Exchanged Life Counseling Matters

Forum for Galatians 2:20 Disciplers and Counselors, sponsored by Grace Fellowship International

Danny Niceley: Bodybuilder, Boater, Believer

Danny Niceley has taken the Grace Fellowship Conference and Workshop, and has done some apprenticeship in Pigeon Forge. He is currently working as a librarian at Carson Newman College. In this 6 minute video Danny tells of his athletic achievements, near-fatal accident, and discovery of grace-based acceptance in Christ.

Your Source

We have appreciated the ministry of Jim Cymbala over the years, having visited the “Tab” and hearing him speak with Daniel Henderson at a renewal day in Knoxville.

In a sermon posted on February 13, 2018 Pastor Cymbala uses four scriptures as a starting point for this challenging message about experiencing real change in the Christian life (John 8:28-29; Romans 6:5; Romans 8:5; Galatians 2:19-20). The audio message can be heard online or downloaded here:



At North Point in Atlanta, Andy Stanley preached a series that addresses some vital themes related to grace for Christian living and the believer’s new identity. It’s entitled “NU ME” and is available from their download store. North Point includes insights from “NU ME” in their Care Network’s “Re:New” one-on-one mentoring ministry.

Their team has produced an 8 lesson video-assisted small group study that incorporates the essential content used in North Point’s Re:New ministry. It’s titled Renovate. This resource has great potential to guide participants in spiritual renewal.

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:3,4).


Exchanged Life Counselor’s Testimony

Lee LeFebre

[Lee LeFebre has made important contributions to this branch of the Biblical Counseling family tree. Here is a testimony about his spiritual journey. Used with his permission. – JBW]

Daily, I was asking God to be on the throne of my life. I didn’t understand that God would take me through a breaking process, and that Christ didn’t just want to be on the throne of my life, but wanted to be my life.

Throughout college, graduate school, and my work experience in social services, I saw tremendous inconsistencies between psychotherapy and Scripture. The more I analyzed psychotherapy, the less convinced I became that it held any real answers. I believed Christianity had an answer, but what? How could accepting Christ change the shattered lives of the street kids I worked with? I thought they needed Christ and therapy, so I tried to combine Christianity and secular theory for the “best of both worlds.”

I saw a series of contradictions in life. The Bible promised peace that passes all understanding, that keeps our hearts and minds by Christ Jesus; but Christians I knew in the 50’s and 60’s were having nervous breakdowns right and left. The Scripture also promised joy, yet my church was a sponsor of the largest Christian mental health hospital in the country.

I had been in church and Christian schools all my life. At the age of 27, I had received assurance of salvation through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Yet in spite of all that, I struggled terribly with anxiety, my inability to conquer sin, and my efforts to reconcile psychotherapy and Biblical teaching.

To drive home the truth of my condition and the insufficiency of my efforts, in the early 70’s God showed me five things:

1. God promised peace that passes understanding, and I didn’t have it. I had peace with God, but not the peace of God. I had to confess that I couldn’t attain it. If I were to obtain that kind of peace, it would have to be a gift.

Continue reading…

Mentoring Testimony

A Testimony by Steve Ranz

I was raised in a Catholic home and attended a Catholic grade school and High School which including my freshman and sophomore years in a minor Catholic seminary.  I completed my formal education by gaining my Bachelor’s degree from a Catholic College and my MBA from a Catholic University. I maintained my strong Catholic ties well into my adult years. However in 1999 my wife and I received an invitation to attend an event at an Evangelical Church.  This invitation led to some questions and within a short period of time we began attending both the Catholic as well as the Evangelical church.

I was struggling between my strong catholic ties and two critical concepts I encountered in the Evangelical church: mainly, that every person needed to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and that the Bible was God’s personal love letter to each of us. If that were the case, I needed to read the Bible.  From today’s vantage point, these facts seem so basic to my walk as a Christian, but back then it was a huge turning point for me.

The Holy Spirit began working mightily to open the eyes of my heart.  In a short period of time I began attending a Men’s Bible study and was being mentored by a strong Christian man.  In 2004, my wife and I were baptized.  When I gave my life over to the Lord there were two Bible passages that He put on my heart. The first was Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” And also Philippians 3:8: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

About three years ago our faith journey led us to Grace church and a Sunday morning class. Then came an invitation from Brad and Lynn Adams to attend a presentation by John Woodward (of Grace Fellowship International) arranged by Cross to Life Discipleship Ministry in Minnesota. When I heard the presentation and realized the message was based on Galatians 2:20 and the “Exchanged Life,” I knew I was right where God wanted me to be. After that Saturday I acquired and read Dr. Solomon’s Handbook to Happiness. I then read two more of his books and went through the webinar class with John. I also observed John as he took a man through a multiple session Exchanged Life mentoring process.

Back In 2005, the Holy Spirit drew me into discipling and mentoring men within our church, and eventually by 2010 I was strongly involved with prison ministry. I have now incorporated lots of the Handbook to Happiness diagrams and Bible verses into my “toolbox” and I have encouraged a number of men to read the book so that the Holy Spirit could use it to impact their walks directly.

