Archive for April, 2017

Council of Counselors: Parentings Teens / Post-Abortion / Cultural Humility / Signs of a Faithful Husband / Anger

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

A High School Counselor’s Tips on Parenting Teenagers by Leia Joseph

I have had the privilege of spending the last 13 years working as a music teacher and crisis counselor for teens. The following six tips represent a handful of lessons I have learned along the way. If you are the parent of a teenager or pre-teen, I pray that you find this helpful.

Post-Abortion Counseling by Julie Ganschow

It is estimated that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One in six women in the evangelical Christian church is post-abortive.1 We live in a culture that idolizes personal choice and convenience, and as a result, more women than we are aware of are dealing with the aftereffects of abortion. Because of this, we have to know how to minister to this group of people in our churches. Below, we’ll take a look at three key ways we can minister to them well.

The Need for Cultural Humility by Dave

I had an interesting conversation with a couple at church a few Sundays ago. They both were born in Africa, but have lived in the US for a number of years. In discussing children, they told me that they were concerned about raising their daughter in America because of the dangers here. Without a second thought, I knew exactly what they were talking about. As Americans we have become accustomed to comfort, such that we think we deserve it. We have grown cold to the suffering of those in the majority world, and we are greatly tempted to live only for ourselves.

  • If you want to learn more about cultural intelligence, see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Stop Loving You by Matt Duczeminski

We men sometimes get a bad rap. The stereotypical “man” doesn’t do any of the following. However, the only men who are actually like this are created by writers as sitcom fodder (hopefully). In truth, when a man finds the person he knows he’ll be spending the rest of his life with, he’ll certainly work his hardest to keep them by his side at all times. If you have a man that adheres to the following, you know he’s a keeper for life.

When Anger Rears Its Ugly Head by Duski Van Vleet

I’ve been trying to get control of my temper since my husband and I were married.  A day planned and interrupted by children with different agendas; a husband who needs my support instead of first offering his, longings unrealized; efforts unseen—all of this often leads me not to a dependent conversation with my Father, but to self-reliant angry outbursts demanding my desires be fulfilled.  

What I’m Reading

CICustoms of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are by David Livermore. Taught by an international adviser to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and governments, this eye-opening course reveals how you can actively improve your cultural intelligence in an increasingly globalized world.

Based on groundbreaking research, these 24 lectures address dynamics and customs related to working, socializing, dining, marriage and family – all the areas necessary to help you function with a greater level of respect and effectiveness wherever you go. You’ll also encounter practical tips and crucial context for greeting, interacting with, and even managing people from other parts of the world.

In the first half, you’ll analyze 10 cultural value dimensions that researchers have identified as helpful for comparing cultures; and you’ll see how these “archetypes” play out in day-to-day lives. In the second half, you’ll look at 10 cultural clusters around the world that – when combined with your understanding of the 10 cultural dimensions – provide strategic insight into how to be more effective as you live, work, and travel in our globalized world.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

fear

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

As both a professor and a student I resonate with this one.

Has Your Marriage Been Impacted by Pornography or Adultery? Help for Both Spouses: Video Tandem 8 of 9

When sexual sin impacts a marriage there is often a great deal of confusion exacerbated by shame. A couple is not sure what to do and is embarrassed to ask for help. The result is often either passivity (pretending everything is okay or that things will get better without help) or reactivity (taking a bold action with little sense of purpose or intent to follow through). The False Love and True Betrayal series are meant to provide couples with guidance for these difficult times.

These two, complementing seminars are each comprised of 9 steps and are meant to supplement a mentoring or counseling relationship. The presentation material is longer for the earlier steps than it is for the latter steps for two reasons. First, the early steps are the time of greatest confusion and, therefore, require more guidance. Second, once a solid foundation is laid for restoration the latter steps become more self-evident.

These materials are meant to guide a couple through the marital restoration phase — taking a marriage that is broken or in crisis and getting back to basic working order.

The Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series is meant to guide a couple through the marital enrichment phase — taking a marriage that is in basic working order and refining it to be increasingly, mutually satisfying. Often it is a misunderstanding between restoration and enrichment that derails a couples sincere efforts at marital reconciliation after the discovery of sexual sin.

