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Welcome.

(note:  This is the welcome and info article and it does not change.  Scroll on down for the most recent article addition.)

I believe in the power of truth.  I also believe in the power of freedom.  I am neverendingly impressed at how truth sets us free, and how freedom opens us up to the truth.  Though I have some posts that are personal to me, this is my ministry site.  I post articles about all kinds of things that are of interest to me… and I also find great joy in answering, or at trying to answer, or at least discussing, questions.  Feel free to ask them here.

I am still working on these sites, but the best way to navigate this material is either the tabs at the top of the page – these take you to totally different pages with targeted information.  If you are researching me as a personal therapist, click the Counseling/Therapy tab… if you are a man looking for encouragement, ideas and support in life, click on Phalanx… if you are considering me as a speaker, teacher, pastor, or consultant, that information should be available there.

Most of my work hours are spent serving at FBC’s South Campus in Tyler. Check out the amazing ministry there.

I am also the lead therapist at the Alethia Counseling Center in Tyler, Texas… and I love the team of Counselors we have here, so…

I want to introduce you to our team of counselors at the offices:

Millie Tanner, LPC.  Millie is an LPC, and has been doing work here for about a while already and was with Women of Grace before that.  She is truly realistic, strong and compassionate.  Her experience shows as she does an excellent job and inspires great confidence in her clients.   She is especially gifted at marriage counseling, in my humble (but accurate) opinion. (http://www.tannertherapy.com/)

Zach Herrin, LPC.   Zach is a great counselor and is especially good with engaging with people through the lense of being someone loved deeply by God.  He has a special gift at developing rapport with young men and their families.  I think his masculine and biblically strong style of counseling will connect well with men.  (www.herrincounseling.com)

Keely Burks, LPCI.  Keely is an LPC intern, which means that she has finished her Master’s Degree, and now has to complete 3000 hours of what is essentially a residency under a an LPC supervisor.  She did some of her practicum work here and did a fantastic job, and offers play therapy too! (http://www.keelyburkscounseling.com/)

Amy Waters, LPCI.  Amy is also working on her intern hours… This means she has completed her Masters and has joined us full time!   She is gifted and has close to a decade of experience helping students and families after her years as a Pine Cove Family Camp Conference Director.  She has an amazing talent for seeing as God sees and helping people do the same.  You need to schedule time with her… it is a healthy decision for anyone. ( www.amywaterscounseling.com)

Nancy Mayer, LPC.  Nancy is our newest addition.  Nancy is just opening up multiple hours at our office.  She has many years of experience as a chaplain and as a counselor!  She works with couples, individuals and is especially gifted at working with people struggling with traumatic experiences they have faced or are facing.

If you are interested in scheduling with any of us, call us at 903 561 8955

…If you are more interested in browsing my articles, then your best bet might be the catagories list to the right.  If you are interested in me writing an article on a given topic, you can request it in any comments section… I will try to get to it as soon as I can!

I will continue to post all new articles here as well as on the targeted site, so either option should still give you the chance to find what you are looking for.

Typically, my series, sermons and seminars will be found at:  Talks

Thanks for stopping in… God Bless you and Keep you.

Chris

More Information on my specific Counseling

My style of therapy is generally called “eclectic” which really just means I make use of many different styles and techniques of counseling.  I believe that every human life has intrinsic value, including yours.  No amount of pain, guilt, shame, regret, resentment, anger, depression, depravity, or brokenness can change that.  Every person has a story that is worth hearing, no matter how much hurt, love, purpose, abandonment or normality that life includes or lacks.

A big part of why I believe what I just said is that I am a proclaimed follower of Jesus, The Christ, into Life, death, and Life again.  I think life can often feel a lot like a series of life and death patterns.  I believe it is hopeful to know that those are a parable of the larger Epic story.  I believe in a Creator, and I therefore rationally think the most foundational thing in life is to have a right relationship with our Creator.

It seems reasonable to me that it would be impossible to over-estimate philosophically how important it would be for a created thing to know its creator.  After doing decades of research, of the major views on this problem, only Christianity has been able to offer what I consider the most reasonable answers. So, with that understanding, I am a Christian therapist.

