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Appropriation

Classic Exchanged Life Counseling applies the cross-oriented deeper life message to strategic Discipleship Counseling. It deals primarily with the heart, so that behavior change and topical guidance are primarily addressed on the resurrection side of the cross (Gal. 2:20).

Handbook to Happiness and Handbook for Christ Centered Counseling by Dr. Charles Solomon have been foundational to this branch of Christian Counseling. Those familiar with Grace Fellowship’s edition of the “Wheel diagrams” recognize that the process boils down to the counselee reframing his/her journey from the self-life to the Christ Life (see F.B. Meyer’s book by this title).

This past year GFI has started to use a new diagram to assist people in understanding the process of how to appropriate Christ as Life (Col 3:1-4). Although our identification with Christ is a gift of God at the new birth (1 Cor. 1:30) our practical experience of this (in the soul and behavior) is conditional. How does one move from the defeat of Galatians 3:1-3 to the victory of Galatians 2:20;5:22-24?

Some (trying to avoid the mistake of self-effort in sanctification) say “there is no how to.” Others assume that the practical experience of victory is automatic if the exchanged life is interpreted in a psychologically comfortable way. Consider the following biblical, practical explanation.

The appropriation diagram has been helping counselees with a simple summary of the response God calls us to for the abundant life (John 10:10).

Notice the sample Scripture verses in the diagram that support the five “R”s:

  1. Repent (Admit errors of your natural way and align with God’s way.)
  2. Relinquish (Present yourself to God as a living sacrifice.)
  3. Recognize (Discern your co-crucifixion and co-resurrection with Christ.)
  4. Reckon (Count on this revelation to be true personally.)
  5. Rest (Depend on Christ to live His Life through you.)

As the discipler cooperates with the Holy Spirit, he/she facilitates this process of appropriating Jesus Christ as Life. In this way the counselor serves like Joshua (Josh. 1-3), guiding the redeemed wanderer cross the Jordan River into Canaan.

Those who are involved in personal ministry are invited to study and share this appropriation diagram. We would appreciate your feedback about this appropriation tool.

The God-Centered Legacy of DeVern Fromke

An author that taught the message of union with Christ with a God-centered perspective was DeVern Fromke. Books such as The Ultimate Intention are on the required reading list for our network of Galatians 2:20 counseling ministries. I appreciated some personal calls and correspondence with him in his later years. Brother Fromke went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago. Author Frank Viola posted his respects for Devern Fromke’s ministry at Frank’s popular blog:

“One of my mentors has gone to be with the Lord. A treasured spiritual luminary has left this earth. DeVern Fromke is now with God. He was 93.

“I met DeVern in 1993 along with Stephen Kaung (disciple of Watchman Nee)… Fromke ministered in conferences with the man who has had the most influence on my life, T. Austin-Sparks–though Sparks left this realm before I ever heard his name. All of these men gave me my foundation in the Eternal Purpose of God. And I still marvel at the depth of revelation whenever I read Sparks…

“He, along with Kaung and Sparks, were pioneers of God’s Ultimate Purpose. I’m grateful for his life and legacy. Beyond everything else, he showed me how to carry the Lord’s highest message without being egotistical or high-minded. DeVern was a portrait of the humility of Christ in a gifted vessel.”

Posted by Frank Viola, October 29, 2016
https://frankviola.org/2013/02/22/devernfromke/

DeVern Fromke’s books for adults and children are still available at https://fromke.com/

My Dad in Heaven

“When children are little, they are happy to boast about their dads … how big they are … how strong they are … My Dad Is The Best Dad In The Universe is my best attempt to boast in the same way about my Heavenly Father.”

“Each line in this 12 minute video was inspired by a Bible passage … Over 150 in total!
This video can be downloaded for free along with the audio narration and text.”

When you visit AbbasKids.com, download the free video, Cartoon Gallery and PDF books by Barry Adams. They are full of visual grace-and-truth for children of all ages!

What is Eternal Life?

As Exchanged Life disciplers/counselors convey the message of the believer’s union with Christ, the nature of eternal life is addressed. Here is a brief biblical outline on this theme.

God is eternal…without beginning and without end.

“Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2

Eternal live is essentially God’s Life.

