Unraveled

Living Life in Real Time

Chapter 12 – If I Know The Truth April 27, 2010

It’s the last chapter and our final wrap-up of the 12 crazy makers that so many of us have grown up believing.  Throughout this semester in our classes we’ve talked about why these chapters have such a potential for crazy making and what it all boils down to is that it isn’t an either/or scenario.  It’s always at both/and picture.  And I’m sure this chapter isn’t any different.

Truth all by itself can’t save anyone.  That’s the crazy maker in this chapter.  I enjoyed the comparison on page 197 where it points a finger at the Pharisees.  Jesus had a great time talking about the faulty intentions of the Pharisees in the NT.  They were all about following the letter of the law and they missed nothing.  They had all the truth they needed.  But what they didn’t have was a relationship with God.

Well meaning Christians have bought into the idea that Bible study alone can heal emotional and spiritual problems.  I grew up in the camp where if you had a problem you went to the Bible for the solution.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  However at the same time, at least in my history, I grew up with the assurance that there was always a half dozen grandmother figures in my life that I knew I could go to for support.  So, for me anyway, this wasn’t quite so much of a crazy maker.  But for others of you, I know the potential for harm.  Let’s look further.

The job of healing the emotional pain in our lives takes work.  It doesn’t happen easily or quickly. To make this process work we need to be in relationship with God and in relationship with other people (the church).  For us to fully realize the grace that God extends we need to be at peace with him.  For us to fully realize the grace of God, he had to become man.  And even know he comes to us in human form through his church.  The grace that we feel from God don’t only come from studying His word, but also through experience him in relationship.

  • How have you been able to balance your book knowledge of God’s love with actually experiencing His love?
  • Genuine healing comes from not only hearing the words, but doing what it says…page 199…  When have you lived out this idea.
  • In what areas of your life are you hearing God’s word but not doing it?

Character Change

Being transformed into the image of God is the key to really healing.  But it’s hard getting there.  Memorizing scripture and remembering it isn’t going to get us there.  That’s the Pharisee’s tactic.  What we need to remember is that real character change comes from practicing the truth.  Real character change comes from living out what we hear.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4; John 8:31-32

  • Doing God’s Word leads us to become humble and loving, responsible and forgiving, cleansed and transformed.  What have you seen this truth lived out or experienced it for yourself?
  • What character change is God working in you as you follow His leading?  (Taking responsibility for what is inside of you, grieve, forgive, reconcile, learn, confront, express feelings, confess, practice honest, and receive support?)

Here’s a simple closing for our study together and this chapter from page 249:

“Learn the truth and study your Bible diligently, but don’t stop there.  Take what it ways and put it into action by practicing the healing process it point to.  Holding to Jesus’ teaching and acting on it, not just knowing it, is what sets you free.  John 8:31&32)”

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend entitled “12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.”

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Chapter 11 – Just Do It! April 20, 2010

This whole chapter devotes it’s crazy making to the idea that just doing the right thing is more important than why I do it.  I completely get this idea…but I think I’m coming at it from the other direction.  I have three kids and a full day of work every day.  Sometimes it is more important to just do it than to worry about why you’re doing something.  For the love of Pete already, will you just unload the dishwasher, and pick up the socks in the living room, and wash the toothpaste all the way out of the sink!  Oh…I could keep going!  Can I get all the stressed out moms out there to give me a high five!

But wait…let’s not get our arms in the air just yet.  I’m sure there is something about this crazy maker that makes it crazy and therefore I should read past the chapter title:)  Hmmmmmmm….ok…..here we go.

Just Do It

Put into spiritual terms, you’ll hear well meaning Christians say that “obedience” is the key to the Christian life.  This can mean anything from worship, volunteering, fellowship to doing things as a family.  On page 177 there’s a small little statement about how God is like the parent who stands over the questioning child and says impatiently…”Just do it!”  But that would mean that God holds far more interest in our action than our motives.

  • What right things are you doing right now for the wrong reasons?
  • What unhealthy reasons, if any, are at the root of a too-busy schedule being filled with too many good activities?

In the end what we’re really talking about in the “Just Do It” expectation is the whole idea of obedience.

As the Bible Defines Obedience

Here’s a new piece of information that I didn’t know.  The Bible defined obedience as “shema” “to hear, to attend to”  This definition of obedience is used over 800 times in the OT.

