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Blogs

The LGBT fraud has been exposed, and they’re definitely not happy about it | Opinion | LifeSite
Two bombshells have exploded that have shattered two homosexual myths, and the opinion-makers haven’t yet controlled its fall-out.

22 Prayers for Your Bible Reading
“Reading the Bible before praying is like putting the cart before the horse.”

Why Christian Kids Leave the Faith
The four most prominent reasons that people raised in Christian homes eventually leave Christianity behind.

Rutherford’s regrets
In a letter to John Fleming, Bailie of Leith, Samuel Rutherford lists a number of concerns about his attitudes and actions.

Kindle Books

For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word by Don Carson $2.99.

The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History by Robert Mackenzie $2.99.

How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth by Christopher Wright $3.99.

Video

What’s Your Biggest Fear in Ministry?
“Kynes talks about what he calls “fears of the flesh” and what it would mean to lose his sense of conviction in the Christian faith. Núñez relates Paul’s experience in 2 Corinthians to his own fears—that his own church would misunderstand him, abandon the gospel, or not grow in unity. Akin shares about his fear of following the unfaithfulness of others he’s known personally.”


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Blogs

I’m A Modern Woman Who Loves My Church’s All-Male Pastors Rule
This was on the Federalist website! As the writer says, although she believes this is the biblical order, here she offers a more pragmatic argument.

Depressed and Thankful: Six Ways to Find Joy | Desiring God
“A melancholy side to my personality makes me prone to see the glass as half empty. I realize that for many individuals medication is truly necessary. But the weapon that has made the most difference in my life in fighting depression, and something we can all benefit from, is gratitude.”

Refusing To Serve People You Don’t Agree With Is Suddenly Not Bigotry
“Remember how it was the height of bigotry for religious objectors to decline to participate in a gay wedding? But now it’s brave to decline to sell Melania Trump a dress.”

Life Changing Sermons | Nick Batzig
“Here are what I would consider to be 10 life changing sermons that I’ve heard (either in person or online) over the past 15 years:”

Your Best Sermons are Your Least Favorite | Nick Macdonald
A short post with a powerful point:

The sermons I’ve liked least, congregants have liked most. Why? Because what I value as a preacher is often at odds with what congregants value. For me, I value: Excellence. Fluidity. Choice Words and Phrases. Consistency: nothing deviates from my plan or point. No stuttering, no wandering, nothing unpredictable or unexpected. But the congregation often values something else: Electricity. Authenticity. Spontaneity. Genuine Connection. A moment being shared, for the first time, together. In other words: congregants value the sense that their presence is what makes a sermon work.

The Common Sin of Middle Age Believers | Gentle Reformation
Barry York says it’s spiritual complacency and offers helpful advice for overcoming it.

Kindle Books

Loving the Way Jesus Loved by Phil Ryken $3.99. An excellent book.

A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul Miller.

Video

The Effect of Prayer and Being Present Has on a Troubled Community


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Blogs

How to Make a Bad Decision | Freakonomics
Podcast and transcript on some of the science behind our decisions.

5 Common Marriage Counseling Mistakes | Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation
“The next time you encounter a difficult couple in counseling, remember this advice: slow down, set concrete goals, get at the heart, don’t force change, and use your resources. Not only will you be better equipped for helping the man and woman who come to you for counsel, you will be less frustrated and will better understand the issues at hand.”

Elephant and Man at Harvard | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson
Post-election, Harvard admits its idealogical uniformity among students and staff.

The most glaring ideological diversity deficit among undergraduates is the relatively small number of students who identify as conservative. In the election survey, fewer than 13 percent of respondents described themselves as “somewhat” or “very” conservative, compared to over 70 percent describing themselves as “somewhat” or “very” liberal.

Speech for the Yale Political Union
Staying with the Ivy League, Elizabeth Bruenig makes the case for religion in government.

Psychiatry Professor: ‘Transgenderism’ Is Mass Hysteria Similar To 1980s-Era Junk Science
“A disorder of gender identity that afflicts a minuscule number of Americans has become a polarizing cultural cause celebre. Its influence—in capturing public attention and demanding social change—has been extraordinary, out of all proportion to the numbers of the gender-dissatisfied.”

We Cannot Complain About America if We Do Not Listen to Others | Sayable
Lore Ferguson recommends books to help us listen to and understand people from very different Americas to our own.

None of these books solve the crisis of divide at hand here, but they do give us a small glimpse into what “the other side” might be thinking or processing or what has bolstered their belief in what’s right.

Parenting Myths We Are All Tempted To Believe | Tim Challies
“The truth is that even the perfect environment offers no guarantees of successful parenting, that raising godly children is not the ultimate goal of your life, and that you are dependent upon others in raising your children. It is far, far better this way. It frees us to make use of means and methods without enduring the tyranny of impossible, idolatrous expectations.”

Miscarriage Changed Me | Desiring God
“My palms were beginning to sweat. The walls seemed to be closing in around me. I tightened my grip around my husband’s hand as the cold wand slid across my abdomen in search of life. Instead of the rapid thump of our baby’s heartbeat, a deafening silence filled the room. “I’m so sorry, there is no heartbeat.”"

