Grace For Burned Out Christians

GraceBurnedChristian2_800Last night we had a great start to our church seminar for when we face burn out or spiritual exhaustion; or get burned by a pastor, another Christian, or a church. Some of the resources we used are presented here. Here are some other Diakonos lectures from the past.

BrentHowlandOne of our main speakers, Brent Howland of International Messengers, was unable to be present last night due to his missions schedule. He will be presenting his material at a later date, Dv. We look forward to his teaching on “A Gospel Primer For Burn Out.”

Our first active session was “Withering: A Biblical Theology of Burn Out.” Exploring the word נָבֵל, navel, as well as various biblical instances of this spiritual drought, the following passages were surveyed:

Moses | Exodus 18:14 – 23

Israel | Deuteronomy 8:1 – 10

Elijah | I Kings 19:1 – 8

Solomon | Ecclesiastes 2:9 – 11

Disciples | Matthew 14:22 – 27; John 6:60 – 69

Solutions to this nabol tibol were desiring God’s Word (Ps 19:7 – 11), covenant prayer (Ps 120:1), communion with the risen Christ (Matt 11:25 – 30), evangelical obedience (Deut 8:1 – 2), and meditating on our eschatological rest (Heb 4:8 – 11).

Our second presentation was by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, professor and minister in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, via the magic of the internets. His seminal talk, “The Gospel For Those Broken By the Church,” is below. Continue reading

Counseling Cohabiting Couples

Couples_Cohabitating

Cohabitation needs to be addressed boldly yet graciously… Always turn to Scripture when discussing cohabitation with couples. When we don’t, they feel we are offering our opinion, which they can choose to disagree with. When counseling cohabiting couples, focus on two key areas…

The link to “Counseling Cohabitating Couples” at The Resurgence has been removed. The original article has been copied below via internet cache.

Cohabitation is increasing and becoming more widely accepted as an alternative to marriage, with the result that marriage is being delayed or disregarded altogether. Cohabitation is here to stay. How do we counsel those for whom cohabitation is the expected norm?

If you are a pastor, counselor, or church leader, you will increasingly encounter unmarried couples who are living together.

Many cohabiting couples are not actively part of a church community. They might attend church service, but have minimal involvement outside of that. Counseling such couples is an important opportunity to help get them involved in church community and service. As they begin to make friends and receive support in preparing for life and marriage now, it prepares them for helping others in the future.

Counsel each couple on an individual basis instead of trying a one-size-fits-all approach. All cohabiting couples have unique situations they are facing. However, most will fall into one of three general categories:

1. Willful couples care little about what pastors say because they have a low view of Scripture and the authority of the church. They usually claim to be Christians and will tell us their Christian parents and friends are fine with their lifestyle. They often ask to be shown a verse that says they can’t live together. They need to be taught about God’s design for marriage in Scripture.

2. Stuck couples know it is sinful and wrong to be living together, but feel trapped and ashamed. Most of these couples want to make changes, but need support, encouragement, and a plan to act upon.

3. Unaware couples have never heard the biblical view and once they do, they want to change. They are soft to Scripture and want to be led. They are quite often either not yet Christians or very young in the faith. Often they are in difficult living situations in which separation won’t be helpful or practical (for example, they own a house together, are raising kids together, or are new to the city with no family or friends). They need prayerful help crafting a plan, ongoing counseling, and care from the church.

A biblical approach

As church leaders, it is easy to fall into one of two extremes. We either ignore the fact that couples are living together and do nothing, or we heavy-handedly refuse to serve them at all, imposing rules upon them that don’t lead to conviction or changed hearts. We must fight the temptation of these extremes and instead stay on the road of grace and truth. Continue reading

Repenting of Regret: Your Future Determines More Than Your Past

regretWhat kept Abraham from being crippled by regret over Ishmael, whose progeny would plunge two lineages into millenia of violent conflict? What kept Joseph from the bitter regret of losing the prime of his life to wasted jail time, betrayal, and abandonment? What kept David from despairing in regret over Bathsheba – not only losing their child, but the perpetual consequence of the sword in his own household? What kept Peter from the regretful shame of denying his Lord and Master three times? And what steadied Paul when he could have easily plunged into guilt and regret over his former life as persecuting Saul?

What will keep you from a life crippled by regret? What will bring you hope?

There’s only one medicine that can cure the cancer of regret.”Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Continue reading

From Ancient to Therapeutic: Pastoral Theology After 1920

Tom Oden – Methodist minister and promoter of paleo-orthodoxy – outlines what drove him to publish Care of Souls in the Classic Tradition. He began by noting how often 19th century handbooks on pastoral care/theology referenced the ancients on this issue. He collected the most prominent volumes on pastoral theology from various denominational backgrounds, and then counted the number of times they referenced “the MVPs” of Christian care – stalwarts such as Augustine, Baxter, Luther, and Calvin. Here were his results:Oden comments, “This clearly establishes the point that at the turn of the century [ed – 20th] the classical tradition was alive and well, recalled, and considered important to the practice of pastoral care.”

But Oden then went on, and collected what he and others considered the most popular monographs on pastoral theology, that had the broadest consensus for use and excellence. When he searched those modern volumes for the classical tradition of shepherding, he was disappointed: Continue reading