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If you missed my interview with Robert Shryoc, Founder and CEO of Stonegate Center, a recovery community for men struggling with addictions, you really should take time to check it out. On the program, we talked about some of the lies we tend to tell ourselves when we are stuck in a negative cycle, habit, or addiction. You do not want to miss it! You can tune in to the program by clicking here.

Tonight on the program, I am revisiting a topic that I posted several weeks ago: the three people that you need in your life to succeed. I got such a good response from people about how helpful they found it that I decided to do a radio show about it. If you happened to miss the post, you can read the original below or tune into the program tonight on KCBI 90.9 at 6:30pm or 10:30pm CDT, or click on the link here after 7 pm to hear it in it’s entirety. Also, be sure to tune in next week as well. I will be talking with Stephanie Coker, a licensed social worker who has both personal and clinical experience working with those who are emotionally fragile. Stay tuned for more great guests and topics in the months ahead!! :

So, there you are…reeling at the news, a look of utter shock undeniably written all over your face. That exciting opportunity for which you had trouble falling asleep the night before is now the shattered hope that will keep you up tonight!

The work you put into the dream – the planning, the time, the networking, the energy – all seems now like a complete waste of time. And what hurts the most? The whole thing would have worked out if not for the interference of other people! Why couldn’t they catch the dream? Why couldn’t they get the vision? Why couldn’t they see in me what I know I have to give?

People will tell you, “Well, it just wasn’t meant to be?” Is that supposed to be comforting? I mean really…if it wasn’t meant to be, then why did I kill myself thinking it was? Why couldn’t somebody have seen that earlier, told me, and saved me a whole lot of trouble? If it wasn’t meant to be, then what is meant to be? Is there any point, any good that I can take away from this defeat?

My response? No doubt…there is!

Now, I’m not going to go into a bunch of platitudes about “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” or “this will build character in your life.” I know these are true, but they usually don’t help much in the face of such a tremendous disappointment. Instead, I want you to focus on the original passion that led you into this seemingly lost endeavor in the first place. I can almost guarantee you that it wasn’t about money, power for power’s sake, popularity, or pure pleasure. It was always about people. You had something that you wanted to give, something to contribute, a need to know and be known, a need to accept and be accepted, a hope to empower and be empowered. You haven’t lost faith in the dream…you’ve lost faith in people!!

So what do you do? How do you keep this disappointment from completely tainting your love, faith, and hope in others and making you a bitter, cynical person?

Let me suggest that you start by envisioning three people in your mind. Keep these people with you through the trial. Give them a face, a name, a legacy, and a future with you. They are as follows:

  1. The person you are striving for: This is the person that more than likely you started your mission to reach. I asked a factory worker installing seatbelts in automobiles who he was striving for. He said, “That little girl, just like my daughter, whose life will be saved because of me.” A teacher recently told me it was “that kid who really can succeed but everyone else in his life keeps telling him that he cannot!” Who are you striving for? He or she will be the one who gets you back up on your feet when you face a roadblock on the way to your dream. If you do not have someone like this in mind, create them. Be as detailed as possible. Give them a name. Envision their face before you when you are feeling discouraged. No venture in life will succeed if you are pursuing it for purely selfish gain. Your work will be so much more satisfying, even in times of failure, if you are striving for another.
  2. The person you are striving with: Somewhere in this world, there is someone who has gone through or is going through exactly what you are. They need you! They need your story! If you hole-up in isolation and coddle your hurt, keep it to yourself and refuse to share it, you will miss out on the connections you could have made with people who want to give and receive strength for the journey. Your heart will overflow when you meet them: a kindred spirit you might never have known otherwise. I interviewed a woman who said, “I thought I was all alone, but a whole world opened up to me when I opened up to it. It was like walking through a fog of loneliness for so long and then suddenly stumbling upon a campfire, burning bright and hot, surrounded by people celebrating a journey not yet finished but sure to end well. They were ready to walk along with me. My heart glowed for the first time!”
  3. The person you are striving toward:This isn’t as simple as a WWJD bracelet with which you snap your wrist each time a problem arises. It is, however, visualizing that one individual that you want to be and asking yourself how your pain can make you more like him or her. I’ve been reading a kids version of Pilgrim’s Progress to my children at night before bed, and so for me right now, I’ve been visualizing the character, Faithful. He’s the one who entered the town of Vanity Fair and was dragged into the courts by the town’s people. Despite all the tempting and laughing and brutality he experienced for being different, he stood strong in his mission, even to death. That’s who I want to be. I know I’m not perfect in that regard. I know I have a long way to go with lots of setbacks, but I keep that story in my mind and it helps. What about you? Who do you want to become? Perhaps he or she is a real person or a fictional character that embodies all the qualities you long for. Tell yourself that this setback is an opportunity to become more like them and determine to be that same person others aspire to be. It will make all the difference.

