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25Nov
The first step in problem solving NS

The first step in problem solving

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One of the most common counseling questions I hear centers around human behavior. Why do I do the things I do? Why am I the way I am? I do not understand my spouse–why does he act this way? I am helping someone, but I do not understand why they will not change.

Human motivation for why we do what we do and the shaping influences that have molded us to behave in certain ways cannot be answered simply or clearly. There are too many possibilities, reasons, and complicating factors that come into play when trying to explain human...

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25Nov
Letter to my friend_ the problem with sin-centered counseling NS

Letter to my friend: the problem with sin-centered counseling

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I am sorry your counseling session did not go the way you expected. I know you are hurting. Please understand that I will not be able to speak specifically to what you experienced during your counseling since I was not there. My hope is to be careful here because I do not want to speak unkindly of your counselor or to characterize them uncharitably.

Not being there is a bid deal, as you know, but based on what you are saying and without talking to them, sin-centered counseling seems to be a standard way ...

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24Nov
A better way to do counseling NS

A better way to do counseling

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Continued from The problem with expecting someone to change

Let’s pretend the prodigal son is sitting in your counseling office. Because you have read the story (Luke 15:11-17) you know the LORD is not going to grant the gift of repentance until verse seventeen.

The prodigal has come to you asking about leaving home so he can live independent from his family. This conversation happens in verse twelve of...

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23Nov
The problem with expecting someone to change - 1.0 NS

The problem with expecting someone to change

Listen to Rick read this post:

A trained biblical counselor is not considered politically correct when he admits biblical counseling has a built-in liability that sets itself up, in some cases, for failure.

To be more specific, I am referring to the professional model of biblical counseling where a counselor meets someone periodically in an official counseling context to work through a situational difficulty.

To further clarify, I am not referring to biblical counseling that is contextualized in a local church where the whole church is engaged...

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22Nov
How to engage friends, family, and turkeys during Thanksgiving NS

How to engage friends, family, and turkeys during Thanksgiving

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There are two kinds of people in the world: Christians and non-Christians. Within these two people groups are those you prefer to hang with and those you had rather not spend your time. Being a Christian does not automatically put you in the preferred people group or make you an acceptable friend.

When it comes to picking your team of close friends it is possible for some family members, even if they profess Christ, not to be on your team. This can be a...

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21Nov
Letter to my students_ about your future NS

Letter to my students: about your future

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Dear Student,

Thank you for your question about your future after you graduate. That day is almost here. You have worked hard and your growth throughout the process has been personally encouraging to me. It has been what we hoped it would be–transformational. I am also grateful for your desire to continue your relationship with our organization.

That is kind of you.

As for our needs? We have many. Mark Grant was our first graduate. He has taken on the dual roles of Read

20Nov
Two Graphics_ The path to sin - The path to victory NS

Two Graphics: The path to sin – The path to victory

One of our readers created these two graphics as part of his reflections on how he is tempted to sin and the process of being restored to God. Please use these personally, as well as when you care for others.

The path to sin
  • I become enticed away from God by my own lust.
  • My lust defines my happiness–what I treasure.
  • My lust is not satisfied, nor will it ever be. I will always need more.
  • I become discontent and it consumes my thoughts (mind).
  • I begin to sin in my heart against God. “Crucify...

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  • 19Nov
    What is better to have, a Bible or a mentor? NS

    What is better to have, a Bible or a mentor?

    Listen to Rick read this post:

    You could say my question is a trick question, though it is not meant to be one. The question is meant to provoke you to think and discuss. The answer to the question is both. The Bible does not make a case for one being exclusively superior, in that the other one is not important. The Bible makes a case for both of them as having specific roles to play in a person’s sanctification.

    The Bible does not say the Bible alone is all you need to change. The Bible does not say all you need is a discipler. At different times and in...

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    18Nov
    Examining your worship structure with a Mind Map NS

    Examining your worship structure with a Mind Map

    Listen to Rick read this post:

    One common stumbling block in the sanctification of today’s Christian is a poor theology of suffering. Our independent, “can-do” attitude in America creates a self-sufficient context to life, leading many to seek God, “looking for pleasant results rather than deeper realities.” As a result, life disappointments can shake our faith.

  • We hurt.
  • We question why.
  • We long for justice.
  • We become angry.
  • This response is natural. As image bearers of a righteous God, we are wired...

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    17Nov
    The danger of the cross-centered life NS

    The danger of the cross-centered life

    Listen to Rick read this post:

    An over-focus on the cross, to the exclusion of the other aspects of the Gospel, can lead to an off-centered life. The cross of Christ is powerful, essential, climatic in a unique way, and no person can go to heaven without interacting with the purposes of the cross.

    The cross of Christ is a significant event in the Gospel narrative. Without the cross our sins would not be atoned and we would still be guilty, waiting on eternal judgment and banishment to hell. Needless to say, the cross is not expendable. Without it there would be no...

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