Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality ... Now What?

Since September, we've been actively exploring the issue of "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality". Our premise has been that you cannot separate your emotional health from your spiritual maturity.

Experience tells us that when we do, we end up emotionally dwarfed, thinking we are spiritually mature. In reality, we may have lots of Bible knowledge and even have obtained some good Bible study skills or spiritual disciplines. Unfortunately, these things alone do not lead to a well-balanced spiritual maturity.

This teaching series was inspired and drawn from my own life's journey through the pain of burnout and back again. Both of those venues, the series AND my journey, were greatly aided by the book of similar title, The Emotionally Healthy Church, by Pete Scazzero. Pete is Pastor of New Life Fellowship in Queens, New York.

Pete and his wife, Geri, planted New Life in 1987. Somewhere around 1995, Pete found himself burned out and Geri having decided to leave the church due to his lack of leadership and ability to confront and deal more healthily with people. A crossroads to say the least.

Where the Lord led Pete and Geri was a journey that brought Pete to this place of discovering what he calls "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality". When I came across his book almost three years ago now, it triggered some pretty deep transformation in my thinking and living.

I mentioned at the start of this teaching series that this set of teachings would not be kind of "come and go" or "just another series." It's not that any series or teaching I bring is viewed that way in my heart. It IS that I believe this issue of walking out a relationship with God, a spiritual life, is to be one that takes our emotional health in hand to see it grown rightly and strongly.

It was five years ago right now that I found myself spent, not knowing which way to turn or where to go - burned out. I never thought it would happen to me, but it did.

I had given and given and given, denying my own need to be refreshed and cared for. Many of you know what that's like because you've been there yourselves. And, like me, you've been trained to just "pull up your boot straps" and move on.

What does it mean that this concept of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality will be more than just another series for us? What does something that is part of our foundation even look like?
Well, for starters, it means we keep interacting with it. We don't allow each other to live without its consideration and implementation into our lives. We look at issues we face in light of it. We refuse to keep denying the emotional part of our lives and how it impacts our spiritual lives.

You will also find it working its way into our decision-making processes when we talk about what, where, when and how of ministries we offer. I think it will especially be relevant to different small group opportunities, where relationships are impacted at a deeper level than most other ministries.

I am extremely excited about what the future holds. You'll be hearing more of that this month. Change is upon us. We are planning to move our Sanctuary to Township Elementary School right after Easter while our current Sanctuary is expanded, our breezeway is enclosed (no more wind tunnel) and handicap-accessible restrooms are added.

It will be a very exciting year at NewHeart. Stay tuned for more, and as you give your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family open and warm invitations to come discover what the love of God is all about, prepare yourself to let your invitation be, "Welcome Home at NewHeart!"

1 comment:

karey gochoel said...

I would suggest taking the metro to the Baltimore Harbor, about 45 minutes north. There is a food court there, and the Aquarium is world class with wonderful otters. Right next door is the Baltimore Oriole Stadium, if there is a game showing. And there are civil war sail boats to tour. As for DC my recommendation is the Holocaust Museum, if your kids wouldn't find that too depressing, b/c it is. The air and space museum is world class and the Lincoln Memorial is cool to look at for about 5 minutes. Have fun. Karey