“[God]…who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” 1 Tim. 6:16

Eternal Life is not restricted or defined by chronological time.

“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” John 8:56-58

As God the Son, Christ is eternal
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2

Eternal life is received when a person is redeemed (born again).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:47

Eternal Life is Christ’s Life.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” John 14:6

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”” John 11:25,26

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” 1 John 5:11-13

God has made provision for Christ’s life to be the believer’s life source experientially.

“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

“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature,” 2 Peter 1:3,4

This spiritual union of the Christian life is symbolized in the Vine – branch relationship.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

– JBW (NKJV quotes)

This article in PDF: What is Eternal Life?

Abide Above

The beginning of a new year in a important opportunity to prioritize our personal devotional life. We have a page on this site of helpful free resources arranged in daily readings. Not only is this convenient for the counselor/discipler, it is helpful to recommend to the counselee/disciple. Here is a sample article from None but the Hungry Heart, which is archived at abideabove.com

Tranquil Trust

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).

Restful trust is developed not so much by what the Lord Jesus does for us, but by who He is to us—and that necessitates fellowship.

“It is a wonderful thing to be so satisfied with the Lord Jesus’ company, that we can be tranquil about everything. You will often find that it is the one of the most anxious temperament who finds most in Him, when such an one begins to know Him. I remember when I used to think that I should be happy beyond conception if I were able to say, ‘I will fear no evil,’ ‘my heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.’ In order to reach this, you must find Him enough, without anything else. We all say that He is enough, but it is quite a different thing to know it practically. You can never prove the worth of anyone, until you are absolutely dependent on him.” -J.B.S.

“What do you need? Ask your Father about it. Instead of harassing your mind about it, present it to Him; and it is not said that He will necessarily give you what you ask, but He gives you His peace. You put your cares into His heart, and He will put His peace into yours.”

“Our Father’s purpose is an ‘eternal purpose,’ from eternity, embracing an eternity to come. He does not shape His thoughts according as circumstances arise, but the circumstances are controlled by His thoughts and plans. How blessed to know that He is absolute Master in all things; that even ‘He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He restrains.’ It is the only thing that can give the smallest comfort in the midst of such a scene of confusion all around us.” -F.W.G.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).

(12/25)

Watchman Nee: An Orthodox Evangelical

Exchanged Life Counseling is an application of the message of identification with Christ (Rom. 6:1-4, John 15:1-8) to clinical discipleship. Sometimes our brothers and sisters in other branches “the family tree” are suspicious of our doctrinal perspective. Since the writings of Watchman Nee (such as The Normal Christian Life) are classic, valuable resources, we may be called upon to reassure inquirers that his teaching is well within the boundaries or orthodoxy..

The Christian Research Institute (a.k.a “The Bible Answer Man” broadcast) devoted an issue of their Journal to retract their previous condemnation of Nee/Lee/”Local Church.”
The journal states,

“The purpose of this five-part article, then, is to offer a fresh critique of the LC [‘Local Church / Watchman Nee & Witness Lee]movement. After briefly looking at their background as a movement and as a source of controversy, we will take a long, hard look at what can fairly be called the four major concerns evangelicals have expressed about the LC. These were all succinctly presented in a 2007 “open letter” to the LC signed by a long list of evangelical theologians, apologists, and leaders. We will then draw our conclusions together and reassess where the LC stands in relation to historic orthodoxy and to the wider Christian community. Finally, we will look at the larger picture: what is at stake in the decades-long controversy surrounding the LC and what might be gained from its resolution”…

The issue is available for free download:
http://www.equip.org/PDF/EnglishOpt.pdf

Not that we have will individually have complete agreement with Nee/ Lee literature, but it is helpful to have this research and vindication handy.

Hank Hanegraaff summarized this vindication in this online video:
“A Brief Affirmation of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee”

Union with Christ

Ian Thomas’ books such as The Saving Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness continue to be accurate and dependable resources to share the message of the Exchanged Life. We believe this New Covenant perspective should be central to Discipleship Counseling. Thomas was used of the Lord to launch the Capernwray Bible Institutes in various countries. Derek Burnside teaches at the mother school in England. In this online video message, Derek speaks on the topic “I’m in Christ and He’s in Me” (John 14:20). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOoczLDCUOw