All posts in Guest Materials

Council of Counselors: Women’s Discipleship / “The Talk” / Biblical Counselors / Aging Parents / Boring Bible

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Six Ways Men Can Support Women’s Discipleship by Trillia Newbell

My experience reflects a larger, more widespread challenge inside the church: Male clergy and lay leaders have the power to impact and support women’s discipleship, but many of them (by their own account) fall short. “When you consider how many ministries and committees depend upon the genius, generosity and sweat of our sisters,” writes pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, “it’s almost criminal that most any pastor you meet has no plan for discipling the women of his church apart from outsourcing to a women’s ministry staff person or committee.”

How to Teach Your Kids About Sex by Dennis Rainey

Of all the discussions we have had in our family about sex, probably 95 percent of them have concerned character issues. We’ve had discussions about God’s purposes for sex, the importance of sex and marriage, and why you should wait for marriage before you have sex. We talked about how to avoid situations in which you are tempted, how different types of media shape our thoughts in this area, the types of movies to see and avoid, how to respond when someone challenges your convictions, and many other topics. We have found that the issues surrounding human sexuality, such as self-control and obedience to God, are the foundational character qualities every parent wants to build into his teenager.

Five Biblical Portraits of the Biblical Counselor by Bob Kellemen

In my previous post, Truth and Love: Sharing Scripture and Soul, I addressed the question, “Does the Bible teach that in biblical counseling relationships are tertiary?” I was responding, in part, to a blog post I had read by a fellow biblical counselor, Donn Arms, that stated that relationships are secondary or perhaps tertiary in biblical counseling. I based my response upon numerous biblical passages including Romans 15:14; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 1:9-11; and 1 Thessalonians 2:8.

  • In you enjoyed this post, consider my collection of posts on “Counseling Theory.”

Caring for Aging Parents: 6 Ways to Prepare Your People Well by Michele Howe

With such a large group of Baby Boomers getting older, there is also a larger number of middle-aged adults caring for aging parents. Many times, this is entered into with little forethought: a parent needs care, so the adult children are the ones to give it. And while most adult children anticipate a period of adjustment, few realize the true difficulties that caring for aging parents can bring.

One Reason Your Bible Reading Might Feel Boring by Mike Leake

I wonder if we sometimes have a similar experience with Scripture. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste! yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth”. Yet, there are times when God’s Word tastes bland to me. Is it because I’m expecting the wrong thing? Am I not savoring God’s Word because I’m treating it like something it is not?

What I’m Reading

counsel crossCounsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Given the evermore apparent failure of modern psychotherapies and a growing discomfort with pharmacological strategies, many churches are reaffirming the sufficiency and power of the Scriptures to change lives.

To aid churches in ministering to broken and hurting people, the authors of Counsel from the Cross present a counseling model based on Scripture and powered by the work of the wonderful counselor, Jesus Christ. Through careful exegesis and helpful case studies, they demonstrate how to provide consistently biblical, gospel-centered counseling and explain why it is important to do so.

The authors’ combined backgrounds—one, a woman trained in biblical counseling and the other, a male professor of practical theology—bring balance to this work, making it relevant for those who counsel as part of pastoral ministry and for all involved in mentoring or discipleship.

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On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Council of Counselors: Self-Forgetfulness / Date Ideas / Divorce Habits / Celibate Gay Christians / Life as Worship

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Can Self-Forgetfulness Make Us Happier? by Randy Alcorn

Sometimes when times are tough, I have that same experience of losing myself during quiet times with God. Sometimes I have it when laughing with family and friends. Other times it’s when I’m riding a bike or listening to music or a great audio book. In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis said of the humble person, “He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.” I’ve seen the truth of what Lewis and Tim Keller and others have discovered, experiencing my greatest happiness not simply when I think less of myself, but when I think of myself less. When I’m thinking most about Jesus and others, and least about me, I’m most fulfilled.

20 Ideas for Dating Your Wife by Justin Buzzard

Men, you need to come up with your own ideas for how to date your wife. You know your wife better than anyone else. Only you know how to best care for the woman God has given you. But, sometimes it helps to build off other people’s ideas in order to form your own. Look these ideas over.

