Emotional Wounds

Most people have heard the saying that “time heals all wounds.” That simply is not true, especially for emotional wounds. As a pastor I often talk with people who are still carrying hurts from twenty to thirty years ago. The truth is, time usually makes the wound worse. When a wound is left untended it quickly becomes infected and can spread throughout the entire body. It is the same with an emotional wound. When that wound is buried and hidden the infection starts and it grows over time. This infection causes many other symptoms and problems.

Many times we try to fix the outward symptoms of anger, bitterness, guilt, jealousy, addictions, anxiety, depression and bad relationships. If you focus on these outward symptoms you never heal the wound. You may be able to mask them for a while, but they usually will return. Time only extends the pain if the original wound is not dealt with.

So, how do you deal with those wounds? On your own you cannot heal those wounds. Only Jesus Christ can heal those wounds. You will also need the help of other people as you work through the pain and open up the wound and pray for God’s healing touch. This may mean getting some professional help through counseling, spiritual help through a pastor or Christian counselor and relational help through a small group of friends to hold you accountable and encourage you.

I have helped numerous people work through steps to finding freedom from the pain of an old wound or wounds. Only the truth can set you free. Truth is the person of Jesus Christ, and only an encounter with Him can heal the deep wounds of your past.

Most of us have believed so many lies throughout our lives that we do not really know who God is or what He is like. These lies shape who we think we are, and what we think about God. With a wrong view of who God is, and who we are, it is easy to stay stuck in the feelings of hopelessness and feeling helpless.

I want to encourage you to take that first step toward freedom by facing your fears and asking Jesus to touch that wound. You may need to seek someone to help you along the way. Pray and ask God to give you direction for the help you need. God does not want you to live in bondage, but to be free and victorious.

King David was experiencing a great deal of opposition and rejection when, while hiding in a desert cave, he wrote Psalm 142. Start like David did and cry out to the Lord. God cares about you and wants you to be whole, not broken.

Adversity

We all face adversity in our lives, some more than others. Some of it we bring on ourselves by making bad decisions and others just happen to us because he live in an imperfect world. I have been slowly reading through a book called “Beyond the Summit” by Todd Skinner. It is about mountain climbing, but has many great principles for our lives.

Todd talks about adversity while on the side of a mountain. I can’t imagine trying to climb a vertical wall 2,000 feet high and having to watch for falling rocks and storms. That is real adversity! This is what Todd says; “You can’t dodge a rock until it falls… we are more often stopped by the fear that a rock might fall than by a rock actually falling. But we can’t cower under an overhang, seeking shelter from any rock that might fall, and climb the mountain.”

As I read that I had to think about the church, not just NewPointe, but the church in general. Has the church been cowering under a safe overhang hiding from rocks that might fall? Am I as a leader hiding in a safe spot because I am afraid a rock might hit me or I will get caught in a storm? The church cannot reach the summit (all people groups) if it doesn’t keep climbing. It starts with us as leaders, getting out on the mountain and start climbing.

It is through adversity that we are shaped and molded into the men and women that God can use. The storms of life draw us closer to God and build our faith. The adversity helps us to make the changes we need to make in our lives. With no adversity or storms in life, we would never change. God does not want us to remain the same. We cannot change and grow if we don’t face our fears and start climbing. When a rock falls you dodge it. When a storm comes you persevere through it.

We as individuals and a church need to remember that we have the greatest mountain climber in the universe along side us. God is with us through every storm, every step, every circumstance, every rock slide. With Him we can reach the summit and beyond. Adversity can be a blessing, because it helps us to grow our faith, character and leadership.

First Wedding at NewPointe

On Saturday May 26, 2007 we had the very first wedding at NewPointe Community Church. Steven LaCroix & Brittany Brinkman got hitched. It was a great day even though we had a storm outside during the service. We held the service in the KidStuf theater and it worked very well. We had a black curtain installed that covers the entire set. It really transformed the room. What a great place for a wedding!

I am so happy for Steve & Britt, what a great couple. They are blessed to have great families and friends that love them very much. I believe God has great plans for this couple. They both have a heart for the Lord and a love for each other that will carry them through the good times and the bad times.

I love officiating at weddings, it is a great time to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to remind all those present the importance of relationships. Weddings are a time for many people to reflect about their own marriages and relationships. It always reminds me of the vows I have made to my wife and how I need to be constantly working on our relationship. I shared three Biblical dance steps with them: Choose your words wisely, settle your disagreements and practice forgiveness. By practicing these dance steps they can dance a beautiful dance together for many years to come.

My prayer for Steven & Brittany is that they will seek God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and that they will have the courage and wisdom to follow God’s plan for their lives.

I also got to meet some people at the reception that I had not seen in a while. My wife Vikki and I had a fun time eating (a lot) and talking with people after the wedding.

