#wcaacc Conference Day One: Re-establishing Focus

 

Today the start of the World Conference for the American Association of Christian Counselors was a day that served as a good start. God already has been at work showing me, reminding me, and teaching me what I need to know today. My story and journey here is unique as it will be for the 7000 other counselors and ministers of varying forms. Each situation and story is different and what God has to teach at some levels is the same but for each individual it is different, for he created us each unique. For me today, the day was about renewed focus.

 

My day started with Dr. E. John Kuhnley with a training related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. So the conference started for me with examining those who at a core have a disorder in focus. It was interesting that in the course of the training the comparison was made to vision loss and the nature of “corrective measures.”

 

The journey of the day continued with a training sponsored by the Society of Christian Psychologists about the Problem of Evil and Suffering in Christian Counseling. It was a time focusing on the essence of dealing with the suffering around us and those we encounter. The lecture and conversation centered on who God is and how we impact others. An awareness of God being beyond our grasp and when interacting with others, we are not about the answers but the coming along side to encourage healing and growth. The thoughts that stuck with me are related to being okay with the “I do not know” followed by having a grasp of the function of suffering and what happens when we do face the suffering of this fallen world. So in other words, we may never understand the meaning of what happens to us related to the pain and suffering we encounter in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We don’t have to understand. Ultimately suffering serves a purpose in each of our lives. Each story is unique and different and of the course we learn what there is to learn and grow deeper from knowledge to understanding. As we walk the path in thing enduring faith, God brings to further clarity at times His calling and path. Something that path is different than expectations as dreams shatter. Yet, God works, as He wills and works, in each life, for each story.

 

 

 

The day wrapped up with the opening plenary session. Before either Dr. Tim Clinton or Lois Palau spoke worship was lead by Charles Billingsly. He made a statement “The world is all of us. The only thing that separates us is the blood of the lamb.” Dr. Tim Clinton then spoke on the growing importance of faith and spirituality in counseling. He touched on Colossians 1:27 with emphasis on the last portion of the first “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He went on to state “It’s personal. It is all about you and what God wants to do through you.” He then challenged each of us to ask God to do something special which may be a renewed calling, a being strengthen to fight, to simply do what matters before God.

 

For me the night ended with Lois Palau talking about the mysteries of union with God, the human condition, and communion with God. The emphasis was about God being with us, within us. That each day we need to start with our focus on God and Jesus in surrender. We need to abide in Him. One profound statement was “That along as God is in us, we are the power of God wherever we go.”

 

 

 

So in summing up my thoughts on this day. For me it was renewed focus. We each can easily lose focus. We can lose sight of the basics. We live in a fallen world and have a fallen sin nature. We are no different than anyone else. We are all in the same boat. The difference that exists, exists because of what God did in suffering for us. He suffered and died so that we may be made free and lived. This freedom is not to do what ever we determine but to enter into God’s Kingdom and follow His way. It is only in being aligned with God that we are whole. God moves in each of our lives in ways beyond our limited understand. We all have a a unique story. It in involves joy and sorrow. Yet, in that each of us have a path and calling. We are enabled to walk the path God puts before us because of His strength, for He is with us. Whatever we do, whatever steps we take, whatever moving forward, comes becomes of God in us. And this is the focus. Whether in plenty or want that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

 

Well those are my thoughts and summation for this first day of the conference and what God is doing. Take time to ask God to help your focus and see what He wants you to see. Accepted what you do not know and trust in God alone. For only in Him is there any strength.

News Commentary: Learning from the Fall of Jeff Dubay

     In the Twin Cities, news recently broke of sports radio personality Jeff Dubayrecent arrest for drug possession. Initially there was misunderstanding regarding which drug he was charged with possessing, it ulitemately ended up being crack cocaine.  Yesterday, Jeff Dubay was terminated from KFANand will no longer be heard on the airwaves.  This incident followed Jeff Dubay taking a leave during the summer. Upon return we learned his wife was divorcing him. Perhaps many suspected he had gone to treatment or a connection to drug or alcohol, but it was all speculation until recent events. 

       The story of the fall of Jeff Dubay is really no different then many other stories.  Jeff Dubay simply is a man whose profession was entertaining the public, and as such, his fall became public.  So the question is why, is there something inherently broken in Jeff Dubay?  He had everything and lost it all do to drugs, how could he have let that happen?  Well, Jeff is really no different than any of us.  Ultimately he found that upon getting all he wanted (the wife, the house, the boat, the cabin, Gopher’s Hockey championships) it in the end meant nothing.  At some point, be it triggered by stress at home or triggered by nothing Jeff Dubay turned to crack cocaine.  Again, no different then any of us. It is very common for people to turn to alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, sex, television and so on to cope.  We settle for something that medicates temporarily when what we wanted ends up not fulfilling the emptiness.  As it says over and over in Ecclesiastes, “All is vanity, a chasing after the wind.”  Mr. Dubay had expanded his kingdom and within the perspective of this world had set himself up to have a nice life complete with all the toys. 

      Some may point to and argue that some people just cannot handle stress.  Some people are just genetically predisposed toward addiction.  Jeff has let known on air that he has ADHD. So, Jeff clearly had to be a broken person in order to make these choices.  However, these choices are made frequently by people without any broken part.  It may be easy to focus on how Jeff’s brain might work differently as an excuse, but it really comes down to making a choice.  However, more and more in society, excuses are looked for regarding destructive choices.   Jeff Dubay is no different then many people and ultimately we all can easily make destructive choices when faced with meaninglessness or even a threat of losing part of our own kingdom. 

       Some may be thinking, how could Jeff Dubay have possibly returned to the drug after treatment or even put himself in such a position.  The fact is, once an addiction sets in, reason leaves the door.  The compulsive methods of coping are traps that once hooked, people have trouble getting free.  Actually, any sin, be it compulsive or not, is a trap.  It takes daily fighting the battle and resistance in order to become free.  And freedom apart from the grace of God comes very difficult indeed.

    Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes the role of faith in recovery, but falls short by relying solely on faith.  It doesn’t matter what you believe in, just believe in something outside yourself.  As long as you confess, repent, and reconcile it does not matter what Deity you have faith in.  However, there is really only one to truly have faith in,  Jesus the Messiah.  Faith in anything but Jesus will fall short and ultimately one form of false peace is traded for another.  True peace only comes through true reconciliation. True reconciliation only comes by turning to the one and true God.  Our sins and addictions have consequences not just in this life.  Jesus paid the dept.  He took the punishment.   He can set us truly free from all that ensnares.  However, we need to submit by an act of the will and accept Jesus covering for our imperfection and selfishness.

Now, it is public knowledge that Jeff Dubay is not religious. He has talked on error of his thoughts that it is all about individual strength.  His lack of religious belief was discuss many times in his buying his on air partner a Jesus bobble head doll.  So, given that Jeff Dubay doesn’t not yet know Jesus, I pray that God reveals himself to Jeff as he goes through this time of brokenness.  Jesus is the true answer for freedom and reconciliation.  Now, turning oneself over to Jesus and surrendering to the King of Kings does not mean that life will always be easy and there will be no suffering, rather it means that in spite of any storms around us, we have access to true peace.  True peace rests in being right with God and knowing that what lies ahead transcends any current circumstance.