Forest’s Statement of Faith

michelangelo-71282_1280
I believe all humans are created in the image of God and have infinite and equal worth, regardless of the choices, circumstances, or traumas they’ve experienced. These experiences shape people’s view of God and desire (or lack thereof) to know and trust Him.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God and God himself, as he claimed to be (John 8:58, John 10:30, John 14:9). He was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life, through which he modeled unhindered trust in his Father. Jesus was murdered by those who opposed him and his message. He rose from the dead, proving his Divinity. I believe in the trinity; that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God, with separate functions.

I believe that those who confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead will be saved (Romans 10:9) and forgiven of all sin, entering into a new relationship with God. I believe God desires His followers to continuously seek an active two-way relationship with Him, as their Heavenly Father. Learning to trust in God’s comfort in times of pain and suffering is paramount to spiritual growth and is hindered through seeking comfort or escape through sin, addiction, or other distractions. Still, we are prone to trust in selfish and rebellious avenues of comfort and God faithfully forgives us when we turn back to him.

I believe God’s stance toward humanity is one of open arms and unconditional love, yet He gives each person the free choice to accept or reject Him. Salvation is a gift to those who believe and cannot be earned. Still, true faith is revealed through actively seeking God and living out His purpose and call to love God and others (James 2:14-26). I believe that the Holy Spirit is active in the world and within Christ followers, directing us in God’s will.

I believe the Bible is inspired by God and is God’s narrative of His creation, purpose for, and love for humanity. I believe the Bible and science are not at odds but that science and history confirm facts revealed in the Bible (such as creation).

I believe that the church is the body of Christ and each of its members are meant to be active participants, individually and corporately led by the Holy Spirit, each sharing their gifts, serving, and loving one another. The church is to reflect the image and nature of Christ to an unbelieving world, for the purpose of drawing them to Him. The church is made up of imperfect people on a journey of growth and connection. Our allegiance to Christ supersedes our allegiance to family, friends, country, and culture yet helps us love all of these more fully.

I believe that standing up to injustice is part of God’s mission and it is the responsibility of His followers to stand against evil and for good, while still representing Christ’s call to love our enemies.

I believe in stewardship (Matthew 25:14-30) of those things which God has entrusted into our care, including our physical body, material possessions, spiritual gifts, finances, and the world we live in.

I believe that through my relationship with God and His purpose for my life I will experience transformation, meaning, joy, connection, and satisfaction.

Advertisements

Forest’s New Path: From Passing to Promotion

stairs“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

When I entered graduate school nearly nine years ago my dream was to help those who were sexually addicted. After graduation, through a set of circumstances that could never be chalked up as “coincidence”, I was led to work with the LifeSTAR program in Fresno. I have worked with LifeSTAR for nearly 3 years and it has been a life-changing experience.

Sexual addiction treatment is not only my work, it is my passion. I love writing, teaching, speaking, and counseling in this area. Ultimately, I treasure the opportunity to guide those devastated by the effects of sexual addiction down a path of healing.

A week ago I took my final exam for California licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Passing that challenging exam was an exhilarating experience, years in the making. When this accomplishment became a reality, I was promoted to Clinical Director at LifeSTAR of the Central Valley. I’m honored and humbled by this wonderful opportunity.

As Clinical Director, I am committed to bettering our community and world. This will include continually expanding and promoting our adult programs for sexual addicts and their partners as well as our YouthSTAR program for adolescents who are addicted. I will continue to be a voice in the Anti-Pornography Movement, speaking about protecting children from the growing dangers of pornography. I will continue writing informative articles that equip and inspire all who are seeking support. There are some exciting teaching opportunities on the horizon as well. In a nutshell, I will continue living out my calling and purpose on this planet. This truly is my dream job and I am extremely blessed to work with such amazing, skilled, and loving people, both here in Fresno, and throughout the international LifeSTAR Network.

Let the adventures continue!

Gratefully,

Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C

Clinical Director at LifeSTAR of the Central Valley

What If?

“The church, cultures, nations, empires, are built and unleashed by men and women who are driven mad by an imagination of a world that could exist but lack the personal creative talent to make it happen unless they create this beautiful thing called community…What if the church became the human incubator for creating the world’s best future? What if we walked away from our security in the “what is” and began to walk in the mystery of the “what if”?”

– Erwin McManus

Let us never stop dreaming about the world that could be and acting on the passions and convictions that were placed within us.