Tuesday, September 29, 2009


i am growing in experience in the therapeutic chair. i am NOT an expert and probably will never be an expert...i said probably (if you know me then you know there is still a great chance i think i will one day be an expert). but over the last few months i have desired to develop an approach that is consistent with scripture in the counseling room. despite what you (critics) think about one's approach to counseling, i have concluded that the mind that explores intelligence is a mind that gives glory to god in the highest form. i have made it important to my worldview to include, without sounding as new-agy as possible, the flow of body, mind, and soul as agents for the glorification of god's name. and so we are clear, i am talking about the god who is triunal in his nature and contains jesus as his son form. those who wish to lecture or initiate their ideology on life and exclude components, or dismiss them as non-essential to giving glory to god are further proof of the hypocrite they so quickly judge. so, in saying that, there is not one element of the three that is or should be less disciplined. they are all important for instruction, discipline, and reproof. the approaches i am aware of at this time are those that all share the same aim...giving god his glory. but the initial instruction on how to give god that said glory is where the approaches differ.

the levels model seems, in criticism, to place science at an ungodly level over the bible. however, the revelations of empirical research reveal a great deal of information that we simply do not receive from the bible. example, homosexuality and its nature. is it a genetic disposition or is it a choice, has always been the conundrum surrounding even the most faithful of the faith-filled.

the next one is a christian counseling point of view. this basically sees what modern psychology has done and says "yeah we know there is something there and so we should write a model that reflects christianity." meanwhile disputing all the humanistic foundations for modern psychology by revealing the writings of augustine, calvin, and those whom have been believers and cared for the soul long before freud and jung were around.

the integrations model is the approach that brings science and the bible together. it's basic premise is that science further reveals the truth and nature of the all powerful god. it is probably the most common method or approach used today in the faith based counseling circles.

the last one i am aware of at this point is the biblical based counseling method. most of which i find in my worldview comes from this approach. god's word uncovers the root of all issues that plague mankind on this earth. one of the criticisms of this method is that a great deal of these counselors are very neglectful of education outside the bible. they do not hold to the fact that you can create a counseling model that resembles a christian counseling approach that only reflects what humanists are saying with christian lingo. some may be familiar to the model known as nouthetic counseling developed by jay adams. this is the group described by those inside the biblical counseling model.

all that to say i am working towards a model that would find its text to be relevant to those who go to church every sunday, every day, or those who hate the church with a great passion. it is a great struggle to interpret to those individuals who do not grasp the bible, nor want to, the truth of their creator without using words from a bible. hopefully i will be able to write it out clearly on this medium once it is finalized. right now i am calling it word-action-faith model. again using language that communicates truth without using words from the bible is my biggest hurdle. but as tony romo once said "if this is the worst thing that will happen...i am doing ok."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


a mother who is faced with the challenges of raising two girls, who are not even in her presence continuously to even make a difference, finds herself in a competition with their father...for their (girls) affection. divorced and desiring companionship she seeks comfort in the arms of a different man in her current setting. the desire to lean on someone has divided her attention, leaving an empty tank of emotion and affection for her growing offspring. her eldest, 12, is facing the brutal reality of true sacrificial love at such an early age. she is taking in every bit of the sacrifice her mother is NOT willing to make. she applies this to every relationship and regurgitates the need consistently, based on what she has been exposed to already. her future and her understanding of true love all hinges on how she will walk through the next few years of absorption. the younger daughter, 10, seems to passively take in and grasp unwittingly what marriage means to her. she WILL manifest her understanding of sacrificial love later in life. however, i fear the consequences of her previous 2 years of experience will have a profound effect on what is deemed healthy and what is deemed unheathly, as she may not fully retain an idea of health. she is better suited to be salvaged at this point. more so than her sister. unchecked, however, and she will find her experiences and responses quite similar to her elder sister's, which are very unpleasant. the eldest is either afraid, deeply hurt, or frustrated, and yet maybe all of the above. this contributes a great deal to her inability to show affection for her younger sister. instead anger, bitterness, frustration, all make a comfortable home inside her heart. this does, inevitably, reveal more than i would bet she originally was willing to communicate.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

kc and the shady grove band

i was able to spend this past weekend with some good friends in kansas city. it began as an invitation from allyster taubeneck and grew to a list of many. as one might expect that list slimmed down as time grew nearer to the departure. i won't blame any one thing for this sudden change in members of the road trip that would have been heard around the world. so never the less austin, daniel svoboda, allyster, and i trekked north on what should have been an 8 hr ride.