Questions: How do you keep from getting cynical about life and love when you’ve faced a hurt or setback? Are their ways that you have found helpful to keep you motivated? If you had someone in mind to strive for, with, and toward, who would they be?

 

Be sure to follow my blog but signing up to receive email updates and follow me on facebook at David Livingstone Henderson MD or on Twitter @DaveHendersonMD .

If I Only Had….

This past week, I interviewed Lisa Burkhardt Worley about her take on the secret longings that many women harbor.  You can click on the link above to listen to the full program. I really encourage you to do so. In this interview, we focus on Lisa’s personal testimony of struggling with a mother who suffered from mental illness. We do not often hear these stories from the perspective of the child involved and I think you will find it very encouraging and uplifting…a true story of redemption. For more information about Lisa, keep reading:

Lisa Burkhadt Worley is a former national television sportscaster, Christian non-fiction writer, speaker, retreat leader and Christ follower whose passion is ministering to women. Lisa has worn numerous hats throughout her life. She was both a national and local television sportscaster for nineteen years with HBO Sports, the Madison Square Garden Network, ESPN and the local CBS affiliate in San Antonio. She was also the spokesperson for San Antonio International Airport for five years, part of which was during the events of 9-11.

After she rededicated her life to Christ in 1993, God led Lisa on a path that has included numerous ministry leadership positions. She is currently the lay leader over Women’s Ministry at Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church in Flower Mound where she speaks regularly at a monthly women’s luncheon at Trietsch called First Friday Feast. Lisa also speaks to other church gatherings, retreats and secular groups, both in the Texas area and occasionally in other parts of the country.

She recently completed her first book with co-author Catherine Weiskopf called, If I Only Had…Following God’s Path to Your Security. The book won “Best Non-Fiction Book” at the 2012 North Texas Christian Writer’s Conference and is currently being edited by Catherine and Lisa’s Literary Agent. Catherine, Lisa and former Dallas media personality, Rebecca Carrell, are currently writing a new Bible study, The Un-Crowd: How God Takes us Out of the World to Do the Unpopular. It will be taught in March, 2013 at Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church. Lisa is also publishing a devotional, The Pearls of Promise Devotional, in 2013.Lisa is a strong proponent of small group ministry, having led small groups in both San Antonio and Flower Mound for over fifteen years.

Lisa completed her Masters of Theological Studies Degree at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2008. At Perkins, she was recognized as one of the top students in Division 1 Studies (Biblical Witness.) Lisa is a San Antonio, Texas native but moved to Flower Mound in 2005. She has been married to Jeff Worley for 26 years and has two children, Kyle, 23, and Bret, 16.

