Symptoms of the False Self

In my sermon yesterday at New Life, I preached on “Listening to the Small Screen” out of Colossians 3:9-14. God calls us out of living a “pretend life” that accumulates as layers over us as a result of our families of origin and our culture. To find love, value, and worth, we often become people God never intended. Part of the gift of salvation in Christ is a deliverance from our false selves into our true selves in Christ, living out our unique “sealed orders” from Him. 

Paul calls us “not to lie to one another” (Col. 3:9) which can be translated, “Don’t be false with one another.”  The following is the brief assessment I shared during the message.

The degree to which we are living out of our false, or pretend, self exists on a continuum that ranges from mild to severe.  We are all in process, including myself. Use the simple assessment below to get an idea of where you fall on the continuum. Note each one that describes you.

False Self-Assessment

  1. I am reluctant to admit my weaknesses and flaws to others.
  2. I look for the approval of others more than I should
  3. I am highly “offendable” and defensive when people criticize me.
  4. I often become harsh and impatient when things are moving too slowly or my expectations are not met.
  5. I say “yes’ when I would rather say “no”.
  6. I beat myself up when I make mistakes.
  7. I have difficulty speaking up when I disagree or prefer something different.
  8. I have a number of people I am struggling to forgive.
  9. My fears often cause me to play it safe “just in case.”
  10. My body is more often in a state of tension and stress than relaxed.

If you checked two or three statements, you may be living out of your false self at times. If you checked four to five, you probably have a moderate case of pretending to be somebody you are not. If you checked six or more, you want to receive this as a gentle wake up call to a deeper journey with Jesus!


Comment on The EHS Course by R. O. Ogbebor

I stumbled into EHL conference in May 2014 on website and I immediately signed up to attend online. It was a life changing experience. Since then I have been on your website feeding on every free resource I can find. Having been a Christian for 20years, I have been made to believe that Christianity excludes everything emotions and to make matters worse I am married to an emotionally distant spouse who has been a church leader in one form or another. Though I know there is an element of lie to that belief system, I was so comforted and free when I attended the conference. I believe this knowledge is so lacking in our Christianity today. I would love to become an EHS coordinator to first help myself and also others. I look forward to when I will have an opportunity to become one. I live in Canada. Thank you for the work you are doing, it is indeed changing lives one after another. R.O

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Comment on The Power of the Genogram by mattie

just came across this site ,looking for spiritual wellness for a friend and found a wealth of information for myself and her. cant wait to read more

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The EHS Course

In August, the EHS small group curriculum will be released as The EHS Course with new covers, a new DVD, and a new name for the Daily Office book (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day).

EHS Course Materials

I am deeply passionate for the world to be transformed by Jesus.  In fact, I was known in my early years as an Inter-Varsity staff worker as an evangelism specialist and open-air speaker on university campuses.

Our mission at EHS is to equip the church in a deep, beneath-the-surface spirituality that transforms people who transform the world. Without spiritual transformation taking place in our people, our long-term mission for Christ will be severely limited.  To transform the world for Jesus, we need to be transformed by Him first.

What Alpha is for evangelism as a centralized course to introduce people to Jesus, EHS is for spiritual formation. The EHS Course will enable churches to embed transformational spiritual formation in their culture long-term and open the door to the larger paradigm of all that EHS offers.
The EHS Course is a serious course offered in a safe, comfortable environment that respects each person’s journey.
 It asks people to:

  1.  Leave a superficial, shallow spirituality.
  2. Open up their interior world so Christ can transform it.
  3. Develop their own personal relationship with Jesus and not live off other people’s spirituality.
  4. Read the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality book and meet with Jesus twice a day for 8 weeks through EHS Day by Day.

The EHS Course DVD’s are of such high quality (thanks Zondervan) that they alone are worth watching for an outstanding introduction to the key themes of EHS.

Let me invite you to our “Become an EHS Coordinator Training” this Sept. 17th at New Life Fellowship Church. The goal is to equip one, and/or a team of coordinators, for each church so they can embed the course into their church throughout the year.  Our hope is to offer the same training in other locations in North America this year.
Join us in praying for this very exciting launch!
Blessings -

The Power of the Genogram

The “Genogram Your Family” tool is one of the pivotal tools we use at New Life Fellowship Church for deep, beneath the surface transformation. Jonathan Walton shared this poem at our Sunday services on July 20th about the profound impact the genogram had on his life.  Enjoy!  – Pete    

Poem – by Jonathan Walton 

Poetry is my release
my shield from all grief
my refuge to which I retreat when this world is too much for me
Phrases on pages are the language my mind speaks
metaphors and similes
poetic elements I just breathe.

My name is Jonathan Walton and I want to tell you about my genogram.

A Genogram is a map of our family looking back.
We take note of the values and stakeholds
The do’s and don’ts of our households
of our cultures
And then you compare it to the Gospel.
Because there are some things our family hold dear that don’t agree with
the family of Jesus
In fact there are some actions and practices that we hold closer than the
love of Jesus and a Genogram helps us see them.

I come from a family where some want Jesus, taught me to love Jesus and
for these I am deeply grateful.

I also come from a culture that ducks emotions, stuffs emotions because
someone told us if you put emotions low enough surely they would die. But
they don’t.
Because emotions are like the plates under oceans and when they shake
they cause earthquakes and cause tsunamis in our lives.

So when there’s infidelity and cheating, abuse, murder and drug dealing – I
looked around and all of the feelings were gone. Stuffed under couches,
behind handkerchiefs and in coffins.

Three lies became laws in my heart: get of it, move on, be a man.