the trips calculated total cost had been set by the core leadership team which was allyster and steven parra. this was set at $120 per person. this price would include all expenditures acquired whilst on the road. well, we were blessed to have the johnson's (brian & wendy) open their home to us. this dropped the price tremendously. we then had the issue of vehicle. none of the members had really wanted to take their own car because of many reasons. thankfully, hannah baker willingly allowed us to take her car cutting our expenditures for a rental car. thank you hannah and austin for not allowing her to talk you out of it.

the trip began on friday morning. allyster was originally supposed to travel with us but had a family engagement, that was priority, so he was out for the ride to kc, but was able to endure it back. steven parra was originally supposed to ride with us to kc but had to work so he opted to fly later on friday and meet us there.

apparently dallas to kc is an 8 hr drive...no one really told us that, and if they had we still wouldn't have cared. it took us a stunning 10 hours...no let me rephrase that we wanted to go at whatever rate we wanted so it lasted 10 hours. stops were limited, i think. i really don't know how many times we stopped but it honestly wasn't that many and we drove nearly 80 the whole way.

we planned on attending and observing some of the activity of the kc ihop and of course the city. all of which was phenomenal and i really think i could live in kansas city...on the missouri side of course. the whole scene of the ihop is pretty interesting to say the least. there are nearly 500 people on staff and the 24/7 prayer room is a blog on its own. but some of my observations from the weekend are what i will post in this blog.

i am a guy who loves seclusion when i study. just ask my wife who ends up watching our kid for the day when i need to do some studying. i also get distracted easily and this technological society that permeates ever state in our union is not making it any easier on me to accomplish deep thought. the ihop is not a contributing factor to my ability to be intimate with jesus. now, i bet if i were in that environment for months on end eventually i would adjust. however, to accomplish this feat over a weekend is insurmountable. there is movement constantly in the facilities. people are constantly moving to and fro and it is very noticeable. the lights are on all the time because i assume many are reading and writing. in addition to movement, there are musicians who are singing songs all the time. this means words that i want to hear and pay attention to. when i am reading a deep passage or am contemplating a deep though it is very hard to process what i am thinking along with what i am hearing. so for me, the house of prayer model in kansas city would not be very conducive to receiving a word from the lord in the manner i find to be effective. the corporate settings are great and wonderful, but are also prone to have many people moving and walking aimlessly around. but i love the people, they are all nice and warm. that, i guess, is the feeling of a community that is constantly and genuinely seeking a god who is passionate for his people.

i truly believe there is a place and time to spend privately with god and receive and be refreshed by him. i also think that part of the mandate is to go out, or reach the community on some level that reveals a god who is just as passionate for those who are NOT apart of a community. others might call this missions. i didn't spend enough time dialoguing with the young man, but an individual named adam joined us momentarily on our travels. he is a guy who has served directly under mike bickle for some time. we had enjoyed a delicious bbq meal and he indulged me in some of the vision of ihop. one of the things i wasn't convinced of was the pressing mission of the gospel to pagans. i didn't get the idea that ihop had a mandate to minister to the local poor. again, however, i spent one weekend in kc so my immediate perception is that they don't have a strategic reach to those whom jesus had talked about in luke 4:18-19 when he was quoting isaiah. this has been the critique on most house of prayer models. what i did like about how adam put it was that the body has different functioning parts. i guess for me, i long to be arms AND legs AND mouth AND ears. maybe that is more of a deficit in my life than anything else. to me it is one thing to speak, preach, and sing about it, and another to actually administer it. i guess the issue is what have you made number one in your life over christ.