Visit Lisa at …

www.pearlsofpromiseministries.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pearlsofpromise
Facebook: http://facebook.com/pearlsofpromiseministries.com
Books: Pearls of Promise Devotional
Linked in: Lisa Burkhardt Worley

This is the third part of an interview I participated in for the Texan, a publication of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. I was asked to comment on the motion presented to the SBC Executive Committee in favor of improving churches’ care for those with mental health challenges. I see this as a huge step forward in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, which has unfortunately been propagated by the church at times. In this section, I answer the question, “What are some ways in which you see churches failing in their attempts to biblically and adequately address mental health?” I’d love to get your thoughts on it:

“Our failure has come from turning a blind eye to the science and the research that has been done over years and years of studying human development and functioning. As I’ve said, we have turned a blind eye to it out of fear, fear of what it would mean for us to step outside the bounds of the Bible and using other forms of truth, natural revelation, that are just as God-given. We know so much more about how the mind and brain work than we did even 10 years ago. Why would we waste that knowledge in our efforts to help redeem the brokenness of mankind?

At Criswell, we take an integrated approach to counseling. We don’t shy away from what natural revelation might reveal to us. We absolutely filter it through the lens of Scripture; we make sure that the theories we’re espousing are consistent with the Word of God, but we don’t shy away from knowledge that might make us more efficient at helping the mentally ill. And this is one of my biggest pet peeves with people in the Christian community and with people in Christian academia: when they completely refuse to even study a field of knowledge because they say, “Well that’s not based on biblical truth.” I think it was Augustine who said, “All truth is God’s truth.”

For example, it’s very emotionally taxing to be in the presence of someone with a mental illness. You can share Scripture. You can share truth with them through the Bible, and it doesn’t seem to penetrate; they don’t seem to get it. Without training, we get tired very quickly. It’s why the statistics associated with pastor burnout are so high. So in an academic program like Criswell, we teach more effective ways of working with someone with mental illness. Why? Well for one, it reduces your own emotional exhaustion so that you can sit in the presence of someone with a mental illness and have greater strength bear the load. In the end, it makes us more efficient as counselors and as lovers of people.”

Question: What do you think? Is the church helping or hurting people with mental health problems? How and why?

(Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter @DaveHendersonMD, and Linkedin for more articles like these.)

This is the second part of an interview I participated in for the Texan, a publication of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. I was asked to comment on the motion presented to the SBC Executive Committee in favor of improving churches’ care for those with mental health challenges. I see this as a huge step forward in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, which has unfortunately been propagated by the church at times. In this section, I answer the question, “How does mental illness relate to the fallen nature of mankind?” I’d love to get your thoughts on it:

“However you view the “mind-body-spirit” dynamic—you have to acknowledge that sin taints our entire essence. We sin as an act but we are also sinners in our essence and that essence spans our spirituality, our psychology—I would use that term psychology—and our physiology, our bodies. When you see it from that standpoint, it allows for the uniqueness of the individual and their struggle. It allows for the infusion of truth, grace and mercy into their specific circumstances. And the gospel becomes very real to them because you’re not taking a cookie-cutter approach to every single person. You’re recognizing that we’re all tainted by the fall, but that tainting is very different for each person. So Sally, for example, may struggle with pride or arrogance or gossip, but Johnny over here struggles with pornography or violence, anger, rage. What makes them different? They’re both sinners. They’re both tainted by the fall. But their genetics, personalities, sex, and life circumstances are all different. And so it creates both a dynamic of collective sinfulness, commonality, while maintaining a uniqueness in these other areas. And when I see clients that come to my office, I take each one as an individual and try to tease out what is the essence of their struggle in this life, how the fall has tainted them, but also how they can be redeemed, in body, in soul, in spirit.

To address the physical nature of our humanity, let me point out that researchers have done studies looking at people with severe anxiety and demonstrated that certain areas of their brain are not just functionally overactive, but actually physically larger. One area in particular, called the amygdala, is larger and hyperactive in those who are extremely anxious. So then we must address the nature of their struggle. If somebody has a larger amygdala and it’s overactive, are they going to struggle more with worry and with anxiety, which the Bible says we clearly should not do? Yes, absolutely. Does that affirm their sinfulness? Of course, it affirms that they are broken people just like all of us. The statistic, as far as brokenness, is 100 percent—it just differs in the areas that we struggle. The joy and excitement of what I do is to learn about the nature of their anxiety and help equip them to battle it effectively, incorporating all tools at our disposal, given to us by God through both divine revelation and natural revelation.

