Praise & Worship: The Hymns Edition, February 28th, 2014

Song List

1.  Be Thou My Vision-  4 Him

2.  The Old Rugged Cross-  The Gaither Vocal Band

3.  Amazing Grace-  Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

4.  Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus-  BeBe Winans

5.  Great Is They Faithfulness-  Selah

6.  Are You Washed In The Blood/I’ll Fly Away-  Alan Jackson

7.  It Is Well With My Soul-  The Issacs

8.  Blessed Assurance-  Third Day

9.  When I Survey The Wondrous Cross-  Fernando Ortega

10.  Crown Him With Many Crowns-  Westminster Abbey

11.  10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)-  Matt Redman











Teacher Videotapes And Teases Autistic Child Stuck In Chair


Taken from  aol  which can be found    HERE.

The video of a Michigan teacher and principal allegedly teasing an autistic fifth grade student with his head stuck through the open back of a chair for at least ten minutes has gone viral, reigniting a controversy in central Michigan, reported WNEM-TV. The teacher at the Oaktree Elementary school in Goodrich, Mich. supposedly took the video on her cell phone.

Principal Michael Ellis resigned after the event originally came to light last year. The teacher, Nicole McVey, remains on paid administrative leave pending a tenure hearing. The video set off outrage, according to the Detroit Free Press, but also split the community. Many parents support McVey.

The incident occurred last November when the unnamed child, who reportedly has Aspberger syndrome, a milder form of autism, put his head, arms, and shoulders through the chair back and then couldn’t get himself out.

“How did you get in that situation?” the teacher asked him as the boy wiped tears from his eyes, according to the Free Press report. She said that getting him out would require help from the maintenance department and that they were waiting for someone to come. “If you wouldn’t have put your head in there to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” she allegedly said.

Ellis then allegedly said, “It’s really not an emergency in their [the maintenance department’s] book.” A lawyer for the boy’s parents said that he believed the child was trapped for between 10 and 15 minutes.

At one point, according to WNEM, the teacher is heard saying, “Do you want to get tasered?” The boy’s mother, speaking to the Free Press, said that McVey sometimes uses the term as a joke, but that “this was no time to be joking around.”

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, children with Aspberger “are often awkward and poorly coordinated.” Two “core features” are “social and communication deficits” and “fixated interests and repetitive behaviors.”

When asked to comment on the situation, School Superintendent Scott Bogner sent the following statement to WNEM:

Under Michigan’s Tenure Law that teacher has a right to a private hearing of any charges against her. The District is obligated to respect that right and will not discuss specifics of this case.”

According to the WNEM report, the “community has rallied behind the teacher without seeing this video.” At a recent school board meeting, some parents continued their public support.

In interviews with the station, one parent, Erin Raether, called the teacher “very compassionate.” Another, Jennifer Senish, said, “She loves the children. She is a very good teacher. She would never jeopardize or bully anyone.” A third parent, Heather Zarembski, said, “And there was no incident whatsoever where that teacher bullied that student. Yes, she had a sense of humor and she tried to make light of the situation.”
After the video was released, some parents still supported the teacher in separate interviews with WNEM, saying that McVey wasn’t trying to be mean. Another parent who was shown the video said that perhaps the teacher was trying to get the student to think about his actions first, but wondered “if [the teacher] was sensitive to maybe the physical and other problems that maybe the boy has and she should have been more sensitive to that.”

The parents are considering a lawsuit but will wait to see the results of the tenure hearing.

As seen in a letter from the school district in the WNEM video, its motto is “A tradition of pride and educational excellence.”

Report States Military Efforts To Prevent Mental Illness Ineffective


Taken from  USA Today   which can be found   HERE.

The military has produced dozens of programs aimed at preventing mental illness among troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there’s little evidence that most of them work, a blue-ribbon panel of scientists said in a report released Thursday.

The findings by a committee of 13 experts appointed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies come as about 1,000 Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans are being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder each week, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“There’s no substantive indication of effectiveness (in the military prevention programs) and most importantly, there’s no evidence of an enduring impact,” said panelist David Rudd, provost at the University of Memphis and an authority on suicide in the military.

The Pentagon issued a statement Thursday saying that it is reviewing the study’s findings, said Army Lt. Col. Catherine Wilkinson, a spokeswoman.

The Institute study, requested by the Pentagon, follows an earlier Institute of Medicine review released last year concluding that the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs are struggling to keep pace with a growing number of mental health problems generated by the wars.

