Before Philip called you, I saw you. - JesusNorth Central University. My son Jonathan is a student there, and, now, so am I--though just for one class, and that not even for credit. The class is a senior "400" level "Seminar on Contemporary Issues in Psychology and the Church." There are eight students in their early 20s, the professor, Dr. Daniel Nelson, and one old guy. Me.
Like Jesus saw Nathaniel in John 1:48, the risen-from-the-dead Jesus sees you. He sees you today. He sees you, knows you, totally loves you, and he knows just how he wants to work in and through your life.
Even if you are far from the Lord today, he calls you now to a remarkable life that you might not even be able to imagine. All he asks is, when you hear the call, that you respond by coming to see just what it is Jesus can do in you and for you--today, and for the rest of your life--and then letting him take control.
You can do that now, in prayer, or, better yet, by inviting a Christian friend or mentor to pray with you and for you, to ask God to fill your heart with dreams direct from God.
This I know because God has done it for me.
During the seminar, we'll be comparing Christian views of our personalities and secular views. We'll take a look at how Christians can benefit from scientific research and psychological practices and what they have learned about the human brain. We'll look at various views of counseling, psychology and psychiatry. Then we'll be challenged to put what we learn into practice.
As you can see if you'll read back in this blog over the past three years, there are many times when, in one form or another, questions related to healing, mental health, prayer ministry and even spiritual warfare have been addressed. I've been doing quite a bit of study on my own on some of these subjects, especially during the past year, but I've been looking forward studying with others. I've considered going on for an advanced degree. Before I plunged in to that extent, I talked with professor Daniel Nelson (PhD, LP) in the psychology department at North Central. I thought talking with him, and now taking a class there, would be particularly fitting because, as an Assemblies of God related university, it takes the supernatural seriously; the supernatural meaning the direct action of God in our lives. I'm looking forward to what I'll be learning, and I'm sure I'll be sharing more about it on this blog.
One thing, though, I do know even before I begin the class. There are glorious gifts we can receive from Jesus no matter who we are, no matter how "balanced" or "healthy" our minds may be. Jesus can begin that work now. He can go to work in your life right now, no matter who or where you are. Jesus, through His Word and Holy Spirit, can begin a transforming work today. All He needs is access. All He needs is an opportunity. When we surrender to God's Will as we know it in Jesus Christ, miracles can happen. I've seen it in my life. You can see it in yours.
We do have much to benefit from with the scientific and psychological advances we've come to know over the past hundred or more years. Harmful brain chemistry can be balanced and destructive patterns of thought and behavior can be made less controlling. I believe we should receive these psychological and psychiatric helps with thanks, just as we do with modern medicine for the rest of the body.
Nothing, however, can substitute for personal surrender to the Lord. That's where your blessed future really begins.
For a bit more about my time at North Central and the seminar I'm auditing, see This One Day, This One Day (2) and Psychology and the Church (seminar update).