Get over it, move on, be a man.
Get over it – be emotionally absent.
Move on – it’s okay not to be present.
Be a man – get married and then sleep with as many women as you can.

Get over it – what you feel isn’t important.
Move on – teach others to stuff it too.
Be a man – life is all about you.

Then, I did my genogram – looking three generations back on both sides.
Taking notes on the truths and the lies. Premature deaths and amazing
lives. Seeing things I was told not to look at and seeing blessings for the
first time.

Get over it – but now I can’t.
Move on – where do I go?
Be a man – I actually don’t know what that is.

There are systems in my family that cause emotional poverty
poverty of being and community that if I perpetuate will be present in my
marriage and my children…and get worse.

and if I want that to change then I need that change to begin in me.

Get over it – no, I’m going to therapy.
Move on – no, I’m going to counseling.
Be a man – okay, I’ll be like Pete, Rich, Phil, Redd, Greg, Jason, Chris,
Ray, Orlando, and David.

Strong, vulnerable, steadfast and meek to teach boys to actually become
men so they don’t stay adolescent like I was.

Yes, I am my father’s son but I’m also Our Father’s son and because of His
first begotten son, my wife and coming son will know the love his Father
and Our Father too.

So, poetry is still my release
But God is my shield
and He holds my grief
He is my refuge and retreat
When this world is too much for me

His phrases on His pages are His messages of freedom to me.
I exchange my life for His and receive His Holy Spirit
The mighty rushing wind is all I want to breathe.

See Jonathan share his words on video

For more information on Jonathan Walton and his work in NYC visit


Our Marriages are meant to be…

Our marriages are meant to be our first ambition in life. 

When we marry we make a vow to love our spouse exclusively until we die. That vow informs every decision we will make the rest of our lives.

When a man or woman take a monastic vow, they take years to move through a process that typically takes 6-8 years. First, they are observers, then postulants, and eventually novices. After that they take temporary vows, usually for two to three years, until they finally make permanent vows. At that point, they change their name, divest themselves of all their wealth, and commit to be part of a particular community the rest of their lives. 

Every decision they make from that point forward is informed by that vow. 

In the same way, if we are married, we have made a vow. That vow informs every decision we make. The pace of the church, and our commitments, take into account our call to be a sign and wonder for Christ through our marriage. We publicly vowed to make visible something invisible (the love of Jesus for His church) through our physical, earthly relationship. 

For this reason, if we are married, our first ambition is not our work as pastors or leaders. It is Jesus and our marriage. These are inseparable commitments for all married people – especially leaders. All our fruit for Christ flows from this fountain of love. 


Comment on If you are going to marry… by Aaron Kunce

Pete… I am floored by this. My wife and I are coming up on our 25th anniversary, and I’m a pastor. And I feel like I’ve read almost everything “out there” on marriage. But have never heard stuff like this. Your words about presence, passion, ambition, affirmation… just incredible. I’m more than intrigued at this point. I purchased John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and am interested in learning everything I can on this…….. Thx – to both you and your wife – for sharing and posting. -Aaron

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If you are going to marry…

“If you are going to marry,” thundered the speaker to the 17,000 of us attending the Urbana Student Missions Conference, “…make sure you marry someone who doubles your ministry, and doesn’t cut it in half.”

Nobody had said it quite that bluntly before but that was the message about marriage that I was taught as a young Christian leader. The focus of my energy became accumulating knowledge and skills. I read books, attended seminars, traveled to conferences, and invested three years of my life in seminary.

Marriage was only talked about in the context of helping other couples. Most present-day theology on a leader’s marriage reflects this secular view: I am a leader who happens to be married. The Christian view, however, is very different. We lead out of a marriage that serves as a sign and wonder of God’s love for the world (Ephesians 5:32).

Since Geri and I started our emotionally healthy spirituality journey in 1996, we had a deep sense that our sexuality and marriage were deeply connected to leadership – both biblically and practically. We have spent almost eighteen years studying this integration. Let me invite you now to watch on YouTube the first of a two-part podcast that begins to unpack this revolutionary truth.  Click here to watch.


Comment on The Slow Power of Jesus’ Kingdom by Martin Porter

Hello. I am already on your mailing list as I feel your interview with Nicky Gumbel at HTB London UK caused me to buy the book. Until now I have tended to hate all preachers, because my father always preached nuggets from his own mindset. However the interview changed everything including my wariness of Amercian esp. prosperity preachers.
My suggestion for prayer is that you consider (in the course of time) opening a bookshop or ministry centre in London, (perhaps under the wing of, or in close liaison with a church such as HTB) but for cultural reasons mainly staffed by Brits. Our cultures although very similar have some deep divergences. Very sincerely Martin (Porter)

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Emotional Health Trumps IQ, Personality, and Gifts

Emotionally healthy spirituality (EHS) invites us to supervise and lead others, volunteer or paid, differently.

Studies indicate that EQ (emotional quotient) is so critical that it accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs (Emotional Intelligence 2.0).  EHS, with a much deeper commitment to transformation, accounts for a much higher percentage. In fact, emotional health trumps IQ, personality, education, experience, and gifts for church leaders. For example:

  • John is a gifted, productive church planter, but the chaotic nature of his family of origin in his early history drives him to dominate and control every environment where he leads.
  • Joan is so cautious and fearful of change as an executive assistant (coming out of her abuse growing up) that it colors the events she administers.
  • Ron’s anxiety to grow the church and launch new initiatives comes partially out of a family script that says, “You are worthless unless you do something great.”

We don’t simply train people in skills and insights to do their role better. We engage their genograms (their family histories going back 3-4 generations) so that Christ can rewrite their scripts and free them. In getting free themselves, then they are able to free others.