(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 South Spring Baptist Church. 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:


You can meet them HERE.at Alethia’s website.

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

…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.


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?


Women in Ministry

Right now, I am the Lead Pastor at a church that allows and encourages women in roles that some other churches do not. Women can serve as deacons, as teachers in a co-ed Life Group, members of the Leadership Board (the main decision making board of the church), can be licensed as a minister, and could hold the title “pastor” (though not likely in the position of “lead pastor”).

Sometimes we get questions about these decisions and so I thought I would write an article to show why I believe that these are biblically acceptable options.

I want to note that language – biblically acceptable – is very intentional. I do NOT think that the decisions this church has come to are biblically necessary.

I have worked in other churches that had very different conclusions on these issues. Immediately before coming be on staff at this church, I was an elder at a church that would have said none of these were allowed, and I think that is a biblically acceptable option too!

I have no intention for this to be an in depth article about women in the church or home in general. Heck, it isn’t even a very in depth conversation in women’s roles in ministry – that takes books. This is just a simple explanation of why I think the options chosen by the church where I am are biblically within the margin of error, so to speak.

So, given so much margin in how to interpret the biblical teachings on the roles of women in the church, what are some of the complicating factors and how do I feel comfortable with the direction that our church has gone?

Here are some complicating factors:

Let me start with noting that I am not a Greek expert.  I have never been really trained in it.  I am including the insights I have taken from commentaries, notes, Strong’s Concordance, and others.  I apologize when the Greek is too simplified.  I look forward to hearing where I may be making mistakes here.

The Greek word for “man” (aner or some similar version of it) (for example, see Romans 4:8) is also the Greek word for “husband” (see Romans 7:2). There are times when this creates uncertainty in the language as to which is being emphasized (the sex or the role).

To further complicate matters, the Greek word for “woman” (gyne) is also the Greek word for “wife”. The meaning is based on the context entirely.

Go check out I Corinthians 11:3-16 and imagine how important this distinction would be.

How about the idea that women are to be silent in church from 1 Cor 14?

“…the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” (ESV)

I think this passage is intended to be understood as “wife” each time.  I am not the scholar that many who disagree with me are, so take my opinion as not worth much, but to me, Paul seems to think that wives (not women as a whole sex) should be asking their questions of their husbands (verse 35) instead of their teacher… and this makes sense in the understanding that Paul thought of the husband as the spiritual leader of his wife.

But anyone can see how this can be confusing, especially given the Greek language! It is easy to see why there is a lot of room for interpretation of passages like this… and why there is great disagreement?

So, what about the roles in the church?


Periodically, when I am introduced to a valuable article on another website, I try to let you know about it here.  This is an example! Enjoy.

Here are some key passages that reference some of God’s traits that clearly have a maternal feel to them:

Isaiah 66:13

For thus says the Lord:

       “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.  As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;


Isaiah 49:15

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

When I was young, we raised birds. One of the things that some mother birds do, like turkeys for example, is to protect their young by covering them with their wings. They do this in storms, in particular. It is a particularly maternal thing. God refers to Himself in these:

Deuteronomy 32:11 (as well as Ps 17:8, Ps 57:1, Ps 91:4)

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him,


Luke 13:34, Jesus puts Himself in that same role, too.


O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets


and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!


or perhaps a more ferocious animal?

Hosea 13:8

I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;

I will tear open their breast,

       and there I will devour them like a lion,

as a wild beast would rip them open.

Luke 15:8-10, Jesus tells a parable in which the God-figure is a woman:

Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Ps 22:9-10, Ps 71:6, and Isa 66:9 all put God in the role of a midwife. Though it says “he”, the midwife in Israel was apparently a female role.

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;

you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.

 Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;

you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.

 My praise is continually of you.

Bless our God, O peoples;

let the sound of his praise be heard,

who has kept our soul among the living

and has not let our feet slip.

 Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”

says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God.

Our concepts of gender, though cultural and society, are connected to sex – which is biological. Honestly, we cannot know what role gender or sex will play in the new imperishable bodies that humans will have someday forever. Much less, the role of gender in God – but how could what we know as sex have anything to do with a self-existent Spirit being as God is with no need of sex or biological reproduction?

