Last week Starla Abraham visited and I agreed to host a ‘start up ‘ information meet and greet lunch on Oct 24th. Put it on your calendar. There are many ways we can partner in faith with fixing fractures families. Will you join me? Starla has a vibrant passion to connect the community. For such a time as this.
Why not win? Why not help someone else win? We can connect you with more wins than you ever thought possible.
More info coming. This is not just about adoptions and foster care. There is so much more. Ever heard of Clergy Court? I had not. It is brilliant idea to engage clergy understanding in the family process in court. Each and every congregation can do something that fits their style and heart.
This Southwest Stack of Rocks is sometimes like the uphill battle we face. After a struggling 7 mile run up and down the hillside, I came to the top of this hill exhausted. Much loss had been experienced by my wife, me, my children, our family and friends. Yet, in the heat of the day, in the rocky soil, in the snake and scorpion home, flowers blossom. There is room for flower blossoms in the rockiest soil. We can be the fertilizer, rain, and encouragement in a family or individual that seems without hope.
Your first win is the decision to come and listen and connect with others. Every time I meet a new friend, I get a little more joy. Come meet Starla, she will brighten your day. Register now, so we can have enough food. Special note, we hope to have 90% of our repairs and remodel done at Hope C, the training home of SOLUM, where 440 have graduated from 90 day life change workshops in the last 4.5 years.
Judges 5:2 when leaders lead and people willing volunteer, the Lord is blessed…
The Lord is With Us Click on this to read the pdf or just keep reading.
The Lord is With Us: Build the House
Nehemiah prayed simple prayers in struggling situations. Challenged to do an amazing work for an ungrateful people in a land of pain and problems, Nehemiah prayed simple prayers and took significant action. The task was immeasurably daunting, but he knew God sent him to do it.
Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man.
In the beginning of his vision, he opened with repentance and reminding God of His promises. Then you simply asked for success and compassion.
They said, “Let’s start rebuilding,” and they were encouraged (put their hands to work) to do this good work.
When he had assessed the situation, and formed a small coalition, he went to the people and they responded just as simple. They said, ”Let’s start”, and put their hands to the work.
Remember me favorably, my God, for all that I have done for this people.
he was pushed against the wall and ready to move forward, he asked for favor.
But now, my God, strengthen me.
At a critical juncture, he asked for strength.
In our work to reach North Texas and Southern Oklahoma, I relate to Nehemiah. A destroyed culture of violence, alcohol, and family dysfunction needs built into a haven. People are afraid to bring their families into this area. Yet, there is a rising tide of changed lives ready to come together and build. Such things start small. That happened to Nehemiah also.
One night, after a painful day struggling against my crippled knee, I sat out on the front porch of our building in Gainesville. The air was cool and crisp and the kids and workers were gone after a successful night of outreach. That morning we trained probation officers, a pastor, and some strugglers in Mental Health First Aid. I had spent the last two days with some 1-1 with potential pastors, who might join our work. And I was exhausted. The thought entered my mind, “Why not just do the church thing? The money would come. Church people would come. Sure, the strugglers would feel as unwelcome as they do in all the churches, but hey, I could kick back and relax and let the normal flow.”
A car struggled into the parking lot with much rattling and noise. As it pulled up and parked, no one got out. My knee was so painful, I just waited in my chair. 20 feet away in the dark, someone wanted ministry and I did not have the physical stamina to walk to them. Finally, a familiar voice spoke, and two people came out of the vehicle. One was covered head to toe in grease. The other showed signs of a meth addict, who had not had a fix in a few days.
We visited outside for a few minutes, and I summoned enough endurance to put up with pain and took them inside for a cup of coffee and some water. The man had brought $20 that he had outstanding on a workshop. Probably the only $20 he had. He went through the building and started inventorying jobs he wanted to do to help get us ready for our next step in ministry outreach. Before his crash, he had had a successful business custom painting and remodeling million-dollar homes.
Here I was, a trained executive, a builder of huge works in business and the kingdom, walking and listening to two strugglers with lives lived in disaster looking over a building and a city in ruins with little more than an unrelenting dream to see a difference. What was I doing here? Like Nehemiah, counselor to the ruler of the world at the time looking over a destroyed city away from his family and friends, I live out of my comfort zone.
They said, “Let’s start rebuilding,” and they were encouraged to do this good work. Last week, this same man had shown up unannounced and manicured our campus. It took six hours with two men to get it into shape. Unannounced. He has a mind to build. Here he was again.
