#AACC World Conference: (Correction) Celebrating Faith vs Renewing Faith

Just realized that last years conference theme was renewing faith and this years them is actually celebrating faith.  Clearly there are thoughts on renewal that have been stuck at and shows that stuck place been at. So pray that deep down move into renewal and to celebration.  Pray that this is forms the celebration of the basics of my faith as embrace renewal and move toward celebration.  Have not thought much on the celebration part of the equation but that needs to be part of the picture and a question. In the being confident and sure in what God is doing and not yet at that point how do you embrace the celebration.  Somewhere in here is the answer to both renewal and celebration for we are told that the Joy in the Lord is our strength. So how do we celebrate what we don’t yet see and find strength in the Joy of the Lord in the midst.

#AACC World Conference: A focus on renewing faith

Today I am headed off to the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference. The theme for the conference this year is renewing your faith. Today as prepare to head to Nashville for the conference there is a definite felt need of renewal and renewed faith. Last year went to the National Conference and felt refreshed but when returned things just stalled for me. There was a distinct reluctance to leave as the conference ended. Still do not have finger on exactly what happened but at each point where attempted to re-engage forward movement in my life it was met with quagmire. The thing is when had left in my mind there were several goals, things that wanted to focus on but each attempt at setting and meeting goals led to little follow through. This stall was seen in many areas of my life. For example, there are several blog articles that were started but never completed or published. They sit unfinished on drive. So today I will leave with a prayer of renewal of faith. There is a need to be not just refreshed but energized to move ahead in all areas of my life.

As sit here just sharing my thoughts as embark on the steps needed to take in order to leave, it occurs to me that the conference begins tomorrow, September 28th. It is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year in God’s festivals. So it is a perfect day to start a conference with the focus of renewal of faith. It is a time to take a good look at what is going on in my life and what to need to change in mind, heart, and action. My thoughts will be posted during the course of the conference on this blog and occasional quick comments on my twitter account @peacebringer. Please take time to pray for me during the four days of the conference and time in Nashville.

Now before close this post it is good to begin with brief musing on renewing faith. Those two simple words have a lot of depth of thought. Renewal can be connected with revive and awakening. It is a recharging and coming alive again. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen per Hebrews 11:1. It has two components assurance and conviction. It is being confident and sure. It is knowing that he who promised is faithful. When faith needs renewal there has been a loss of confidence and surety at some level. There has been a loss of vision or a focus on the barriers of what is ahead. It may even be simply overwhelmed with the task and barriers ahead that the confidence and surety become diminished. In some way the endurance and resoluteness has become diminished by whatever barrier or battle. There is a loss of strength and loss of focus. Even a lack of mental toughness. There is something that happens that leads to a lack of finishing strong. As am writing these thoughts the collapse of the performance of the Minnesota Vikings football team the last three games enters my mind. The perseverance wanes and the result is a faltering. My mind lately has already been stirred to think more of what is an enduring faith. Well, it has to start with the basics. The basics come down to who God is, who he made me to be, and where God is leading to Impact others. At the basic level a renewal of faith will entail being refreshed in confidence and surety in those areas.

Video Selection: Everlasting God- Lincoln Brewser

During the worship time at the AACC National Conference the song Everlasting God was frequently a part of the worship.  Unfortunately there is no  online video of Michael O’Brian playing the song to give you full flavor but wanted to share a video of this song.  May you be blessed and enriched as it speaks to the surety of God and his ability to touch us in our frailties. 

Personal Musings: Feeling stuck in “mud”

Well, it is time for an update of where things have been. The blog has been strangely quiet since returning from the AACC National Conference.  It is not personally what I expected or anticipated. As left feeling recharged, refreshed, and energized.  On the Monday following the conference returned to work and work it was, as the it was the busiest morning for me at that job ever.  My second job also was very busy.  So jumped in full steam. By the middle of the week there was what was thought by me to be some allergy issues but ended up being a head cold that is even now still lingering.  There are still all the thoughts and promptings that occurred and are being developed but rather than moving forward it seemed got stuck in mud.

