Healing Troubled Hearts by Bill Day

Healing Troubled Hearts by Bill Day

Healing Troubled Hearts by Bill Day

Healing Troubled Hearts by Bill Day is a book about a New Age counselor who converted to Christianity for healing and freedom and became a Christian counselor. Along the way, he shares his experience how Jesus healed him of his addictions and helped him to share healing with other.

Day was raised a Catholic, but soon devoted himself to other ideas (14):

I had replaced the religion of Christianity with the religion of psychology (though at the time I did not think of it as a religion); through drugs my mind had been altered and my perceptions were being “cleansed”; and my racist and sexist prejudices had been exposed and deleted, or so I thought. To complete this version of out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new, my marriage ended after less than two years and no children. Promiscuity filled that empty space, and I thought of the new relationships as just more positive steps toward self-realization.

He soon realized his need for Jesus Christ (28) – or soul-surgery as he called it:

Up to this point, in the early 1990s, I had neither the understanding nor the skill to remove old interpretations and beliefs. I didn’t realize it but soul-surgery was needed, not palliative care.

However, he had trouble finding help elsewhere until he met Jesus Christ (28-29):

But I had not yet met a Christian counselor or pastor who had expertise in spiritual-surgery. The truth was right there but I didn’t see it: Didn’t Jesus remove the old and replace it with the new? He did not shove anything aside, He replaced it, He made it new—a new creation. Wasn’t the mission of Jesus to substitute, to replace, to exchange at the deepest levels of our being? Didn’t Jesus tell us that the Holy Spirit would be directly involved in showing us all truth?

Day believes that right belief will create right behavior. On this the Bible agrees. After exploring how the Bible gives inner healing, Day turned to the teachings of Theophostic Prayer Ministry as the basis for his Christian counseling ministry. It’s website claims to be a Christian ministry. Yet, the ministry has its critics.

Day shares what he believes inner healing is not (99-107):

1. Inner Healing is not a form of healing that arises out of a oneness view of reality.

2. Inner Healing is not involved with an impersonal deity.

3. Inner Healing is not solely a transformation of consciousness.

4. Inner Healing is not conducted within an undifferentiated moral order.

5. Inner Healing does not focus on wounds to the exclusion of dealing with sin.

6. Inner Healing does not stay stuck in the past, instead of dealing with present problems.

7. Inner Healing does not employ the use of hypnosis, hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis.

8. Inner Healing is not Freudian Abreaction.

9. Inner Healing is not Jungian Active Imagination

10. Inner Healing is not guided imagery or guided visualization.

Following this list, Day deals with the problem of addiction. He defines addiction as “the creation of a relationship of slave and master” (189) is spot-on. His explanation that improper attachment during childhood leads to addiction problems in adulthood is well-founded (189-194).

I was skeptical about this book at first. However, for some people, this may be a helpful resource. Day’s personal experience helps to give him credibility to his methods. TPM may be a ministry for some churches who do not want to use the “Celebrate Recovery” model for overcoming addictions. You can check Day’s website for more information.

#SpeakeasyHealingTroubledHearts

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

The Mainliner’s Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World by Derek Penwell

The Mainliner's Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World by Derek Penwell

 

The Mainliner’s Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World         

by Derek Penwell

The Mainliner’s Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World by Derek Penwell is a great resource to remind churches of the challenges in reaching Generations X,Y, and Z. There are many books which have lamented about the condition of the church and the challenge of reaching the younger generations. This book uses the historical background of the American Revolutionary War and the subsequent Second Great Awakening to analyze the present twenty-first century problem.

Penwell uses the history of his own denomination (Disciples of Christ) and its history to see how the church can reach out to the digital generation. He uses recent statistics and insight to point to the fact that younger people have chosen to stop referring to local church authority for important decisions in life. He laments that most churches who are in decline are (1) fearful, (2) maintaining programs and buildings, (3) unable or unwilling to adapt to the changes in culture.

Penwell argues that (60):

recapturing the sense of mission over the urge to maintain structure is again a timely and important word in a post-denominational world.

He continues his analysis by comparing and contrasting the Boomer and Millennial generations (62):

I sense, though, that among emerging generations, anti-institutionalism is pragmatic rather than dogmatic (which may explain some of the chafing between Millennials and Boomers).

Penwell makes a very prescient observation between Boomers and Millennials. Boomers existed in the heyday of denominationalism. Millennials exist during its decline. As a result, the anti-institutionalism serves different purposes from different perspectives. He also states that the change from a manufacturing industry in which the Boomer generation worked to a service industry in which Millennials now work have created a chasm which has impacted the church. Just as the Boomer generation rejected the authority of their parents, Millennials are rejecting the authority of the Boomer generation. The middle generation (Generation X) has become the mediating generation, especially in the church.

