Archive for May, 2013

A Church Addresses Sexual Abuse: Caring for the Care Team

On the weekend of May 18-19 The Summit Church (Durham, NC) addressed the subject of sexual abuse in all of our weekend services. This series is a reflection of those services, the preparation that went into them, and the aftercare that was provided.

We do not propose to have done this weekend perfectly, although we worked diligently to conduct each aspect with excellence. Our hope is that the resources produced will allow other churches to address this needed subject and improve upon our efforts. This is a subject that addresses 40% of our church, community, and world (1 in 4 women; 1 in 6 men). The church cannot be silent.

“If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues that deal specifically with your time, you are not preaching the gospel at all.” Martin Luther

This is the fifth of five posts in this series:

Unfortunately, I must admit that this portion of our resources was put together in response to hearing about the “weight” that serving on the care team placed upon our members. I should have foreseen this burden and prepared to care for the care givers in advance.

My hope in placing it here is two fold. First, I hope it serves well those at Summit who were willing to walk into the suffering of others to incarnate the love of Christ. Second, I hope it allows other churches who address the subject of sexual abuse to begin the process of preparing their care team for the weight of secondary trauma in advance of the weekend services where they address the issue.

Here is an 8 minute video that overviews the how/ why secondary trauma (the stress of compassionately listening to someone else’s trauma) affects the care giver and some approaches to alleviating those affects.

Additional Resources

  • How the Gospel Speaks to Suffering (video) – This is part four of Summit counseling’s six -part “core training” for our counseling interns and Freedom Group leaders. As a church, we are often better at applying the gospel to sin (forgiveness) than suffering (comfort and healing). This video is an attempt to bring more balance to our practical theology.
  • Gospel-Centered Counseling for Suffering (SUFFERING_GOSPEL_article_Hambrick) – This is a walk through Psalm 102 that seeks to show how God gives words to our suffering as a way of demonstrating His willingness to bring hope and restoration to our suffering. Too often we view the unpleasant emotions of suffering as inherently wrong and, therefore, feel compelled to repent of them (as if God were an offended boss) rather than bring them to Him honestly (as if He were a compassionate Father).
  • Walking Alongside a Struggler by Diane Langberg (Walking Alongside a Struggler_Langberg) – This a three page article by Diane Langberg (visit www.dianelangberg.com for more resources) giving guidance to lay counselors who are willing to walk alongside those who are facing intense suffering.
  • Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Diane Langberg (book; part 6 chapters 23-25) – In this section of her book Diane Langberg goes into greater detail about how counseling traumas, such as sexual abuse, affect the counselor and provides guidance to the care giver on important aspects of self-care so that we can sustain as care givers.
  • Compassion Fatigue: Coping With Secondary Post Traumatic Disorder in Those Who Treat the Traumatized (book) – This is a full book devoted to the subject of secondary traumatic stress.
  • Coping With Post Traumatic Disorder: A Guide For Families by Cheryl A. Roberts (book) – What was faced by our after service care team over this weekend can be the day-in-day-out reality of families who have a loved one who suffers from PTSD. This book provides guidance for those families.

At least one additional point should have been included in the video above. Try not to fight recurring thoughts, dreams, or flashbacks. After learning of the frequency of sexual abuse, some people say, “I have a hard time not wondering if each child I see has been sexually abused,” or “I replay aspects of the conversation I had with the abuse survivor over and over in my mind.”

These are normal after hearing of a trauma, and usually decrease over time and become less painful. Fighting them is a form of rehearsing that makes it harder for the thoughts to dissipate. Take this as an opportunity to pray for the individual or situation of concern and then re-engage with whatever would be normal for that part of your day.

If after several weeks these thoughts still persist, then it is recommended that you seek counseling to help you process the effects of suffering. For those at Summit or in the RDU community we would recommend the resources found at www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

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.

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

A Church Addresses Sexual Abuse: Seminar

On the weekend of May 18-19 The Summit Church (Durham, NC) addressed the subject of sexual abuse in all of our weekend services. This series is a reflection of those services, the preparation that went into them, and the aftercare that was provided.

We do not propose to have done this weekend perfectly, although we worked diligently to conduct each aspect with excellence. Our hope is that the resources produced will allow other churches to address this needed subject and improve upon our efforts. This is a subject that addresses 20% of our church, community, and world (1 in 4 women; 1 in 6 men). The church cannot be silent.

