Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Wouldn't Change a Thing - Bill Bright Tribute

The last video made go search for this one. Dr. Birght has been a great influence on our lives, and I love him for the example he left. He loved God, and he wanted others to know that love. He taught me about faith (having it and sharing it), basic principles of the Christian life, the importance of passing this on to others, and the benefits of fasting. These are just a quick overview of his impact on me. I cannot watch this video without being inspired and grateful at the same time. Enjoy.

Give Me Jesus - Ruth Graham Tribute

I really just want to share this because it is beautiful, but I can stretch it to relate as I am sure we all would like to be honored by our children this way in the end. Love begets love. Knowing that we are loved fills us to fill others with love.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Join in the Celebration

NOTE: Please fill out the class survey by next week.

Celebration can be a shame killer. Celebrating and inviting someone into celebration opens them up to receive the truth that they are valuable. When honor displaces dishonor, shame loses it foothold. We need to join in the celebration (notes attached).

Shame-based families do not celebrate. They have a hard time giving value to thing for what they are. Children of these families then have a hard time entering into the celebration themselves. Birthdays, songs, and even just sending time with kids are great ways to celebrate them for who they are. As we discussed last fall, the more time in with our kids we have the less time out they will need.

image courtesy of Bent Objects

This may come as a surprise to you: Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person. It is not a program for getting us in line or for reforming society. It has a powerful effect upon our lives, but when transformation comes, it is always the aftereffect of something else, something at the level of our hearts. And so at its core, Christianity begins with an invitation to desire.
John Eldredge - Desire, page 35

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Did Jesus Come?

Football Fan Holding John 3:16I was reading John 3 again this week, and I came across one of the most familiar verses in the Bible, John 3:16. As I read it again I reminded about our conversation on Sunday regarding guilt vs. conviction. This shows why Jesus was sent into the world. Jesus came to save not condemn. His desire for us is healing not harm - life not death. When the words enter our mind of guilt and shame, we can know that beyond a shadow of a doubt they are from the enemy. Cry out to God and take back the hope that you have in Christ!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." -
John 3:16-17

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Difference Between Guilt and Conviction

What is the difference between guilt and conviction? The simple definition we addressed is guilt leads to death and conviction leads to life. The longer discussion centered around the source of the two. Guilt is the voice of the enemy, and conviction is the voice of the Holy Spirit. The class notes for Guilt vs. Conviction are posted.

little angel and devil over shoulderHow do we differentiate between the voice of the enemy and the voice of God? The more we know the character of God; the more we will know His voice. God loves us. God is for us. God believes in us. God will lead us to hope and life. (If you doubt any of this read Romans 8 multiple times.)

How do you address the voices? God's voice - embrace freely; Enemy's voice - reject boldly. Here is a scenerio that happens in every home. Your spouse says something and you take it the wrong way. You get mad. The voice of the enemy starts feeding you lies - "Your spouse is always getting on you about this. It's like he/she thinks you do nothing. He/she has no respect for you and what you do."

The first time you hear this you can come out pretty quickly knowing that they are lies. BUT, if you do not expose them as lies, you are vulnerable to when your spouse makes a similar statement later that makes the lies feel true again. Over time the lies sound more true than the truth. Therefore when we experience the lies, we need to go with love to our spouse and say when you said this, these were the lies I heard... This may be a tough conversation, but the unexposed lies will cause separation and God calls us to intimacy.

Applying this to our kids. If we as adults have trouble exposing the lies even when we know them to be lies, imagine how hard it is for our children who need to be lead through this process. The enemy will try to steal truth from our kids just as he tries to steal it from us. We must open the doors of conversation with them so we can expose the lies and replace them with the truth about our love for them.

Help Get Shame Off This Kid - part 2

This was a great discussion because it took some of the theories we have been discussing and forced us to try to get practical. Before I recap our discussion, let me reiterate this discussion was not suggesting that this mom did anything wrong. As an outsider I do not know the full range of what was going on with this kid. This was merely an example to stretch our thinking in how to pull shame off our children.