However, as a “style” I am not exclusively what is called a “biblical counselor” nor do I offer counseling only for other Christians. Far from it. I agree with the way I was taught: I expose my faith, but am careful not to impose my faith on my clients. It isn’t always an easy integration, but that is my goal. The main way that my faith and philosophy impact my counseling is in regards to truth. I believe in the power of truth to set us free (John 8:31). I think it is vitally important for everyone to be able to acknowledge the truth about their lives – this point is also made in Orwell’s “1984” when it is noted that true freedom begins with the freedom to speak the truth.

Until we can say what we know is true, we are still bound. I make use of reality therapy techniques, Gestalt work, psychotherapy, Jungian archetypes, personality theory, paradoxical work, REBT, transactional analysis, and virtually anything else I come across that works and fits within what I believe is true.

I believe that each human being is so complex and unique that no one therapeutic theory covers everyone. Generally, I talk to people for about 50 minutes in the session, but the real work comes in the hours of integration in-between sessions. I encourage people to deal with the past and not ignore it – to speak the truth about their past. This is not about living in the past. Understanding, speaking and accepting the truth about our past is a work of the present.

I also encourage people to face the present and future honestly. Reality therapy becomes vital when dealing with the present. I think that many more people could really benefit from counseling than get it. It takes a certain level of emotional health to be able to risk coming in. Coming to counseling the first time can be pretty tough, so I applaud anyone strong enough to do it, especially those who are able to come in before they are in stage 4 sickness… Counseling isn’t meant to last forever, so come in with some specific goals and you and I will work together to identify and deal with those and any others that arise.

Final words for this section: beware of coming in for counseling when it is storming and the roof is leaking, and then quitting when the rain quits rather than when the roof is repaired.

any questions?

Just in time for school, Josh Berger (http://www.bergercounseling.com), one of our counselors at Alethia (LPC Intern) has written an article about bullying.  We hope it is helpful to you!

When Kids Get Bullied

bullying

For many of us, bullies were an unfortunate part of growing up. We dealt with the worry, the embarrassment, the shame. We hoped to avoid being the focus of their attention, and if we were fortunate we succeeded more often than not. Eventually the end of the school day came, and we went home. There was a break.

There was time to recover.

This is where bullying has changed recently. With the integration of the internet into every aspect of life, now it is possible for ridicule and mockery to invade our very homes. A status on Facebook, an embarrassing video on YouTube, a picture on Instagram – all ways that our children and teens can be attacked in the comfort of their home. It happens all too often. Now our kids do not get the time away from the bullies, and the impact that this is having is significant. The term for this harassment is cyberbullying. It is when bullies invade the sanctity of our homes through computer screens, tablets, and smartphones. So what do we as parents need to do? Before jumping into the dicey topic of bullying it’s important to take a step back, to remind ourselves of our end-goal as parents. Our role as parents is through self-sacrifice to love our children and prepare them for the life God sets before them.

Douglas Wilson calls this self-sacrifice the principle of “my life for yours”. We are to give of ourselves unconditionally, as Christ gave of himself for us. And parents sacrifice knowing that we are not our children’s savior. We equip our children, knowing that life will often not be as easy for them as we would like. But also knowing that our God loves us and uses the events in our lives to make us more like him.

We want our children to grow up into mature and godly men and women, and men and women who are “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4) are that way because God has brought them through trials. Now with this as the framework we can better discern how we handle when our children get bullied. There are many different ways to bully, but the focus of this post is the bullying that invades our homes through online venues. When this happens, it is unique because of its anonymous nature. Anyone can put things online for all to see.

Because cyberbullying invades our homes, it is best to start actively engaging with our children before the bullying occurs. Bullying tears down and isolates; therefore it is best to integrate and build up. This is going on the offensive. Here are three points I recommend to parents who are concerned about cyberbullying or other risks associated with the internet:

1. Clearly defining what the purpose of having a cell phone or laptop is –This is best started at a young age. As you give your kids new freedoms, you lay out the purpose of why you are giving them this new freedom. For example, a cell phone is a useful tool that allows kids to keep in touch with you as parents easily when they are away from home. It is not a device to remove the child from the home by spending all of their freetime talking or texting. You may allow them to use the phone for talking to friends, and indeed you should, but that is not an inalienable right of your child. Giving that time is a blessing. So map out with your children what is and is not allowed to be done online and on their phone. Get specific, particularly as to what apps are and are not appropriate. I also recommend that parents require they have the username and password to every site your child logs into. This is simply for their safety. For the same reason, it is a good idea for phones and laptops to be kept in public areas of the house.

