Archive for the ‘real life issues’ Category


This is an unedited message script from seven years ago.  PArt of it I am sure was inspired by Andy Stanley’s book It Came From Within….

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.

          Is everything okay in your heart?          Are you mad at anybody?          Did anybody hurt your feelings today?

          Did anybody break a promise to you today?          Is there anything you need to tell me?

          Are you worried about anything?          Is there someone whose failure you secretly celebrate?

Those are the questions of one very wise father I know of  to his children at bedtime.  He is helping them guard or pay attention to their hearts as they close their day and begin the night with a prayer.  We tend to pay attention to or guard the externals or behaviors but God looks at our hearts.

At 16 years of age God anointed a shepherd boy named David, to be king of Israel.  David was physically small in comparison to others like his brothers.    1 Samuel 16:7  “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature… for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.  David is called “… a man after God’s own heart…” “…a heart like God’s…”That is the primary focus of God in your life and mine… the crucial issues of the heart.  Perhaps the key to understanding how David could have a heart like this is found in his prayer in

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart;  Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”

Today we look at a third “hurtful way” or heart blockage that God want us to get rid of or deal with in such a way that our hearts are free of it…emptied of it.  We have looked at guilt and saw how it affects us, jealousy and how it can poison us.  Remedies: Confession breaks the power of guilt and celebration of God the grip of jealousy. Today I want us to look at anger and how to break its power in your life.

 Anger is like Cancer.  If untreated it will destroy you from the inside out. Anger kills. But unlike Cancer, anger will also destroy or leave its marks on those around you…especially those closest to you.  James 1:19-20 NIV   “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

1)      Causes strife and broken relationships (Proverbs 29:22, 15:18)

2)      Causes you to say and do foolish and sinful things (Proverbs 14:17; 29:11,22; Psalm 37:8)

3)      Causes you to be a defeated person  (Proverbs 25:28)

4)      Causes violent and abusive behavior (Proverbs 30:30)

5)      Causes God to discipline you  (Matt. 5:22; Gal. 5:19-22)

6)       Causes shame based thinking others…your children. (Col. 3:8)

7)      Causes wounds in the hearts and souls of others (Matt 5:21,22; Col.3:21)

8)      Causes those closest to you to become angry people (Proverbs 22:24,25)

9)      Causes physical & chemical damage to the one with anger (Job 5:2)

10)  Causes you to be vulnerable to Satan’s schemes and power (Eph 4:26,27)

Anger is like Cancer.  If untreated it will destroy you from the inside out…and will be hurtful to those closest to you.  Some of you have actually heard the words “Cancer” in a doctor’s diagnosis.  When you heard that word applied to your life, I doubt that you spent time wondering “how” you got it.  Once you accepted the reality of its presence you wanted to know one thing and one thing only: How can I fix it? How can I get rid of it?  Can I get rid of it?  Listen! Unlike cancer there is a cure for anger that when applied God’s way gets rid of the hurtful anger 100% of the time. Guaranteed. Bible tells us how.

What are we to do with the anger that we find in our own hearts?

What is God’s view on it? And what is God’s way of dealing with it?

Ephesians 4:26-32 NIV

(26) “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (27) and do not give the devil a foothold (opportunity/room)…/…(31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling (yelling) and slander, along with every form of malice. (32) Be kind and compassionate (tender-hearted) to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

 There Are Three Essential Actions God Expects of Us When We Are Angry:

1.      Pay Attention To it.    2.  Deal With It Today.   3. Get Rid of It God’s Way.

1STPay Attention To The Anger In Your Heart.

“In your anger do not sin…”

 Why?  Because as we have seen, anger can become very destructive and very costly.

IT is usually hurtful both to the angry person, to others and to your relationships…. Every one of us has been there as both the one who is angry and does harm or the one receiving anger and is hurt by it…

“In your anger do not sin….

