The Session with Tom Russell

RISE FM Ohio

Join us every Thursday at 10 a.m. as we explore issues facing the family and the church today. Tom’s heart is to encourage marriages and Pastors. We try to approach every issue through the lens of Scripture, with a sensitivity to the families listening, and use humor when we can. No matter what the issue, we celebrate life in Jesus, and celebrate success! Which for us, means getting through more than 2 points a week! read less
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Episodios

The Session:  Fear of Intimacy
08-02-2024
The Session: Fear of Intimacy
We are thrilled when listeners suggest topics for the podcast!  We appreciate Theresa suggesting this topic for our podcast this week!  You can suggest topics about faith, family, or psychological issues to scott@risefmohio.comThe Session:  Suggested by Theresa: Fear of Intimacy & How to Get Passed it John 10:10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly From Focus on the Family: According to the National Sexual Violence and Resource Center:· One in three women and one in six men have experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime in the U.S.· 81% of women and 35% of men report significant short- or long-term impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Lies From the EnemyThe abused convinces themselves as their fault.· They see themselves as bad and unredeemable.· They constantly try to reach an on realistic standard.· They also hate their bodies because damage, therefore, no one would want them.Rehearsing The Abuse During Intimacy And Anxiety Symptoms· Experiencing flashbacks especially during intimacy is to suffer through angst during a sacred moment that should be enjoyed. Often the spouse who is not experiencing the anxiety symptoms does not realize that his or her spouse is not fully engaged in intimacyReliving The Traumatic Experience If The Spouse Is Forced· A spouse may replay her sexual trauma in her mind if her husband is dominant or commanding during intimacy. He may desire a vibrant sexual experience without any malicious intent. To the victim, it may come across as too forceful.· They become accustomed to staying quiet and being oppressed. This mindset becomes distorted when the victim of sexual trauma accepts discomfort during intimacy with her spouse and never says anything.Startling Easily When Touched Or Surprised· Victims of unprocessed sexual trauma may exhibit a chronic sense of hypervigilance. Unexpected touches are neither pleasant nor appreciated.Developing unhealthy sexual habits at a young age· Sexual abuse can lead to unhealthy sexual behavior at a young age. This can impact the cognitive and emotional development of a child. They don’t excel at learning because of sexual secrets. Depending on their age they can feel inferior or dirty.Thoughts from Scott:Can there be other causes of a fear of intimacy other than sexual abuse or trauma?  Like you’re afraid you won’t satisfy your partner, you don’t feel confident in the bedroom Olympics, lack of self esteem, etc?HelpsEphesians 5:28· “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” This verse can bring peace to someone who was previously abused and is now married.Awareness· What happened to you was horrific, and your feelings are valid. Being aware allows the victim to bring the feelings to the light.Denial· Denial is a defense mechanism. It gives the Enemy power over you. By not bringing your experience to light, the Enemy can continue to feed you lies about the trauma.Share Your Memories With Your Spouse· Be open and honest with your husband or wife about your feelings. Sharing your feelings can build trust which can facilitate intimacyJournal Your Feelings· Journaling can be a safeway to express your feelings. It can be healing to write to a person in your memory who was hurt. It is also true that healing that if you have the person who was hurt write to the person that is in the here and now.Notes· Prepare can facilitate the discovery of sexual abuse· Children are most vulnerable to abuse between the ages of 7 and 13· Where, when and by whom is dictated by school activities and after school independence with older children.(National Institute of Health)· Studies show that pornography is positively linked with child physical and psychological abuse, partner physical abuse, and alcohol consumption.
The Session: P.R.E.P.A.R.E.
01-02-2024
The Session: P.R.E.P.A.R.E.
