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Comment I heard recently…

September 4, 2011 1 comment

“Anything I place in front of my recovery I will lose anyway.”

Really?

How about this statement instead: “Anything I place in front of Christ I will lose anyway.”

Recovery or Christ? Is recovery the god of the person who made the first statement above? Maybe. Recovery is certainly the most important “thing” in the person’s life! Our goal must not ONLY be to stay clean and sober (recovery) but our goal must be to glorify God with our lives and to live for Him alone!

You may be thinking I am splitting hairs over this but it’s important and an important distinction. The biblical word is transformation anyway – not recovery! God wants more than just recovery; He wants a transformation for the person struggling with an addiction. Praise God!

-Mark (wanting more than just sobriety; wanting to know Christ more deeply and wanting to glorify His Name!)

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God is all about 1 thing…

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

God is all about His own glory.

Not your glory. Not my glory. Not your happiness. Not my happiness. God is about His glory in and through all things.

And He wants you and I to be all about His glory, too!

Jesus was all about God’s glory. John 12:28 reminds us of what Jesus said and how the Father responded (ESV): “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”*

-Mark (are you about His glory?)

*The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001 (Jn 12:28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Mark Shaw Ministries? NO WAY!!!

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Truth in Love Ministries is NOT a one man show! We have a TEAM of people running the administration of the ministry as well as teams of biblical counselors. We are a TEAM in every way and I depend so heavily on everyone involved in the ministry.

What triggered this blog was how many ministries I see with the person’s name on it. I understand them doing it and I don’t have a problem with it for them. That’s between them and God. But I’m so glad we chose to name this ministry, Truth in Love Ministries, because it is about JESUS only: His truth shared in His love!!!

So while we sell my books and I primarily teach and disciple, the ministry is NOT a one human man show but it is a one Man show: the Son of man, our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s His show, so to speak, and we are wanting to show Him off to glorify His mighty Name!

We are proclaiming Christ (Col. 1:28). We are proclaiming His mesage, not mine. I didn’t think of the message – He did. It’s His truth and His love that He speaks and does through us!

-Mark (so grateful our ministry is about Jesus only!)

Are you self-sufficient?

December 29, 2010 1 comment

One of the desires of sinful mankind is self-sufficiency. It’s reinforced in modern America. But is it biblical and godly to be self-sufficient? I say “no.” We are to be Christ-sufficient or better yet, we are to find our sufficiency in Christ alone.

We need to depend (trust) in God and not ourselves (Prov. 3:5-8). We need to depend upon God. We are not self-sufficient though we like to think we are and can be, but it’s simply a lie of Satan and this world to tell us that we do not need God or His Word.

Did you realize that Adam and Eve were created to depend and trust in God’s Word even before the Fall of mankind in Genesis 3? Before sin, mankind was created as a being who must depend upon God alone and to obey/trust His Word. Look at what happened when man disobeyed in Genesis 3: consequences to sin and death/suffering, etc. The result in our world today is tragic and we are daily reminded of the sin of our first parents to be “self-sufficient” and trusting in their own ideas rather than the Word of God.

It is hard to live by faith in America but God is allowing us to experience some hard consequences now that will bring us to our knees showing us we are not self-sufficient but ever dependent upon the King of Kings.

-Mark (don’t be self-sufficient and don’t even desire it; desire Christ and find your sufficiency in Him alone)

Report: 41% of Americans are “mentally ill”

December 27, 2010 Leave a comment

As we close out 2010, I wanted to relay a statistic I heard recently that said that 41% of AMERICANS were mentally ill. In America, we are creeping up on almost HALF of all Americans have some type of so-called “mental illness.” In other words, 41% of Americans possess a DSM-IV DIAGNOSIS based upon observable (or self-reported) behaviors/thoughts and many of those are “treating their symptoms” with a medication that is NOT guaranteed to work and may have many serious side effects.