Bob LaCroix the best man, and Steve’s dad, had a nice toast as did Brooke, Britt’s sister and Matron of Honor. You could tell they were sincere and honest. Randy, the father of the bride, also had a great toast as he said he hopes they have even a fraction of the great marriage he has had with his wife Julie (Isn’t that sweet).

Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your special day. God Bless

Dancing

I was watching Dancing With the Stars this week. I had not watched it for the last couple of seasons, but for some reason I was hooked as I watched the three couples perform. It was amazing to me how good these non-professional dancers were. I realize they are matched with a Pro, but they knew their stuff.

As I watched this it hit me that learning to dance is much like learning how to have good relationships with other people. In marriage especially, learning to dance is important. I am not talking about actual dancing, although that could be really good for your marriage. Just doing something together is often a good first step. What I am talking about is learning new dance steps for your relationship.

You see each of us has some dance steps we have learned from other people growing up about how relationships or marriages should work. We develop certain attitudes, expectations and mindsets on our relationships.

Most of these dance steps are flawed or outright wrong, and so we stumble along trying to dance with someone instead we step on each others toes and sometimes even fall down. Many times instead of learning new better dance steps we just try harder with to old ones and make it worse.

I am officiating a wedding on Saturday and I will be sharing some new dance steps for this couple to work on as they start a new life together. I want to share one of those steps.

The first dance step is to from Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”. Words are powerful and dangerous. Your words can hurt, tear down and destroy a relationship, but your words can also encourage, lift up and bring life to your relationship. The first dance step is to choose your words wisely. Words like; please, thank you, I am proud of you, you did a great job, you look amazing, I love you, your the best and on and on.

Sincere words of encouragement bring healing to a relationship. Start practicing this dance step in all your relationships. It is the beginning of a beautiful dance.

Successful Marriage?

Everyone defines success a little differently, it depends on your filter or how you view the world. In marriage success can mean many things as well. To some a successful marriage is not getting divorced or maybe not fighting too much. To others it may be having a family and a house and two cars. To someone else it may be a close friendship with their spouse. Think about what a successful marriage looks like to you.

I thought I would talk about what good marriages have in common. If you don’t know what a strong healthy marriage looks like you can’t work toward it. In a landmark twenty-five year research project that studied 14,000 families around the world, Dr. Nick Stinnett, a marriage expert, found that strong families have at least six major things in common.

1. Commitment: trust, honesty, dependability, faithfulness
2. Appreciation and Affection: caring for each other, friendship, respect for individuality, playfulness and humor
3. Positive Communication: sharing feelings, giving compliments, avoiding blame, compromise, agreeing to disagree
4. Time Together: quality time in great quantities, enjoying each other’s company, simple good times, and sharing fun times
5. Spiritual well-being: faith, compassion, shared ethical values, oneness with mankind
6. Ability to cope with stress: adaptability, growing through crisis together, openness to change, resilience.

This information came from a book by Dr. Greg Smalley “The Marriage You’ve Always Dreamed Of.”

I want to focus on two of the most important factors for a successful marriage.

The first is spending time together. Most of the couples I talk to that are struggling in their marriage are not spending much if any time together. When you are not spending time together you quickly fill your time with other things and people. Soon your needs are being met without your spouse and over time you feel you don’t need your spouse around. You are doing your own thing and she is doing her own thing and you are no longer a team. Between work schedules and children and other busy stuff you don’t find time for each other. It becomes easy to not talk or go on a date or schedule a time to get away. You cannot become intimate with someone if you are not spending significant time together.

Think back to when you were dating. You spent a lot of time together. You talked on the phone, went on dates and spent every free moment together. When you got married that began to change. If you stop spending time together you don’t communicate about money, children, faith, work, family and most everything else. Time together is a big deal in successful marriages.

The second thing I want to mention is this; In the most successful marriages learning about each other is a high priority. Dr. Smalley surveyed 10,000 couples and the second thing on their list behind time together was “getting to know each other on a deeper level”.

I call this being curious about your spouse. Trying to figure out what makes them tick. Discovering what their love language is and what their top 5 needs are. Talking about your past, your childhood, your dreams, your hurts, your fears, your core beliefs, your goals, sex, religion. Basically everything and anything that will help you gain a better window into the soul of your spouse.

That sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? You are exactly right. Every couple I meet with I tell them they are going to have to put in a lot of work because a lot of damage has been done to get where they are at. If you don’t work on things for years you need more than a tune up, you need an engine overhaul. You can’t fix it in a month or two. You need to dig down into the relationship and rebuild it. That is why it is so important to start working on it today. Don’t wait for the right time to make changes in your marriage, don’t wait for your spouse to change. It starts with you and your willingness to change and grow.

Remember your wedding vows: I, Chad take you, Vikki, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part, and thereto I pledge you my faith.

Are you keeping your vows? Are you loving and cherishing? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to build a successful relationship with your spouse?