12 Habits That Lead to Divorce by Dave Willis

How do we stop this epidemic of broken marriages? To bring it even closer to home, how should YOU protect YOUR marriage? I’m convinced that if you’ll avoid these 12 common bad “habits,” you’ll be well on your way to beating the divorce statistics and creating a healthy and happy marriage that will endure through every season of life.

Friends as Family Perspective by Mark Yarhouse

We are looking to enhance our understanding of the experiences of celibate gay Christians and their support system. We would like to interview friends who are close to celibate gay Christians or function as family in the lives of celibate gay Christians and could speak to that friendship. We would like to understand how people have built supportive friendships and to learn about the challenges, approaches, and your shared wisdom in building such relationships.

Worship Matters Video Intensive by Bob Kauflin

In 2008, Bob Kauflin wrote Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, in which he sought to connect a biblical theology of worship with what worship leaders actually do on Sundays. Through the book, Bob builds congregational worship on biblical principles that transcend cultures, generations, and ethnic groups.

  • For a perspective on how the concept of worship is central to biblical counseling see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

What I’m Reading

aweAwe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul Tripp. Humans are hardwired for awe. Our hearts are always captured by something—that’s how God made us. But sin threatens to distract us from the glory of our Creator. All too often, we stand in awe of everything but God.

Uncovering the lies we believe about all the earthly things that promise us peace, life, and contentment, Paul Tripp redirects our gaze to God’s awe-inducing glory—showing how such a vision has the potential to impact our every thought, word, and deed.

Tweets of the Week

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On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Counsel of Counselors: Trauma and Breathing / Instagram Depression / Chronic Illness / Job-Fit / Cohabitation

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises and Your Vagus Nerve by Christopher Bergland

Diaphragmatic breathing (also referred to as “slow abdominal breathing) is something you can do anytime and anywhere to instantly stimulate your vagus nerve and lower stress responses associated with “fight-or-flight” mechanisms. Deep breathing also improves heart rate variability (HRV), which is the measurement of variations within beat-to-beat intervals.

This Popular Social Network Ranks as the Worst for Young People’s Mental Health by Quenton Fottrell

Instagram, an app that people use to share photos of their lives as seen through a series of flattering filters, was rated worst for the mental health of young people in a study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K. The researchers asked nearly 1,500 British social media users aged 14 to 25 about five of the most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube. The aim of the survey was to find out how they feel each of these platforms impacts their health and well-being. Based on the 14 health-related questions, Instagram came out the worst, followed by Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Building Relationships with Families Touched by Chronic Illness and Disability by Mary Tutterow

The numbers have grown too big to ignore. More than 65 million people, 29 percent of the US population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member—a child with special needs, a spouse with cancer, a parent with dementia, a family member with schizophrenia. So how will our churches serve these families—through all ages and phases of care? And it’s not just about those who are afflicted. What about those who are struggling to care for them?

10 Ways to Know if You’re on the Wrong Seat in the Bus by Chuck Lawless

Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, popularized the concept of “getting the right people on the right seat in the bus.” It’s not uncommon in church consulting to find church staff members who seem to be in the wrong seat. If you’re wondering about your role, here are some indicators of that possibility.

The Three Myths of Cohabitation by Andrew Palpant Dilley

According to a recent sociological study, cohabitation has a notably deleterious impact on one particular group: kids. “As marriage becomes less likely to anchor the adult life course across the globe, growing numbers of children may be thrown into increasingly turbulent family waters,” writes Bradford Wilcox in Foreign Affairs.

What I’m Reading

suffering langbergSuffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores by Diane Langberg. When someone suffers through trauma, can healing happen? And, if yes, how does it happen? Dr. Diane Langberg tackles these complex and difficult questions with the insights she has gained through more than forty years of counseling those whose lives have been destroyed by trauma and abuse. Her answer carefully explained in Suffering and the Heart of God is Yes, what trauma destroys, Christ can and does restore.

But it s not a fast process, instead much patience is required from family, friends, and counselors as they wisely and respectfully help victims unpack their traumatic suffering through talking, tears, and time. And it s not a process that can be separated from the work of God in both a counselor and counselee. Dr. Langberg calls all of those who wish to help sufferers to model Jesus s sacrificial love and care in how they listen, love, and guide. The heart of God is revealed to sufferers as they grow to understand the cross of Christ and how their God came to this earth and experienced such severe suffering that he too is well-acquainted with grief. The cross of Christ is the lens that transforms and redeems traumatic suffering and its aftermath, not only for the sufferer, but it also transforms those who walk with the suffering. This book will be a great help to anyone who loves, listens to, and seeks to help someone impacted by trauma and abuse. There is no quick fix, but there is the hope for healing through the love of God in Christ.

