Learning More – The Biblical Counseling Training Conference, Day 2

I’ve moved places for tonight’s blog, instead of my second story loft, I am now seated at the Griener’s kitchen table typing, while I listen to the whir of the dishwasher in the background. Jon and Jen Griener have been gracious hosts. Tonight we had a pot roast for supper. Definitely a gastric highlight of my trip thus far!

Today we started the learning off with a session with Brent Aucoin. Brent is the Seminary pastor and the director of Soul care for Faith Church. He has an engineering background, so he loves flow charts! He gave us a chart so we could fill it in as we discussed the role that deception plays in stimulating idolatry. Our hearts are idol factories, churning out false gods to worship at an alarming rate. Brent helped us to see that deception lies at the heart of all idolatry. Satan deceives us into doubting the truth of what God has said. Brent spent much of his time looking at the intricacies in Genesis 1-3. My take home statement from his session: “The essence of deception is that there is another way better than God’s way.”

Next we were joined by Amy Baker. Amy is the ministry resource Director at Faith Church. She has been counselling in their counselling ministry for years. Her session dealt with self pity. It was an excellent, if somewhat difficult session because it deals with an area of personal struggle for me! However, she started the session by saying that self-pity is a universal problem, so I knew I was among fellow-strugglers, at least! She walked us through Job’s struggle with self-pity. This was an excellent, very helpful session. My take home sentence from this session – and there could have been many –  was this: “Self Pity makes the mistake of viewing myself as being wise enough to determine what makes life purposeful” (see Job 38:2)

After break, we had a session with Dr. Rob Green, the pastor of Counselling at Faith church. Rob session was on counselling people with financial problems. Rob’s concern was that we see financial counselling as more than just trying to help people work through a budget. He wanted us to make connections to the gospel. He talked about stewardship and about the seduction of greed. My take home sentence from this session was: “Every spending decision is a spiritual decision.”

After lunch we had two session from Jeremy Pierre. He was teaching us about what the bible means when it refers to the “heart.” This was two back to back sessions, and they were extraordinarily helpful. We talk a lot about the heart (and so does the Bible), but unpacking what that means by that gave me some new insight. Your heart is made up of three components biblically speaking: your cognition, your affections, and your volitional capacity. In other words, you mind, will and emotions. We spent lots of time looking at what that means and then we studied the scriptures where these emphases are present. My take home sentence from these sessions: “The Bible makes a distinction between circumstances and responses. They are not the same thing.” OK, that’s two sentences, but it was two sessions!

Next, Pastor Brad Bigney joined us with a session about “Staying Alive Spiritually.” This was a refreshing session, since it is often true that in the task of helping other people, you can lose perspective and a fire for the Lord. I have personally experienced this dryness of the soul. So, this was a great challenge and blessing. I’d love to give you a take home sentence from this session too, but at present, I can’t seem to locate my notes form the session.

Then, to end the day we went to the church auditorium to hear Dr. Charles Ware. Dr. Ware is the president of Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis. His sermon on “What God is Doing to you to Make you a Biblical Counsellor” was a great reminder not to lose heart in the midst of trials! I left encouraged.

Sure is great being here to be exposed to all this rich biblical teaching. I do so wish you could all come!

Talk to you tomorrow,

Pastor Herb

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