The scientists in the study released Thursday singled out for prominent criticism the largest and costliest program, the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness effort — since expanded and renamed Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness.

The program teaches soldiers and family members coping strategies such as keeping a positive or optimistic outlook on life or cultivating strong social relationships. Army leaders said it provides soldiers with the tools to become emotionally resilient.

The Army began the program in 2009 amid increasing cases of suicide and mental illness. It has cost $125 million to teach the coping skills to a million soldiers.

The scientific panel said there is little or no evidence the program prevents mental illness.

The Army quickly disputed the findings, saying that its own research shows that the program improves an individual soldier’s “level of overall fitness in areas of social, emotional, spiritual, family and physical strength.”

But the committee said the Army’s method for measuring the program’s effectiveness has never been subjected to peer review. While those measurements appear significant, they do not mean improved mental health, the scientists said.

“This committee does not find these results meaningful,” the report said.

The panel cited other internal Army studies that showed no preventive benefits for combat troops who had received the training compared with those who did not for conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

Rudd characterized the Army program “as not a particularly wise investment to spend those kinds of dollars on.”

Lt. Col. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman, said the program was redesigned in recent years and is not now intended as a way of preventing illnesses such as PTSD or depression.

When it was started in 2009, it was supposed to be a “long-term preventative health strategy.” New goals released last year are now more generally worded. One of them, for example, says the program should provide soldier and families with “self-awareness and psychological resources and skills to cope with adversity and thrive in their lives.”

Rudd said the panel acknowledged the difficulty of developing preventive programs during wartime. He said many of the efforts, including comprehensive soldier fitness, clearly may have made sense at the time.

But he said that adjustments should be made and unsuccessful programs abandoned.

“If we are going to invest these kinds of dollars, it should be in things that are demonstrated to be effective,” Rudd said.

Five Things Christians Should Know About Anxiety & Depression


Taken from  Relevant   which can be found    HERE.

Depression and anxiety tend to be some of those touchy subjects that are tough to tackle from a Christian perspective.

It’s not complicated just because the illnesses themselves are so complex, manifesting themselves in myriad ways, but also because perspectives about mental disorders vary greatly throughout the Church.

This isn’t to paint the Church with broad strokes. Incorrect beliefs about mental illness are pervasive throughout our culture. However, some of the “church-y” misconceptions about clinical depression and anxiety spring from a genuine desire to understand them scripturally. It’s necessary to generalize a bit to understand these attitudes: there are things well-meaning Christians tend to get wrong.

Of course, there is way more information about anxiety and depression than what can be summed up in one article, so it’s certainly worth doing more research on the subject. But if we as the Church are going to start talking about these issues, here are a few things we should know:

1. Depression isn’t what the Church sometimes makes it out to be.

It’s not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And chief of all, it’s not a choice. Asking someone to “try” not being depressed is tantamount to asking someone who’s been shot to try and stop bleeding. Such an attitude can dangerously appear in the Church as, “if only you had enough faith.”

Cue the record scratch for any Christian regarding matters of healing. Having faith in God’s ability to heal is hugely important, and personal faith can help ease depression. But to deny medical or psychiatric treatment to someone suffering from mental illness is really no different than denying them to someone with a physical illness. The difference between the two is that the former is invisible.

Speaking of the invisible, some faith traditions are quick to suggest demonic attack as the cause for depression. While I’m convinced that there’s definitely a spiritual element—the enemy will exploit any weakness—medical science holds that major depressive disorder is real and the causes are manifold.

2. Mental illness is not a sin.

Yes, sins in the past like physical abuse, substance abuse and neglect may contribute to depression, and these sins often continue as coping mechanisms to those suffering from mental illnesses. Yet this doesn’t make the sufferer of depression and anxiety a sinner simply for experiencing the crushing effects of their condition.

What happens when mental illness is treated as an unconfessed, unaddressed sin is alienation. Viewing depression as a sin in and of itself prevents individuals from seeking treatment. It also ignores the fact that many Christians may respond to depression in unhealthy ways if the root cause is ignored or misunderstood.

3. The Bible doesn’t provide “easy answers.”

The Word is full of wisdom and encouragement for those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders, but it doesn’t come in one-verse doses. “Be anxious for nothing” and “do not worry about your life” can easily be taken out of context, which is problematic. First (and importantly), doing so fails to appropriately handle Scripture, carelessly misconstruing the larger intent of the passages.

