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this can be done

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

capturephil

 

 

Phil Larson, The Think Dr.

Addressing Life Challenges

“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.

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Mental Health First Aid Rally

TeacherOklahoma 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.

REGISTER HERE: FREE: https://solumcommunity.net/mental-health-first-aid

Certified Trainer: Phil Larson, the think dr.

Fixing Fracture Families

solumleaf

 

Life Long Dads. Kids Need ‘Em.

then you win….

“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.

View of the World and Status on Fixing Fractured Families Sept 2017

Thank you for changing lives.

Rejoicing in the Good, When Hard Has Been the Journey

Fixing Fractured Families: That is a worthy goal. As a leader, I want families fixed. Maybe you do to. There are different ways to get it done, but it is hard work no matter what way you work on it. Resistence is assured, friend. What happens when you finally have a victory against a string of hard struggle? Whether it is my struggle to see families fixed or you have a different struggle, the principles are the same. Friend, I think today of the many struggles of recovery in the South USA from weather and North from fires and our culture in all parts to find a unity of heart and purpose.
Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. ESV
That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous; yes, my whole body will rest in safety CEV
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure NIV
Every so often, you will find a verse in the original language that defies exact matching translation from different eras and interpretive groups.  This one fits that description.  Many times, it is because an idiomatic phrase is contained or there is such emotion and expression, it is hard to put into a single phrase.   So let me expand this one.
My heart is glad and celebrates in great joy.  With my whole being inside and out, I am excited and alive; my tongue must shout and declare this joy.  It cannot be contained or restrained.  A great sense of peace and restfulness and security envelops my body and mind and spirit.  Phil’s version
Entering In: Entering in to health and joy is many times is preceded by great struggle and pain.  Our habits become acclimated to the struggle.  Our daily routines become expectant of the pain.  A friend going through back surgery shared some of her story.  The doctors instructed her that ghost pain would continue for some time.  Though the surgery is successful and removes even some nerve endings, our minds are trained to find pain at times of day and particular motions.  The pain is not there physiologically.  Yet, the pain is there in our minds.  The conditioning of ill health forms a barrier even when we are healed to enjoying the new freedom.
Rested Health: Now, that quotation that is a picture of great health and well being.  That is a picture of restful trust in God and God alone.  That is a picture of one that has wrestled with God and found Him to be more interested in securing our hearts that controlling our actions.  That is a picture of one, who has encountered fierce angers and pains and problems and illness and has come through to a new realization that the presence and leading of the Father brings us to refreshing and rest.  That is a wonderful picture. Is it attainable?
Breaking Conditional Barriers: In my own experience, I find it difficult to rest after an intense time of development of a business thrust or a strained season with a client.  Though the situation is ended and the issues are resolved, my daily expectation of another problem wrestles with my restfulness.  A wise executive once commented to me, “Even when we receive a new and different and positive answer, we hear the old negative one that is so common.”  He did not say it just like that, but you get the point.
There must be a time of “glory rejoicing” to break the conditional barriers of ill health and negative situations.  Celebrate.  This unspeakable joy works internally for us to remove scar tissues and sensitive nerves of mind and will and emotion and body.  Then we can receive the new and positive situation and answer.  This transition must happen.  It is a barrier breaker.
Returns at Customer Service: Discount retailers dedicate a large area for returned and damaged merchandise.  It is not a happy place.  There is not a lot of smiling for anyone.  When you find a smiling employee working that area, your frustration is defused at having to come back to the store. The transaction becomes more pleasant.  That employee is giving a rejoicing to a healing situation.  The item is broken.  You are receiving a replacement.  That should be joyful.  Yet, you lost value when you tried to use it at home and it broke.  You lost positive expectation and trust.  Now, the item and positive expectation must return before you can get full value.
Broken bones and aching hearts and rent emotions and lingering illness in our body cause us to lose positive expectation and trust in God.  We expect nothing.  Worse than that, we expect bad.  We expect anger and frustration and continuance of a wrong situation.   And we get what we expect until we expectantly express ourselves into a different result after the new answer of health and healing and restoration and replacement is received.
Prayer:
Father, there is a great life available through You and Your presence and Your word for me and for this friend. 
You are life.
You are healing.
You are “Yes” to all Your promises.
You are “Amen” to all Your commitments.
Cause rejoicing to resound in the camp of out heart.  Let us release the joy of the moment that heals and conditions us to hear, “Yes, you are healed.”
Walk with us today, Father, as You heal negative expectation built on real experience with tough living. Let joys restore a new hearing and receptivity to our full health.
 
Family Facts: The effort is worth it.  In our thrust to find solutions in the new urban/rural of the USA, we’ve seen good results that are sustainable.  Check them out at https://solumcommunity.net/give/2016-results-2017-plan/
Phil Larson, Director SOLUM Community Transformation Initiative
Training Offices: 3404 N Grand Ave, Gainesville, Tx 76240
Home Office: 508 Tumbleweed Dr., Yukon, Ok 73099
cell/text 405.388.8037

United and Engaged

A frank discussion with Anesha Alexandria over unity and engaging disenfranchised community.


