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Awesome John Piper quote–Biblical Counseling discernment moment

19/11/2011 Comments off

As I look across the Christian landscape, I think it is fair to say concerning sin, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly” (Jeremiah 6:14 http://www.esvapi.org/assets/play.swf?myUrl=hw%2F24006014(ESV); Jeremiah 8:11 http://www.esvapi.org/assets/play.swf?myUrl=hw%2F24008011(ESV). I take this to refer to leaders who should be helping the church know and feel the seriousness of indwelling sin (Rom. 7:20), and how to fight it and kill it (Romans 8:13 http://www.esvapi.org/assets/play.swf?myUrl=hw%2F45008013(ESV). Instead the depth and complexity and ugliness and danger of sin in professing Christians is either minimized—since we are already justified—or psychologized as a symptom of woundedness rather than corruption.
 
This is a tragically light healing. I call it a tragedy because by making life easier for ourselves in minimizing the nature and seriousness of our sin, we become greater victims of it. We are in fact not healing ourselves. Those who say that they already feel bad enough without being told about the corruptions of indwelling sin misread the path to peace. When our people have not been taught well about the real nature of sin and how it works and how to put it to death, most of the miseries people report are not owing to the disease but its symptoms. They feel a general malaise and don’t know why, their marriages are at the breaking point, they feel weak in their spiritual witness and devotion, their workplace is embattled, their church is tense with unrest, their fuse is short with the children, etc. They report these miseries as if they were the disease. And they want the symptoms removed.
 
We proceed to heal the wound of the people lightly. We look first and mainly for circumstantial causes for the misery—present or past. If we’re good at it, we can find partial causes and give some relief. But the healing is light. We have not done the kind of soul surgery that is possible only when the soul doctor knows the kind of things Owen talks about in these books, and when the patient is willing to let the doctor’s scalpel go deep.

Foreword to Overcoming Sin and Temptation: Three Classic Works by John Owen

This reminded me of the classic CCEF Journal of Biblical Counseling Article; Counseling and the Problem of the Past by John Bettler, The Journal of Biblical Counseling • Volume XII • Number 2 • Winter 1994;

IV. Propositions

  1. We believe that a counselee’s personal past has a significant influence upon his development of his manner of life.
    We do not believe that the counselee is a helpless victim whose manner of life is determined by his past.
  2. We believe that a person creatively interacts with and interprets past events and incorporates his interpretation into his manner of life.
    We do not believe that a counselee so constructs his past that it has no necessary existence in history. Just as God acts and explains or interprets His actions, so the person interprets the actual events in his life.
    3. We believe that the Christian should seek to interpret his past as coming from God and for God’s glory; the unbeliever will distort the event with an explanation that does not honor God’s truth. He will resist the truth and endeavor to believe the lie.
    4. We believe that a counselee is not always aware of the assumptions, values, and habits which shape his manner of life.
    We do not believe there exists within the person an “unconscious,” i.e., an unexplored and largely unexplorable entity which drives his behavior.
    5. We believe that exploration of a person’s past may help to reveal to himself his manner of life.
    We do not believe that such exploration is always necessary to produce biblical change.
    6. We believe that change occurs in the present. It involves repentance for the distorted values and habits of a false manner of life, and the putting on of godly values and behavior patterns in the present.
    We do not believe that change occurs in the past through the reliving of past experiences or through emotional release of stored-up emotions (a process commonly called catharsis).
    7. We believe that God is sovereign over all the events of a person’s life and works providentially through those events to make Christians more like Christ.

My wife are currently involved in biblical discipleship with a couple and it was a great reminder of these things when we were reviewing the audio messages of Dave Harvey’s great book, “When Sinners Say I Do.”  Thanks Babe for 14 years of grace and mercy with this sinner.

Peacemaker Ministries is cool!–Hard to Say You’re Sorry?

11/08/2011 3 comments

I subscribe to ‘PeaceMeal’ which is an e-newsletter and they regularly have some great nuggets.  I wish the newsletters were a little more social network friendly so I could share them easier than having to copy and re-paste… oh well…  Here is their newest one … as always, right on time…  If your interested in subscribing yourself, the info is at the bottom… enjoy – Thank you Peacemaker Ministries!!!

Hard to Say You’re Sorry?