 The Command Assumes two realities:

          All Christians get angry and do so on a regular basis… (present tense & all inclusive)

          All Christians have an inclination to sin in their anger… and sinful is hurtful…

 Note: ANGER  = painting with a wide brush…

I.e. Verse 31 “…bitterness, rage and anger, brawling (yelling) and slander (abusive speech), along with every form of malice (spitefulness, despising, resentments, the slow burn inside –or- I don’t get mad, I get even).   “I never get angry…” Depression = anger turned inward .  Implode or explode… Physical: Inward= IBS, ulcers, digestive disorders, etc. from the juices of anger… chemicals in our system…

 That daddy’s questions to his young children should be our questions:

Is everything okay in your heart?  Are you mad at anyone?  Did someone hurt you or your feelings?

Is there someone whose failure you might secretly celebrate? Someone break a promise?

Do you feel you deserve something you are not getting from someone?

Anger = a warning light

In a perfect world it alerts godly people of an injustice that needs to be addressed.  In our personal worlds anger alerts us to the belief that we have been hurt, frustrated or otherwise deprived and we are in danger of pain and distress. It alerts us, and we may need to act; BUT  –anger – then needs to be handled God’s way or it will become very very hurtful…

Think of the last time you got angry…felt it rise up inside you. 

What triggered your anger?  How intense?  What else did you feel?  What did you tell yourself to justify it?  What did you do or say while you were angry?  How did you feel during your anger…afterwards?

 Show me angry person and I will show you a hurt person whose desires or expectations were not met.

Anger comes when we do not get what we want or think we deserve from someone else….

ANGER= “You owe me!” [respect, attention, help on the job, $, time, understanding, a listening ear, love, significance, freedom  , date, intimacy, words, apology…etc.]

 “…In your anger do not sin…” How did you or do you sin in your anger?

2ND:   Deal With Your Anger Today.

“…Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”
 MYTH:  Good Christians resolve their conflicts before going to bed. (False)

               You can’t resolve all your conflicts before bed.  We should face them and address them in a timely manner, but resolving them before the sun goes down…. its not possible. Sometimes it would be very unwise.  The other person may not be ready nor may you be.

TRUTH: Obedient Christians deal with their own anger the same day or in a timely manner.

TRUTH: Obedient Christians make dealing with personal anger a priority over resolving personal conflict.

            1st deal with the anger in your heart and then you will be ready to address the conflict or cause.

GOD is not saying to resolve every conflict or issue immediately,

but to deal with your own anger expediently.

Here is the biblical basis for what I just said….

Psalm 4:4-5 (NIV)

Psalm of David (In distress— angry at certain people — in some danger à prays)

 “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds,

    Search your hearts and be silent. Selah =(Stop or pause here and think about it)

     Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.”

Sound familiar…. Paul was quoting or restating scripture in contemporary terms.

1st line = exactly the same….

2nd line = instead of do not let the sun go down on your anger… David says:

“…when you are on your beds,

    Search your hearts and be silent. Selah =(Stop or pause here and think about it)

     Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.”

Search (examine, probe and take a close look at…pay attention to and deal with) your heart…

Be silent = be still (cease striving…stop fretting… rest/ relax and listen to God)

Selah =( pause here and think about it .. ..)

“Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.” make sure the next thing you do is the right thing. And it

is something you can and must do right where you are…in bed/ticked off…

 Deal with your anger or your heart blockage right now…right away… and do not justify or excuse it.

§  Don’t carry today’s anger into tomorrow.

§  Don’t carry yesterday’s anger into today.

§  Don’t carry the anger from one relationship into another relationship.

§  Don’t carry the anger from one season of your life into another season of your life.

The issue is not resolving a conflict but dealing with your heart blockage of anger and to do it now!!!!!

 Why, God?  Why is this so important?

Answer:  Verse 27: “…and do not give the devil a foothold …”

“foothold” = room, a place, or an opportunity… a hook into your life.

When you or I carry anger with you —even a day— you open the door of your heart to evil and give evil powers the opportunity to poison your heart; and as goes your heart so goes your life and relationships.

People who carry anger from the past wreak havoc wherever they go….