What does that image mean, getting stuck in mud.   Well the kind of being stuck in mud here pertain more to reaching a point in a path that is filled with mud and that progress is difficult.  Here there was a sudden being overwhelmed upon return followed by an ongoing drain that made it difficult to progress.  Some of that is the physical nature of things where there is an ongoing viral infection that slows down.  Rather than ramping up and broadening all the steps that need to be done, it was more a time being slowed and in that time thoughts simmer and process. In other words it is meeting with resistance from what is beyond self, and resistance from within self pertaining to issues of fear, faith, and health.  There is much work ahead, still much preparation to be laid, but time is getting to the point where some serious pursuits and work needs to be done.  Let  me review a little bit of what some of that entails.

1.  Getting the framework set and established for making a push to market private practice and generate clients.  There has not been a whole lot of push forward on that front since was hoping credentialing would go quicker and would be able to add the private practice office with little difficulty.  Credentialing is in itself like moving through mud or pour molasses.  Just a lot of patience needed and not much that can be done.  Yet, there needs to be some networking that goes on with local churches that needs to begin and it starts with getting website up.  Some of what I need done is at the help of others gracious enough to help with the things I do not have the knowledge of, and making sure my communication is clear. Once all I need help with is done then need to spend some time getting the base web content up.  The other steps are getting the printing of letterhead and business cards done so can actually send material out promoting self.  None of these things are enjoyable for me and come with resistance.   These things need to be done. 

2. There is a felt prompting to take the article: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/seven-spiritual-principles-for-transcending-suffering/, into a book that may use the newly forming POD publishing branch of AACC to publish. It is a task and process that is specific and work needs to be done to get started.  My good friend Craig even challenged to consider signing up for NaNoWriMo as part of getting moving. The challenge did not feel right, but the fact is needed to get through own personal resistance and get started on the project whether or not it ends up something beyond my putting it together. 

3. There is still the ongoing goal of writing more intentionally for the blog. Need to set and stick to some personal goals in all of this. And perhaps that is a good starting point, is sitting down and setting objectives to work through these resistance areas of life and to make progress.  But I am well aware of need to be more intentional and consistent.  I think for awhile the objective was writing everyday, and while did that for awhile it may have been more than appropriate, resulting in falling by the wayside when there is took much going on. This is especially true if spend time working on a “book project.” The other aspect is that really have felt led to have a separate blog focusing on Christianity and Mental Health that is overall different with a particular focus on those issues.  It will serve in part as a way of marketing for private practice, as well as get some thoughts out there on what true sound Christian Mental Health theory and practice is. 

So in writing this, it seems clear that in order to make moves through the resistance and mud need to have a few things happen.  One for me is setting some established personal goals. And honestly that is difficult for me. The resistance to personal goal setting goes back to days at Chapel Hill Academy when faced a “self paced” educational system with a process of self-determining goals and meeting those goals.  The final year of my time there, I loaded up a ton of detention for failing to follow through with goals as became tired of there whole way of doing things. 

So what can you the readers do to help me?  There are a couple things. Pray for God give me strength and encouragement to fight through my own areas of resistance.  Some of the resistance is the externals such as waiting for credentialing and the recent health issues. The other is emotional resistance due to fears, work load, and the rest.  In order for there to be any progress though, cannot sit and be passive. The temptation is to simply sit back, engage in the varied distractions, and move from one day to the next.  Yet, doing such would result in a lack of productivity.  So pray for me to grow through that area and meet what God desires.  The other thing people can do is to give words of encouragement.  If there is silence, drop me a line.  If you see me, ask me how doing setting and making goals.  And feel free to challenge and push me to give and meet varied goals.  For I know one thing is clear, that it is easier to move through periods of resistance when there is either encouragement or even help. 

