Archive for January, 2013

Congratulations! Engaged Couple

The Summit Church is excited to be a part of this season of your life. It is a time when God will shape your future in powerful ways and we want to equip you to thoroughly enjoy God’s gift of marriage. This page is your one-stop-shop for all things pre-marital at Summit. From this page you will be able to find everything you need.

If you have not already registered for our Preparing for Marriage ministry (PFM), that is your first step. All the information you will need to register for PFM or request Summit pastor to perform your wedding can be found here.

You will also want to join the “Preparing for Marriage” page on The City for up-to-date information on our Engaged Discovery Weekends, upcoming “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage” seminars, and other marital enrichment resources.

If you’re curious about why we choose to utilize mentoring as a major part of our pre-marital ministry, here is video that explains this and how you can get the most out of your PFM experience.

Mentoring Relationship

The rest of this page will orient you to the marriage mentoring relationship. The structured part of this relationship consists of six meetings. Below you will find video description of the primary objectives for each meeting and the resources you’ll use.

First Meeting:
Getting to Know Each Other

As you prepare for your first meeting with your mentors this 3 minute video will help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

***Note: For the first meeting each of you will also need to complete these three on-line evaluations. Please e-mail the results to your mentors as instructed when you complete each evaluation. At the end of this first meeting you and your mentors will decide which of these subjects to focus on in your second meeting.

Once you decide with your mentors which portion of this materials you will focus on, you can watch those portions of the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations” videos here (if a live presentation does not correspond with when you’re at this point).

Second Meeting:
Foundations

As you prepare for your second meeting with your mentors this 4 minute video will help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

Each of you will need to complete these three evaluations. You will review them with your mentors at the end of this meeting to identify your main subject for meeting three.

Once you decide with your mentors which portion of this materials you will focus on, you can watch those portions of the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” videos here (if a live presentation does not correspond with when you’re at this point).

Third Meeting:
Communication

As you prepare for your third meeting with your mentors this 3 minute video will help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

Each of you will need to complete these three evaluations. You will review them with your mentors at the end of this meeting to identify your main subject for meeting four.

Once you decide with your mentors which portion of this materials you will focus on, you can watch those portions of the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Finances” videos here (if a live presentation does not correspond with when you’re at this point).

Fourth Meeting:
Finances

As you prepare for your fourth meeting with your mentors this 3 minute video will help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

You will need to complete these three evaluations. You will review them with your mentors at the end of this meeting to identify your main subject for meeting five.

Once you decide with your mentors which portion of this materials you will focus on, you can watch those portions of the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” videos here (if a live presentation does not correspond with when you’re at this point).

Fifth Meeting:
Decision Making

As you prepare for your fifth meeting with your mentors this 3 minute video will help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

You will need to complete these three evaluations. You will review them with your mentors at the end of this meeting to identify your main subject for meeting six.

Once you decide with your mentors which portion of this materials you will focus on, you can watch those portions of the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Intimacy” videos here (if a live presentation does not correspond with when you’re at this point).

Sixth Meeting:
Intimacy

As you prepare for your sixth meeting with your mentors this 3 minute video will help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

Here is a letter where we recommend what things to focus on how that you’ve completed the structured part of our mentoring program – PFM Completion Letter.

 What Now?

At your sixth meeting, you and your mentor couple will discuss how and when you’ll get together. Stay connected with your mentor couple. By now you know they volunteered for this ministry because they want to be a blessing to young couples like you guys. Allow them to be the blessing God has called them to be.

In your small group (click here if you are not in one), you can go through any of the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage” seminars. This is a great way to get the material you didn’t cover with your mentors and to reinforce these important principles during the formative first months/years of your marriage.

If you need additional counseling assistance, please look at the various services we provides here.

Gospel-Centered Communication Tweets

If James 3:2, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body,” means anything, it means learning about gospel-centered communication could radically change your life.

That is why we are doing the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” seminar February 16 and 23.

With that in mind we have one request, send out the following tweets over the next few 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.

