Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why Do we have Emotional Pain?

We normally conclude that Inner Healing is for directly removing the sting that arise in hearts because of childhood shock, trauma or abuse. that is partly true, but more needs to be added. one of the most powerful sources of emotional pain is self inflicted because we have developed ways of thinking that cause great harm to ourselves. We call it Stinking Thinking and a lot of it comes from Double Bind assumptions.

A Double Bind Communication Pattern is any verbal injunction that can only be obeyed when it is disobeyed.  And, it is the chronic presence of a no-win communication pattern that induces neurotic thoughts and feelings.

Some people have become masters at living Double Bind Communication Patterns. However, the ability to excel in communicating with Double Binds always comes at others’ expense.  A Master of the Double Bind seemingly has the ability to verbally cause his/her Victims to feel like losers. When we are caught in toxic Double Binds our automatic response is “Guilty as charged”.  (I say “seemingly” because we can teach you how to stop accepting the “False Guilt” that is engendered by Double Bind talk.)

For example, a Double Bind connoisseur can find failure in even the best performances. Straight A’s in school melt in the glaring light of the subtle tone of disappointment and scorn from the Double Binder with a Black Belt in Shaming. A child can never win if Momma is insecure because of her child’s success.  Yes, we usually learn the Double Bind system and develop an automatic false guilt reaction at our momma’s knee.

But that is not the worst part of it. The most personal devastation and emotional destruction arises not from the unkind cuts of others but from the Double Bind Master unleashes that toxicity upon himself through self talk ruminations.  God gave us a brain with a high quality, high speed audio-video camera that records and replays life in a distorted manner within the confine of our skull. However, because of the Fallen Nature, our brain is damaged. The brain’s automatic default position is fight or flight.

Dr. Andrew Newberg, M.D. is a Psychiatric Neurologist who is an expert at using cutting edge technology to watch what happens to the brain when we pray, sing, worship, read and think about sensitive topics. He and Mark Waldman have studied the brain for decades and have concluded that “Human beings have a neurological and biological propensity to act in profoundly hostile ways” toward others and self.

When this hostility is turned toward the self it cuts a deep route of chronic and consistent Pessimism about life. If a child suffers from trauma or a Double Bind environment more than likely he or she will have a painful emotional tear around that memory. If the pain level of the original pain is 5.0 on a 10.0 point scale, the chronic repeating of the thought can cause it to rise to a level ten or one hundred times as toxic. Rumination over and over of any negative event can lead the person to a lifestyle of depression, shyness and mental disorder.

As children we are wonderful observers of life but terrible interpreters of meaning.  We observe and remember how others treat us with Double Binds and then replay those events with great speed and accuracy for days on end until a habitual mental process of self talk is deeply embedded into the heart and mind.  We carry our own toxic ideas and self talk with us wherever we go, adding to its strength and disgust on a daily basis even if we have forgotten the original events.  

The primary result of living in a Double Bind System is the inability to discern what kind of behavior will be rewarded and what will be punished.  It is an intuitive law of our human nature based on the imago Dei nature God gave us to seek pleasure and avoid pain. However, in a Double Bind Relational System, the child, church member, employee or citizen is unable to predict when an action will be affirmed and when it will be rejected. Our Pessimism will drive our Perceptions and distort them beyond imagination. This leaves us with a deeply anxious inability to make decisions lest we be punished and not know why. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What is Inner Healing?

When Karen and I along with a gaggle of young students and a few other adults became involved in the Jesus Movement in 1969, we opened our home to all who were interested in God's love. Steve Sjogren did the same some 15 years later. He called it "Servant Evangelism" at the small Vineyard Church here in Cincinnati but so many showed up for the love of God they stayed for His healing, training and ministry.

It was not long before we saw how powerful God's love is when applied practical ways to the lives of hurting people, especially the young people. I had been invited to leave one church because we did home groups for students with love, prayer and Bible study and it upset the elders. We wandered for awhile but had no real church with a steeple to attend.  In excitement and some desperation we opened up our home on Jefferson Ave across the street from U. C. to whomever wanted to come. As Sjogren says, "They all showed up".

the "they' consisted of dozens of young people who were hungry for Jesus and His love. they stayed for healing, deliverance, food, mothering and fathering and hope. We were overwhelmed with the variety, difficulty and depth of the problems that came into our home every day and night.  Drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, abuse, violence, and mood disorders were the common problems and we discovered there were many more needing help. We were desperate for finding better ways to help these folks get better.