I agree with Penwell that the institutional church has also followed the business model to drive its growth. The church growth model was based on a business model of manufacturing goods and services. As the US economy has shifted away from a manufacturing to a service industry, the church is seen to be out of date and out of place.

Penwell also identifies the reasons why the Millennials are leaving the church:

1. The pace of technology which affects the stability of the younger generation (67)

2. The barrier of hypocrisy and judgmentalism (94)

3. The Jesus Gap (The difference between Jesus in the Gospels and Jesus marketed in the church) (127)

4. The shifting social issues important to the Millennials (128)

Up to this point in the book, I was shaking my head in agreement. Then strangely, Penwell digresses and  uses the “Four Truths of Buddha” as a lens to look at the church. He states the four steps as:

1. Life is suffering

2. Life is suffering because we selfishly grasp

3. If you do not want to suffer, you must not selfishly grasp. (Mark 8:35-36)

4. Dying is the pathway to overcoming suffering (135-139)

What bothers me about this is this: Penwell is upset because the church uses secular models. Yet, he doesn’t hesitant to use other spiritual models himself. Instead of appealing to Scripture (such as Philippians 2:5-11 in this case), Penwell uses the four noble truths of Buddha.

In the end, Penwell reinforces the difficult problem which the church needs to address (147-148):

If all I’ve been saying is true about the paradox of young adults who aspire to independence yet eagerly desire to maintain interpersonal relationships, congregations must recognize that young adults aren’t looking to “join.” They appear less interested in community-as-a-tool to accomplish some other purpose than community-as-an-opportunity to make and keep friends. This raises challenges for congregations in a post-denominational world seeking to provide a safe place where friendships can be made and community can develop among young adults.

All in all, this book addresses the problem which churches will now face. The book does point to research and resources on the Internet for further study. While I disagree with the use of Buddha to look at the church, I agree that much of this book provides insight for church leaders who are dealing with the Boomer generation as well as Generations X,Y, and Z.

#SpeakeasyMainlineSurvival

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Amos 5:1-27 Pursuing Justice

Amos 5:1-27 Pursuing Justice

I need to live my life with a sense of justice, with a sense of personal respect and fairness. Personal justice is integrity. However, personal justice or a personal sense of proper morality can only come from the Great Judge. Personal integrity will help me live out my Christian life by how I live. Of course, I don’t just live the Christian life. I show others the Christian life in word as well as deed.

These verses are divided into two groups: (1) loving others, and (2) loving God. So I pursue justice by living a life of integrity, with respect and fairness to others. I have also love God by showing Him respect and integrity in my worship. The verses are written in a chiastic style. It is a form of Hebrew poetry used to emphasize a point.

Within this first part of pursuing justice by loving others, I do that by my walk with God. The way I walk with Christ tells other people that I am a loving Christian. The first four steps into this chiastic structure is about how I walk with God:

HOW TO PURSUE JUSTICE BY LOVING OTHERS

MY PERSONAL WALK WITH GOD

1. LISTEN to the warning.

“Listen to this message that I am singing for you, a lament, house of Israel:” (Amos 5:1, HCSB)

“She has fallen; Virgin Israel will never rise again. She lies abandoned on her land, with no one to raise her up.” (Amos 5:2, HCSB)

“For the Lord God says: The city that marches out a thousand strong will have only a hundred left, and the one that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left in the house of Israel.” (Amos 5:3, HCSB)

2. SEEK God.

“For the Lord says to the house of Israel: Seek Me and live!” (Amos 5:4, HCSB)

“Do not seek Bethel or go to Gilgal or journey to Beer-sheba, for Gilgal will certainly go into exile, and Bethel will come to nothing.” (Amos 5:5, HCSB)

“Seek Yahweh and live, or He will spread like fire throughout the house of Joseph; it will consume everything, with no one at Bethel to extinguish it.” (Amos 5:6, HCSB)

3. STOP SINNING.

“Those who turn justice into wormwood throw righteousness to the ground.” (Amos 5:7, HCSB)

4. LOVE God.

“The One who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns darkness into dawn and darkens day into night, who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the earth — Yahweh is His name.” (Amos 5:8, HCSB)

“He brings destruction on the strong, and it falls on the stronghold.” (Amos 5:9, HCSB)

God is awesome. He is bigger than the stars. He can do what He wants. We should respect Him because of that power.

As I step back out of this chiastic poem, I begin to live out my life for others. I live my Christian OUT to other people.

MY WALK TO OTHERS

3a. STAND UP for OTHERS.