i hate to view the stats on young adults ages 18-29 activity in the local church. it saddens me to hear of so many who are serving strongly in their teens to fall off the face of the earth in their post high school years. the ihop does not lack a healthy young adult population. they are certainly grabbing a hold of individuals and instilling in them something i couldn't explain. i am jealous for this, and i wish my own church had this capability. not that i am thinking ihop is better. i think the statistic adam gave me on demographics revealed that nearly 25% of the ihop population was 65 years or older. this is still a big number considering the activity that goes on in the services. another individual i talked to, rebecca, told me that there are certain programs and teachings they have for said generation. i, personally enjoy an older generations involvement in the church community and feel there is a need for them. i do also think that older individuals have a legitimate fear that they will not be valued if a younger generation happens to grow in number. i am still trying to process which is the lesser of two evils. let me explain. on one hand you need the older generation because of their wisdom and experience. a great deal of understanding comes from the grey hair ; ). but on the other hand i foresee a stronger role of dominance. i believe to some extent there will be less of a release of expression for a vibrant younger generation to pursue vision. naturally, when one approaches later stages in life there is a normal reflection of the past and whether or not things were done right or wrong. this is not limited to a biblical worldview. it will, in turn, most definitely influence leadership style, which means a less risky and more conservative way of finding answers and getting things done. the ihop seems to be a little freer and not as direct. they seem to throw out agenda's and worship leaders are then leaders of the congregation and not limited to talented individuals with an instrument who only sing songs. i don't think this approach is very attractive to the older generation. structure, order, an idea of where things are going is the preferred approach i have picked up on when observing the older generation service styles. are either of them wrong? i don't know. i do know what i like and dislike. i can definitely see how young people would really thrive in the environment and temperature that mike bickle and other leadership has set for that church. i do think some of the individuals are escaping something that is unhealthy and retards their spiritual growth or maturation.

overall the city was magnificent. i had the best company and the best experience i could of had for the amount of time to get it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

divorce the post-modern movement

"what one generation tolerates the next one will embrace." this is such a reality amongst us, inside and outside the church. the post-modern movement gives no appreciation to the modern movement that preceded it. because there is no appreciation, and only a desire for difference, my generation will reap the consequences of the full embrace of no structure and compromised principles. instead, most influential in the church today is a new concept of grace and a new doctrine of god's love. we have grown very intelligent in our construction of new bibles, theologies, and have so cleverly redefined jesus to fit our comfortability. this is the picture of the church in our post-modernistic culture.

this filth has infiltrated our person. this filth has infiltrated our governments. this filth has infiltrated our relationships. this filth has infiltrated our churches, and sadly, it has even infiltrated our homes. polluting everything that has a possibility of life. this pervasive mindset does not seek and destroy instantaneously but rather in a slow drawn out function it will drain the life of it's host. this mindset, at its root, is labeled...idolatry.

i attribute idolatry to pride. and the earliest example i have to offer is that of eve in the garden. when satan tempts her she is tempted only by the wisdom in which this "new way" has to offer. something different than the order god had in mind, something god had warned them about. this fracture has made a home in each and every heart of every man/woman that has walked the face of this earth. even in our most infant state there is evidence of this in humans. man has, and always will, seek to be the center of existence. consciously, or subconsciously, it makes no difference.

i have been asked, by a long time friend, to give my perspective on divorce. i would like to claim the title of one who holds dearly to the teaching's of christ and guidance of the holy spirit for the revelation of truth. so in saying that, my opinion is grounded on what i believe the truth of the scripture unfolds. because i have only been married for 5 years, or having never actually walked through a divorce, nor experiencing a traumatic event in my marriage does not disqualify the education i have received nor the insight i have gained through studying scripture and listening to what the holy spirit has said concerning this sensitive issue for many.

divorce...is wrong on all fronts.