These tweet were taken from the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” seminar.

CREATING A GOSPEL-CENTERED MARRIAGE: COMMUNICATION
Part One: Saturday February 16, 2012
Part Two: Saturday February 23, 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

Tuesday Tweets of the Week: 1.29.13

There is great value in saying something in a memorable, concise manner. Twitter has caused us to make this a near spiritual discipline. For my own growth (as a generally verbose individual… that’s a long way of saying “wordy”) and for the benefit of others, I highlight tweets each week that deliver a big message in a few words.

And one because it’s funny…

C.S. Lewis on Death Treatment

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

“The change will not be completed in this life, for death is an important part of the treatment. How far the change will have gone before death in any particular Christian is uncertain (p. 207).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

While teaching a seminar on grief, I was struck by the reality “we were not made for this world” but with almost everything we do assumes we were. Trying to make sense of death from the vantage point of earth is like trying to make sense of puberty from that vantage point of adolescence.

Children do not have a category for the changes of puberty because they have not experienced adulthood to know why those changes are needed. If they did know, then it would remove the innocence that makes childhood special and disrupt healthy maturation.

Similarly, we do not have a category for the changes of death because we have not experienced heaven to know why the process of living-and-dying is needed. I would assume (because a loving God has chosen not to disclose this information), such knowledge would be as harmful to us as early sexualization is for a child.

Lewis’ quote brought this reality to my mind again – death is part of what God is doing in our life. The process of losing loved ones and facing our own mortality has developmental (i.e., sanctification) benefit as we pass from a fallen world to a perfect heaven.

Not only that, the innocence of knowing what all of those benefits will be is itself beneficial for our ability to enjoy heaven.

Consider where sin began. Adam and Eve wanted to be able to know (i.e., define) good and evil for themselves (Gen. 3:5). They did not want to trust God in a perfect environment. They wanted to know if they could make it better. That form of contentment we call trust was underdeveloped in their pristine environment.

Even now that same character quality is weak in us as we wonder how we will be entertained in heaven for eternity without sin or anything “bad” (admit it, you’ve asked that question too). We need to face the consequences of this discontentment before we will be able to enjoy the blessing God has in store.

Death is the resounding revelation that our trying to “find life” always results in huge losses (Luke 9:24). Jesus said we must be willing to lose our life if we want to really find life. Any honest person will admit that is a lesson humans do not learn easily.

That is why I’m grateful for the validity of Lewis’ second statement. That lesson will not be fully learned before we die. My salvation is not dependant upon me finally “getting it” (i.e., abiding in perfect contentment). Rather this life is about me learning to trust God enough to “want it” and placing my faith in the way God has decided to provide it – through the gospel.

When that happens, death has served its purpose. It has made sure that the residents of “the New Heaven” (Rev. 21:1) do not have the same ignorance of contentment’s great value that resulted in the rebellion of the original heaven and earth.

What Is “Emotional Maturity”?

What does it mean to be “emotionally mature”? To some it would mean being stoic – having mastery of your emotions so that you felt only what you wanted to when you wanted to feel it. To others it would be sentimentality – feeling all there is to be felt in any moment to its fullest extent.

Here I will propose another definition (but not “the” definition). Emotional maturity is (a) the ability to differentiate and properly identify one’s emotions while (b) granting yourself the freedom to experience whatever emotion is appropriate to a given situation.

That is difficult, because the physiological, cognitive, and neurological experiences of various emotions are not that different (see previous post). Differentiating emotions (as we will see) can be much more like parsing the 47 shades of green at the paint store than one would think.

Let’s take a very common case study – an individual in his/her early twenty’s engaged to be married and transitioning from student to adult life deciding upon a career while in a job better suited for student life. What emotions would be common in this experience? I’ll pick three: anxiety, dread, and insecurity.

  • Anxiety – How many areas can this person ask, “Am I making the right decision?”
  • Dread – How hard is it to be that excited about the future and content in the present?
  • Insecurity – Who wouldn’t be asking, “Am I ‘good enough’ for the marriage/roles I’m wanting?”