Next week, we are going to look at some more simple steps for dealing with bullying:

I was recently was interviewed by a Master’s Student about my opinions on mid-life crises.  I do not claim to be an expert, but I think the mid-life crisis is an identity issue.  Anyway, here are my thoughts

- Do most people experience a mid-life crisis? And does it affect men more than women? Or vice versa?

It is possible that everyone does… but I don’t know if it would count since many people handle the “crisis” with such grace that it does not seem to be a crisis for them.  However, I think everyone asks the questions that make a mid-life crisis what it is.

- How does a mid-life crisis affect a person both personally and professionally? 

It depends on how they handle the crisis.  If something damages the foundation of your life, it cracks everything else too – or at least shifts it.  Especially if your job is your foundation, as it is with most Americans, then yes, it will change at every level.

- How does a mid-life crisis affect the spouse/family/friends? What effect does the crisis have on others? 

Again, it totally depends on the way the crisis is navigated.  It can be a huge blessing to the family, if it means that dad decides to change his job so that he can focus more on them, or God, or being a healthier person.  If instead, he engages in addictive adolescent behavior – gambling, substances, addictive relationships, etc… it can be devastating.

- Is there a certain time frame that mid-life crisis usually occurs? How long does it generally last? 

As the name implies, the time frame famous for them is “mid-life”… in the late forties or early fifties.  It lasts anywhere from a few introspective moments to the rest of the person’s life.

- What signs/symptoms occur during a mid-life crisis?

a change in thinking and behavior… typically, when it is called a crisis, it is a radical change.  Often, in the stereotypical  cases, it involves a reversion to adolescent behavior – trading in the spouse for a newer model (so to speak), quitting old career, buying a red sports car, spending a bunch of money on plastic surgery, having an affair, etc.

- Does a mid-life crisis occur without warning, or are there signs leading up to it? And if there are early warning signs, are there ways to mitigate the effects? 

What is needed is identity work.  I think this is the first stages of Erikson’s crisis of “Generativity versus stagnation” – do i spend the rest of my life investing my treasure back into myself or do I spend it on others and creating a legacy? Signs would be the more minor expressions of this showing – questioning their value and purpose in life.

*** You did not ask me what I thought a mid-life crisis is.  I think a mid life crisis is the psychological bind that comes when people ask themselves “is this all there is?”  “is this what my life is and is going to be?”  “Am I ok with finishing my life on the same trajectory that I am on?”

This is mainly a crisis bc people wait until too late to ask these questions… and deny asking them as long as they can.  Well-actualized people ask these questions often (I have an alarm set on my calendar to ask them every week for me).

We need to ask these questions regularly – healthy to question.  “The un-evaluated life is not worth living”  and all that.  we encourage people in our culture to found their identity in performance and acquisition… both of which are very poor foundations… tragically so.  At one point, men aged 65-75 were the number age range at risk for suicide… like Robin Williams – what is the point of life when you cannot perform anymore?

http://fbctyler.org/south-campus/media/media-items/17/parenting-seminar

 

I think this is a good basic seminar on parenting.  Check it out!

I am starting this on May 10th, and it is my best friend’s birthday… however, he died a few years ago.  In fact, I am now
jason and meolder than he ever was.

His birthday (and the fact that I talked about grief and stress on TV this morning and with clients today) has brought to my mind a lot
of thoughts on grief, death, mid-life crises, and more.  Seeing as how I am not the first nor only person facing these universal issues, I thought it might be helpful to someone to write an article about these things.

In regards to grief, I am always interested by the way that people talk about grief as something that we “get over.”  People always want to know if they “should be over it by now” or they want to know if they are “normal” since they are still thinking, dreaming, or struggling through something that they grieve.

First, let me offer my non-technical and non-official definition of grief…

I believe that grief is an unavoidable experience of any intelligent and self-aware creature that moves only one direction in time.  As humans, we seem to move pretty regularly forward in time at the rate of about 1 second per second.