“They hate the one who convicts the guilty at the city gate and despise the one who speaks with integrity.” (Amos 5:10, HCSB)

“Therefore, because you trample on the poor and exact a grain tax from him, you will never live in the houses of cut stone you have built; you will never drink the wine from the lush vineyards you have planted.” (Amos 5:11, HCSB)

“For I know your crimes are many and your sins innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take a bribe, and deprive the poor of justice at the gates.” (Amos 5:12, HCSB)

“Therefore, the wise person will keep silent at such a time, for the days are evil.” (Amos 5:13, HCSB)

A “prudent person,” i.e., anyone who wanted to succeed in life, knew that he would have to “keep silence in such time.”All who under ordinary circumstances might be expected to rebuke the public iniquity remained silent. This was “an evil time.” Not only was it futile to speak out, it was dangerous because of the ruthlessness of those in high places. The implication here is that a messenger of God cannot be prudent. He must speak out regardless of the cost (5:13).1

“And so, keeping quiet in such evil times is the clever thing to do!” (Amos 5:13, GNB)

Personal justice does not think just about the self. No matter how evil the times are, as Christians we have to stand up and speak for others.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted as saying:

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”2

2a. SEEK God and DO good works.

“Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord, the God of Hosts, will be with you, as you have claimed.” (Amos 5:14, HCSB)

“Hate evil and love good; establish justice in the gate. Perhaps the Lord, the God of Hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:15, HCSB)

Love is the litmus test. And that love is expressed by sharing our faith and working for social justice. The spiritual and physical needs of people become the passion of our lives.3

We are not saved by good works. We are saved for good works. We prove that God is good by the good works we do of others.

“For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8–10, GNB)

1a. WARN others.

“Therefore Yahweh, the God of Hosts, the Lord, says: There will be wailing in all the public squares; they will cry out in anguish in all the streets. The farmer will be called on to mourn, and professional mourners to wail.” (Amos 5:16, HCSB)

“There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass among you. The Lord has spoken.” (Amos 5:17, HCSB)

HOW TO PURSUE JUSTICE BY LOVING GOD

Within this second part of pursuing justice, I do that by loving God. The first set showed how I showed other people that I love them. I come to Christ. I show that life by the way I live my life for other people. I come to God, listen to Him, seek Him, and stop sinning. Once I stop sinning, I spend more time loving God by the way I relate to other people. I stand up for those who are weak. I search for God and He shows me the good works I can do for others. I also can warn others about their need for Jesus Christ.

When I warn others about judgment and their need for Jesus Christ, I am showing my love for people who need God. I am also showing that I love God. If I don’t really love people, I would not warn them about the danger they are getting ready to encounter. If I didn’t warn other people, then I wouldn’t care about God as well. If I really love God, I will warn people that God is alive and that Jesus is coming back.

1. ANNOUNCE the warning of God.

“Woe to you who long for the Day of the Lord! What will the Day of the Lord be for you? It will be darkness and not light.” (Amos 5:18, HCSB)

“It will be like a man who flees from a lion only to have a bear confront him. He goes home and rests his hand against the wall only to have a snake bite him.” (Amos 5:19, HCSB)

“Won’t the Day of the Lord be darkness rather than light, even gloom without any brightness in it?” (Amos 5:20, HCSB)

2. WORSHIP God with sincerity.

I also love God by the way I worship God. These people are acting like hypocrites. They are not really singing to God. They are not offering themselves. They are just going through the motions. Come in, check out. Wait for church to end.

“I hate, I despise your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies.” (Amos 5:21, HCSB)

“Even if you offer Me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle.” (Amos 5:22, HCSB)

3. FOCUS my attention.

“Take away from Me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” (Amos 5:23, HCSB)

When I worship God, my audience is Him. I don’t get into the song. I don’t tune out when I tune in. I don’t check out when we are singing songs to God. I focus on God. I spend my time in worship with Him.

The reason that God doesn’t listen to these people and their songs is their focus is not on God. God can choose not to listen to me, if I choose not to listen to Him. If I think that spending time with God is not important, do you think God could say the same thing to me? It is just like a teenager who doesn’t focus on what they are supposed to do. If as a father, I want to spend time with my kids, I want them to focus on me. I want to focus on them. God is the same way.

3a. TRUST God.

“But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.” (Amos 5:24, HCSB)

If the verse sounds familiar, it is because Martin Luther King Jr, paraphrased it during his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.4 Even in the midst of all of this evil, justice will flow like water and righteousness will flow like a stream when we trust God.

2a. LOVE no substitutes.