This week, an episode from the archive!The Session Relationship between premarital counselling and marital success: Perceptions of married Christians in Ghana Reported in Academic Journal Proverbs 13:20  20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Research Shows: A Correlation Between Premarital Counseling and Marriage Satisfaction Fowers and Olson found that there was a direct link between marriage satisfaction and stability and premarital counseling. Men can relate to going into marriage without Primero counseling is like a football team going into a game without a game plan. Khulman found that good premarital counseling chances of divorce by up to 30. We also found that it leads to happier marriages.🤔 imagine that 😁 Premarital counseling was found to improve communication and marriage does making it a stronger marriage Premarital counselling helps to ensure that couples have a strong, healthy relationship, and are given a better chance for a stable and satisfying marriage. It can also help couples identify weaknesses that could become bigger problems during marriage According to research by Teal (2018) couples are advised to discuss numerous topics, including: Intimacy, affection and sex; Communication skills; Finances and money management; Children and parenting; and Roles in marriage. (Ratson, 2015). Premarital counselling is meant to equip couples with problem-solving skills to manage problems that may occur in the future through becoming aware of each other’s characteristics. Tom's pre-marital program, Prepare
The Session: Letting Go of the Hurts of the Past
25-01-2024
The Session: Letting Go of the Hurts of the Past
This episode was suggested by Teresa.  Tom & Scott would love to discuss topics you suggest about faith and the family.  Email scott@risefmohio.com or tom@hccm.gmail.comThe Session: Forgiving And Healing Hurts Of The PastScriptureIsaiah 40:29: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”Psalm 147:3: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Excerpts From:Dr. Terry Wardle on the Damage of Unresolved Wounds and the Risk and Gifts of Vulnerability Dr. Wardle notes, “Every loss in life demands an appropriate season of grieving, whether you’ve lost your favorite person or you’ve lost your favorite pen. Grieving is a way in which we take the emotional upheaval and bring it up to the Lord. […] If we don’t let emotions up and out before God, those emotions internalize. They give us physical, psychological, and spiritual problems.” Thoughts From Focus On The FamilyIf you’re familiar with the words of Luke 4:18, you already know that Jesus came to proclaim good news to the afflicted, joy to the brokenhearted, liberty to the captives, and comfort to those who are crushed and bruised.o Pray over and memorize that Jesus came to proclaim the good news to the afflicted, joy to the broken hearted, liberty to the captives, comfort to the crushed and bruisedo Good inhabits the praises of His peopleIf significant time has passed (years) and the memories aren’t healed, normalizing would become the second step. It will help to realize that in any social setting there are other women who have been abused. This can lead to empathizing with themo Normalizingo EmpathizingA third important step is journaling.o What would Jesus say to you if wrote you a letter about the abuse? Psalm 34:18?Thoughts from Tom· The Tool Of Differentiation· Victim to Survivor· Each Successful Intimacy Moment Is Victory Over The Evil One
The Session: The Impact of Social Media on Our Kids-part 2
19-01-2024
The Session: The Impact of Social Media on Our Kids-part 2
This episode concludes our conversation about the impact social media is having on our kids.  Scott and Tom offer hope and ideas for controlling the screen time our kids have.  The Session: Social Media’s Impact on our Lives I John 2:16“For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father but is from the world." Because, according to internet safety expert Jesse Weinberger, who surveyed 70,000 students, on average, pornography consumption began when children turned eight, sexting began at age 10 and pornography addiction began around age 11.Porn’s Impact (AddictionHelp.com)1.   Isolation, guilt and shame make for distant relationships2.   Porn leads to aggression and difficulty performing in marriage long term3.   Porn is devastating on marriage4.   Porn gives a dis- eased concept of marital sex5.   Porn creates a devastating impact on arousal6.   Porn causes self worth and self esteem problemsCellphones are a Major Contributor to PornWeinberger recommends parents make their child sign a contract that clearly outlines the rules of using a smartphone. It should include promises never to take nude selfies and never to try to meet strangers from the internet along with other limits, like no smartphones at the dinner table or in the classroom. If your child breaks the rules, take their phone away. Screen time directly impacts your child’s mental healthIt increases loneliness, depression and anxiety. Children on screens show physical changes in brain structures, impacted brain development, and lower educational outcomes. Children born between 1995 and 2012 are the loneliest people on the planet. How smartphone use among adolescents may trigger ADHD like symptoms and changes the brainScreen time is linked to diminished mental health Jessica Weinberger Qustodio is a free app that lets parents monitor their children’s text messages, disable apps at certain times of day or even shut off a smartphone remotely. UnhappinessBut the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy. Driving Nearly all Boomer high-school students had their driver’s license by the spring of their senior year; more than one in four teens today still lack one at the end of high school. For some, Mom and Dad are such good chauffeurs that there’s no urgent need to drive. “My parents drove me everywhere and never complained, so I always had rides Teens WorkingTeens aren’t working (or managing their own money) as much. In the late 1970s, 77 percent of high-school seniors worked for pay during the school year; by the mid-2010s, only 55 percent did. The number of eighth-graders who work for pay has been cut in half. These declines accelerated during the Great Recession, but teen employment has not bounced back, even though job availability has.
The Session: The Impact of Social Media on Our Children-part 1
18-01-2024
The Session: The Impact of Social Media on Our Children-part 1
Your kids spend hours every day in front of screens - computers at school, tv at home.  And there's the computer at home PLUS their phone.  What are they watching?  What impact is it having?The Session: Social Media’s Impact on our Lives I John 2:16“For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father but is from the world." Because, according to internet safety expert Jesse Weinberger, who surveyed 70,000 students, on average, pornography consumption began when children turned eight, sexting began at age 10 and pornography addiction began around age 11.Porn’s Impact (AddictionHelp.com)1.   Isolation, guilt and shame make for distant relationships2.   Porn leads to aggression and difficulty performing in marriage long term3.   Porn is devastating on marriage4.   Porn gives a dis- eased concept of marital sex5.   Porn creates a devastating impact on arousal6.   Porn causes self worth and self esteem problemsCellphones are a Major Contributor to PornWeinberger recommends parents make their child sign a contract that clearly outlines the rules of using a smartphone. It should include promises never to take nude selfies and never to try to meet strangers from the internet along with other limits, like no smartphones at the dinner table or in the classroom. If your child breaks the rules, take their phone away. Screen time directly impacts your child’s mental healthIt increases loneliness, depression and anxiety. Children on screens show physical changes in brain structures, impacted brain development, and lower educational outcomes. Children born between 1995 and 2012 are the loneliest people on the planet. How smartphone use among adolescents may trigger ADHD like symptoms and changes the brainScreen time is linked to diminished mental health Jessica Weinberger Qustodio is a free app that lets parents monitor their children’s text messages, disable apps at certain times of day or even shut off a smartphone remotely. UnhappinessBut the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy. Driving Nearly all Boomer high-school students had their driver’s license by the spring of their senior year; more than one in four teens today still lack one at the end of high school. For some, Mom and Dad are such good chauffeurs that there’s no urgent need to drive. “My parents drove me everywhere and never complained, so I always had rides Teens WorkingTeens aren’t working (or managing their own money) as much. In the late 1970s, 77 percent of high-school seniors worked for pay during the school year; by the mid-2010s, only 55 percent did. The number of eighth-graders who work for pay has been cut in half. These declines accelerated during the Great Recession, but teen employment has not bounced back, even though job availability has.
