Tag Archives: Counseling

A Reflection of Goodness

Another lap around the sun and 2016 comes to a close as we prepare for the start of a whole new again.  Before I begin, I pray that you all had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year!

I’ve been reflecting this morning on the goings on of 2016.  There have been many good times and difficult times.  Times of joy and times of trial and testing.  Overall, I reflect on 2016 and what I see as the pure goodness of God reflected throughout everything.  I can hardly believe the movement He has made just in my life and that of my family.  Even on days where it feels like I’ve been removed, He has been there every step of the way.  Unfailing love and faithfulness.  Continued goodness in everything.

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Amber’s Baptism

I’ll just start with January 31.  I stood in front of our church family and Baptized my wife and our 3 children, exactly one year to the day that I nailed the stake in the ground and surrendered my life to Christ in the mountains of Colorado.  I mean, wow!  That’s nothing but a God thing right there.  To see the movement that had taken place in that year prior, was so amazing and now to see the journey of growth in each of them has been nothing short of amazing and good.

 

 

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Shawn Baptism

 

We’ve times of trials and joy with our children this year, from the baseball field with our middle child, to our oldest graduating high school and starting college.  Through all of these things we see God present.  Seeing our children begin to desire a deeper relationship with God and to build relationship with peers in our church family has been huge.  They take after Amber and me as very quiet and to themselves.  Natural introverts and Move Aways in their styles of relating.  I’ve seen God working in their hearts this year more and more and them being more respective to it.  It’s been so good to see.

 

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Brandon Baptism

I see my bride and the movement in her own life.  I pray daily for her to move on a parallel journey with me as a woman and bride in our desires to seek God and grow as disciples.  To see her eagerness day after day to spend time with God and know him and them to talk with me almost like a kid in a candy store with such joy and excitement from all God is revealing to her as she walks with him each day.  And now to see her desire to build relationships with other women continue to grow.  Just immense.

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Ashley Baptism

I look on what God has done in my life as well and just stand in amazement.  He took me out to Colorado for a 2nd time in May to unplug and spend time at the feet of older men seeking counsel over my story and setting up the coming decade to work toward becoming an integrated whole and holy man.  That journey has set the stage for what is going on now.  In September we launched our counseling ministry and I have been blessed with the chance to speak life into different individuals and couples.  On top of that, I began to lead along with another brother and friend, a mens’ discipleship group.  That’s been huge for me to finally build a band of brothers of peers to get to know, to lead, and to do life-on-life with.  Thankful for these men and for the mentors and sages that also speak into my life now.

I can definitely say that I’m not the same as yesterday.  I know there’s so much more ahead and can barely believe that I’m here now. 3-5 years ago, I never would have thought to have a year like this and to have a life moving the way it is.  God’s hand is moving in every aspect of my life.  It’s truly amazing.

I reflect on 2016 with great joy and I look to 2017 with eyes on the narrow road continuing to follow where God leads.  I can already see things He is setting before me through the counseling ministry, mens’ ministry, and in my family and relationships.  I move into the new year a man of hope.  A dangerous hope for good.  Dangerous for good.

Today Is The Day!

I have been counting down to this day for the last few months.  Hard to believe it’s already here, but I can’t tell you how excited I am to be starting my work to on my Masters in Professional Counseling.  It’s a journey into the unknown that I never thought I would have the courage to do.  I knew, however, that once I was fully surrendered to the Lord, and knew where He was calling me, there was absolutely no way I was going to turn away not do it.  It’s a wild feeling.  I am excited about the possibilities, yet at the same time, as I write this, I am literally shaking on the inside as the nerves about the unknown set in.

It’s all a risk.  I could be perfectly content spending the next 25 years finishing my career in the corporate world.  I could just enjoy the salary and benefits of that world and live out there.  I could spend my life under the radar and just cruise along going with the flow.  But now that I am all in, there is no way I can do that now.  God has been calling me in my writing for the last several years.  I just didn’t listen enough until now.  So now, I am making a leap of complete faith and Trusting to where my God is leading me.