With this said this boy was definitely experiencing shame, so how as a parent can we address it without adding more shame. For this example, some suggestions were:
  1. If our son said he was accused of something he did not do, then probe further to ask why he was wandering off ashamed when he had done nothing. Engage him in discussion and not allowing it to be glossed over.
  2. Go towards our son in love. Do not allow him to walk around to wait for him to come back. Let him know that you will not let distance last within your relationship.
  3. Go to the man who accused him to find out his story. Allow the truth to be exposed so that no doubt of lies remain. This would not be to correctly punish your child, but instead to not let lies linger that if you knew what really happened you would not love him. Correct the child in love
  4. Get the brother since he threw his brother under the bus. Allow him to tell his side of the story. Again the idea would be to uncover the truth not to punish but discipline in love.

With life there are no correct answer that works for every circumstance, but these were some great ideas of how to move toward your child in love without increasing his shame.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Help Get the Shame Off This Kid

Allison and I were at the park with the kids recently. As I was following Rachel around I overhead two boys shouting profanity to each other. Neither was being malicious, but of course, I did not want Rachel exposed to it. I spoke to both boys to have them stop as little kids were around. They both stopped.

Later I noticed that one of the boys was sitting at the side of the playground obviously upset. His mother asked him what's wrong which he then just walked away from the playground towards the field. She called for him to come back, but he just continued to get further away.

The boy had felt shamed. He wanted to remove himself from the situation, and his mom's calling to him made him feel more exposed.

After a long while the boy came back to the playground and went to his mom. He told his mom that he was upset because a man had accused him of saying bad words when it was his brother. His mom said it was ok, but his brother should not have been using those words. He felt better then went around playing with the other boys pretending to kill everyone on the playground.

The boy had found a way to come back towards others, save face, and not address the root issues.

If you were the mom, given time to think it through, how would you pull the darkness from your son in this situation?
Please provide your answer in the comments. There is no right answer. I am not sure what I would have done, but this boy has a shame issue and as the pretend parent in this scenerio let's get the shame off him! We will start the class off Sunday with this question.

Discussion continued on next post!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shame Fear Control Cycle

Shame Fear Control ImageFor those who are interested in doing more research, the Shame Fear Control cycle referenced in Sunday's class came from Restoring the Foundations. This is the prayer sessions that Allison and I went to that was fundamental to the freedom we have experienced. You can get a quick explanation of the Shame-Fear-Control cycle on their website, or you can read the notes from one of their talks, also from their website. I have also posted it here: Shame-Fear-Control talk notes.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Entirely New Self

This is a devotional from Neil Anderson. He has a great "Steps to Freedom in Christ" if any are intersted. This below speaks to our lesson today in that knowing who we are in Christ is going to come before any true change. The way we said is that lies need to be rooted out and replaced with the truth in order for true change. Both are basically saying the same thing.

Neil Anderson
An Entirely New Self

"You were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light" - Ephesians 5:8
Ephesians 5:8 describes the essential change of nature which occurs at salvation. It doesn't say you were in darkness; it says you were darkness. Darkness was your nature, your very essence, as an unbeliever. Nor does it say you are now in the light; it says you are light. God changed your basic nature from darkness to light. The issue in this passage is not improving your nature. Your new nature is already determined. The issue is learning to walk in harmony with your new nature.

Why do you need the nature of Christ within you? So you can be like Christ, not just act like Him. God has not given us the power to imitate Him. He has made us partakers of His nature so that we can actually be like Him. You don't become a Christian by acting like one. We are not on a performance basis with God. He doesn't say, "Here are My standards, now you measure up." He knows you can't solve the problem of an old sinful self by simply improving your behavior. He must change your nature, give you an entirely new self--the life of Christ in you--which is the grace you need to measure up to His standards.

That was the point of His message in the Sermon on the Mount: "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). The scribes and Pharisees were the religious perfectionists of their day. They had external behavior down to a science, but their hearts were like the insides of a tomb: reeking of death. Jesus is only interested in creating new persons from the inside out by infusing in them a brand-new nature and creating in them a new self. Only after He changes your identity and makes you a partaker of His nature will you be able to change your behavior.

Dear Jesus, thank You for rescuing me from the kingdom of darkness and transferring me into Your marvelous light. I choose to walk as a child of light today.

