Biblical counseling resources

Just received notice of an incredible book sale: the CCEF Library of Classics. Jim and I have read the vast majority of these books (I think all but two) and heartily recommend them to anyone looking for a biblical perspective on everyday challenges.

We personally own two of each of the books that we’ve read so that we can always have one here for quick reference, and so that we can also loan them to others.

We’re talking half price. Order a set for yourself. Additional sets to loan. But order them now…the sale is only this week!

Adopting older children

I received this comment on a post a little while ago from Connie, and I have meant since then to make it a post all of its own. I am familiar with all of the authors that she mentions except for one — and our houseguest knew all about him and highly recommended him. I can vouch for the biblical truths that are presented by these authors — taking ALL of our situations to our own hearts, not simply modifying behavior for behavior’s sake, but changing responses starting from the heart. PLEASE, if any one has any questions about their adopted children, take advantage of this awesome resource!

I wanted to let you know that a dear friend and I recently began hosting a blog dedicated to the topic of parenting older (that typically includes 5 yrs, and up) adopted children–focusing on internationally adopted children, but equally applicable to domestic. If you know any adoptive families who might benefit from Biblical counsel and encouragement in this area, please feel free to share our blog address with them, http://www.adoption316.wordpress.com

Ramona, her husband (Bob), my husband (John) and I, are all committed to Biblical counseling grounded in the sufficiency of Scripture. Not only has God equipped us through experience, He has equipped and continues to equip us through authors, teachers, and ministries such as Tedd Tripp, Paul Tripp, Lou Priolo, David Powlison, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Jay Adams, NANC, and CCEF.

It might be helpful to briefly detail our commitment to Biblical Counseling: among us we have attended satellite or on-site Biblical Counseling courses through CCEF and/or NANC since 2000, pursue continuing education through the annual NANC conferences, one holds a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary, and at least one is actively pursuing NANC certification.

To God be the glory!

Biblical counseling

Again, an excerpt from Women Helping Women:

“What is your goal as you speak with, counsel, or seek to comfort your sisters in the Lord?  Do you have a goal?  If you have no goal, you have probably found yourself mired in helping relationships that seem to be going nowhere.  If you have wrong goals, such as merely alleviating the perception of pain or furnishing a shoulder to cry on, you may have found yourself fighting against God as He works in His children’s lives.  I believe that the biblical counselor should have one overriding goal:  to encourage and assist believers to grow in the likeness of Christ.  This growth manifests itself in faithful living in our homes, workplaces, schools, churches, and in the world.  This is accomplished through the application of the Word of God in very specific ways and by the work of the Holy Spirit as believers respond in faith.”

What a privilege to encourage believers to grow in the likeness of Christ.  I am thankful for such a resource to help me understand heart issues and how to come alongside my sisters.

Women Helping Women

Women Helping Women, a book edited by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Carol Cornish, has been on my list to read for awhile.  Though I am not a professional counselor, I do find myself being asked for advice or for my opinion, or even just asked to listen.

Actually, to be honest, most of us fall into that category.  Who hasn’t given some advice about SOMETHING?  I determined a while back that as long as I was going to be giving advice, I might as well give SOUND biblical advice.  And, so I began reading a whole slew of awesome books — recommended by trusted friends.

From the preface:

“A godly, abundant life is a life that has found the practicality of theology.  Many Christians mistakenly think that theology is not practical.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But because Christians are not commonly taught how to apply the Bible to their everyday lives, this misconception persists.  This book demonstrates the practical application of what the Bible teaches about how to live and please God.  It illustrates the application of these truths in one-on-one relationships with other Christian women — it is a book about women helping women to be freed, restored, and comforted in their faith in the Good Shepherd.

“While this book does not cover every problem a Christian woman might face, we have attempted to provide a basic, crucial starting point and guide for right thinking in some of life’s more prevalent problems.  The authors’ greatest desire is that this book will encourage our Christian sisters to start at the right place when seeking to give help in time of need.  If it is your heart’s desire to live a faithful Christian life to God’s glory, walking in Christ’s promised abundant life, you won’t succeed in your goal if you start with yourself as the center or focus of life or if you start with human philosophies as your guide.  You must begin at the right place, with God as the source and meaning of all of life, with His glory and pleasure as paramount, and with His Word as the light upon your path and the only guide for life.”