Let me close this bit of personal musing with a question?  How are you in your own lives and in moving toward that which God has prompted within you? Are you slowed down due to resistance?  Have you stopped any progress? Have you gone silent?  Even what are the resistance areas in your own life and what are they tied to?

Final Musigs on #AACC National Conference: Stepping back to home and embracing God’s path

Well the time has nearly come to leave this area of mountains and water.  It is soon time to get to where the engagement and moving ahead begins. A time of refreshing, building up, and drawing deeper has come to a completion.  At times like this it is easy to put oneself at the time of the transfiguration. An experience of God moving occurred.  It is easy to want to stay in it, have it continue but there is a mission ahead.  Jesus knew what was ahead, the disciples did not.  As for me and what is ahead, steps to take are clear but what is to unfold is not.  It would be much easier to stay in the heights and draw deep, but the time serves the purpose to prepare for what lies ahead. As for me steps that lie ahead include actively working on the next steps of building a  practice. There are seeds to be sewn. There is also the prospect of putting together a book based on the concepts of this article: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/seven-spiritual-principles-for-transcending-suffering/. Also there is the building up of wife and family and engaging in what God sets before me at the church he has me placed.  So time to return. One of the experiences of this time was the ever present awareness of deep pain. Lives in pain are touched by many, and many are in pain.  Now to go back, face those in pain at home, while sorting out what is ongoing in my life.  So, now it is time to take the steps toward home. God before me. A path of mystery, pain, and joy ahead.  Praise God for what he has done, what he is doing, and for what is to come.  Hosanna, for I follow the King of Kings.

Musings Final day #AACC conference: Engaging in Forward Movement

Today was a day where much was stirred with in me. The teachings and God’s work within my pointed to ensuring in being engaged in forward movement.  The day started of by attending the presentation of the founder of POD AACC publisher Servant One press.  This stirred up thoughts laid in childhood that some day may write a book.  Publish on Demand is a risky venture but if God is leading, there is need to follow through and engage in walking in God’s direction.

Honestly, the morning resulted in some distractions as my mind kept going to what is ahead and sorting out steps to take.  Yet, God made clear the principle of needing to walk forward in the path he sets before me.  There are steps to take to move ahead with what God has set before me, and lingering can lead to stagnation. The question is really, am I ready to do what God wants. I have had movements of lingering. Starting the blog is one such area. Yet, to move forward, there can be no lingering, as doing so does not put me where God would have me to be.

The other thought that was clear was that it is easy to be distracted. This was first evident in my being distracted during part of the time making it difficult to attend. It was reinforced by the luncheon speaker, Dr. Archibald Hart, who talked of the dangers and distractions of the day and age we are living in.  A point that struck home is that “multitasking results in 30% effectiveness.”  My brain often has many thoughts and ideas going at once. On the forum it and even this blog it has lead to varied starts ands stops of varied subject without carrying the discussion to the full conclusion.  Perhaps thoughts have reached a resolved state in my own mind, but the distractedness of the multi-threaded conversation can well result in reduced efficacy and clarity of communication.

Moving from the focus on me, there was also the reminder of the need to continually be engaging others in moving forward, becoming unstuck, being challenged.  In facilitating growth and balance there is a level of balancing listening and joining with challenging the forward growth.  This also involves adjusting and adapting to their timing as well. 

Finally, there is no true forward movement and growth without God. He is and has to be the core of all I do in helping others and moving forward in directions God leads.  That  of my self will falter and burn.  What is of him will become more clear.  Discernment is needed even in my own life to sort out which is which.

Ultimately, today was an unsettled feeling.  At the end of the conference, I stood there, watching listening, observing.  Knowing that the steps when I leave there needs to me more concerted engaging in forward movement.  God’s best for now and for those He brings my way, and to enable others to be brought my way or be touched by what God stirs within, it involves taking those steps.  So leaving was hard.  It is good to go home, but it is a hard thing. God made clear that he does not want me to sit comfortable. 

