Monthly Archives: October 2015

Your I’m Possible Life

Our Elevator Pitch

Turning Your Impossible to I’m Possible

What we’ve been doing

  • Teaching the value of story and your story in particular
  • We listen to people’s stories.
  • We build an welcoming environment: Crash site, Open door, Launch pad
  • We help identify how our stories have formed and impacted our lives
  • Healing—deliverance from and removal of barriers to your I’m Possible Life
  • Equip by introducing resources and skills to produce emotionally healthy spirituality

Who benefits from what we do

  • Those seeking solutions. Those questing for resources, skills and empowerment to live The I’m possible Life.
  • Care-givers and soul-tenders of those who have not begun to seek solutions.
  • The Quest House Tribe—finding the community you’ve always wanted

How we do what we do

  • Write and Publish. Dean and Carole have published over 30 traditional and ebooks.
  • Blog
  • Public speaking
  • Onsite seminars
  • Quest House—Interaction with ideas that shape our thinking, change our lives and teach us how to follow Jesus and fulfill our calling.
  • Face-to-face small group interactive conversation

Where we do what we do

  • Online—Benton Quest House
  • Pulpits
  • Selected venues such as clubs
  • Seminar rooms
  • Weekend Fresh Blend Conferences

Your Next Step to the I’m Possible Life

Copyright 2015 D. Dean Benton    website being renovated

Advertisements

Fresh Blend

I look forward to my first morning cup of coffee before I even go to bed. Some uncool folks would say I am addicted. I don’t think so. I don’t need it to get started in the morning, I just enjoy it. It doesn’t wake me or energize me.

Lately, the coffee blend has been Community medium with half a spoon of Ethiopian Pumpkin Spice Brulee. Carole’s usual evaluation of the coffee. “What kind of coffee is this?”

One of the best parts of going out of town is to try out coffee shops and see if I can find a satisfying taste. In recent weeks, no mix or blend or brand has been satisfying. At home, I carry my cup the way some people carry their phones. With a cup in one hand, my phone in the other, it is difficult to turn the page on the Kindle.

Not only has the coffee not been satisfying, our selection of cups has become irritating. We have a collection of cups with church logos or pictures. Mugs. Not at all classy. I saw an Iowa State Cyclone cup that seemed right—until the price tag changed my mind.

There is a theory that the Roman Empire fell because they used wine cups made out of clay that ate away their creativity—ability to think and it killed them. I worry about those church mugs. Few of them say they are dishwasher or microwave safe. I already have pencils and pens and scissors in several of them. So I’m looking for a nicely designed cup—not a mug or a tea cup. Large enough, but not so large that the coffee gets cold.

At the same time, I’ve been unsatisfied with “devotions” whether morning or afternoon. Nothing tastes right or satisfying. Changing the Bible version helps, sometimes. I wandered around this morning with coffee in hand looking for a “Word.” From computer to phone with podcast, to devotional book and a traditional leather-covered Bible while listening to my favorite TV pastors. As Mary Brown wrote, “Gotta Get a God Said….” We’ve been through several days of draining activity. Good stuff will do that as surely as dealing with the unpleasant. Stress does not differentiate between good and bad stressors. The Lady and I agreed—we are depleted. Needing to find a fresh blend.

In my pursuit this morning, I read an article on New Wine and New Wine Skins—the call to a fresh container for what God wants to do. A different cup and a better blend. That sounds like the word from the Lord!

What would a new wine skin look like? A fresh delivery system? Leonard Sweet Tweeted this morning about micro-church: Celebration, worship and fellowship around tables in a thousand square foot building. The Bentons’ old tag line: “Come, put your feet under our table,” is not only inviting, but strategy.

What would that look like? A place to sit your coffee, notebook, Bible and half a bagel. (And a towel to mop up spilled drinks.) Put a white board in that room and you have a seminar room or a small group meeting.

I’m supposed to close a blog with a solution. I gotta get a God said. Need a fresh blend—know what I mean? I’ll keep you posted when I find something that tastes satisfying.

©2015 D. Dean Benton   https://www.bentonministries.com    website being updated

Writer, Wonderer, Searcher

From I Will to I Do

Two things I know about weddings: traditional pre-marital counseling is usually a waste of time. That is why I beg the couple to set up a conversation six to twelve months into the marriage. The bubble will have burst and they are no longer so in love they have no conflict and their partner doesn’t even have to use deodorant. The second thing I know is no matter how eloquent my homily the bride and groom are not listening. They want to, but they are worried about the industrial-strength deodorant not being adequate. Most of my great wedding messages are for those in the audience who are ready to trade their spouse for a good Cocker Spaniel.