 Proverbs 29:11,22 (NIV)

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control…

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”

I know what its like to be the fool, hot-tempered, committing many sins due to anger…

I know what its like to be the wise man, keeping myself under control…

(Must learn about Anger, hurts & fears and let God heal you and take care of you)


1.      People become addicted to anger.

Here’s why and how.  “Full-blown anger increases neurochemicals like: adrenaline, endorphins and norepinophrine.  These make you feel big, strong, right, confident, assertive and UNAWARE of pain.  Anger is similar to cocaine…Anger is not only an emotional pain killer but and effective physical pain killer.  Your emotions, anger and overreactions are much greater than the circumstances would normally warrant.  You shame and blame others, pushing them away with an attitude of “I don’t need anyone.”  Walls of rejection isolate you as you fume and rage about your unmet needs.  The result is that you are pushing people away when you need them most.” Anger medicates your emotional pain. MD

Explode or Implode —ANGER medicates emotional pain.  We learn to self-medicate by using anger.  That is why people can and do become addicted to anger…(even provoking conflict) It is an addiction because we become addicted to the drug like effects upon our painful emotions and bodies.

 2.      Anger is often a response to fear of pain.

Often someone or some event triggers an intense anger inside us, but why?  Sometimes (not always) your brain or portion of your brain senses danger…fear of pain or being hurt.  WHY? Because the current event triggers and emotional memory inside of you from 30 years ago and your body has learned to respond in anger to avoid the pain of that earlier event.  What fears do you use anger to avoid?

When you were last angry what other feelings were there as well (just below the surface)?

3.      Angry people hurt people who then become angry and hurt people.

How do you express or experience anger?  However you do it does affect you and it will affect others.

Shamed people shame others… my overreactions out of hurt then anger result in hurting someone I love and repeating the cycle.  That’s just the way we are…No.  That’s who you have become because someone has carried yesterday’s anger into today….  You Break the cycle….

 3RD:    Get Rid of the Anger In Your Heart God’s Way.

(31) “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling (yelling) and slander,
along with every form of malice.
(32) Be kind and compassionate (tender-hearted) to one another,
 forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”…

Get rid of  =  make a clean sweep.  Don’t miss anything.  Don’t go ½ way.

                      ILL: Cancer — did they get it all?  Get rid of means just that…

What you would want a surgeon to do with cancer , God wants you to do with your anger (all of it).

Be Kind and compassionate (tenderhearted) = opposite of how angry people relate.  Yes, but how?

Key Point:

Genuine Forgiveness Breaks The Power Of Anger.

 “…forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

 Walk through the words God has Paul use….

forgiving …to forgive without any conditions attached and to do so as an undeserved gift.

forgive means to cancel the debt and to set free.

each other… the person who has hurt you. This is the one who owes you. Did not meet your expectations, did not give you what you wanted or felt you deserved…the one who may have betrayed and injured you and someone you care about…

just as … exactly as or in the exact same manner as (no new conditions on)

in Christ God forgave you.…

Did you deserve God’s forgiveness? NO!  Could you do anything at all to pay back the debt you owed God for your sin? NO!  Was it given freely and without strings or conditions? YES!

WHY? … in Christ… based on Jesus paying my debt of sin to Him and all my sins against other people.

 1.      IDENTIFY Who Has Hurt You. (Who are you angry at?)

Temptation is to be selective and stay in the present tense or avoid the one you want to stay angry at.

Truth:  Ask God to show you and include the other seasons of your life.

If your parents are not on the list, they should be.  All parents hurt kids in some way.

          (Unless you forgive your parents you will have a poisoned heart in all your future relationships.)


(Only God has the right to sit in the seat of judgement, so confess your judgements to Him and give the seat of judgement back to Him.  Your butt and mine weren’t meant to sit in that chair.)

3.  DECIDE What Each Took From You.  (What does each owe you?  On the books?)

     Most people say…Oh I have forgiven them… when they don’t even know how to forgive.

  • How did they wound you?  (write it down)
  • What do they owe you? (write it down)

 4.  CANCEL The Debt Owed To You.

            Cancel each debt owed very specifically and each based on the payment of Jesus Christ.

