Matthew 21: Reflections on Anger

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:12-13

In the past when I’ve read the above verses, I have felt validated in my own anger by this example of Jesus’ anger. It’s a fantastic picture of His passion and his fierceness, two concepts that fire up my own intensity. However, when I was asked to do the scripture reading at my church a couple months ago, the Holy Spirit showed me a new perspective on this passage that took me deeper into understanding of the heart of God. Continue reading

The Problem of Pain

While walking through the deepest pits of human suffering with people, so often I hear the question “Why?” To face the reality of the presence of pain in our lives is one of the most difficult endeavors. A Google search to the question, “Why is there suffering in the world?” revealed answers by various religious organizations, including Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. The most common religious answers sound something like this:

  • God gives humans freedom of choice, and we choose against his prescribed way of living, thus creating pain and causing suffering in our own lives and the lives of others.
  • God is either not powerful enough to stop pain, He does not care to stop pain, or He is evil and revels in the pain that wreaks havoc in the world.
  • God allows pain because He plans to use it in His great Redemptive Plan for His creation.
  • God uses pain to discipline and instruct His children.
  • God uses pain as a “megaphone” to get our attention, or as a warning against further evil.
  • The Bible says that “suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.”
  • And finally, “Ultimately, we can’t know all the reasons God allows pain and suffering, we just know that He does.”

I do believe Scripture supports the majority of these explanations, but consider this: Continue reading

Mental Health – Top 10

10. Adopt a learner’s perspective.

9. Have down time when you are not looking at a screen.

8. Ask, “Why am I feeling what I’m feeling?”

7. Spend quality time with others.

6. Don’t make decisions in the midst of strong emotions.

5. Remember, this too shall pass.

4. Get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and spend time outdoors.

3. Don’t rush to judgments – either about others or yourself.

2. Do one thing every day that scares you.

1. Remember that God is for you.

A Well-Lived Life

I have had the pleasure (and the frustration, at times) of living in both rural and urban locales during my life. As I’ve done some pondering during these beginning stages of CarePoint, some important aspects seem to be reflected in these rural and urban settings – urban environments create the possibility of greater community while rural environments create the possibility of greater reflection. It is both of these – community and reflection – that we believe are essential to a well-lived life. Without community, we are in danger of going astray or becoming self-focused. There is a strong possibility that we end up justifying or rationalizing our behaviors because we lack accountability. Without reflection, though, we are in danger of pursuing things like a dog pursuing the next squirrel. Here, the ditch we might fall into is sacrificing depth by filling our lives to (or even, beyond) the brim. Both of these paths leave us living a superficial life.

Here’s where CarePoint comes in. In our own lives, we have found it beneficial to have someone objective to walk alongside us or to lean on when the silence or loneliness is too heavy a burden. As such, we believe that the process of reflecting and opening ourselves up to others (i.e. living in community) can be healing, encouraging, and strengthening. Continue reading