So, it is completely error to think that God being “He” somehow is a tipped hat to human sex or gender except as being in language that we would understand. God has reveled Himself somehow as “He” and therefore that is the correct pronoun for Him, but be

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo at the Sistine chapel, Vatican city, Rome, Italy

very careful about ascribing any meaning there – it is very easy to make big mistakes.

Remember that God so loved the world – all men and women – perhaps all of creation – that He sent His Son. God’s love extends to everyone and whether you are male or female, He treasures you.

Maternal Traits of God

Sometimes when someone reads that God I referenced as “He” in the Bible, they think that implies a sex prioritization or and sex hierarchy in the mind of God.

Somehow God being “He” also makes Him more like a male human than like a female human (or a male human more like Him than a female human)…

But I think that is a misunderstanding, mistake or in some cases, abuse.

What does it mean that I am male? It means that I have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome. It also probably means that I have certain sex organs and plumbing. It probably means that I choose, as a preference or daily, between boxers and briefs.

So, obviously (I pray it is obvious) God being a “He” doesn’t mean the same things as those. Either there is something about His essence that links to something that all males (not just humans?)

That seems to be the case, but that is also quite a mystery, as revealed in Gen 1:27

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Something about being created in God’s own image is linked to us being create male and female, but what exactly is open to great speculation… but a clear implication is that man and woman are BOTH created in God’s image.

Woman are not a lesser version of God’s image, so God being a “He” must not be meant to imply that men are somehow closer to God’s image.

In fact, the main focus for this little article is to draw attention to the maternal traits of God.

I do not think that masculinity or femininity are biblically founded concepts. Male and female clearly are, but gender traits are entirely culturally based. (not man or woman – that is genetic, but “manly” or “lady-like” for example.) More on that in another article.

I have long said that though there are many biblical roles that can only be held by men (father, son, brother, husband, for example) and there are roles that can only be held by women (wife, mother, sister, daughter, etc.), but with very few directions for men or women outside of roles like this.

There are clearly passages that indicate paternal traits of God – and being referred to as “Father” and “He” are certainly examples that we are used to – but what about God’s maternal traits?

We are called to the roles in people’s lives as parents… for our children and other people’s children.

How would that be possible for women if God’s traits were only masculine?  Next we look at God’s maternal traits.

Boring Marriages

imagesCA6E2P0ZSometimes you hear people say that they are in a boring marriage.

They aren’t stimulated intellectually like they once were.

They aren’t as excited about spending time with their spouse anymore.

They just feel like they are both going through the motions, stuck in a rut, and just
fulfilling obligations.

Their heart just isn’t in it anymore…

It didnt start that way… how did it get that way now?

I used to wonder how things got that way for them.
Now I think I know.

First, my answers to this aren’t going to include all of the regular aspects of everyday
life that rise up and choke out a vibrant marriage.   I mention some of those in the article about
loving with limited resources that there are many things (http://phalanxmen.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/loving-with-limited-resources/ ).. things that consume our emotional energy  – kids, jobs, money stresses, sickness, burn-out, failure to exercise and much more.

However, I don’t think these alone fill in the puzzle of boring marriages.

But I have to tell you this before I can explain it:

t1larg.bored1One of the reasons that I am a follower of Jesus is that He doesn’t B.S. (can I say that?)  He tells it like it is.  For this reason, I get to listen to His words without having to constantly filter out the Political Correctness (even of His  day) and I don’t have to filter out some kind of incredulous, utopian-istic, humanistic gobblety gook.  Reading Jesus  isn’t at all like listening to Oprah’s guest of the day, or almost anyone in the field of psychology.

Jesus, when explaining how things are, actually explains how things are; when He is  saying how things should be, He explains how they should be.  How refreshing that He doesn’t mix those two things up.

When explaining how things are, too many people tell us how they think things should be.

Not Jesus.

Here is one of my favorite examples, and I think the solution is hidden here:

“ …for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:21)

Catch that?

