CARE sheet 1/23/11 Philemon 2 of 3

ICE BREAKER Describe one of the following situations:

a. a time when your attempt to reconcile with someone worked.

b. a time when your attempt to reconcile with someone didn’t work.

Title: Reconciliation at its Most Difficult Hour” -

Text: Philemon 15-16; Matt. 6:12-15; 18:15-35; 2 Cor. 2:5-11;


Jesus on Forgiveness/Reconciliation…

  • Matt. 6:12-15 – Does God’s forgiveness appear to be conditional?
  • Matt. 18:15-35 – What does it mean to “forgive someone from your heart?”(vs. 35).  What process did Jesus outline to help us through the forgiving/reconciling command?
  • What question asked by Peter (vss. 21,22) prompted the parable of the unforgiving servant?

God on Forgiveness/Reconciliation…

  • Read Psalm 103:6-14.  Since God’s nature is our standard of and motivation for obedience what do these verses tell us about how and why God forgives us?

Paul on Forgiveness/Reconciliation…

  • What is the intended result of God’s mercy and forgiveness (“kindness”)?  Rom. 2:4
  • Read Rom. 12:17-21.  If the goal of forgiveness is to “overcome evil with good” then how can our kindness mixed with God’s wrath cooperate to bring people to repentance? (Consider Num. 16:45-49 as an illustration of Moses’ and Aaron’s mixture of passion for the people and for God’s Holiness along with God’s wrath and willingness to forgive.)
  • Read 2 Cor. 2:5-11.  If Satan’s goal is to kill and destroy then how might we “play into his hands” when we refuse to forgive someone that is trying to repent?


  1. Can you imagine trying to forgive your dad which forced you to have an abortion, people who had chopped up your brother, or a father that had repeatedly molested your sister?
  2. Which of these passages of Scripture would be a good memory verse to help you forgive someone that you feel may be unforgivable?
  3. How can a person know if someone that has hurt them really wants to repent and be forgiven or just free from consequences?  (Forgiveness-Repentance)
  4. Check out some books on forgiveness/repentance/reconciliation  worth reading: Steering Clear by Earl Wilson; Rebuilding Your Broken World by Gordon McDonald; How to Save Your Marriage Alone by Dr. Ed Wheat; When Your Mate Wants Out ; When Your Child Breaks Your Heart; Forgiving the Unforgivable


  1. How does Timber Lake Christian Church try to help people find reconciliation with God and others? (church shepherding policy (3); A Test of Love tract tract)


Title: The Accountability Triangle

Text: Philemon 18-22

1. How was Philemon’s relationship with Onesimus affected Paul?

2. How was Paul’s relationship with Philemon affected by Onesimus?

3. How was Onesimus’ relationship with Paul affected by Philemon?

4. How were these men’s relationships with God affected by this life challenge?


UPDATED RESOURCES:  It appears this topic is really hitting a nerve in families and in the church.  I have found and would recommend the following resources to be considered by parents and youth/children's ministers.

  1. The Entitlement-Free Child by Karen Deerwester
  2. Give Me, Get, Me, Buy Me by Donna Corwin can be reviewed at
  3. Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. focuses more on teens and twenties.
  4. Is It A Lost Cause? by Marva J. Dawn helps church parents and church leaders to evaluate their youth in light of church programming.  How do parents and churches cooperate to support their youth growing up in a Post-modern culture.
  5. Parenting Beyond your Capacity by Reggie Joiner & Carey Nieuwhof describes an expanded curriculum called "Orange" to help parents and Church leaders to create synergy for raising up the next generation in faith.


This picture and a book I got for Christmas  “THE POOR WILL BE GLAD – Joining the revolution to lift the world out of poverty”  has once again stirred up a long standing string of thoughts I have had over the past year.  What is a “sense of entitlement?”  How do you recognize it?  Do I have one?  Do I promote one? What does Jesus think about a sense of entitlement?  These are more questions than I can answer here, but I can point you to some good food for thought:

A self-analysis of Entitlement Syndrome with some Scriptures for reflection. IDENTIFYING A PERSON WITH ENTITLEMENT SYNDROME

An insightful story from an excerpt of the book “THE POOR WILL BE GLAD

A book many of our church leaders are using to guide them in benevolence counseling: "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett and  Brian Fikkert

If you are brave enough to think about how the entitlement syndrome is effecting our government you might consider looking here.

I have decided that I do struggle somewhat with a sense of entitlement.  I’m not sure how you can be an American, have a good work ethic and not struggle with this at least a little.   I think people that have played more than they have worked have a very deep sense of entitlement and can’t/ won’t/ refuse to see it.   A low self image kicks in overdrive a video tape that plays over and over in their minds – I can’t take responsibility for my needs.  Jesus is ready to say to anyone that is honest, “You are right, but stop being a wicked lazy servant and try.  I will take care of the rest!”  (Consider John 15:4 and Matthew 25:14 – 30)

This study has also revealed in me a very low tolerance for those who live day to day by working their sense of entitlement.   I must keep reminding myself that people who don’t KNOW JESUS can’t deal wisely with the concept of entitlement (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).  It is a deception from Satan that started with Eve and Adam (Genesis 3:4-7).  My best hope for helping those buried beneath a sense of entitlement is to demonstrate for them how Jesus has helped me deal with my sense of entitlement.  That takes away the arrogance and capitalizes on the Grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness (1 Peter 3:15 and Titus 2:11-14).    Lord help us all! – And He will!!!

Pre-marriage Counseling

You talk about "looking through a glass darkly" - that is a great description of pre-marriage counseling a.k.a  "window shopping at the marriage store."

After 30 years of helping people "say I do" at "the altar" I still use 25% of the same materials I did 25 years ago.  That is because the Bible hasn't changed.  I think it is important to update resources.  Certainly the internet has created wonderful resources for the Bride and Groom to be.  I have attached a recently updated  Inventory of Interest to help me individualize the counseling experience.  I anticipate your feedback of topics you think might need to be included on the inventory.  We're up to 70 topics so far.  My Monday night "Dad's Care Group" added nearly 20 topics. Their desire to be dad's and husband's after the heart of God inspire me!  Pre-Marriage Interest Inventory of Topics

The internet has a world of resources for the couple, their parents, and even ministers new to the idea of pre-marriage counseling.  There is even a Christian Counseling online for couples that are working through a long distance relationship to prepare for marriage.

I recommend that parents refrain from spending money on the honeymoon and steer that money toward covering up to 50% of the pre-marriage counseling. If the groom can't afford to pay for the honeymoon it may be worth the family's efforts to point the couple to some online budgeting resources.   Don't forget to remind the couple how much it will cost when the first baby is added to the picture!

Thank you Grandma!

Grandma Shireman "sees through a glass darkly."   She told me last week, "I can't see to read much of anything anymore." Grandma is 94 years old.  She has lived in Big Spring Care Center for nearly 10 years. All the while Parkinson's disease has progressively limited her ability to enjoy life.  She has consistently greeted new friends moving into the home and said "good bye" as they have passed.  Over the past few years her eyesight has diminished taking away her enjoyment of crossword puzzles and reading her Bible.  On good days she can watch a little news on TV or see some birds eating out of the feeder. I thanked her for being such a good example of a good attitude.  She said, "Well, you might as well have a good attitude. A bad attitude won't help anything!"

Grandma missing her opportunities to read the Bible reminds me to count carefully the days I miss reading the Bible.  Sometimes we spend days by choice not seeing things more clearly - we fail to read The Word given to us to give us light (2 Peter 1:19).   Thank you Grandma, I will spend fewer days without The Word because of you.