The Session:  Are You Prepared For Marriage?
04-01-2024
The Session: Are You Prepared For Marriage?
Maybe you've found "the one".  First, congratulations!  But, are you READY for marriage?  All the feelings may be there.  But after the joy of the wedding, a marriage happens.  In this episode, Tom & Scott talk about how to know if you are really ready for marriage.The Session:  Am I Prepared For Marriage?Psalm 127:1Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (vs. 1). A strong lasting marriage must be based on a relationship with God. (Session will come from Galatians 5:22)But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.We should show the evidence of the Holy Spirit first and foremost in marriage. Am I Walking closely in my relationship with Jesus?· LovePaul begins with love, from the Greek term agapē. This is famously described as "selfless love," or an attitude that considers other people more than ourselves. How am I sowing these in my walk with Jesus?· JoyTrue joy is the response of delight to what God delights in. It requires a person’s heart to be tuned to the right values; specifically· PeaceHaving the peace that comes from the Holy Spirit in me helps me process life in a way that shows peace.· ForbearanceDoes the condition of my heart show patience and attitude of forgiveness? · KindnessKindness is selfless, compassionate, and merciful; its greatest power revealed in practice to our enemies and amongst the least of these. As we see from Psalm 15, the depth of our relationship with God should be reflected by our kindness to others, the control of our tongue and our integrity.Ps. 15O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?  Who may dwell on Your holy mountain?He who walks with integrity and practices righteousness, who speaks the truth from his heart, who has no slander on his tongue, who does no harm to his neighbor, who casts no scorn on his friend,Who despises the vile but honors those who fear the Lord, who does not revise a costly oath,Who lends his money without interest and refuses a bribe against the innocent.  He who does these things will never be shaken. Additional thoughts from Timothy Keller· GoodnessIn the Greek, the word goodness, means “an uprightness of heart and life” (Thayer & Strong, 1995).· FaithfulnessIt is lasting loyalty and trustworthiness in relationships, especially marriage and friendship: A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness to each other.· GentlenessShowing the kind of care and consideration that God in Jesus Christ has shown to us.· Self ControlThe active effort we put forth to resist the attacks of the enemy with God’s help. “Against which there is no law.”   So there is no law against doing these things.  Why?  Because they are the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  There is no law against doing things that represent the character of God.
The Session: What We Can Learn From Joseph About Biblical Manhood
14-12-2023
The Session: What We Can Learn From Joseph About Biblical Manhood
We don't know much about Joseph, other than he was husband to Mary, and earthly father to Jesus.  So what can we learn from him about Biblical Manhood?The Session: 4 Lessons We Can Learn about Biblical manhood from Joseph’s Story https://www.lcbcchurch.com/articles/4-lessons-we-can-learn-from-josephs-story Open with the Matthew account of Joseph, in Matt.1:18-241. Acknowledge the truthJoseph acknowledged the truth. When we’re stuck at the bad end of someone else’s decisions, it’s all too easy to point the finger and place blame. We tend to take it a step further and cast judgement on an entire group of people when, in reality, we were only wronged by one person. If you were bullied by popular kids in middle school, for example, did you grow up seeing “all popular kids” as a threat? While these are understandable self-preservation instincts, are they actually true? Joseph was treated unfairly by so many people – enough that he could’ve made enemies out of the whole world! Instead, we see Joseph zero in on the individuals who specifically caused him pain. He doesn’t gloss over what was done, but he has enough wisdom to look at only the situation right in front of him without painting with broad strokes. Acknowledging the truth provided Joseph with clarity, and it can do the same for us. When we focus on what’s immediately in front of us, we can gain clarity that will help us treat our pain at the source. By recognizing the true source of our pain, we can begin the process of healing and transformation. 2. “But God” When we’re dealing with pain – and especially when this pain is caused by someone else’s actions – it's easy for us to become angry about what we feel we don’t deserve. We become so fixated on what’s right in front of us that we don’t easily see the bigger picture. In the midst of his trials, Joseph chose to embrace a powerful perspective shift. He turned his gaze away from his pain and toward God, saying, "But God intended it all for good." Joseph chooses to surrender and trust in a higher plan.  While it may be difficult to comprehend the purpose behind our suffering, choosing to adopt a "But God" perspective allows us to step back and acknowledge that our story is not solely defined by the hurt we've experienced. By handing our pain over to God, we open ourselves to the possibility of growth, transformation, and redemption. 3. Trust God's planJoseph's story shows us what it looks like to trust in God's overarching plan. While he couldn't foresee the specifics of how his pain would lead to a greater purpose, Joseph held onto the belief that God was working behind the scenes.  This step requires faith and vulnerability, as we release the need for immediate answers and outcomes. Trusting in a divine plan invites us to relinquish our desire for control and instead lean into the belief that our pain can be woven into a greater narrative that brings about good. 4. Rely on GodJoseph relied on God. If you feel like you’re about to crumble under the weight of your circumstances, know that you don’t have to keep carrying it alone. When we can’t understand what’s happening or see the bigger picture in our pain, God is ready to carry us. Only God can bring you to the place of hope and healing you’re desperately searching for. Joseph’s story shows us that when we fix our gaze on God and choose to rely on him, even the heaviest situations can be made lighter. Remember that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Additional LessonsDon't expose your spouse in public ·  When Joseph learned that his fiancée was pregnant, he decided to break the engagement without exposing his wife to the public (Matthew 1:19). He did not want to disgrace her and opted to handle family matters privately. This should be the case when we have issues with our wives. (New Vision)·  We don’t have to have a central, “starring” role to serve The Lord and fulfill His plan. God can and has greatly used quiet, steady, faithful people like Joseph to help bring about His will.·  Don’t dilly dally.  Notice Joseph’s response each time he has a visit or vision and is given instructions.  His response is immediate.  “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, DID…” (Matt.1:24)  “When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed…”  (Matt. 3:14)