Release them and ask God to bless them…

 5.  RELATE To Them As Christ Would. (This is what you owe them as a follower of Christ)






A number of you have been asking, “What about Bob?” …  “What about RLM?”

 “What About Bob?”

Bob is involved in a full-time graduate program at Olivet Nazarene University that will lead to his licensure as a professional counselor in both Illinois and Wisconsin.  Bob is very busy in his studies and practicum experience.  Because of his extensive experience he qualified for an intense two year program that allows him to take his practicum & internship concurrent with his other academic courses.  It combines a three year program into two years.  He is seeing clients at Lake Geneva Wellness Clinic under their tutelage and supervision.

 “What about Real Life Ministries USA (RLM)?”

We are still here and still ministering to some.  Bob is still open to speaking and teaching, but the ministry itself has intentionally backed off seeking to move forward and expand and here is why:

As we were moving forward and gaining momentum and supporters were beginning to fall into place (pending tax exempt status) we apparently got caught up in the IRS (apparent) practice of discriminating against faith-based organizations.  A tax exempt application which should have found approval in a few months still sits over a year later on someone’s file still waiting to even have an agent assigned.  That will not occur until at least March of 2014.   So we have been unable to seek support from those who wanted to help fund this ministry to broken hurting people as a tax exempt organization.  We could of course seek support hoping that donors would at some time in the future receive a deduction for their support once approval was granted.  We opted not to do that believing it would be unethical and unwise.

 Please know that even during this interim period we have been able to come alongside quite a few people with the Genesis Process and other teaching opportunities.  Our core group still meets regularly for prayer and mutual support.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if we may be of service to you or your organization in some way.  Sorry that the articles and blogs have stopped for a while but time has not allowed for it with the new academic schedule.  We are still here.  We are keeping the tax exempt application in the works and maintaining our corporate status.

Our intent is to move forward again in the direction that God might lead when He makes clear to us that the time is “now.”  Thank you for your encouragement and prayers as we wait on him and Bob continues his studies to be used for God’s glory.



I received a wonderfully encouraging letter from a dear sister in Christ…someone whom I hold in very high regard.  Her note brought God right into the core of my own issues in dealing with depression…loss of hope and self-esteem. That was over a year ago, but her thoughts are just as relevant and encouraging today to all who bump up against the rough edges of life. It is a note that I recently went back to to share the same encouragement with another. Here are the verses she shared…given by God:

“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.  I said, ‘you are my servant, ‘I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am Your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “Isaiah 41:9-10


She shared, “I have prayed these verses over you with astonished awe over a God who stoops.  Not the posture that is normally associated with deity, but the only one that brings hope.”

The God who stoops is the God who brings hope. Through this dear friend and sister in Christ and others who seek to encourage as God has called us to do, I am thanking God for His fathomless love for me, and the promise of redemption that He has given.  I am thanking Him today for the great things He has in store for me in serving Him and knowing Him….and for His sustaining strength I feel in my life today.  All because of someone who truly walks with God took the time to pray and care and share.

Thank you to those who continue to love as Jesus loves…




We all feel depressed at times. But because we all know how the emotion of depression feels, we tend to assume we know how someone feels who is suffering from a depressive illness, or clinical depression.

In truth though we haven’t the first idea of what a victim of this illness is going through. At its worst it can be a glimpse of hell which the rest of us will never come near to experiencing in our lifetimes.

There are many misunderstandings about clinical depression. One of the most common is that people who get it are in some way weak. This is ironic as in fact the opposite is true. Stress induced clinical depression does not happen to weak people, but is an affliction of people who are too strong. There are several different causes of depression but by far the most common is stress. Life sadly is getting more stressful and as it does so an epidemic of depressive illness is underway.

And yet it can be prevented, is not difficult to treat and can be prevented from recurring in those who are unfortunate enough to suffer an episode.