The Biblical idea is this:  when we hear, we respond.  They go together.  The Hebrew language doesn’t distinguish much between hearing and responding.

Exodus 24:7 “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will shema.”

Deuteronomy 6:4:8  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”

Consider this on page 180.  Not only do we “shema” God, but He “shemas” us.  Isn’t it so nice to know that we can have a relationship with God that He spends just as much time hearing us and we do hearing from him.

Psalm 4:1  “Hear (Shema) me when I call to you, o my righteious God”

Psalm 34:17  “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears (shema’s) them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

We don’t see in the Bible the idea of hearing with out doing.

Obedience has a purpose

As we’ve seen above, the word “obedience” describes a relationship with God and us.  We hear what He wants from us and then we respond.  Obedience for obedience sake is not biblical.  Obedience that helps us learn His ways that we can develop into His image is true biblical obedience.   Obedience is a structure to train us in maturity.  Obedience is our response to the fathering of God.

Consider these verses:  Deuteronomy 5:33, 6:24 10:13.

  • How do these commands train us in maturity?

Then as we grow our obedience changes.  Our relationship with God as we mature, requires less and less structure.

  • How is does this principle come to light when we think about the child-rearing we’ve done or witnesses?

Obedience for obedience sake has 6 problems.

  1. Substitutes sacrifice for true obedience.
    Consider this statement from page 183:  “Our sacrificial, giving, responsible acts are helpful to neither God nor us until we understand God’s mercy – being loved just as we are – and then return that love. When we do the right thing reluctantly out of a sense of fear that we might lose something,  a fear that we might fall apart, a fear of disapproval, then we are not living freely.  And no one can grow and flourish in a state of fear.

    • Explain what Jesus is saying to you by His statement “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” Matthew 9:13
  2. Ignores the wholeness or integrity of a person.
    We are created to be whole in body and spirit.  We are meant to connect with each other and God at the same time.  When we can do this we know what it really means to love god with our heart, soul, mind and strength.  The “obey for the sake of obedience” idea promotes a split.  We desire one thing but we do another.

    • Are you going through the motions in your Christian faith 0 obeying because obedience is right, but you are somewhere else emotionally?
  3. Discourages a sense of responsibility.
    Sometimes we are so concerned with pleasing people that we don’t take responsibility for our own actions.
    Speaking from a middle child pleasing perspective…when we’re under this crazy-maker we feel like we aren’t free to ask “why.”  Questioning is often seen as rebellious and defiant.  Yet it’s often in the “why” that we form our own thoughts, gain the bigger picture, and begin to form this sense of responsibility in our decisions.

    • Are you a people-pleaser? (Galatians 1:10)
    • What problems has your people-pleasing caused?
  4. Promotes lying.
    Hiding the resentment, resistance or rebellion that we feel by “just doing the right thing” is really just lying.  We’re not telling the truth about our feelings.

    • Do yo make a deliberate, thought-out, free choice to say “YES”, or do you lie about the “NO” inside you and say yes anyway?
  5. Denies our fallenness.
    At its heart, “just do it” means that you have the ability to obey, you just don’t want to.  The truth is that we often don’t obey because we are all sinners and we all fall short.  The biggest BUT in the bible is this…there is hope for all of us who realize that we can’t live perfect lives.  (Romans 7:15)

    • When has your sinful nature kept you from obeying God?
  6. Devalues the power of the cross.
    There is a safety net called GRACE.  We have a safe place to struggle and not be condemned.  Through the power of the cross we are able to live lives that are pleasing to God.  Grace protects us from loss of love as we mature through trying and failing.

    • What might happen in your life if you rested in the grace God gives you to make decisions?

We’ll end this chapter with this thought on page 191:

“There’s a better way.  When we allow ourselves to work through our inner motives and conflicts about situations, we are more free to be autonomous (FREE, UNCONTROLLED), to take responsibility for our behavior, and to be truly free in Christ.”

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend entitled “12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.”

 

Chapter 10 – If I make the right choices…

Oh…I cannot even count the number of time I was going to start today to lose weight, get in shape for my dream marathon, to be more patient, to….whatever.  That’s the problem isn’t it.  My willpower always fails.  Even with my best intentions, I can make the right choices but then when I really need to put feet to the decision, ultimately I find I’m headed in a different direction.  Actually sometimes it’s not quite the opposite, it just isn’t quite what I had planned.  Then like it says on page 163, “If making the right choices is our only hope, then we are indeed hopeless.”