“If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues that deal specifically with your time, you are not preaching the gospel at all.” Martin Luther

This is the third of five posts in this series:

As a part of our aftercare we provided a seminar entitled “Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse.” This presentation allowed for both (1) a next step in anonymously exploring how to recover from the experience of sexual abuse, (2) another opportunity to connect individuals with counseling resources, and (3) an opportunity for us to create a resource for our church to use in walking alongside those who have experienced sexual abuse.

Listening Note: If the materials below become overwhelming for you, please feel free to stop the videos and come back to them later. It is good for you to have a voice in how much you can process at one time.

The notebook which accompanies this presentation is available here in PDF form: Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse Notes

Hour One:
Understanding the Disruption

Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse: Part 1 from Equip on Vimeo.

Hour Two:
The Search for Peace

Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse: Part 2 from Equip on Vimeo.

Scripture Exercise One: Psalm 55 Personalized for Sexual Abuse

Scripture Exercise Two: Isaiah 53 Personalized for Sexual Abuse

Scripture Exercise Three: WHO I AM IN CHRIST_KELLEMEN

Hour Three:
The Search for Restoration

Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse: Part 3 from Equip on Vimeo.

Additional Resources

Correction: In the seminar, several times I reference that 40% of the population has been sexually abused. The actual number should be 20%. This was brought to my attention by someone who saw the math I was mis-computing. I added 1 in 4 women (25%) to 1 in 6 men (17%) and got 42%. However by that math 158% of people would have been abused — 3 in 4 women (75%) and 5 in 6 men (83%). I apologize for this error, which was an honest mistake by an amateur statistician.

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

Assessment and Process for Consensus Decision Making in Marriage

A large portion of marital decisions will be made as friends through the process of consensus. This is how two individuals begin to shape “our life” together that represents the new “we” more than the individual “me’s.” As a couple grows in their knowledge and sacrifice for another, this arena of decision making should become the significant majority of their shared decision making. Consensus should be the default approach to decision making throughout marriage.

In the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” seminar we will teach three types of decision making that are required in a healthy, biblical marriage.

  1. Personal Decision Making
  2. Consensus Decision Making
  3. Headship-Submission Decision Making

Too often, couples try to force all decision making to fit into one or two of these arenas. They may do this for convenience (but simple becomes simplistic) or conviction (emphasizing some part of what Scripture teaches to the neglect of other parts). Either way, their life lacks balance and begins to show the corresponding wear-and-tear.

Here are the assessment tool and overview of the materials on consensus decision making.

 

 

A Church Addresses Sexual Abuse: Aftercare

On the weekend of May 18-19 The Summit Church (Durham, NC) addressed the subject of sexual abuse in all of our weekend services. This series is a reflection of those services, the preparation that went into them, and the aftercare that was provided.

We do not propose to have done this weekend perfectly, although we worked diligently to conduct each aspect with excellence. Our hope is that the resources produced will allow other churches to address this needed subject and improve upon our efforts. This is a subject that addresses 20% of our church, community, and world (1 in 4 women; 1 in 6 men). The church cannot be silent.

“If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues that deal specifically with your time, you are not preaching the gospel at all.” Martin Luther

This is the third of five posts in this series:

For the purposes of this blog series “aftercare” will denote everything after the call for people to respond to the sermon and conversations with the after-service care team. There is no way to address the subject of sexual abuse without uncovering many care needs within the congregation.

JD’s Video

Aftercare began before the service ended. We knew that not everyone who has been affected by sexual abuse would come forward (nor did they necessarily need to). So we prepared a closing video from our pastor to address all of our campuses at the close of the service.

Our main objectives with this video were to (a) connect everyone present with excellent resources if they wanted to study sexual abuse recovery further, and (b) let everyone know of trusted counseling options available to them.

No Sign In

One important decision is whether we would do formal follow up with those who came forward to receive prayer. This would require getting their name and contact information. We decided it was best to allow individuals to remain in control of what follow up options they pursued.

Having individuals complete a form that would indicate they chose to talk about their experience of sexual abuse did not seem to honor the choice many would be making to talk about this experience for the first time. Having to wonder who would see that form or list would have created undue stress.

The only notation that was taken was the mandated reporting forms. If an after service care team member had a reporting concern, they were instructed to take this concern to either the LCSW or LPC on site. If reporting was needed, the LCSW or LPC would explain (a) who was being called, (b) what could be expected to happen next, and (c) what would happen next.

