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Blogs

Seems like every second article these days is about either (1) technology addiction, (2) sexual addiction, or (3) depression. Beginning to think that there’s a frequent connection between them all.

Can You Repent Without Changing? The Beginning of the End for Sexual Sin
This wins the “Article of the Week” award and is in the running for “Article of the Year.”

“Having counseled thousands of men and women, I find that the first step in overcoming sexual sin is to understand that sexual misbehavior is the heart’s arrogant attempt to deal with pain, and that the pain itself is not the problem.”

Plowing Through Addiction: The ABC’s of Victory | For The Church
“Now, I’ve worked with men struggling with some form of sexual addiction for almost twenty years and there is much to this problem. Regardless of the addiction, recovery as a believer after involves these 3 beginning, common-sense steps.”

How ‘Facebook Infidelity’ Can Sabotage Your Marriage

“The evidence that many married men and married women are using Facebook as a means to communicate emotionally and/or sexually outside of their marriage is overwhelming. Massive amounts of research pertaining to Facebook infidelity and related topics have been conducted by other researchers as well as myself. To bring you up to date, below are some key bullet points of what’s happening on the Facebook-infidelity front:”

Calling, Burdens, and Being Crushed By Facebook
“Why specifically does social media leave me so dried up? Because of callings, burdens, and borders.”

Texting and Driving is Not Loving Your Neighbor. It Could Kill Them

Hope in the Darkness of Mental Illness
“Here are four descriptors of a good comforter: a witness who sees us when we’re stricken; an advocate who defends us when we’re abandoned; an intercessor who prays for us when our prayers have run dry; a friend who hopes for us when we no longer have hope for ourselves.”

3 Lines in the Sand
“All three of these lines in the sand are drawn in the opening two chapters of the Bible. God makes it clear that He created us, that He created male and female, and that He designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. Those three foundational truths are clear. All three are rejected today.”

Ten Difficult, But Really Important Words
“Many words in the English language are hard to get out. In fact, there’s even a Dictionary of Difficult Words. But none are more difficult than these: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”"

Kindle Books

Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence by Crawford Loritts $1.99.

United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia Newbell $1.99.

Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure by Alistair Begg $1.99.

The New Matthew Henry Commentary: The Classic Work with Updated Language $3.99.

New Book

Collateral Damage: My Journey to Healing from My Pastor and Father’s Failure by James Carroll. My endorsement:

You will shed tears of joy over the healing power of Christ and the astonishing love of God’s people for a heart-broken 12-year-old boy.

 Video

The Golden Rule in Christian Dating

Summary:

Lean hard on the people who know you best, love you most, and will tell you when you’re wrong. We need friends who love God even more than they love us. Only people who love Christ more than they love you will have the courage to tell you that you’re wrong in dating — and give you the encouragement, truth, wisdom, and perspective you need.

See Marshall’s new book Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating 


Smart Rules for Smartphones

In Counseling Parents about Smart Rules for Smartphones (And All Social Media), Garret Higbee discusses how he and his wife have navigated the digital jungle with their three kids (including two teens). Click through to read about his approach. Here are the 10 rules they have developed over the years. He also provide an additional ten guidelines.

10 Rules for Smartphones and Social Media (Violation Means Restricted Use for Days or Weeks)

  1. Never text while driving a car.
  2. Never write a text or send a photo that you wouldn’t want your mom or dad to see.
  3. Always ask before you forward a text or photo.
  4. Never post your cell phone number anywhere.
  5. Turn off location services and never broadcast your location.
  6. Never respond to numbers you don’t recognize.
  7. If someone asks you to send an inappropriate photo, say “No!” and talk to your parents about it.
  8. If you receive an inappropriate photo, delete it immediately and tell your parents; block the sender.
  9. Don’t download apps without your parents’ permission.
  10. Don’t use social media or electronic devices to bully or gossip.

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch.


Check out

Blogs

The 8 Questions I Need to Answer Before I Decide to Retire
“Retirement is just another season in life; one filled with both challenges and opportunities. So, as in any stage of life, we can never go wrong if we put God’s kingdom first when making the important decision about when to retire and how we will spend our time once we do.

Podcast: Pastoral Rest | Practical Shepherding
“Listen as Brian Croft and Jim Savastio discuss the often neglected issue of pastoral rest. From the vacation to the day off to the pastoral sabbatical, Brian and Jim explore the biblical necessity of rest and offer practical insights for avoiding pastoral burn-out.”

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence | Tim Lane
“In March of 2015, I pursued certification to use a tool called the Birkman Method to help leaders and teams grow in Emotional Intelligence. In addition to learning how to use this tool to help others, my training also allowed me to grow in greater self-awareness and learn how my own leadership style could be both productive and not so productive given the situation. I wished I had been exposed to this while I was in seminary preparing for leadership in ministry.”