One day we heard from Tom, an Episcopal Priest in our ministry, that his Priest friend from Atlanta was coming to teach on inner healing. It was said that he had been trained by Agnes Sandford and others how to carry out the call of Jesus in Luke 4 to "Heal the broken hearted and set the captives free".  We were very eager to learn how to do that. We were in a "ZAP Phase" of ministry where we emphasized power healing as the answer to all the problems we saw in people. After discovering the reality of the Third Person of the Trinity we became obsessed with spiritual warfare and Holy Spirit power. This Episcopal Priest sounded like the answer to our prayers.

The Priest came to town, met with our little band and taught us how to do inner healing. It was, as I remember, a focus on dealing with all the inner issues of life as opposed to outer healing that focuses on the body. He had studied under John Kilpatrick who studied under Mrs. Sanford the wife of an Episcopal Priest and the most famous early teacher on inner healing.  

From our new friend we learned to distinguish among all the possible causes of emotional, relational, mental, physical and generational sicknesses. there was no one thing that caused a problem nor one tool we could use to solve every problem. We soon saw that "if the only tool we have in the tool box is a hammer, every problem will be seen as a nail". It became apparent that until he spoke, we had only one tool: prayer power to heal and deliver. This assumes that every problem is a sickness or bondage of some sort.

We learned that some issues came from a guilty conscience that requires confession. Or, an issue can arise from bad choices that require repentance. Some issues arise from ignorance and stinking thinking that require renewal of the mind. We did not have a full understanding about the theology underlying his ideas but this fellow made a lot of sense.

A few years later I enrolled in a school with a group who taught the Priest but they refused to allow me to attend. The reason was the fact that I had degrees in counseling and would not renounce my studies and swear to use only their model. However, Karen and I went to Florida and stayed with John Kilpatrick and his team for a week and learned their approach and theology in more depth.

Thus, I learned from the founders that inner healing is all about healing the whole person, body, mind, will, emotions, relationships, family tree and so forth. However, the process begins with the inner life not the outer life. It is traditionally called, soul care. In modern times it is known as pastoral care and pastoral counseling and has been practiced in the churches of God for 2,000 years.

Read my books found at the Sweeten life web page bookstore for an in depth understanding.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Inner Healing and Soul Care

The term my European interpreters use when I say Counseling is seelsorge. It means, Soul Care.  When I spoke last week at the Global Awakening conference on Unbroken I found almost 200 people eagerly wanting to learn more about inner healing. However, most approached the topic from a point of view that I held for many years but altered some time ago.

I began the journey of Soul Care from the point of view that God could and would heal people with early childhood wounds through the prayers of faithful Christians. When we first heard about inner healing from a visiting Episcopal Priest from Atlanta in 1972 we were ecstatic. We had hope that it was possible to carry out the promises of Isaiah 61 to Heal the broken hearted and set the captives free.

From the late Sixties until 72 we had been overwhelmed with people with broken hearts and spirits captured by addictions, evil habits and evil lives. We prayed for them but, like many before us, we did not know how to pray for their deliverance and healing. Now came the word that inner healing had arrived on the scene to set all the captives free.Visions of former addicts, prostitutes and devil worshipers dancing in the Spirit as free from evil as the day they were born.

That year we began to experiment with inner healing prayers. For some of the people healing and deliverance came swiftly and  happily. But many lapsed back into their old ways or did not leave them in the first place. We had more to learn.

I went on to study Psychology and received an ED. D in Counselor Education. Ten, after graduation,  is when my education really began. My colleagues and I continued to pray fervently for the wounds of past hurts to be healed. In fact, I still pray that way.But we learned how to add prevention and follow up to Surgery of the Soul. An Orthopedic Surgeon can fix a knee or hip but the work of healing is not over until the patient has follow up with Physical Therapists, Nurses, Nutritionists and so forth to strengthen the muscles of the legs, and regain balance as well as eat right. It is important to do follow up to prevent the surgery from failing.

This is very true also for Surgery of the Soul. Over the years we learned how to help people renew their minds, bring healthy change to themselves and their families and connect with God's Spirit at a deeper level. All of these are required to keep going without a relapse.

What think you about these ideas?

Go to the sweeten life web page to check out our resources.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

American History Live

Karen and I are taking a week to relax and re-learn- American history. We are on a small strip of land jutting out into the Chesapeake Bay where more important events took place than anywhere else in the USA.  We are staying in Williamsburg, Virginia and visiting Colonial Williamsburg where the first and longest running parliament has been going for about 300 years. Women and African slaves came to this place about 300 years ago as well. Freedom was birthed at the same time that slavery and bondage flourished.

But before Williamsburg there was Jamestown, the first permanent settlement in America. The British came here in three small ships in 1607! They celebrated 400 years in 2007! The courage and mental agility these men and women showed were amazing.