It’s all about trust and faith.  God told me something back in January and has told me this a few times since then when I have questioned what I’m doing.  He has said to trust Him and to just let go.  That’s what I have to do now.  I have to trust fully in the Lord.  I have to let go of my own self-reliance and self-centered ways and allow Him to work in my life.  Trust is the key to it all.  Do we trust in the works of God and the finished works of Jesus Christ?  Do we believe in His unfailing love and unending pursuit of our hearts and our lives?  Do we trust in Him with our lives?

I used to often doubt myself.  I would just go along thinking that it was easier to just get along with the world and not rock the boat.  To hide all my junk, all my sin, all my wounds, and the emptiness in my life to just let the world dictate my decisions.  When I would get a little courage to step forward, something would pull me back or I would doubt myself again and life would return to what it was.  I would sometimes here the enemy putting in my heart that those were just silly ideas.  That I needed to just get along.  Live a secure life with steady and secure income and all that.  Don’t rock the boat.  Don’t venture off the smooth path.  What was it old school preachers used to say, the smooth and wide, gold filled path of the devil.  Never understood that until recently.

I look to Scripture also when thinking about trusting in the Lord.  Romans 10:11 says, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”  That gives me great confidence in knowing that if I just my full trust in where He is leading, that I can’t go wrong.  How can any of us go wrong if we are trusting Him.  It doesn’t mean the way will always be easy, because it won’t.  There will be difficulties.  There will be times where we are pushed to our limits and I know I will be in this too.  But disgrace will never fall if I trust in Him.

Look to the Psalms too.  David said in Psalm 31:14, “I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, You are my God! My future is in your hands.”  I am praying for the same level of trust with my life and that I just let God take control fully and trust my future to His hands.  That’s what we all need to do.  Trust in the Lord with all that we are.  Love Him, Trust Him, and Worship Him.

George McDonald said, “Few delights can equal the presence of one whom we trust utterly.”  That tells me that if there is nothing in the world that can be more satisfying that having God’s presence in my life and trusting Him with my life.  How could I possibly let anything else steer me away from that.  Augustine said, “Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s providence.”  Now that I have dealt with my past junk and surrendered that to the Cross of Jesus Christ, I can let God love me in the present now where I trust in Him and then allow His will to unfold in my life.

It’s going to an exciting journey.  Going to be busy and I know there will be days where I won’t want to write a single thing.  But I will keep updates rolling on my progress as the journey to be a Christian Counselor begins to unfold.  I definite seek prayers in this journey as well.

Diving Deeper – Receiving God’s Intimate Counsel

An important part of our journey the 4 Streams.  It’s import to remember what is the purpose behind it all.  What is the offer that God has given to us through Jesus Christ?  This is restoration.  Pure restoration of our hearts as his image bearers as both men and women.  Again, these 4 Streams are key essentials to that restoration.  Isaiah 61; Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.  Again, John Eldredge lays all of this out clearly his book “Waking the Dead.”  It’s all essential for growth and restoration in our brokenness.

Today, I am going to deeper dive into the stream of Counseling, or rather Seeking God’s Intimate Counsel.  This is so critical as it touches the relationship we have with the Holy Spirit learning to invite God’s Spirit into the depths of heart.  As with the other streams, this one stems from first learning to walk with God.  All the streams are interrelated in some way, but we have to be able to know how to walk with God to learn to seek his counsel, healing, and deal with warfare.  Dallas Willard says, “God created us for intimate friendship with himself-both now and forever.” This goes beyond just reading Scripture.  We have to talk to God and invite him in.

So back to counseling, I believe this is very critical for all of us.  Counseling involves seeking truth in our hearts both from God and those that God uses to counsel us.  Psalm 51 says that God desires truth in our innermost being.  If have not read Psalm 51, check it out.  This is after David had his affair with Bathsheda.  He is broken now.  This Psalm is where he lays out his whole confession.  He is seeking God for his counsel. “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit” (vs 12).  He is seeking God’s counsel and inviting into himself.  He is laying it all out for God and allowing God to come deep down into his heart to restore him.

It takes the intervention of God to get down deep into our hearts to show us what we may not know was there.  To show us things in our brokenness that we either tried to forget or with all that goes on in life probably never even recognized it.  We have to be able to allow God in so that he can bring us to the place of our brokenness and then bring us to the fourth stream of healing, which I will cover next time.