3 Ways to Control Your Phone Addiction on Vacation | Harvard Business Review
“If we want to truly disconnect from everyday pressures and reap the positive benefits of a holiday we need to commit to setting three helpful boundaries.

How “Online” Is Your Prayer Life? | Counseling One Another
“The average adult in the UK spends nearly nine hours of each day on media and communication, outstripping even the amount of time spent sleeping or doing other vital tasks. Over 80 per cent of respondents to the study said the internet makes communicating easier, but a majority also conceded that they were probably “hooked” on the internet and spent longer than intended online each day. On average, we spend a little more than one day each week online (25 hours), with 10 per cent saying that they access the internet more than 50 times each day.”

Christian, What Are You Watching? | Crossway

“As followers of Christ, we cannot afford to take lightly the media’s pervasive presence in our lives. Think about the power of video entertainment, for instance. Whether viewed on computer, a portable player, or a traditional TV set, television and film are without peer in their cultural influence. Ken Myers, an astute Christian observer of popular culture, notes that television is not only “the dominant medium of popular culture” but also “the single most significant shared reality in our entire society.” He compares television’s impact to that of Christianity centuries ago, when “Christendom” defined the Western world:”

When Your Spouse Is Mentally Ill | Christianity Today
“Through the years, I have learned some things about marriage and mental illness that I wished someone would have told me early on. If you or a loved one are facing a similar challenge with mental illness, here are a few important truths.”

Four stages of “evangelical” affirmation of gay marriage | Denny Burk
“I have noticed a pretty consistent progression among those who eventually embrace gay marriage. It goes like this:
(1) Oppose gay-marriage.
(2) Oppose taking a stand on the question.
(3) Affirm gay marriage.
(4) Vilify traditional marriage proponents:”

4 Reasons to Teach Church History to Teens
“Far from being a stagnant collection of dates, movements, and odd-sounding names, the church’s past represents a treasure trove of God-exalting wisdom that helps us navigate the cultural realities of the present.”

God’s Grace in My Anorexia
“If you’d met me 13 years ago, here’s what you’d have seen: A ”successful” Christian, newly married to a pastor in training. The leader of a thriving children’s ministry with a bright future ahead. Someone who seemed to have it all together. But there’s one part you might have missed: a young woman gripped by an eating disorder that would nearly take her life. So how did I get there—and what has changed?”

Kindle Books


Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley $2.99.

Health, Wealth & Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? by David Jones $4.12.

The Most Important Place on Earth: What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One by Robert Wolgemuth $2.99.


Biblical Counseling Resources

Here are some of the online resources I refer to in the Foundations of Biblical Counseling course that I teach at Puritan Reformed Seminary. I have another bunch of links under the heading “The Counselor’s World” which deal with the relationship between Biblical Counseling and the other counseling systems that influence our world. However, that list is so long that I’ll post it separately another time.

For articles and resources on more specific counseling issues scroll down this page

WHAT IS BIBLICAL COUNSELING?

A Ministry to Serve and Shepherd | Dave Jenkins

5 Definitions of Biblical Counseling | Bob Kellemen

One Definition of Christian Psychology | Phil Monroe

Why we “care” instead of “counsel” one another | Robert Cheong

THE COUNSELOR’S GOD

12 Ways the Holy Spirit Energizes Discipleship Counseling | Paul Tautges

How God is good for the soul | Eric Johnson

Four Liberating Truths About God | Tim Chester

THE COUNSELOR’S BIBLE

Scripture and Counseling Interview with Bob Kellemen(Part 1) (Part 2)

Sufficiency of Scripture and Psychotropic Medication | Bob Kellemen

Extrabiblical Books and Scripture’s Sufficiency | Tony Reinke

Marvin Olavksy on Journalism and the Six Classes of Knowledge | Trevin Wax

THE COUNSELOR’S HUMANITY

The Very Real Pain of “Imaginary” Illnesses | BBC

Overspiritualizing invisible wounds? | Phil Monroe

How can Christians Tell the Difference Between A Spiritual Issue and a Physical One? | Heath Lambert

Sorting Out the Spiritual and the Physical | Mike Emlet

A Christian Approach to & Nature vs. Nurture | Justin Taylor

Emotions: What does the Bible each? | Bib Kellemen 

Emotions: Why Do We Feel What We Feel? | Bob Kellemen

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Woefully and Tragically Fallen | Steve Cornell

How Abuse Changes a Child’s Brain | Wired Science

Imbalanced Theology Leads to Imbalanced Counseling | Todd Hardin

THE COUNSELOR’S COMMUNITY/CHURCH

Thirteen Benefits of Church-Based Biblical Counseling |Robert Jones (Part One) (Part Two)

