When we pray, we are speaking to the One Whose eternal purpose and designs are unfolding as our present realities. In order to find hope in them, we must seek HIM and HIS perspective. This requires a keen understanding of the redemptive nature of our existence, which points to the glorious gospel of Christ.
Ed Welch says that all counseling is a variation on a single theme: knowing and praying for the counselee. Of all the questions the counselor might ask, then, the central guiding question in the counselor's mind is, How can I pray for you?
The biblical counselor must always remember that the ROOT problem is deeper than skin; it is sin. The ultimate cure is not culture, but Christ.
While the United States is becoming the most culturally diverse nation in the world, less than 5.5% of Christian congregations are multiethnic.
Who we are is not a question we can ask without seeking to understand the context in which we live. Biblical counselors seek to understand the influences that shape the responses of the human heart.
What you hope for determines what you live for. What you hope for determines WHO you live for. Hope misplaced can devastate you.
We must rip the foundations out from under all the bastions of human reasoning that say, I don't need God! We must demolish every non-God story of life. We must pulverize every God-is-not-good life narrative.
The marquee scrolling across our minds trying to reinterpret life reads: God-Against-Us. This becomes the dominant lens through which our flesh interprets life. We no longer give our loving Father the benefit of the doubt. Instead, we view every event as conclusive proof that God is against us.
If we are to use the Bible effectively, then we must use it the way God wrote it – in narrative form. Our team rejects the notion that the Bible is simply an encyclopedia of disconnected Bible verses. God's Word is less like a cookbook and more like a novel.
God's Word is especially suited to directing those who want to focus primarily on the nature and direction of their own hearts.
This is God's world, so everything, even if it intends to efface God, bears witness to God – understood and interpreted through biblical eyeglasses.
Whether you realize it or not, your ongoing battle with unbelief drives all your sinful thoughts, emotions, desires, and actions.
Our view of human problems determines who is qualified to speak to them. If sin is the primary human problem, then those with the theological and practical expertise in dealing with sin – in its varied and complex forms – should lead the way in the field of people-helping. Unless we have an accurate and robust conception of sin, the church will concede much of its work to outside professional and will be ill-equipped to cooperate with them when needed.
When we worry, we are telling God, You are neither trustworthy nor in control, so I need to worry and scheme as I take matters into my own hands. In this way unbelief drives worry, for it is impossible to worry when we are trusting in the provision of our sovereign God.
The counselee should be aware that you are not God. Better yet, she should be aware that you are aware that you are not God.
If we had not experienced our deep sinfulness and Jesus' deep forgiveness through the cross, we will not love others well in the midst of their struggles. If we do not see the beauty and glory of God in our own redemption, we will not be able to offer a compelling redemptive vision for those who are hopeless and who doubt God's love for them.
The role of biblical counselors is facilitate the discovery of a greater God awareness through spiritual eyes that look at life through scriptural lenses.
Most counseling cases today involve good desires that have become overgrown. In these cases most relevant passages of Scripture may not be those that rebut particular manifestations of sin, but those that remind us to love God with all our hearts.
Spending too much time in one's individual silo can produce pride, isolation, and a stagnated ministry.
Most of the church landscape in my lifetime has been heavily invested in trying to do something for Jerry or Sherri or some other icon of unchurchness. The problem is that they have been only about themselves from the moment they could wail for their mothers, and the decision to give them at church what they can find in any self-help book appears now as a choice to abandon the One in whose honor the church gathers. What they need is to be set free from themselves with finality and to be lost in the awesome wonder of the manifest presence of God. It was never God’s desire that He would sit on the sideline and watch us frantically devise impressive ways to reach people or simply hold the line on orthodoxy as though faithfulness can exist in a vacuum apart from fruitfulness. God is the Matter of first importance! Can you say that about your current weekly encounter with church?
Let God Himself be the main attraction at church again, and let us be tireless in our insistence that church is for God, about God, through God, and to the glory of His great Son.
The entity God created to traffic His transcendence has fallen far from its mission when it chooses instead to traffic what can be found on any street corner or at the local mall. You may ask, But how has the church done that? * By offering secularists what they find mildly interesting and calling it church.*By submitting to self-help sermons where encounter with God is not even on the agenda.* By letting the horizontal excellence of the show stand in for Vertical impact.*By substituting the surprise or shock of superficial entertainment for the supernatural.Church was designed to deliver what we were created to long for. Church must again be about a Vertical encounter that interrupts and alters everything.
Church leaders raised on rationalism lead ministries where the supernatural, the Vertical, is suppressed and where God Himself is at best an observer and certainly seldom, if ever, and obvious participant in church.
In a society where rationality has ruled so long, the church frequently fails to see that in forsaking the weekly pursuit of the transcendent, we have given up the only ground that was uniquely ours in this world. In attempting to make the church something that can attract and add value to secular mind-sets, we have turned our backs on our one true proposition - transcendence.
When we shift from personal purity to personal happiness, we lose biblical hope because we are not focusing on God's agenda, we are focusing on our own. God's agenda is guaranteed on our agenda is not.
If counseling is to be restored to the church, affection must be restored to reflection. If counseling is to be restored to the church, delight in God must be restored to doctrines about God. Savoring Christ must be restored to seeing Christ. Tender contrition must be restored to tough conviction. Communication with God must be restored to contending for God.
Reality is God-centered and all human beings are worshipers, whether or not they are conscious of this reality and its implications.
You can't teach a person to love something. But you can get him to feel the heat of your love for something.
If all you are doing is spending time with the struggling members of your church and you are not building proactively into your church's culture, and you are being shortsighted and limiting the effectiveness of your ministry.
We must evaluate every person, place, product, perspective, position, or pleasure we have looked to in place of the promises of God, and turn away from those things accordingly.
Any counseling that does not pursue spiritual formation through an intimate relationship with Jesus by faith as one of its chief goals is not worthy to be called BIBLICAL counseling.
When it comes to biblical counseling, friendship is central to the counseling relationship because it is a key aspect of the Gospel. Paul's words display it; Jesus' actions approve it. In Jesus Christ, friendship has its ultimate – that is, it's paradigmatic – display. He sacrificially gave Himself for the good of those he befriended – people who were awkward and troubled types, people who did not offer Him anything particularly desirable in return.