Thursday, September 26, 2019

Reflecting on Generals of Faith!

Sitting here at my desk reflecting on the upcoming weekend, as my son (Rev. Ethan Allen) and I prepare to host the Logos Global Network – Greater Cincinnati Regional Fellowship and how that I’m going to be allowed once again to spend time with one of the Generals of the Faith (Dr. Charles Travis).

I have been blessed to have known Dr. Travis for just over 17 years, and I personally consider him one of my pastors, friend, and mentor. We have stood and cried together at Ground Zero, we have prayed together at the many alters, and we have shared stories of success and yes even some failures.

Honestly, I have not met many men or women that I would personally call Generals of the Faith, because when I look at the General’s of the Faith the list starts in Hebrews 11, and then moves to include men like Apostle Paul, Apostle John, then through out history men like Spurgeon, Wesley, and Finney. Men that stood the test of time to reflect the values of Christ in their life. As I reflect over the past 40 years of ministry, I have had few Generals of the Faith in my life. I personally think of Dr. Lougheed, Dr. Rawlings, Dr. Webb, and others. However, I have many more "Fellow Soldiers" and I will forever be thankful for both.

As I reflect on the legacy of the few Generals of the Faith that I have encountered I have noticed three key traits … (I pray as men and women think of me, they will see these same traits, not as a General of the Faith but as a faithful pastor)\

  • You can tell that they have been in the presence of Christ today and have a direct connection with Him.
  • They understand the Word of God and know how to make it alive to everyone they encounter.
  • They love Jesus and it shows in everything they say and do.

As I spend time this weekend, I will not only spend it with Dr. Charles Travis, I will also spend it with the gentleman I currently call pastor who will argue that he doesn’t fall into the ranking of General of the Faith. However, I will argue that, for me Dr. Roger Webb, Pastor of Grace Church of the Valley and Chancellor of our School of Ministry is in the same category with Dr. Travis and other men of faith.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New book ...


Ladies and Gentlemen, I have just republished “Christian in Recovery: “A Supplemental Workbook for Individual Counseling Sessions” this workbook was originally published in 2002 and we are now offering on Amazon Kindle for only $.99 … The workbook is designed to help Pastors, Counselors, and other professionals successfully help individuals dealing with addiction.  Providing activities, suggestions, and resources. Please download your copy today 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The tragedies of Suicide keep coming:


 The news was released today of Megachurch pastor Jarrid Wilson, known for his mental health advocacy, dies by suicide. (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/megachurch-pastor-jarrid-wilson-known-his-mental-health-advocacy-dies-n1052301)
This heart-breaking story coming as we are in the mist of National Suicide Prevention week (September 8th – 14th, 2019).

I’m always amazed how many people believe that pastors don’t struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The reality is that pastors, their wives, and children are more likely to struggle than the average church member (that is not based on any scientific research, simply my observation).

I believe that there are three key reason pastors, and their families struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, and that suicide becomes a means to cope with the pain.

  1. Isolation … To many pastors today are separated from people that should be giving them support and encouragement. Over the years I have watched pastors who claim to have best friends. However, have never shared with them their personal struggles of depression, anxiety, and other personal issues due to the fact they did not want to look weak in their faith, or fearful of being judged as not faithful enough to do their job.
  2. Ego … (Get over it) Yes, I’m talking to pastors, I have been in pastoral ministry for 40 years and I’m guilty of this as well. I can’t share with the congregation what is happening in my life because I need to be strong for them. I was recently with a pastor that had been going through a crisis in his personal life (his brother had recently passed), outside of a Facebook post to the church about the funeral he never shared anything with his church about the events leading up to the death, in which his brother had been in hospice for 5 weeks. Ironically, this same pastor had recently got on a church member for not calling him when the individual’s mom was in the hospital. 
  3. Failure to get into God’s word … When I was in Bible college a dear professor shared (not sure if this a director quote, but close) "You will never be able to take on the challenges of life, if this book (Bible) is simply a Text Book, and not your Life-Giving Book." I have found myself too many times looking for a sermon, an outline for a class, or reading for the next assignment and not reflecting on the passage that is helping me personally deal with life issues in front of me.

So how do we change this …

  1. We find a minimum of 5 people that we can talk to about what is going on in our lives and we get honest. (Bold statement here … Only one of these should be a pastor). Individuals (we should also limit the amount of people on this that are family), that will not only pray with us but will go with us to get help if we need it, will stand with us when there seems to be no hope. Yes, even will go to the medical professional and hold us accountable for the medication that is prescribed.
  2. We learn about our illness and how its effects our thinking … When I was diagnosis with Attention Deficit Disorder at age 47, (yes we all knew something was going on long before that) I spent a lot of time attempting to understand how my thinking was different from others, and what I could do to off-set the rapid thoughts that got me in so much trouble way too many times, or inability to sit still and focus. I learned to work with my wife, children, best-friend, and pastor to find skills that allow me to accomplish the task assigned as well as not getting caught up in the negative thinking that often comes. In learning about ADD/ADHD I was able to better understand how it was treated and skills to cope.

Number Three is for the Church … Get off your high horse and come down to reality. If we prayed for, encouraged people, walked with people, and supported people with mental illness the same way we did someone with cancer, heart disease, knee pain, etc. We would not see the crisis that we are currently seeing. I know individuals that are scared to death to mention they have depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or another mental health illness because of being judged as weak, having lack of faith, or in some cases even being demon possessed. Please stop the madness and provide the support to help people heal and recover from these illnesses and be an active productive member of our churches.

Friends, I don’t know what Pastor Jarrid Wilson was thinking the day he chooses to step in to eternity. However, God knows the pain that he was feeling emotionally that drove him to this decision, and where his relationship was at with HIM (God) at the time. The question I have is who else knew and who is accountable within the church for failing to be the friend, pastor, and prayer warrior that should have provided a safe place to talk and find help.

The reality is with over 45,000 suicides nationwide, this is happening way too much, and it’s time for the church to step up and help focus as a non-judgmental place of support, encouragement, prayer, and friendship.



 
 

Announcement!

We are so excited to announce the release of my new book “Grief: Helping Christians Coping with the STORM of Loss” Throughou...