Instead of just, “Wow, we tried counseling, focused on that specific problem, now that problem’s back again. What do we do?” It’s kind of zooming out and saying, “Let’s look at it from a different angle and make sure we really pour resources into their walk with Christ personally. “Yes. I can say, in concrete terms, I can think of a couple where different ones of us have tried to meet with them. You think you solved the problem in that the crisis ended. They’re smiling a week or two later but then it keeps coming back. It’s like, “You didn’t finish the antibiotics and so the bug is never killed and it keeps coming back.”
The most recent approach has been much more intensive discipleship. Not firefighting with marriage crisis or even marriage problems, but just growing in Christ as believers with the fundamentals of the faith. Some have been using a book by Jerry Bridges called The Discipline of Grace. It’s not a marriage book, it’s a living as a Christian book but I’ve seen far better results with this couple from having spent months in that book just to grow in Christ than I did with all the firefighting efforts that proceeded it.
Some of this might be – with ongoing problems – maybe what we have in our mind is that intensive Biblical counseling should solve the problem and if it doesn’t, we’ve done the counseling wrong, something’s wrong with the people. It seems like I get questions like that quite a bit of, “We’ve tried this, it’s not fixed. What do we do?” Has your perspective of that changed, as you’ve counseled over the years, in what it takes to really help people grow?
- Listen to this episode: 001 Counseling in Cases of Anger
- Booklet: Help! My Anger is Out of Control by Jim Newheiser
- Audio: Anger Mismanagement: Only Grace Transforms the Heart
- Handout: The Anger Card
- Jones, Robert: Uprooting Anger
- Newheiser, Jim: “What Provokes Me to Anger?”
- Priolo, Lou: “Anger ‘Hot Button’ List“
- Prolo, Lou: “Anger Journal/Heart Journal“
We can’t be clueless anymore, we need to be aware of what’s going on, and know how to vote intelligently, and biblically, so that would be one thing. Also, churches need to be aware of how to protect their own ministries, so that they don’t become broiled in litigation that they don’t need, and yet they still want to be an outreach to the community.
Yeah. Is there any one particular area, one or two, that you say, “I find that most churches maybe might be ignorant of protecting themselves in this way.” If you had the opportunity to speak to church leaders you’d say, “Here’s one or two things that, if you’re not protected, or if you’re not aware of, you should have these things in place.”
Well they need to have well written governing documents, and written policies. For example, for the use of their facilities. A church might want to invite people from the community in for their wedding ceremonies and receptions. If you’re going to do that, there needs to be a religious fence around it, so that you’re not hosting a ceremony that conflicts with your religious doctrine. Counseling, I mean it’s wonderful to minister to the community, and I know Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana, Steve Viars, they have a wonderful outreach, I mean it just blows me away to hear about it. The important thing there I think is distinguish between the people who represent your ministry, and the people who are potential beneficiaries of your ministry.
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Confession of sin for a believer, a justified believer of Christ is the precursor to gospel confession.
I like talking about the magnitude of my sin and reminding myself of what I deserve for my sin because it just sets me up to appreciate the grace of God.
When you read the Puritans, like in the Valley of Vision, sometimes if you look at particular lines, you think, “Man, those guys are beating themselves up,” but look at how those prayers finish. They’re just setting themselves up to be dazzled by the grace of God. If I confess my sins, and I want to make this point tomorrow that I should not just confess my sins but I also need to make gospel confessions regarding my sins, that Christ has died for my sins. He has provided atonement for my sins, and there is no condemnation. Who is there who condemns? Christ is the one who has died, and as God has justified me, who shall separate me from the love of Christ? My goodness, if my confessions of sin always climaxed with gospel confessions like what we see in Romans 8, then it’s a wonderful discipline when those things come together.