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).

True Betrayal – Step Eight

True Betrayal: Step 8 from Equip on Vimeo.

False Love- Step Eight

False Love: Step 8 from Equip on Vimeo.

Pre-Marital Mentoring FAQs: Are there articles or books I need to be reading?

This post is one in a series of frequently asked questions by those who use the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series as part of their church’s pre-marital program. The responses are written as we use them at the Summit Church. Your church may need to tweak the responses in order to better fit your ministry context.

We would recommend beginning with the reading the five seminar manuals in the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series. These will expose you to those materials that we believe are most consistent with the preaching and teaching of The Summit Church. In the process you will identity those books, subjects, or authors that would best enrich your marriage.

We would also recommend the marriage conferences presented by Family Life Today (www.familylife.com/events). These events are frequently hosted in or near RDU and are excellent.

Council of Counselors: Disability & the Church / Broken Hearted Children / Mental Health Creed / Ugly Porn Numbers / Creativity

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Disability Makes a Church Strong by Anthony Kidd

And if the daily burdens at home weren’t already enough, families with disabilities carry the possibility of their child being a disruptive force in worship. The one place where these families ought to feel at ease, comfortable, and settled in a grace-filled environment is often a place of palpable anxiety. And consequently, it’s the place where they tend to hide in the shadows the most. How do I know this?

I know this because I am not only a pastor of those who parent the disabled, but I parent a disabled child myself. I’m personally aware of the Sunday morning struggle: the feeling of needing to be considerately unobtrusive, instead of immersive and participatory, in order to avoid being disruptive or distractive.

  • For ministry advice for families with children who have disabilities I have found Dr. Stephen Grcevich’s blog “Church4EveryChild” to be very helpful.

5 Ways to Assist a Child with a Broken and Hurting Heart by Linda Jacobs

Let me ask you: if a child in a wheelchair showed up at your ministry, you would accommodate him, right? You wouldn’t expect him to jump and dance to a praise song. So when a child with a broken, hurting heart shows up, we need to learn to also accommodate that child’s situation.

  • As we think about the privilege of walking with another person (in this case a child) through their suffering, we often still be uncomfortable with this opportunity. This collection of resources on suffering may help you be more comfortable being uncomfortable.

My Hope for Mental Wellness by Aimee Caverly

This is something the Lord has laid on my heart to share.  I pray you will enjoy it and pass it on should it be of value to you or someone else experiencing a mental health struggle.

10 Ugly Numbers Describing Pornography Use in 2017 by Tim Challies

We all know that the world has become pornified, that the internet has made available to all of us an entire universe of pornographic content. Yet many of the statistics we rely on and commonly quote have become outdated. As technology changes and as new generations grow up, the pornographic landscape inevitably changes. I went looking for updated numbers and want to present some of them to you today. All of these are based on credible studies carried out in 2016 or 2017.

  • If you struggle with pornography, consider the False Love seminar as a resource to help you find freedom and the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Top Ten Quotes from Creativity, Inc. by Danny Franks

I first read this fantastic book when in came out in 2014. We recently re-read a portion of it for our staff meeting, which has generated new ideas and practices for some of our workflows. As the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, Ed Catmull walks the reader through not only a history of the two companies, but lays the groundwork for how great teams pull together to get the job done.

What I’m Reading

closing the windowClosing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free by Tim Chester. Pornography is everywhere. Far too many Christians regularly use and are addicted to it, warping their perception of sexuality and relationships, destroying marriages and ministries. But Christians who struggle with porn also long for change. When we realize the unfulfilling emptiness of porn, we come to yearn for freedom from it. But what do we do? Tim Chester says that we can be captured by a better vision–a liberating confidence that God offers more than pornography does. Moving beyond pat answers or mere willpower, Chester offers spiritual, practical and corporate resources for living porn free. He exposes the false promises of porn and redirects us to the true promises of God. With assurance of God’s grace and cleansing power, we can change our desires and escape the traps and temptations of pornography. However great the challenge, God’s grace is even greater. And we can come to a place where we no longer feel the need to use porn. Close the window on porn. And open the door to freedom, integrity and new life.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

Easter Smart Phones

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

This week you get a two-for.