In most of our touchy-feely feel good self help junk it would be cuter and more prosaic.  It would read:  “Wherever you heart is, there shall you put your treasure…”

See the subtle difference?  The non-Jesus way  makes it sounds like our treasure follows our hearts.

Today, the only measure of sincerity our culture accepts is emotions – the heart.  I shouldn’t do anything unless my “heart is in it” right? That wouldn’t be sincere, or authentic, or some other such absurdity.

Imagine that we have now made sincerity and authenticity (two static and stable things) dependent on emotions (mercurial, dynamic, and constantly changing things)!  Screwtape was right in thinking that the “horror of the same old thing” has taken hold.

Sincerity is about being what you seem and claim to be… and so is authenticity.  These are raw choice.  I cannot fully choose what I feel (I am, of course, responsible for what I do in response to what I feel and even responsible to create the right environment for feeling what I want or ought.)  Emotions are largely our biochemical and  soul-level reaction to our situation.

I cannot choose to feel desire – I can only choose to create the conditions to encourage  it or avoid it.

My choices have the power to lead my emotions.

The truth is that my heart follows my treasure… as Jesus said.

Now, Jesus was talking about investing treasures in eternal things – in His Kingdom.  However, I think He is also revealing a general truth that can be applied here as well.

If your heart is not in your marriage, then, I assume that it must be because you have  stopped putting your treasure there.  Your heart has no treasure to follow.

Remember when you were dating and you would spend hours thinking about your girlfriend,  and hundreds or thousands of dollars pursuing her, and dozens of hours doing sweet things for her?  Remember how hard it was for something to divert your attention from her?  Remember the poems, the letters, the love-notes, the creativity, or even just the dates?

These are treasures…










yawningSo, if you are in a boring marriage, recognize that it is because you are a boring husband who is investing so little treasure in your woman that your own heart isn’t even inspired toward her.

Solution?  Plan a weekend away.  Plan it for at least a month from now, but don’t tell her until you have to.  Make it all about her getting what she loves the most.  Remember her favorite places to go, things to do, etc.  Stare into her eyes as you plan it and try to remember what she loves the best.  (this idea works for wives too)

Do it right, spare as little expense as you can, in time, strategy, and money.  Start writing a card and write one thing you are thankful about each day in preparation for your trip.

Enjoy the experience of your heart chasing your treasure, even though she doesn’t even know about all the planning.    If your treasure is in it, your heart will follow.

If you need some thoughts on planning, look over at some of the other articles for ideas.

And hey!…
after you plan it, post here and let us know where you went and rate it for us…
remember, We are all in this together.


Many people have argued that this is only a movie. The director can make changes to whatever he wants and it shouldn’t matter… after all, it’s just a movie.

I once had a seminary professor who said that if a preacher is going to take over a new church and then change everything, he should be man enough to start his own church.

To me, I have one real response to that which I will end with in a moment.

For the fans or not?

Here is what I am not sure of – did the director intend to offend the fans or not? With all due respect to all of the other critics who have noted this already… The evidence is that he warned us that “this is not going to go the way you think.”

We are going to burn the sacred texts, which weren’t exactly page-turners anyway, right?

However, could it be that he thought we would like it? There are a bunch of things that were thrown in that felt to me like they were for the fans –

Green milk – blue milk

Yoda as a puppet not just CGI

The waterlogged X-wing

Barely referencing plot about a “labor dispute” (an attack on Ep 1-3)

No Gungans

R2 scene

Han’s dice

Weren’t these for fans? There are many more, but this seems like enough to make me think that he was trying… but just failed.

And here is the final complaint:

Artistic Value

I have heard all of the mocking voices about looking for artistic value in a sci-fi movie. It’s just entertainment, right? Two and a half hours of cheap fun. Eye-candy, right?

Apparently so.

I should end the article there, but I want to make this point.

However, that is exactly a part of the issue. I am not sure if this issue or the deconstruction of Star Wars heroes is the worse aspect of this movie, but both are likely to be painful to the serious long-term fan.

I just recently watched “The Greatest Showman”. It wasn’t the kind of movie I usually like. I am not a huge fan of musicals. I want historical movies to be complex reality – not just a one-dimensional one. However, I loved how I felt when I left the movie. Why?

