Friday, January 30, 2009

Room Assignment Change

As Alli said in the email... "with new babies being born, there are also new couples being "born" into our class." Well, I have updated the map to show the change. We will be in room 210 starting this Sunday.

Church Map

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not the Marriage We Wanted

Charlie Peacock: New Way to Be Human
"Once the perfect finish to God's Creation and the helpful answer to what was not complete with man, the woman helped man begin his own disobedience. Instead of helping man with his aloneness, she aided him in becoming more alone. He became alienated from the woman, God, and all of creation."
- Charlie Peacock, New Way to Be Human
We got married so we will not be alone, but then it becomes the source of greater loneliness. Now I am not blaming the woman for all of life's pains; that would be just plain silly. For a husband, to love his wife is to love his own body. The point is God created marriage for oneness. Sin distorts God's plan. Sin and shame keep us from moving out of our shell we have created to protect us of exposure and pain. We need something to stop the bleeding.

How does Jesus provide the answer? Hopefully next week's class will start to answer some of the questions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Power of Marriage

Who are you when your parents wish they never met? image courtesy of a child of divorce

The design of marriage is to show the watching world the love Jesus has for His body. Our friends, co-workers, neighbors are watching, but more importantly our kids are watching. Do they see themselves as an expression of love from their parents? If not, they will live their lives in constant attempts to earn that love. And, they will not understand God's love for them.

The power of marriage (notes attached) is that we have the ability to lift shame off of our children simply by loving our spouse. I know for some people this is harder than others - we will address this next week. For now, I will just leave with this quote from the book:
"What every child fears losing more than anything else is a parent's love."

Father of Mine

I will post the notes to the class shortly, but I wanted to put this song up by Everclear, "Father of Mine". It talks about the pain a son had carried when his father left the family. The son focuses more on the hardships of life after the divorce, but their are hints to the deeper pain.

The song starts with the son remebering spending time with his dad. "I remember blue skies walking the block. I loved to hear you talk." Then it shows the father leaving.

At the very end of the song, he mentions having a child of his own, but "I will not let go the pain I have known."

Jesus does not want us to carry around this pain. When Jesus starts His ministry, He states that He has come to preach good news to the poor... to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind... to release the oppressed... [and] to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour (Luke 4:18).

Jesus desires to release the oppressed. When we carry the pain, we live out of the shame. And, then we never know the reality of the abundant life Jesus promises.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Super Bowl Party

Super Bowl Party
When: Sunday, February 1st - 6:00 PM EST
Where: Tony and Elisabeth's Home
Who: Pittsburg Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Bring: Snack or Beverage
Channel: NBC
There has been much discussion on the items above, and there may have still been some confusion. So far it seems that all of the guys are coming with the possible exception of Daniel having a new baby at home. Let's all contact Tony and Elisabeth to let them know what we are bringing so they can plan for the night.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Power of Words

"Start every day as if it was on purpose"
- Hitch
Daily Affirmations with Stuart SmalleyAllison and I watched Hitch again this weekend, but this quote seems to encapsulate what we discussed in class today. Words have power. I came away reminded of how intentional I should be when speaking to my kids. The paraphrase to the above quote would be say every word as if it was on purpose.

God used His words to create. He spoke into darkness and create all that was made. As creatures made in God's image, we have responsibility to use our words to create life.

Shame is often passed on by the words being said. Shame is passed on like a curse that brings death to the person receiving it. By speaking blessings instead of curses, our children have the capacity to live the life God has created for them.

Tony and Elisabeth have recommended Charles Capps as supplemental reading on this subject. You can buy his book online or visit the Joyner library for a copy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why Super Hero Power Invisibilty Wins

StrawPoll: Flight or Invisibility Better superpower: flight or invisibility?

I came across this StrawPoll site at a seminar last week, and this superpower question was the initial question that started off their site. I will not say that this was conclusive research, but it does offer interesting insights. Why would someone choose invisibility? Either they want to hide or they want to do something secret. Both options are birthed out of shame.

Think of Violet from the Disney movie "The Incredibles." In the beginning of the movie, she would become uncomfortable and then hide in her invisibility. God is calling us to bring things out of the darkness and into the light. He wants to bring us out of our shame that we may thrive in who He has created us to be.

