- Baylor University, B.B.A.
- Westminster Seminary California , M.A.
- Westminster Seminary California, D.Min.
- HELP! I Need a Church (Life-Line Mini-Book) (Shepherd Press, 2016)
- Biblical Counseling and the Church (chapter contributor), ed. Bob Kellemen (Zondervan, 2015)
- Parenting is More than a Formula (P&R, 2015)
- HELP! My Anger is Out of Control (Life-Line Mini-Book) with Paul Tautges (Shepherd Press, 2015)
- HELP! I want to Change (Life-Line Mini-Book) with Paul Tautges (Shepherd Press, 2014)
- HELP! Someone I Love Has Been Abused (Life-Line Mini-Book) with Paul Tautges (Shepherd Press, 2014)
- IBCD CDC Level 1 Handbook (2013)
- IBCD CDC Observation Handbook (2013)
- Opening Up 1 Samuel (Day One Publications, 2012)
- Opening Up 2 Samuel (Day One Publications, 2014)
- You Never Stop Being a Parent, with Elyse Fitzpatrick (P&R, 2010)
- Opening up Proverbs (Opening Up the Bible) (Day One Publications, 2008)
- When Good Kids Make Bad Choices, with Elyse Fitzpatrick (Harvest House, 2005)
- "Jesse" Observation Handbook (IBCD)
- "Jesse" Observation DVD (IBCD)
- "Dan and Debbie" Observation Handbook (IBCD)
- "Dan and Debbie" Obersvation DVD (IBCD)
Concern about civility in public discourse has been a major topic during the recent presidential contest. I chose to watch one of the Republican debates and was shocked to hear the petty name-calling and crude insults coming from men who were aspiring to occupy the oval office. Many in the media expressed concern that those who wish to be president should be held to a higher standard than what the public has witnessed in recent months.
We as Christian leaders should be held to an even higher standard. We represent Christ, whose speech is perfect in content and tone (John 7:46). Sadly, some of us have been guilty of saying things in public, online and in print which has been hurtful and unchristlike. Relationships have been damaged and our testimony has been harmed. Here are a few guidelines to remind us of pitfalls to avoid:
While it is of significant concern that ordinary believers are oblivious to this biblical principle of keeping your promise even when you regret having made it, I have been shocked at how easily some Christian leaders (even counselors) break their commitments. I have seen examples of conference speakers who unilaterally backed out of an event simply due to busyness or because another greater opportunity arose. In many such cases the conference organizers were left with significant fallout – having invested time and money in the event and perhaps having to find a last-minute replacement.
There is a sense in which every promise we make is conditional because we may be unable to keep our word due to circumstances beyond our control (James 4:13-15 Prov. 16:9 27:1). You could providentially be unable to be somewhere due to sickness, disability, death, or the failure of the airlines to deliver you on time. A publisher may go bankrupt and thus be unable to pay its authors.
In some ways counseling is more difficult than preaching in that the preacher can prepare extensively for his sermon and can control the direction the sermon takes. The counselor may seek to prepare for a session but doesn’t have control over the direction the meeting may take. The counselee may raise a new issue or may be facing a sudden (and unrelated) crisis for which immediate help is required. The counselor must be able to offer answers from God’s Word, which means that he or she must know the Scriptures very well.
One of the most common ways in which beginning counselors fail is that they give answers which sound true and biblical, but they don’t actually quote Scripture. I remind those whom I am supervising that our authority does not rest in our position as counselors or our personal wisdom, but in God’s infallible Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It’s important for the counselee to read the Scriptures for himself or herself to see that God Himself speaks to their issue. If they don’t like what they are hearing they need to realize that their argument is not with the counselor, but with God.