Monthly Archives: April 2017

The 8 Be-Attitudes & 12 Steps of Change in Christ

Week 2 (April 30 – May 6)

Sunday – Principle 2

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.

Scripture Reading: “Happy are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

After Realizing that I am not God and the condition that we find ourselves in, we are at a place where we can find God.  It is when we are mourning that we typically turn to God and in so doing find comfort in not only that God exists, but that he cares for us, and gives us the power to help us with whatever is making us mourn.  Comfort then comes from believing in God and God’s love for us.

Pastor’s Pondering: What is the connection between mourning, God, and comfort in life?

 

Monday – Step 2 (Hope and Sanity)

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Scripture Reading: “For it is God who is at work in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. Philippians 2:13 NIV

The second step and principle are similar in that we believe that God is the power greater than ourselves that can work in us to restore us to sanity which is acting according to God’s good pleasure.  The hope that we have in life is that there is a purpose, plan, and sense to our life.  In God, we find that out of God’s caring for us he gives us the power that if we just believe in God, God’s love, God’s work in our lives then we will have hope, sanity and purpose even in the darkest storms.

Pastor’s Pondering: What is the connection between “to will and to act according to God’s good purpose” in restoring us to sanity?

 

Tuesday – Addictions

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-5

As we look to King David, even though he is a “man after God’s own heart,” one area he appears to keep to himself is his addiction to women and sex.  We find in this passage that this addiction is going to lead him to his point of mourning.  But before that happens we find that like everyone with addictions, it has become the most important thing in David’s life.  As King, he should be out with his army leading in battle but he has stayed behind.  Walking the rooftop, his heart is not towards God but instead towards a woman bathing in plain view.  This he pursues instead of God and God’s plan and purpose for him.  God cares and has the power to help us but we must turn completely to him.  Addictions prevent us from doing this until we are in extreme mourning.  Even David hasn’t gotten to this point… yet.

Pastor’s Pondering: Why might it be so difficult for people with addictions to turn to God?

 

Wednesday – Co-dependency

Scripture Reading: Genesis 12:10-16

The result of co-dependency is that one does not help but actually can assist the other person with their issue/problem.  When we look to Abram and Sarai, we find that, in this situation, when Abram doesn’t consult God and out of fear, tells everyone that Sarai is his sister, Sarai agrees to the plan even when the Pharoah wants to take her as his wife.  Instead of helping our dependent deal with their problem by believing in and turning to God we find we become or are a Co-dependent like Sarai and Abram.

Pastor’s Pondering:   Why do couples with one addictive nature and the other being a co-dependent seem to not believe and turn to God to be restored to a healthy couple?

 

Thursday – Divorce/Relationship Scarring

Scripture Reading: Genesis 16:1-10

As we continue looking to Abraam and Sarai’s story, we find within it as we look to divorce and relationship scarring, the story of Hagar.  As a consequence of Abram and Sarais’ lack of faith in God, Hagar gets caught up in bad relationships that one would think would lead to scarring.  When she runs away from Sarai, and at the point of her mourning – the angel of the Lord found her and came to her.  He assures her that God has a plan and a purpose for her and to return to Abram and Sarai.  Even in the worst of relationship situations, God wants to be there.

Pastor’s Pondering: How might someone going through divorce/Relationship break-up feel that God wouldn’t care about them?

 

Friday – Grief

Scripture Reading: Genesis 23:1,2

Our final story of Abraham that we look to is his grief with the death of Sarah.  After a long life together (Sarah was 127 years old), we read of her death and Abraham’s grieving.  Grief is a part of loving and when a loved one dies, grief becomes a part of our lives.  It is all consuming in the beginning but, in God, it is to lessen in time.  In God, we are to see the hope and promise of eternal life together in Christ, and with that promise find comfort and, in time, the loss and confusion of death, is replaced with the sanity of God’s love and work in our continuing lives.

Pastor’s Pondering: How are we to find hope and sanity in the midst of our grief over death of a loved one?

 

Saturday – Other

Scripture Reading: John 13:36-38

The all-encompassing “other” group is for all the other forms of brokenness that we need Christ to recover us.  As we look to Peter, even though he tries to earnestly believe in Christ and vows to give of his own life for Jesus, Jesus forewarns Peter of his forthcoming denials.  Even with our best of intentions in believing and following Jesus, we do not know what we are going to encounter in life so in order to have hope and sanity it is to keep seeking God’s purpose, plan and power in Christ.

