Category Archives: Uncategorized

Important Resource For Parents of Struggling Young Adults

(Sorry for the blogging hiatus. I have been working through some personal exhaustion, life and spiritual transitions, and sifting through some new material that I am chewing on. I wanted to, however, share with you this important resource from my friend Corey Magstadt. Corey is the Executive Director of Launch Ministry, an organization that works with young adults who are struggling to find their way through life. Here is what Corey has to say and offer to you.)

You are not alone.

I speak those words often to parents of young adults as they share their stories of heartache with me.  At a recent support group, one parent shared how grateful she was for a place where she could admit that her 19-year-old son was in jail and be met with nods of understanding instead of unhelpful platitudes.

How uncomfortable would people be if a pre-service conversation went like this:

Greeter:  Good morning!  How are you today?

Parent: Not good.  I was up at 3:00 this morning bailing my son out of jail because he violated his probation and drove home drunk from a party. Yesterday my daughter told us that she is pregnant.  And I found a stash of marijuana in the garage but I haven’t pinned down who it belongs to yet.

Greeter: …Well…enjoy the service!

Sadly, our churches have often forgotten that one of the primary roles of the body of Christ is to be a hospital for sick and broken people.  We have often turned our worship gatherings into a time where the (outwardly) whole meet to affirm one another for how well life is going.

This is by no means a criticism of churches in general.  Many local bodies have remarkable ministry among hurting people and have created open space to allow parishioners to talk about real life issues.  However, the Sunday morning service does not seem to be the place where people have the space to dive into the really tough things that parents of young adults often face.

This is why a support group like this is necessary.  And we are excited to help you develop it in your own community.

What a You Are Not Alone support group offers:

  • Vibrant discussions on topics such as communication, conflict resolution, finances, faith and values, and much more
  • Parents finally having a place where they can honestly share the pain and frustrations that they have experienced with their adult children.
  • Opportunities for parents to share resources that have been helpful to meet real needs for their children.
  • New hope for the future as parents find peace and strength in one another and in Christ.

What it doesn’t offer:

  • Ten steps on how to parent your young adult. This is not a ‘how-to’ study. It is a support group.
  • Easy answers. There aren’t any. But as you journey together with other parents, you will find that the answers don’t matter as much as wrestling through the questions together.

You will need one copy of the Facilitator’s Guide for your group as well as one workbook for each participant. You can purchase the materials through Amazon or through the Launch Ministry website. Additionally, Corey Magstadt is available for speaking engagements or retreats in your community. Contact us here to let us know how we can help.

Free Downloads:

Workbook Sample Session

Facilitator’s Guide Sample Session

The Real Mike Friesen

Some people ask me for interviews from time-to-time, or will send me questions that they want to know about me. Here are a few that I got this week:

 

What wouldn’t people expect me if they met me in person: I think people would be surprised with how sensitive, withdrawn, or emotional I can be. I have a tendency to withdraw from conversations to contemplate, absorb, or search for the meaning in the things that are unfolding. I am also very in tune with who people are. But, if I am not stressed out and comfortable with my environment, I am very care free. I am a notorious practical jokester. Also, even though I write a lot, I have terrible grammar.

 

What books am I currently reading:

On The Meaning of Sex- J. Budziszewski

Either/Or- Soren Kierkegaard

Spiritual Formation- Henri Nouwen

 

What Music Have I Been Listening To-

Metallica- …And Justice For All

Explosions In The Sky- All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone

Jonsi- We Bought A Zoo Soundtrack

Stick To Your Guns- Diamond

The Swellers- Good For Me

 

Someone asked me because I am not married, who my celebrity crush was (this one made me chuckle):

I have a man crush on Will Ferrell and have been told like four times I am a more attractive version of Zack Galifianakis. But, after that, I really enjoy movies and interviews with Anna Kendrick and Amanda Seyfried. They both seem like quasi-nervous people, which is kind of endearing to me. I’m not sure why.

 

What pet peeves do I have:

I really can’t stand slang language. So, it really annoys me when people call me brah. Or, when girls call me dude. And, people who aren’t close to me call me Mikey or Michael. Most importantly, I get annoyed with people who call themselves cigar smokers when they smoke swisher sweets.

 

Lastly, someone asked me who I have found spiritual wisdom from:

I think because I am a 4 on the enneagram, I tend to gravitate to other fours, so I really like Thomas Merton and Soren Kierkegaard. The first theologian to make a big difference on my life was Greg Boyd, and then N.T Wright. And, I have found great solace in the works of Richard Rohr. Most importantly, I have a group of older people in my life who are spiritually guiding me. They are people I can reach out to for direction, comfort, prayer, and encouragement.

