Posts Tagged ‘ Bible ’

VerseD: Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3, ESV

When the Maker of heaven and earth, the Judge of all Creation is on our side, we should have no reason fear.

And people will want the peace we have.

The Growing Need for Counseling Pastors

From the time I was a student in Seminary the Lord consistently brought people into my life who were in need of counseling. Though I did not realize it at the time, he had already prepared and called me to this important task of counseling ministry from a very young age. I have been in counseling ministry since 2006, but have been studying psychology and human behavior from childhood. 

I recall being about seven years old and observing an unhealthy relational interaction that kept recurring. This led me to ponder, and pray to the Lord about how to break that pattern, and replace it with a consistent healthy, loving, relational interaction, so I set out on a mission to find the answers to help people. Over time, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with the support and wisdom of my parents, in particular, my mother, I sought to understand the root of each problem, and the motivation and perspectives that drive them.

By age ten I finally had the courage to intervene in the unhealthy interaction I had observed a couple years prior, and was determined to change it. Though my hope was to be conciliatory, at that point, I was looking only for change, and I remember thinking that it did not matter if the change was good or bad, but only that the pattern be broken. The next time I observed the unhealthy interaction, I spoke up and it made an impact. There was an immediate and noticeable difference, partly in the other parties, and partly in me, for this marked the first time my role was that of a counselor.

Since we, as Christians, recognize that God can and does immediately and completely heal people from all types of ailments, physical and mental, we must also recognize that this is more often the exception rather than the rule. The problem is when Christians who continue to struggle are told from well-meaning brothers and sisters in the Lord that they have not received God’s miraculous healing touch yet, because they lack faith, or need to pray more, or have some hidden sin in their life that they need to confess, etc. The fact is, that oftentimes when God chooses not to miraculously heal someone, it is because he wants them to work through the process of healing, which can and does bring great spiritual growth (See Cloud and Townsend How People Grow). That process of healing is wrought in the context of Christian Counseling.

With all that has transpired in the world over the course of a couple short years, I am seeing an exponentially greater number of people in need of counseling. This, unfortunately, has emphasized an underlying problem, that many pastors are not up to the task of counseling. There are as many reasons for this problem as there are possible solutions, but the fact remains that there is a great shortage of effective Christian Counselors.

The best solution for most churches to consider is hiring a Counseling Pastor, that is, someone who has extensive experience in Counseling Ministry and whose primary role on staff is as a Christian Counselor. In many churches this may be a dual role such as “Counseling and Teaching Pastor,” “Counseling and Discipleship Pastor,” “Pastor of Counseling and Spiritual Growth,” etc.

While this role may, at first glance, appear to be the job of the senior pastor, he may have neither the time nor the training necessary to deal with some of the more complex issues that come up in the counseling session. Christian Psychologist Larry Crabb makes an excellent point in his book Effective Biblical Counseling that counseling (like prophet and teacher, etc.) is a gift given to the church (Rom 12:8 Gk). Additionally, it is beneficial to have a pastor to whom people can go and confidentially confess their struggles without the threat of church discipline (with the obvious exception of extreme cases which would be handled in like manner in secular counseling) or feeling like every sermon will be directed at them. Counseling is kept strictly confidential and therefore compartmentalized for the sake of the dignity and growth of the client.

In conclusion, since it is incumbent upon the leadership to make sure the church is mentally and spiritually healthy, it is imperative to consider the need for the role of Counseling Pastor on your team, and to hire one who is both humble and competent.

Jesse Walker is an ordained pastor who is Christian Counselor.

He is the founder and lead counselor of Christian Counseling Ministries in Phoenix, AZ.

VerseD: Romans 10:9

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9, ESV

The most foolish thing we can do is deny that Jesus lived, died, and rose again.

But if we truly believe this, we have an eternity of joy and peace with Him awaiting!

VerseD: Proverbs 17:28

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 17:28, ESV

“If you can’t say nuthin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing. It can be the most loving and intelligent thing to say so that no one gets hurt.

Including yourself.

VerseD: Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33, ESV

God wants to provide for us, and He cares for each of us and provides for our needs. Most importantly, He offers us salvation when we seek Him.

VerseD: Psalm 34:8

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:8, ESV

We who have come to know the goodness of God show our joy and hope to a lost and hurting world that may turn to that goodness.

VerseD: Psalm 34:19

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Psalm 34:19, ESV

God promises life is hard, especially for those of us who call on His name and proclaim His truth to a world that shuns Him.

But our faithful boldness may help convince them.

VerseD: Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12, ESV

Show others the joy found in Christ in all circumstances, even being lovingly patient when attacked for our faith, praying continually.

This is one of the ways others see the Gospel.

Sermon on the Mount study notes – Matthew 5:21-26

I have started a small group series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). I am sharing my notes in case anyone else wants to use them with their group. [Reminder that these are only notes!]

Sermon on the Mount – Part 6

Matthew 5:1-2:
Jesus wants to teach the crowds: Who are they? Jewish disciples: People who understand the
Scriptures (at least to a point). Notice from 7:28 the crowds still came along, but this teaching is for His disciples.

What does “blessed” mean?
Based on the first twelve verses, blessed means realizing our own wretchedness and need for a Savior. In other words, it is becoming/being a Christian.

Matthew 5:21-22:

“Said to those of old …” – could be said today: “That’s an archaic saying!”

What is the anger Jesus is referring to?
To be enraged, basically to lose control of oneself to emotion or extreme action. (Matthew 15:16-20)
(Interestingly, the work for judgment in Greek is our root for “crisis”)

What about these “insults”?
Gr. “Rhaka” – Numbskull! Fool!
Yet, “You fool!” – Gr. “more” or “moros” – our root for “moron”

Liable to the council could simply mean “the city elders” or, in our case, church elders, or it could even mean local authorities!

The “hell of fire” is literally “Gehenna”, the perpetually burning fire pit outside of Jerusalem at that time. The implication is eternal torment.

Matthew 5:23-26:

  • Vv.23-24: “offering your gift” – We don’t make sacrifices anymore, but we give our gifts of physical worship and financial support.
    • What if “they” don’t want to accept reconciliation?
      • “So far as it depends on you …” – Romans 12:18
      • “… shake the dust off your feet …” – Luke 9:5
        • Do your part, stop if they want you to, but keep the door open.
    • Like what?
      • Going on a mission trip (To get away from some people?)
      • Starting a Bible study/Ministry (To show everyone how bad they are?)
      • “I’ll pray for you.” How are we using this? Snidely, or sincerely? Intending then forgetting?
    • How are we giving?
      • OT: Tithe given to support the Temple and priests/caretakers (Basically a national tax)
      • Angry/Bitter?
        • Not giving because of what “the church” did to you
        • Giving to prove you are better than someone
      • 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 –
        • Giving to receive?
          • Prosperity gospel teaches “See, sow a seed and reap a financial and physical bounty!”
          • The only promise we get from Scripture is receipt of eternal life.
        • Giving because of gratefulness?
          • 2 Corinthians 9:11-15
  • Vv. 25-26: Mentioned possibly church or city elders could be the judges. Could mean actual court.
    • 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 – We are to avoid lawsuits and being like the world.
    • Hebrews 10:26-31 – God is the Judge to worry about most!
      • Hebrews 12:12-17 – We will all stand before The Judge: can we ever pay our debt? (No.)

VerseD: 1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you

1 Peter 5:6, ESV

The Church and the Bible show us we are sinners in need of a Savior.

Let us humbly admit our need and then share the need we all have with others.