One of the prisoners with whom I have been working since 2012 has read Handbook to Happiness and The Ins and Outs of Rejection at my suggestion.  Not only has it intensified his own walk with the Lord, but he has shared the message with other men in the prison as well. In January, 2018 this inmate will be leading a group of 10 men, navigating them through The New Life book by Regional Wallace. The class is called “Your Identity in Christ.” We have supplied books for them to use and we are hoping this becomes a regular part of the Prison Fellowship Academy program.  I am excited about this opportunity, and I am in communication with the Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections about getting this implemented in other locations for inmates.

I also lead the Every Man A Warrior study group at Grace Church on Saturday mornings and refer to the Galatians 2:20 material there. I recently shared John Woodward’s “Paradigm Shift” article with one of the men to help him understand more of the New Covenant concepts.

I retired last May and was then able to begin and complete the first step of the personalization process to become trained for “intensive discipleship” to men through the Cross to Life ministry here in Minneapolis. I was not sure what to expect of that process. It turned out to be very eye-opening for me. As Linda Gammon and her co-discipler took me through the Main Truths to be Shared in Exchanged Life Discipleship, I uncovered and learned a lot about myself that had been “hidden” before. I am so appreciative of the investment that the Cross to Life Discipleship ministry team made in taking me through this process. I look forward to the next step of observing trained Exchanged Life mentors to further what the Holy Spirit wants to do through me. Praise the Lord!

Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2017

Bob Kellemen (Th.M., Ph.D.) compiled this list with its book summaries. He is Professor of Biblical Counseling at Faith Bible Seminary and was the founding Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. The list is from the editorial perspective of the Coalition; their theology is primarily Reformed sanctification with a dichotomous view of man, and Nouthetic counseling methodology. Yet, because the authors are Protestant Christians with a conviction of the inspiration, authority, and relevance of the Holy Bible, most of the content is commendable and useful, especially on the resurrection side of the Cross (Gal. 2:20). – JBW

[Reposted from Biblical Counseling Coalition’s blog]

If you are a counselor, pastor, student, one-another minister, small group leader, or spiritual friend, you want to know the most helpful books about biblical counseling—using God’s Word for helping hurting people.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the top 17 books published in 2017 about biblical counseling, written by a biblical counselor about Christian living, or important to biblical counselors.

I’ve selected these books on the basis of their biblical depth, relevance to life, practicality for one-another ministry, faithfulness to the sufficiency of Scripture, application to progressive sanctification, and by surveying what leaders in the biblical counseling world are saying about them.


Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medication by Mike Emlet, New Growth Press

As Christians, how should we think about psychiatric diagnoses and their associated treatments? We can’t afford to isolate ourselves and simply dismiss these categories as unbiblical. Nor can we afford to accept the entire secular psychiatric diagnostic and treatment enterprise at face value as though Scripture is irrelevant for these complex struggles. Instead, we need a balanced, biblically and scientifically-informed approach. In Descriptions and Prescriptions, biblical counselor and retired physician, Mike Emlet, gives readers a helpful way forward on these important issues as he guides lay and professional helpers through the thicket of mental health diagnoses and treatments. Descriptions and Prescriptions is a clear, thoughtful primer in which the Bible informs our understanding of psychiatric diagnoses and the medications that are often recommended based on those labels.

Continue reading the full article:

The Care Notebook

A chaplain recently introduced us the The Care Notebook. It’s a web based application designed specifically for caring-minded people to securely organize details and record the care they show to others. Here’s an introductory video.

Building a Church Counseling Ministry…

Building a Church Counseling Ministry…without Killing the Pastor was written by Sue Nicewander of Biblical Counseling Ministries in Plover, Wisconsin.

“The concept of this book began with a couple of realizations. First, we have observed that pastors of small to average-sized local churches can use more help with the growing demands of counseling. Second, well-trained biblical counselors are coming out of our Bible colleges and seminaries to a silent job market. How might the two groups be brought together? We started applying the principles of this book with a small group of central Wisconsin Baptist pastors and lay- leaders from ordinary churches ranging in size from roughly 40 to 300 members. The five pastors who started on our advisory board were extremely busy men with multi-faceted ministries that included regular counseling. They all loved the thought of having such resources available, but they also agreed that they had neither the time nor the energy to take on such a project. But when I offered to do the legwork, their ears perked up and we began to discuss the possibilities. The concept that would have overwhelmed a single pastor actually energized the group. Now, ten years later, together we have built a uniquely effective model that supplies counseling resources through a trained biblical counselor for each of their churches as well as consultations, training, and/or referrals for nearly sixty others.”

Sue gives a brief description of Biblical Counseling Ministries at

Although she uses a Nouthetic Counseling approach (ACBC), the administrative aspects of this project are useful for biblical counselors who use other models.

Training Video Series – New Download Edition

The Two Lives of Marie Marshall is a video series of actual counseling sessions. Here Lee LeFebre demonstrates a typical Exchanged Life counseling process using the AELM diagrams. At the time, Lee was counselor and trainer at Exchanged Life Ministries of Colorado. This series is now offered as a digital download from (for training purposes only).

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