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Summary: The 4 P’s to the presence and power of God are to be balanced against the cross. When we keep them in proper balance they produce a Spiritually Balanced Life. This spiritually balanced life then creates wholeness within the life of the individual.

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Series: The 4 P’s to the presence and the power of God:

Introduction: Over the next several weeks we are going to focus on Bible centered spirituality. In our society today we have many seekers searching for true spirituality for their lives. They will tell you that they are looking for meaning in life and for complete wholeness in their lives.

You yourself today could be asking what is “Spirituality”? This question came up this week at school when were discussing different ways that we cope with life and stress. We came onto the section that had asked the students to evaluate which ways they handle stress. It could have been physical – by doing exercise, or aesthetic like listening to music, or communication talking to others or using substances like drugs or alcohol. There where other categories but one came up titled “spiritual”. This self-awareness-test acknowledged that for some people they use a spiritual coping technique to reduce their stress and cope with stress. All the students in the class where rated on which categories they used most to deal with stress. This one ranked low for all of them. The teacher leading asked if this was scored “high” for anyone and off course I said, “Yes”.

One of the students said he did not understand “This spiritual thing.” he said “I don’t get it.” I went to the board to explain how individuals have 3 dimensions to their makeup. One is physical (your body), one is the soul (intellectual/ emotional) and one is spiritual (conscience, spirit awareness).

He said he still did not understand. So one of the other teachers explained that the spiritual side was a person’s recognition of a “Higher Power” that helps them deal with stress and that their belief helps them overcome things like “Alcoholism”. I added that it was the spiritual side that helped me to be delivered from alcohol and the destructive lifestyle I was living as a teenager. I explained to them how when I discovered I had a spiritual side (And Jesus cared about it) it changed my life.

We then discussed how many recent reports have shown that a person who has a strong spiritual side is more healthy and whole than a person who ignores their spiritual side: Some of these studies are noted by Gary Collins in his book the “The Soul Search” and reveal the following: He says,”… religion is good for your health.”

· A Dartmouth Medical School research team studied patients preparing for elective heart surgery. Nonreligious people were three times more likely to die within six months than patients who found strength and comfort in their religious beliefs. Of the thirty-seven patients who called themselves “deeply religious, “ none died.

· Family medicine researchers in North Carolina discovered fewer medical complications for maternity patients and their newborns if the mothers had religious affiliation.

· One study of thirty female patients recovering from hip fractures found that those who regarded God as a source of strength and comfort and who normally attended religious services were able to walk farther upon discharge and had less depression than patients who had few religious beliefs.

· A thirty-year study on blood pressure showed that church-goers had lower blood pressure even when the statistics were adjusted to account for smoking and other risk factors.

· A national Institute of Aging survey of four thousand randomly selected elderly people living at home found that the people who attended religious services were less depressed and physically healthier than those who worshipped at home or watched religious services on television. It is possible of course, that the people who went to church were less depressed because they were healthier and better able to get out, the researcher (A Duke University psychiatrists) concluded that participating in religious services, praying together in community of believers, and using, Scripture reading as a comforting and coping device all had a positive impact on physical health-more positive than “do it yourself at home” or television religion (78,79).

· Spirituality is also makes a difference in kids education: Rev Magazine notes, “Church attendance makes a difference in school performance for ,kids in low-class neighborhoods, according to the national Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. In fact, the poorer the neighborhood, the stronger the link between kids going to worship services and doing well at school, in part because of the strong sense of community in these neighborhoods. The percentage of kids in low poverty neighborhoods who say that religion is very important to them is 36%, compared to 57% in high-poverty neighborhoods.”

o JL Rivera noted the same with his former inner city church.

Collins notes, “True spirituality penetrates every part of life-our careers, relationships, lifestyles, sexuality, emotions, thinking, hopes, and plans for the future. The spiritual is not an isolated segment of life that can be pushed to one day or one hour of the week and otherwise ignored or accessed whenever we need a spiritual fix. Spirituality is not something we possess, like a book or techniques or a set of rules that we can apply to ourselves to make us spiritual” (90).

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