Archive for November, 2012

Overcoming Anger Video 7

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

Below is a video from the “Overcoming Anger” seminar of 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).

“Plans are easier than life. They exist outside my sinful heart and broken world. Trying to live out my plan has taught me more about my self, my sin, and my Savior. As I have had victory, the old expressions of sin have taken new forms. I have had to remember that my plans are merely how I intend to rely on God and not, themselves, my deliverer. Here are the unexpected challenges I faced [list], how I failed [list], where I succeeded [list], what I learned [list], and how God was faithful [list]. I now see that [list] is really the most important part of my plan.”

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

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

Memorize: Luke 6:27-31 (ESV), “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “You who hear” – These are hard words and difficult teachings. Will you hear them or return to anger?
  • “Love your enemies” – Through the lens of anger, everyone becomes an enemy. Will you love?
  • “Curse… strike… take” – Godly anger will always be expressed in the context of real evil.
  • “Give” – Godly anger will cost you. You probably began this study for your relief. Will you continue?
  • “As you wish… do so” – Again we see that the skill level expression of overcoming anger is not complex.

 Teaching Notes

“Patience is the evidence of an inner strength. Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependant on external supports—like schedules that go just right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts (p. 173).” John Piper in Future Grace

“Self-control is the ability to consistently make wise decisions and fulfill responsibilities on the basis of God’s Word rather than on the basis of one’s feelings (p. 51).” Lou Priolo in Getting a Grip

“Godly anger does not need to ‘win…’ Its purposes are more modest on the surface, but more extravagant under the surface: the glory of God and the eternal well-being of God’s people (p. 53).” David Powlison in “Understanding Anger: Part 1” in JBC (Fall 1995).

“Here [on earth] walked the Lord of glory with His own creatures. Every human being that Jesus met owed Him life and utter loyalty. He is YHWH, to whom temple sacrifices were offered in repentance and gratitude. Yet most of these people ignored Jesus, misunderstood Him, tried to use Him, reviled Him, plotted against Him (p. 38)… Jesus dealt gently with the ignorant and misguided, even when He suffered at their hands (p. 39).” David Powlison in “Getting to the Heart of Conflict: Anger, Part 3” in JBC (Fall 1997).

Applying the Grief Seminar to Losses Not Caused by Death

Often it can be hard to recognize grief as grief, because of the absence of a death. Major losses can be caused by many other life changes than someone dying. But this difficulty goes well beyond the challenge of rightly labeling an experience. When we do not recognize the grief element in a major loss or life transition, we begin to try to make sense of that experience and overcome its fallout in ways that are not suited for the difficulties that lie ahead.

That is the purpose of this appendix – to prepare you to apply the materials contained in this study to grief experiences that are not the result of the death of a loved one. Throughout this study you will find language that refers to the loss of a person (i.e., loved one, him, her, spouse, child, parent, etc…). If your loss was not a person, then these references may give you the impression that these materials do not apply to you.

However, the major experiences, changes, and challenges of grief are similar enough that once you begin to see how grief disrupts your identity and story, you should be able to apply this material to losses that do not involve the loss of a person. The important thing for reading these materials is (1) that you recognize your loss as a grief event and (2) that you are able to articulate what you have lost so that when you read the personal language in this guide, you naturally think of your loss.

This appendix will examine grief not triggered by death in four categories: the loss of innocence, the loss of a dream, the loss of stability, and the living death of divorce. These categories are not mutually exclusive, but they should help you think through different aspects of a grief struggle that is not triggered by someone’s death.

To read this full appendix click here: Grief Not Caused by Death

This resource is taken from the upcoming seminar:

TAKING THE JOURNEY OF GRIEF WITH HOPE
Part One:  Saturday December 8, 2012
Part Two: Saturday December 15, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 pm or 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free

 

Grief Tweets

Grief is an issue we all face. Grief is particularly difficult during the holiday season (when there are so many rich memories). That is why we are doing the “Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope” seminar December 8 and 15.

With that in mind we have one request, send out the following tweets over the next two weeks. The link provided goes to the free RSVP page with more information about the event and how to reserve childcare. All you need to do is copy, paste, and tweet.