The Session: 4 Lessons We Can Learn from the Wise Men
07-12-2023
The Session: 4 Lessons We Can Learn from the Wise Men
This week, we look at the Wise Men not from the perspective of what they DID, but what we can LEARN from what they did.  And there are things we can take away and apply not just at Christmas, but every day.The Session:  4 Lessons The 3 Wise Men Can Teach Us 12/23/2020  By: Jan Lashbrook, Early Childhood Dir. at Calvary Christian Academy, Ft. Lauderdale, FL Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi (Wisemen) from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”1.    HE IS FOR EVERYONE·       Although a Messiah had been promised to the Jews, it was Gentiles from a foreign land who sought Him out, recognized His value, presented Him with expensive gifts, and bowed down and worshipped Him.·       The story of the three wisemen make it clear that God is here for everybody, regardless where you are.·       It supports the scripture that if you seek Him, you will find Him.2.    HE IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE·       The Wiseman fell at his feet and worshipped Him.  “When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshipped Him.” -Matt.2:11·       Life can get in our way of worshiping him and getting caught up in things like the commercial Christmas that society presents.3.    HE IS WORTHY OF OUR VERY BEST·       The wisemen brought very expensive gifts, which showed how important the Savior was to them.  Gold is, of course, a metal of great value, and a symbol of royalty.  Frankincense is known today for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  In Bible times, it was used for making perfume and incense for use in the temple, and as an aromatic resin in burials.  Myrrh was used in Bible times as an ingredient in holy oil for consecrating priests and in embalming.·       We are provided for by Jesus with everything that we have. How can we not return to Him the praise and glory that He has given us?When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” –Matthew 2:10-114.     HE IS SPEAKING TO US·       Even king Herod was so fearful that Jesus was speaking to his people that he wanted Jesus killed.  “When Herod found out that the wise men from the east had tricked him, he was very angry.  He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in or near Bethlehem and were 2 years old and younger.  This was based on what he had learned from the wise men.” -Matt.2:16
The Session: 5 Steps to a Successful Blended Family-Part 2
23-11-2023
The Session: 5 Steps to a Successful Blended Family-Part 2
As only Tom and Scott can do, they take what was supposed to be a one week episode, and have to turn it in to two.  The full notes are here from both episodes.  If you have a topic you would like us to cover, please email scott@risefmohio.com.The Session: 5 Tips for Becoming a Blended FamilyRomans 8:15The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'From Learning to respect the “other woman”Tanya T. Warrington1. Dump shameAt first I was ashamed of my title as a stepmother. I worried I wasn't good enough. I re-punished myself for my failed first marriage repeatedly. A quote from a step momI didn't suspect how painful being a stepmother could be. I didn't imagine feeling jealous of the strong influence my stepchildren's mother had on her kids in my home. I sometimes felt powerless. I assumed I wouldn't act self-righteously, and yet I was absolutely convinced I knew what was best for my stepchildren, who I'd grown to love. I didn't foresee the many potholes on the stepfamily journey. Hope for stepmomsGod continually revealed love and forgiveness in response to my fears until I grew to believe that being a stepmother could be, and would be, a journey made in Christ Jesus. Frequently, I casted all my stepmothering cares on God and experienced his support and lordship over our family. I learned to be honest and open with girlfriends and other stepcouples about my struggles, giving others the opportunity to be supportive as well.2. Exercise patience with relationship buildingStepmoms can have strong feelings of awkwardness and being ignored when a step child’s drama is discussed by both biological parents. Hope for stepmomsStepmoms can feel better when they take feelings of unimportant and not heard and reframe them. Reframing them would be that they would say to themselves I am just less involved and I will get my chance to be heardIt is easy for a stepmom to feel hurt and not valued when she is reminded that his children are not yours. Hope for stepmomsIt is important when the children are not home to communicate the hurt.3. Accept your imperfect familyAccept the reality that the step children will be conflicted with getting close to you because they feel guilt because she’s not my mom. Hope for stepmomsI learned to give us all a break. A newly formed stepfamily is a hotbed of emotion and stress; I had to stop expecting instant family relationships.4. Celebrate your growth as a stepmother (The celebration of success)Other times being a stepmom felt comfortable. Sometimes I knew my husband's trust in my parenting skills was growing. Sometimes my stepchildren admitted they liked me or appreciated my help. Sometimes their mother would thank me for something I'd done5. Create healthy communityBe proactive about managing your marriage and family. Try to join a step family support group. It would be helpful to visit a step family website. We can also tell others about our experiences and invited both step and non-step families over to our home.Reminders for Stepmoms:1.    Pray for yourself, your marriage, your biokids, your stepchildren and their mother. With God's power and love involved, you can build a stepfamily that defies the statistical norms.2.    Don't assume you know what your stepkid's mother thinks of you, or what she is telling her children about you. Kids aren't always accurate recorders or reporters.3.    Let go of proving you know what is best for another woman's biological children. Keep your end goal in mind—you're building a loving home, not a courthouse.4.    Forgive your kids' stepmother when she treats her own children in a way you dislike. No mother is perfect.5.    Don't say anything critical about your stepkids' mother when there is even a remote chance of the kids overhearing. It isn't worth it. You would emotionally wound the child with that criticalness.6.    Don't try to be the best stepmom in the world. You'll have good days and bad days. We all do.