Tweets of the Week

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Calvin and Hobbes gets deep.

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Council of Counselors: Sleep Disorders / Personality Tests / Living with Mental Illness / Autistic Pastor / Burnout

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Sleep Disorders & the Glory of God by Eric Davis

We hear it time and again. “Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.” “Not getting enough shuteye is a serious problem that can threaten your health and safety.” “Be a good steward of your body by sleeping eight hours.” Good suggestions, no doubt. But for those who suffer with sleep disorders, it’s a cruel tease. By sleep disorder, we’re not talking about getting four or five hours of sleep a few nights per week, but never getting a good chunk in a span of months. Ask someone with a sleep disorder when the last time they got six or seven hours of sleep, and they’ll be thinking back to a different decade.

Why You Should Stop Using Your Personality Test As A Crutch by Michael Kelley

Unfortunately, though, personality tests can go very wrong in one simple way: Your personality test is not a license to be a jerk.

Q&A: How Do We Ask for Help When Living with Mental Illness? by Amy Simpson

Question: Our daughter has a mental illness, and our whole family has had to make adjustments to help her. There are times when she does really well, especially when she does what her doctor recommends: gets enough rest, eats well, and works with her therapist. But sometimes things are really hard, and this has a big impact on all of us. We haven’t told many people about our daughter’s illness, but it would be nice if we could have some help and support from our church and from other people we know. But how do we help our church and community understand what we need? We aren’t sure ourselves!

How I Leverage My Autism for Pastoral Ministry  by Lamar Hardwick

On Monday, December 22, 2014, I walked into the office of my therapist. I sat down on her couch with my wife by my side. I took a long deep breath and slowly exhaled, waiting for answers to my 36-year-long question. She grabbed her clip board, glanced over the assessments we had completed in weeks prior, looked me in the eye, and uttered three words that changed my life: “autism spectrum disorder.” While the diagnosis didn’t change who I was, it did change my understanding of who I had been. In many ways, I have spent the years since that diagnosis learning myself all over again.

Four Practical Ways to Avoid Burnout by Eric Geiger

After posting a blog called “Four Warning Signs You Are Approaching Burnout,” I heard from several friends and leaders who were struggling with burnout or felt they were headed in that direction. They wisely recognized warning signs in their lives and were committed to making adjustments. Self-leadership is critical. We must lead ourselves well, and this includes leading ourselves away from burnout. If you cannot lead yourself, you will struggle to lead others. If a leader is unhealthy, all those around the leader are impacted.

What I’m Reading

sleepSecrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders by Dr. Craig Heller. For many of us, sleep is one of life’s greatest pleasures. For others, sleep represents a nightly struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, rest comfortably, and even remain safe until morning. But what is sleep exactly, and why must we do it every night?

 

Despite the fact that we sped about one-third of our lives in slumber, scientists still aren’t completely certain. Finding the function of sleep is one of the biggest—and most intriguing—challenges facing biologists today.

What is clear: Sleep is as essential to life as food and water. It impacts virtually every aspect of our lives, from our mood to the functioning of our organs, and it contributes to learning and memory, better performance at work, and a more healthy and productive wakeful life overall.

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give_receive from Art Rainer

Council of Counselors: Too Tired for Sex / Body-Soul Care / Life Expectancy / Unfair Parenting / Distracted Prayer

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

When You’re Too Tired for Sex with Your Spouse by Lauren Lambert

Sex can be complicated to discuss because it’s personal and intimate. But I want to talk about a specific sexual struggle: the exhausted married woman who doesn’t feel like having sex with her husband, but should do it anyway. She doesn’t have complicating factors like marital abuse happening in her life. She doesn’t have sexual traumas making sex difficult for her. She’s just tired.