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 http://www.esvapi.org/assets/play.swf?myUrl=hw%2F47007010(ESV)

If you want someone to respond positively to a confession, make it a point to acknowledge and express sorrow for how you have hurt or afflicted them. Your goal is to show that you understand how the other person felt as a result of your words or actions. Here are a few examples of how this can be done:
“You must have been terribly embarrassed when I said those things in front of everyone. I’m very sorry I did that to you.”
“I can see why you were frustrated when I didn’t deliver the parts on time. I’m sorry I failed to keep my commitment to you.”

Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 130

Food for Thought

How easily do you say, “I’m sorry”?

There was a pop song back in the 80’s that got a lot of radio play; the title was Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry. The lyrics accurately named the tension of “I really want to say it, but it’s really hard for me to do it.” Does that tension feel familiar? Yeah, me too.

My, how quickly we forget. We forget how incredibly powerful those two little words are — “I’m sorry.” They can defuse a tense situation in a heartbeat. When we honestly express sorrow for what we’ve done, we’re taking the initiative to level things. Rather than looking down our nose at someone, we look him square in the eyes. And it is there, on that face-to-face level, where words like “confession” and “forgiveness” really mean something.

A life lived without regret is a tall order. But being able to say, “I’m sorry” — as hard as it is — is a step in the right direction. So move beyond just wanting to say you are sorry and actually do it.

Looking for a way to study peacemaking on your own from your own computer or tablet? Or maybe you’d like to walk through a study with a group, but you can’t get them in one place?

Our popular and biblical study, Resolving Everyday Conflict, is available online for individual or group study at Peacemaker University for just $29.95. If you’re interested, you can try out a lesson for free or purchase the study. If you have questions, feel free to call us at 800-711-7118.

PeaceMeal is a weekly e-publication of Peacemaker Ministries (www.Peacemaker.net). All Rights Reserved.

Don’t forget to pass the peace! If you found this PeaceMeal helpful, please forward it on to friends. If you’d like to reprint PeaceMeal in your church bulletin or newsletter each week, see the guidelines at www.Peacemaker.net.

Say your piece in PeaceMeal. We are looking for peacemakers from around the world to write the Food for Thought section of a future issue of PeaceMeal. How about you? Guidelines and more information can be found at www.Peacemaker.net.

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Resolving Everyday Conflict by Ken Sande & Kevin Johnson–Audio Book Review

25/06/2011 Comments off

Thank you to the Christian Audio Reviewer’s Program of christianaudio.com for the opportunity to review this audiobook.

All of us have conflicts.  In the intro the authors state that maybe you are even picking up this book because your in one now.  As we all know, conflicts happen, whether in writing an email, posting on social networks, in line at the store, or at the yearly family gatherings.  You pick any time and place, conflicts are probably going on.  Conflict is not prejudice and can be found in most relationships.  Conflicts happen because we live in a fallen world and the result of this depravity, lack of communication, and perseverance to resolve the situation, conflicts are all around us.  No one is left unscathed.

You probably recognize the famous author Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries who wrote the best seller, The Peacemaker:  A Biblical Guide to Resolving Conflict.  This new book (REC), states that;

Everyone encounters conflict–whether it be with a co-worker, family member, friend, or complete stranger. And yet we all desire harmony in our relationships. Resolving Everyday Conflict is a practical, biblical, and concise guide to peacemaking in everyday life that can turn your troubled relationships into peaceful ones.

I am a peacemaking addict!  Why… it seems that I am very aware of the conflicts in my life regularly.  This audio was timely, biblical, good narration, and short enough to be knocked out in a couple of days.  I actually listened to it a few times (and probably need to listen to it again…).  As always am challenged by the Peacemaker Ministries material and this is no exception. 

Chapter 3 was probably the most impactful for me in that the authors take some time to break down and explain Peace faking, Peace braking, and Peacemaking.  I was struck because I have always known (prideful of course) that I was a peace breaker, but the authors go on to describe that one can actually mix both of them together, and as I listened I was convicted that I at times am also a peace faker.  I could not help but think (in my subsequent reviews) that I wish I could also share this with a few folks I was in conflict with now, and I was convicted again, in that the authors address this heart motive too… This message was for me, not for ‘them’.

I highly recommend this audiobook in that the authors challenge our culture and remind us of the gospel and the biblical indicatives and imperatives when it comes to peace making.  Further the presentation of the material was informative, cohesive, down to earth, filled with transparency, authenticity, examples and the narration was very appealing.  The author’s successfully (as always) conveyed Biblical truth, and I would recommend this to ANYONE who is interested in becoming a peacemaker.  If your willing to take it further than the audio, on the PM site, you can even take an online course!  Excellent resource and highly recommend!

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