So, by the end of day three here at the Biblical Counselling Training Conference, I have now sat in on 24 sessions. (8 sessions a day x 3 days). Over the course of these sessions, certain things that are said or read that strike you as significant (or funny as the case may be). I thought I’d share one of these statements from each session on day three.
1) This is a session with Pastor Brad Bigney. It was entitled “A Passion for Christ – a Missing Ingredient in our Fight Against Sin.” There is so much I could say about this session, but here is something he said that stuck with me. In counselling, the counsellor is trying to show the counselee that “The grace of God in the person of Christ is so satisfying that their souls will be ruined for anything else.” I am making that my personal prayer for each day – not just for those I counsel!
2) Pastor Bigney also did session 2. This sessin was entitled, “Practical Steps for Killing Pride and Putting on Humility.” The take home line from this session was this thought…Doctrine and Doxology go hand in hand. Essentially this means that as we study doctrine, we are drawn to praise God for who he is. Truth is, meditation on the doctrine of God causes us realize how unlike God we are, resulting in our own humility. Great session – and convicting!
3) The third session was “Counselling Those Who are not Married but Living Together. I appreciated brother Carson’s emphasis on scripture, so the take home lesson was drawn from James 4. In v.8 James says, …Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded…This is the two fold emphasis of biblical counselling: Dealing with outward behaviours and inward beliefs – and both of them are the emphasis of biblical counselling.
4) Fourth session was about crisis counselling. Taught by Dr. Garrett Higbee. Higbee is a professional psychologist who came to Christ and embraced biblical counselling. His emphasis on the church body being used to do counselling was excellent. He directed us to Hebrews 3:12-14…see to it that no one falls away. Change is a community project which the entire body needs to be involved in. What an excellent way to think of the church. A hospital for sinners in need of change!
5) Pastor Steve Viars did the next session on knowing the will of God. It was also excellent. I appreciated his emphasis on the decreed and directive (or permissive and moral) will of God. This emphasis was a helpful way to think about the will of God and how we make decisions in light of it. Practical, theological, and Biblical. Excellent in every way – just wish everyone could b here to hear it!
6) How to Overcome Evil with Good, was the next session. Drawn from Paul’s instruction in Rom.12, Pastor Viars reminder that we would not get vengeance right if it was up to us to mete it out was well illustrated by God’s treatment of Peter’s denial and the teenagers who mocked the prophet Elisha in the OT Narratives. Thought provoking and convicting material!
7) God Grace and Circumstances was next. We had Kevin Carson presenting this time. Brother Carson overviewed Job in this hour. Very helpful material. He brought out this thought (among many) when thinking about the shocking things Job says…hurting people say unorthodox things…this will be helpful when I’m interacting with suffering people in church – and in life!
8) Finally, got over to see Pastor Viars at the last session, which was on patience with counselees. I chuckled here, when Pastor Viars said “if the shoe fits, may God give you the grace to kick yourself with it!” I’m still chuckling about that one, since I need to kick myself with some of the shoes that I have put on at this conference.
Can’t wait to get home and see everyone again, including my wife!
From Indiana cornfields,