Considering Body and Soul in Counseling: Psychotropic Medications by Sam Williams

Psychotropic medications are a sensitive topic; most people you talk to will have fairly strong opinions about whether or not they should be used in treating a host of life’s problems. In thinking about this, though, it’s helpful to take a step back and consider who we are as human persons. In doing so, this helps us understand where life issues fall on the spectrum between spiritual problems and physical problems. Once we understand where a particular issue falls on that spectrum, we can better assess the place that psychotropic medication may have for a given counselee.

Life Expectancy Can Vary By 20 Years Depending On Where You Live by Rob Stein

New research documents significant disparities in the life spans of Americans depending on where they live. And those gaps appear to be widening, according to the research.

7 Ways Parents Unfairly Provoke Our Children by Tim Challies

Parents, do not provoke your children to anger lest they become discouraged, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This single sentence combines the New Testament’s two most prominent passages on parenting and, as I said yesterday (see Fathers (and Mothers), Do Not Provoke Your Children!), offers a significant warning to parents: We can parent our children in such a way that we provoke them to anger and discouragement. There are times when we so provoke our children that anger is the fitting and inevitable response. Today I want to offer a few ways that we, as parents, may provoke our children to that kind of anger and discouragement.

7 Ways to Fight Distraction in Prayer by Gavin Ortlund

Distraction can be a huge hindrance in our prayer life, but I’m also discovering it provides an opportunity for growth. Here are seven strategies for fighting and harnessing distraction to deepen and direct our prayers.

What I’m Reading

what you loveYou Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith. Who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the “imagination station” that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.

Following the publication of his influential work Desiring the Kingdom, Smith received numerous requests from pastors and leaders for a more accessible version of that book’s content. No mere abridgment, this new book draws on years of Smith’s popular presentations on the ideas in Desiring the Kingdom to offer a fresh, bottom-up rearticulation. The author creatively uses film, literature, and music illustrations to engage readers and includes new material on marriage, family, youth ministry, and faith and work. He also suggests individual and communal practices for shaping the Christian life.

Tweets of the Week

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On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

For the NBA fans out there.

https://twitter.com/MarkJonesESPN/status/860569482514714624

Council of Counselors: Absent Father / Psychotropic Medications / Friend Magnet / Brainy Women / Grow Up

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Father to the Fatherless What to Believe When Dad Walks Away by Jonathan Edwards

A.W. Tozer says, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” (The Knowledge of the Holy). What we think about our heavenly Father says a lot about who we are. But what if our thoughts about our Father are entangled with and stained by the abuse and abandonment of our earthly father? Anyone who has experienced the acute pain of dad walking out knows it can be all-consuming. I have, and I know. Dad driving away shattered the one thing I believed to be indestructible, superhuman even: my family. But family turned out to be more fluid than I once thought . . . and hoped.

  • If you enjoyed this post, consider Jonathan’s book Left highlighted in the “What I’m Reading” section below.

How Many Pills Are Too Many? by  

The point of prescription drugs is to help us get or feel well. Yet so many Americans take multiple medications that doctors are being encouraged to pause before prescribing and think about “deprescribing” as well.

How to be a Friend Magnet by Christine Hoover

So, for my darling friends who are worried about having too many BFFs to handle, this is what I would say: honor all and be deep friends with some. Be friendly and hospitable to all and give intimate attention to a few. Welcome all. Keep an eye out for all. Love all. You don’t have to be close friends with everyone, but you can certainly use your God-given influence to bless others and connect women with one another. Be a friend magnet and you’ll attract joy too.

How Brainy Women Benefit the Church by Hannah Anderson

Although I didn’t realize it then, our collective understanding of intelligence—and my perception of my own intelligence—had been taking shape for several years. A recent study by Lin Bian, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, reveals that children as young as six are already forming views about the nature of intelligence, including associating it with masculinity. Standing in that hallway was the first time I remember questioning whether being a “smart” girl was a benefit or a social liability.

  • For excellent resources on women’s ministry I have greatly appreciated the writings of Sharon Hodde Miller.

Growing Up: Six Basic Steps toward Maturity by David Gundersen

How can young people move toward maturity? How can adolescents grow into young adults? How can college students move through the college years with increasing integrity, character, maturity, skill, and productivity? Here are six basic steps to help the saplings of the next generation add rings as they reach for the light.