But now, my God, strengthen me. My knee is crippled. I had already missed teaching Wednesday night’s bible study due to exhaustion and pain. Here I was back in the middle of the mess.
The two began to talk about their church experiences and being put out due to their struggles and how they wanted to connect family and rebuild.
They looked at me and answered my unasked question, “Why are you standing up now?”
The man answered without being asked. “I had no hope until I came here. Now I have hope.”
Both asked to be baptized and made fresh commitments to Christ. We prayed, and a peace descended from God where usually drugs were called upon for peace that doesn’t last.
The night before, a couple met with me and explained how their marriage had been healed using wisdom from our Life Skills workshop. The man stared intently into my eyes and told me that they had no hope until working with me. Another couple came into the sanctuary and asked about helping on the worship team. They had given up hope of connecting in a church. Both couples had their children in the custody of the state for differing reasons. But Hope is their haven.
And, I repented of my unbelief. Remember me favorably, my God, for all that I have done for this people. No, we will not do the churchy thing. We will build the house with loving, face to face discipleship and small groups. We will reach out to the most damaged people and see them created new in Christ.
Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man.
That is my prayer today. We have developed a strong reputation for wisdom, life change and compassion in North Texas. Our small team has huge faith. Our team in workshops and worship and works around the campus from grass clipping to kid’s ministry have all struggled with violence and alcohol and drugs and family dysfunction at points in the past. Some closer in time than others. They have been recreated in Christ into something new and strong. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.”
That is the tough work of the kingdom. Disciplemaking is the work. Fixing fractured families is the challenge. Eventually they will be the ones to support the work financially. They are certainly the ones getting the work done.
Right now, they need your help. We have a challenge. A donor has committed $10,000 in matching funds if we can raise that much by the end of year. That $10k plus the matching will add to our hodgepodge of contracts, workshop fees, present partners, and savings to get another trained worker alongside. Our volunteer team is awesome. They are on their way to being certified peer specialists. We need professionally trained workers with them.
Two “right now” opportunities need your support.
- A pilot program of pre-trial diversion can help 100 light and first time offenders a year. We can mentor them for six months and help them build better lives instead of entering the prison system. Right now, we need $3,000 a month for nine months to match the fees they will pay. Will you help with one? $100 a month supports one through the pilot.
- Another congregation is ready to be trained 15 miles south of us. To train the team over the next eight months and launch them is not expensive. $2500 will do it and get them started. They can serve another 30 a year at their site.
Join the team. May God give us favor in your eyes today. May you see with vision the work in which you can participate. The best way you can give is to send a check. Then we don’t have to pay credit/debit fees. But we also have the convenience of online at solumcommunity.net/give. You give one time or make a monthly commitment or whatever hits your fancy. These families need your support.
Hebrews 13:16 and do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Phil Larson, The Think Dr.
“Since about half the adults in the US will live in a diagnose-able mental health condition of depression or anxiety or another issue, that means it is either you or me. And if it is you, it is still me because you are my neighbor.” Phil’s Attitude
Normal Living Results in Mental Strain
Stress. Strain. Struggle. We do that. We call it life. The pressure of performance, the pain of loss and disappointment, and the overwhelming unmet urges of our human relationships fracture our mental and emotional stability. Nothing is new or wrong about that . About half the adult population will walk through a diagnose-able mental health issue in their life time. On any given day over 18% are in the struggle. Okay, so that is as normal as the flu.
Avoidance Does Not Help
When a co-worker, family member, or friend has the flu, we rally around them. We take extra shifts so they can rest and recoup. We ask how they are treating it and make suggestions.
When the same person is depressed or anxious, we hide. We avoid them. We isolate and make the problem worse. We become contributors to their disturbance instead of supporters of health. Why do we do that?
Employers Are Afraid
Though most C levels are concerned for colleague welfare because that affects the bottom line profits, they avoid compassionate touch. Send them to the HR outside support group to which research says they do not go. Sponsor a certain number of hours of psychological assistance to which a person suffering depression or anxiety is likely to wait an average of ten years to seek out. These things don’t work. They are nice and cover the legal requirements, but they don’t work. Supervisors, managers, and directors are instructed to stay hands off or write them up for unacceptable work behaviors and suffering colleagues spin down. Quality employees with a short term treatable condition are left to die. That is not always the case.
As a director/manager/supervisor for 35 years in healthcare, insurance, non-profit, and retail organizations, I have not seen it all. But I have seen a lot and been through continual training in what to do and what not to do. It needs to change. Colleagues need friendship and a compassionate ear. Employers need to express their care and concern outside of parties and bonuses. The workplace is suffering. Social structures of church and community clubs have burned down to low impact.