““House of Israel, was it sacrifices and grain offerings that you presented to Me during the 40 years in the wilderness?” (Amos 5:25, HCSB)

“But you have taken up Sakkuth your king and Kaiwan your star god, images you have made for yourselves.” (Amos 5:26, HCSB)

God made the stars. But the Israelites were worshiping the stars. They were worshiping substitutes. When it comes to worship, there should be no substitutes.

1a. ANNOUNCE God’s name.

“So I will send you into exile beyond Damascus.” Yahweh, the God of Hosts, is His name. He has spoken.” (Amos 5:27, HCSB)

Just as we announce the warning, we also love others by sharing God’s name. This is sharing the good news.

1 James E. Smith, The Minor Prophets, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1994), Amos 5:10–13.

2 Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010) back cover. The quote does not appear in the book itself. However, it is found on the back cover description. http://www.ericmetaxas.com/books/bonhoeffer-pastor-martyr-prophet-spy-a-righteous-gentile-vs-the-third-reich/. Accessed on 12 September 2014.

3 Lloyd J. Ogilvie and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, vol. 22, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1990), 330.

4 Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream.” Speech given at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on 28 August 1963. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3170387.stm. Accessed on 09 September 2014.

 

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) continues the journeys of the crew of the USS Enterprise-E. The crew rebel against Starfleet after they discover a conspiracy with a species known as the Son’a to steal the peaceful Ba’ku’s planet for its rejuvenating properties.

Forced Relocation of a Population

The film addresses the theme of potential genocide and the forced relocation of a smaller population to satisfy the needs of a larger one.

Admiral Matthew Dougherty: Jean-Luc, we’re only moving 600 people.
Captain Picard: How many people does it take, Admiral, before it becomes wrong? Hmm? A thousand, fifty thousand, a million? How many people does it take, Admiral?

History of full of examples of this unkind practice. The Trail of Tears, in which the Cherokee nation was displaced in North America in the nineteenth century.The event known as the Armenian Genocide is considered by some to have been a population transfer. The Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was transferred in the years from 1915–1919. The Albanian people were moved by force in the Kosovo War in 1999.

In the ancient world, population transfer was the more humane alternative to putting all the males of a conquered territory to death and enslaving the women and children. The deportation of the elite of Jerusalem on three occasions to Babylonian captivity in the years 598, 597, and 587 BC was a population transfer. The Bible describes these stories in the books of Jeremiah, Lamentations, and 2 Chronicles. According to the Book of Ezra, the Persian Cyrus the Great ended the exile in 538 BC, the year after he captured Babylon.

Incidentally, a similar plot was used in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Homeward” in 1994.

Secondary theme: Living in the Moment

Anij: Have you ever experienced, a perfect moment in time?
Captain Picard: A perfect moment?
Anij: When time seemed to stop, and you could almost live, in that moment.
Captain Picard: Seeing my home planet from space, for the first time.
Anij: Yes. Exactly. Nothing more complicated than perception.
Anij: …We’ve discovered that a single moment in time can be a universe in itself, full of powerful forces. Most people aren’t aware enough of the now to even notice.

In this fast-paced world, the movie reminds us to take time to just “live in the moment.” The Ba’ku are a people who have refused to use technology. The reason is because it has prevented them from living life to the fullest. Psalm 118:24 and James 4:14 remind us to live for today – to live in the moment.

 

 

Prophecy Watch: The Seven Phases of the Base

I came across an article from The Long War Journal. It has since been reported and analyzed in various places on the web. I thought it was interested as ISIS has replaced al-Qaeda (The Base) as the forerunner of the Islamic movement. While the author named the phases, I have placed in parenthesis the highlights of what the plan accomplished. In many ways, the United States helped move this plan along.

Here are the steps to Islamic world domination:

The First Phase – “The Awakening” (September 11, 2001)

“The Awakening” — this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby “awakening” Muslims.

The Second Phase – “Opening Eyes” (Iraq War)

Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the “Islamic community.” Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an “army” set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.

The Third Phase – “Arising and Standing Up” (Civil War in Syria)

This is described as “Arising and Standing Up” and should last from 2007 to 2010. “There will be a focus on Syria,” prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him.

The Fourth Phase – (primarily accomplished through the “Arab Spring”)

Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that “the creeping loss of the regimes’ power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaeda.” At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.

The Fifth Phase – (Islamic State)

This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

The Sixth Phase

Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of “total confrontation.” As soon as the caliphate has been declared the “Islamic army” it will instigate the “fight between the believers and the non-believers” which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.

The Seventh Phase

This final stage is described as “definitive victory.” Hussein writes that in the terrorists’ eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the “one-and-a-half million Muslims,” the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn’t last longer than two years.

It seems to be me that the Islamic State is on track to finish the seven phases before 2020. Along with this ominous warning from President George Bush, one could conclude that Christians should take notice of this plan.

 

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