Power of Confession

Shame CycleIt is still amazing when the sermon matches up to the lesson planned. On the right bar and four widgets down are the latest sermons from Pastor Alan. If you missed it this Sunday, his break down of Psalm 51 is a great supplement to our discussion from today. His sermon was entitled, "Restoring Your Joy."

Today's topic was about bringing things out of the darkness and into the light. For our online notes, I have called it the "Power of Confession." Even though that is technically right, it is more than we commonly consider with confession. We are not only confessing sin, but we are bringing to light the underlying lies that have allowed the sin to grow.

We need to help our children with this as well. As we went through Shepherding a Child's Heart, we learned that every behavior is generated from the a heart belief. Just suppressing behavior does not get at heart issues. Psalm 139 talks about how we are completely known by God and how He is always with us. We are known completely and loved completely. Out of that assurance we can boldly ask our Heavenly Father to see if there be any offensive ways in us. He wants us healed more than we want healing. Trusting in His love and coming humbly to Him will open doors to allow us to find true healing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

If We Only Knew God's Heart is Good

This John Eldredge daily reading came out last week, but I feel it is appropriate for our discussion Sunday. We are only able to forgive when we believe that God's heart is good. That He is working out all things for our good. He will do a better job looking after us than we ever could.

Ransomed Heart

If You Knew His Heart Was Good

Everyone has been betrayed by someone, some more profoundly than others. Betrayal is a violation that strikes at the core of our being; to make ourselves vulnerable and entrust our well-being to another, only to be harmed by those on whom our hopes were set, is among the worst pain of human experience.

Sometimes the way God treats us feels like betrayal. We find ourselves in a dangerous world, unable to arrange for the water our thirsty souls so desperately need. Our rope won’t take the bucket to the bottom of the well. We know God has the ability to draw water for us, but oftentimes he won’t. We feel wronged. After all, doesn’t Scripture say that if we have the power to do someone good, we should do it (Prov. 3:27)? So why doesn’t God?

As I spoke with a friend about her painful life, how reckless and unpredictable God seems, she turned and with pleading eyes asked the question we are all asking somewhere deep within: “How can I trust a lover who is so wild?” Indeed, how do we not only trust him, but love him in return? There’s only one possible answer: You could love him if you knew his heart was good.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Power of Forgiveness

Cloud of ShameForgiveness (notes attached) is a tough topic because if you have unforgiveness, then you do not want to forgive. But we should forgive. We ought to forgive. But it is hard. Then you add to this our topic yesterday in the parable of the unmerciful servant. If we do not forgive, then we may be turned him over to the jailers. It is easy to see how unforgiveness can lead to shame.

The jailor issue can be tricky. We must realize that God's heart is good. He loves us. We are blessed in the heavenly realms with ever good thing. God is a loving Father. He desires to continue to bless.

Now, realize that our unforgiveness is a sign that we have not received the fullness of the forgiveness we have been given. For those who have been forgiven much love much.

Don't get me wrong, forgiveness is hard. You are taking a step to believe that God will take care of you. That He will protect your heart from the pain instead of the hardening you have place around your heart by not forgiving. Forgiveness takes faith. Heck, all of the Christian walk takes faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

So, why the jailors? God knows that unforgiveness is hindering you from experiencing all He has for you. Although He has blessed us, He has set up a world where disobedience results in a curse. And, for whatever reason unforgiveness seems to be weighted heavier than others. Since we tend to not want to forgive, God will allow the pain to get to the point until we finally address it. Some people will not take the steps to address their sin until their spouse walks out the door. It is not that God all of sudden stopped loving you; He is calling you to the life you were created for.
God loves you so much. He aches to see you step out in faith to forgive others. Often we then need to forgive ourselves for the lies we choose to believe about life and God. Then we also need to forgive God for "allowing" these things to happen. Can you see how forgiveness opens us up to more of God and takes steps out of shame? Can you see why this is so important to God?

So, how do we get our kids to offer forgiveness to others?
  1. First, they need know it is act of obedience.
  2. Second, they should see it modeled by us as parents.
  3. Third (and get ready this is the kicker), walk with them in prayer asking Jesus to show them how He views the other person and how He saw the events that happened.
Remember, truth is whatever Jesus says is true, and God's word empowers us to walk in obedience.