Showing posts from November, 2010

What I Learned About Progressive Sanctification From Alcoholics Anonymous...(Sort-of)

The subject of this post is somewhat connected to the last...but from a different perspective. A couple of years ago I took a counseling class on "Addictive Behaviors in Family Systems." In it, I learned that many counselors believe that their job is not usually to take an "all or nothing" approach with those who come to them for help in overcoming an addiction (such as alcoholism). In fact, the client chooses for him-/herself what his/her goal will be...whether he/she wants to quit the behavior altogether, or just limit it in some way (how often, how much, etc.). The counselor, then, assists the client in reaching this goal.

How do I relate this concept to pastoral ministry? The correlation to pastoral counseling, especially in the area of addictions, seems obvious. But is it? Is it the pastor's duty to urge everyone to perfection immediately, or should some people be steered closer to Christ in incremental "stages"? (I've heard the idea that if …

Overcoming Unfounded Condemnation

I'm reading a book for one of my classes right's called Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership, by Gary McIntosh and Samuel Rima. It is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. I'm finishing up chapter 17 right now, which discusses the Scriptural description of grace that frees us from the expectations of others. One of the Scripture passages discussed in this chapter is one that I have been looking at quite frequently lately, and I have felt like there is something there that I'm just not getting. After reading this chapter...I get it!! (The passage is Colossians 2:16-23.)

As Christians, we believe that the God we believe in has revealed Himself personally in Jesus Christ. If we really believe this, then we must view our relationship with God in light of what Jesus taught about Him. And Jesus taught that in Him we have freedom to live in right relationship with God without worrying so much about unbearable expectations and legalistic demands that ar…

I Surrender

I went out to Shoal Creek for a little while this afternoon, and I was the only one there! It was so peaceful...there was a backdrop of rich fall colors and a cool breeze! I love the constant, heavy sound the water makes as it dives over the rocks.

As I sat there on the rocks (enjoying my Americano from
Starbucks!), I couldn't help but think about worship. I've been in
a "poetic" mood the last couple of days, and I was composing a poem in my head. My intention was not to share it with anyone; I was simply inspired to worship God in a creative way as I beheld His majestic scene before me.

It reminded me of David. I wonder how many times he sat under a tree, looking out at his grazing sheep, and composed songs for his God, the thought never crossing his mind that anyone else would ever be privy to his intimate words of worship. He didn't write them in order to make a living. He didn't even write them with the hope that others could identify and worship along with …