The Solution is Not Complicated
Compassionate and concerned employers and to be honest employers who know if they do something they will make more profits are taking action. They are boldly empowering the workforce to care, to listen, to come alongside. Mental Health First Aid is not complicated, but it does take training. It takes right approach. GET TRAINING FOR YOUR WORKFORCE. GET TRAINING
- Make an appointment with Phil and we will customize for you.
- Register for one of our open community events and come see for yourself how you can be a better boss, parent, partner, friend to those around you.
- Invest some time searching for mental health first aid on your favorite business website feed or twitter or linkedin and see what comes up.
- Do something. People count.
Last year on this day, my birthday, Malachi’s adoption was final. This year and every year on my birthday I am reminded. What a great birthday present. What a great reminder every year on my birthday of the beauty of family and life. Because his biological parents chose life for him, our family is greater. They had other options, but they chose life. Lisa and Robb chose generosity and acceptance and life and our family is greater.
Just prior Pearl, another grandchild, experienced a traumatic life threatening condition in the womb and at birth. Jesse and Sarah chose to battle for life and she is healthy, strong and precious to our soul today by direct and Divine intervention. Choose life.
Choose life. Choose generosity. Choose graciousness.
When death and destruction presents itself as an option in the form of abortion, violence, bullying, harrassment, addiction, suicide, depression, anxiety, poverty, abuse, or anger, you have choices. You can fight it. You can learn life giving options. You can surround yourself in freedom and positive relationships.
For 38 years I have dedicated my life to showing others life giving options to death and destruction as a friend, pastor, and community activist. I do not regret a day. My wife reminded me that our opus is to offer the tired,the tormented,the terrorized,and the torn a way forward into a better life now, and for eternity.
The pains of the past can be healed. The problems of the day can be solved. The seemingly unconquerable struggles can be overpowered in Jesus.
I teach many research and evidenced based workshops of life giving change. Every word is tested and true and helps build that better life forward not because of the reseach but because of the author of Life. He designed it to work. Truth is not relative. It is solid. It is crafted by the mastermind of the Creator. We discovered it in our reseach. He also laid it out in His Life Instruction book, the Bible. This book is alive.
The solution will not be found in a higher power, some set of principles or pastry sayings on facebook or a false god. Quips and quotables will not get you there. You will be warmed and left wanting. The solution is Jesus. Only He offers life and life more abundantly. He is the Source of All Life. He is the Creator and Sustainer of Life. He is not a a five minute altar call, but a lifelong commitment. He is life. Start with Him. Bury yourself in Him and His life giving direction and example. Worship Him as Provider, Sustainer, Creator, Shepherd, Rightstanding, God over lessor gods, King over all kings, Lord over all lords, Boss over all bosses,. He is my God and my soon coming King. Meet Jesus face to face, heart to heart, and you will have chosen life everlasting. Maranatha. Selah.
Oklahoma City Metro
This is a great opportunity to show yourself strong.
MHFA is for you. You need it. Your friends need you to have it. your family needs you to have it. Get registered. Power up meeting on Nov 11th at the Commons in OKC. FREE meeting.
Special pricing available for onsite training after this event for ministers and church workers because I want you to make the difference.
Certified Trainer: Phil Larson, the think dr.
Fixing Fracture Families
Life Long Dads. Kids Need ‘Em.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Ghandi
Pushing into uncharted waters is frightening and fulfilling. Explorers, pioneers, and change agents look for adventure and results. Adventure for the sake of adventure is expensive. Adventure for the sake of results is life.
When I look over the progress of the creation of the SOLUM Community, there are days I can despair. Goals govern growth. How do we, you and us together, do with the goals?
When I look over the progress of the creation of the SOLUM Community, there are days I jump for joy. Results count. How do we, you and us together, do with the results?
This vision is simple Fixing Fractured Families and Life Long Dads. Kids Need ‘Em. Those to statements drive us every day. Families can be fixed. The greatest medicine is a life long dad.
Families are fixed every day. It is what YOU do. By the hundreds, families are fixed every day. They final moral integrity, personal responsibility, and community accountability through Solid Life Foundations, Healthy and Safe Relationships, and build Generations of Greatness. Those are catch phrases, those are guiding lights of laser to keep us on track with power results.
You make it happen. You are the trigger. Whether you mentor in a workshop or encourage our team or give financially, YOU ARE THE CHANGE. Thank you.
Read, listen or do both to our annual view of the world and solutions in motion status.
Thank you for changing lives.