John Smith is a name that is familiar to many of us but mainly because of several tall tales. However, the truth about John smith are probably more dramatic and amazing than the mythology. He was captured by the Indians and talked them into not only releasing him but making him an ambassador for them. After being wounded in a gun powder explosion Mr. Smith returned to England where he drew such accurate maps of the East Coast of America that they were used for years by explorers.

Today we visited Colonial Williamsburg and the place is wonderfully rebuilt and full of living history. We heard Thomas Jefferson speak for 30 minutes then answer any question asked by a member of of the audience of several hundred people. He was magnificent.  The actor has been doing this for over 20 years and he was cool as a cucumber at answering some very challenging questions with great humor and insight.

I learned a lot and enjoyed it all. If you have not been here, consider coming down with the kids to see American history. By the way, we are just a few miles from Yorktown where Washington defeated the British and accepted their surrender. It is also near several Civil War battlefields and all kinds of activities from the earliest days of our republic.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Marital intimacy

The Bible says that Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed. What does that mean? Does it mean that they had no clothes on or something else? For me it means that Adam and Eve were totally transparent with God and each other. Marital intimacy indicates that we have been able to develop relationships as trustful as those that Adam and Eve had before sin entered the world. Such transparency is rare and difficult to achieve in most marriages. Let us face it. We all have areas of lust, fear, anxiety and hurt that makes it difficult to share openly with each other. And, if we do share our thoughts and feelings, it is common for the spouse to get defensive, hurt and fear. Helping a couple gain trust and a sense of safety is not easy,but it can be done with careful, patient work. If you are in a relationship that lacks intimacy, transparency and deep sharing, find a place or person to help you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Marks of Healing, Growth Fellowship

I have been interested in pursuing ways to develop churches into healing/growth fellowships ever since I heard a famous Psychologist say that is what the early church did so well.  After so many years of disappointment I wonder is I am the only person so inclined. Why are so few churches pursuing what made the early churches grow and impact the culture?

There are two primary aspects of a healing community. The first is called, grace and truth and the second, healing flow. Both marks point to the importance of our attitudes, for out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Thus, an attitude of grace and truth toward all needy men and women is the first essential of a healing cell.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, it is the attitudes of the sober members toward those who have not yet reached sobriety, is critical to their change. It is the attitude of the saints' toward sinners, the insiders' view of those still outside the fold; the elder brother's view of the prodigal who wants to come home but is too ashamed; it is the Pastor's view of those unable to help themselves.  When those in the group who have been touched by God's grace extend it to others outside the group, that community is prepared to help and heal. When those who have been personally loved with an everlasting love show the same kind of unrestrained and exuberant selflessness to the undeserving, the community moves toward health. When people are accepted as they are, warts, struggles and sins intact, we can see the beginning of a family that will heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. This is the grace-applied part of a healing community.

Grace applied goes so far as to suggest that the only persons who deserve to enter the group fail the test of acceptability! Only alcoholics can become members of a group dedicated to sobriety. Even then, each member, sober or not, must professes to be an alcoholic. Only sinners may apply to become members of a church dedicated to saintliness. Anyone professing perfection should be turned away at the door. The church is not a country club that checks credentials, to make sure that the applicants are worthy of entry, but a hospital that looks for wounds to heal. Those who are certain of their purity are actually too sinful to be accepted, but those who are certain that their sin is far too bad to be forgiven get the red carpet treatment.

A Vigorous Grace and Love

There is a second and important aspect of entering the healing community. Along with an attitude that accepts people as they are, is an attitude and expectation that the wounded, sinful, powerless person will grow and change. The healing group ministers both grace and truth in such a vigorous fellowship that change, growth and healing are inevitable. A good hospital accepts even the sickest and most hopeless patients but is never satisfied to leave the patient that way. A healthy community of both grace and truth pulls members upward, toward the high call of Jesus Christ. Truth will be preached, love shown and grace extended so the community moves together as a developing, growing family. Grace without truth will not have the power to set us free. We must know the truth in order to seek righteousness. Yes, the truth can set us free, but it will kill our hope without a generous flow of God's grace to provide the oil of gladness for our wounds.

