Scripture and Counseling God’s Word For Life In A Broken World

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in Church, Featured

Scripture and Counseling God’s Word For Life In A Broken World

downloadThe doctrine of Scripture is under attack today. Recently John MacArthur held an Inerrancy Summit with some of the top theological minds in the Church today. At this conference, these theologians instructed us about the doctrine of the Bible. One of the key pieces of the doctrine of Scripture is the sufficiency of the Bible. This is the idea that when the Bible speaks, people are to hear and obey it. In other words, the sufficiency of Scripture relates to the authority of the Bible. Since, the Bible is authoritative, God’s people are to implement what it says into every area of their lives. Yet, often times in the Church we say we believe this. Whether in sermons, books, articles or blog posts we pledge allegiance to the Bible in name but in practice we often minimize it. We think, “I need to give my opinion on that issue” and we may well need to speak to that particular issue, but we need to speak with the Bible. We need to speak what the Bible says and declare what it says. This is one way that the sufficiency of the Bible is under attack today. We also see the Bible under attack in the field of Christian counseling. Often times secular theories of psychology take the place of the Bible in our counseling. As the Church, we are seeing an erosion of the doctrine of Scripture in our generation. Since the pulpit is the spear of the local church’s ministry, the counseling office is the hospital. Both are critical as Scripture and Counseling God’s Word For Life In a Broken World show. As this book shows, Pastors and counselors can work together, and should work together to help people grow in their understanding of the Word (pulpit) and to address real world issues from pulpit with the purpose of seeing healing, deliverance and help (counseling) to aid His people in their spiritual growth and development.

This book has two parts. In part one, we come to learn how we view the Bible for life in a broken world. In the introduction Kevin DeYoung and one of his counselors at University Reformed Church, Pat Quinn demonstrate how the senior pastor and counselors can work together to help the church grow in Christ. In this section, we learn about the richness and relevance of God’s Word, the sufficiency of the Bible for life and godliness truth, psychology, applying the sufficiency of the Bible to our lives, the Christ-centeredness of biblical counseling, the great cloud of witnesses and counseling, a theology of the body, and the relevancy of the Bible in counseling. Part two considers how we use the Bible for life in a broken world. The authors consider the rich relevance of the Word of God. Along with this they consider the practicality of the Bible for becoming a church of biblical counseling, biblical counseling and small groups, speaking the truth in love, the competency of the biblical counseling, relating truth to life, biblical narrative in personal ministry, the place of wisdom literature in the personal ministry of the Word, using the Gospels in the personal ministry of the Word, using the epistles in the personal ministry of the Word, and lessons learned through counseling. The book has three appendixes that including the mission, vision, and passion of the biblical counseling coalition, the confessional statement of the biblical counseling coalition, and the doctrinal statement of the biblical counseling coalition.

Whether you’re a pastor, counselor or lay person this book has something for you. First, this book will help you understand the relationship of the pulpit ministry to the ministry of one another each other. Second, this book will help you to understand how Scripture relates to life. This book will help you to understand how to use the Word of God when helping others. This is no small thing because we all know people who need help but often times don’t know how to help. This book will help you to learn how to help and where to look in the Bible to help address people’s issues. Finally, this excellent book should be on the bookshelf of every pastor and counselor. I highly recommend this book and believe it should be required reading in every pastoral ministry class at every conservative Bible college and seminary in the country. My prayer is that this book and the other book in this series will gain a wide readership for in doing so we’ll see a recovery of the place of biblical counseling in the local church.

Buy the book at Amazon or WTS Books.

Title: Scripture and Counseling God’s Word For Life In A Broken World

Author: Bob Kellemen, General Editor, Jeff Forrey, managing Editor

Publisher: Zondervan

I received this book for free from Zondervan for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Why We Pray by William Phillip

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Christian Living

Why We Pray by William Phillip

9781433542862In January here at Servants of Grace, we considered the topic of prayer. I’m convinced that many Christians struggle with prayer because they struggle with guilt and shame. Prayer is essential to the Christian life. Jesus bled, died, rose, and now serves as High Priest, Intercessor, and Advocate for His people. The summons of Jesus is to come before His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). His throne is not one of judgment, but of grace. This is why I was encouraged to read Why We Pray by William Phillip, a book that doesn’t just help us think about why we should pray but focuses on four seasons that will help God’s people to pray. These four reasons are: We pray because God is a speaking God, we are Sons of God, God is sovereign, and because we have the Spirit of God.