My thoughts:
1) I think America is one of the few countries with the LEISURE TIME and WEALTH to be “mentally ill.” Most third world countries and their citizens do not have the time to focus on themselves which OFTEN causes mental illness. The people in these countries have to focus on working for their families just to survive the harsh conditions of life. In America, we have time and wealth to be mentally ill b/c it lends itself to self-absorption.

2) This 41% is a number that is only going to INCREASE in our country.

3) How much does sin and focusing upon one’s self-centered desires contribute to mental illness versus how much of mental illness is physically based (like a chemical imbalance)? I would say that when we get to heaven, if the Lord reveals the truthful answer to this question, we will all be surprised at how mental illness is really caused by living in unrepentant sin by being so extremely self-focused that one’s physical body begins to manifest these symptoms. There is a physical relationship between one’s sin and the body. Look at how Nebuchadnezzar’s body responded to his sin (Daniel 4:28-33) and David whose health suffered because of his sin (Psalm 38:3).

4) I am saddened and compassionate for this 41% of people. At times in my life, I’m sure I would have qualified as one of them in certain ways. I’m glad to not be struggling with it anymore by the grace of God.

5) Terminology is important and when we call something that is blatantly SINFUL as “MENTALLY ILL,” then the Bible is no longer useful to people who are looking for answers to “mental illness” which is not in the Bible. However, when we translate the observable behaviors/thoughts into biblical terminology, then we can utilize the GREATEST resource ever given to mankind: the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

While some mental problems are caused by physical factors, the majority of them often are not. The cause can often be SIN which leads to physical problems.

Sadly, even if ALL “mental illness” were caused by physical problems (and they are NOT!), but even if they were, the medications and secular counseling available is NOT working. It is woefully inadequate to address the matters of the heart that must be changed by the power of Christ. Is your hope in the world’s supposed remedies or in Christ as the remedy Who transforms the heart (Rom. 12:2)?

-Mark (let’s pray for this 41% of people to either be saved or sanctified by Christ)

No one wants to live with an “Abuser”

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Words are important.

I was thinking about this during a session I had years ago where the father was portrayed as an “abuser” when really he had mistreated one of his family members physically once. It was a one time occurrence yet he was characterized as an “abuser.” Because of that characterization, no one wanted to live with him anymore.

Now, please understand that I am not excusing his sin. It was inexcusable! It was despicable! He was sorrowful about it and was repentant for a ONE-TIME sinful act, yet now his family viewed him as an “abuser” with a “mental illness” that could never be overcome. How sad! I guess the power of Christ to BOTH forgive and empower us to overcome sin was not enough to overcome a one-time abusive event. How tragic!

So, you can see how terminology is important. Thankfully, we re-named his sin from “abuse” to “mistreatment” and he asked for forgiveness from his family. They forgave him and were reconciled immediately. It did not take months or years. They moved back in to the home 3 days later and they are still doing GREAT today by God’s grace!

-Mark (urging people to consider the importance of the words they use – do they point others to Christ or to hopelessness in man-made diseases)

His-story of TIL (quick)

December 19, 2010 1 comment

TIL was started three years ago. It was inspired by an opportunity I had to teach on addictions at a pastor’s conference. After that conference, I saw the great need to train pastors and all saints for the work of ministry. Therefore, TIL was birthed as an equipping ministry TO the body of Christ.

Six months after our miraculous non-profit status was obtained (that’s a great testimony to God’s faithfulness), we began counseling. We met with 2 families with 3 counselors. Today, we have so much going that I cannot even keep up with it. We are doing over 70 sessions a week with nearly 50 counselors some weeks! God has increased our ministry exponentially.

Even better, we began to see God save people and to reconcile relationships. Marriages were saved (not all!) but many. Most importantly, God was and continues to be glorified.

When TIL was birthed, my desire was to develop a “peace-making” side to the ministry to resolve conflicts biblically rather than going to court! Now, by God’s grace, we have the right person to lead this side of the ministry. Praise God!

Now, we minister at The Lovelady Center, Christ Health Center, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, and The Church at Brook Hills. Wow!

God is faithful to His message. He is still in the transforming “hearts” business!

-Mark (glad to be a small part of this ministry)