We don’t know if the Apostle Paul was married or not. I think he was. He speaks instructions that carry the weight of experience and mistakes and scars.

I no longer ask the bride or groom “Do you?” I ask “Will you?” They want to (“I will….”) Only with time, experience, practice and decision can they say, “I Do.”

“Will you take this…to be…to…for better worse?”

“I will.”

“Only after we have faced “for better for worse” can we say, “I do.” I ask Carole if she will love me when I am old and gray. She says, “I do!”

Five instructions from God through the heart of the Apostle–Ephesians 5:21-28 (The Message):

  • UNDERSTAND

The Apostle says “Seek to understand.”  Seeking to understand is a life-long challenge and the call to first understand and then seek to be understood. After studying habits and stuff, we can pick up clues and patterns. Most of all, Paul’s words in Ephesians 4—“Be kind”—seem to make sense while seeking. Sarcasm can get you hurt.

  • SUPPORT—“Wives  support your husbands….”

Unless support also gets translated to respect, trouble is on the horizon. Men really put a lot of weight on being respected whether it is from another man or the woman who shares the sink. A wife has a great strategy in motion when she says, “Help me understand what you are thinking, feeling, wanting….”

The wedding coordinator (whom I like a lot) wanted the bride and groom to stand on the altar in the spotlight without any of the bridal party. I agreed with her reason, I vehemently disagreed with the act. A wise counselor said, “We need people whose eyes sparkle when they look at us.” Regardless of age, we need people who will cover our back and encourage us. Remove all other assets: the person who has that kind of support will fare much better.

  • CHERISH—“The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does His Church, not by domineering, but by cherishing.”

One of America’s best marriage specialists says marriages that not only last but are great for both parties are marked by fondness for each other. (The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John M. Gottman, PH.D.,) A winning strategy is for the guy to cherish his wife and daughters. Something happens that grows confidence and positive self-evaluation.

A current epidemic: many of us are dominated by “I’m not…enough.” When a person knows the right person holds them in secure fondness, our lack diminishes.

  • GIVE—“Husbands go all out in your love…a love marked by giving….”

A Christian marriage is defined by covenant and not contract. A contract is to protect your rights. A covenant is about the other person. The instruction points to God’s covenant as the standard. That is a high bar.

  • EVOKE—“Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her….”

The punch line to this: “You are really doing yourself a favor when you treat each other in this way.”

When I am the benefactor in expanding the people I love, I become the beneficiary. It takes some time to learn, but measuring the pay-off we practice until we can say, “I do!”

“I pray you’ll be our eyes, and watch us where we go.

And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know.

Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way.

Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace.”

The Prayer

Written by

David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager,

©2015  D. Dean Benton  https://www.bentonministries.com

Writer, Wonderer, Practic-er

How Can I Miss Sweat?

In the folklore of our family is a story of Three on a Hankie.

I have to be careful what I say at weddings. I don’t always tell the “best” story because my emotions can affect the bride and groom. I lost it at one wedding, after telling the” best” one. I pulled out my handkerchief to wipe my eyes and then my nose. The groom began to cry. We were not sobbing, just tears filling our eyes and nose running. He asked to borrow my hankie—which tells you how serious this was. Then the bride, who had been wiping tears with the sleeve of her beautiful dress, grabbed the hankie out of my hand. She had politely asked and because the thought of her using my soggy hankie I told her no. She grabbed it anyway. Could have run a quart full of something out.

We refer to that story when the subject of weddings comes up as it did as we prepared for a recent wedding. For 25 plus years, I have carried 3-4 handkerchiefs in my wedding suit in the event the crying begins.

I was ready at this weekend wedding. A hankie for me and three spares in case someone started to cry. The bride knows the story. The groom wasn’t scared or overly nervous—he wasn’t going to pass out—it was hot where he was so he was sweating. During a lull in the ceremony, the bride asked if I had a hankie. She smiled. There were no tears. I thought she was talking to siphon tension, so I smiled back because I knew she was referring to the story. NO! She was asking for her sweating sweetheart. The best man asked the guy next to him for a tissue or something for the groom. I was concerned and distracted by the sweating groom—I was not oblivious to what was happening. Not once, however, did I connect his need to the solution which was in three of my suit coat pockets.

Had there been one tear I would have whipped out one or more white, ironed handkerchiefs. I was ready, loaded and tuned in for tears, but not for sweat.

I cannot apologize adequately. I replayed the situation dozens of times trying to figure out what it would have taken for me to “get it.” To catch on. I’m not only apologizing profusely, I’m wondering how many other things I’m missing. What need is in front of me that I can take care of, but I’m preoccupied, self-absorbed or focused on one thing when I could be looking at the whole picture.