What do all three of these emotions have in common?

  • Neurologically, there is a high degree of overlap in the neurotransmitters involved.
  • Physiologically, the bodily reactions of these emotions are highly similar.
  • Cognitively, for all three thoughts race while predicted outcomes get larger and increasingly negative.

So what happens for the emotionally immature person (not meant as a derogatory description)? Usually they pick one emotion as their problem. That becomes the focal point of their thinking and three smaller emotional struggles become one large, insurmountable struggle.

If the person views them self as an “anxious person,” then all of their dread and insecurity are labeled anxiety. This does two things. First, it makes the strategies for dealing with anxiety (even biblical ones) two-thirds ineffective (assuming equal parts anxiety, dread, and insecurity). Second, it creates a gravity where every unpleasant emotional experience adds to the overwhelming sense of anxiety.

So what must an effective biblical counselor or one-another disciple-maker be able to do in a situation like this?

First, they need to be able to help their friend separate their emotional experiences. Often we are better at this with our theological categories than we are in our interpersonal and intrapersonal categories. As an example, a biblical counselor should be as attune to the various aspects of emotional experience as Mark Driscoll is to various aspects of the gospel in his book Death by Love (where he makes pastoral application of distinct features of the gospel like: redemption, gift righteousness, justification, propitiation, expiation, atonement, ransom, and reconciliation.

Second, (which too often is where I fear we begin) we need to be able to provide good-biblical-practical guidance to the individual’s struggle. In the case study above, unless dread and insecurity are separated from anxiety, then good counsel based on a sloppy assessment will produce limited results. However, once the individual sees him/herself accurately, then (if they are a Christian) their biblical existing instincts are likely to begin to implement their existing biblical wisdom as their sense of being overwhelmed dissipates.

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

Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope (Video for Step 5)

Step Five: MOURN the wrongness of what happened and receive God’s comfort.

Below is a video from the “Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope” 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 am willing to agree with God emotionally about my loss. I can see that God does not just want me to ‘get over this’ but to ‘love me through my loss.’ [describe difference] I will accept that ‘blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matt 5:4)’ as expressed by God’s loving me personally through this group. Mourning my suffering with God and this group has changed me [describe].”

 

Memorize: Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 (ESV), “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting for this is the end of all mankind and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Better” – Mourning is better because it fits the occasion (Eccl. 3:1-8) and honors the good gift from God you lost.
  • “Feasting… laughter” – This passage does not condemn feasting and laughing (Eccl. 7:14).
  • “House of mourning” – Mourning always hits “home” because it is always linked to things that we love.
  • “The end… lay it to heart” – Mourning is a time we remember that we were not ultimately made for this world.
  • “By sadness… made glad” – The sadness of grief is not minimized, but is seen as the pathway to honest, lasting joy.

 Teaching Notes

“Death is the enemy of everything good and beautiful about life. Death should make you morally sad and righteously angry… It is biblical to treat death as the sad, unnatural thing it actually is (p. 4)… In times of death, Christians should be sadder than anyone else. We know how sin brought death into the world. We mourn not only for the loved one we have lost, but also for the fact that death continues to destroy… God doesn’t call you to stifle your grief when you are crushed. He doesn’t expect you to hide behind religious clichés and theological platitudes. God approves your tears (p. 8)!” Paul Tripp in Grief: Finding Hope Again

“[Referencing John 11:35] If you knew you were about to turn everything around, would you be drawn down into grief, entering into the trauma and pain of their hearts? Why would Jesus do that? Because he is perfect. He is perfect love. He will not close his heart even for ten minutes (p. 4).” Tim Keller in “Truth, Tears, Anger, and Grace” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Fall 2001).

