Spiritual Life Checkup

by Dale Tedder 

Are you moving on to perfection? That’s a question asked to every ordained clergy person in the United Methodist Church. It’s a question of intent. It’s not asking if you’ve “arrived” but if it’s your intention to move in that direction. Our founder, John Wesley, believed it was important for Christians to be moving toward Christian maturity… toward the very likeness of Christ himself.

This is the time of year when we start thinking about changes we want to make in our lives. That’s natural since we are about to say goodbye to this year and hello to a new one. And, if we have any self-awareness at all, we know there are areas in our lives that, in some cases, need a little fine-tuning and in other cases, need complete renovation.

I recently read an article that said that we’re used to getting “physicals” so that we can determine how our physical health is. But, the author wondered, how often do we get “spirituals” to check out our spiritual health? About eight or nine years ago I put together a little pamphlet that I entitled, “Spiritual Life Checkup.” It consisted of a variety of questions to help folks in our Southside family assess how they were doing in their walk with Christ. It got a good response from those who took advantage of the opportunity of using it.

I thought it might be a good idea to pull that spiritual self-examination out of the archives, dust it off, tweak it a little, and make it available once again. As Minister of Discipleship at Southside, I sincerely want to educate, equip, and encourage you in your faith. I believe this is part of the process that God uses in our lives to move us toward growing in the likeness of Christ – both inwardly and outwardly.

John Wesley said there is no holiness (or Christlikeness) that is not social holiness. In other words, we seek to become more like Christ, not merely for ourselves, but also for the purpose of exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in our daily relationships as well as serving and ministering to others.

Please let me know how I may serve you this year. Bible studies? Small groups? One-to-one discipleship? Spiritual direction? Pastoral counseling? I want, with all my heart, to be used of Christ in your lives. If there is any way in which I can help you move toward the likeness of Christ in your own life, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

PS – As soon as the new-and-improved Spiritual Life Checkup pamphlets are ready, we’ll let you know and make them available in the front office.

Grace and Truth,
Pastor Dale

Book Review: Anger & Stress Mangement God’s Way, Part 3

(This is actually an older post, but in the spirit of my new feature on book reviews, I’m “reprinting” it.)

Chapter Three: Learning to Be Good and Angry

Not much commentary on this chapter. Just a few good bullet points to mention…

What does not come naturally is dealing with our anger in a God-honoring way.”
 
1.) “The first aspect of learning to be good and angry is dealing with problems on a regular, daily basis.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
 
When we don’t, “Other things have been added to the original offense, and now [the angry person] is harboring a mountain of anger in [his]
heart
.

The following quote is good for parents or spouses. It’s also good for those in a counseling setting…

Whenever we see a person responding with an unsual amount of emotion and anger to what most people would consider a miniscule thing, we can be sure that person has had much unexpressed anger, simmering under the surface, from prior events. This person’s response to that one problem was really a reaction to that and many other things that he has not yet dalt with because he was not resolving his anger on a regular basis.”
There are only two ways to deal righteously with a conflict that we have with another person.”
  • One we can overlook the offense (1 Peter 4:8; Proverbs 10:12; 19:11). …It is generally better to reserve confrontation for spiritual issues that are clearly sin issues, issues that will bring reproach on Christ and serious damage to other people.”
  • The second way of dealing with a conflict we have with another person is: When we experience their sin, then, as Matthew 18:15 says, we are to go privately to that person for the purpose of resolving the proglem. The purpose of that meeting should be only for promoting reconciliation and unity, not for criticizing or condemning.”

These two principles should be applied in our relationships with friends or colleagues and they should be implemented in our marrige relationships.”

I think this next point is a very important one.

2.) “The second aspect of learning to be good and angry is understanding that we can control and restrain the expression of anger. If we are Christians, we have the means to control the expression of our anger.

(The whole chapter is worth reading for the two examples Mack gives on pages 45-46)

We can and we do control our anger when the motivation is great. When we fail to control our anger, it’s because we don’t consider the takes high enough.”
In all places, at all times, we must recognize the fact that as Christians indwelt by the Holy spirit we do have the power to control our anger. We must realize that when we fail, it’s by choice.”
3.) “The third aspect of learning to be good and angry is taking time to examine the reasons for our anger. Whenever we start to become angry, we should immediately stop what we’re doing and think about what is happening.
The bottom line reason for much of our sinful anger is related to the fact that we have an agenda and someone or something is standing in the way of our fulfilling that agenda.
4.) The fourth aspect of learng to be good andangry is learning to harness the energy created by our anger.

Another good chapter. I would encourage you read this book. I would also suggest using it to counsel and/or mentor someone who may have an issue with anger. Or, perhaps, use it in a small group. It has many great questions… and digs into Scripture as well.

Blessings,
Dale