Friday, October 24, 2008

Pastoral Counseling at 9marks

The topic of the November/December 9marks ejournal is Biblical Counseling.  It looks to be extremely helpful and I will be reading numerous articles from it.  There are a couple of articles that I am especially interested in reading:

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 17, 2008

An Unlikely Edwards Resolution...

After numerous nights of going to bed for the sake of productivity the next day, which resulted in missing great sports comebacks or great games I resolve:

To never go to sleep when a team that I support (Georgia Bulldogs, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics) or an interesting match up in sports could lead to a great ending.

This has happened on numerous occasions and it has to stop.  For example:

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Dec. 30, 2006.  Georgia is down 21-3 at half-time and came back.
Fiesta Bowl 2007.  Boise State beats Oklahoma.
2008 College World Series.  Various come back victories.  I love college baseball.
2008 NBA Play-Offs June 12, 2008.  Celtics are down 24 and come back to win.
Oregon St. vs. USC.  September 26,2008.  Oregon St. Beats USC.
ALDS October 17, 2008.  Red Sox are down 7-0 come back to win.

Just to name a few.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Homework and Biblical Counseling

Jay Adams in his book The Christian Counselor's Manual lists six purposes accomplised through the use of homework. Steve Gallagher of Pure Life Ministries has a wonderful summary of these six purposes in his book A Biblical Guide to Counseling the Sexual Addict, pgs 82-83.

1. Regular homework assignments set a pattern for expectation of change. By giving the counselee concrete things to do, he is establishing an environement conducive to change. Something more is expected of the man than mere talk. He must begin to change the way he actually lives his life.

2. Homework clarifies expectations. Giving the counselee an assignment keeps the counseling very clear and concrete. It helps cut through confusion.

3. Homework enables the counselor to do more counseling more rapidly. The counselee accomplishes much in between sessions by working on his homework. More time is then available during the actual session to focus on important topics.

4. Homework keeps the counselees from becoming dependent upon the counselor. Homework tends to help the counselee see the Lord as his helper and His Word as the source of his answers.

5. Homework enables both the counselor and the counselee to gauge progress of lack of it. "The proof is in the pudding," as the saying goes. Homework is a great way to determine a man's sincerity level. If he does not complete his assignments, it becomes obvious to both parties he is not serious. Likewise, faithful application to the homework builds his confidence.

6. Homework allows the counselor to deal with problems and patters that develop under controlled current conditions. These assignments can be an effective device for gathering important data about the counselee and his current situation.

From personal experience with counseling, homework is extremely effective. It does these six things. I have seen some people dramatically changed in a very short period of time while at the same time establishing spiritual disciplines and preventative measures regardless of their situation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How to Hear the Word of God

Over at Desiring God there is a new blog post entitled How to Hear the Word of God.  This is an excellent post.  

Back in the fall of '07 I did a three-part series on how to listen to a sermon.  This was a very profitable study for me as well as the church.  How to Listen to a Sermon is a neglected topic that needs to be spoken on much more than it is.  In fact, if you were to go to any Christian book store you would find hundreds of books on preaching and maybe two books on How to Listen to a Sermon.  

Three books to mention regarding this subject:
The Christian Hearer by Edward Bickersteth.  It is out of print but you can read it using google books by clicking on the title above.
The Family at Church: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer Meetings.

Philip Ryken entitled How to Listen to a Sermon at the Tenth Presbyterian Website.
George Whitefield, How to Listen to a Sermon at


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Recommended Reading

I am very excited about reading two books this summer. The first is Thabiti Anyabwile's new book What is a Healthy Church Member. I have heard Thabiti speak and have read his book The Faithful Preacher.

The second book is a biography of Francis Schaeffer by Colin Duriez entitled Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life. I am currently reading through Schaeffer's 5-volume complete works and finding it very valuable in my life and pastoral ministry. Is is amazing how much Francis Schaeffer still speaks to our culture today, even after his death 24 years ago.
Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New 9marks Ejournal

The new 9Marks Ejournal is out!  Check out the 9marks website to see the full journal.

It is dealing basically with marriage and more specifically with marriage, pastors, and pastor's wives.  This is a much needed topic that needs to be thought about more and more as the roles of men and women continue to be confused and rejected.

Recommended Articles in the Ejournal:

Read, meditate on, and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Reading Scripture and Praying in Worship

One of the things we are trying to do in our worship services is include a scripture reading every Sunday. We rotate between a Old Testament and a New Testament book. Stuart Olyott has done the church a great service by writing a 22-page booklet entitled Reading the Bible and Praying in Public.

On the back of the booklet it says, “Bible reading and prayer are two elements in all evangelical church worship. At certain points in every service someone will read the Scriptures and lead the congregation in prayer. These regular acts of worship are so familiar that many probably take them for granted and do not think too seriously about them…But what is the best way to read the Bible in public and what are the things we need to keep in mind if we are to lead others in public prayer? In Reading the Bible and Praying in Public, Stuart Olyott supplies us with wise practical advice on these vitally important acts of our corporate church worship.”

He argues for the importance of taking seriously this task of reading the word of God in public. He does this through giving us six principles we affirm about the Bible that should embolden our reading of scripture. They are (1) Spirit-Inspired, (2) Infallible and Inerrant—The Very Word of God!, (3) Perspicuous, (4) For All, (5) Supremely for the Church, and (6) Sufficient.

In the section on Prayer he gives four points to remember as members prepare to pray in public. (1) Public Prayer is Public, (2) Public Prayer is Didactic, (3) Public Prayer Should Be Pastoral, and (4) Public Prayer Must Be Fresh.

This booklet was a great help as I continue to prepare for the public reading of Scripture as well as praying in public.