Exchanged Life Counseling Matters

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

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.

Certification Congratulations to Yvonne

We congratulate Yvonne Ward on completing her certification process in Exchanged Life Counseling with Grace Fellowship International. Here is her testimony:


The Grace Fellowship International certification program has been one of the most positive and beneficial experiences in my Christian life. I did exchanged life training in the mid to late 90’s through a related ministry in Tennessee. While I learned much during that training, I feel the training I’ve received from GFI has been a deeper and more usable.

Since my certification with them almost twenty years ago, I’ve done a lot of Biblical/ discipleship counseling. The reason I chose to go through the GFI work was two-fold. Mainly, it was because I wanted to review and gain new insight for my personal life, as well as my counseling ministry. Through this process, I feel better equipped to share through the Spirituotherapy materials and training.

Personally, I’ve been reminded of my own identity in Christ. I lost my husband (to cancer) three years ago and found that I wasn’t sure where I fit anymore after my husband was gone. No longer a wife, a missionary, and not ministering alongside my husband was heartbreaking. I believe part of personal healing has been through the Holy Spirit using the truths I’ve been reminded of during my training with GFI.

Currently, I am serving in my church as a Biblical/discipleship counselor.  I don’t know what God has in the future but my desire is to continue to minister to hurting women through the means of the Spirituotherapy methodology.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the ministry at GFI. I value the friendships I’ve made and hope to continue them.


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

Discipleship Basics


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’ audio channel here.

These were produced and preached at First Baptist Church of Powell in Tennessee.

What is the role of counseling skills in a Christ-centered approach?


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:

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).


Be Still Music

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:

Exchange Rate

exchangeWhen we lived in Canada, I joined Charles Solomon for a ministry trip to Romania, I needed to get money that could be used during the trip. Since U.S. dollars are more readily exchanged for currency in other nations, I went to the local bank and converted Canadian dollars to the equivalent amount in U.S. dollars. Depending on the country and its economy, there are various exchange rates that banks offer.

This concept of “exchanging” echoes missionary Hudson Taylor’s reference to abundant life in Christ as ‘the Exchanged Life.’ This title reflects biblical passages such as Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Jesus came to give us life that is eternal AND abundant.

So what do we “exchange”? A transaction has already taken place for all true believers in Christ; we have been positionally and spiritually united with Him in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension–Praise God!” (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 2:6). For abundant living we exchange our self-oriented life for a Christ-centered life. What is the “exchange rate”? Our self-sufficiency deposited in the bank of heaven credits us–$0.00; but God’s grace returns to us–$ Unlimited Provision. What a deal!

A profound truth about this exchange is that as we deny our “self-life” we discover the enabling grace of God released in our experience. The apostle Paul expressed it this way: “For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor 4:11). And we are promised: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the DEATH of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His LIFE” (Rom. 5:10).

Our Father assures that the indwelling resurrection life of Christ is more than adequate to handle the problems and difficulties that we face…

by John Woodward  Continue reading this article…

Christ Centered Children’s Counseling


childrens_ministryAs announced in the current GFI newsletter, Glimpses of Grace, we just published a new course on Christ Centered Children’s Counseling. The course is especially for those who have taken some Exchanged Life Conference or Workshop training with Grace Fellowship (or a similar ministry), but can be taken by anyone wanting to be more equipped to effectively disciple and counsel hurting children. It is primarily online, with a course home page, but uses additional required materials. The course can be taken at your own pace. Completion earns a course certificate, and completing ten courses earns our Diploma in Biblical Counseling. The usual tuition of $75 is discounted to $49.00 for those who enroll in December. If you have a question, please contact John Woodward or register by calling GFI at 865-429-0450.

See this children’s video from Don Hammatt:


And a narrative explanation of The Castle tract:

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