Monday, November 16, 2009

GOD'S PLAN A: People - 11/16/2009

Today's Mental Image:

Jesus and His Disciples

How People Grow
by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Session 7a
Discussion Starter of Small Group
That Meets Monday Evenings 
642 North Broadwell Ave., Grand Island, Nebraska
New Participants Are Welcome
Feel free to create an online discussion through Comments

GOD'S PLAN A:  People

A Personal Story
pages 117-119  of book

Quotes From Henry Cloud's Personal Story:

  • During my own "hitting bottom" experience, I (Henry) went to dinner with a Christian friend.  I told him how depressed I had been and how much I felt God had let me down.

  • I had asked God to help me, and I wasn't feeling any better.

  • I had thought that if you prayed, God would make you feel better.  I still felt lousy.

  • I concluded God was not doing much.

  • It was good to talk to my friend, but I was bummed out that the only Christian I knew very well didn't know how to get God to make me feel better.

  • I wondered, Does God really make people feel better?

  • I called the number my friend gave me.

  • This couple [Bill and Julie] really took me in.

  • The decided they wanted to "disciple" me - a concept I had never heard of.  They thought I needed to learn more about God, and since I had nothing else on the horizon, I thought, "Why not?"

  • I learned a lot about God.

  • He taught me about doctrine and how to interpret the Bible, and he tried to answer any questions I had.

  • As time went on, I could feel something changing in me.  I don't know how to put it into words, but it was as if God was coming into view.

  • A structure for understanding God began to take shape as I studied the Bible.

  • An experience of God took shape as I learned about spending time in prayer (sometimes hours) both by myself and with Bill and Julie.  At times I could actualy feel God in the room.

  • While Bill taught to me about God, Julie talked to me about my life.  As I opened up, I found there was a lot inside of me I had never even thought about. 

  • The emptiness I had been feeling was not emptiness at all, but sadness and hurt.

  • I knew I was sad about the loss of my dream to play professional golf, but I got in touch with other losses and hurts as well.

  • We worked through those materials (counseling materials that walked one through an "inventory" of the soul) together.

  • As we did I learned I had a lot to work through, I found I had not only hurts, but forgiveness issues, both for myself and for others I held things against.

  • Great loads were lifted off my shoulders as I went through this process.

  • At the same time, Bill and Julie encouraged me to join a small group that examined my life.

  • I learned things about myself and how I related to people.

  • The members of this group taught me that I was "emotionally detached" and did not let people get close to me.

  • They showed me I knew very little about love and most of my life had been based on performance and accomplishment, not "abiding intimacy."

  • They challenged all of my relational patterns.

  • When I was wrong, they confronted me.

  • At first I felt bad and guilt-ridden when confronted, but later I learned the freedom that comes with being confronted in love.  I found out people could discipline me and at the same time be for me and not against me.

  • Another thing happened in this same community, Bill and Julie and others saw something in me I had not seen.

  • They said I had a particular gift for understanding the Bible as it relates to counseling issues and I had the gift of insight into those matters. For my part, I was feeling an increasing desire to study the Bible and counseling.  These two paths, the external one and the internal one, merged, and before long I knew God was calling me to go into the field of Christian counseling.

  • One day, sometime later and after going into counseling myself, I realized my depression and my feelings of emptiness were gone.  I actually felt good about life and about me.

  • God had changed my life.  My life had taken a 180-degree turn.  But God had not healed me when I had sought healing.  He had not supernaturally "zapped" me.  God's supernatural zapping seemed like Plan A to me.  As I talked about this disappontment, people told me the same thing over and over again: "But God uses people too."

GOD'S PLAN A: People!

How People Grow
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend


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