  • Do you know someone who is facing a difficult time with grief during the holiday season? tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • One out of every one people face grief many times over the course of their life. Are you prepared to grieve well? tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Everyone who loves will experience grief sooner or later, and the greater the love, the greater the grief. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Many people find that the hardest part of the grief journey is simply getting started. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Grief: a journey for which none of us are ever fully prepared. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Grief is an agony for anyone, any age, any maturity, any faith. Grief takes time. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • We kissed her cheek and straightened her sheet as if she were there. We simply didn’t know how else to act. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Part of the grieving process is putting your loss into words. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Grasping that someone you love has died takes a great deal of repetition before you get your mind around this truth. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Grief is a normal response to the loss of any significant person, object, or opportunity. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Unresolved grief can cause serious emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and social disruptions. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • A frequent perception of the normal grief-stricken individual is, ‘I’m losing my mind.’ tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Your faith in God should never silence you in the dark hours of grief. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • God approves your tears. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Jesus is acquainted with grief. He understands. He’s not trying to rush us through our sadness. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • The principle is simple; when words are most empty, tears are most apt. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • Silence covers wounds before the cleansing has occurred. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • God’s great story of redemption has much to say about your story of grief. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • One of the things you can do is to demonstrate how to be sad and to hope and trust at the same time. tinyurl.com/boumxt9
  • “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 tinyurl.com/boumxt9

TAKING THE JOURNEY OF GRIEF WITH HOPE
Part One:  Saturday December 8, 2012
Part Two: Saturday December 15, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 pm or 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free

Small Group Care Plan for the Whole Journey of Grief

Caring for a friend facing a significant loss is something that we (as friends and church members) often start well. We bring meals and try to make sure the mundane burdens (like mowing the grass) are handled. But too often this ends after a couple of weeks, and when the care ends the grieving individual often feels like it is no longer acceptable to speak of their loss. The length of our care often becomes the unspoken time table for how long grief is socially acceptable to talk about.

Our care can be an immense blessing when we care well for the duration of the grieving process. The purpose of this appendix is to equip a small group to care for its members after a significant loss in a way that facilitates healthy grieving and demonstrates the present, patient love of Christ through His body, the church. Our goal would be to ensure that when their season of grief comes, every member of a small group would be able to echo this testimony:

“Reading back through journal entries made a decade earlier… I realized I had faced my greatest fear in life—to love and then to lose someone—with my faith intact. My wife’s death confirmed rather than threatened my faith because everything that followed conformed to what I had been taught to expect. My church family rallied to my aid, swamping me with love and care; my co-workers expressed deep sympathy and shouldered my responsibilities until I could return to work, and above all God made His presence and His comfort known in special ways (p. 14).” Joseph Lehmann in “Believing in Hope” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Winter 1998).

For the rest of the articleOne Year Small Group Care Plan for Grief

The intent for this article is to provide a printable care plan for a small group to use when everyone first learns of the loss. If group members will sign up for the responsibilities outlined and mark their calendars accordingly, then the small group can care for their friend well with minimal reminders or fear of overlapping care.

This resource was taken from the seminar:

TAKING THE JOURNEY OF GRIEF WITH HOPE

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

Summit Grief Ministries

At the Summit Church we want to care well for those who have experienced a loss. Our EQUIP seminar “Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope” is the hub for many of our grief care ministries.

Women’s Freedom Group for Grief – This group is for women who have experienced the loss of a loved one and would like the support of others who are at various stages of processing their own losses.

Women’s Freedom Group for Past Hurts – This group is for women who have experienced grief related to the loss of innocence to abuse, the loss of a dream, the loss of stability, or the living death of divorce and would like the support of other women who are at various stages of grieving similar losses.

Men’s Freedom Group for Grief / Past Hurts – This group is for men who have experienced the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of another dream, or the living death of divorce and would like the support of other men who are at various stages of grieving similar losses.

You can learn more about and connect with the various counseling and care ministries of the Summit at www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

The next presentation of the grief seminar will be:

TAKING THE JOURNEY OF GRIEF WITH HOPE
Part One:  Saturday December 8, 2012
Part Two: Saturday December 15, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 pm or 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free

Jesus Says Christianity is Hard and Easy

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

“You have noticed, I expect, that Christ Himself sometimes describes the Christian way as very hard, sometimes as very easy. He says, ‘Take up your Cross’ – in other words, it is like going to be beaten to death in a concentration camp. Next minute he says, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden light.’ He means both. And one can just see why both are true (p. 197).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Jesus isn’t Bipolar, but Christianity is not one-dimensional. Christianity is both dying to self and finding life. Embracing the gospel will give you the desires of your heart, but only after it has shaped the desires of your heart so that fulfilling them would be a blessing instead of a veiled curse.

There are two questions that arise from this tension in Jesus’ teaching; one easy, the other hard.

  1. Which of these aspects should we emphasize in our personal study and public teaching?
  2. When do we emphasize each of these aspects in our personal study and public teaching?