The Preacher, the Counselor, and the Congregation | Kevin DeYoung

Five Reasons I Love Church-Based Counseling | Pat Quinn

How to Counsel as a Friend | Jackie Knapp

Adultery and Counseling in the Local Church | Jonathan Holmes

Prayer Is a Great Place to Begin Biblical Counseling | David Powlison

The Local Church is THE place for Biblical Counseling | David Powlison

Baylor Study: Churches Blind to Mental Illness | Baylor University

 Do You Offer a Lab with Your Instruction? | Mark Shaw

Transformational Small Group Labs | Bob Kellemen

6 Benefits of the Weekly Training Meal | Steve Viars

How We Do Biblical Counseling Training in Our Congregation | Deepak Reju

THE COUNSELOR’S PROCESS (1): CONSENT & CONFIDENTIALITY

In general, I follow Paul Tripp’s helpful schema of “Love, Know, Speak, Do” as found in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. However, I expand it considerably under each heading.

When your Counselee Confides Abuse | Julie Ganschow

11 Ways to Avoid a Lawsuit in Counseling | Steve Viars

Pastoral Care, Confidentiality, and Sexual Abuse | Matt Kapps

My Pastoral Confidentiality Policy | Tom Ascol

THE COUNSELOR’S PROCESS (2): LOVE

Counseling Relationships

Truth and Love: Sharing Scripture and Soul | Bob Kellemen

Five Portraits of a Biblical Counselor (Part One) | Bob Kellemen

Five Portraits of a Biblical Counselor (Part Two) | Bob Kellemen

The Blessing of Being Counseled by Someone You Know | Scott Mehl

Should Counselors Talk about Themselves? | Bob Kellemen

Is the Future of Counseling and Therapy Online? | Infographic

Preparing for Difficult Counselees | Todd Hardin

When Men Counsel Women | David Powlison and Nancy Guthrie

Cultural Sensitivity

The Culturally Competent Biblical Counselor | Victoria Mwongela

Sympathy

Winston Smith on Entering into the Emotions of Others | Phil Monroe

God’s Nouthetic Confrontation of Uncaring Shepherd | Bob Kellemen

Bob Kellemen series on Sympathy

Half Biblical Ministry to the Suffering
Counseling Without Loving Compassion
Mingling Our Sufferings and Sorrows
Job’s Miserable Counselors: How Not to Counsel
Climbing in the Casket: Rich Soul Empathy
5 Marks of Compassionate Biblical Counseling
4 Christlike Characteristics of a Biblical Comforter
Gospel Listening 
Listening to 5 Biblical Principles of Gospel Listening

How to Be a Miserable Comforter | Paul Tautges

Prayer

David Powlison on Prayer and Counseling

Humility

Over-confidence? Under-Confidence? Assessing Counselor Tendencies | Phil Monroe

Hope

The Centrality of Hope in Counseling Biblically | Joshua Waulk

New Research Shows that Personalities Change | Charles Hodges

Counselors Need Hope Too | Ken Long

When Hope Hurts | Winston Smith

Preparation

Counsel for the Counselor | Matt Capps

THE COUNSELOR’S PROCESS (3): KNOW

Questions

How God uses Questions in the Bible | Michael Kelley

20 Questions to Expose Your Idolatry | Paul Tautges

2 reasons why finding the root problem may not be a good goal for counselors | Phil Monroe

Listening

Six LISTENing Principles | Bob Kellemen

Telling Painful Memories: Recommendations for Counselors | Phil Monroe

Interpretation

Does your counselor have these two important skills? | Phil Monroe

Six Basic Struggles | Ed Welch

Winston Smith on Entering into the Emotions of Others | Phil Monroe

Shame, Fear, Guilt | Tim Challies

The Very Real Pain of “Imaginary” Illnesses | BBC

THE COUNSELOR’S PROCESS (4): SPEAK

Are you counseling a Saint, Sufferer, or Sinner? | Trevin Wax

Avoiding a One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Counseling | Trevin Wax

Gentle Answers #1: A Friend in Sin | Jared Olivetti

Gracious Candor: A Tutorial in Speaking the Truth in Love | Heath Lambert

Counseling Stories | Barry York

Dump-truck Counseling | Paul Tautges

How Not to Quote the Bible to Hurting People | Mike Emlet

Different Approaches for Different People (Pt. 1 of 2) | Paul Tautges

Different Approaches for Different People (Pt. 2 of 2) | Paul Tautges

D.A. Carson on how to avoid being pastorally insensitive and theologically stupid