“We all need to learn to say goodbye, acknowledge the pain that is there for us so we can eventually move on to another hello. When we learn to say goodbye we truly learn how to say to ourselves and to others: Go. God be with you. I entrust you to God. The God of strength, courage, comfort, hope, love is with you. The God who promises to wipe away all tears will hold you close and will fill your emptiness. Let go and be free to move on. Do not keep yourself from another step in your homeward journey. May the blessing of our God be with you (p. 7-8).” Joyce Rupp in Praying Our Goodbyes.

“And so it is in our sadness that we discover a new aspect of God’s character and reach a new understanding of Him that we could not have known without loss. He is acquainted with grief. He understands. He’s not trying to rush us through our sadness. He’s sad with us (p. 51).” Nancy Guthrie in Holding on to Hope.

How to Listen

We are often poor listeners because we think of listening as merely hearing and retaining information. In a day of information overload, the significance of listening is easy to overlook. Consider this expanded definition of listening – listening is how you enter the world of another person.

In relationships “insiders” and “outsiders” are determined by what you share and what you’re willing to hear. When you tell someone your private thoughts you make them an “insider.” When you withhold your private thoughts you make them an “outsider.” When you are available to listen you are demonstrating your willingness to become part of your spouse’s world, which is more than sharing the same space (house).

Read Ephesians 5:25 in light of John 1:14-18. How did Jesus love his bride, the church? Jesus fully entered her world in order to understand her unique challenges and her experience of those challenges (Heb. 2:17-18).  How do we apply the profound theological truth of Jesus’ incarnation to our marriages? We listen to our spouse until he/she feels understood. In the same way that Jesus’ incarnation provides us assurance that He understands every aspect of our life (Heb. 4:15-16), our listening assures our spouse that we are for/with them in the midst of life’s joys and struggles.

This reality is convicting. We realize we have neglected one of the simplest, most meaningful and foundational ways that God calls us to love our spouse. But conviction without instruction results in guilt without hope. The gospel always gives hope in equal (or greater) measure than it brings convictions. So below we will provide many skills and perspective intended to enhance your listening ability.

No instruction can create or replace desire. The main skill in being a good listener is wanting to be a good listener. The core of listening is placing enough value on the other person and what he/she is saying that you quit playing your thoughts (mentally or verbally) over theirs. When you begin to do this you will find that your responses and body language almost always draw out the other person. The skills below are merely examples of things that value other people.

1. Show and Maintain Interest: Some conversations are interesting because of their subject. This makes effective listening much more natural. However, there are times when our interest is given because of the value we place on the relationship instead of the subject. When, in marriage, we only listen well to subjects of interest we either force our spouse to perform (creating undertones of pressure/rejection) for our attention or neglect important areas of life (creating family systems that will inevitably fail).

2. Honor through Body Language: The majority of indicators of interest are non-verbal: eye contact, pleasant facial expressions, nodding your head, leaning forward, facing the speaker, relaxed shoulders, unfolded arms, and removing distractions (i.e., checking your phone or working on a project). When we fail to honor our spouse through body language we create a temptation for them to increase the “force” of their speaking in order to gain our attention. Honoring body language decreases the temptation towards ineffective communication.

3. Glean Purpose before Content: Words serve a purpose. If your spouse is afraid and you debate the accuracy of his/her descriptions, then you are missing the purpose for the content – likely increasing their fear which will be expressed as anger. To slow your listening down begin with the question, “Why is my spouse talking?” instead of “What is my spouse saying?” Once you know your spouse’s purpose for speaking it will help you utilize the appropriate type of listening from the list above.

4. Be Aware of Filters: We must be willing to hear a message as it was intended, not as we experience it. Look at the list of “filters” below and consider how their influence would impair your ability to fairly hear your spouse: Fears, Past Experiences, Values, Beliefs, Expectations, Future Dreams, Prejudices, Assumptions, Interests, Recent Events, or Insecurities.

The differences that exist in the personality, history, and aspirations of a husband and wife requires that we are aware of the impact of these filters if we want to have “the same conversation” as we talk about a given subject. If we are not aware of our filters, we will change the meaning/significance of our spouse’s words and hold them responsible for our reaction. This is a recipe for shutting down communication.