In John 14:16, Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”   This Helper is the Holy Spirit.  Our Counselor, Comforter, Strength, and Guide.  Jesus offers the Holy Spirit to those that know him and the Holy Spirit is here to take us in those place in our heart that we don’t know.  The story and journey of our life is what has happened to our heart along the way.  What has brought about our brokenness?  What have have we let define us up till now?  The Holy Spirit is hear to help counsel through that and to discern the truth in our hearts.

So what does God do to counsel us and get to the core of our brokenness?  As with the other streams, I am learning each day.  What I have learned so far, as that he will get at us in different ways. Often times, it involves taking us back to the pain of our brokenness once it’s discovered.  John Eldredge said that “Usually what has been laid now in pain in our hearts can usually only be accessed by pain.  God will take us right back into our wounds.”  He will do this in different ways, too.

One of the first times I remember God doing this was just one normal day.  I have been on a journey for these last few years, but never got after my brokenness in anyway.  I was just sitting at my computer working in my home office.  I had some worship music come on.  Actually this happened twice.  The first time, Jeremy Camp’s song “I’ll Take You Back” came on.  If you have not heart it, go listen to it.  I just listened to the words and tears just began to flow.  God was getting right into my heart with the offer to take me back.  A few weeks later, it happened again, I had music on and this time it was the song by The Afters called “Broken Hallelujah”  It hit me again.  I knew God was up to something in me.  So fast forward a few months to the Wild At Heart Bootcamp and all I can say is, WOW.  The work God was doing in me and where he was going in my heart was finally evident to me.  He went right down in my brokenness.  He showed me wounds I didn’t even recognize.  He showed me the brokenness in my sin as well that I never wanted to accept.  It was painful, but God went right back in there because that was the only way to confront it, confess, fully repent, and allow God to heal me.

Jesus did this very same thing to Peter at the Sea of Galilee in John 21 after his resurrection.  First in a playful manner, he appears to them just as he first did to Peter when they first met.  They weren’t catching anything fishing.  Jesus again calls to them to cast their nets on the other side and this time they could not even haul in their nets.  At this point when John points to Peter that it’s Jesus, in such joy, he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore to him.  Jesus hung with the guys and invited them to have breakfast.  After eating Jesus does the work on Peter as follows in versus 15-17:

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

You see what Jesus did here.  Peter was already broken after having denied Jesus 3 times after Jesus was arrested.  Jesus went right back into his brokenness.  It was painful for Peter, but it was necessary to bring it out and restore Peter.  This is how Jesus counseled him.  He went right back into Peter’s wounds.  He did the same thing to me when he went into my wounds.  He will do the same for if you’re willing.  You have to let him in first.  We also have to accept our brokenness for what it is.  Michael Yaconneli said, “Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.”

If we seek to walk with God this will allow him into the deepest works of our hearts and allow him to counsel us and give us back our hearts.  Proverbs 20:5 says, “A plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”  Walking with God will allow him to give us understanding of the broken places in our hearts that we not even recognize or know they are they are.  With understanding of our wounds, sins, and agreements we’ve made, we can draw those things out of the deep water, address them and allow God to heal us.

God will also use others to counsel us in different ways.  Maybe not always directly, but in the interactions we have.  If we are open and receptive to it, we can begin to see what God is telling us.  Notice how you react out people.  Do you shrink back, do you hide, do you come alive more, etc?  Maybe God’s telling you something here as well.  This is where the false self may really come out.  Go deeper into that and ask God what to do with that and what makes you react that way.  This can be added counsel as well.  Ever since the fall of Adam, something in every one of us is missing.  Figure out what’s missing.

Just know this, Jesus is always ministering to us.  Even if we can’t seek professional counseling or pastoral counseling, God’s counsel is always available.  Don’t just accept the lies that come out of our wounds.  Don’t listen to the false self.  John Eldredge added in his teaching of the counseling stream that “The story of your heart and life is the long and sustained assault by the one who knows who you are and who you could be, and fears you.”  The enemy is out to assault our hearts and plant himself in our wounds.  Seek God’s counsel through it all.  He is present throughout the tangledness of our lives.  Let him in.  Sometimes we may need the professional help, but always know God is willing and able to counsel us and through Jesus has offered his Spirit for us, and will be with us forever.