About tonyroberts

I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.

Delight in Disorder: Sin & Sickness

People ask me what the difference is between my first book, Delight in Disorder, and my second, When Despair Meets Delight. They are both about the two subjects I have the most passion for -- faith and mental illness. They both tell the story of my life and the lives of others in my ministry. They both press through dark valleys -- disorder/despair, and come to a bright pinnacle -- delight. Yes, there are some common features of the two books, but there are also some key distinctions. Delight in Disorder could be best described as a devotional memoir, a collection of 90 reflections on Psalm verses as they have shaped my life and my understanding of faith and mental illness. When Despair Meets Delight is a memoir of a minister with a mental illness and a model for mental health ministry. I wrote Delight in Disorder as therapy and [...]

Delight in Disorder: Sin & Sickness2020-10-14T20:58:57-04:00

How Our Thorns Make Us Better, Revisited by Lamar Hardwick

The following post was first posted on September 2, 2020. I am republishing now because there has been a significant development in the life of the author. Lamar has been diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. He is taking an indefinite sabbatical to pursue treatment. This will no doubt change his life in many ways, but he is facing it with the same courage for which he is known. Lamar has been posting prayers for strength to rally his "fight club" as he faces this battle. This one is from yesterday -- Good morning fight club. It’s another great day to fight! Pray this with me “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but [...]

How Our Thorns Make Us Better, Revisited by Lamar Hardwick2020-10-12T03:39:40-04:00

Persecutors or Complainers of Persecution: The American Church

“If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution." [Letter to the London Packet, 3 June 1772] ― Ben Franklin, The Life and Letters of Benjamin Franklin It is a peculiarly unpleasant time to be an American Christian these days. Gone are the days when the Church ruled the roost as the center of community life, the influencer of governing affairs, the bedrock of family values. In its place we have turned to an amalgam of human rights designed to protect individuals, building borders for what is deemed safe. To do this, we practice a ruthless form of censorship that is the antithesis to freedom of expression. As an example, back in "the glory days" a tenured professor could only be dismissed if he had his hands in the [...]

Persecutors or Complainers of Persecution: The American Church2020-10-08T08:20:20-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight: The Audio Version

My journey toward self-publishing has been arduous. For some, the process is quite easy. Just write something. Plug it into an Amazon service. Punch a few user-friendly buttons and -- bim, bam, boom -- out pops a book. Looking back, I wish I had taken an easier path. But nothing is ever easy for me. I prefer to suffer. I'd like to think that choosing a more rugged, less traveled road would lead me to a greater destination. But it doesn't always. There is no guarantee that the amount of effort we put into something will directly corelate to the finished product. To say that the road to my book has been rugged would be an understatement. Not only were there detours, but crashes. There were times when I traveled precariously close to cliffs with the tires barely gripping the edge of the mountain. Many of you have journeyed with [...]

When Despair Meets Delight: The Audio Version2020-10-04T21:39:07-04:00

Thus Sayeth the Lord: How do we hear God speak?

Some time ago Sharon Rawlette, one of my regular readers posed a fascinating question that has inspired this post. In essence, she asks, how can we discriminate between “true” voice of God from “false” ones? This question gets to the heart of how God speaks to us as well as how the Enemy tries to keep us from hearing. First, look at what it says in Hebrews: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed to be heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) Jesus is the Word of God spoken at creation, made flesh in his miraculous birth, demonstrated in his compassionate ministry, redeemed in his sacrificial death, enlivened by his resurrection, and delegated to the Holy Spirit after [...]

Thus Sayeth the Lord: How do we hear God speak?2020-09-30T22:19:33-04:00

Being Transparent: A cost/benefit analysis.

The first person to call me transparent was a spiritual counselor I sought out when I was having a crisis of faith. I didn’t take it as a compliment. I had just bared my soul, laying out my struggles with bipolar, a troublesome marriage, conflict in my church. He watched me with an expression of concern and bewilderment. Then he smiled and said, “You are SO transparent.” He might have been affirming me, but this isn’t how it felt. It felt like a put-down. Like I was too childish to contain my emotions. I wished I could take it back. But it was out there. One of the costs of transparency. Fast forward to today. I was sitting out on the deck with my wife talking about writing a blog post. I mentioned I was weary of promoting my book and feared my readers were as well. She said I [...]

Being Transparent: A cost/benefit analysis.2020-09-26T21:28:09-04:00

from When Despair Meets Delight – a spiritual encounter

I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.  ~ Edgar Allan Poe Share with the LORD’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12.13)   chapter five - spiritual encounter   I had a good friend in college, Steve Franz, who used to say, I drink and smoke because they are the best ways I know to commit suicide in a manner deemed acceptable by society. I’m convinced no one really wants to kill themselves. We just want to stop the pain. We want to silence the voices. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.2 [...]

from When Despair Meets Delight – a spiritual encounter2020-09-14T19:45:55-04:00

from When Despair Meets Delight: Denise on a Mission (TRIGGER ALERT)

"Look to the living, love them, and hold on." ~ Kay Redfield Jamison. "O God, who gave us birth, you are ever more ready to hear than we are to pray. You know our needs before we ask, and our ignorance in asking. Show us now your grace, that as we face the mystery of death we may see the light of eternity. Speak to us once more your solemn message of life and of death. Help us to live as those who are prepared to die. And when our days here are ended, enable us to die as those who go forth to live,so that living or dying, our life may be in Jesus Christ our risen LORD. Amen." ~ Book of Common Worship Daily Prayer   from CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: denise on a mission   The best opportunities I had to serve in ministry together with youth and adults [...]

from When Despair Meets Delight: Denise on a Mission (TRIGGER ALERT)2020-09-10T23:10:41-04:00

Perfect Humility: A Quietness of Heart

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)   Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing [...]

Perfect Humility: A Quietness of Heart2020-08-30T10:51:17-04:00

The ACTS of a Balanced Prayer Life

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1.2-3) “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard Typically, we think of prayer in the sense of asking God to do something beneficial for us or others. Forgive. Guide. Provide. Heal. All these are crucial components to a balanced prayer life, but if we focus only on what we want from God, we will lose sight of all that God is and who we are in relation to God. When I first became a Christian, a friend taught me a simple method of prayer I have carried with me to this day. I don't always follow the [...]

The ACTS of a Balanced Prayer Life2020-08-26T20:50:05-04:00
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