5. Clarify Confusing Points: Often a confused expression or tilted head is enough to request clarification without interrupting. Good clarifying questions assume that there is a good answer for what doesn’t make sense yet. For example, it is better to ask, “How do [assumes there is an explanation] those two points fit together?” than “How can [expresses skepticism that there is an explanation] those two points fit together?” Times of confusion tend to be critical junctures where grace leaves communication. For this reason, couples should realize the need for extra grace and patience during exchanges of clarification.

6. Summarize Information: Summarize the key points or experiences your spouse has shared before giving a response. This reveals that you are listening and ensures that your “take aways” match what your spouse was sharing. Beyond insuring that you are responding to what your spouse was actually trying to say, this has another benefit. It also allows you to clarify whether your response is to a part or whole of what your spouse said. When we fail to summarize what we’ve heard, it is common for partial perspectives/suggestions to come across as total generalizations/fixes. Each time the speaking-listening roles change in a conversation that will be a moment when trust is gained or lost. This is why interruptions are so bad for communication. A 30 second summary at these exchanges often saves many 30 minute (or longer) arguments.

7. Listen to Affirm / Honor: It is so easy to just listen for what needs to be different, changed, or corrected. After all, that is where the progress, growth, or change will happen as a result of communication. When we succumb to this temptation, listening becomes a very negative exercise. Too often this kind of point is made as a way to avoid hurting the feelings of someone who is sensitive. When we frame listening-to-affirm this way, we miss how it shapes our character and attitude. If we want to be a Christ-like listener, we will discipline ourselves (until it becomes something we naturally enjoy) to find things to affirm, celebrate, or encourage in what our spouse says.

8. Postpone Evaluations: There is a time for evaluative thinking in marital communication. It is usually near the end of a communication exchange (unless it’s a purely problem solving / decision making interaction). The willingness to suspend critical thinking during casual conversation is a way to communicate trust and to show that the relationship has value beyond what it achieves. This is why casual conversation (next chapter) is so important to marriage; it is a primary time when the marriage is honored and your spouse is cherished simply for who they are.

9. Listen Like You’re Taking a Prayer Request: The question is often asked, “How do I know if I have listened well?” Here is a good litmus test – could you pray for your spouse about this topic of conversation in a way that he/she felt like accurately represented him/her to God? God may use you to answer the prayer you would pray and if He chooses to do so the time you took to understand your spouse’s concern will make you a much more fit instrument in His hand. Until you can represent your spouse in prayer you have listened well.

10. If You Don’t Know What to Say, Ask More Questions: Often the pressure to know what to say is what prevents us from listening well. We become like the person who so badly wants to sleep that his desire to sleep prevents him from sleeping. Listening is best done when we’re relaxed (otherwise our fears focus our attention on ourselves instead of our spouse). Giving yourself the freedom to merely ask another question if you don’t know what to say can often be the thing that makes the implementation of these other skills possible.

This resource was taken from the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” seminar.

CREATING A GOSPEL-CENTERED MARRIAGE: COMMUNICATION
Part One: Saturday February 16, 2012
Part Two: Saturday February 23, 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

Summit Pre-Marital Mentor Home Page

Every time you come to this page I want you to hear me say “thank you” for the way you serve the engaged couples in our church. The value of a mature, mentor couple to invest in the life of an engaged and newly couple cannot be overestimated. With the material below we want to make your mentoring experience as logistically easy as possible. For each structured meeting with your engaged couple you will find the following information:

  • The video we created to orient engaged couples to each meeting
  • The most up-to-date tools / evaluations for each meeting
  • A sample exercise for the “Sketching Your Marriage Story” assignment
  • Templates of the form e-mails for you to cut-and-paste
  • Links to all the FAQ’s posts for/from mentors (at the bottom of the page).

First Meeting: Getting to Know Each Other

One week before this first meeting, please send your couple a personalized version of this e-mail (01. Meeting One E-mail) to make sure they have everything they need.

