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Religion and Stress

            Obviously, as a Christian life coach I bring some bias to the table and I will be up front about that, as my own personal faith has helped me through some very difficult and stressful times in my life. I wanted to share some sources that are from more neutral sources. These studies below represent ‘spirituality’ and ‘religion’ and not only Christianity.

          According to more than one study, “Religious people have  a thicker section of brain tissue in cortex which  helps prevents depression.  According to another group of studies, religious people take fewer sick days,  are less anxious and have a greater sense of purpose and mission in their work. Prayer and meditation also have made their ways into recent studies. Doing these two activities can help relieve stress.

Think about the bigger picture.

              Part of this, no matter what a person’s take on religion or spirituality is, is about finding identity. Once a person knows who they are and what they are all about, they are better able to manage the difficulties and stress in life. Having a foundational  starting point of morality, community and theology can be a wonderful place to learn about yourself, your purpose in life, learn about humanity and God. Thus religion can be a huge benefit in life by simply helping a person discover who they are and what this world is all about.

Being "Religious" is not enough

Being religious is not what gets us into Heaven.

Being “good” or “spiritual” are never going to be good enough.

In order to be saved you MUST be born again according to John. 3 verse 7. ( Especially in its full context, the entire chapter!)

In fact being religious is not what we are called to be.

The “good” will not outweigh the “bad”…because there will not be a “good and bad” balance beam in Heaven. Even if there was such a balance beam in Heaven the ONLY person who could reach God’s standard would be Jesus. (Rom. 6:23, Romans 3:23) So if we were judged on being good or bad, heaven would be only be occupied by Jesus and God (and the Holy Spirit) but all in one – of you know what I mean.

Fortunately, Heaven is not for just Jesus and God has allowed ANYONE to call on the name of the Lord to be saved! (Rom. 10:9, 10, Rom. 8:8)

So Heaven is not for religious people. Heaven is for those who call on the Lord.

Religious people are the ones who called on Jesus to be Crucified. Religious people where opposed to Jesus, the Pharisees. Religious people have started wars.

We are not seeking to be religious. We are not called to be religious. Being Religious does not save.

But Chrsit does. And we are to seek Christ in a relationship, not a religion.

Personal religion and Public Politics

Trust in God rather than political measures. Leaders may think they can see what needs to be done in a situation, but in reality things are unfolding according to God’s purposes.

Read Eze. 11:19-20, 36:26.

Political programs are compatible with religion of the heart…they are not a private matters. It is a mistake to have no place for religion in public policy because the Old Testament text demands obedience from the heart as a people of God together. Formally organized side of religion can and ought to be part of a full response to God. Religious life is not separate from political organization.

Happiness and religion

According to a recent Harris poll : Americans Who Are Religious and Older People Are Happier…

Here is one of the cool charts, go to the website to see the rest:

Base: All adults

AGREE (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

DISAGREE (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

Not sure

My relationships with friends brings me happiness

%

93

60

33

6

4

2

2

I have positive relationships with my family members

%

92

68

24

7

4

3

1

At this time I’m generally happy with my life

%

83

44

39

16

12

4

1

My spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to me

%

77

48

29

18

9

8

5

I feel my voice is not heard in national decisions that affect me

%

73

36

37

20

15

5

7

I frequently worry about my financial situation

%

65

29

37

33

22

11

1

I rarely worry about my health

%

49

16

34

49

35

14

2

My work is frustrating

%

37

13

24

55

26

29

8

I rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes I enjoy

%

32

9

23

67

34

33

1

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

Cool addition findings from Gallup.

What is truth?


I have some neat analogies relating to religions, post-modernism, and truth. Some of these ideas are from Living with Questions by Dale Fincher, others are from books by Greg Stier…but some are my own.

Post-modern ideas/ false:

A Shopping bag/or a WalMart -there are a lot of choices and things to buy. You are the consumer and the world/store evolves around you. You could go to Eastern section and purchase some Buddhism or go to the Western Protestant section and pick up some Baptist love….

Starbucks – people like their drinks a specific way, a mix of flavors and long, hard to pronounce names….”I ‘ll take a Grande Triple Buddha Berry Frappacino, and a Venti Jesus please….”

Truth / Christianity:

-A cure for a specific diagnosis that we all have, sin. And the truth is that there is one specific solution that cures our sin cancer. Jesus is the only solution, there is no other. Having other drugs will not help.

-A math equation. 2+3 = 5. It always equals five and that is not going to change. It is never going to be 7.