The answer to the first question is simply, “Yes.” When there is tension in how Scripture addresses a subject, we are not free to pick the side we like best. Is God sovereign or do people have free will? Scripture teaches both and we have a hard time with the tension. Both are true and we much live with the tension.

Similarly in this question, Scripture sometimes presents the Christian life as hard and other times as easy. We must live with the tension. But this brings us to the second question. There will not be a simple answer to this question, so I will provide a list of possible options.

Admittedly, I don’t agree with all the options I give. My purpose in brainstorming was not to answer the question, but merely to “advance the question.” I suggest you critique the strengths and weakness of each of the possibilities below. As you do, I believe you will become much more effective at counseling yourself and others with both halves of the gospel.

For clarity, the term “imperative” refers to the commands of Scripture we are to obey (generally considered to be hard to obey because of our sin nature). The term “indicative” refers to those aspects ofs the gospel which are true about us because of what Christ did on our behalf (generally considered to be easy because we only have to receive or accept them as true).

  1. Imperatives are for sin, and indicatives are for suffering.
  2. Imperatives are for closed-handed sin, and indicatives are for open-handed sin.
  3. Imperatives are for put-offs and put-ons, and indicatives are for thinking change.
  4. Imperatives are for the idle or unruly, and indicatives are for the discouraged and weak.
  5. Imperatives are for licentious people, and indicatives are for legalists.
  6. Imperatives are for the proud, and indicatives are for the humble.
  7. Imperatives are for the immature, and indicatives are for the mature.
  8. Imperatives are for active sins, and indicatives are for dispositional sins.
  9. Imperatives are for the indicative-minded, and indicatives are for the imperative-minded.
  10. Imperatives are for urgent situations, and indicatives are for when there is the luxury of time.
  11. Imperatives are for public ministry, and indicatives are for private ministry.
  12. Imperatives are for instructional communication, and indicatives are for emotional communication.
  13. Imperatives are for cognitive change, and indicatives for spiritual change.
  14. Imperatives are for when we serve, and indicatives for when we are being served.

Grief Evaluation

Below is an evaluation to help you see (acknowledge) how you are doing with the different challenging experiences that grief brings. At this stage in the journey, it is tempting to begin comparing your loss with others. Inevitably, we begin to think, “Others have it so much worse than me. Why am I down?”

Resist the urge to compare your loss with the loss of others. Just because Person A got hit by a truck does not mean that Person B’s knee surgery hurt any less. The purpose of acknowledging the history and realness of your grief is not to give you a tool to downplay your loss (that would be another form of denial). The purpose is to help you identify the terrain that you will walk with the Good Shepherd (Psalm 23; John 10:1-21).

Tool: Grief Evaluation

In this evaluation you will assess how you are doing in the following areas:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Loneliness
  • Life Disruption
  • Health Impact
  • Identity Transition
  • Escapism
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Post Traumatic Features

This evaluation is taken for the upcoming presentation:

TAKING THE JOURNEY OF GRIEF WITH HOPE
Part One:  Saturday December 8, 2012
Part Two: Saturday December 15, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 pm or 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free

Overcoming Anger Video 6

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

Below is a video from the “Overcoming Anger” seminar of 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).

“I have learned a great deal about my self [list with examples], my sin [list examples], and my Savior [list with examples]. Because of these truths I want and need to make the following changes [list]. My temptation is to see these things as ‘what I do’ rather than merely cooperating with and celebrating God’s grace in my life.”

 

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

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

Memorize: Ephesians 4:29-32 (ESV), “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “No corrupting talk” – Your standard of speech is that your words should never tear others down.
  • “Only… building up” – Your words should strive to cooperate with God’s activity in the life of others.
  • “Grieve the Holy Spirit” – As a Christian your words always serve as an ambassador for God.
  • “Put away” – The goal is not to merely tame the tongue but remove these traits from your life.
  • “Forgave you” –You undertake this effort as a forgiven, redeemed, and indwelt child of God.

 Teaching Notes

“It would be impossible for a moral being to stand in the presence of perceived wrong indifferent and unmoved (p. 107).” B.B. Warfield in “The Emotional Life of Our Lord” from The Person and Work of Christ.

“The wise and foolish are distinguishable by how they get angry (p. 43)… Jesus did not live a calm life; He cared too much (p. 48).” David Powlison in “Understanding Anger: Part 1” in JBC (Fall 1995).