What I’m Reading

leftLeft: The Struggle to Make Sense of Life When a Parent Leaves by Jonathan Edwards. Nothing hurts like the abandonment of a parent. In Left, Jonathan Edwards writes a raw and riveting reflection on his life as an abandoned child. What should you do when you are left by a parent?

This book is brutally honest, but it provides hope for anyone struggling with the absence of a parent. For those who do not know this pain, Left provides a window into the lives of others. Abandonment always leaves scars, but Jesus heals. And He will never leave you.

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On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

narnia

Council of Counselors: Parentings Teens / Post-Abortion / Cultural Humility / Signs of a Faithful Husband / Anger

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

A High School Counselor’s Tips on Parenting Teenagers by Leia Joseph

I have had the privilege of spending the last 13 years working as a music teacher and crisis counselor for teens. The following six tips represent a handful of lessons I have learned along the way. If you are the parent of a teenager or pre-teen, I pray that you find this helpful.

Post-Abortion Counseling by Julie Ganschow

It is estimated that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One in six women in the evangelical Christian church is post-abortive.1 We live in a culture that idolizes personal choice and convenience, and as a result, more women than we are aware of are dealing with the aftereffects of abortion. Because of this, we have to know how to minister to this group of people in our churches. Below, we’ll take a look at three key ways we can minister to them well.

The Need for Cultural Humility by Dave

I had an interesting conversation with a couple at church a few Sundays ago. They both were born in Africa, but have lived in the US for a number of years. In discussing children, they told me that they were concerned about raising their daughter in America because of the dangers here. Without a second thought, I knew exactly what they were talking about. As Americans we have become accustomed to comfort, such that we think we deserve it. We have grown cold to the suffering of those in the majority world, and we are greatly tempted to live only for ourselves.

  • If you want to learn more about cultural intelligence, see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Stop Loving You by Matt Duczeminski

We men sometimes get a bad rap. The stereotypical “man” doesn’t do any of the following. However, the only men who are actually like this are created by writers as sitcom fodder (hopefully). In truth, when a man finds the person he knows he’ll be spending the rest of his life with, he’ll certainly work his hardest to keep them by his side at all times. If you have a man that adheres to the following, you know he’s a keeper for life.

When Anger Rears Its Ugly Head by Duski Van Vleet

I’ve been trying to get control of my temper since my husband and I were married.  A day planned and interrupted by children with different agendas; a husband who needs my support instead of first offering his, longings unrealized; efforts unseen—all of this often leads me not to a dependent conversation with my Father, but to self-reliant angry outbursts demanding my desires be fulfilled.  

What I’m Reading

CICustoms of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are by David Livermore. Taught by an international adviser to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and governments, this eye-opening course reveals how you can actively improve your cultural intelligence in an increasingly globalized world.

Based on groundbreaking research, these 24 lectures address dynamics and customs related to working, socializing, dining, marriage and family – all the areas necessary to help you function with a greater level of respect and effectiveness wherever you go. You’ll also encounter practical tips and crucial context for greeting, interacting with, and even managing people from other parts of the world.

In the first half, you’ll analyze 10 cultural value dimensions that researchers have identified as helpful for comparing cultures; and you’ll see how these “archetypes” play out in day-to-day lives. In the second half, you’ll look at 10 cultural clusters around the world that – when combined with your understanding of the 10 cultural dimensions – provide strategic insight into how to be more effective as you live, work, and travel in our globalized world.

Tweets of the Week

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On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

As both a professor and a student I resonate with this one.

Council of Counselors: Disability & the Church / Broken Hearted Children / Mental Health Creed / Ugly Porn Numbers / Creativity

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Disability Makes a Church Strong by Anthony Kidd

And if the daily burdens at home weren’t already enough, families with disabilities carry the possibility of their child being a disruptive force in worship. The one place where these families ought to feel at ease, comfortable, and settled in a grace-filled environment is often a place of palpable anxiety. And consequently, it’s the place where they tend to hide in the shadows the most. How do I know this?

I know this because I am not only a pastor of those who parent the disabled, but I parent a disabled child myself. I’m personally aware of the Sunday morning struggle: the feeling of needing to be considerately unobtrusive, instead of immersive and participatory, in order to avoid being disruptive or distractive.

  • For ministry advice for families with children who have disabilities I have found Dr. Stephen Grcevich’s blog “Church4EveryChild” to be very helpful.

