Exchanged Life Counseling Matters

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

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:

Lay Counselors: Effective Criteria for Selecting and Screening Them

by Siang-Yang Tan and Eric T. Scalise, adapted from their newly revised and updated Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry.

The careful selection of lay counselors is a crucial step in the development of an effective lay counseling ministry. However, there is less agreement and even less research on what specific criteria should be used to select counselors.

Minimally we would suggest the following criteria should be used to select lay Christian counselors for a lay counseling ministry:
1. Spiritual maturity. The counselor should be a Spirit-filled, mature Christian and committed Christ follower (cf. Gal. 6:1), who has a good knowledge of Scripture, wisdom in applying Scripture to daily living, and a regular prayer life. The person should be known by those in church leadership, have a healthy response to spiritual and other forms of authority, and have a reputation for being a person of ethical integrity and moral character. Prospective counselors should also have a set length of time in which they have been actively involved in the life of the local congregation (we recommend a minimum of one year).
2.Psychological stability…

Continue reading…

re-posted from Pastor to Pastor eletter from

Exchanged Life Marital Counseling


One of the most frequent–and challenging–types of biblical counseling is that of assisting couples in conflict. When you apply a Cross-oriented approach to personal ministry, keep in mind the overall strategy and context. We summarize this model as Four Phases:


Dr. Chuck Solomon pus it this way: “The problem is in the people, not [primarily] in the marriage.” We advocate a clarified counseling message, simplified counseling methodology, and  illustrated counseling materials. Instead of being a referee in a couple’s conflict (with both husband and wife in the session), we recommend leading them through Spirituotherapy individually. Although it’s counter-intuitive, we ask them to put the agenda of “fixing the marriage” on hold while we address their heart issues individually. On the resurrection side of the Galatians 2:20 cross, we bring the couple together for marital enrichment/coaching.

Mike Wells has taught how God typically uses the friction of marriage to bring us to the end of ourselves; and that can be good when we use the opportunity to discover God’s intended resource for fulfillment! His audio seminar on this topic is titled “Bury Your Marriage” (in the sense of radically denying self and trusting in Christ as Life).

The Christ-centered abiding life meets our ultimate needs (Phil. 4:19), then we are enabled to more effectively meet our spouse’s relational needs. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory… As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord [by grace, through faith], so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him” (Col 1:27; 2:6-10).

Here are some suggested resources related to the Four Phase approach. Assuming the couple are born gain believers, here are helpful counseling homework tools:

Phase 2 marriage resources:
The Life seminar (DVDs)
Marriage MP3’s from the Gillhams:
He Said, She Said (book)
Marriage The Journey
Bury Your Marriage (Mike Wells, audio)
A More Excellent Way (audio; agape love testimonies)

Phase 3 marriage resources:
The Bondage Breaker (Neil Anderson)
Christ Centered Marriage

Phase 4 marriage resources:
When Two Walk Together )Richard & Mary Strauss, ebook, autobiographical/ counsel)
Love and Respect (Emerson Eggrich – DVD, audio or book) Amazon
Biblical Portrait of Marriage (DVD & workbook),10-9
Marriage: Intimates or Inmates? (Ken Boa)

Exchanged Life Marital Counseling is one of the 25 lectures in GFI’s Solomon Online Lecture Series.


The Revived Life

This excellent study on the Abundant Life is biblically sound, doctrinally accurate, and practically applied. The author (with uses an explicit spirit/soul/body model of man.











Would you categorize your daily life as abundant? If not, why?

“Greater than any craving for food and water is the deep longing within the soul of many of God’s children to be like Jesus—to be holy and victorious over evil and to be loving and effective in service,” says John Van Gelderen. “In a word, to experience Christ’s life.”

If you’ve felt these longings, but are discouraged and defeated, separated from the life of Christ by the rising waters of failure, John provides hope and help. Laying down biblical stepping stones, he leads you on a journey to a life that overcomes sin and overflows into ministry to others—The Revived Life.

This book combines the brokenness truth of Roy Hession, the Spirit-filled life truth of Watchman Nee, and the spiritual warfare truth of Jesse Penn-Lewis.


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