For those cases not requiring mandated reporting, we provided a resource card with several options of how to pursue follow up care. Each person was told that these options were available whenever he/she was ready to pursue.

Resource Page and Handout

We created two media resources. For those who responded to the service we created a postcard size flyer with resources for aftercare. On one side of this card were church-based or recommended resources. On the other side of this card was a list of the emergency hotline numbers in each county in which our church has a presence.

We also created a page on the church’s website (www.summitrdu.com/abuse) with a collection of everything the church put together for this weekend and some additional resources (i.e., blogs and articles) we believed would serve our church members well.

Social Media Follow Up

The www.summitrdu.com/abuse link allowed us to make everything related to these services available to our people in the week following via social media. We did not want our people to feel like there was only one opportunity to respond.

The reminder of multiple church / pastoral / member tweets and anonymity of being able to click a link to access the sermon, pastor JD’S follow up video, seminar, articles, and counseling resources was our second, third, etc… call.

Church Counseling Team

Our church has a multi-layered counseling ministry (www.summitrdu.com/counseling). In preparation for these services we had our graduate counseling interns and Bridgehaven counseling staff (www.bridgehavencounseling.org) study through Diane Langerg’s book On the Threshold of Hope together to refine their awareness and skills in sexual abuse counseling.

We invited our pastoral staff to attend these meetings to increase the preparation of our pastoral team to minister effectively on this subject. We also invited several LCSW to be a part of these meetings to add their expertise and experience to these discussions.

Area Counseling List

Even with these rather extensive preparations for aftercare, we knew there would be some cases that we were not prepared to counsel. For one example, we do not have anyone on staff at the church or Bridgehaven trained to work with children who have been sexually abused.

We also wanted to be prepared to offer options for those who for various reasons might prefer to seek counseling that was not affiliated with their church.

We made an effort to add to the list of counselors and agencies who work with abuse and trauma cases across all ages. This list is available upon request through the Summit counseling ministry or Bridgehaven. We decided not to post this list publicly to avoid inviting solicitation or debate about who should / shouldn’t be on the list.

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.

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

Tweets of the Week 5.28.13

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 two because they’re funny…

https://twitter.com/funnyoneliners/status/337898886209359872

https://twitter.com/prodigalsam/status/336910265775968257

A Church Addresses Sexual Abuse: Preparation

On the weekend of May 18-19 The Summit Church (Durham, NC) addressed the subject of sexual abuse in all of our weekend services. This series is a reflection of those services, the preparation that went into them, and the aftercare that was provided.

We do not propose to have done this weekend perfectly, although we worked diligently to conduct each aspect with excellence. Our hope is that the resources produced will allow other churches to address this needed subject and improve upon our efforts. This is a subject that addresses 20% of our church, community, and world (1 in 4 women; 1 in 6 men). The church cannot be silent.

“If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues that deal specifically with your time, you are not preaching the gospel at all.” Martin Luther

This is the second of five posts in this series:

When J.D. Greear asked me to listen to Clayton’s sermon because he wanted to do a service where we opened the invitation to a mass call for people to unburden their secret of having been sexually abused, my mind began to race. How will we…? What if…?

After I got over the shock of the idea one thing became clear: we would need to do extensive preparation. It would be foolish – spiritually in the care of God’s people and legally in terms of incurring liability – to attempt this kind of service without great intentionality.

Challenge of Silence

We quickly realized this was not a service we could promote. If we said, “Next week we are devoting our services to sexual abuse, so those who have been abused can unburden their secret,” questions would paralyze the church office and those who most needed to respond likely would be intimidated (either by their own sense of shame or by their abuser) out of coming.

Our goal was not to “ambush” people with this service, but to ensure that those who were most vulnerable would not be prevented from attending.

This presented a significant challenge in the recruiting of leaders to serve, which we will discuss in just a moment. It also meant that several aspects of preparation had to be delayed closer to the actual event than we would have preferred for an under-taking of this magnitude.

Creation of Resources

Knowing that our window of training and preparation would be tight, we knew our training resources would need to be very well-prepared and able to be highly reproducible. We compiled four documents that comprised the base of our training resources.

After Service Care Team Training for Sexual Abuse: (After Service Care Team Training – Sexual Abuse) This was the main training document and goes with the video below. It is five pages in length and covers what we wanted these lay leaders to accomplish after the service: (1) listen well, (2) screen for mandated reporting concerns, (3) pray, and (4) connect people with resources.