***Note: For the first meeting you will also need to complete these three evaluations. You will review them with your mentors at the end of this meeting to identify your main subject for meeting two.

 

Second Meeting: Foundations

One week before this second meeting, please send your couple a personalized version of this e-mail (02. Meeting Two E-mail) to make sure they have everything they need.

Third Meeting: Communication

One week before this third meeting, please send your couple a personalized version of this e-mail (03. Meeting Three E-mail) to make sure they have everything they need.

 

Fourth Meeting: Finances

One week before this fourth meeting, please send your couple a personalized version of this e-mail (04. Meeting Four E-mail) to make sure they have everything they need.

Fifth Meeting: Decision Making

One week before this fifth meeting, please send your couple a personalized version of this e-mail (05. Meeting Five E-mail) to make sure they have everything they need.

Sixth Meeting: Intimacy

One week before this sixth meeting, please send your couple a personalized version of this e-mail (06. Meeting Six E-mail) to make sure they have everything they need. After this meeting you may schedule the recommended 6 week, 3 month, and 6 month post-marital meetings with your couple.

FAQ Database

In this section we will link you to brief responses to many of the frequently asked questions asked by/of marriage mentors. This is a growing list of questions and answers, so please check back each time you get information to meet with your couples to see what’s been added. Also, be sure you’ve joined the Preparing for Marriage and Summit Counseling pages on The City for more resources in marriage enrichment and mentor development.

Tuesday Tweets of the Week: 1.22.13

There is great value in saying something in a memorable, concise manner. Twitter has caused us to make this a near spiritual discipline. For my own growth (as a generally verbose individual… that’s a long way of saying “wordy”) and for the benefit of others, I highlight tweets each week that deliver a big message in a few words.

And one because it’s funny…

https://twitter.com/funnyoneliners/status/291172968103550977

C.S. Lewis on God’s HGTV Show

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

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were doing to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself (p. 205).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Talk about intrusive. God takes the cake on intrusive. He comes into our lives and acts like he owns the place and plans to stay forever. Lewis makes it sound like God is doing the HGTV show “Bathroom Crashers” where someone gets a free remodeling. But the real life experience is not that glamorous (at least not initially).

Let this sink in. God comes in to do an overhaul. God’s involvement is not just cosmetic. God brings a U-Haul, not an overnight bag when He comes. This should be shocking. This is the intent of the language used to describe salvation – “Therefore is anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).”

We invite God into our lives as an honored guest, glad that He would do us the honor of visiting our meager lives, and then realize He intends to be our husband (Eph. 5:32). We keep waiting for the time when things will “return to normal” so we can catch our breath, but we realize He’s not leaving. Normal has been forever changed.

Salvation isn’t a television episode, or even a series; it’s the new reality. There are no commercial breaks or flipping channels. God has moved in.

Remember a television show or cartoon where the main character suddenly gets everything he/she ever wanted and then isn’t prepared for the other changes that domino from this dream-come-true. Lewis is saying that is the uncomfortable fallout of the gospel.

Catch your breath again. This isn’t a nightmare. It’s just overwhelmingly good. Let that sink in. God is so good that we often feel like we need to rest from His goodness. It is over-stimulating. Part (maybe most) of the uneasiness we feel is that our finite minds are trying to absorb God’s infinite goodness. We’re drinking from the fire hydrant of God’s goodness and we’re not thirsty enough to appreciate the stream of blessing.

This isn’t prosperity gospel, because the home that Lewis is referencing (and of which Scripture primarily speaks) is our character and relationships. God’s not putting a sky-light in our bathroom; He’s putting Jesus’ character in our soul.

Our souls are too small for this, so it requires an expansion. That expansion hurts like any growing pains. If you think a renovation is unpleasant for the home owners, try being the home. But the unveiling of the finished product is worth it (Eph. 5:27).

So what is the take away? Trust Jesus, He’s the top listed Carpenter on Angel’s List.