Another really scary thing this does is it can convince a person in the worst throes of their illness that they’re not obeying God. Add that to what feels like the inability just to be – every shaky breath hurts and getting out of bed is impossible – and you’ve thrown gasoline onto the fire.

A true examination of depression and anxiety in the Bible shows the existential dread that accompanies the illnesses instead of an easy out, one-and-done antidote. God’s hand isn’t always apparent. As Dan Blazer pointed out in Christianity Today, “most of us have no idea what David meant when he further lamented, ‘I am forgotten by them as though I were dead.’ Severe depression is often beyond description.”

Rather than prescribing a bit of a verse divorced from its context, a better strategy is to look at those instances of mental suffering along with the Church body and to offer comfort in the fact that even the saints struggled.

4. Anxiety and depression don’t look how we often think.

When I’ve opened up to Christian friends about my own depression and anxiety disorders, they’re often surprised. “You seem so happy all the time!” Depressed people become really good at hiding their symptoms, even from doctors, because of the stigma attached to the illness. Churches often don’t address mental illness, which gives the worship team guitarist or the elder even more incentive to keep it hidden away. Furthermore, the symptoms of depression often tend to contradict each other, which makes it really difficult for a person suffering from depression to recognize it for what it is—let alone for the Church to recognize it.

“Learning to recognize the signs” then is often a failing strategy. If churches begin responding to mental disorders as a community willing to offer encouragement and support, people suffering from those illnesses may just be able to accept the help. It may just be people you never expected.

5. Strong churches don’t “fix” depression.

Given all of the above, it’s easy to understand how the stigma related to depression, even in the Church, will prevent people from seeking Christian guidance and support. The most Christ-loving and helpful community might not have the appropriate framework for dealing with such clinical disorders, and many churches don’t have licensed psychologists on the staff. Pastoral staff can be ill-equipped to deal with depression and err toward a spiritual solution rather than psychological or medical treatment.

Even churches that seek to provide a safe haven for those suffering in their midst might not have a judgment-free place to discuss their struggles. Programs like Celebrate Recovery can provide an invaluable forum for people to interact with others who experience “hurts, habits, and hangups,” and can help deal with some of the self-medication many people with depression and anxiety use to numb themselves. Without a carefully planned strategy to deal with mental illness, though, “all are welcome” might not be enough. Healing comes from a prayerful, loving community that seeks to truly understand major depressive disorder and related conditions, and one that develops a positive response.

Most churches probably have the very best intentions when dealing with issues of mental illness. Like the rest of society, however, the Church may misinterpret these clinical conditions and respond to them in ways that exacerbate them—and as a result, demoralize those suffering. Christ, the Great Physician, came to heal the sick. As His body, it’s time the Church leads society in helping to do the same.

Believing: Streams In The Desert, December 22nd, 2014

Sarah laughed when she overheard God promise that she would have a son within a year. She could not believe this, or trust God to do it, because of her old age (Genesis 18:1-15).

If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth   Mark 9:23

Seldom have we heard a better definition of faith than was given once in one of our meetings, by a dear old colored woman, as she answered the question of a young man how to take the Lord for needed help.

In her characteristic way, pointing her finger toward him, she said with great emphasis: “You’ve just got to believe that He’s done it and it’s done.” The great danger with most of us is that, after we ask Him to do it, we do not believe that it is done, but we keep on helping Him, and getting others to help Him; and waiting to see how He is going to do it.

Faith adds its “Amen” to God’s “Yea,” and then takes its hands off, and leaves God to finish His work. Its language is, “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him; and he worketh.”
–Days of Heaven upon Earth

I simply take Him at His word,
I praise Him that my prayer is heard,
And claim my answer from the Lord;
I take, He undertakes.

An active faith can give thanks for a promise, though it be not as yet performed; knowing that God’s bonds are as good as ready money.
–Matthew Henry

