Why You Don’t Love God

A lot of people blame religion for their problems. I've had a pretty good share of negative experiences in church, but I can't say that it ever occurred to me to blame "the church" for them or religion in general. I pretty much had to learn about God on my own with some very general help from my Dad who was also finding God at the same time, other random people around me, and reading the Bible. Eventually, however, even after trying in all honesty to follow it, I hit the train wreck. Or multiple Read more [...]

Can God Really Meet Your Emotional Needs?

If anything has become clear to me of late it is that all problems are emotional problems. Whatever your moral, spiritual, relational or even sexual problem is, it’s an emotional problem. What you feel or don’t’ feel makes decisions for you. This is a new angle for me to look at things through, and I think this angle is so appealing to me because I’m so emotional myself. I’m sometimes refer to myself as “emo”  because of it. I’m sensitive, dramatic, and emotionally aware, and it Read more [...]

Romance with God

The idea of romance with God has been mainstream for probably 15 years now and I have heard the term many times, however it never really made any sense to me. This is not because I didn't believe in the idea of a romance with God, but it just wasn't a very real concept to me. Of course, this could be because some concepts in the Christian life really don't make much sense at all until you are mature enough in your walk and life experience to understand their full significance. Think of explaining Read more [...]

Families and Relationships

In the Garden of Eden, God created one man and one woman and told them to have offspring. In other words, the very first form of human relationship was the family. Out of the union of the one man and one woman, everything else would come, so that Eve would become the "mother of all life." Since the fall, a number of different "family" structures have come into being. Some of the major alternatives are: Polygamy -- One man and several women. This also includes the Harem -- a king and many women The Read more [...]

The Power of Emotions

When we think about emotions what we normally think of it in terms of a single person. How am I feeling? How are you feeling? But actually emotions are highly relational in nature. First of all, most emotions that you experience in your life come from a relationship. Secondly, regardless of the source, when you experience an emotion, it has an impact on other people around you. What I am highlighting here is that emotions are communicative. They do not exist in a vacuum. They impact everyone around Read more [...]

Emotional Reciprocation

Continuing my series on the emotional life, this is a post on the importance of emotional reciprocation. This is actually one the most fundamental human skills but most people have trouble doing it in at least one situation or role. The principle here is that expression is the fundamental building block of relationship. If you do not express it, it is as if it never happened. If you are happy and you don't express it, then people will think you were not. If you are thankful and you don't express Read more [...]

Vulnerability: Are you Mad or Sad?

I'm continuing working out my thoughts for a teaching on the healthy emotional life. Regular readers, please be patient as church topics will return when this series is complete. Everyone of us goes through hurt and pain in our lives. Some more than others, but it is impossible to live this life without it. What amazes me is how differently similar circumstances affect different people. There are many ways this is true, but today I want to discuss just one:  the vulnerability spectrum. When someone Read more [...]

Relationship Balancing

I’m going to be continuing my thoughts on emotional life and health as we are doing preparatory work for a course on emotional and pastoral life. This stuff is all very rough-cut, as I am trying to put together some concepts from a lot of experiences. So your feedback and refinement appreciated. Relationship balancing is a strange phenomenon. I’m sure that psychologists have a name for it, but I don’t know it. I welcome your input for a better term as well. Relationship balancing is primarily Read more [...]

Extraverts and Introverts

The past 4 years of ministry and marriage have drawn a lot of attention to the idea of introversion and extraversion. These are concepts invented by psychologists to help identify different kinds of people, how they process and relate to the world. And they are good because they start a very helpful discussion about the fact that different people process things differently. It  helps to be aware of this dynamic and to relate to other people using this awareness But, since the world does not believe Read more [...]

A Christian Counseling Model

The basic task of pastoring people is helping them to grow. A major component of this then is counseling. And both counseling and pastoring are tied closely to our view of sanctification, and our view of the human person. There are several major schools of thought today that provide us an approach to helping people to grow:   “Christian Counseling.” The Christian Counseling movement is very integrationist in its philosophy. The basic idea is to build on secular counseling insights and Read more [...]

Dynamics of Attraction

As mentioned in the previous post, there are several major things working against people getting married, those are trends that the church has to fight. What about at an individual level? I'd like to look at the dynamics of relationships and what the pitfalls are. There are many different kinds of men and women out there, so it's impossible to cover every scenario, but let's look at a few basic dynamics. The most important issue is that of attraction. What causes one person to become attracted to Read more [...]

Why Your Problem Won’t Go Away

When I was younger I was so zealous to be free of my sin, I think I would have done anything. Before we were married, I drove my wife an hour into some dump in New Jersey to a church that specialized in deliverance. They proceeded to cast the devil out of us and encourage us to read John Bevere books, but I don't think anything happened, excepted creeping out my bride to be. I resorted to this sort of thing because I knew we both had problems that needed help, and I thought if I could just get a Read more [...]

Subtexts and Apologies

My wife and I had an extensive talk about about how men and women hear things differently last night. When you talk to someone, there is often what you could call a "subtext" beneath what you are saying. Such as if you say: "The closet is not clean." The subtext could be "You haven't been doing your job in keeping it clean." Now what I was coming to realize that while both men and women can hear subtexts, women communicate largely on the basis of subtext. Jill would not say to Alice that "The closet Read more [...]

God and Sentimentalism

I don't know about you, but sometimes I am really turned off by sentimentalism. You know, those remarks like, "Bless his little heart, isn't he just an ANGEL?!? Look at him. Isn't that the most PRECIOUS thing you have EVER seen in your LIFE?!?" Even as a mother of three tender boys under 4yrs old, I still can't always relate to the remarks, trinkets, and momentos that mothers store away painstakingly in fragile boxes or baby books to immortalize their infant's lives. It's not that I don't like memorabilia Read more [...]