So this resolution seems to me to be the equivalent of Christendom’s acceptance that the world is round. In Galileo’s time, there was a lot of fear about what the acceptance of this fact would do to the Faith.  It challenged people’s worldview. This is an equivalent issue in that it’s challenging our worldview today. But I think in the end, it will not do anything as far as shaking the core doctrines of our faith and what we believe, but will instead help us to be more effective as ambassadors of the truths we find in scripture about our brokenness and our need for a Savior.”

Question: What do you think? What causes mental illness? Is it physical, psychological, spiritual, or all of the above? How do you think we can reduce the stigma associated with mental illness while still remaining true to our faith?

(Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter @DaveHendersonMD, and Linkedin for more articles like these.)

Tonight on For Christ and Culture, I interview Dr. Matthew Stanford, neuropsychologist, author and co-founder of the Mental Health Grace Alliance, an organization dedicated to helping those who feel stuck in the “treatment box” discover the true process of recovery. They provide personal assistance to navigate professional care and improve personal life management (mental health recovery). Their Mental Illness Recovery Program (THRIVE) and support groups reinforce professional care, reducing symptoms, building recovery and improving personal faith.

Dr. Stanford was one of the plenary speakers at Rick Warren’s Mental Health and the Church Conference at Saddleback Church in California. On today’s program we discuss some key factors necessary to help people understand the nature of mental illness and how best to approach treatment. Here are a few key points to remember:

  1. Recovery vs. Cure: Many people diagnosed with mental illness ask, “Can I be cured?” Unfortunately, this is a very black and white way of viewing mental illness that sets people up for certain discouragement and failure. If the cause of mental illness was as simple as identifying a bacteria that could be eradicated with an antibiotic, we might used the word cure. However, mental illness usually falls within the spectrum of disorders that require ongoing management of symptoms and signs. Similar disorders would include Diabetes, Parkinson’s syndrome, Heart Disease, and Lupus. When you consider the nature of mental illness, we use the diathesis/stress model. A diathesis is a predisposing factor that makes the acquiring of a disorder more likely. When we use this term, we are usually referring to a person’s genetics or heritability. The stress or stresses are the environmental factors that precipitate and perpetuate a bout of the disorder. These environmental factors include diet, exercise, traumatic life events, upbringing, belief systems, and relationships that generate the “perfect storm” so to speak. It is important to remember that these factors are always in flux and can either exacerbate or improve symptoms depending on the individual’s handling of them. Recovery comes when a person’s symptoms abate and/or the stressors are diminished.
  2. Resiliency vs. Avoidance: No one can completely escape the pain of life. That is why the second goal of treatment is called resiliency. Our goal is to help clients develop strength to overcome day to day challenges that before might have precipitated or exacerbated the symptoms of their mental illness. Just as diet and exercise enable an individual to overcome obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other such disorders, treatments for mental illness can do the same. Medications are one tool out of a host of options that provide this strengthening. They are not cures and they do have side effects. That is why a holistic approach to treatment that includes talk-therapy, group accountability and social support, diet, exercise, spiritual practices, and educational advancement is vital.
  3. Reminders vs. Results: Sometimes clients get focused on results and need reminders of how far they have come in treatment. “I feel worse today” is a common statement I hear. It is natural to have ebbs and flows of emotion. At any given moment, we might feel worse and it seems like we are taking steps backward. The encouraging part of what I do is to point out those subtle changes that I’ve noticed occurring in peoples’ relationships and daily life tasks, being a witness to the strength that clients demonstrate during very challenging times. We all need to be reminded that life is hard and full of surprises, but as our endurance builds, we rise to meet those challenges. We can have confidence in ourselves, looking back at some of the hurtles we’ve already jumped, knowing that the ones to come can be taken in stride using the tools we are continually acquiring.

Question: What has given you endurance to keep pushing forward, even when life gets tough?

