One of the key issues in Christ-centered personal ministry is to help a struggling believer to discover and appropriate his/her new identity in Christ. Rose Publishing produces a pamphlet: “Who I Am in Christ: 14 Keys to Understanding Your Identity in Christ.” Here is a sample in PDF: Rose Bible eCharts WhoIAm 14Keys
Grace Fellowship announces a new policy to help ministries cultivate biblical counseling teams. As of May, 2017 there is a new option to take Solomon School Online Lecture Series.
Previously, those walking through the Exchanged Life Counselor certification process would register for this 25 video & notes series at the individual rate ($325) and view them on their own. Although the single viewer track is still standard practice, now ministries have the option of purchasing a site license for this module. For a one time fee, your ministry team will have open access to the 25 online lectures and notes.
Some ministries will fund this $1,000 fee by identifying it as a sponsorship project. (It is easier to raise funds for a one-time site license that will have ongoing benefits for the whole ministry than for an individual’s expenses.)
One advantage of the site license is the use of the video lectures as a group training process. This is how our affiliate in Minnesota, Cross to Life Discipleship Ministries, went through this module of training. The use of the videos in a group setting allows for helpful discussion, feedback, and application to your local ministry.
The other requirements for individual certification remain the same, although some ministries also do the Exchanged Life Conference as a group via DVD rather than (or in addition to) the live event.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact John Woodward at GFI. God bless the development and deployment of Christ-centered counseling ministries!
One of the most uplifting ways to learn about the value of Exchanged Life discipleship and counseling is through testimonies. Grace Fellowship is beginning a podcast series of audio testimonies.
Listen to Dr. Al Scardino tell of his journey to know Christ as Life. Some time after resigning from the Roman Catholic priesthood, he embraced the plan of salvation and was born again. He shares about how he and his wife benefited from Exchanged Life Counseling in Colorado; he was later trained in this type of ministry in Florida. In 1988 Al became Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church of Atlanta under Dr. Charles Stanley, and led that staff and lay ministry for two decades. Listen/download here.
Lay counselor, Mary Louise McDonald testifies of her journey to experience Christ as Savior, Lord, and Life. She was trained by Dr. Judy Unruh and counseled at church and eventually from her home. In spite of a cancer battle and ongoing physical handicaps, Mary Louise draws on God’s grace and faithfulness daily. Listen/download here.
The author notes, “Nearly all seminaries seem to avoid the basic distinction between spirit, soul, and body. Distinctions that the Apostle Paul and the writer of Hebrews clearly pointed out as an underlying force in the personal understanding of what God has done on our behalf, and how he is always pressing us forward toward maturity on the path of righteousness. This is not something that we must wait for in the age to come, but much of that completeness is for God’s people right now, today, as we rest in his faithfulness and promises of the wholeness that he has given his children for this life. We must learn to express our trust in God by releasing ourselves to follow through with the actions that are necessary to validate and express our true identity to the world around us.”
… let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God...(Hebrews 6:1).
This new book is available via Amazon.com here.
The Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Guide. Kate K. shared her testimony of how God worked in her life through the 12 week Cross to Life Discipleship discipleship process:
“I know the proper place to start this testimony is with praise to the only Sovereign Lord of this universe, who, by His love and grace, is also the Shepherd of my heart. With His faithful leading in my life, I have had the blessing of learning and growing in amazing ways in the past few months that only He could allow. I am humbled when I reflect how I even got started at Biblical Counseling (CTLDM) at Grace Church. While I was a HR Manager at a company last year, I was calling to find resources for an employee of mine. After learning about what was offered at Grace and helping my employee get set up there, I felt a tug on my heart, that maybe I should consider this for myself.
“Going through Discipleship with Marilyn, Jan and Shirley, was an incredible blessing! These three sweet women, who love Jesus, reflected His grace beautifully by listening and continually pointing me to Jesus – the true author and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). I learned that regardless of my struggles or how I felt about myself, the only one who can define me is my perfect Savior! This was so freeing, knowing that my sins are in the past and I am one of a ‘chosen people, a royal priesthood’ in His eyes (1 Peter 2:9).
“Over these past few months of Discipleship, I feel that my heart and ears are more in tune with my Savior, and that I am more sensitive to His promptings as I have grown deeper in love with Him. My desire to be in His Word and in prayer with Him has increased exponentially as well. Because I am spending more time with Him, I feel that I am starting to see life more in light of eternity. I am asking myself how situations and circumstances I am going through relate to what God wants me to learn and how I can respond to Him out of obedience, knowing earth is not my home. I recognize that life always has disappointments and struggles because we are not with the Lord. – Yet!!
