Exchanged Life Counseling Matters

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




a re-post from Dr. James Dobson

As the summer rolls to a close, I want to share a thought with those of you who are struggling with your faith at this time. Some have encountered life-altering physical illnesses. Others have offered prayers that were seemingly unanswered. Still others have suffered financial setbacks and frustrations. As your troubles accumulated, you have wondered if God is really there and if He cares about you and your family. If that has been your experience in recent days, I have some good news for you. It comes from my book, When God Doesn’t Make Sense. You may be a victim of your own confusion about what the Lord is doing in your life. Let me explain.

I wrote another book many years ago entitled, Emotions, Can You Trust Them? It took me 200 pages to say, “No. You can’t believe everything you feel.” Your emotions are suspect at best and often lie to you with a straight face, especially about spiritual matters. Here’s the reason why.

Continue reading: Emotions_Can_You_Trust


Here are two other articles on this topic:

Your Palette of Emotions (J. Woodward)

How to Overcome Disagreeable Emotions (Hannah W. Smith)


Suicide: The Temptation to Exit

Living Waters has just produced another culturally relevant movie: Exit: The Appeal of Suicide. “Before you finish reading this, one individual will have ended their life by suicide—because they think they have no other choice. According to the World Health Organization, a massive 800,000 people take their lives every year—one death every 40 seconds. That’s 3,000 a day. For millions who suffer from depression and despair, “EXIT” points to a better way. This compelling movie shines a powerful light in the darkness and offers true hope to those who think they have none. Someone you know may be secretly considering their final exit. Watch “EXIT,” and share it with those you love.” View the trailer here:

A book that addresses this traumatic topic from an Exchanged Life perspective is Suicide: An Illict Lover. The author identifies the strangle hold of despair and then shows how claiming our co-death and co-resurrection with Christ is an exit that protects life–now and eternally. See ordering information at the GFI online bookstore here.

Empathy Versus Sympathy

(Global Leadership Summit)

Comment: Empathy is an important counseling skill. Whereas sympathy denotes feeling sorry for someone, empathy is to feel with someone.

In non directive counseling, skills–such as using empathy–can become the primary content and model of counseling. However, biblical counseling is different; it is directive. Exchanged Life Counseling has a distinctive message (the Christ-centered life), and methodology.

Yet, in directive counseling empathy is still important. A counselor who is eager to facilitate discovery and progress may forget to empathize. In a therapeutic context, the helper talks with the counselee in a caring way rather than talking at him/her. We are to be quick to listen, and slow to speak…(James 1:19), and we then speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). – JBW

Your New Identity

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

Announcing “Site License” Option for Online Lecture Series

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 $950.00 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!

Testimonial Interviews

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.

Pressing on to Maturity


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 here.

The Value of the Exchanged Life Message: A Testimony

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

From the e-letter of Cross to Life Discipleship Ministries (

Cross-Wired Mind

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!

Disc 1
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

Disc 3
The Formidable Trio vs. The Neo Cortex Brain

Bonus CD
Instructional & Study Materials

For details and ordering information, visit

Blog at

Up ↑