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Recently, I was interviewed by the Texan, a publication of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. I was asked to comment on the motion presented to the SBC Executive Committee in favor of improving churches’ care for those with mental health challenges. I see this as a huge step forward in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, which has unfortunately been propagated by the church at times. Here is an exerpt from the the article. I’d love to get your thoughts on it:

“The challenge for Christians wrestling with how to define mental health and mental illness has always been, “How much of this issue is a spiritual problem, how much is psychological, and how much is physical?” Where does the brain stop and the soul begin? Is it even possible to separate the two practically? I would suggest that our desire to draw a hard and fast line between those three components is because it sets up a definition and model of treatment that is easy and comfortable for us. As humans, we gravitate toward the black and white. If I see a person in counseling and I can say with absolute authority that he or she is suffering from unconfessed sin, it makes my job a lot easier. Confess the sin and you will get better. On the other hand, if I can draw blood and say with absolute authority that the test results show a low thyroid level, again my job is very easy. Treat the thyroid and you will recover. The problem is that much of medicine in general (not just psychiatry) is not this clear cut. [Examples abound.] More importantly, Christians need to acknowledge that this is true of life. That is why the Bible speaks so much about wisdom, which is the application of knowledge to given situations, not in a cookie-cutter sort of way, but in a way that uses discernment, taking each case as it is presented to us. It is easier and more comfortable to make everything a black and white issue, but it is not the Biblical model in dealing with people. The essence of humanity is body and soul. Some would say body, soul and spirit. We separate these elements out in order to understand them intellectually, but in real life, in the context of counseling, we treat the whole individual. This might be messier, but God never called us to remain in the ivory towers of intellectualism. He called us to love people, broken people who need him. That takes a lot of work. So defining mental health and illness becomes a process of understanding the component parts of a person (their biology, their psychology, and their spirituality) and how they interact as a whole to effect an individual’s understanding of themselves, how they relate to God and others, and how they act in that context.

I see the SBC resolution (last summer on mental health) as extremely important to the shift in mindset that we are taking as evangelical Christians on dealing with the mentally ill. Do we still acknowledge the reality of sin? Absolutely. But we acknowledge it in the sense that it taints us spiritually, emotionally and physically. This means that we must accept that our physical bodies, our psychology, society, and our history of life experiences impacts the way we think and the way we feel, even the way we live out our faith.

Question: What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? How should we determine what problems are caused by the unhealthy practices of an individual’s faith tradition vs. a psychological or psychiatric condition that might benefit from medication or psychotherapy? Is the question even relevant?

(Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter @DaveHendersonMD, and Linkedin for more articles like these.)

How are your fears keeping you chained to the same old destructive patterns in your life? Are you ready for real freedom? Then you will want to tune in to the show tonight on 90.9 KCBI at 6:30pm or 10:30pm CST or listen online after 7:00pm by clicking here.

This evening on For Christ and Culture, my special guest is Michelle Borquez, author of the book, God Crazy, and creator and host of the women’s conference, The God Crazy Freedom Experience. Michelle will be talking to us about what true freedom looks like and how her personal journey of redemption led her to become a powerful advocate and coach for women struggling with the pressures of a superficial culture. When the glitz and the glamour fades, Michelle knows how to find true satisfaction and freedom in relationships, the most important of which is our relationship with a God that loves us completely. If you are interested in signing up for her upcoming conference here in the Metroplex on April 17th, 2014 at 7:00pm, click here. It will be at North Point Church in Fort Worth. Tickets are limited, so be sure to reserve your spot today.

For those of you who don’t know Michelle, God has used her mightily. In 1999, she founded “Shine”, a general interest women’s publication highlighting articles on fashion, travel and health. As Editor-in-Chief she interviewed well known leaders, such as First Lady Laura Bush, Anne Graham Lotz, Michael W. Smith, Kurt Warner, Chuck and Gena Norris, Beth Moore, and many others. Shine published 9 years with over 40,000 subscribers. In 2005 Michelle hosted and co-produced I-Life Television’s “SHINE with Michelle Borquez” on INSP that aired internationally for two years. Michelle is also Creator, Producer, and Host of the recently released, 8 week DVD series for women,” Live Again After Divorce” available at liveagaindvd.com and is host for Beth Moore’s “Loving Well” Television Special and national spokesperson for “GLO” Bible. She has authored numerous books, “Live Laugh Love Again,” “God Crazy” “Overcoming the Seven Deadly Emotions” “Forever God Crazy,” “God Crazy Freedom”, and the “God Crazy Freedom Series”.