The Session: 5 Steps to a Successful Blended Family, part 1
16-11-2023
The Session: 5 Steps to a Successful Blended Family, part 1
As only Tom and Scott can do, they take what was supposed to be a one week episode, and have to turn it in to two.  The full notes are here, and will be repeated on next week's episode.The Session: 5 Tips for Becoming a Blended FamilyRomans 8:15The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'From Learning to respect the “other woman”Tanya T. Warrington1. Dump shameAt first I was ashamed of my title as a stepmother. I worried I wasn't good enough. I re-punished myself for my failed first marriage repeatedly. A quote from a step momI didn't suspect how painful being a stepmother could be. I didn't imagine feeling jealous of the strong influence my stepchildren's mother had on her kids in my home. I sometimes felt powerless. I assumed I wouldn't act self-righteously, and yet I was absolutely convinced I knew what was best for my stepchildren, who I'd grown to love. I didn't foresee the many potholes on the stepfamily journey. Hope for stepmomsGod continually revealed love and forgiveness in response to my fears until I grew to believe that being a stepmother could be, and would be, a journey made in Christ Jesus. Frequently, I casted all my stepmothering cares on God and experienced his support and lordship over our family. I learned to be honest and open with girlfriends and other stepcouples about my struggles, giving others the opportunity to be supportive as well.2. Exercise patience with relationship buildingStepmoms can have strong feelings of awkwardness and being ignored when a step child’s drama is discussed by both biological parents. Hope for stepmomsStepmoms can feel better when they take feelings of unimportant and not heard and reframe them. Reframing them would be that they would say to themselves I am just less involved and I will get my chance to be heardIt is easy for a stepmom to feel hurt and not valued when she is reminded that his children are not yours. Hope for stepmomsIt is important when the children are not home to communicate the hurt.3. Accept your imperfect familyAccept the reality that the step children will be conflicted with getting close to you because they feel guilt because she’s not my mom. Hope for stepmomsI learned to give us all a break. A newly formed stepfamily is a hotbed of emotion and stress; I had to stop expecting instant family relationships.4. Celebrate your growth as a stepmother (The celebration of success)Other times being a stepmom felt comfortable. Sometimes I knew my husband's trust in my parenting skills was growing. Sometimes my stepchildren admitted they liked me or appreciated my help. Sometimes their mother would thank me for something I'd done5. Create healthy communityBe proactive about managing your marriage and family. Try to join a step family support group. It would be helpful to visit a step family website. We can also tell others about our experiences and invited both step and non-step families over to our home.Reminders for Stepmoms:1.    Pray for yourself, your marriage, your biokids, your stepchildren and their mother. With God's power and love involved, you can build a stepfamily that defies the statistical norms.2.    Don't assume you know what your stepkid's mother thinks of you, or what she is telling her children about you. Kids aren't always accurate recorders or reporters.3.    Let go of proving you know what is best for another woman's biological children. Keep your end goal in mind—you're building a loving home, not a courthouse.4.    Forgive your kids' stepmother when she treats her own children in a way you dislike. No mother is perfect.5.    Don't say anything critical about your stepkids' mother when there is even a remote chance of the kids overhearing. It isn't worth it. You would emotionally wound the child with that criticalness.6.    Don't try to be the best stepmom in the world. You'll have good days and bad days. We all do.
