Archives For Power

When I was a senior in college, I entered a depression.

It started as a deep gray feeling, then widened and darkened into a black abyss. I lived with five of my college friends, but felt all alone. It got so bad I dropped out of school and entered treatment.

The doctors said I had suffered from low grade depression for years. I don’t know if this was true, but it’s what they said. Apparently I had a knack for coping. But this current season of depression, this slick and slippery downward spiral that threatened my entire world, was beyond coping. I wanted to kill myself.

I’m better now. It’s 14 years later. In the course of my depression, lots of people tried to help. I know their heart was right. But sometimes, their words were not. Following is stuff that Christians shouldn’t say to someone who’s depressed. (No blame here—I said some of these things to others myself.)

But here they are…

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It’s half-way through summer, which means kids and moms are fretting. Kids because the summer is ALREADY half done and moms because it’s ONLY half done.
If you’re looking for an idea to jumpstart your kids for the rest of the summer, try this, which we’re doing in our home. We’re calling it Summer Son and it’s based on Luke 2:52:

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”

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Someone recently asked me what forces have helped me mature. That is, what factors were responsible for my personal growth? Although several causes came to mind eventually, my first thought surprised me—it was trials.

According to Webster’s, a trial is, “a test of the quality, value, or usefulness of something.” Usually we like to avoid trials because trials are painful. When we propose a personal or professional development plan, we don’t propose the deliberate inclusion of trials. When trials come, we want to walk the other way.

But trials can be powerful forces for good in your life. Here are five ways that trials can benefit you:

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The other night I did something I had been putting off for months. Once I got the idea, I sat on it for a while, but then in a rare flash of courage, I acted on it.

My idea was to invite a group of men to my house to tell them they were important to me, and to tell them why. I would, one by one, look each in the eye and give word to our relationship—review the history of our friendship, name what I admire about them, and give them a personalized gift.

I wanted to celebrate men who were important to me.

But what guy would willingly come to something like this?

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Although spiritual gifts are one of God’s ways to build a healthy Church, many Christians aren’t operating in them.

-They don’t know what a spiritual gift is.
-They don’t know what a spiritual gift is not.
-They don’t know what their spiritual gift is.

And consequently, the Church isn’t benefiting from their gift nor are Christians experiencing joy from operating in their gift. The Body is dismembered.

But the Bible exhorts us to pursue spiritual gifts because we form one body. As a reminder, here’s my preferred definition of a spiritual gift (C. Peter Wagner):

“A spiritual gift is a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ, according to God’s grace, for use within the context of the Body.”

Here are five reasons we don’t pursue them:

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We discussed the crisis of spiritual gifts in the Church and what a spiritual gift is. Now we discuss what a spiritual gift is not.

This is important because of the confusion regarding the definition of a spiritual gift. For example, in the spiritual gift survey we previously referenced, 20% of the respondents claimed they had spiritual gifts that aren’t actually spiritual gifts: “sense of humor, singing, health, life, happiness, patience, a job, a house, premonition, creativity, and clairvoyance.”

And since starting this spiritual gift series, questions have risen from readers and confirmed the confusion—some people don’t know what a spiritual gift is and what’s it’s not. For example, Are spiritual gifts different from the fruits of the Spirit? Patience appeared in the survey as a spiritual gift, but according to Galatians 5:22, patience is a fruit of the Spirit as well. Is patience both a gift and a fruit?

Or the question, Are talents the same as spiritual gifts? Creativity also appeared in the survey as a spiritual gift, but is creativity more of a natural talent? What’s the difference between a talent and a spiritual gift? Are they the same?

These kinds of questions signify curiosity and confusion, so let’s jump in. To start, here’s my preferred definition of a spiritual gift (C. Peter Wagner):

“A spiritual gift is a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ, according to God’s grace, for use within the context of the Body.”

Now let’s discuss four things a spiritual gift is not, from Wagner’s book on the topic:

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Last week we shared a statistic in the Church. Although spiritual gifts are vital to the health of Christ’s Body on earth, a survey revealed that the majority of respondents (63%) didn’t have a biblical understanding and/or a practical application of spiritual gifts.

This is troubling because not only are spiritual gifts part of God’s strategy to build the Church, but they’re also central to experiencing joy as a Christian. According to Pastor Ray Stedman, “The value of your life as a Christian will be determined by the degree to which you use the gift God has given you.”

This week we look at what a spiritual gift is.

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A few years ago, the Barna Group released results from a multiple year survey involving 3,000 self-described Christians. When I read the results, I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it—some of the responses were funny to me. But as I thought more, the hilarity faded. Here was a glimpse into the Church and I lamented what I saw.

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A few months ago, I received an email from a young man who was desperate. Suffering from two chronic injuries, he was forced to lay on his back all day long. He felt isolated and hopeless, and asked if I would seek God for a word for him. He wasn’t sure he was hearing from God clearly.

So I agreed but went a step further. I took some guys to his house to pray with him. Since then, he’s become a good friend, and although we’ve continued to pray for healing, he hasn’t been healed. Sometimes when I’m at work or playing with my kids on a bright weekend day, I think of my friend on his mattress, and it makes me sad.

I want my friend to be healed! You have people you want to be healed. You may want to be healed.

Is there a formula for physical healing?

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Can An Orphan Heal?

Chris Heinz —  April 30, 2014 — 6 Comments

Panic crashing down, I awoke when it was still dark outside.

My heartbeats thundered through my veins, I could feel them speeding up and getting heavier: Boom, boom, boom.

No, slow down, breathe, find peace. I practiced the normal tactics in times like this—tried breathing slower, tried to think a happy thought, a kitten, a puppy. I tried to pray. But nothing worked—I was a wreck.

I lumbered downstairs and plopped on the couch in my office. Why was I so anxious?

Then two thoughts came to mind.

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