Has Your Marriage Been Impacted by Pornography or Adultery? Help for Both Spouses: Video Tandem 7 of 9

When sexual sin impacts a marriage there is often a great deal of confusion exacerbated by shame. A couple is not sure what to do and is embarrassed to ask for help. The result is often either passivity (pretending everything is okay or that things will get better without help) or reactivity (taking a bold action with little sense of purpose or intent to follow through). The False Love and True Betrayal series are meant to provide couples with guidance for these difficult times.

These two, complementing seminars are each comprised of 9 steps and are meant to supplement a mentoring or counseling relationship. The presentation material is longer for the earlier steps than it is for the latter steps for two reasons. First, the early steps are the time of greatest confusion and, therefore, require more guidance. Second, once a solid foundation is laid for restoration the latter steps become more self-evident.

These materials are meant to guide a couple through the marital restoration phase — taking a marriage that is broken or in crisis and getting back to basic working order.

The Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series is meant to guide a couple through the marital enrichment phase — taking a marriage that is in basic working order and refining it to be increasingly, mutually satisfying. Often it is a misunderstanding between restoration and enrichment that derails a couples sincere efforts at marital reconciliation after the discovery of sexual sin.

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).

True Betrayal – Step Seven

True Betrayal: Step 7 from Equip on Vimeo.

False Love – Step Seven

False Love: Step 7 from Equip on Vimeo.

For the “Implementation Evaluation Tool” click here: Sexual Sin Plan Eval Form

Pre-Marital Mentoring FAQs: What should we know about pre-marital couples (just in case we forgot what this season of life was like)?

This post is one in a series of frequently asked questions by those who use the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series as part of their church’s pre-marital program. The responses are written as we use them at the Summit Church. Your church may need to tweak the responses in order to better fit your ministry context.

The following seven points are taken from Preparing for Marriage: Leader’s Guide edited by Dennis Rainey (p. 24-25).

  • Many engaged couples are wearing blinders. An engaged person is often aware of negative characteristics in the one he or she loves, but figures, “It won’t be like than when we’re married.” In their excitement, they often fail to think rationally about potential problems that could sabotage the relationship believing instead that “love conquers all.” They are setting up themselves for disappointment when reality sets in.
  • Because of the hectic schedule leading up to the wedding and honeymoon, engaged couples are experiencing one of the most stressful times of their lives. Often couples will get less sleep during this time which naturally adds stress to the relationship.
  • This stress can cause couples to experience extremes in emotions as well. Be ready to talk through their sudden doubts about marriage if they arise. Those who begin to have doubts about whether this marriage is right will feel tremendous pressure to go ahead with the wedding anyway.
  • In this time, those who are not already having intercourse are struggling with keeping their desires in check. They are physically charged yet fatigued, making it hard to draw boundaries. Couple often sacrifice some biblical values for the sake of the relationship.
  • Often couples have had very little time to discuss normal financial habits and expenses. They may need to discuss the ever-growing expenses of a wedding as well.
  • Often couples will need to discuss differences of opinion in wedding plans (i.e., expenses, in-laws expectations, alcohol, etc…).
  • A significant number of couples have discussed only in part how their past has affected them. Many don’t know about serious relational baggage they are bringing in the marriage.

Council of Counselors: Mortify Sin / Helping Parents / Sexual Abuse / 6 Basic Struggles / Theology of Trauma

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

How to Mortify Sin by Sinclair Ferguson

These are some of the things my friend and I talked about that memorable evening. We did not have an opportunity later to ask each other, “How are you going?” for it was our last conversation. He died some months later. I have often wondered how the months in between went in his life. But the earnest personal and pastoral concern in his question still echoes in my mind. They have a similar effect to the one Charles Simeon said he felt from the eyes of his much-loved portrait of the great Henry Martyn: “Don’t trifle!”