The Session: A 30,000 Foot View of Step-Families
09-11-2023
The Session: A 30,000 Foot View of Step-Families
Raw Emotions, a Look at Managing the Step Family. Five Important Emotions That Are Common In Step Family LivingLuke 1:34-35And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.First, let's define a step family:  Tom described a step family as a family created when one parent, with their own biological children, blends with another parent with their own biological children.  It may just be one one of the parents with children, but the idea holds.  A nuclear family, by contrast, is a family that has children by the same mother and father.  Managing the two require very different approaches, especially early on. Five important emotions that are common and step family livingLoss and Sadness·  The fear is you end up stuffing your sadness deeper and deeper until, of course, it spews up and out in the form of disrespect, disobedience or a lousy attitude.Fear·  I’m afraid of getting close to anyone. I’m not very trusting. With all I’ve had to live through, I keep waiting for it to happen all over again; the constant blaming and getting stuck in the middle. And I won’t let it happen again.”Guilt·  The magical thinking of younger children sometimes leads them to make hasty conclusions about why something tragic has happened. Tracy believed she caused her parents’ divorce because she has ADHD. As an 8-year-old, she overheard them arguing just days before her father walked out about whether to medicate her, so she assumed that she caused the divorce.Confusion·  Young children, coping with step family living are often times confused about. should they love or hate their stepparent. It confuses them because they see how their biological parents react to their former spouse.·  Further confusion sets in when they are at their new step family house and the biological parent has set rules that are not supported in the new step family life. The child is left with what do I do?  Important things to DO in the Step Family·  Do you go slowly with an emphasis on building relationships. More successful step families view the growing of the family as more so being cooked in a crockpot rather than a microwave.·  It is important to talk about what the family would like for traditions to be developed in their family. It’s very possible that the children have past traditions that they really like but aren’t sure and the new step family if they would be accepted.·  Most definitely for the stepparent would be getting into the child’s world. Go to the games or concerts, etc. and be supportive with no hidden agendas or expectations.
The Session: Balancing Sports & the Christian Family
02-11-2023
The Session: Balancing Sports & the Christian Family
Every family struggles with it.  You want to attend church as a family, but there's soccer practice, summer leagues, mid-week practices & more to pull your kids and family out of church.  How do you strike a balance?The Session:  Managing Sports in the Christian Family1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 says “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL: SPORTS FROM A CHRISTIAN FAMILY PERSPECTIVEBY LAINNA CALLENTINE, MD, MEDHow can parents help their children develop a Christian worldview toward sports?Sports can be a valuable tool to help develop a child’s character, faith, work ethic, discipline, poise, confidence and other wonderful life lessons.On the other hand, sports can be a family idol when we lose proper perspective. Pastor, Ray Pritchard once said, “Idolatry lies in the worshiper, not in the thing worshiped. A golden calf is not an idol by itself … It is a wrong attitude that turns something good into something bad.”Dr. Callentine feels strongly about suggesting we need a game plan based on Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV) Teach young athletes to make every effort to keep the Sabbath holy. Early in their athletic careers teach them to honor the Sabbath. Parents can be flexible with a different church schedule like Saturday evening attendance if the Sunday morning service would not work.Thought from Scott (and we talked about this last week) ***Don’t forget on line services.  It might not be best to make this your weekly habit, but when tournaments happen, being able to watch on line later can be nice alternative. Teach them to play for an audience of one. Teach them that their true identity is wrapped up in how God sees them. It is not in their performance or criticism of others.  **Your identity is in Christ, not softball or basketball.Teach them to suffer well. Life is not always fair. Not everyone gets a trophy. It teaches them resiliency in life. Teach them we all make mistakes. So often we strive for perfection but learning to take mistakes in stride helps develop character. Embracing that it is a fallen and damaged world will teach character to our children.  ***You don’t score a touchdown every time you touch the ball.Discussion points (we didn't get to all of these, so maybe you can discuss these in small group or as a family):What do you do about parents who push their kids into sports so they can re-live their own “glory days” through the children? As a coach, how can you advise children who have these kinds of parents? What damage can this do to A) the children, and B) the marriage Should every child try to be in sports, even if it’s “not their gifting”?  What if they just plain can’t play second base like dad did… Should parents push children with challenges toward Special Olympics or other organizations that have sports for the disabled? What is an appropriate age for children to start playing sports? And now for the landmine question.  If parents come up against trans athletes, AS CHRISTIANS, what is a proper response?  Go public, quit, forfeit, not participate?(I’m thinking here of the lady’s college swim team that protested to the college when a trans swimmer tried to join the team, an Oberlin college women’s lacrosse coach who was “reassigned” after she made comments about trans athletes, high school girls volleyball players getting hurt by spikes by trans players, trans power lifters breaking women’s records in weight lifting, etc.)
The Session: Christians & Halloween
26-10-2023
The Session: Christians & Halloween
To trick or treat or not to trick or treat...THAT is the question!  Well, not really, but you get the idea.  How can we be Christians and still do (or should we do) Halloween?The Session:  A Christian view of HalloweenProverbs 4:25-27 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.  Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. From Halloween: The Meaning, History, and Christian Response  BY JESSICA WOLSTENHOLM Historical Holidays That Contributed To Or Associated With Halloween·  Halloween’s origin can be found in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced saw-en,)·  All Souls’ Day (Also known as All Saints Day) was mainly to honor the saints and pray for the lives of the recently departed who have not reached heaven yet. Some of the Halloween traditions can be seen in the festival surrounding All Saints’ Day. There were traditions of ringing bells for the souls in purgatory; poor people.How do Christians respond to Halloween?-      Some Christians reject Halloween.There are many Christians today that look at Halloween as a pagan holiday during which the devil is worshipped and evil is glorified.Many churches have replaced Halloween with Fall Festivals that are more family-friendly and allow a safer environment and a fun alternative to trick-or-treating. Some choose to celebrate Reformation Day instead because they believe Halloween must be rejected as a pagan holiday.-       It Can Be An Evangelistic OpportunityPractice hospitality—have the best candy so that your house will be the house people come to, and linger! Get creative—have spiced cider and pumpkin bread for the adults so that you can engage your neighbors in conversation.Reach out—Halloween is a great “excuse” to go to your neighbors’ houses and get to know them. Be prayerful and present—ask the Spirit to lead you and give you wisdom.