This illness nearly always happens to a certain type of person. He or she is strong, reliable, diligent, with a strong conscience and sense of responsibility, but is also sensitive, easily hurt by criticism and has a self esteem which while robust on the outside, is in fact quite vulnerable and easily dented. This is the person to whom you would turn to in times of need, and they would never let you down.

Why should this type of person be the one to get ill? The reason becomes clear when one understands what clinical depression is. It is not only a psychological condition but also a physical illness.

Depression as a physical illness

A depressive illness happens when one part of the brain, called the limbic system, malfunctions. The limbic system is a set of nerve fibres arranged in a circuit. Essentially this circuit acts like a complex thermostat which controls a number of systems and functions in the body. Probably the most important of these is the control of mood. It usually works well with mood returning to normal reasonably quickly after most of the day to day ups and downs of life. But like any other physical system, the limbic system has a limit and if it is stressed beyond this point it will break.

When this happens, the part of the system that fails is the transmitter chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline. These are chemicals which allow the electrical impulse to pass from the end of a nerve fibre to the next. In depressive illness their levels fall rapidly, resulting in the circuit coming to a grinding halt.

Putting 18 amps through a 13 amp fuse

So what happens if you put a whole lot of stress on to someone who is weak, or cynical, or lazy? The answer is that they will immediately give up, so they will never get stressed enough to become ill. The strong person on the other hand, reacts to stress by redoubling their efforts, pushing themselves well beyond the limits for which the body is designed. When they start to get symptoms, because of their sensitivity to failure and fear of criticism, they keep going, with the inevitable result that eventually something must give way. What gives way is the limbic system.

If you put 18 amps through a 13 amp fuse, there is only on possible result. Stress related depressive illness is essentially a blown fuse.

Recognizing the symptoms

The symptoms of clinical depression are depressed mood, feeling worst in the morning and better as the day goes on, and a host of “loss-ofs”. That is the loss of:

  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Energy and enthusiasm
  • Concentration
  • Confidence and self esteem
  • Sex drive
  • Enjoyment
  • Patience
  • Feelings
  • Optimism

So if you have been diagnosed with clinical depression what do you do now. Answer: Exactly the same as you would with any other physical illness; rest and take the prescribed treatment.

The trouble is that on the whole people who develop this condition have overcome every problem they have encountered in the past by extra effort. The concept of giving in is anathema. Yet you wouldn’t try to overcome pneumonia through exercise of resourcefulness. Neither can you with clinical depression.

Beware of family and loving friends

They will give you the benefit of homespun wisdom: “Go on pull yourself together, get more interests, get out more, get more friends, come to a party, we’ll cheer you up”.

If you take this advice it’s likely that you will only get worse. Rest, especially during the early stages is crucial. This doesn’t mean going to be or sitting in a chair doing nothing, that would give you far too much time to ruminate. It does mean avoiding any unnecessary challenges and only, where possible, doing what is easy. If it is possible to take time off work, do so. If you can get someone to clean up, look after the kids and do other chores, do so. Cancel social events that you are not looking forward to. Watch more TV, read more, or do anything that comes easily to you.

Dispelling the myths about medication

Another difficult issue is antidepressant medications. While there is no doubt that they play an important part of treatment, they have had very mixed press and many people hold strong opinions about them. Again, misunderstandings abound.

Antidepressants are not addictive, though if you come off them too quickly you can get withdrawal symptoms; you doctor will be able to help you put together a gradual withdrawal plan. They don’t work straight away, usually taking a few weeks to kick in properly.

They don’t give you a false high, or make you a better, more creative person. Prozac is a good antidepressant but doesn’t deserve either the cult following or the condemnation it has attracted.

Above all, if an antidepressant helps you get better don’t stop taking it as soon as you feel well. It takes the limbic system several months to heal properly, even though the symptoms of clinical depression may have gone. If you do keep the drug going for long enough you are unlikely to relapse when you come off it, in the same way that, when a plaster cast is taken off a broken leg which is healed you can walk without a return of pain.

