We are entering an important time for our church. A time we learn to be vulnerable and open with one another through the “Talk About It” sermon series that we launched this last Sunday. It is a series I pray will bring us into deeper relationship with Jesus and with one another as God works amongst us to heal us from the effects of sin.
Talking about tough topics we are accustomed to burying deep inside us is going to be strange; I understand that. The idea may have caused some degree of fear, concern, or anxiety as you have begun to think through the possibility of sharing your pain or your shame for the first time. I encourage you to have the strength to trust that the Lord is at work not only in you in leading you to share, but also in your brothers and sisters in Christ as they hear you. They will not have all the answers or do everything perfectly, but the Holy Spirit of God, who indwells his believers, will be at work in them as they care for you.
Whether you are the one who shares or the one who listens and cares for those who are sharing, please remember these things:
We are not the answer -- Jesus is
When we care for others, there is always the temptation to jump in and lead people to see your example and your strength. Using phrases like “Well I dealt with my problem like this,” or “I found that not doing ‘this’ or that’ helps,” will not help someone find the one who can heal them. We must commit to pointing people to Jesus and his overcoming, powerful love for them. Rather than pointing others to yourself for good advice, point them to Jesus for good news that his pursuing love will cleanse them from sin and unrighteousness and make them whole and holy before God almighty.
The Gospel is good news for those who are hurting
If we truly want to find relief from our pain and suffering, we need good news. The good news of the Gospel redefines our identity from sinner or victim, to loved and cared for son or daughter of God. The only way we will truly be healed of our pain and suffering is by believing this Good News and accepting the love of God.
The Holy Spirit works through his people
God the Holy Spirit is living and actively working through his people to do his work. This work is not only to reach the unsaved, but is also the healing work of God in his people to make them whole. He uses his Spirit in his people to speak his words and be his hands of care. If you are providing care, surrender your will to the Holy Spirit and be used by God to speak and act. If you are receiving care from another believer and you feel Holy Spirit pushing in on you, do not resist. Let the Spirit do his work in you.
The church has counseling resources available
Our church has people who are gifted, trained, and skilled in biblical care. It may be possible to meet with someone who has these giftings. If the need arises, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information.
We have topic-specific books available at the bookstore
There are a collection of resources available at-cost for those of you who desire to read further or dig deeper into any of the topics we are studying. These resources have been chosen by me to serve any of you who would like to process these topics in a more in-depth way for your own interest, or to seek healing for yourself.
We can refer you to professional Christian counseling
There are great professional Christian counselors that have dedicated their lives to being educated, getting licensed, and working vocationally to care for people. We have a list of Christian counselors in the Snohomish County area that we can make available to you as you seek healing. Your CG leaders already have a copy and can share it with you.
All of the points above are meant to be guides and encouragements.
I truly hope you are met by our loving and powerful God in a beautiful and life-changing way throughout this sermon series.
God bless you all,