Question: What’s your story of redemption? Sign up for my blog and email me your story and I may feature it on a future blog post. Help encourage others who may need your words of hope in their life! “It is always the deepest mine, the darkest cave, or the loneliest desert that holds the richest treasure…”

Twitter: @DaveHendersonMD

Facebook: David Livingstone Henderson, MD

This week on “For Christ and Culture,” I discussed the subject of eating disorders and food addictions. This is a pervasive problem in the United States that has taken hold of the lives of many people (women especially) and must be addressed spiritually, relationally, biologically, and psychologically. Jesus acknowledged that mankind cannot live by bread alone, yet we have made food and all that accompanies it (control, pleasure, survival) idols that have clouded our focus and enslaved us. For those of you who struggle to keep food in its proper place, let me give you some hope. There are resources that can help you to conquer your struggle. But first, you must do several things:

  1. Acknowledge what you really desire when you engage in eating disordered behaviors. (Control, Penance, Retribution, Mastery, Pleasure or avoidance of Pain, etc.)
  2. Recognize your powerlessness to overcome the struggle on your own.
  3. Confront the shame that keeps you from asking for help.
  4. Seek out a medical professional (dietician, psychiatrist, internist) who can help you take care of your physical body in a way that enables you to live the life God wants for you. (This may mean addressing the underlying depression that is perpetuating your behaviors)
  5. Open up to a Godly Christian counselor who can help you address the patterns of thought and emotion that keep you stuck in the addictive cycle.
  6. Establish a community of people (Support Group, Celebrate Recovery, a local Church body, Small group) who know your struggle and will not enable you to continue the addiction but will challenge you to move beyond it to be all that God wants you to be.

Here are some resources that may help to get you started:

  1. Texas Health Resources: Eating Disorders
  2. Remuda Ranch
  3. National Eating Disorders Association
  4. Sober Living by the Sea
  5. Focus on the Family
  6. Celebrate Recovery

Lord,

Care for this individual who desperately wants to give up control and be free of her addiction. Help her to seek out a more lasting source for her significance, her purpose, and her love. Lead her to people who can empower her to break free and experience peace in her identity, past present and future.

Amen.

Question: How have you overcome the internal struggles in your life? What encouraging resources have been helpful in your journey?

Note: For those of you interested in the radio program I did, it should be uploaded to the For Christ and Culture Website the week of the April 2nd.

“I’ve never told this to anyone but you.” For me, this is the saddest statement a client can make to me. So many individuals and families feel a deep sense of loneliness and isolation, even those who are connected with the local body of Christ. They feel lost when it comes to finding an authentic community that will walk with them through their hurts, their failures, and their triumphs.

At a roundtable discussion this weekend in Katy, Tx, we were challenged to consider how the church can better support the nuclear family in dealing with the dysfunction that every one of us has hidden behind our white pickett fences, manicured lawns, and pristine porticos. For me, there are several solutions, all of which were reinforced to me in a message given at our church this Sunday. The passage was Hebrews 13:1-6. Here were the summary points I developed from what I heard:

1. Host intentionally (vs 1-2) – We have become so program-oriented in our culture that we delegate the responsibility of fostering community to an organization, namely the church. I have said this often, but churches are not to be the locus of community. The home should!! Churches need to teach their members what it means to be hospitable. Some of the most authentic people I have known are those who open their homes to strangers. This may feel awkward at first, even terrifying, but the rewards are so worth it. If you want to open up to others and them to do the same, then open your home. Be intentional about the informal moments of life. You just might entertain (and be entertained by) angels.

