Battling Your Relationship With Shame

Discovering who we are inevitably leads us to discovering the reality that we're not who we desire to be - at least in ways.  Shame and guilt over past sin or current struggles can paralyze us....completely.  We feel separated from God, the people of God and the things of God.

We have to understand, though, that shame creeps in because we wrongly identify ourselves in sinful actions/tendency/behavior.  At it's core this misplacement of our identity is because we view ourselves as bodies that have a soul versus a soul that has a body.  

It may seem like a matter of semantics, but it's not at all.  It's an entirely different identity.  If we view ourselves as a body that continues to sin and do what we ought not - cf. Romans 7:18 - we inevitably end with feelings of shame and guilt.  However, if we view ourselves biblically and through Christ as a soul that has been made new, our identity is beyond our fleshly limitations and actions.  This is important to understand because our identity, then, is not found in sin, but instead in who God has made us to be spiritually (cf. Ephesians 1:3-14).

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Late Night Confession

I know how to be assertive in business; I don't know how to be responsive (not initiate) in relationships :(

It started off as a tweet. In my quiet time my thoughts grew louder until it made its way onto the page.

Here is my late night confession...

I can't ruin it and it's not [already] too late. Jesus please forgive me for thinking that You're not above or bigger than me and my problems. Seriously ridiculous.

The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and he lifts those bent beanth their loads. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does, he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him, he hears their cries for help and rescues them (Psalm 145:13-14, 16-19, NLT).

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Musings on Dating

So one thing I’ve shied away from discussing on this blog are my experiences with dating.  When I was going through my separation from my wife, I made a conscious effort to not  date, or even really allow myself to consider who I would date if the opportunity arose.  My heart was on saving my marriage, and dating would just complicate things more.  Even when it was clear we weren’t going to reconcile, I refrained from dating.  To finalize our divorce, we had to sign paperwork and then wait for 6 months.  I used that 6 month period as a transition - praying honestly for a marriage revival miracle, but also preparing my heart for a transition back into the life of a single man back in the dating world.  


I’ve got to tell you - it was scary.  I was never much of a dater in high school.

Married. And. Happy.

…”It all belongs to you! I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there” (1 Chronicles 29:16b-17).

Last night, I watched Frank on The Bachelorette break Ali’s heart. Whether it was staged, scripted or the truth–what he did to her sucks. Total douche.

Which got me to think. I am Frank. Insecure. Selfish. Emotional. Easily persuaded. Full of regret. Feelings.

I wish I had the guts to break up with my last job sooner than I did. Let’s be honest. I was scared to death of losing the one job that meant the world to me. The opportunities it afforded me were priceless.

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"Do you think I can't take care of you?"

Two posts ago, I told you about how I recently started using a new Bible reading plan from Zondervan to help give some structure to my morning devotional Bible study times, and I mentioned that within five minutes of reading the first day's selection (Numbers 11), I got the feeling that God was speaking to me about a specific prayer request I recently laid before him.

Last post, I told you what that prayer request was. I shared with you that for my recent birthday, I made a specific birthday wish (a.k.a. prayer), asking my heavenly father for husbands for several of my close single girlfriends who are over 35 and really want to be married.

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My Birthday Wish Goes Public

My birthday was Monday, May 17, but the celebration of my birthday has become more of a season than a day. I am blessed to have a lot of really amazing friends, and we are celebrating with mini-parties of 2-4 people at a time, going out for dinner, seeing plays, going to museums, and more.

The first celebration took place on Thursday, May 13, when my friend Kara took me to one of my favorite restaurants in Staten Island, Adobe Blues. Then, Friday I was with relatives for dinner at Beyoglu, Saturday was dinner (Thai) and a play (Falmouth Theatre Guild's "The Secret Garden") and then drinks and live music at Liam Maguire's in Falmouth (Cape Cod). Monday was lunch with my co-workers at one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan, Simply Pasta, and then dinner with my two NYC-based cousins at Persepolis, which was a replacement for our original destination, which was packed with a long wait. (This was a fortuitous change of plans... I found out about Persepolis from my OpenTable iPhone app, and it was a wonderful dining experience. Their homemade rose ice cream - yes, I said rose - was heavenly.)

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All the Single Ladies

I 'm prepping for a talk on “Single Women in Ministry” and would love your feedback. What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? Who/what (if anything) has been meaningful to you toward feeling included in the church, or complete in your identity as a single? (Marrieds and men with feedback, feel free to pipe-in!)

Laptops Required?

There is  a lot of talk around college campuses - from the administration side of things - about the possibility of requiring students to have a laptop or a Netbook.  Some of the arguments being thrown around for such a requirement are:

  • With good wifi on campus, students could do work just about anywhere, not just in dedicated labs.  This could save money on repairing library computers, managing the time spent on them (especially on community college campuses where the # of students attending is sky rocketing), and could open up square footage for classes currently designated for computer labs.
  • If they're required they would then be covered by financial aid.  This then would give lower-income students a more even playing field with their more affluent peers.
  • It encourages "portable academic study" which these skills will obviously be more and more necessary moving forward.
  • All books could be purchased in soft-copy format, ultimately saving money for students - potentially a LOT of money.
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Book Review: Finding Organic Church

I recently read the book, Finding Organic Church by Frank Viola.  The subtitle is: a comprehensive guide to starting and sustaining authentic Christian communities.  I read the book because there's been a fair amount of buzz about it from college-age people nationwide.  I have heard of a sort of "rebellion" happening from people in this stage of life after reading this book.

If you're leading a college ministry, I'd recommend reading it.  My guess is this book will gain much more traction, especially with college-age people.  I'll explain more in a minute.

Things I liked: The book had a lot of really good insights into what biblical community can actually look like.  And, it was practical for leaders seeking to implement community in their church/ministry.  I can say that there were a lot of things I've been doing in my ministry for years and agree with.  I think any leader can gain some insights for their immediate ministry - regardless of context - from reading this book.  I can also say that I think Frank Viola (from what I can tell) loves Jesus, the Church, and is seeking to be faithful. I mean that.

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Truly Connected

I'm sure being "connected" with other believers is a huge thing for you, that is, if you're human (and a Christian).  You want to be relationally connected.  Intimately connected.  Person to person, person to people.  

We're created for relationships.  So, it makes sense.  But, what does it mean to be connected and how do we go about getting connected?  

Over the last 40 or so years we've developed a structure in our churches we like to call "small groups."  It's in these smaller groups of people we get "connected."  Well, that's the plan anyway.  There are certainly times in which this works out.  We "join" one and really resinate with others in the group.  It's more than a study, its where we connect in life with people.  Person to person, intimately.

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