Note: After this plan was created, we learned our hope to have a police officer at each campus would not work. Two factors were in play. First, our campuses spread across four police districts so there were jurisdiction concerns. Second, and more difficult to overcome, the police departments preferred a 911 call be placed so they would have electronic verification their officers completed each necessary step in a mandated reporting or sexual assault case.

Modification: The revised plan if police were needed was to have the point person over the after care area escort the reporting individual to a private room, step to another area, and call 911. They would then explain the situation, meet the arriving officer, and ensure the officer knew the setting as they walked to meet the reporting individual. More will be said about this in a moment.

After Service Care Team Follow Up Questions: (After Service Care Team Follow Up Questions) Several important questions were raised after the training was initially presented. Many of these had to do with campus logistics, but several were universally relevant enough we created another document with answers to give to all of our leaders.

Mandated Reporting Summary: (Guidelines for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect) One of the Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) who consulted with us throughout these preparations created a document that explained when mandated reporting was required, how the process worked, and what would happen after a report was made.

Mandated Reporting Form: (Abuse Mandated Reporting Interview Form) One of the Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) who helped us prepare for these services created a form that the individuals in charge of mandated reporting at each campus would use to ensure that all necessary information was documented.

Note: We had at least one LCSW or LPC at every campus for every service to ensure mandated reporting cases were handled appropriately. We recognize anyone who learns of child abuse is a mandated reporter, but we also know churches have not done a good job of handling these situations. With a potential large number of mandated reporting cases coming at one time, we wanted to make sure that these were handled correctly.

Training of Leaders

One month before the weekend when the message on sexual abuse would be delivered, we began training our after service care team leaders. Here is a video of this training, which covers the first training document above.

After Service Care Team Training – Sexual Abuse from Equip on Vimeo.

After this training, we offered trainings at each of our campuses led by counseling interns (graduate students who had been through this training 2-3 times). In the week prior to the services, because we still estimated the need for more after service care team members, we allowed campus pastors to authorize individuals to serve if they watched the above video and read the accompanying handout.

Contacting Local Agencies

In the week before the service we called each police department in which we had a campus in their jurisdiction and each emergency hot line in the counties surrounding our church. We wanted them to know what we were doing so if they received a large number of calls related to The Summit Church in the coming days they would understand why.

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.

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

A Church Addresses Sexual Abuse: Sermon

On the weekend of May 18-19 The Summit Church (Durham, NC) addressed the subject of sexual abuse in all of our weekend services. This series is a reflection of those services, the preparation that went into them, and the aftercare that was provided.

We do not propose to have done this weekend perfectly, although we worked diligently to conduct each aspect with excellence. Our hope is that the resources produced will allow other churches to address this needed subject and improve upon our efforts. This is a subject that addresses 20% of our church, community, and world (1 in 4 women; 1 in 6 men). The church cannot be silent.

“If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues that deal specifically with your time, you are not preaching the gospel at all.” Martin Luther

This is the first of five posts in this series:

The sermon was delivered by Clayton King with an extended testimony by his wife, Charie. In this post, I will evaluate at the major pieces of the sermon, how each piece worked together, and offer some overall evaluations of the message.

Sermon Text

Clayton opened his sermon by walking through II Samuel 13:1-21; the account of Amnon’s rape of his step-sister Tamar. The primary objective of this portion of the message was to reveal that God speaks to sexual abuse and understands many of the dynamics / effects of sexual abuse (shame, abuse of power, silencing, etc…).

A pastor preparing for this message would benefit from reading chapter five of On the Threshold of Hope by Diane Langberg and the booklet Sexual Abuse by Bob Kellemen for two more examinations of this passage.

Those who have been abused have suffered in silence. Their most earnest prayers have likely been unanswered (i.e., that the abuse would stop or that the social / emotional effects would cease). This can make God feel very aloof and ignorant of their experience.

Video Testimony

Next Clayton directed the congregation’s attention to the screen to watch a video of his wife’s testimony of sexual abuse. The video is well done and carefully tells her story. Watching the video is an emotionally powerful experience. The description of abuse is tactful, but there is no way to hear the story of a six year old child being abused without it being disturbing.