"yes, but zach, my husband/wife cheated,"
"zach, you don't understand, my husband abused me physically and emotionally, it was not safe for me to be in that environment any longer."
i agree there are some cases in which one could make for a marriage to be labeled as unhealthy. i certainly do not advocate that one place themselves in harms way and tolerate it. but the simple truth of the word of god is that it has not been an option god has ordained from beginning. out of the hardness of OUR hearts it has been made permissible. permissible by whom? scripture says that it has been permissible by moses, or in other words...man. what god has joined together let NO MAN tear apart.

on many aspects i believe we like to see how close we can get to the fire without getting burned. what i mean by this is that we concentrate on the boundaries to NOT cross, and focus our entire lives on hoping, praying, trying with all our might to not cross those specific boundaries into dysfunction. this is the wrong focal point. instead, the focus needs to be on the health and functional entities that make a marriage work. because truth be told, when those little things, notes, flowers, surprises, etc, and other subtleties cease to spring forth, for whatever reason, the deterioration of the marriage commences. no one wakes up one day and decides to not be married to their spouse. that just doesn't happen. it is a process of falling away, just like the process of walking into relationship occurred. the lack of pursuit of deeper intimacy will inevitably produce the most shallow pool of intimacy and consequently drain whatever is left to nothing.

2 cor 6:14-16

there should be no partnership between lawlessness and righteousness
1. righteousness fulfills the claims of god's authority in our lives
-those who submit know what their authority looks like, and what it doesn't look like
2. one knows he is righteous because he is walking under submission to gods authority
3. christ conquered what we could not, therefore making us what we could not...righteous
4. you WILL submit to someone...god or yourself (see the first 3 paragraphs above)

there will be no fellowship with light and darkness
1. god's light, like the sun, is never quenched and always is revealing
2. darkness will always be a sanctuary for secrets and hiding things...anything

there will be no harmony with a believer and an unbeliever
1. christ had an influence of not just physical healing but mental healing and answers to life's toughest questions (luke 6:18)
2. people who walk in unbelief will influence others to be unbelievers; those who walk in faith, hope, and love will also influence as such

what agreement has the temple of god with the temple of idols
1. temple being the habitation of god and his ability to influence
2. don't compromise with attributes to god
-worship can be an idol
-missions can be an idol
-preachers can be idols

this is what i would encourage most to look at before they engage in any relationship that could go to THAT level. you know what level i am talking about. also remember that just because you go to the same church, hang with the same friends, and are friends on facebook does not mean you are EQUALLY yoked.

i like that the picture we are given in eph. 5.


in this context think of all the times that christ has asked you to follow him, do this, listen for that, walk here, don't do that, or submit to him/her...and you DIDN'T. did christ ever divorce you as his wife? did he say was going to have to think about it? i will let you answer that one in your head. how many countless times have we abused our husband and lord? how many times have we cheated on him and prostituted ourselves for another pleasure? you can leave a comment if you can accurately account. our post-modern philosophy, which we all have adopted to some extent into our belief system, tells us we not only should be happy all the time, but we DESERVE happiness all the time. and anything that is contrary to this is false reality. so instead of individuals saying, "i need to work on this marriage, because of the person i want to become," we are saying "this marriage can't be what god wants for me because i am not really happy in this marriage and god doesn't want me to be unhappy, i should get out." god never intended for divorce to be because by his very nature he is a giver, not a remover. divorce removes us from the possibility of real, genuine love to grow and mature us.

i have more in thought as to how the family would be healthy if the man would just be what he is supposed to be, but, because of length, i am going to stop here. i hate reading blogs all day. this may be one of those. comment if you like. i have more thoughts but should hold them...for now.

oh you seemingly secular truth

i love the odwalla brand drinks wording on their bottles. on the most recent drink i read that the vitamin c will help, now watch this, a healthy immune system. not one that is lacking but rather one that is already in a healthy stature. this is extremely profound. i, most often, find my desperation of need when something is most definitely wrong but at that very moment, vitamin c is not much help. it is benefit to those immune system's that are already functioning effectively. so i guess the moral is...don't wait til something is wrong, boost when you aren't in need.

just a little observation.