5 Ways to Assist a Child with a Broken and Hurting Heart by Linda Jacobs

Let me ask you: if a child in a wheelchair showed up at your ministry, you would accommodate him, right? You wouldn’t expect him to jump and dance to a praise song. So when a child with a broken, hurting heart shows up, we need to learn to also accommodate that child’s situation.

  • As we think about the privilege of walking with another person (in this case a child) through their suffering, we often still be uncomfortable with this opportunity. This collection of resources on suffering may help you be more comfortable being uncomfortable.

My Hope for Mental Wellness by Aimee Caverly

This is something the Lord has laid on my heart to share.  I pray you will enjoy it and pass it on should it be of value to you or someone else experiencing a mental health struggle.

10 Ugly Numbers Describing Pornography Use in 2017 by Tim Challies

We all know that the world has become pornified, that the internet has made available to all of us an entire universe of pornographic content. Yet many of the statistics we rely on and commonly quote have become outdated. As technology changes and as new generations grow up, the pornographic landscape inevitably changes. I went looking for updated numbers and want to present some of them to you today. All of these are based on credible studies carried out in 2016 or 2017.

  • If you struggle with pornography, consider the False Love seminar as a resource to help you find freedom and the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Top Ten Quotes from Creativity, Inc. by Danny Franks

I first read this fantastic book when in came out in 2014. We recently re-read a portion of it for our staff meeting, which has generated new ideas and practices for some of our workflows. As the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, Ed Catmull walks the reader through not only a history of the two companies, but lays the groundwork for how great teams pull together to get the job done.

What I’m Reading

closing the windowClosing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free by Tim Chester. Pornography is everywhere. Far too many Christians regularly use and are addicted to it, warping their perception of sexuality and relationships, destroying marriages and ministries. But Christians who struggle with porn also long for change. When we realize the unfulfilling emptiness of porn, we come to yearn for freedom from it. But what do we do? Tim Chester says that we can be captured by a better vision–a liberating confidence that God offers more than pornography does. Moving beyond pat answers or mere willpower, Chester offers spiritual, practical and corporate resources for living porn free. He exposes the false promises of porn and redirects us to the true promises of God. With assurance of God’s grace and cleansing power, we can change our desires and escape the traps and temptations of pornography. However great the challenge, God’s grace is even greater. And we can come to a place where we no longer feel the need to use porn. Close the window on porn. And open the door to freedom, integrity and new life.

Tweets of the Week

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On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

This week you get a two-for.

Council of Counselors: Mortify Sin / Helping Parents / Sexual Abuse / 6 Basic Struggles / Theology of Trauma

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

How to Mortify Sin by Sinclair Ferguson

These are some of the things my friend and I talked about that memorable evening. We did not have an opportunity later to ask each other, “How are you going?” for it was our last conversation. He died some months later. I have often wondered how the months in between went in his life. But the earnest personal and pastoral concern in his question still echoes in my mind. They have a similar effect to the one Charles Simeon said he felt from the eyes of his much-loved portrait of the great Henry Martyn: “Don’t trifle!”

  • Session 3 in this series provides a 9 steps methodology for overcoming sin that attempts to “unpack the gospel in slow motion” for mortifying sin.

Help for Parents Who Want to Give Up: 10 Keys to Raising Kids by Ann Voskamp

I wish I had done that. I wish someone had told me that. There’s support groups for moms of preschoolers, but where’s triage for the moms of teenagers? #MOTS The older our kids become, the greater our isolation can become, because while mothers can instagram and commiserate together over the Terrible Twos — but mothers struggling through a stretch of terrible teens can suffer alone.

10 Things Sexual Assault Victims Want You to Know by Karen Swallow Prior

“What do you wish people knew/understood about experiencing sexual assault?”

Given the private nature of the question and the public nature of the medium, I anticipated only a handful of responses. I was astonished that dozens and dozens of people responded, whether directly on the thread or in private messages. (I should also note that I know most of the respondents in real life, including many who have been my students.) Their comments altogether filled up 60 pages.

Six Basic Struggles by Ed Welch

Most people would acknowledge at least six basic struggles.