In chapter one, the author explains, “We pray because God is a speaking God. Prayer derives from who and what God is, and the great feature of the God of the Bible, the God of the Bible, the God of the Christian faith, is that he is a speaking God” (21-22). In this chapter, we’re taken on a tour de force through the creation story. Along the way, the author points man’s rebellion and the hope of Christ. Each chapter ends with reflection questions that are worth thinking through as they will help address areas in your life and what you’re learning as you read this book. Chapter two sets forth that, “the very essence of prayer is simply answering God in the call that comes to us in Jesus Christ. Prayer is responding to Jesus. We can pray because God is a speaking God, because we have been created to respond to him, and because through Jesus Christ we have been redeemed that we might again respond to him” (42). The rest of this chapter looks at the relationship of our adoption in Christ and how this doctrine affects our prayer lives. Chapter three considers the topic of a sovereign of God by looking at the logic of God’s sovereignty in salvation and in prayer. Here the author notes, “The sheer privilege of prayer, which is granted to us—to be involved in God’s great purpose of salvation as partners in his family business, because he is sovereign, and because he will accomplish everything he has purposed by his grace. We have been given the inestimable privilege of being part of the team that will not only accomplish the purpose but also share in the glory” (78). The author also helps us understand the purpose of prayer when he explains, “God wants us to be on his pitch, thinking his thoughts after him, playing our part in a certain, glorious victory, the bringing in of the kingdom of his Son. And the more we think his thoughts after him, the more we’ll rejoice in talking about those thoughts with him, and with one another, in prayer” (80). The final chapter helps us to consider the Holy Spirit and our prayer lives. Here the author teaches that “Only the Holy Spirit can make us real pray-ers” (85).

Why We Pray is an excellent book on prayer. This book doesn’t major on “how-to” advice on prayer. Instead, it shows us the relationship of God’s Word to our prayer lives. In other words, this help book will help readers to apply God’s Word to our prayer lives. The Puritans were well-known for helping God’s people apply God’s Word to their lives so that they would become like Christ. This is what Why We Pray does so well. It will help you to apply what you believe from God’s Word to your prayer life. Trust me when I say this is not a small thing—it is foundational and paradigm shifting. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord would powerfully use it to help you grow in your walk with God.

Buy the book at Amazon or from WTS Books.

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Older Men Speaking into Younger Men’s Lives

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Featured, Leadership

Older Men Speaking into Younger Men’s Lives

Bible-Reading1Young Christian men need older, seasoned, godly men in their lives. In the past year, I’ve been meeting regularly with an older, godly, seasoned man from my church. In addition to this, I’m in regular communication with one of the pastors because of my role in the Men’s Ministry. Who they are isn’t as important as the fact that they pour God’s grace into my life and are a tremendous encouragement to me. In this article, I want to convince and persuade you, young men, to find a godly older man to speak into your life.

Moses was a very busy man, after all he was leading Israel from bondage in Egypt to the Promised ­­Land. He was leading a massive number of people. Moses needed his father-in-law (Exodus 18) to speak into his life, although he didn’t realize he needed it. And yet his father-in-law’s advice was timely. The same is true for us today. Young men, you need older men in your life. Don’t assume that you don’t need this, because if you think that you don’t, you are simply being prideful. Older, godly, seasoned men have much to impart to your life, not only knowledge of the Word of God, but also experience with God that they have gained through many trials and experiences. They also have life knowledge that you may one-day need. Don’t resist this knowledge and experience; heed their rebukes and be wise.

When I was a teenager, like most teenagers, I thought I knew everything. But at this time in my life, however, I realize that I don’t know everything. I resisted my parents’ instruction and was foolish, often even as I heeded other older men’s speaking into my life at my local church. Young men, we need older men in our lives for the simple purpose that they know more than we do. I don’t care if you’re like me and have a long list of titles after your name, or if you’re 30-40 years old, and have been in ministry for 10 plus years as I have. You still need older men in your life! I don’t care if you’ve been a Christian for the majority of your life, as I have been. I qualify under all those categories. I have multiple Masters Degrees and have been a Christian my entire life and I still need older men. I still have many areas where I need to grow. Young men, be humble—God uses humble men who are still repenting for His glory.

Thanking those who are godly and take the time to speak into our lives is so important. Not only is it important in terms of thanking them for how the Lord is using them, but it is another way of honoring our elders for their godly example. This is sadly an often neglected aspect of ministry towards the saints.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul tells the Corinthians to follow him as he follows Jesus. The Corinthians are to follow the apostolic pattern of life that Paul has set before them. We, as young men, need to follow the example of godly men who are farther along than us. As a young man, you may think you know everything, and I understand that feeling. You may think you know more about God than those who are older, and you may very well. Yet you still don’t know everything. People may come to you to ask for answers from the Bible and guidance for life all the time. If you’re like me you can answer dozens of questions about systematic theology and can rattle off the meaning to more doctrinal and theological words than you’ve experienced in your own life, yet you still have need for godly mentors. If you don’t think you do then you are misguided, arrogant, and prideful. In 1 Timothy 4:11-15 young men are told to make their progress evident to all. One way we do this is by being in submission to those who are older than us, especially to our pastors and elders who will have to give an account to the Chief Shepherd the Lord Jesus Christ.

To wrap up this article, please allow me, to summarize, a few points. First, be humble because of the grace you’ve received in and through Christ. You don’t know everything, and that’s okay. To acknowledge that you don’t know everything is to admit that you still have areas to learn and grow in; the word disciple, after all, means “learner”. We are to learn from Jesus and one another. This requires living in humble submission to Jesus and to those who are older and more seasoned than us.

