Category: The Gospel and the Ministry

Three Ways to Let the Fire of the Sermon Warm Your Own Heart

I have preached a lot of sermons. I may only be 36 years old, but I have been preaching for fourteen years. Over those years I have preached multiple sermons per week. It is safe to say I have logged some significant preaching hours. One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the years with preaching is that I must ignite my heart’s affections with the truths I intend to proclaim. If I stand up and say true things, but I do not say them with the passion and conviction the truth merits, my preaching will suffer. Preaching...

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Strategic Issues in Counseling: Consider the Context of Your Counselee

When Sarah’s mother passed away, it stirred up in her all kinds of fear and anxiety. She had been living with her mom now for almost thirty years and depended on her for a lot of things. Suddenly she was going to have to be responsible for her whole life. I could have pointed out her failures to be prepared for this moment, I could have indicated that she needed to grow up a long time ago, but none of that really seemed helpful at the time. She was anxious, but her anxiety seemed more related to suffering and...

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Strategic Issues in Counseling: Consider the Age of Your Counselee

Time changes us all. Or rather, we all change over time. As a young man I was impetuous and impulsive, but over time I find myself much more careful, slow to act even. As a young man I was far more gregarious and extroverted, but now I tend to be more introverted. The concerns and insecurities of youth have changed with age, and while I may still struggle with insecurities, they are uniquely different to this stage of life. All of us experience this, and good counseling must take into consideration these unique details of age. Effective counselors must...

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Strategic Issues in Counseling: Consider the Development of Your Counselee

I had totally messed up this case. It wasn’t intentional; I had tried to be helpful and give lots of instruction, listened sympathetically, and assigned homework that I thought best fit the situation. Every week the counselee came to our appointment without any of his homework completed. It was frustrating, and I determined that he didn’t really want to change, so I terminated counseling. Years later I found out that this particular individual had literacy challenges that made the homework I gave him exceedingly difficulty, if not at times impossible. Of course, it would have been helpful if he...

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Too Tired to Care

During my law enforcement career, my comrades and I were repeatedly instructed to use caution when responding to an emergency call because, as the saying went, you were no good to anyone and a drain on available resources if you were involved in a vehicle crash on the way. In a similar fashion, biblical counselors, like first responders and other crisis care agents, are susceptible to a phenomenon known as compassion fatigue. While compassion fatigue may not leave the counselor stranded in an overturned vehicle, it does threaten to sideline them for a lack of awareness or appropriate caution....

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