Part 1:  Starting in the Right Place explains the philosophy and methods of biblical counseling.  And Part 2:  Addressing the Challenges Christian Women Face tackles specific issues that we may encounter along the way.  Chapters include the topics:  Counseling single teen mothers, counseling women discontent in their singleness, counseling the post-abortion woman, counseling women in problem Christian marriages, and many other issues.

The last chapter discusses medical questions women ask.

Though I haven’t finished the book as yet, what I have read so far allows me to recommend it wholeheartedly.

It’s a matter of the heart.

Missionary dating

I read this post last week, and have since read parts of it to several different people.  It is also a post to pass on to ANYONE who spends time with, gives advice to, counsels, lives with, or attends church with unmarried believers.  That should be just about all of us.

Really do read the whole thing (I know it’s long, but trust me…read it!).  And pass it on.

Our actions speak so much louder than our words…

A Big Day

Well, not only is today the birthday of the fabulous Treesh Deesh — Happy, happy birthday!

AND I had a tremendous Ukrainian lesson — I’m taking 3  2-hour lessons a week.  It’s particularly fun because the vocabulary had to do with family — including many words having to do with our upcoming event.  Okay, I haven’t mentioned the wedding for a couple of posts, right?  So today I learned the words for engaged, wedding, marriage, couple, getting married, etc.  Plus the words for son-in-law, daughter-in-law (which I had actually learned when Dasha joined the clan!).  It was just plain old fun.  But definitely a brain strain as well — Tetjana decided to stop speaking English to me altogether, so I really had to stay focused for the two hours.  I was really encouraged!  I do so much want to be able to make some basic sense when I meet Kolya’s mom…not needing a translator for EVERYTHING!  Kolya did tell me on Sunday that his mother doesn’t really speak pure Ukrainian — she speaks a combo of Ukrainian, Russian, Belarussian, and Polish.  Give me a break!  Willage lingo is definitely its own special language.

To top off the day, Cheryl returned from Canada this evening.  I was excited to find out that the welcoming crew was stopping just minutes from our flat for dinner, so I was able to hurry over and get a few minutes with her (and snapped a quick picture).  It seems like she’s been gone FOREVER, but it felt so normal to see her again.  I’m not sure what that’s all about.  I feel the same way when we return from the States…sort of like we never left, but I know that we did!

Jeanne is in Odessa this week…module 4 of her biblical counseling studies.  And tomorrow is the one day that I don’t have something planned during the day, so Jim is staying home so that we can talk, pray, map out the foreseeable future.  (Not that I can see it, mind you!)  It’s just that so much is going on that we’re finding it difficult to get time to strategize together!

I believe that Jamie and Dasha may have moved in to their place officially.  That is, if the electricity is working.  I haven’t heard one way or the other.

Anna wrote to say that she was nowhere near where the bombs went off in Nepal.  Comforting.

And I’m getting ready to hit the sack.

Life is good.

Dental consult

I can’t believe that I had my camera and didn’t take any pictures, but that’s how it went today.

I had the pleasure of escorting a young dentist and his wife to Jim’s office.  They are here exploring the possibilities of a long-term overseas commitment, and had some questions they wanted to ask someone who’s been here for a bit.  Lee and Michelle will be visiting several cities, meeting with a variety of medical folks.  Lee has been to Ukraine several times but his newly-wed bride is here for the first time.  Definitely a fact-finding trip!

Michelle is currently working with “at risk” kids near Dallas, and has just received a degree in counselling from Westminster in Philadelphia.  That’s where Ron Harris (Ukraine Family Institute) attended as well.  Small world!

A patient arrived at the office while we were there so Jim excused himself for a few minutes.  When he poked his head back in where we were sitting, he asked for Lee to please join him in the consultation room.  Wow!  A dental consult on the spot.  Nothing like putting the guest to work!

Please pray for this couple as they seek God’s direction.

Repentance and faith

Jim and I finished reading an excellent book this morning entitled How people change. The authors, Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp, systematically walk the reader through a clear understanding of what it takes to make a lasting change — not simply a behavioral change, but a change at the heart level. And as individuals truly change, families change, congregations change.