The Session: 3 Essential Keys to Thrive in Ministry
12-10-2023
The Session: 3 Essential Keys to Thrive in Ministry
We are continuing our celebration of Pastor Appreciation Month on the Session with this episode's 3 Essential Keys to Thrive in Ministry.  If you have an idea for a topic for us to discuss, please email scott@risefmohio.com!3 Essential Keys to Thrive in Ministry from Loganleadership.comA vital relationship with GodThe first key is, Who’s helping you explore this?·  Where do you experience his presence in your life?·  Praying scripture can be helpful. Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He lets me rest.” Peace came. Isaiah 40:31 also helped me. “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”·  “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10 A Father/child relationship is developed. The fruit of God's Spirit is cultivated.Deep ConnectionsThe second key to thriving is deep connections. Yes, it’s loving God and loving people.·  How are the quality of your connections?·  Close family members who would pray with the pastor·  Quality relationships are a must!·  Having a mentor can be a normalizing voice in a storm.  (AND HELP YOU CELEBRATE SUCCESS!!!)·  Collegial support is highly important. When your colleagues walk with the same lamp, you do can be very helpful.  (SCOTT THOUGHT: WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES THIS MEAN???)·  Messages like “you will get through this” give strength and courage.·  What friendships are you investing in?Live your assignmentThe third key is to live a purposeful life.What I am here for?·  Evaluating oneself and comparing yourself to other pastors can be very deflating.  (SCOTT THOUGHT:  NEVER EVALUATE YOUR MINISTRY ON MONDAY)·  Empower others to help people be all that they were created to be and do everything they were made to do can be very fulfilling to the pastor.  (AND CELEBRATE SUCCESS WITH THEM!)·  Are you living what God called you to do? It is important to rediscover that calling, passion, and heart.  (SCOTT THOUGHT: A SABATACAL MIGHT BE HELPFUL)·  Pray for restoration and God’s Eagles wings to carry you and renew your strength.A COUPLE OF PRACTICAL THINGS WE CAN DO TO HONOR OUR PASTORS:GIFT CARD TREE (DECORATE A LIT CHRISTMAS TREE WITH GIFT CARDS)SEND THEM AWAY FOR A WEEKEND WITH NO KIDSWE WOULD LOVE TO TALK ABOUT TOPICS YOU WANT DISCUSSED!  WE ARE LOOKING AT TOPICS AROUND CHRISTMAS NOW.  IF YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES RELATED TO FAMILY OR FAITH OR FUN AT CHRISTMAS, PLEASE LET US KNOW.  EMAIL SCOTT@RISEFMOHIO.COM.
The Session: How to Support Your Pastor
05-10-2023
The Session: How to Support Your Pastor
October is Pastor Appreciation Month.  To celebrate, we bring back a classic episode from 2021, 5 Ways to Support Your Pastor.  We also have ideas for how you can celebrate Pastors at https://www.risefmohio.comThe Session:  5 Ways to Support Your Pastor Hebrews 13:17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Churches that intentionally create a culture of support for the pastor and their family tend to develop and maintain healthy relationships that allow the congregation to thrive. 1. Temper unrealistic expectations·  Don’t add to this pressure by expecting them to perform unwanted roles within the congregation, especially roles performed by past clergy family members.·  Allow the pastor and his family to use the gifts God gave them and not what the former pastor 2. Prioritize a Pastor Support Group·  The organizational structure of many congregations contains a group designed to advocate for the pastor and their family’s needs.·  Take the group seriously 3. Support a sabbatical·  Pastoral work is an intense, draining experience that constantly draws pastors away from family life to care for others.·  Pastors and their families need time set aside to be together apart from church life.·  Sabbaticals typically last from two to three months·  They happen once every 5 years 4. Provide paid parental leave.·  The church supports family. The pastor’s family should be one.·  Paid parental one off should be there for the pastor’s family too 5 Protect your pastor’s sabbath day.·  Pastors must carve out other time to practice self-care.·  Pastors vary on the day of the week they use
The Session: Helping Your Spouse Through a Significant Loss
28-09-2023
The Session: Helping Your Spouse Through a Significant Loss
Disclaimer: In this episode, we talk about the loss of a spouse or child.  You may want to distract little ears with this episode.5 Ways to Love Your Spouse After a Deep LossAlicia Searl Contributing Writer   crosswalk.comAs I write this, I look up into a beautiful, picturesque landscape. My heart needed this. My soul needed this. I needed a space to breathe, to absorb all that had taken place over the last five years and, more recently, the last couple of months. I am thankful my husband recognized I needed to sit in my grief. To let it seep in since I have been pushing all my feelings down for quite some time now, especially since April when my mom departed this world and entered the arms of her Savior.If I were being honest, our family has been through quite a bit of trial as of late, and I guess it all began to all catch up with me. As I sat down to relive some of the pain with my husband one evening, we realized we had lost seven family members and a close childhood friend all in the last five years. People who were pillars for our family or loved ones that deeply impacted our lives. As parents, we have tried to offer love and support to one another and our grieving children, but life has a way of pushing us forward in this season, begging for us to continue. Life doesn't slow down between sporting events, school activities, play dates, and church functions because we are stuck in the past.After the loss of my mother, grief began to bubble up in ways I wasn't quite sure how to handle. This mix of emotions kept sneaking in and stealing my joy. It made life look hazy and