Had the bride not smiled I might have connected to the solution in my pockets.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord

©2015 D. Dean Benton   http://www.bentonministries.com/

Writer, Wonderer, Misser of important details.

The Constant Plan

Several years ago, a wild fire consumed tens of thousands of acres of timber and homes threatening Colorado Springs leaving charred ruins and blackening the Rockies’ Front Range. Recently the preeminent writer, counselor and teacher Dr. Dan Allender looked out a restaurant window at the lush, richly green hills that had been ashes. He describes his reaction to the stunning restoration. Then he heard God asking: Do you believe that (I) God can restore hearts in the same way?

Well? What do you feel? Not just think, but feel? Can God restore hearts in that magnitude and at such a drastic measure?

The story and conversation came at a good time for me. I had just returned from a few hours with people I hadn’t seen for 30-40-50 years. My soul was pre-occupied during my private and inner time at that event calculating who I was when they knew me decades ago.

Processing the event has taken several days. I was feeling something like homesickness, though there was nothing I wanted to return to. Some of the feelings didn’t make sense. I missed the people who haven’t been part of my life most of my life. I won’t try to connect the dots for you—tedium!! The gut feeling has been about restoration—greening of a hillside.

This restoration process is an integration of several elements to move us toward wholeness away from fragmentation. With the whirlpool of thoughts and a strange gut feeling the conversation of Dan Allender and John Eldredge produced for me the components of the maturing process and the process that we daily invite which produces happiness, health and productivity.

  • STORY

Your most effective ministry grows out of fragments of your story. Our sensitivity to pain, failure and hesitation in others grows out of your own experiences. That is not grass greening on the hill it is authenticity. Our story cannot be ignored or surgically removed. We need to run it through the following:

  • CLARITY—INSIGHT

Those two words define therapy. We learn specifically what happened in our story and why we see things as we do and react/respond to other people and events as we do. We need to know what really happened and the long term result. A therapist helps us by asking questions that we would avoid. Christians call these avoidance habits or refusal to “go there” strongholds.

  • INNER HEALING

Allender reminds us that clarity and insight are not enough. Clarity and understanding bring clarity and understanding, but usually we need God’s direct healing. In recent days, Jesus revealed the reasons for the “why” and then has met me in the decisive and traumatic moments.

Inner healing is when Jesus wants to heal us and invites us to go with Him to the moment or events that shaped our lives. For example, I experienced a trauma at seven. Restoration—Jesus went with me to that event and experienced the trauma with me when I was seven years old. My wholeness as an adult becomes a greater possibility as result and is blocked if the healing of that experience does not happen.

  • SPIRITUAL WARFARE

When just learning to talk, one of our grandkids said, “What is that s’male?” Carole and I still use that word. There are times I ask the question because my inner world is smelling like burning rubbish or burnt forests. Our enemy wants to drag us back to the old days and old ways with bullying and accusations. We think restoration is too much to expect so we try to build coping mechanisms or managing techniques—keep the secret, repress the hurt and miss all the clues what the smell is or who is igniting the twigs that will burn us again.

Experiencing forgiveness and inner healing must take place or the “fire” is always on the verge of bursting out of control into a wild fire.

This week I’ve been reminded of the nature of spiritual warfare. It is less noisy that we expect. The work of an army is to kill things and break things with missiles, bombs, automatic rifles and lethal stuff like that. Spiritual warfare is as lethal, but a lot quieter. Our enemy is a guerrilla and sniper. Know this: not every thought that comes into your head comes from God or even with His permission. You wage spiritual war by placing peace at the door of your mind and empowering peace to check credentials. Peace asks each thought—WHERE IS THIS GOING? If I allow it where will it take me?

Get the picture: Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Can you see yourself being carried in the mouth of this beast into his lair where you are consumed? We have been given weapons of warfare, but these practices are helpful.

  • Ask “What am I thinking?”
  • Decide: I’ve been down this road before—I’m not going to continue this destructive thinking. “STOP IT!
  • Verbalize: Satan, take a hike. I’m not interested in your enticement. Self-refocus on those things that will produce positive and healthy thoughts and outcomes.

Your default time zone is the future. The constant asking if what you are doing and what you are thinking will prepare you to live outrageously happy and healthy beginning in the next few minutes and stretching into the future. The greatest battle is where we plan to live—yesterday or today forward. Because your story is important: clarity, inner healing, fighting for your tomorrows are restoration tools.

God’s goal for you is restoration that leads to abundant life.

©2015 D. Dean Benton http://www.bentonministries.com/