Second, it requires that we minister from a place of neediness of God’s grace. Since humility is, as Augustine and Calvin said, the definition of the Christian life, it goes to reason that we have a great need for Jesus all the time. As Charles Spurgeon said, “I have a great need for Jesus. I have a great Christ for my need.” Jesus is what we need and He lives to make intercession for us at all times because He rules and reigns now, as our High Priest and Intercessor.

Finally, you need godly, older men because you need to live in community with God’s people. You need to see how these older men live their Christian lives. You need to consider the outcome of their doctrine and way of life. We live in a culture that devalues all of this, and I realize that the message of this article is countercultural, but it is biblical. You need Jesus and other godly, mature, seasoned men in your life. If you are serious about pursuing ministry of any kind, for any length of time in your life, I plead with you to consider what I’ve said in this article. If you want to last in ministry, you will need the counsel and friendship of older men. You need to learn now from their failures and their successes. You need to consider their doctrine and the patterns of life that flow from their doctrine. If you don’t, the consequences could be great and your faith will suffer.

Make no mistake, I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old. I’ve seen many, many Christian pastors and leaders come and go in the 30 years I’ve been a Christian. One way to avoid failing and destroying not only your life and ministry, but also the lives of many people around you, is to have older men speaking into your life.

Older men speaking into younger men’s lives is God’s pattern of ministry. Intergenerational ministry is not optional, it is God’s means of grace to you. It is a help to you; accept it, don’t fight against it. Gladly accept this means of grace in your life, rejoicing in the God who provides wisdom to you through the examples of godly men. Learn from them, seek them out and follow their pattern of life and doctrine as they follow Jesus. I plead with you, young man, to abandon your life of impurity and ungodliness, and consider the standard of God in His Word. Follow your leaders as they follow Jesus. Seek the Lord and His righteousness. Consider what the Bible has to say about true wisdom and how it is dispensed from the older to the younger. Consider how our God places people in your life; consider all He has said and you will see that God does use older men in powerful ways.

Older men, be gentle with the younger men in your local church; we need your rebukes and your love for Jesus. We need your wisdom, and most of all we desperately need your prayers. We are a generation that is hurting. We are the generation of the father-wound: those without fathers. Pray for us and love us with the love of Jesus. And, young men, as you heed the counsel of older godly men who have “been there and done that”, God will use you. Those who decrease are those who are growing in the grace of God. I believe the Lord will make these things plain to you, young men, who earnestly desire more of Jesus and less of yourselves. May the Lord richly bless you young man as you seek after His righteousness.

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Heaven, How I Got Here The Story of The Thief On The Cross

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Featured, Theology

Heaven, How I Got Here The Story of The Thief On The Cross

9781781915585Stories captivate the mind and stir the heart. Whether it’s in movies or the biblical story found in the Word of God, stories have a shaping influence on our lives and the broader culture. Stories have the power to change lives. Ultimately every story finds it’s fulfillment in the finished work of Christ. Jesus is the Story above all stories. His story reorients all other stories. The story of the thief on the cross is one of the most powerful stories in the Gospels. It is the story of a man who committed a crime against Rome and met Jesus, when he died crucifixion style next to Jesus. This is the basis for Colin Smith’s new book Heaven, How I Got Here the Story of the Thief On The Cross. The only twist about this book is rather than walking through the biblical text, the author gives a first-person account of the life of the thief on the cross.

This is one of the most interesting, refreshing, and helpful books I’ve read in awhile. This book is fictional in that it doesn’t follow the biblical storyline of the thief on the cross. With that said there is plenty of biblical engagement in that the author makes clear reference to what the two people next to Jesus on the cross said and did, along with what others said and did around the cross. If you’re like me and heard the story of the thief a lot over the years and read the story, many, many times then you’ll want to read this book. It will open your eyes afresh to this story.

If you’re a long-time Christian you know how easy it is to say, “I know this story”, and that’s true. After all, you should know the story if you’ve been a Christian for any length of time. Yet, we live in a day when biblical ignorance is rampant. Even if we know the story we need to hear it again as for the first time. This is what Heaven, I Got Here does so well. It will help the reader to hear the story of the thief on the cross, as for the first time. This book will help you to understand what Jesus went through and what He did for you on the cross, and in the resurrection.  If you’re like me, you need books like this. You need to be reawakened to the wonder of the cross. You need to be reminded of your ongoing need for mercy and grace found in Jesus Christ.

As we march towards Easter, take some time consider the death of Jesus in our place and for our sins, and His resurrection which is the promise of our salvation, I encourage you to pick up and read this book. Maybe you’re going through a dry season in your walk with God, or perhaps you’re doing great in your walk with God. We all need to be reminded of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. We need to gather around the cross, look and behold the Son of God in His bloody death in our place for our sin, to know the tomb is empty, Christ has risen, and now serves as our High Priest, Intercessor, Mediator, and Advocate. This excellent book, while fictional will make you think. It will help stir you up this Easter season to consider afresh the claims of Jesus on your life as a Christian. I highly recommend this book and pray you’ll pick it up and pass it on to others who need it.

Buy the book at Amazon,or from WTS Books,

Title: Heaven, How I Got Here The Story of The Thief On The Cross

Author: Colin S. Smith

Publisher: Christian Focus

I received this book for free from Christian Focus for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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