  • Session 3 in this series provides a 9 steps methodology for overcoming sin that attempts to “unpack the gospel in slow motion” for mortifying sin.

Help for Parents Who Want to Give Up: 10 Keys to Raising Kids by Ann Voskamp

I wish I had done that. I wish someone had told me that. There’s support groups for moms of preschoolers, but where’s triage for the moms of teenagers? #MOTS The older our kids become, the greater our isolation can become, because while mothers can instagram and commiserate together over the Terrible Twos — but mothers struggling through a stretch of terrible teens can suffer alone.

10 Things Sexual Assault Victims Want You to Know by Karen Swallow Prior

“What do you wish people knew/understood about experiencing sexual assault?”

Given the private nature of the question and the public nature of the medium, I anticipated only a handful of responses. I was astonished that dozens and dozens of people responded, whether directly on the thread or in private messages. (I should also note that I know most of the respondents in real life, including many who have been my students.) Their comments altogether filled up 60 pages.

Six Basic Struggles by Ed Welch

Most people would acknowledge at least six basic struggles.

  1. Anger
  2. Guilt and regret
  3. Shame
  4. Suffering, such as loss, victimization, sickness . . .
  5. Fear
  6. Saying “yes” when we should say “no”—this would include everything identified as an addiction
  • For another quality resource from CCEF see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Why We Need a Theology of Trauma by Phil Monroe

We live in a world shaped by violence and trauma. This week that I write 147 Christian Kenyan university students were killed because of their faith. Such horrific forms of violence shock us. But they shouldn’t given that in our own country violence and trauma are everyday occurrences. While some of our local brothers and sisters face actual death, all of our communities are shaped by soul-crushing abuse and family violence. Take the most conservative numbers we have—1:6 males and 1:4 females have experienced sexual assault before age 18—and realize that a large portion of your friends and acquaintances have traumatic experiences.

What I’m Reading

how people changeHow People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp. What does it take for lasting change to take root in your life? If you’ve ever tried, failed, and wondered why, you need How People Change. This book explains the biblical pattern for change in a clear, practical way you can apply to the challenges of daily life. But change involves more than a biblical formula: you will see how God is at work to make you the person you were created to be. That powerful, loving, redemptive relationship is at the heart of all positive change you experience.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

corrie ten boom

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Has Your Marriage Been Impacted by Pornography or Adultery? Help for Both Spouses: Video Tandem 6 of 9

When sexual sin impacts a marriage there is often a great deal of confusion exacerbated by shame. A couple is not sure what to do and is embarrassed to ask for help. The result is often either passivity (pretending everything is okay or that things will get better without help) or reactivity (taking a bold action with little sense of purpose or intent to follow through). The False Love and True Betrayal series are meant to provide couples with guidance for these difficult times.

These two, complementing seminars are each comprised of 9 steps and are meant to supplement a mentoring or counseling relationship. The presentation material is longer for the earlier steps than it is for the latter steps for two reasons. First, the early steps are the time of greatest confusion and, therefore, require more guidance. Second, once a solid foundation is laid for restoration the latter steps become more self-evident.

These materials are meant to guide a couple through the marital restoration phase — taking a marriage that is broken or in crisis and getting back to basic working order.

The Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series is meant to guide a couple through the marital enrichment phase — taking a marriage that is in basic working order and refining it to be increasingly, mutually satisfying. Often it is a misunderstanding between restoration and enrichment that derails a couples sincere efforts at marital reconciliation after the discovery of sexual sin.

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).

True Betrayal – Step Six

True Betrayal: Step 6 from Equip on Vimeo.

False Love – Step Six

False Love: Step 6 from Equip on Vimeo.

Pre-Marital Mentoring FAQs: What if we’re uncomfortable talking about [blank] or don’t feel like we do a good job with [blank]?

his post is one in a series of frequently asked questions by those who use the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series as part of their church’s pre-marital program. The responses are written as we use them at the Summit Church. Your church may need to tweak the responses in order to better fit your ministry context.