Passive faith accepts the word as true
But never moves.
Active faith begins the work to do,
And thereby proves.
Passive faith says, “I believe it! every word of God is true.
Well I know He hath not spoken what He cannot, will not, do.
He hath bidden me, ‘Go forward!’ but a closed-up way I see,
When the waters are divided, soon in Canaan’s land I’ll be.
Lo! I hear His voice commanding, ‘Rise and walk: take up thy bed’;
And, ‘Stretch forth thy withered member!’ which for so long has been dead.
When I am a little stronger, then, I know I’ll surely stand:
When there comes a thrill of heating, I will use with ease My other hand.
Yes, I know that ‘God is able’ and full willing all to do:
I believe that every promise, sometime, will to me come true.”
Active faith says, “I believe it! and the promise now I take,
Knowing well, as I receive it, God, each promise, real will make.
So I step into the waters, finding there an open way;
Onward press, the land possessing; nothing can my progress stay.
Yea, I rise at His commanding, walk straightway, and joyfully:
This, my hand, so sadly shrivelled, as I reach, restored shall be.
What beyond His faithful promise, would I wish or do I need?
Looking not for ‘signs or wonders,’ I’ll no contradiction heed.
Well I know that ‘God is able,’ and full willing all to do:
I believe that every promise, at this moment can come true.”
Passive faith but praises in the light, When sun doth shine.

Active faith will praise in darkest night– Which faith is thine?

Praise & Worship: February 21st, 2014

Song List

1.  The Just Shall Live-  Rich Mullins

2.  Choir Of St. Paul’s Cathedral-  Psalms 23

3.  My Hope-  Paul Baloche

4.  You Are My Vision-  Rend Collective Experiment

5.  Jesus Reigns-  New Life Worship

6.  Blessed Are The Ones-  Audrey Assad

7.  Change My Heart Oh God-  Vineyard

8.  Hallelujah-  Kari Jobe, Jamie Grace, Dara MacLean, Blanca and Nirva

9.  Noah-  Jerusalem

10.  Johnny’s Cafe-  Jerusalem

11.  My Redeemer Lives-  Nicole C. Mullen












Taking Mental Illness Out Of The Shadows

Taken from the  Huffington Post  which can be found   HERE.

I’ve read several good articles about mental illness in our local newspaper here in my small town in Maine. The headline of the last article I read was, Mentally Ill Wait Too Long. The article stated, “More than 500 Mainers are on the waiting list for the most basic mental health services, with an average wait of two months and sometimes waiting nearly a year.” I read that sentence and immediately had a sense of despair and disbelief. How can this be?

Mental illness can be as destructive and fatal as serious physical illnesses, but mental illnesses do not get the same level of attention and care. Mental illness often places a terrible burden and a huge impact on families. Often there is a societal perception that mothers are somehow responsible. On top of this serious emotional strain for a family caring for a child with mental illness, there is the added strain of waiting two months or up to a year to get the help they need. Mental illness is not given the attention that it needs. The situation is so dire I often think someone should sue the Department of Health and Human Services, if only to bring some attention to how desperately help is needed.

Two psychiatric doctors recently wrote a letter to The New York Times quite eloquently about the state of care for the mentally ill in this country. It was in response to an article The New York Times ran titled, “When It Comes to Mental Health Coverage, a Long Line of Patients Is Still Waiting.” Their letter, which you can read here, gets it right. Every child needs access to the right treatment at the right time.

What physical ailment takes a year to be taken care of? How do those who are mentally ill and need help survive a year? How does a family or a mother with a seriously ill child survive a year’s wait? This is exactly what we are asking those struggling with a mentally ill child to do, and it is unacceptable.

I remember some 50 or so years ago when my husband and I became involved with mental illness in our state. We were struggling to bring mental illness into the 20th century in Maine. There was a lady from the northern part of the state whose husband had left her with a very dangerous and mentally ill son in his teens. She came to all our meetings. She was struggling to stay financially solvent. She was simply overwhelmed. She was in her mid-30s, and our group tried to help. One day after a meeting, we learned that she died suddenly. It was a terribly sad situation.

Today, in my older age, I want to pass on advice to mothers with seriously mentally ill children:

You are not alone.
We need advocacy, not shame.
We should support one another.
Sharing your stories with other mothers can be helpful to you and to them.
We should all search for answers.
We should give voice to mental illness so we can shed light on the impact of mental illness in our society and find resources to help us.
We can empower other mothers by sharing our stories.
We need to learn our rights.
We need to ask questions and demand answers.

Sometimes I dream about mothers of mentally ill children gathering together in small groups and then those groups grow in numbers and turn into bigger groups. I dream that we can change what I call the shadow of mental illness and bring light to such an important issue, impacting so many families. I don’t want mental illness to be the forgotten illness. I don’t want mothers to feel alone. I want mothers to speak up and become empowered.

I wish there were simple answers, but there aren’t. Together we can find solutions. Perhaps if mothers can speak out and share with each other, we can form powerful groups of healing and mental illness could take a new step forward toward awareness and progress. If we join together for change, we can take mental illness out of the shadows.