The Idol Millennials May Bow Down To

One of the troubling statements about my generation’s belief in God came from the work of Notre Dame professor Christian Smith, in which they believe in moralistic, therapeutic, deism: a God who is up there, who helps me if I need, so long as I remain a good person. Essentially, if this belief remains, my generation will wrestle with an idle God who exists at our disposal. And, behind this is a belief in the individualistic nature of humanity. We believe that God is here to meet my needs and my preferences. And, I think that two things will shake this up:

The first is that the individual self cannot exist for itself healthily without God. When the individual seeks self-gratification, it will end up in both/either narcissism and self-destructive behavior. Only when I am able to die to myself am I truly able to find myself. This true-self, is not made up of what society tells me I am, or who I want to be, but is who God tells me who I am. It is as Paul says, “not me but Christ who lives within me.” The self that finds itself in the source of life no longer needs to exist for the self, but exists solely to enhance and deepen the lives of those around them. This is a call away from the individual ego, the individual consciousness, to allow God to have a renewal of the self and the mind, and embrace the existence of God within us. The Christian faith we receive here is received from God.

The second is a calling into community. I am convinced that in our individualistic culture, we are more restless and lonely than ever. I think Mother Teresa said it so well when she said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” We have not learned how to need one another. We have not learned how to submit our lives to one another. If Christianity is going to kick this idleness, they will have to learn that we don’t get private lives. God wants us to confess our secrets, our brokenness, and our sins to one another, because this life, this work, is not something that can be done alone. Carrying our inner poverty is too much to bear on one’s own. The Christian faith here is received from one another.

Both of these lead us to the reminder that we are not our own. The life with God leads more deeply into community of his presence within us and with those around us. Both of which calls for a surrender to a life of love. And, it begins to be a life that is received, and not determined by what I say it is.

Choosing Love Over Anxiety

Every day we are faced with moments of despair, doubt, fear and self-rejection. In these moments when we do not see clearly, and lose sight of what is really important, it is all the more crucial to remember to choose love over anxiety. The restlessness of anxiety causes us to forget who we are and what we are here for.

For to choose to love someone is to choose to love myself. And, to think on their behalf is to think on my own behalf. In this way, loving someone becomes the greatest reward we could possibly receive. After all, to love my neighbor is to love myself. In this kind of love, we remember who we are as the beloved. We are choosing to not only give the gift of God’s presence to them, but we choose it for ourselves.

To pray for, to choose to love someone, is the greatest way to overcome our despair, doubt, fear, and self-rejection. In these moments, we move from hostility and become the presence of God’s hospitality. And, when we can receive God’s hospitality we are ushered into his gratitude for us, and we experience our own gratitude for those around us. The only cure for the fear that accompanies anxiety is love. Because perfect love casts out perfect fear.

The One Thing I Can Never Hear Enough (Brennan Manning)

As great as acts of justices, discussions around theology, and motions about the church are, sometimes we just need to hear we are loved. And, that in the midst of our daily struggles, our sources of shame and guilt, that someone always loves us. The source of love, loves us. And, that he loves us more than we can imagine, and he expects more failure out of us than we do out of ourselves.

How Men Claim Their True Masculinity

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”-Genesis 1:27

What I love about this passage is that it is not an exclusive claim to God. It reveals that God exists both in a feminine image and a masculine image. God is not found in polarity here but in integration.

The great psychologist Carl Jung once spoke about how a man doesn’t come into psychological completion until he finds what he calls the anima. The anima, which is the term he used in reference to the soul, for a male, is feminine. Until a man comes in contact with his feminine side, the side of him that is more concerned with compassion, love, and relationships, more than being a distant, barbaric, scotch-drinking, TV watching, father and husband, he‘ll fail to find his whole and true-self. I think that this is why a woman, at least his soul mate, has such power over a man. She begins to ground him, allows him to feel not only at home with himself, but at home with her; he feels understood. (This concept applies to women as well, Jung called it the animus).

We as Christians find so much symbolism in the cross. So much so, that the apostle Paul tells men that the way they are to love their wives is not through being a distant, barbaric, scotch-drinking, TV-watching man, but a man who is willing to pick up a cross for her. The cross isn’t a sign of being militant (which is why Jesus told them he could threaten violence over them, but his kingdom was not of this world), but the cross is a symbol of radical self-sacrificing love. A symbol of compassion from a man who did not yell, “Screw every last one of you, you will all burn in hell,” but a symbol that reminds us of a man who said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Masculine Christianity is not found in being a tyrant, but being a servant. Masculine Christianity is not found in being chauvinistic, but in being compassionate, loving, and relational. Masculine Christianity is also not a denial of our masculine side, but it is an integration of the feminine side in which God also created human beings. Masculine Christianity leads us to the cross. It leads us to love. It leads us to the tender heart of God.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 287 other followers