Many times we believe that if we can change our behavior then how we feel about things will change.  If we act nice to someone we dislike the thought is that over time we’ll begin to like that person.  So what’s wrong with that?  Jesus has a lot to say about treating people nicely, right!  The problem is that most of the time this determination of my will doesn’t work.

The Bible has a lot to say about how our body and our mind (our will) works together.  My mind isn’t separate from the rest of my body.  It all works together.  So to say I’m going to determine something in my mind and my body will follow is really a little simple when you think about it.   Jesus had a little to say about it in Matthew 22:37 where he says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Here Jesus is giving us a picture of what a whole person bringing their whole selves to God really looks like.  Unless we determine to do something as a whole body, with our hearts wanting the same thing that our mind wants, our intentions will be short lived because in the end we all choose what our heart wants anyway.

  • What does this picture of an integrated person say about why we can’t overcome compulsive behavior by simply deciding to?

Internal Conflict

When our hearts, our mind and our soul don’t agree on things we’ll often experience this form of inner conflict.  We know what is right and we want the right values, but in our heart we really love something different.  And it’s the heart that often wins.  This is why the Bible always says to change from the inside out.  No longer is it just about head thinking and making the right choices.  Get the heart in line and you’re more than half-way there.

  • When has your heart overruled your head and the values that you hold?

I love this statement on page 168:  “If we have problems in our heart, no amount of trying to make right choices will produce good fruit in us.  We must deal with the things that are on the inside and driving our choices.”

Then How Do We Grow?

If making the right choices isn’t our fast track to spiritual growth, then how do we grow?  First we need to acknowledge that right choices are necessary but not sufficient for growth.  Spiritual growth is always a combination of choosing the good, gaining the support and strength to do it and dealing with the bad.

  • Which of these three elements is currently in place for you?
  • Which of these three elements necessary for spiritual growth is not yet in place?

If we don’t change on the inside then we really aren’t changing at all!

  • Where are you today?  Are you still trying to change your behavior?
  • Why do you think it is so difficult to work on changing the heart first?

Bad Out, Good In

So much about getting on the right track spiritually is getting the bad stuff out of our life and the good stuff in.  Sometimes we get stuck on only working on one side of the equation.  We try to spend all of our time just focusing on the bad…get the bad out at all costs.  Or we’ll focus only on the good and surround ourselves with all the good things.

Again…what’s wrong with that!  The Bible tells us to “think on these things…that are lovely, pure….etc…”  The crazy maker…we’re supposed to do both and.  We have to add the good things in our life at the same time that we continue to uncover the bad things.

  • What happens when we only deal with one of these tasks?
  • What good are you taking in as you work on getting the bad out?

Right Verses Pure Intentions

A right intention is our choice to do the right thing.  It’s a very mind motivated decision.  While a pure intention is our heart leading the way.  It’s a rightly pleasing thing to do that we really think very little about.  We just do it.

A pure intention is wanting what we choose.  God wants us to will and to want the same things that He wants.  That’s when we know we’re really in tune with God’s will for our lives.  But we can’t desire the things that God desires without having our hearts changed.  As we get more in tune with God’s direction for our lives, we begin to grow spiritually and gradually find that our character is changing to want and desire the things that God wants and desires for us.  God is working in us to transform us to be people He can use for His purposes.

  • Which of your desires don’t line up with God’s desires

In the end…it’s our spiritual growth that leads us into making the right choices.

We’ll end this chapter with this thought on page 242:

“Instead of trying harder to make the right choices, surrender to God your inability to do so – become humble, unable and ask Him to begin the process of spiritual growth in you.  Then, as you continue to do the hard work of spiritual growth, God will begin reproducing His life in you through the process of internal change.”

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend entitled “12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.”

 

Chapter 9 – Guilt and Shame are Good For Me April 13, 2010

WHAT!!!!  None of us really believe that!  Guilt and shame aren’t good for me.  If that’s true and I believe it…then why do I live the opposite?  Dang!

It’s good to know our basic sinfulness.  Isaiah 6:5 says “Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips.” But guilt and shame aren’t necessarily good for us when we are thinking of our spiritual growth.

  • What value is there in being sharply aware of your sin?
  • When have you seen first hand someone use the guilt trip to get you to change your mind about something?