Now, these people below have taken the idea of soaring on wings of eagles to a whole new level. Thanks, Tony for forwarding another great clip.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Marriage Conference Update!

This slipped up on me, but the FamilyLife Conference is going to be in Charlotte and Concord on February 13-15 and 20-22 respectively. Allison and I are signed up for the one in Roanoke, VA for March 20-22. Go to their website at

Those at Reynolda can get a reduced rate for the conference with a group number – $89/person as opposed to $129. Register by phone and give them the group code: 17954.

While it is not a guarantee to fix your marriage, the conference can go a long way to helping something like the one below.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shame Off You - Overview

It was great to have everyone back in the same room again. We hit the ground running this morning with the topic of shame (click for notes of this class). It was evident pretty soon that this topic can go deep quickly and surface some hidden lies that can be for our children and ourselves. With this in mind and since we are filling the room, we may close the group to new people in a few weeks. We will play this by ear, but if you want to invite new people, have them come sooner rather than later. We expect that people will want to go deep with this topic.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." - John 10:10
Shame speaks lies to us. Instead of letting us know when we make mistakes, shame tells us we are a mistake. The Scriptures tell us that there is an enemy that is the father of lies, and his goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. He will continue to use shame to feed lies in our hearts to keep us from living out of who God made us to be. Jesus said, "I am the way the way, the truth, and the life," and "the truth will set you free." Living out of the truth will free you up to live out of who God created you to be.

It takes time to transform your minds, but repeating truth instead of the lies will get you there quick. The lies at times will still feel true, but you must choose to believe the truth Jesus has said. Truth is whatever Jesus says is true. Here again on the truth statements that God gave me to replace the lies of shame that I was living out of.

  1. God loves me, Alli loves me, and there are many other people in my life who love me for who I am.

  2. I am a godly man of integrity, and the people who know the real me are drawn to me.

  3. Not everyone will hurt me, and I will trust God to show me who I can open myself to. With God’s help, I will continue to be close to Alli.

  4. I am valuable because I am made in God’s image, and I am His son.

  5. As I give my best, I know that God is always pleased with me because my best is good enough.

value based on performance

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Shame

New Year's Resolution ImageBeing that time of year, I'm thinking about New Year's resolutions. Some of these thought were formed from last Sunday's sermon, so pardon me if I repeat anything.

I think I may have made resolutions only once. Knowing myself I realized that it is unlikely that I would actually keep to any of them. The one time I made them they were spiritual affirmations along the lines of - I will spend 30 minutes reading my Bible; I will pray every day; I will share my faith once a month. I might have kept them for 2 weeks.

What was I to do? Should I say I will spend time with God once a week or I commit to going to church most of the year? Should I reduce the commitments down to a level I know I can keep? (On a side note, go listen to the New Year's resolution song.)

Resolutions fail because they seem to always originate in our soul - what we determine we are going to do. They are how we determine we are going to better ourselves. I labeled this New Year's Shame, because the resolutions tend to be an attempt to fix those areas in our lives we do not like about ourselves. I will not eat ice cream everyday for dessert. Therefore we start to focus on things we want to fix about ourselves and then feel bad that we are the way that we are. That is not the way the Christian life is meant to work.

When we accepted Jesus into our lives, we declared Him as Lord. As Lord only He has the right to determine what needs fixing. And, the best part is only He knows the way in which we are going to be fixed.

For example, let's say I have an anger problem. The common resolution would be that I will not get anger at my kids or I will only get angry at my kids once a week. Just like the ideas from Shepherding a Child's Heart, we focus on the outward behavior. Let's say for the sake of argument that Jesus agrees that I have an anger problem, and this is the year He wants to work on it. Now as I ask Him how He wants me to deal with it, He leads me to call my mom twice a month. What?!!! Jesus may lead you to do seemingly unusual things to work on areas He wants to get at. Why? Because He knows what you need. He might be saying that you need to work out the anger you have against your mom, and by talking to her frequently the anger you are experiencing with your kids will subside.

It is not like God does not want us to change; He is for our healing and wholeness. It is just we were never meant to fix ourselves. Attempts to go it alone lead to religion, bondage, and more shame. God offers us a better way. We will take a better look at this new way starting January 11th.