“Those who know the truth of these things will know that we have understated it, carefully toned it down perforce, because it cannot be written in full. It could neither be published or read… but oh, it had to be lived! And what you may not even hear, had to be endured by little girls (p. 228).” Amy Carmichael in Things As They Are

The video allows Charie’s testimony to be shared in a receivable way with footage of her painting a self-portrait, walking, her home, pictures of her at the age of her abuse, close ups during time when facial expressions reveal her emotions, and music. By being on video, the duration and precise language desired for the testimony of abuse could be managed.

Live Testimony

After the video Charie came on stage and addressed the congregation next to Clayton. From my perspective as a counselor, this was the most impactful portion of the service. She speaks candidly of the fears and struggles she had/has. She speaks of how God’s grace is a daily necessity of the work of restoration.

One of the most common affects of abuse is the loss of one’s voice. Threats to not tell anyone and sense of shame about others knowing what happened work in tandem to prevent survivors from telling anyone. During the abuse they said “no” and “stop” but the abuse continued.

The impact of having seen Charie’s story on a video and then to see her courage as she walked out on stage to tell of God’s faithfulness was powerful. The content of what she had to say was excellent, but the power of her presence and sound of her courage to speak was the clearest evidence of God’s power in the service.

Closing Appeal

After Charie spoke to the congregation, Clayton affirmed her as his wife, making it clear her abuse did not lessen her in his eyes; to the contrary that her willingness to allow God to use her made her more beautiful – inside and out – to him.

Turning to the congregation Clayton began to address the fears many people have about sharing their story of abuse. Speaking to the church he gives a list of things not to say to someone who has been abused; whether they be your spouse, child, or friend. Then he gives a contrasting list of what you should say.

Finally, letting the congregation know that Summit was a safe place to share this kind of secret, he made an appeal for those who would like to talk to a care team member about their abuse to come forward.

He asked everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads to create less of a sense of being seen. We asked our after service care team to move throughout the congregation and Clayton asked those receiving and giving care to move at the same time to provide an additional “anonymity shield.” Everyone who responded moved to a private area outside the sanctuary for these conversations.

The content of these conversations, the training of these individuals, and how we prepared for mandated reported cases will be covered in the next post.

Overall Evaluations

These evaluations, as with the commentary in the paragraphs above, represent my personal assessments. The sermon video is posted so that you can think through how a message on this subject can be most effectively delivered.

  • The sermon text was the best possible text for a message of sexual abuse. II Samuel 13 describes the experience of sexual abuse well.
  • Clayton is bold enough to tackle the subject of sexual abuse; that may be his greatest strength and greatest weakness. Some who have been abused may find the force of his personality to be the strong voice they wanted to speak against their abuse, others may find it intimidating to think of abuse while hearing a voice with that much energy and force. This may have been most pronounced during the invitation when the call to respond took the tone, “If you do not respond now, then you may always be alone with your secret of abuse.” I do not believe this was Clayton’s intent, but his passion to see people get help and natural disposition of evangelist making an alter call could come across as pressuring to an abused audience.
  • Clayton is a minimalist on preaching notes and tries to remain sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in each message. While the general content of each message was the same, there was significant variation in the content and outline of the four messages he delivered over the weekend.
  • Due to the loose outline and as a result of his effort to be gospel-centered in the message, there were some times when the line between sin and suffering was not as clear as I would like. In some messages, he compared the faithfulness of God to healing us after acknowledging abuse to God’s faithfulness to forgive our sin referencing I John 1:9; saying, “When we confess, God will confess the sin we commit and the sin committed against us.” While I do not believe those who were abused left feeling responsible for their abuse and I know that was not Clayton’s intent, making “disclosure of abuse” co-terminus with the “confession of sin” is something I would advise pastors to avoid for theological and practical reasons.
  • Charie’s testimony and presence were the engine to the message; God’s grace and power on display. To see someone who had been muted and made to feel powerless both stand and speak gave hope like little else could.
  • In some services the closing was incorporated into the body of the message to allow the message to end on the “high note” of Charie’s testimony. Our response rate in these services was much lower. Not that the numbers who respond are the objective, but I believe it raises an important point – creating a sense of safety and being understood are as important as the emotional connection in this type of sermon. In my assessment, the emotions from Charie’s testimony needed to settle and people needed to know more about the conversation they were walking into before they would be willing to respond.