Truth is absolute and exclusive. It is impossible for everyone to be right because by saying so you are excluding everyone who thinks there is only one way…

Truth defined and discussed:
Truth is an idea or belief that is a fact or in other words, ideas that reflect reality and in another way, propositions that correspond to reality. Without truth we cannot know things…without the ability to to know things, we cannot use things properly…if we cannot use things properly then we cannot take care of things properly.

Perception of “faith v. truth”
In today’s culture the word “faith” has a false connotation to it. May I suggest that it has a false definition to today’s culture. I think that in today’s culture, faith is thought of as a gift. It is treated as mystical and unknown. Unfortunately many people think of it as the opposite of truth and reason. Some go so far to say that faith is ignorance.
These are misguided misconceptions. Faith and Truth go together, hand in hand. They are friends, not opposites. Faith is based on truth. I rely on evidence and trust God, this is faith. Faith is confidence in the character of something that has proven itself reliable. God has proven Himself faithful and reliable and evident in my life, therefore I have faith in Him. I trust in His Truth.
It is a faith based on Truth. Truth or ideas as they are in reality.
Truth is a proposition that corresponds to reality. It is when an idea or belief shows up in reality.
Say my car breaks down. I bring it to the repair show and then walk down the street to Walmart. As I am in the check-out line of Walmart I get a phone call from the repairman saying that my car is fixed. I now have an idea/proposition in my head that my car is fixed. I have not seen r driven my car so I walk back to the repair shop. I pay the bill, hop in the car and start driving. Everything is working . I know for sure now that my car actually really is fixed. I experienced truth. The repairman had actually fixed my car and was not false. I know for sure because i can feel/ see my car working properly. The idea that my car was fixed lines up with reality, my car is fixed.

steve jobs and youth ministry

This is such an interesting video. While Steve Jobs makes some great points that really do relate to youth ministry, which makes it funny and makes the video…I did some research and and there is no way that Steve is really talking about Youth ministry. Steve is not a Christian and has experimented with Eastern religions. Others say that Apple is a religion. I am guessing this video is edited assortment of clips. Yet I still enjoy it and agree with the concepts that are being applied to youth ministry.

10 Distinctive of Postmodern Churches

10 Distinctive of Postmodern Churches
from evangelismcoach.org

My own comments added


  1. Be unashamedly spiritual. People are tired of the modern belief that everything can be answered by science and reason. They are open to something mystical and spiritual. Thus the rejection of modernism and entering of post-modernism.plantingchurchespostmodern

  2. Promote incarnational ministry. Authenticity is essential. Postmoderns are looking for persons who are genuine and transparent. It is not the job of the unchurched postmodern to enter our culture. It is our job to invade theirs (become incarnate) with the unchanging truth of the gospel. I like the fact that this author is promoting unchanging truth! And the fact that he is not so caught up in the post-modern movement that he doesn’t accept evangelism. The fact that he wants to “invade their culture” tells me that he is strong in His foundation of the truth and still understands the Great commission.

  3. Worship experientially. Postmoderns want to experience God, not just see a show about him. A dynamic worshiping community becomes a powerful apologetic to a generation open to the spiritual but not knowing how to connect with the Spirit.

  4. Preach narrative expository messages. Jesus frequently used narratives or stories in his preaching, and often the story was the point. Preaching biblical stories connects to a culture that sees stories as a source of truth. This is true.

  5. Appreciate and participate in ancient patterns. Postmodern leaders are spellbound by the ancient- future faith of the past. There is a new interest in ancient things: Gregorian chants, Celtic Christianity, ancient art, etc. The church can embrace those that promote biblical truth.

  6. Experience visual worship. Paintings, banners, candles and other imagery can help share the gospel message. In the postmodern age, truth can be expressed in images illuminating biblical truth. this is a neat part of the post-modern era that is fun because Christians are using their God-given talents, abilities, and passions to further the Gospel in fun way

  7. Engage in service. Offer an outlet for their passion to serve. Genuine faith always expresses itself in ministry. As postmoderns see that faith produces service, the validity of the faith is proved. A wonderful outlet for this is to engage postmoderns in mission work.

  8. Connect with technology. Churches trying to reach postmoderns not only will use technology in worship, but they also will promote community through that technology. I love this too. As you might expect, a blogger/web designer for the Lord!

  9. Live community. Community is a central value in most effective churches reaching postmoderns. With a culture eager for genuine community, the Church can offer community with people and with God.

  10. Promote team-based leadership. Leadership in the postmodern context tends to be dramatically different than it was in other models. In the modern context, the leader was penalized for transparency. Leaders who shared their struggles frequently regretted it later as it became an example in future arguments. In the postmodern era, struggle and consequently transparency is more valued.