disoriented. I felt lost and alone. Wave after wave of grief kept knocking me down, and at one point, I wasn't sure I wanted to get back up. Life kept going, but my world felt stuck as I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. Not to mention I just wanted space to breathe, to be still and quiet, but there was nowhere to escape. No place to sit in solitude to let the tidal wave of grief wash over me so I could process all that had happened.So, I ended up bottling it all up until I eventually broke. After a whirlwind of a summer with no space to seek peace, I decided to tackle this grief head-on. I booked a small cottage a few towns away for the weekend to gain a sense of clarity. To sit with a cup of coffee and gaze out into an open pasture just to hear nothing but the sound of my Savior seeking my wounded heart, reminding me He was still with me.My husband hugged me and told me to go and seek rest. As I write this, he is currently taking care of the children for the weekend. He is handling all the housework, the chores, and the responsibilities. And he is essentially taking care of me. For that, I am ever so thankful.If you or your spouse is enduring a profound loss, let me start by giving you my sincere condolences. While I don't understand what you are going through, I can relate to the heavy weight that a loss like that brings. The mixed feelings. The unexpected highs and lows. The need to be alone yet surrounded by the ones you love. The need to be reassured that while a piece of you is missing, you are still somehow going to be able to live again. While it can feel like the world has stopped spinning, there are ways you can seek support as well as offer it to your spouse while they experience all the various stages of grief.1. Be PatientGrief takes time. You can best show your spouse support by giving them time to grieve and be patient with the process. While it can be difficult to watch your spouse suffer and endure a roller coaster ride of emotions, remember that what they need most is for someone to lean on and offer compassion without judgment.Realize that each person experiences loss differently. What you think should take days may take weeks, months, or even years. Grief also tends to come on stronger with certain triggers, which may cause your spouse to relive a memory or touch them in a way that brings on feelings they may not be prepared for. Approach these situations with gentleness and give them the opportunity to release emotions as needed.2. ListenIt's sometimes hard to just sit and listen. Actively listening is difficult in and of itself, but when you see your spouse upset, it's an innate response to want to "fix it." But, jumping in and quickly sharing ways that you believe could help could actually backfire. While it is often done with love, it can make your spouse feel misunderstood. That being said, this concern could eventually make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells, not sure what to say. Take heart and know that sometimes the best thing you can do is stay silent. Smile, take their hand, look them in the eye – and listen.If they are searching for a response, you can always let them know you care with a simple, "I'm so sorry you are going through this, I want to help" or "tell me more about…" Allowing them to share memories brings forth a sense of healing and provides them with comfort, knowing that you genuinely care about their grief and well-being.3. Offer HelpOften grief can consume your spouse so that they forget the daily routines. You may find that the normal rhyme of life seems to come to a standstill. Household chores will seemingly be put on hold; the laundry will pile up, and they may not feel like cooking or eating.Instead of asking how you can help, offer it. Help with some of those chores that seem to be piling up. Order takeout for dinner, offer to put the children to bed or take a day or two off work to spend time with them offering to fix some things around the house that need tending to. If a friend or neighbor asks how they can help, give them an insight on things that need to be done and take them up on their offer. The burden can be great when you feel you are trying to support your spouse while taking care of all the extra duties, so give yourself time to seek support through family, friends, and church members.4. Get CounselingIf your spouse is showing signs of great distress over a loss and you are unable to console them, it may be time to seek outside help. Voice your concern and let them know they don't have to face this grief alone. While it's not always easy admitting (or hearing) that a loved one needs a little extra support and help, it could essentially save them from grave consequences. Grief has a way of changing a person, but when the process seems to take them down a road of depression, negative self-talk, or they don't seem to be in a good place emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, it may be time to get counseling.If counseling isn't the right route, search for grief recovery groups located in your area or within the church. If they don't feel comfortable going alone, offer to go along with them, it may benefit you both.5. Give Grace and SpaceThese two words are often used in our home: grace and space. After the loss of my mom, I needed a lot of grace but had a hard time recognizing that. I grew frustrated as I fell behind on everything, lost control (and my temper) with my children, and couldn't keep up with the daily activities. I stuffed down my grief because I didn't give myself grace and sadly didn't really receive it from others either. Essentially, my grief was put on hold. All summer long to be exact. Because of that, I gravitated toward a downward spiral. My sweet husband recognized that I needed grace and not only that but that I could find it when I was given "space" to grieve. I needed space to breathe—space to grieve. I especially needed to sit in silence and let Jesus and His grace wash over me...