More Things Not to Say to Those Who are Suffering | Ed Welch

4 Words that Give a Well-Rounded Picture of Counseling in the Church | Paul Tautges

How can Christians Tell the Difference Between A Spiritual Issue and a Physical One? | Heath Lambert

Journal : Sorting Out the Spiritual and the Physical | Mike Emlet

A Christian Approach to & Nature vs. Nurture | Justin Taylor

Your Heart Matters More Than Your History | Kevin DeYoung

More on “Can Your Body Make You Sin?” | Phil Monroe

THE COUNSELOR’S PROCESS (5): DO

The Gospel Grid | J. A. Meddors

Meditation

A Healing Counselee is a Meditating Counselee | Todd Hardin

Sing

Counseled by Casting Crowns | Paul Tautges

Worship/Church

Counseling and Worship | Terry Johnson

Some Thoughts on How to Provide Long Term Pastoral Care (Part 1)  (Part 2) | Tim Lane

Repent

Battle Plan | Tim Challies

Replace

How to win the war for your mind | Jeff Vanderstelt

A Free Bible Study on How to Change the Way You Think, Act, and Experience Life | David Powlison

Goal-Setting

What Are We Aiming At? | Pat Quinn

Church Discipline

The Pastor and Counseling: An interview with Jeremy Pierre

Accountability

Accountability as a Lifestyle (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Referral

The Pastor and Counseling: When to refer | Jesse Johnson

The Pastor and Counseling: An interview with Jeremy Pierre

Six Steps to Wise Decision-Making About Psychotropic Medications | Brad Hambrick

How can Christians Tell the Difference Between A Spiritual Issue and a Physical One? | Heath Lambert

Termination

When do you Stop Counseling? | Deepak Reju

Medication

6 Steps to Wise Decision Making About Psychotropic Medications | Brad Hambrick


Check Out

Here are some articles by Joni and others reflecting on the 50th anniversary of her diving accident. If ever there was an example of God working all things together for good, this is it.

After 50 Years in a Wheelchair, I Still Walk With Jesus | Christianity Today

In Awe of Her God | Desiring God

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident

Moms Need To Stop Degrading Our Job As Brainless, Because It’s Not
“I have a college degree and worked for nearly a decade before I became a mother. The energy and ambition that I used to put into my career, I now put into my family. I’m still constantly drawing on my education and professional skills, but for a much more meaningful purpose. Most of the projects I worked on in my previous career are now obsolete. I believe my husband and children have eternal souls.”

When Husbands Die Young
“I was 30, and my husband had died. Sometimes I awoke to the sound of my own voice screaming his name, drenched in a cold sweat. Other nights were sleepless, the pain visceral. I lived in a fog, and then reality began to settle. He wasn’t coming back. Only 0.6 percent of American women are widowed when younger than 35. I’m a major anomaly, and people haven’t always known what to do with me. But the church can help. Here are six practical ways.”

10 Differences between Cockiness and Confidence
“You have heard it said that there is a thin line between confidence and cockiness, but the truth is they are miles apart. A cocky leader is not a leader with simply too much confidence; confidence and cockiness are very different traits all together. Here are ten differences between cockiness and confidence.”

What I’ve Learned From Being Fired
“I have been fired from three different jobs or gigs in my career and I learned from each one of them. Don’t get me wrong. Each of these was a painful experience. But these experiences also taught me important lessons that I probably could not have learned any other way. They were invaluable for my future success. Here are those lessons:”

What I Believe About Ministry
“Here’s a list of what I stand for. It’s still a work in progress. I expect to add to it and improve it over the years. But I don’t expect that many of the convictions I articulate here will change. I wish I’d held to them 25 years ago. My service to those I’ve pastored would have been richer for it.”

Kindle Books

Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn $2.99.

Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows by Ravi Zacharias $2.99. Part auto-biography.

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung $2.99.


There Are Souls To Be Saved: How Can We Rest?

Pastors used to be some of the happiest and healthiest people alive, with better life expectancy than the general population. But in “Taking a Break From the Lord’s Work,” journalist Paul Vitello reports, “Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension, and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”

High levels of stress, depression, and burnout are leading to broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken marriages, and broken churches. According to Christianity Today, burnout is responsible for 20 percent of all pastoral resignations. That’s hardly surprising, since surveys reveal that pastors relegate physical exercise, nutrition, and sleep to a much lower priority than the average worker.

I’ve been there and done that—and suffered the consequences. But through painful personal experience, and also through counseling many others since, I’ve learned that God has graciously provided a number of ways for us to reset our broken and burned-out lives, and to help us live a grace-paced life in a burnout culture. Before we get to these, let’s consider why so many pastors are joining these statistics.

Read the rest of this article at 9 Marks.