On the path to recovery

Once recovery starts things tend to become a little more complicated. You need to start doing a little more, but how much? The truth is that nobody but you knows. At every stage your body will tell you. You can divide activity into three categories; mental, physical and social. At your body’s physical limit at any point along your recovery you will start to feel heavy and lethargic. For mental activity you won’t take anything in. At social events you may find it difficult to talk sensibly or as eloquently as you usually do.

At this stage, or before, stop! If you do you will continue to recover, if you don’t you may feel ‘rotten’ for the next 36 hours or so. The harder you push recovery, the slower it goes. So take it gently and listen to your body.

The good and the bad days

Even following these steps you will have ups and downs, but they should be minimized. At the beginning there may not be many good days. In the middle of recovery some days are nearly back to normal and others may seem as bad as ever. Nearing full recovery the bad spells become shorter, further apart, less bad and eventually peter out.

Beware extremes of emotions during this period. Your first good day isn’t the end of your problems and the rotten day that follows doesn’t mean you will never be well. Don’t overdo it on the good days and don’t despair on the bad ones, this is normal recovery, the bad days are often a message that what you did yesterday was a bit too much.

See: Study Shows Meditation Changes Brain Structure in Just 8 Weeks

Re-evaluating priorities

Once you are near full recovery, it is time to ask yourself some basic questions, such as: What is life really for? Do I have to run my life this way? Can I say “no” occasionally? What do I want from life? Why do I always have to be everything for everybody? etc, etc.

These are difficult questions and there are many more. They involve you in identifying the choices you have in your life and making them. If you don’t think you have any choices, because of your commitments and responsibilities you are wrong, but you may have to give in a little on picturing yourself as the perfect mother, father, employee etc, to find them. If you do it will help you to stay well.

It isn’t always possible to achieve this on your own. This is where a psychotherapist comes in. There are a great many different forms of psychotherapy, but mainly they can be divided into exploratory or psychodynamic, cognitive and behavioral.

THE ESSENMTIAL POINT TO REMEMBER is that effective treatment isn’t a matter of drugs or change in lifestyle or psychotherapy, but is often a combination of all three.

After that it’s down to you. If you have changed the way you operate and maybe the way you think, you have a great chance of remaining not only well, but happy too!


“PRICELESS” — The Tremendous Worth of a Woman

Bob Barnett is speaking on this topic on Sunday, May 12th, at Westlake Community Church in Huntley, IL.

The Westlake Community Church is located in Huntley, Illinois and is currently holding  services at the Cosman Cultural Center located close to the center of town just off route 47S. The service will start at 10am.

Quick words from Bob:

I am excited to be speaking on this topic.  I get to speak on womanhood on a day that we celebrate motherhood. They are not the same thing. Womanhood is not defined by motherhood. Neither does motherhood determine the worth of a woman.  We will learn what really does from the life of a young woman who battled infertility for a decade, then lost her husband to death, and had to make her own way in a male dominated culture.  She is held up as a model  of excellence, courage, love, strength, and character.  She knew the secret of the tremendous worth of her own person-hood and womanhood.  From her we will learn why all women are priceless

Added Thoughts From Bob:

I have counseled hundreds and hundreds  of women many of whom struggle with feelings and beliefs such as:

“I don’t really matter.”

“I am worthless.”

“My needs and feelings are not as important as those of others.”

“I am responsible for other people’s feelings, behaviors, and problems.”

 “My worth-value is based upon my __________________ (you fill in the blank).

So many women fill in that blank with words such as performance, my looks/appearance, or being needed, or even motherhood.          So  many men impose a very wrong view and value of woman as well… God sees it otherwise…

I am excited to be speaking on this topic.  I get to speak on womanhood on a day that we celebrate motherhood. They are not the same thing. Womanhood is not defined by motherhood. Neither does motherhood determine the worth of a woman.  We will learn what really does from the life of a young woman who battled infertility for a decade, then lost her husband to death, and had to make her own way in a male dominated culture.  She is held up as a model  of excellence, courage, love, strength, and character.  She knew the secret of the tremendous worth of her own person-hood and womanhood.  From her we will learn why all women are priceless…

We invite you all to come and be part of a tremendous day and life changing teaching!