So, these are my thoughts about where God has me at the moment? Where are you?  Are you settled? Are you where God wants you to be?  Are there steps you need to take to move forward in your own life to follow the path God has before you? Are you standing still waiting for God to push you?  Now this, the journey and the steps are that of taking steps on the path with a curve you cannot see around.  The journey involves faith. God may request steps of great cost.  Perhaps it is change?  Perhaps you have already turned a corner and waiting on God.  The key is to be engaged in advancing, in moving forward.  For if we sleep, slumber and do not advance, the enemy of our souls most certainly will and will seek to kill, steal, and destroy.  So join me in being committed and intentional on engaging in forward movement.  The steps are not always easy, but God will see each of us through if we follow His commands.

Musing from 2nd day at #AACC National Conference: A matter of refocusing perspectives

Today at the AACC National Conference was a day that broadened perspectives. The workshops attended today were more focused on facilitating change toward particular problem areas.   Skills and knowledge were built upon. Yet, there a was a theme to the day for me.  It started from the first speaker of the day and moved on to the last.  The theme of the day was reviewing perspective.  The perspectives view are about our perspective with God, others, and self.

The thoughts on my perspective with God was a reminder of standing on the rock of God’s truth.  Abiding in His word. It is His word that contains the truth that sets us free.  His word is the foundation upon which we are to act.  It is knowing and acting on His word that gives us the only true and secure base.  Anything else will falter.  No matter what each of us is going through, God and His word are always secure.  So a question for each of us, is how is our attachment to God.  Or as Dr. Tim Clinton would put it, how is our “God Attachment.”  There is not one of us that is does not need to examine our perspective toward God. How is our vision and how can we grow deeper in the limits to our perspective of God. 

As to perspectives of others, the thought in my mind is about we need to at time refocus how we perceive those in our lives both in terms of our family, our community, and those brought to our lives. There are people like myself whose vocation is to help those hurting and needing help.  The starting point is to continually evaluate my own perceptions of those who come to me for help. It is easy to develop perspectives on clients that create negative mindsets. There are particular diagnoses that bring negative reactions and actual resistance to providing sound counsel.  So there has to be a perspective that no client is hopeless and all are capable of help and change.  Now there are ways to restrict clients to assure working with a particular class the generates a sense of productive help. It does take work and changing perspectives and finding solutions to help facilitate change.  And the goal is to facilitate change, which an also be related to helping people see things in their life differently. Finding different options other than doing things they have always done. This can involve building skills and helping them make changes to their perspectives.  In essence, changing perspectives is all about helping them find their way. What is there view of what life stressors and how to get them to view broader in ways not examined.  It is broadening and focusing perspectives ultimately that help generate change, as a person is ready.

Lastly, the thoughts went to focusing on my perspectives of myself.  What are the lies I hold to?  What are the distortions of God I hold?  How is my perspective limited? What do I oppose? What do I fear? Where is my faith? Is my perspective on this world or on eternal matters?  This challenging of the perspective of self comes during an interesting time. The Jewish calender has already started a several day celebration of Sukkot, “The Feast of the Lord.”  It is a day focusing on the ultimate victory and a move from the temporary to the permanent.  Is my walking in this temporary tabernacle one that is continuing on the path set before me or is the things that draw my attention and attract me to places dark. 

So today was about building up skill in part, but it really was a day of perception checks.  Where is the focus.  Tomorrow is the last day of the conference.  The progression as a flow to it so it will be interesting to see where my thoughts go tomorrow.  Yesterday it was about reviewing foundations and ultimately going deeper. Today it is about refocusing perspectives, tomorrow has yet to play out.  Praise God for the works he is doing, not just in the life of this man, but all who are here.

The best way to end this article is a quote from Dr. Ken Nichols of www.aliveministries.net “God’s word influences my perspective.  My perspective influences how I respond. My response influences the outcome of the situation. 100% of the time.”