  1. Anger
  2. Guilt and regret
  3. Shame
  4. Suffering, such as loss, victimization, sickness . . .
  5. Fear
  6. Saying “yes” when we should say “no”—this would include everything identified as an addiction
  • For another quality resource from CCEF see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Why We Need a Theology of Trauma by Phil Monroe

We live in a world shaped by violence and trauma. This week that I write 147 Christian Kenyan university students were killed because of their faith. Such horrific forms of violence shock us. But they shouldn’t given that in our own country violence and trauma are everyday occurrences. While some of our local brothers and sisters face actual death, all of our communities are shaped by soul-crushing abuse and family violence. Take the most conservative numbers we have—1:6 males and 1:4 females have experienced sexual assault before age 18—and realize that a large portion of your friends and acquaintances have traumatic experiences.

What I’m Reading

how people changeHow People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp. What does it take for lasting change to take root in your life? If you’ve ever tried, failed, and wondered why, you need How People Change. This book explains the biblical pattern for change in a clear, practical way you can apply to the challenges of daily life. But change involves more than a biblical formula: you will see how God is at work to make you the person you were created to be. That powerful, loving, redemptive relationship is at the heart of all positive change you experience.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

corrie ten boom

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Council of Counselors: Fallen Pastors / Abusive Husbands / Hurting Counselors / Subtle Gossip / Emotional Intelligence

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Restoring Pastors to Ministry After Affairs? Possible or Impossible? by Phil Monroe

Now, none of these reasons are enough to always say no to return to pulpits after sexual infidelity. While a return may not be probable, it can be possible. Every situation is unique. That said, unless the disgraced pastor has evidenced many of the signs of repentance (taking full ownership, accepting consequences, giving up control over recovery process/submitting to the work of therapy, seeking accountability, pursuing utter transparency, and not placing demands to return to the position) for a long season, it is doubtful that a return to leadership is right. Frankly, one of the best signs of repentance is not being so worried about reputation and not seeking a return to a previous level of ministry.

  • For a book that addresses ministry-based infidelity and restoration in a holistic, redemptive context see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

4 Questions for Abusive Husbands by Leslie Vernick

When working with husbands who have been abusive, you will find that most all of them have a stubborn blindness to what they are doing that is destructive to their wife. Their habit patterns are to blame and to accuse rather than take the time to reflect upon their own attitudes and behaviors. When they are asked the question, “Why did you behave that way?” their answer is always externally referenced rather than internally referenced.

As A Psychiatrist, I Thought I’d Be Immune To Postpartum Depression. I Was Wrong. by Michelle Woo

I am a psychiatrist who treats mental health issues during pregnancy and the postpartum period. I had thought that this would somehow make me immune to postpartum depression, as though I could have seen it coming from a mile away and warded it off. But I was wrong. Quite frankly, I never thought it would happen to me.

Six Questions to Diagnose Subtle Gossip by Paula Marsteller

It’s easy to think our intentions are good. I thought that originally, too. But maybe we should distrust our intentions a bit more than we do. Even if our base intentions are good, we should always be on guard of having mixed motives. Love can often attach itself with the sinful desire to know other people’s stuff, to be “in the know,” or to feel puffed up that our lives aren’t so messy.

18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People by Travis Bradberry

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results. Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it difficult to measure and to know what to do to improve it if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book, but unfortunately, most such tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a high EQ. What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

What I’m Reading

restoring the fallenRestoring the Fallen: A Team Approach to Caring, Confronting & Reconciling by  Earl D. Wilson, Sandy Wilson, Paul Friesen, Virginia Friesen , Larry Paulson , & Nancy Paulson. When brothers and sisters in Christ fall into sin, how should the church respond? Very often, Christians stumble in their attempt to address this issue. Either they ignore the wrongdoing or they banish the wrongdoer. The authors of this groundbreaking book advocate another way: the spiritual care team. A spiritual care team is a small group of mature Christians who voluntarily commit themselves to support and guide another through the process of repentance and restoration. This community-based and community-oriented approach emphasizes the importance of acknowledging sin, making repentance complete and reestablishing personal spiritual discipline. Restoring the Fallen offers practical guidance on how to form a spiritual care team, as well as how to support the spouse and family of the one working through the process of restoration, how professional helpers and the whole church body might contribute to restoration, and how to provide ongoing care after the main work of the spiritual care team is complete. It is an essential book for pastors, counselors and church leaders.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

prayer-counselors

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.