I would like to close by saying “thank you” to Clayton and Charie for their willingness to address this subject. As a church we must address an issue that effects 40% of our church, community, and world. We must be as skilled in ministering the gospel to suffering as we are to sin. I applaud their courage and hope these resources can build on their work.

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.

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

GCM “Finances” Video 4: Getting Out of Debt

This video segment is one of five presentations in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Finances” seminar. There will be four more seminars in this series covering the subjects: foundations, communication, decision making, and intimacy. As those presentations are ready they will be posted on this blog.

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).

Evaluation Three: Evaluation – Debt and Savings

Worksheet One: Blank Monthly Meal Calendar

Memorize: Romans 13:7-8 (ESV), “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves has fulfilled the law.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Pay… what is owed” – This is a trait that is to define Christians, even beyond their finances, and make us distinct.
  • “Taxes… revenue” – First this principle is applied to our financial lives; both civil and commercial responsibilities.
  • “Respect… honor” – Then it is applied to our relational lives; both authoritative and personal relationships.
  • “Owe no one anything” – Now the principle is removed from the future tense and made ever-present.
  • “Except to love” – The only debt we are to live in is to treat others like Christ treats us (Eph. 4:32).

 Teaching Notes

“One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God (p. 180).” C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.” George Carlin (comedian).

“The man who never has money enough to pay his debts has too much of something else.” James Lendall Basford

“Yet in the American dream, where self reigns as king (or queen), we have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires (p. 28).” David Platt in Radical

“We can be content with simplicity because the deepest, most satisfying delights God gives us through creation are free gifts from nature and from loving relationships with people. After your basic needs are met, accumulated money begins to diminish your capacity for these pleasures rather than increase them. Buying things contributes absolutely nothing to the heart’s capacity for joy (p. 162).” John Piper in Desiring God

“Laborsaving machines have turned out to be body-killing devices. Our affluence has allowed both mobility and isolation of the nuclear family, and as a result our divorce courts, our prisons and our mental institutions are flooded. In saving ourselves we have nearly lost ourselves (p. 815).” Ralph Winters in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement

“There are three levels of how to live with things: (1) you can steal to get; (2) you can work to get; (3) you can work to get in order to give (p. 172).” John Piper Desiring God

Assessment and Process for Personal Decision Making

The foundation of a healthy couple is two individuals committed to wise personal decision making. We must be a faithful disciple of Christ before we will be a good husband/wife to our spouse. It is neither possible nor advisable for a couple to consult each other on every decision they make. Shared values, agreed upon life structures (i.e., calendar and budget), and appreciation for what is important to each other comprise the foundation of personal decision making that will bless a marriage.

In the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” seminar we will teach three types of decision making that are required in a healthy, biblical marriage.

  1. Personal Decision Making
  2. Consensus Decision Making
  3. Headship-Submission Decision Making

Too often, couples try to force all decision making to fit into one or two of these arenas. They may do this for convenience (but simple becomes simplistic) or conviction (emphasizing some part of what Scripture teaches to the neglect of other parts). Either way, their life lacks balance and begins to show the corresponding wear-and-tear.

Here are the assessment tool and overview of the materials on personal decision making.

Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse

The videos below were taken from the live presentation of the “Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse” seminar presented at The Summit Church May 23 and 25, 2013.

Listening Note: If the materials below become overwhelming for you, please feel free to stop the videos and come back to them later. It is good for you to have a voice in how much you can process at one time.

The notebook which accompanies this presentation is available here in PDF form: Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse Notes

Hour One:
Understanding the Disruption

Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse: Part 1 from Equip on Vimeo.

Hour Two:
The Search for Peace

Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse: Part 2 from Equip on Vimeo.

Scripture Exercise One: Psalm 55 Personalized for Sexual Abuse

Scripture Exercise Two: Isaiah 53 Personalized for Sexual Abuse

Scripture Exercise Three: WHO I AM IN CHRIST_KELLEMEN

Hour Three:
The Search for Restoration

Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse: Part 3 from Equip on Vimeo.

Additional Resources

Correction: In the seminar, several times I reference that 40% of the population has been sexually abused. The actual number should be 20%. This was brought to my attention by someone who saw the math I was mis-computing. I added 1 in 4 women (25%) to 1 in 6 men (17%) and got 42%. However by that math 158% of people would have been abused — 3 in 4 women (75%) and 5 in 6 men (83%). I apologize for this error, which was an honest mistake by an amateur statistician.