 

Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?

Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?

In these United States, there are some outliers that seek to breed a new division.  It like so many divisions of the past will be conquered and unity will prevail.  Short answers are not welcome.  Long listening is needed.

In the original war between the states, the United States divided over many issues. The biggest was the issue of individual and state rights versus federal oversight and decision making.  Along with that came the issue of slavery, a heinous institution that continues to plague our world and be accepted in the darker corners of the USA in human trafficking and domestic violence.  Those institutions don’t worry about race and color or even age.  They exhibit the willfulness of mankind to control the lives of those deemed weaker.

In the original war, we lost more men than in all other wars combined.

In the original war, we moved on to enslave and slaughter the Native American while attempting to free the African American.

In the original war, men like U. S. Grant kept slaves and fought for the Union and men like Robert E. Lee spoke against slavery and fought for his state of Virginia and the Confederacy.  It was a time, where honor and duty was to family, community and state and the divisions ran deep and deadly.  Brother killed brother.  Neighbors killed neighbors.   As a nation, we have come far and have far to go.  People will be people.

In the original war, we found peace as a nation through decades of unity.  World War I and II brought all together in a common fight.  After WWI, the Southern states began celebrating Memorial Day along with the Northern states.  It took a long time and a common pain to bring the nation to semblance of healing.  Civil rights remained uncivilly distributed and still pose issues causing us to work to decide what is a right and what is a privilege and what is a personal preference.  It is not easy work.  Our streets ran with blood during the civil rights marches and they run red again with anger and violence.

In the current war of ideas and preference, we move every day closer to destructive disunity.  National treasures such as the right to free speech are trampled. National treasures such as the belief that all mankind is created equal and worthy of due dignity and respect are trampled. Today, it is a few.  But a few can be built to many and many can destroy the union.  The union is a fragile commitment to civil discourse and respect of differences.  Multi-cultural means respect for differences not blind robotic similarity.   A man’s heart is a man’s heart and it will not be changed by imposition and anger.  It is changed in discourse and compassion.  Hate builds hate.  Compassion and contrition builds friends.

Compassion is what we have lost. In our search for meaningless meaning and trivial attributions we have abandoned our God and our commitments.  Marriage is meaningless.  Children are abandoned by their fathers at birth or shortly thereafter.  Our churches, our deepest social glue, are empty and entertaining.  Employee and employer have no real relationship but money and benefits.  We are like overused Velcro, ready to disconnect at the slightest pressure.

Compassion breeds commitment.  Compassion means we see and feel the hurt and pain of another and are moved to do something to relieve it.  Anger wants to relive it not relieve it.  Anger wants to point fingers and blame and shame.  Compassion wishes to hide the hurt and find a solution.  We have regulations that prevent speaking of medical and financial conditions, but no such honor of the issues and diseases of the heart.

Compassion breeds contrition. As a child, I was raised in a church that took a moment in every service to acknowledged that each of us is flawed and working it out.  As a community, we looked at each other and admitted our broken condition that we might look at each other in support of repair.  We knew we each were wrong.  We reminded each other and committed to grow a better life.

As I child my mother and father taught me respect for others regardless of their emotional, mental, financial or physical pains.  Hate is a pain bred of fear.  Fear is a pain bred of lack of love.  Love is a commitment to forgive and heal and sometimes overlook.  Love in action kills fear and disarms hate.

The only thing that will win this war of ideals will be acts of contrition, commitment, and compassion. 
There is a third party missing in the battle.  The voice of compassion can look at a rebellious flag, statue, or organization and speak peace.  Martin Luther King, Jr and those that followed him attempted to teach us that.  The voice of compassion can speak loudly a right direction in the face of strong opposition without violence without hate without anger.  William Wilberforce and the strugglers in England that brought about deep social change and ended slavery in the United Kingdom taught us that.  It is men and women of faith that have been our salvation in free nations over the history of mankind. It is not the men and women of war and hate that have prevailed in our free nations.

Should we follow the lines of hate and imposition versus compassion, we will become like others that give up freedom to be right and then have no rights.  Should the right hearted rise up and take the streets with compassion and faith, this moment too shall pass and be written in the history books as an uncivil unrest that was conquered by community.

Will you rise?  Is there an ounce of compassion to understand and listen in you?  Will you listen long and speak slowly?  Should enough join in this then the voices of dissension will go quietly and as a nation we will move another step forward in our quest for deeper unity.  It won’t be easy.  It never is.

Maybe we will become more disgusted with human trafficking and family violence and seek long lasting solutions. Maybe we develop strong patience to understand our nation of immigrants must merge and merge and merge again with growing ideas and assimilation of cultures.  That process never ends in a free nation.  We change.  We morph.

But to destroy our treasures of freedom of speech, religion, and assembly is frightening and unacceptable.  To destroy the dignity of mankind is frightening and unacceptable.  To destroy the free pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is frightening and unacceptable. To fracture our families and accept and indenture any is frightening and unacceptable.  Our nation has freedoms. Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?