Healing Flow

The other major aspect of a healing community is the active, interactive and dynamic release of God's healing flow. When His word, His love and His gifts are flowing with liberty in the midst of fellowship and worship, His healing will flow. When the whole body comes together, with its varied gifts, talents, skills, and experiences, His healing will flow from the group to the members and from the members to the group in an integrated whole that will set the Spirit free. St. Paul's comparison of the body and church says how the healing community was designed to work.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)

When my body works, as it should, I pay no attention to its parts. My individual body members are merged with other members to the extent that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. However, when one of my members is not working properly, it can cause my entire body to become unbalanced. When the cell group is working together in a healthy manner, the individuals within it are pulled toward health. Even the painful members of the body are forgotten when we are caught up in an intense emotional activity. As one athlete said, "It does not hurt when I win." When a group of Christians is communicating deeply, worshiping the Lord with freedom and reaching out to those who need Christ, the hurts and pains of any one individual is less disabling to the whole group. However, when the group is not functioning well, even a minor problem seems important.  This is why cell members get most of their healing and growth needs met within a group that is flowing in the Spirit.

A key to being a healing community is the way the whole team ministers to each other. The broken person receives healing from all the members of the cell, not just the leaders or the specialized counselors. Each person, no matter how distressed, can share a hymn, a song a word or a scripture.

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 1 Co 14:26

Every broken member needs to be a part of the healing flow. The broken member who receives God's touch through the group is expected to become a healing agent. Every current helper is a formerly broken, immature member of the cell.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." 1 Cor 1:26-31

When a new member first enters the cell, she may be so focused upon her own needs that it is impossible to consider being a vessel of healing. However, that will not last very long because God often chooses hurting cell members as helpers in order to show it is He, not we, who is the healer. This fact is evidence of another difference between a Christian community and the medical model. Valerie may minister to me one meeting, and the next I minister to her. We are not filling some kind of a rigid role based upon credentials, education and position, but are allowing the Spirit of God to flow through us to others. Pastors need the prayer, advice and wisdom of members, and members need the teaching and leadership of pastors.

Cell members can experience the healing flow of Jesus in three different kinds of encounters within the cell. As we open ourselves to Him in Welcome, Worship, Word, Work and Witness, we encounter the Holy Spirit and enjoy His presence. Truth encounters: The scripture convicts, heals and delivers. The word of God touches hearts and reveals the hidden things of the Spirit. The truth from research on medical and psychological issues can bring healing. The unveiled reality of God's revelation in a Rhema shows us what to do and how to do it. As we worship in Spirit and truth, shalom proceeds. Both the times of the Word and Worship are restorative to the soul and body.
Take the... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Love encounters: The emotional trauma that comes from painful family relationships can not be repaired without establishing safe places for human contact. Every child is born fearing rejection and abandonment. Dysfunctional families leave scars of abandonment within the souls of every family member. Thankfully, the fruit of the Spirit, when experienced in the cell group as it flows in the Spirit brings substantial healing and restoration to the wounded soul.

So few of us have ever experienced real love and warm acceptance, that when it occurs, the effects are startling, even overwhelming. All of the W's of cell life can contribute to the love encounter. The Welcome is critical because it sets the stage for acceptance and safety. Worship models and powerfully communicates the gracious acceptance and love of God. The Word brings healing when released in a caring, interactive manner. Work time allows us to minister together, interact with care and pray for each other with sensitivity and acceptance.

And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13

Power encounters: Most of us think of the gifts and power of God when we discuss the healing ministry or a healing community. We are seeing a wonderful revival of the power gifts in churches around the world, and testimonies of God's miraculous works are abounding. Many churches are reaching out to the poor and needy, including drug addicts, alcoholics and those with sexual compulsions. Most, if not all, who are in recovery, have had a personal, power encounter with God. Only the power of God can set people free from demons, diseases and other forms of bondage, so each cell must learn how to pray with power and faith.

See Sweeten Life Systems for materials on how to develop your church into a healing community.  

Rules and Norms for Group Work

In the groups we set up in Russia, a great deal of time is spent on establishing the "Group Rules". At first I was suspicious of their processes but I learned to appreciate and affirm the way they do the group work.

       Each person may share his/her feelings and thoughts at the beginning.
       Everyone may pass
       Greet each person and lay the ground rules
       Arrive on time. Apologize if late
       We shall stay focused on the meeting’s agenda & avoid other matters
       No side talk or discussion. Speak when the moderator recognizes you.
       No cell phones on during group
       We will not fix each other or solve the problems of others. We can have pain without interference.
       We grow while expressing ourselves or listening to others
       Do not give advice unless others ask
       Personal items shared stay in the room
       No quoting others without permission.
       No Blaming, Shaming, put-downs, personal attacks or quoting past failures
       If you leave early, inform the group
       We pray for people as the Lord leads
       Anyone may mention a rule violation
       We will honor the facilitators and follow their lead

See Healing Souls, Touching Hearts for more on developing healthy groups. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Healing Depression

I have posted a link on FB to a New York Times article on depression. It is a good article that seems balanced. However, as I mentioned on FB, we need to add several ideas to the notion that medication alone is enough to alleviate depression.