There is no way to dial backwards.

For this reason, I have an hourglass in my office.

(everything in my office has a story or therapeutic point connected to it, as I am sure you can imagine, but that is another blog that might be fun).

Clocks really create an illusion for us that time is cyclical and repeatable in nature.  It is 3 o’clock now but not to worry, it will be 3 o’clock again tomorrow!

It won’t.
The truth is that it will be a totally different 3 o’clock.  As Heraclitus allegedly said,“You can never step into the same river twice.”

Instead, the hourglass reminds us that as each small grain of sand drops from the top to the bottom, it is gone and can never be gotten back.

The truth of that is the root of grief, I think.

I might reference this again when I talk about Mid-life crises.

So, back to the definition of grieving.  Grieving is the emotional effect of having an event (decision, relationship, etc.) behind us… in the past… and we are wishing something about it had been different.

Notice that one might even predict that things were not going to go well, and we might not be surprised that they did, but they did, and we are feeling the truth of that.

There are small grief (when your lunch partner ordered something you wish you had ordered instead of what you did) and there are massive grief (the death of a beloved family member or friend) and there are even transcendent or ideological grief (a trust broken, a faith doubted, or a cherished life-rule challenged… I also think that our feelings of injustice or of having been cheated are really strongly connected to grief.).

A personal, and I think common, example of transcendent grief is the grief that comes when we perceive a seriously lost potential, especially when we feel that someone is cheated out of an opportunity.

One of times I experienced a strong feeling of grief was when our family pet died a few years ago, on Christmas day.  Bummer, I know.

However, here is the thought that really brought out the emotion in me:  Montana (the dog’s name) had been adopted by our family about the time our first child was born and he had been with us through the infancy and toddlerhood years.  I should say that he had suffered thought them; there is little harder on a dog than a toddler.  Toddlers like to poke eyes, jump on backs and step on tails, all in fun, of course.

Montana had put up with all of that and was just embarking on that time which is fun for dogs – growing up with a kid to play with, pay attention to them, slip them food, etc.  And then he died on Christmas day out jogging with me, hit by the only car we saw on the road that evening.

Though I was sad at his death, it was the injustice of it all, the sense of this dog being cheated out of his reward for putting up with the tough times, that triggered the grieving.

Now, when we imagine a person we loved dying, we must often multiply that emotion a thousand times… especially to the degree we have feelings of them (or us) being cheated of something.

My grandfather never met the great-grandson named after him.

A friend’s parents will not be at his graduation, wedding, etc.

My best friend is not here to build a tree-house with my kids – something he and I built dozens of.

How would we ever “get over it?”

Personally, I don’t think we do.

I think we just get used to it.

More to follow… here is part 2:

http://chrismlegg.com/2011/08/08/grief-and-grieving-part-ii-what-is-grief/

 

 

Here is the understanding sex material in a casual setting at our church.  I am 80% done with an Ebook as well.  I will let it be known when it is available.  It will have more detail and research involved.

Anyway, here they are:

Understanding Sex I

Understanding Sex II

Make sure and read part I of this article first!

I recommend reading the actual story of Horus and other gods in the link below and deciding for yourself if Christianity and they are connected.

My own opinion, as I have studied these “best examples” of the connections is that this is complete rubbish.  I have honestly been very disappointed.

I have great respect for many atheists who are also scientists and researchers, but this topic has actually called my confidence in them into question.  It is nearly universal for those debating Christianity to bring these links up even though any link that exists is either obviously cultural (one of a god’s many names is similar to other names of that era or location) or not a connection at all, or common to many religious figures – like some version of defeating the realms of the dead – but even those are very different from one another.

An example of this last idea is “Resurrections.”  Resurrections take various forms in religious stories.  The most typical by far is the cyclical dying-and-raising that many of the gods did… they represented the way that the sun died (or at least spent the night in the underworld) every day (like in Egyptians mythology) and was reborn every morning… or the way that some of the fertility gods die each fall only to be reborn (like the plants) in the spring.  This is the “Corn King model” which is very common in ancient pagan religions.

