study: The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – “God Sends Help” starting on page 326.

We hope to see a large number of our parents at this event and pray that God will use it to strengthen our families.

“Overcoming Anger”
Presenter: Brad Hambrick
June 26, 2011
5:00 to 8:00 pm
Cost: Free, so bring lots of friends
No RSVP Required
The Summit Church (Brier Creek South Venue)
2335 Presidential Drive
Durham, NC 27703

10 Pre-Marital Questions on Sex (Part 8)

This series of blogs comes from FAQ’s from the guys in Summit’s “Preparing for Marriage” ministry. They represent a conglomeration of questions from many different husbands-to-be during the Engaged Discovery Weekend. If you are interested in serving as a marriage mentor or are engaged, click here to learn more about Summit’s “Preparing for Marriage” ministry.

How do we control the carnal nature of ourselves and replace it with selfless love that the Bible teaches with regards to sex in marriage?

I think the most effective place to begin with this question is with the verb “replace.” The verb implies that we need to remove one type of desire, discard it, find another type of desire, and fill the void with this new desire. I would recommend we use the verb “transform” instead.

Let me illustrate the difference with an extended quote from Joshua Harris as he summarizes C.S. Lewis.

In The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis tells an allegorical story about a ghost of a man afflicted by lust. Lust is incarnated in the form of a red lizard that sits on his shoulder and whispers seductively in his ear. When the man despairs about the lizard, an angel offers to kill it for him. But the fellow is torn between loving his lust and wanting it to die. He fears that the death of the lust will kill him. He makes excuse after excuse to the angel, trying to keep the lizard he says he doesn’t want.

Finally, the man agrees to let the angel seize and kill the lizard. The angel grasps the reptile, breaks its neck and throws it to the ground. Once the spell of lust is broken, the ghostly man is gloriously remade into a real solid being. And the lizard, rather than dying, is transformed into a breathtaking stallion. Weeping tears of joy and gratitude, the man mounts the horse and they soar into the heavens (p. 27-28 in Sex Is Not the Problem Lust Is).

Lewis is portraying that selfish lust is a distortion of selfless love. It is the real thing made perverse. Our goal is not ultimately to destroy the perversion, but to die to it so that God can transform it back into the blessing He intended it to be. It is not the desire that dies, but self. As desire is freed from the bondage of self, it becomes the reflection (image) of God it was intended to be and transforms from a curse (burden) into a blessing.

It is always good to quote C.S. Lewis if you want to sound smart (hence, I quote him frequently), but this concept needs to become more practical if God is going to use it to “transform” our lives. The following list of ideas is meant to help you transform selfish lust into selfless love.

1. Focus on your spouse’s pleasure during sex and foreplay. Getting lost in your own pleasure during sex tends to make the experience shorter and less intense. Watch her eyes and face. Listen to her voice. Give a massage that helps her to relax and prepare for sex. As you massage express thanks for the things she has done to grow tense or tired (see #3 below). Rejoice in the fact that God has allowed you to love this woman in a way that blesses her and brings her joy.

2. Daydream about how to make sex more meaningful and satisfying for your spouse. Daydreaming tends to be a very self-centered practice. We think about what we want most. Then (because our spouse cannot read our mind) we have a tendency to be disappointed. Counter this by allowing your desires to drive you to become a more creative and expressive lover. At the end of the day you are more likely to experience a dream come true if you daydream this way.

3. Verbally affirm your spouse during sex. Sex can be verbal. “I love you. You are my best friend. Thank you for giving yourself to me. You are an incredible blessing. You make me feel very loved. I enjoy loving you. It is a joy to be your husband,” and similar statements should be made frequently. Occasional references to key events in your courtship, honeymoon, marriage, or future dreams can be meaningful especially during foreplay.

4. Do not stop loving your spouse after the climax of sex. It is easy to become selfish again after climax and to retreat back into one’s own world or think the love making is over. Taking time to continue to hold, caress, talk, or look into each other’s eyes is an important way that you were not just engaging is a highly pleasurable form of personal recreation, but that you were making love to a person who is immensely important to you.

If these do not sound exciting to you, then there is some transformative work that God needs to do. In light of these things, I would encourage you to meditate on Luke 9:23-24. Pray that God would allow you to see the Gospel in your marriage (Eph. 5:32) to such a degree that even in sex your greatest pleasure would be found in sacrificing your pleasure for your spouse’s. Trust that when this happens, you will have found the “(sex) life” (v. 24) you were aiming for all along.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Sex and Sexuality” post which address other facets of this subject.

Do I Need to Attend the Overcoming Anger Seminar?

I’ve never punched a hole in a wall. I’ve managed to avoid road rage even with a significant number of “idiot” drivers provoking me. My children are not scared of me unless they do something really bad. I have plenty of friends who seem to like me and will answer the phone when I call. Do I still need to attend the “Overcoming Anger” seminar?

This kind of question construes the “Overcoming Anger” seminar as a classic anger management class. I can promise you will not count to 10 and no one will be asked to go to their “happy place.”

Let me reframe the question.

We live in a broken world where legitimate desires often get disappointed. We live among fallen people who often offend us and, at least, frequently forget things that are important to us. In the midst of all this, how do we accurately represent the character of God, who has as one of His attributes, anger?

Anger is not an emotion we can “just not do.” Therefore, if we are going to accurately reflect the image of God, we must do anger well. But anger as an emotion with a lot of momentum and it easily runs away with us. This is why “Overcoming Anger” is such an important seminar for every person (whether we yell frequently or not).

Come and learn how the gospel both informs and empowers us to respond to real wrongs in a way that brings hope instead of regret and change instead of shame. This is a life lesson none of us an afford to neglect.

Here is an anger assessment tool to help you prepare for this event (Overcoming Anger Evaluation).

OVERCOMING ANGER
Dates: September 29 and October 6, 2012
Times: 4:00 to 5:30 pm and 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free