Yearly Archives: 2020

97 posts

New Heart, Old Struggles

For the past twenty plus years I have been a pastor. For the past twenty plus years I have been in and out of counseling. Counselors love me because I’m the classic blame shifter who is easy to spot. “What brings you in today?” My wife has issues. “Why do you think you struggle with anxiety?” Because my seven kids are driving me crazy. “Why are you so filled with fear and anger?” Because my congregation keeps picking on me. It’s like I’m still a child in a grown man’s body. The problem is still out there and not inside of me. When will I learn? Deep inside my regenerated heart, something is still off. Conversion doesn’t eliminate the battle […]

Disability: The Foundation of God’s Providence

All Things Are From God God’s sovereignty, his rule over all, is the bedrock certainty for a proper theology of suffering. However, his sovereignty alone is not enough: we must maintain its connection to his goodness and wisdom. If we do not maintain this connection, we lose our perspective of God as the one who intimately cares for his creation, and we thereby undermine hope. Theologians refer to this connection as providence, which is one of the most comforting doctrines in the Bible. What Is Providence? By providence we mean God employs his sovereign power and wisdom to continuously preserve every part of his creation and guide it toward his intended purpose. Sometimes people misinterpret sovereignty as a cold, sterile, […]

Making Beauty from Ashes: Craig Svensson on FamilyLife Today, Part Three

When we see our kids headed in the wrong direction, we want to help turn them around. But ultimately, it’s our child’s choice. Craig Svensson, author of The Painful Path of a Prodigal, talks about his son’s ongoing battle with drug addiction. While Craig and his wife tried every avenue possible to find him help, Eric continued to use. After fifteen years on and off the streets, and in and out of hospitals, Svensson tells how Eric lost his battle with addiction in January 2017, dying sick and alone at the age of thirty. Tune in to your local radio station, or listen here: FamilyLife Today: Making Beauty from Ashes with Craig Svensson, November 20, 2020

Seeking Help: Craig Svensson on FamilyLife Today, Part Two

Craig Svensson, author of The Painful Path of a Prodigal, continues his story on FamilyLife Today. Craig thought moving and the change of scenery would be good for the family, especially his son, Eric, who was struggling with drug addiction. But Eric sought out the same kind of friends he had before. He was forced by the court to attend AA meetings, where he met more people with drug connections. Eventually, Eric’s addiction became dangerous for the family, and they asked him to move out. Svensson talks openly about the heartache involved in watching a son choose opposite values from you as he fell deeper into the abyss of addiction. Tune in to your local radio station, or listen here: FamilyLife […]

Disability: Two Common Temptations, Part Two

In our attempt to understand God’s ways in the midst of our suffering there are two common temptations which often fight to claim the higher ground in our mind. Second Temptation: The Temptation to Remake God in Our Image If our conception of God is that he is only, or predominantly, love, and by this we mean that he does only what we perceive as good (for example, whatever does not involve pain), then irrational suffering tempts us to change our view of God to match our experience. An example of this is found in Nancy Eiesland’s influential book The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability. The author, a college professor in Atlanta and a lifelong sufferer of […]

Craig Svensson on FamilyLife Today

Craig Svensson, author of The Painful Path of a Prodigal, walks us through his son Eric’s painful journey with drugs and addiction. Beginning in elementary school, Eric’s drug abuse escalated around the age of 15. Though Craig talked to Eric repeatedly, and even had the police talk to him, nothing changed. After taking several steps to stop Eric’s drug use, including sending him to a special program and moving to another state, Craig and his wife continued to pray that Eric could be rescued from this downward spiral. Tune in on your local radio station, or listen here: FamilyLife Today: A Downward Turn with Craig Svensson – November 18, 2020

Disability: Two Common Temptations, Part One

In our attempt to understand God’s ways in the midst of our suffering there are two common temptations which often fight to claim the higher ground in our mind. First Temptation: The Temptation to Blame Someone Automatically connecting personal suffering to personal sin is a typical human response. “Since God is good,” we reason, “he cannot be behind this accident, tragedy, or evil. Therefore, it must be the fault of the one who suffers or someone connected to him or her.” Thankfully, the Holy Spirit wrote the Old Testament book of Job at least in part to correct that response. The book of Job is essential to our understanding of suffering because it destroys the credibility of the notion that […]

The Heart and the Trivial Life

More often than not, if we are honest, most of our time is spent in the direction of self rather than the direction of others. And, if we are really honest, most of our days are spent pampering ourselves rather than serving others. Something is seriously out of whack. The Heart is the Problem The heart is mentioned over 900 times in the Bible and 77 times alone in the book of Proverbs. Often when the Bible talks about your heart, it refers to the core of who you are. It’s your thoughts, motives, emotions, personality, and the spiritual part of your makeup. Your heart is basically who you are. One of the more well-known verses on the heart is […]

Disability: Whose Fault Is It?

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36) Fifteen years ago, my wife and I were standing in the kitchen of the old farmhouse we had planned to renovate. She said, with tears streaming down her face, “What did I do wrong? Was it something I ate during my pregnancy? Or was it something I failed to eat? Is God punishing our daughter for something I’ve done? Am I the cause of our precious little Kayte being born deaf?” As I held my wife, her heart did not agonize alone. I was also asking questions, though only inwardly: “Lord, I’ve given my whole life to your service, and […]

Interviews with authors Nate Brooks & Anna Mondal

This week, the Biblical Counseling Coalition and the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship have both featured interviews with Nate Brooks & Anna Mondal, authors of the new LifeLine Mini-book Help! Our Sex Life is Troubled by Past Abuse. Check them out at the links below. You can buy the mini-book here. Why we wrote Help! Our Sex Life is Troubled by Past Abuse Nate Brooks: I want readers of this book to know that they are not alone, that their struggle is not a “weird” one, and that the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and its implications offer them hope in the midst of sexual struggles due to past abuse. Sexual difficulties are rarely spoken of in the […]