A few questions directed to church leaders:

“Are you helping your people engage in honest, confident, humble, and intelligent repentance and faith grounded in the gospel? Do you err on the side of repentance and just tell people to change? Do you err on the side of faith and just tell people that they are loved in Christ? Or do you combine heart-searching repentance with a faith that brings people face to face with God’s holy love for them in Christ? When the gospel is central, people can look honestly at their sin — not just behavioral sin, the heart sin beneath. Real repentance looks deeply at the ways we have forsaken Christ. This produces sorrow and humility for allowing something to displace Christ from the highest place. Faith then lays hold of the grace and love offered to the repentant person. When repentance and faith are joined in this way, the person’s heart is recaptured by Christ. This is what produces lasting change from within.”

I am thankful that Ukraine Medical Outreach’s sister organization is Ukraine Family Institute. UFI is in the business of training “teaching teams” to take this very message of heart change throughout Ukraine and beyond. Our daughter Jeanne is currently a student, and will be certified to be a biblical counselor both in Ukraine AND the United States after this 3-year program.

For real?

Jim brought me a flyer today advertising some new courses of study that will begin in September in Kyiv.  Always interesting:

“We are glad to have a chance of telling you about a unique public organization, which is urged to help you to uncover the true essence of your personality, the sources of its growth and development.  We want that you’ll become effective in the direction you have chosen:  in education, business, culture, medicine, politics, sport … Our series of seminars gives a person a true idea of values and principles of life, its priorities, opens personal prospects and helps to find a right solution of different problems of life.”

Uh, clear so far?

“The program is aimed at all-rounded rehabilitation and development of a person:  the social one, the spiritual, the intellectual, the emotional, the physical ones. “

Not quite sure why social is singular and physical is plural…but that’s neither here nor there…

“DIRECTIONS:  [I admit that I thought this would give me the location]

  • Family Relations
  • Men
  • Women
  • Direction of Children, Teenagers, Youth
  • Beauty and Health
  • Physical Education and Sport
  • Spiritual management
  • Practical Counselling
  • Personality Development
  • Foreign languages (all languages)  [WOW! Some school!]
  • Interconfessional culture [I confess that I don't know what this means]
  • Politics, state and law
  • Social pedagogics
  • Business and management
  • Theatre”

Can you imagine that one place would offer ALL of these, uh, courses!  And the best is yet to come:  If you choose to go fulltime, you can complete this work in 3 months!  Part-time will take 9 months, as will instruction by correspondence.

And the name of this amazing center?  Are you ready?

Center for Personality Rehabilitation and Society Transformation 

Who all do YOU know that could use a good personality rehab?

What is the will of God for my life?

What is the will of God for my life?

Who hasn’t asked THAT question?

Step by Step, a book by James C. Petty, asks that question in the preface. There are any number of books written to give the reader some insight into discovering God’s will, so what makes this book unique?

Petty suggests that before we approach the topic of HOW to know the will of God, we need to first ask ourselves another question: WHY do we want to know it?

Petty writes: “What is our purpose in seeking guidance from God, and what is God’s purpose in providing it? God does not offer wisdom from above in order to help us secure success on earth. Some success may be a byproduct under certain conditions, but it should not be our goal. If God (and his guidance) is just a means to some other goal, we are (consciously or unconsciously) using God. In that case, the goal we seek functions as our ‘god’ and competes with the true God for our allegiance and trust. No matter how good the goal is (family, ministry, marriage, education, or job), James 4:4 calls it ‘friendship with the world’ and equates it with ‘hatred of God.’ But if your motive is to glorify, enjoy, and serve God, he says, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.’ (Psalm 32:8)”

So, once again, we find that God is looking at our hearts — our motivations.

Ukraine Medical Outreach is blessed to have as its sister organization Ukraine Family Institute. UFI is training Ukrainians to counsel in a truly biblical manner. Our daughter Jeanne is a student in this 3-year program and, though she just has 1 of 12 modules under her belt, she is already able to give wise counsel to her peers — and support that advice with Scripture.

One of the mentors to Dr. Ron Harris, the academic dean at UFI, is James C. Petty, the author of Step by Step. Jim and I read this book together a while back, but we are each reading through it again — there is SOOOO much wisdom throughout. We have also loaned this book to several people here, all of them thankful to have read it. UFI teaches people to look below the surface, beyond appearances and behavior, and search the heart. Why do we do what we do?

So I ask you … do you know God’s will for your life? And WHY do you want to know it? May I suggest that you find a copy of this valuable resource and read it from cover to cover. I am guessing that you might be surprised at what you discover, both about yourself and your God.

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