Because the makers of the movie know the power of movies and embraced the power and art of their movie. They humbly expressed appreciation for those in attendance! The defense remarked by so many “it’s just a movie” expresses exactly the base problem with The Last Jedi.

I will comment quickly on the difference, quickly, between enjoying a movie’s cheap entertainment value (of which The Last Jedi is pretty high) and the appreciation of a movie – its power, legacy, impact, etc.

I am thinking of any number of thousands of great movies that are really meant to be appreciated as eye-candy… there is no history of anything more, or even there is a clear history of pretty much nothing more (think James Bond, Pirates or Fast and Furious franchises – they are exactly what they are intended to be – just a movie… cheap entertainment… just fun).

However, however it was intended, Star Wars became much more.   It really defined a generation. Though not as political or intentionally cultural as Star Trek, it attempted to create a universe in which despite the time and distance, the heroes (who felt like real people) faced the challenges of good and evil and friendship and redemption (in ways that felt real) with the materials at hand (which were believable). This isn’t about being a child at the introduction of it either… it was every bit as amazing to our parents as to us!

Years later, when I took my father to see “Jurassic Park” (one of the few times that effects made something feel as real as they did in Ep 4-6 (Independence Day, The Abyss, Gladiator, Terminator 2, The Matrix and Interstellar were others)), when we walked out, all he said was “well, it wasn’t Star Wars”.

He was 30 when Star Wars came out, so don’t tell me it was for kids only or that people today are hoping to recapture something impossible to recapture.

In fact, read this response by one fan to the statement that what we like about the movie as kids was that it was for kids and what we don’t like about these is that they, too, are made for kids:

“Star Wars is just a kid’s movie” is the tiredest of all the dismissive catch-phrases. Empire was the first “adult” movie my folks ever took me to. I was 7 years old and my mom wondered for months if maybe it had been too soon. From the wompa cave scene for a solid 20 minutes I wouldnt watch the screen but instead watched the movie by looking at the reflection in the glass of the projection room – scared I wouldn’t turn around. And after the movie, Empire was all I would talk about for years until RotJ came out. Kids love(d) Star Wars because it wasn’t made for kids… They loved it because it was Star Wars, expansive, majestic, gritty, heroic, epic. None of which TLJ is.

Ditto.  One of the things we loved about Star Wars as kids was that it WASN’T just for kids, but we got to see it anyway.

I felt some level of it at each of the movies above. Wonder, greatness… art.

Ep 4 & 5, at least, considered themselves works of art, I believe. Some movies do, and fail, of course… but very few recent movies seem to make the effort. Most just think of themselves as “cheap (not to mean inexpensive) entertainment” or “just a movie” or probably “an easy way to make a few million dollars.”

I would blame this on Disney (and do) but I think that Lucas fell into that somehow during Ep 1-3. I legitimately think in Ep 1, he was making the movie he always wanted to make.

If you don’t believe me, go back and read the original script about trade federations and blockades. However, after the fans backlashed against it, I think 2 & 3 were more of him just creating cheap entertainment and determined to think of SW as something that was “just a movie”.

I will tell you, my only hope for Ep 9 is that Abrams is taking back over. 7 was no masterpiece, but it certainly intended to honor the originals. Abrams showed his genius as being able to honor fans and an original concept when he engaged in creating a new Star Trek with the original characters.

With reference to a great character dismissed. That was a trap.

But he pulled it off – twice.

Will he be able to bring the wonder, or art, or even heroes back to Ep 9? I cannot see how. In the year of “Solo”, (talk about a trap! One of the most loved characters from the original series) I think we may start seeing SW movies not be automatic #1 movies. Unfortunate.

I think this director didn’t start something new… but instead decided to take on something that wasn’t his and change it into something else with little or no respect for any of the previous story, impact, directors or fans.  To him, this was just a movie that he wanted to leave his fingerprints on.  It seems like his fingerprints were the most important part of that equation for him.

Help us Abrams, you really may be Star Wars’ only hope for this generation now.