Mentors are not expected to be excellent or expects at every area of marriage. That would be an unrealistic expectation to put on any couple. One of the greatest facets of the mentoring relationship will be for the engaged couple to learn how to talk about their strengths and weaknesses in a grace-based environment. You will teach this by modeling how to talk about your own strengths and weaknesses as a couple.

If there is a specific subject you prefer not to address, hopefully you can find a facet of the broader subject to address. For instance, if you are uncomfortable talking about debt, then within the “finances” section you could direct the conversation towards budgeting.

If you are uncomfortable with an entire subject, then you might enlist a couple from your small group to take that meeting. In that case you would want to explain to your couple that you want them to have someone more skilled or consistent in that area to discuss that subject with them.

More often than not (unless this is a point of active division between you and your spouse), then the seminar will cover the “how to” and provide the tools for each subject. The role of the mentor is to provide testimony to the content of each seminar and be a relational resource who gets to know the couple well enough to guide them through the trail-and-error process of implementation.

Council of Counselors: Fallen Pastors / Abusive Husbands / Hurting Counselors / Subtle Gossip / Emotional Intelligence

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Restoring Pastors to Ministry After Affairs? Possible or Impossible? by Phil Monroe

Now, none of these reasons are enough to always say no to return to pulpits after sexual infidelity. While a return may not be probable, it can be possible. Every situation is unique. That said, unless the disgraced pastor has evidenced many of the signs of repentance (taking full ownership, accepting consequences, giving up control over recovery process/submitting to the work of therapy, seeking accountability, pursuing utter transparency, and not placing demands to return to the position) for a long season, it is doubtful that a return to leadership is right. Frankly, one of the best signs of repentance is not being so worried about reputation and not seeking a return to a previous level of ministry.

  • For a book that addresses ministry-based infidelity and restoration in a holistic, redemptive context see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

4 Questions for Abusive Husbands by Leslie Vernick

When working with husbands who have been abusive, you will find that most all of them have a stubborn blindness to what they are doing that is destructive to their wife. Their habit patterns are to blame and to accuse rather than take the time to reflect upon their own attitudes and behaviors. When they are asked the question, “Why did you behave that way?” their answer is always externally referenced rather than internally referenced.

As A Psychiatrist, I Thought I’d Be Immune To Postpartum Depression. I Was Wrong. by Michelle Woo

I am a psychiatrist who treats mental health issues during pregnancy and the postpartum period. I had thought that this would somehow make me immune to postpartum depression, as though I could have seen it coming from a mile away and warded it off. But I was wrong. Quite frankly, I never thought it would happen to me.

Six Questions to Diagnose Subtle Gossip by Paula Marsteller

It’s easy to think our intentions are good. I thought that originally, too. But maybe we should distrust our intentions a bit more than we do. Even if our base intentions are good, we should always be on guard of having mixed motives. Love can often attach itself with the sinful desire to know other people’s stuff, to be “in the know,” or to feel puffed up that our lives aren’t so messy.

18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People by Travis Bradberry

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results. Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it difficult to measure and to know what to do to improve it if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book, but unfortunately, most such tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a high EQ. What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

What I’m Reading

restoring the fallenRestoring the Fallen: A Team Approach to Caring, Confronting & Reconciling by  Earl D. Wilson, Sandy Wilson, Paul Friesen, Virginia Friesen , Larry Paulson , & Nancy Paulson. When brothers and sisters in Christ fall into sin, how should the church respond? Very often, Christians stumble in their attempt to address this issue. Either they ignore the wrongdoing or they banish the wrongdoer. The authors of this groundbreaking book advocate another way: the spiritual care team. A spiritual care team is a small group of mature Christians who voluntarily commit themselves to support and guide another through the process of repentance and restoration. This community-based and community-oriented approach emphasizes the importance of acknowledging sin, making repentance complete and reestablishing personal spiritual discipline. Restoring the Fallen offers practical guidance on how to form a spiritual care team, as well as how to support the spouse and family of the one working through the process of restoration, how professional helpers and the whole church body might contribute to restoration, and how to provide ongoing care after the main work of the spiritual care team is complete. It is an essential book for pastors, counselors and church leaders.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

prayer-counselors

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.