However, these strolls through the realms of the dead to return in the morning or in the spring or in order to find a dear lost friend and get wisdom from them, etc… are still not very similar to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who died to atone for the sins of the fallen race of mankind in order to create a right relationship between Almighty God and His fallen creation.

My point here is that even if they were, it would prove no necessary link of any meaning.  It is a common human issue to face death.  If there were a God, that God would need to create a solution to that issue regardless… so, of course, many faiths include that kind of thing.  This would have no bearing on whether they were accurate or not.

So, what I decided to do for myself, to start, was to re-tell the stories of these characters as they appear in as unbiased (as to this particular issue) accounts as I could find… like the Egyptian tourism sites.

 

Mithras Cult

 

Story of Krishna

 

The accounts of Osiris and Horus

 

(Even other atheists ridicule this continued legend of these connections… and when this one does, based on actual research, others still in denial within the atheist movement lash out at him.  See http://stupidevilbastard.com/2005/01/ending_the_myth_of_horus/)

Odysseus

Maybe Mark, as a Greek, did follow some of the literary patterns of the Greeks; I am not expert enough to make a claim on that.  However, I would not see that as even vaguely problematic, any more than it bothers me that Solomon would have written Hebrew style poetry rather than English Western poetry.

However, the claim has been made that the account of Mark is merely “an obvious” retelling of the account of the Odyssey.  Again, I thought this claim would be fairly easy to establish, if accurate…

The Walk Through the Odyssey

The Walk Through of the Gospel of Mark

 

 

 

Citations:

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/who-is-gerald-massey.html

http://gerald-massey.org.uk/massey/

http://thechristmyth.com/excerptmassey.htm

Book Review

Periodically, an author will ask me to read their books a post a review of it.  This is a great honor and it usually means getting a book out of the deal… and I have a hard time saying “no” to a book.

Recently, Brad Berger’s team sent me a copy of  his “Unplug and Play, 50 Games that Don’t Need Charging.”

It really is a simple book with a basic premise/promise… to offer up dozens of different games that people can play together without the need for electronic devices – and in almost every case, not even a board or dice… 90% of these games can be played with nothing more high-tech than a pencil and a piece of scratch paper!

They are grouped into 6 different categories.  Inside of these categories, the games are pretty much different creative versions of a central game concept.

As a fan of families doing stuff together, and of the power of games to make us think, learn and most importantly, learn to think, I really approve of this book.

I think that is the right word, too – approve.  The book isn’t going to win a Pulitzer, (though it is pretty clever in places) but that isn’t its purpose.  You know the game sets that you can buy that have one board and you can play chess, checkers, Chinese checkers, backgammon, etc. all in one box?  This book is like that, except with about 10x the game ideas and 1/10 the preparation needed even for those – and it takes up about 8x5x 0.25 inches.

Families need to be spending time together – reading, watching movies, sure… and playing games.  It helps kid learn to deal with conflict, jealousy issues, how to deal in a healthy way with competition, strategic and tactical thinking, and more.  I think this book would be a handy guide for anyone who wants to play games with friends and family but don’t want to shell out the $30 for a single-dimensional game from the toy store.

Ok, a final note on recommending this book.  Our family has and plays games regularly – cards, dominoes, chess, and all kinds of other things.  We even play some of the games talked about in “Unplug.”  So, let me tell you what I intend to do with this copy now that I have read it and taken some ideas from it – it is going into my “Prep” materials.

Maybe this sounds odd, and, again, I am no prepper by any stretch of the word… but I do like being prepared – planning.  One of the things I have wondered about is the issue of “boredom” in a future that might be a lot different from the present.  Maybe we would work in the light and non-stop and sleep in the dark, but as a dad, I am guessing that even in a world like that, kids will get bored, and their brains would need stimulation.  This book would be a great addition to any prepper’s supply bag – and it carries a lot of bang for its size and weight – dozens of low-tech games in a small book.  Anyway, as I read it, it struck me as having additional value in that role that maybe even the author didn’t plan on.

I hope you enjoy “Unplug” and I especially hope that you will be playing games with you family.  The family that plays together, stays together, after all… or is it “prays”?  I recommend both.

http://www.amazon.com/Unplug-Play-Games-That-Charging-ebook/dp/B00IH5I3U4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401721471&sr=1-1&keywords=unplug+and+play

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