Pastor’s Pondering: How might we lose our bearing by being over-confident in our faith?

The 8 Be-Attitudes & 12 Steps of Change in Christ

Week 1 (April 23 – 29)

Sunday – Principle 1

Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

Scripture Reading: “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.”  Matthew 5:3      

The first step and attitude change we must make in order for Christ to change us is to recognize we need God. Before that realization, we act as God in our lives.  Whether it is ourselves or our families, our friends, our education, our doctors, our government, or even just life, whatever we base our trust in, we still make ourselves God because it is based on our own thought outside of God.  When Jesus says “Blessed are the poor in Spirit…” it is for when we recognize that we humans are not God and outside of God we are a mess.

Pastor’s Pondering: How does thinking we have our own solutions to life prevent us from truly changing in life?    

 

Monday – Step 1 (Denial & Powerless)

We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behavior, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Scripture Reading: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”  Romans 7:18

Two things keep us from taking that first step to being transformed/changed/recovered.  Denial is thinking that we don’t have a problem or need to change.  Denial makes ourselves the authority in life and God, our families, our friends, or anyone else, who may tell us differently someone we can’t trust.  Powerless is knowing that there is a problem but the feeling that there isn’t anything that we or anyone can do about it.  It is in recognizing that we have these two roadblocks to change that we can begin to consider ways they can be overcome.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does Denial and Powerless prevent us from receiving the help we need to change?    

 

Tuesday – Addictions

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 20:1

When Addictions are the manner in which we deal with life’s issues we make it our God that can become an all-consuming way of life.  It does not deal with life’s issues but only masks them and yes, compounds them.  Addictions, by nature, first are hidden by Denial and then, take over our lives with Powerless.  We first think we don’t have a problem and by the time we realize we have a problem we find we are powerless to deal with it.  But, in recognizing denial and powerless they are ready to reach out for help.

Pastor’s Pondering: How are Addictions more than just a bad habit?

 

Wednesday – Co-dependency

Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:1-7

When seemingly out of love, a person begins to support an Addict in their addiction they become or are a “Co-dependent.”  This can be a result of Denial and/or Powerless.  They may deny that this person has a problem or they may deny that they themselves have a problem of Co-dependency.  They may not realize how they are “feeding” the problem through their own actions and words.  They may feel powerless to change their loved one, themselves or their situation.  But, in recognizing denial and powerless they are ready to reach out for help.

Pastor’s Pondering: How is Co-dependency a problem?

 

Thursday – Divorce/Relationship Scarring

Scripture Reading: Matthew 19:3-12

“…there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others…”  I have always understood this passage as reference to those who were hurt and scarred relationally in their lives.  This is not just in the case of divorce where this often occurs but can be when people are hurt so badly in their lives that they carry these hurts which prevent them from having a healthy marriage relationship.  In Denial, they may not know or they ignore the hurt or they may feel powerless to change anything and so resolve to just live with it and, as a result, never really recover in their lives.  But, in recognizing denial and powerless they are ready to reach out for help.

Pastor’s Pondering: How can relational scars develop that would prevent someone to be able to love?

 

Friday – Grief

Scripture Reading: Psalm 30:5, 11,12

Grief is a normal part of life in this broken world.  There is a normal flow/process of grieving that occurs which is slightly different for each person.  But, sometimes we can get stuck in grief and/or it becomes the overwhelming, all-consuming focus in life.  At this point we may deny it when others are trying to help or we may feel powerless to move beyond our loss and grief in life.   At this point we have allowed grief to become our God in life and we must do something different to change it.  But, in recognizing denial and powerless they are ready to reach out for help.

Pastor’s Pondering: What ways can grief become our God/focus in life and prevent us from knowing “joy comes with the morning?”

 

Saturday – Other

Scripture Reading: Psalm 1:1-3

In life, we all develop issues that must be dealt with.  In this world’s brokenness, we are broken.  We may deny it and in so doing we make ourselves God and are sinners.  We may feel powerless in our wickedness and feel there is no hope.  Except, the Word of God can convict us so that we may come to God to be changed which leads us to the second principle and step to Recovery/Transformation.

Pastor’s Pondering: How is the first principle and step simply recognizing that we are sinners?