Pessimism May Be Bad for Your Heart | The New York Times
“A pessimistic attitude increases the risk for death from heart disease, a new study reports, while an optimistic view of the world may have no effect at all.”

New Book

The One Year Praying through the Bible for Your Kids by Nancy Guthrie. I’ve had a look at this book, and highly recommend it.

In The One Year Praying through the Bible for Your Kids, trusted author Nancy Guthrie weaves together wisdom and insight from each day’s reading in The One Year Bible, providing encouragement through the triumphs and turbulence of parenting. Day by day you’ll find your dreams and desires for your children are becoming shaped more by Scripture than by the culture around you. Worry less, pray more, and help yourself to a daily dose of perspective, hope, and grace as you parent.


A Counselor’s Checklist

As my Foundations of Biblical Counseling course comes to a close we’ve started to put some of the principles we’ve learned into practice. Although it has its limitations, we use role-playing to help students learn how to ask questions. The scenario we’re working on right now is:

Tim is 19 years old. He’s had a Christian upbringing and made a profession of faith a year ago. However, his parents are deeply concerned about what they call his “addiction to technology” which they say is affecting many areas of his life. They told him that they would be contacting you to ask if you would speak to him about it. Tim agreed to this because although he feels that his parents are exaggerating things, he does see some problems in his relationship to technology.

We split into groups with one student acting as the counselor, another as Tim the counselee, and the others watch and take notes with regular pauses for feedback. The class then comes together to discuss the lessons learned from the sessions.

Which all raises the questions: How can we measure or grade counseling skills? And how can the students know if they are making progress in their counseling abilities?

In an attempt to answer such questions, the students were tasked with producing a counselor’s checklist, or rubric, based upon all that they had learned in the course so far. I chose the most comprehensive submission, which used the Tripp/CCEF structure of Love, Know, Speak Do. I then supplemented it with input from the other assignments to come up with this counselor’s checklist (with thanks to my assistant, Jo de Blois, for her help in typesetting and layout).

We’re now using this to grade the students’ counseling and to act as a checklist for them in their initial counseling sessions. Ultimately the aim is for this checklist to be internalized so that the counseling process becomes more natural and instinctive.

Feel free to use this checklist yourselves. Also, I’d welcome any input on how it could be improved or enhanced.

Counselor’s Checklist pdf

checklist-1checklist-2


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Blog

A Good Time for Selah
“Last Thursday, two days after Election Day, I made a visit to my doctor’s office. In the elevator I said hi to a woman who had joined me for the ride. She was pushing a stroller, and inside was a sleeping newborn baby dressed in pink. I asked about the baby’s name, and she told me, “Her name is Selah.” Then she started to tell me where the name came from. A little shyly, she said, “It’s in the Bible.”"

How Often Should a Church’s Leadership Meetings Be Held?
“Church leadership meetings should happen as often as needed, but never more often than necessary.”

Four Daily Prayers for Your Children

The Golden Rule in Christian Dating
“after embracing and applying the first and greatest commandment, I have found that the golden rule in dating is this: Lean hard on the people who know you best, love you most, and will tell you when you’re wrong. ”

Frankly Speaking: Two myths about Christians and depression
“It was Ian’s death, partly, that motivated me to preach on mental illness this month at South Lansing Christian Church. I began the series by debunking two myths about Christians and mental illness. ”

Does Mental Illness Mean I’m Not a Christian?
“I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. It’s awful. I can hardly get up and dress myself some days, it’s so hard. I am a Christian. Can you tell me if you lose your salvation for having this illness? And is schizophrenia caused by not serving God correctly or by believing lies? ”

Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue by Preston Sprinkle $3.99.

The Secret of Spiritual Joy by William Farley $0.99.

New Books

The Great Unknown: What the Bible Says About Heaven and Hell by Paul Blackham.


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Blogs

A Post-Election Prayer | Kevin DeYoung, TGC
Here’s how Kevin DeYoung led his church in prayer this past Sunday.

4 Ways to Fight Laziness in Ministry | Eric Geiger
“As I have offered four ways to fight being a ministry workaholic, here are four ways to fight being lazy in ministry. ”

I just caught my kid looking at pornography | Josh Hussung, ERLC
This isn’t the whole answer but it’s a good start.

18 Prayers to Pray for Unbelievers | Tim Challies
“A friend asked the question: How do I pray for unbelievers? How do I pray effectively? I trust that every Christian regularly prays for family or friends or colleagues or neighbors who do not yet know the Lord. And while we can and must pray for matters related to their lives and circumstances, the emphasis of our prayers must always be for their salvation. Here are some ways the Bible can guide our prayers.”

Building a Culture of Thankfulness| Rob Hurtgen, Lifeway
“As church leaders it is vital that not only are we personally thankful but that we work to build a culture of thankfulness. Let me offer three habits that build a culture of thankfulness.”

New Upcoming Doctoral-level Courses at PRTS
New faculty and new courses.

Video

18-Year-Old Rishi Sharma Surprises WWII Veterans Who Have Changed His Life
We lose around 500 WWII Veterans every day, and 18 year-old Rishi Sharma is on a mission to hear their stories.