“Changes in location, situation, education, training, exercise, or the nature of the relationship will not solve the problem. The tongue is humanly untameable! It is a powerful, restless evil that leaves all of us confounded (p. 37).” Paul Tripp in War of Words

“Anger must be directed toward destroying the problem, not toward destroying the person.” Jay Adams in What Do You Do When Anger Gets the Upper Hand? (brochure)

Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope

Grief is more than sadness. It is losing someone or something that was a part of you and then trying to answer, “Who am I now?” If we love, we will grieve.

If we want to love one-another well, we must know how to offer care during times of grief. The goal of this seminar is to give you guidance for the journey of grief, whether you are the one walking this road or whether you are walking with a friend who is grieving.

This is a free seminar (please RVSP links below). We hope that many people in our community come and learn how to process this powerful emotions we will all face many times over the course of our lives.

The concepts and process of this seminar can also be applied to grief triggered by the loss of innocence (to various forms of abuse), the loss of a dream (infertility, divorce, job loss, chronic pain, a rebellious child, mid-life crisis, etc…), the loss of stability (an elderly parent surrendering independence to live with children, a fire destroying your home, a natural disaster, etc…) or the living death of divorce.

Evening One

December 8th at 4pm and 6pm

Step 1. “Preparing for Your Grief Journey”
PREPARE yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to face your suffering

Step 2 “Identifying the Pieces of My Story”
ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering

Step 3. “How Has My Life / Story Changed?”
UNDERSTAND the impact of my suffering

Step 4. “The Darkest Part of My Journey”
LEARN MY SUFFERING STORY which I used to make sense of my experience

 

Evening Two

December 15th at 4pm and 6pm

Step 5. “The Journey Is About More Than the Destination”
MOURN the wrongness of what happened and receive God’s comfort

Step 6. “My Loss Story in His Story”
LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience

Step 7. “Where is ‘Better’ on This Journey?”
IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering

Step 8. “Beginning to Live the Rest of My Story”
PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me

Step 9. “Living the Rest of Your Story”
STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory

Appendices

  1. Memorial Ceremony for an Unborn Child
  2. Applying the Grief Seminar to Losses Not Caused by Death
  3. Small Group Care Plan for the Whole Journey
  4. Healthy Ways to Capture Memories
  5. Bible Readings on Grief
  6. Recommended Books
  7. Parenting Tips and Family Devotions for Each Step
  8. What Do I Do Now?

TAKING THE JOURNEY OF GRIEF WITH HOPE
Part One:  Saturday December 8, 2012
Part Two: Saturday December 15, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 pm or 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free

 

 

C.S. Lewis on New Motives

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

“But I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives. After the first few steps in the Christian life we realize that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God (p. 193).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

How do I train myself to want good things instead of bad things? It doesn’t come naturally to want to study when I know I could get the same grade by cheating.

How do I train myself to want good things to honor God instead of bringing glory to myself? When I do good things I get a reputation for being a good guy, and that can become its own reward.

How can I ever have pure motives when following God starts to “work” for me and I begin to enjoy the blessings that come with a life marked by obedience? When I stop doing sinful, self-destructive stuff, life is better. It begins to feel like life could work with a strong dose of godless common sense.

Every step in following God comes with its own unique despairing question about whether we can really depend on God like we ought. We keep thinking it must be easier for the guy ahead of us on our spiritual journey (or even the guy behind us).

But these questions reveal two things we often forget or ignore: (1) we can only rely on God in the situation we are in, and (2) it always seems most difficult to rely on God in our current circumstances. Our every “if only…” resists these two truths.

What does that have to do with motive? It places the focus of our crises of faith on our self instead of our circumstances. If we realize that no change in our circumstances will make it easier to trust God, then something must change within us (which we cannot control) rather than outside us (which we can control).

Can you make yourself be humble? The very act of self-determination is rooted in a form of independence that relies more on self than God.

Can you convince yourself to be other-minded? Every convincing appeal that you would make is rooted in the benefits service provides and gets tainted with self-interest.

Motives will never be as pure as we want them to be, but that is not the point of this reflection. The main point is that motives only truly change when we lose ourselves in something larger than our self. This is why God and the gospel are necessary for motive change.

We must first see God for who He is – perfect, loving, wise, powerful, holy etc… We must realize that our sin is more than “not being perfect.” It is cosmic treason against a Judge who cannot be less than just.

We must then see that love and justice were reconciled in Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus received the payment for our sin, and we received the gift of His righteousness. In light of that our motives change as those truths place the rest of our lives in a perspective we could never reason ourselves to accept apart from God’s grace.

To see the first 100 posts in this series click here.