Do these things and feel better.

1. Stop Stinking Thinking. When we think about hopelessness and helplessness we will very likely get to be hopeless and helpless.

2. Accept God's Love. Stop telling yourself that you are to bad to be loved and accepted by God. You are not that important.

3. Exercise. Do more. get off your padded pew and produce your own brain chemicals.

4. help someone worse off than you.

This is a start. Doe one of them and you will feel better.

5. Finally, buy and read my book: Power Christian Thinking will show you how to have God's Power in your life and emotions.

Growing as a Christian with Diverse Ideas

The Bible is a book that advances diversity in many ways and Jesus was the main spokesman for accepting people with great differences. Jesus came from a long line of Jewish people but He intentionally broke down the barriers between Jews and Gentiles when He told His followers to "Go and trained students from the whole world by teaching them everything He did". (Matthew 28:18-20)
On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on everyone who had been scattered to the four winds and gave them the ability to communicate in one voice thus reversing the Tower of Babel.

God woke Peter up from a deep sleep and told him in a vision to share the good news with the Romans. Barnabas and Paul were apostles to the Gentiles and 90% of the Christians who ever lived are Gentiles. But more than that, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write in I Corinthians 12 that having different gifts was critically important to the church congregations they established after Pentecost.  

Groups with members that are all alike tend to be dull, unimaginative and stuck. Groups that are diverse in talents, gifts, personality and ways of acting tend to be exciting and active. For many years our teams have worked with churches, businesses and families to help them appreciate and understand how to get along with people who are different. One way we do that is to give a check list to people that allows everybody to see each others temperament preferences.

The check list I prefer is the Myers-Briggs Temperament Type or its grandson, The Kiersey Sorter. The MBTI looks at several preferences and comes up with a preference profile that indicates the ways a person prefers to live, work and relate. These are not psychological tests and have nothing to do with mental health and mental illness. Nor do they indicate one's IQ Level.

Here are the preferences that many indicate we are born with. Before you look at my descriptions, do a little experiment with me. Write you name as if you were signing a check. Then, do the same with your other hand. Which was easier? Which took more energy and thought? What if you had to use the second hand at work all day every day?

This is similar to temperament Types. Many of us are in jobs where we try to use our off hand all the time and we are always tired, grumpy and dissatisfied. By looking at your preferences you may be able to find ways to live out of them more often and be refreshed.


Extroversion: I get my energy from being with people and events. If tired i can be rejuvenated by joining with others. (Some Extraverts work alone  and wonder whey they are dissatisfied.)
Introversion: I get my energy from being alone. If tired I can recover by getting away from people and events. (Many Introverts try to live as Extraverts and wonder why they are exhausted.)

Sensory Perceptions: See the details of the world. Gets information through the five senses. May miss the big picture.
iNtuitive Perceptions: Receives information from random ideas, thoughts, feelings and events and puts them together into a pattern. May miss details

Thinking: Assesses events with analytical, impersonal processes. Asks it things are right or wrong because of facts.
Feeling: Assesses events with personal values. Asks if things are good or bad because of the way they impact people.

Judging: Prefers to perceive a minimal amount of information through either S or N and make a decision about action. Prefers order, structure and closure.
Perceptive: Prefers to stay open to new experiences and ideas without bringing the discussion to a close. The strong P is an exact opposite of a strong J.

You can go to several web sites to learn more about the MBTI preferences and how to apply them in your life, marriage and organization. I am a Strong Extrovert married for over 50 years to a Strong Introvert. When we first married  we knew nothing of these built in preferences and many conflicts ensued as a result. For example, on occasion I would invite people to our home after church. I was energized by the service and people and wanted to have more interactions.

Karen was drained by the service and needed "I Time" to recover.  I judged her wrongly as "anti-social"  and she judged me wrongly as "rude and uncaring". Once we learned about the E/I differences, we could accommodate each others preferences. That reduced the conflict greatly.

People can live in very different worlds in each of these preferences. Those who get their information from the five senses actually see different worlds than an iNtuitive. The same is true of Feelers and Thinkers. One woman told me that her High T husband was not a Christian because he preferred to analyze life in an impersonal manner.

Books have been written about the Odd Couple, one who was a High J neat nick and the other a High P slob. Books and TV shows are exaggerated examples of these ideas but we can see how they impact us through fiction. Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory is an updated Spock who sparred with Bones his nemesis on Star Trek.

Can you see yourself and your family in these terms? List them with their MBTI letters.