2. Heal wholly (vs 3) – When working with those struggling with depression, I often find myself saying, “Look beyond your own pain.” Not only is this good for distraction, but it increases a sense of purpose that many depressed individuals lack. When one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts. Therefore, to heal ourselves, we must heal others as well. Hebrews tells us to visit those who are in prison. What prisons do we find ourselves in? The prisons of addiction, loneliness, bitterness, pride, doubt, guilt, painful memories. Who is your family helping to heal? What ministries does your church have to the poor, the widows, and the fatherless. This is pure and undefiled religion! It’s time to stop consuming as families and start serving as families.

3. Honor Absolutely (vs. 4) – In this life, there are absolutes. Marriage is one of them. If you want to honor the family (see it remain strong and healthy), then honor marriage. Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of the rest of society. Churches are responsible for encouraging fathers to be the spiritual leaders in their home, mothers to nuture and support, and children to honor their parents. But what other absolutes do you stand for? Does your family share any convictions? Our postmodern world is always questioning and never answering. Some people may resent you for your convictions but stand by them. In doing so, you will help to establish a community with clear boundaries, one that will give a true sense of belonging to those who choose to join.

4. Hold loosely (vs. 5) – Dallas is the city of the Jones’s…and everyone is trying to keep up with them. Why are we surprised, then, when our churches do the same thing? We look at the membership rolls, the size of the auditorium, the media equipment, the revenue, the clout of our members, the entertainment for our children and we call that success. If this is the case, then what is the  church teaching the family? Listen: coming to church in jeans and t-shirts is not a measure of how accepting a church is. If we want families to learn contentment, then we better start showing it in our church! If someone has a song to sing to the Lord and they don’t hit all the right notes, is that a crime? If a man has been spoken to by God this past week, do we silence him because he does not have a seminary degree? Is it right to hire outside consultants to teach us how to use psychology to manipulate the minds and emotions of our congregations to give more money to the mega-building fund? Perhaps if we stopped flaunting and fleeing consumerism in our churches, we might see our families follow suit.

5. Herald confidently (vs. 6) – as we honor God individually and as families, we can proclaim confidently “The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Authentic community is so because it has nothing to fear from the outside. It can speak its message clearly and directly with open arms…no hidden agendas, no alterior motives, just truth in love. That’s the kind of community I want to be apart of!!

Question: Where have you found authentic community? What are the qualities or attributes that make it so?

As a psychiatrist, I’m used to some of my severely mentally ill patients believing they are someone famous. One of my patients, years ago, told me that he was Jesus Christ. I will admit: I had a hard time keeping a straight face because he looked nothing like the image of Jesus that I had in my mind. He was dirty, disheveled, with slurred speech and an attention span the size of a mustard seed (to use a spiritual metaphor 🙂 )

Then, suddenly, I realized something important, something that broke me, reminded me of how dirty and unworthy I was: this man really was Jesus Christ, at least as far as my attitude should have been concerned! The words of Matthew 25 were sobering: “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Though Jesus was speaking specifically of his disciples in this passage, I think the truth applies to all of humanity, even our enemies.

Though I fail often, I want this simple truth to transform the way I deal with my family, my church, my clients, and anyone else the Lord brings across my path. How many angels have we entertained unaware? I guess it doesn’t matter. What really matters is that what we do for the least, we do for the Greatest! Hear them say, “I am Jesus Christ!”

Question: What helps you to see Jesus in others?

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I am a board certified psychiatrist, author, speaker in private practice with Southwest Clinical and Forensics in Dallas Tx. I also serve as an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. I have a passion for helping people through painful circumstances, be they physical illnesses of the brain, psychological conditions of the mind, social problems of everyday life, and/or spiritual crises of faith and worldview.

Disclaimer

All information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a professional evaluation or treatment. If you are experiencing emotional distress, please contact a mental health professional. Dr. Henderson cannot respond to inquiries about prescription refills, or medical or psychiatric emergencies over the internet. If you are a patient in need of assistance, please contact Dr. Henderson’s office directly, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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