“I recognize my feelings for what they are – feelings. Specifically, when I am upset and frustrated, my first question isn’t always ‘Why?’, rather ‘What is God trying to teach me?’ and “Do my feelings reflect a godly attitude that would point others to Him?”
“In John 17:15, Jesus prays for believers, asking them not to be taken out of the world, but protected from the evil one. In Ephesians 2:10, we are told that we are the Lord’s handiwork, created before time to do good works, which the Lord Himself prepared for us to do. Considering those two verses, we have a wonderful purpose and work to do in this world – which will be difficult, yet beautiful – and He has prepared it for our good, and more importantly, His glory.
“While I still have a lot to learn about my sweet Savior and how I can respond obediently, I have learned through Discipleship the importance of leaning into Him every day and even more so in the trials. He is a good and faithful God, who loves me and desires for me to be transformed to be more like Him. I thank the Lord for using this Discipleship to pull me closer to Him and allowing me to recognize my true identity in Him. And I am so thankful for the three beautiful and obedient women who showed me the Lord’s abundant love by teaching me more about Him and His truths! God is so good!!! ” – Kate
Mary K. Thomas, M.A., is your instructor for these lessons, which deal with the brain, the mind, the emotional center of our soul, overcoming addictive behavior, and learning how to experience grace in our Christian walk. Our salvation is much bigger than perceived, including the healing from hurtful pasts and deep woundedness. Experience the abundant life in Christ, making the Lord very real in your life!
Part A – The Foundations of Healthy Thinking
Part B – The Formation of the Triune Brain
Part C – Brain Facts Continued
Disc 2 – Functions Explained
Part A – The Reptilian Brain
Part B – The Limbic System
Part C – The Limbic System Continued
Part D – The Limbic System Continued
The Formidable Trio vs. The Neo Cortex Brain
Instructional & Study Materials
For details and ordering information, visit ReleasingGrace.org
Grace discipleship is simply profound and profoundly simple. Here is a practical four lesson booklet, Discipleship Basics, by Dr. Phil Jones. These lessons are not intended to be comprehensive, but are foundational and user-friendly.
Here is a free copy of the PDF notebook: discipleship-basics-all-lessons-booket-format
Here is a four message downloadable audio series that corresponds with the lessons. They are at Grace Fellowship Internationals’ Sermon.net audio channel here.
These were produced and preached at First Baptist Church of Powell in Tennessee.
It is important to distinguish the model (including message and goals) of counseling from the communications skills used in the process. Much of what is taught under the heading of generic counseling skills is simply an analysis of the dynamics of good communication in the context of facilitating change.
For example, a chef may have excellent cooking skills, but the quality of the meal depends on the food and the recipe. Likewise, the Christ centered counselor has a tremendous counseling advantage if the counselee is open to a Christian model of helping. The “food” is the Bread of Life (John 6:35); the “recipe” is the particular biblical counseling approach the counselor employs.
But the Christian counselor needs discernment to recognize where humanistic presuppositions color the definition of counseling skills. Instead of being non-directive, the biblical counselor is directive (Psalm 119:105). Although there is unconditional positive regard of the person, the client’s beliefs and ethics will be evaluated under the unchanging standard of God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Similarly, the counselor’s beliefs and behaviors are also accountable to this divine revelation (1 Tim. 4:15,16).
A quick internet search turns up a summary of generic counseling skills like this one. Kevin J. Drab introduces his article on “The Top Ten Basic Counseling Skills” in a way that elevates the skills over the content:
“Research is increasingly finding that the type of therapy used is not a important to outcomes as are specific counselor behaviors such as (1) Enthusiasm, (2) Confidence, (3) Belief in the patient’s ability to change. Although there is nothing which will ensure change, it would appear that clients are more likely to achieve their goals when a good and positive relationship exists between them and their therapist. In essence the counselor’s interactions with the client are a powerful tool in the helping relationship.”
We would beg to differ; if/when the counselor and counselee are open to the Gospel and the Spirit of God as Ultimate Counselor, transformational change is possible! With these distinctions in mind, you can download the PDF of his generic counseling skills summary here: http://www.people.vcu.edu/~krhall/resources/cnslskills.pdf
May we model integrity, biblical faithfulness as well as good communication skills:
“So he [king David] shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands” (Psalm 78;72).
Nona Hovey serves on the music staff of Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota…In her 40’s, she began to realize there were fragmented inner parts of her that needed God’s healing. In the process of that healing this CD ministry was born, filled with piano improvisations of Scripture as led by the Holy Spirit. Be Still Music is a ministry that produces and distributes her CD projects. The five Be Still albums are freely available to listen to online and to download and share! Visit and share Be Still Music here: www.bestillmusic.com/album-list