The problem is that we can feel guilty without actually being guilty.

Let’s explore what guilt and shame look like:

Guilt has 2 common meanings:

  1. The state of having done something wrong
  2. A feeling resulting from a belief that we’ve done something wrong.

The Bible always refers to guilt at the state of having done something wrong and not the feeling.  When we have feelings of guilt that is our conscience condemning us.  Guilt feelings are telling us that we are bad.  Guilt feelings often cause os to criticize and condemn ourselves even more.

  • Why is it important to understand that the Bible always refers to guilt as the state of being guilty and not the feelings of guilt?

Shame is a painful feeling that we’ve lost the respect of others by our behavior

Shame is the sense of being bad.  It’s a state of internal condemnation.

  • How would you explain the difference between shame and guilt?

Consider this:  Guilt describes our self-conviction for what we do, while shame disgraces us for who we are.

  • What are healthy sources of guilt and shame?  (Romans 1:20; Romans 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 1:27)

So, if the Bible talks about guilt and shame in healthy ways, why is it this week’s crazy maker?

The guilt and shame that the Bible talks about are emotional responses to the reality of our fallenness.  This type of guilt and shame serves as a reminder that we desperately need grace, and they motivate us to look for help, forgiveness and making amends.  The guilt and shame that come from us through the failings of our conscience and to us as a result of someone’s ulterior motives is different.

Now that we understand the difference between guilt and shame…let’s take it one step further and talk more about our conscience.  Sometimes our conscience sends wrong signals.

  • Why do feelings of guilt not necessarily mean guilt?

There are 3 types of consciences:

  1. If we have an immature conscience we find guilt everywhere.  We take responsibility for much more than God intended.
  2. If we have a seared conscience we have little sense of remorse.  It’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from the immature conscience.  With a seared conscience we can become controllers and master manipulators of others.
  3. Our goal is a mature conscience.  Over time a mature conscience is able to get closer and closer to the values that God intended through his Word.  Our conscience grows and matures with us as we grow and mature spiritually.

Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow

Guilt feelings focus on how bad we are.  You’ll find it centered around how worthless we feel and a sense that we deserve to be punished.  These guilt feels are very self-absorbed.  It’s all inward focused and self-centered.  This guilt moves us further and further away from relationship.  Godly sorrow is something different.  Godly sorrow is empathetic and centered on the hurt we have caused to someone we love.

  • What’s the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow?

Godly sorrow seeks to heal, to make amends, to come back together with those we have hurt.  Guilt seeks to self-justify.  Guilt holds us back from love and guilt gets in the way of spiritual and emotional growth.

Does Guilt Convict?

The Holy Spirit brings to light our sinfulness and our need for God.  But the Holy Spirit doesn’t dictate our responses.

  • What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer? (John 16:8)

Is Guilt Ever Good?

While guilt feelings can lead us down the wrong path and hinder our spiritual growth, those same guilt feelings can be a sign of spiritual growth.

  • Why can the steps we take in our recovery from emotional problems prompt severe guilt attacks?

If you’re motivated by guilt and shame, you can’t also be motivated by love.

A strict, guilt-inducing conscience isn’t from God.  We’ll end this chapter with this thought on page 160:

“This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.  For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”  (1 John 3:19-20)

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend entitled “12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.”

 

Chapter 8 – “Shoulds” Are Good

I grew up with a long list of “shoulds.”  I should always have a smile on my face…I should always be polite…I should always go the extra mile…I should always finish what I start.  Believe me I could go on.  So, what’s wrong with the shoulds?

As always I generally start these chapters off with a little resistance.  It seems that every week steps on my early years in the church.  Then as I read through the chapter I realize they aren’t “poo pooing” the way I was raised.  They are simply bringing a better understanding to some areas where I may not be experiencing all that God wants for me.  OK – I’ll go in the pool one more time.  It seems like it’s worth it in the end.

Here’s help to understand the “shoulds.”

  • Should is an obligation
  • Should is a compulsion – a demand that something has over you
  • Should is a duty

Where there is a “should” there is no choice in the matter.  If we don’t do the “should” then we are bad.

From page 130:  “Then the shoulds invade our spiritual lives.  We should set aside time for bible study, serve on the Board of directors, love our next-door neighbor who gossips.  The problem arises when we do things in order to be good, instead of because of the blessings we will gain by doing them.  The problem is doing good things from a sense of obligation instead of out of a genuine love.”

  • What “Should’s” tell you how to live?
  • When has something you loved become a chore when it became a “should?”

Tell me what you think of this statement on page 131:  “The good we want to do, we don’t do, the we practice the very evil we hate.  Why don’t we do things that are good for us and that would make our lives better?  Because by nature, we are not free….As long as we are under the law we will fail.”

Emotionally we are still stuck in the law, while everything God tells us is about grace.  We feel like we will lose love if we sin.  If we don’t do, act, stand, turn, whatever like we should then we will lose the thing that matters most to us.  We are stuck in the law.

Being stuck in the Law brings these things:

  • The Law Brings Wrath
    We expect God to be angry with us and therefore we get angry at God and at ourselves and at others.

    • When have you been angry at God, resenting him and his rules?
  • We Are Condemned
    When we’re stuck in the law we live in a constant state of guilt

    • When has worldly sorrow (feeling guilty) paralyzed you?
    • When has godly sorrow (feeling sorry) motivated you to change?
  • We Are Separated From Love
    When we’re stuck in the law we feel unloved and we feel that God will stop loving us if we fail.

    • When have you expected to be condemned by something you did but found love instead?
  • Our Sin Increases
    When we’re stuck in the law we sin more.

    • Why do you think the “shoulds” in our life increase our desire to sin?
  • We Gain No Benefit
    When we’re stuck in the law we do because we feel we have to.  Our motivation is not out of love and motivation is everything to God.

    • What good, Christian actions have you done out of a sense of “should” rather than a sense of love?

So, how can I find something more for my life than a long list of “shoulds?”

Consider this from page 139:  “It is here they want to change, not because they know they ought to, but because they hate the hypocracy, the lust, or the idolatry of their lives.  This is the beginning of what Jesus calls “poverty of spirit,” which bring them to grace in a much deeper way than ever before.  They find that they have to accept the fact that though they cannot change, they are okay in God’s eyes as they are, and that he wants to help them even in their badness, failure, and inability.”

“Shoulds” do have a place in our life.  The Bible has a much different way at looking at the “shoulds.”  Think of “shoulds” as the perfect law.  We can never live up to the law, but it is there for guidance.  “Shoulds” are good in the sense that they are standards that we can live by.  Doing what we “should” brings about a certain result…such as a life of goodness.  But the Bible never says “You should or your bad.”

What does a life of freedom look like out from under the shoulds…out from under the law and in relationship with God?

  1. When we’re out from under the law we have the freedom to love.
    • Where are you still functioning under the law in your relationships?
  2. When we’re out from under the law we don’t  condemn ourselves when we fail.
    • In what area of your life are you becoming more forgiving of yourself?

We’ll end this chapter with this thought:  Coming out from under the law of the “shoulds” means changing from “have to” to “want to.”  However this doesn’t mean that we always feel like doing what is right.  But wanting the end result of the blessed life, we choose what we may not want to do in the moment.  It’s all about the right motivation!

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend entitled “12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.”

 

Chapter 7 – If I Have God I Don’t Need People April 6, 2010

When we run into problems we might be inclined to think that prayer and bible reading are enough to keep us going.  Afterall, God is sufficient, isn’t He?  When we are depressed, lonely or anxious spending time with God should get us headed in the right direction.  What we’re going to find in this week’s crazy maker is that God uses a wide variety of sources, not just Him alone, to help us with our life’s daily challenges.

Ephesians 4:16  “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

We’ve talked in previous chapters how God uses people to meet other people’s needs.

  • Why is letting God meet our needs through other people the key to the correct functioning of the body of Christ?

God isn’t limited to achieving His work in us through other people.  The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us how God will meet our specific need.  He is perfectly capable of meeting our needs in and of himself or through people that He chooses.  It is unfortunate of us if we presume that God working directly in our lives is somehow more holy than when we see Him working through other people.

This chapter talks about 4 fundamental spiritual and emotional arenas where God meets people directly and through others indirectly.

  1. Growth – most of us can say that we want to grow.  We want to get better, to know better ways of doing things.  and one of the ways that this can begin to happen is with each other.  As parts of Christ’s body we all help each other grow up in Christ. (Ephesians 1:22&23)

    • How have others enhanced or enabled your spiritual growth?
  2. Comfort – this is a basic spiritual and emotional need.  There are times in life where we need someone to ease our pain…to listen to our hurts…and people are intimately involved in this process.
    • When have you received good comfort? (Philemon 1:7)
  3. Wisdom – we all need wisdom because not of us have it all figured out.  People are some of God’s best resources at seeking and gaining wisdom.
    • How has God used people to help you understand His truths found in the Bible?
  4. Repair – we are all broken in some way or another as we have both sinned and been sinned against.
    • How have God’s people helped you learn discipline, accept your weaknesses…etc…?

Here’s one last thing to think about.  When we think about this crazy maker that we only need God and not others, what that also does is distance us from the man Jesus.  A cornerstone of the Christian faith is that Jesus became flesh and lived among the rest of us for 30 some years.  When we say that we don’t need people, we’re in affect saying that what Jesus did by leaving heaven and coming to earth was all for nothing.

Consider this statement from page 124…”Most religions detail how to reach God.  You perform certain rituals, you remain fiathful to commands, you live the best life you can, or you recognize the god that you are.  In Christianity however, we don’t reach for God.  We don’t find the pathway to God.  He reached for us, he made a path for us:  God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins again them’ (2 Corinthians 5:19)  God saw we were in deep trouble and would never be able to reconnect with him in his holiness.  So he did the work for us:  Christ paid for our sins on the cross.”  “By becoming man, God showed us that he understand our suffering.

That’s how Christ met our needs when He was on earth – by direct, hands-on compassion and unrelenting love.

  • What have you learned about God from your relationships with people?

Here’s a wonderful end to our study of this crazy maker from page 232:

“The Scriptures teach that people are a means of distributing God’s grace to others.  If you’re not receiving grace from God’s people, your perception of God is too small.  And, as the apostle John understood, your joy will be incomplete.  Complete your own joy.  Get face to face with others who love you and whom God can use to show his love for you.”

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend entitled “12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.”

 

Chapter 6 – Leave the Past Behind April 5, 2010

Tell me…what do you think about this statement from page 97:  “The past can’t really affect us, but our present feelings about the past can.

This week’s crazy maker is this…Just leave the past behind.  The past is not important and we should just press on to what lies ahead…after all it is biblical…right?

We’ve hurt people…we’ve been hurt by people.  We’ve done said and done things that we’d like to take back.  The problem is that all of these things have happened in the past and they can’t be changed.   This chapter challenges us to see our lives from an eternal perspective…not the past or the present.

  • The past can’t really affect us, but our feelings about the past can.  What present feelings about certain events in your past are affecting you today?

The Bible isn’t concern with when something happened.  In the bible we are instructed to bring our mid-deeds into the light.  Which basically means that we’re not to keep what happened in our past hidden. In Ephesians 5:11 -13 tells us to bring things that are hidden into the light.

  • Why?

Besides allowing our wounds to be healed, our willingness to embrace our past is a way to process grief.  Here we can begin to let go of things that we were once connected to.  This process is how we can really be open to the present and all that God has planned for us. (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)  Hurts and losses we’ve experienced can keep us stuck emotionally and spiritually if we don’t deal with them.L

  • What things in your past are you currently tied to?
  • Where are you in the three-step grieving process?
    (1)  Realizing what you’ve lost; (2) Feeling the anger or sadness; (3) Letting go

Looking at our past not only helps us through the forgiving and grieving process, but it also gives us this moral inventory we find in our personal sin.  It gives us the framework to look at actions that only we are responsible for and gives us a chance to make it right.  To confess our actions to whomever we need to ask forgiveness.  I like what’s written on page 107 “Much of repentance is looking at the past to see what you learned, from whom yo learned it, and how you are repeating that pattern today.”  Taking the time to consider the actions in our past give us the opportunity to have a better present.

We simply cannot forget our past, for the big reason that at some point our entire lives will be our past.   We can’t change our past, but we can change how our past affects us.

  • We can forgive the people who hurt us.
  • We can let go of the demand that the people who hurt us somehow need to make it up to us.
  • We can let go of lost dreams and people whom we’ll never have relationship with again.
  • We can take our hurts to safe people who can help us heal.
  • We can be honest with things that we’ve learned about ourselves and bring everything into the light.
  • We can confess our sin and apologize to the people we’ve hurt.

These things can’t change the past, but it can change the way the past affects us.

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend entitled “12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.”