Full and Overflowing

Our last full day of the Biblical counselling training conference is over and I have just arrived back at the Griener’s home. They have been gracious hosts! I have a gift of maple syrup for them which I’ll give them in the morning. For now, let me wall you through my learning today. I am full and overflowing with thanksgiving to God for such a wonderful season of training!

Our day started with Elyse Fitzpatrick and her session on Because He Loves Me Elyse has written a book by the same title and she does this presentation, I assume, all over the country. Elyse believes that when we know we are loved, we respond to that love in obedience. And she makes a powerful, biblical case for her thinking. My take home sentence from her session – and a cause for much rejoicing is this: “If God poured out all his wrath on Christ, then he has none left for you!” My heart was stirred by her challenging presentation.

Next, Dr. Garret Higbee taught us on Counselling the Hard Cases with Truth and Grace. Dr. Higbee walked us through ten counselling mistakes which the counsellor often makes in counselling. As I looked down the list, I could see where I had made them all at one point or another. Guess God is working on me too, not just helping me to work on others. My take home sentence from his presentation: “As it relates to Matthew 7, remember to be a lumberjack before you are an eye surgeon.”

Our third session in Track 3A was a video presentation with Dr. Steve Viars, the pastor of Faith church. Steve is at the Mayo Clinic with his wife presently, so was not in town for the conference, but he pre-recorded the sessions for us. He taught us through the basic principles of the book, Putting Your Past in its Place, since I am currently using the book in counselling, and since I have read the book, I found the material a helpful reminder to me about how to help people with their past. Even though Steve was on video, I still love his style. Bold, direct, funny and yet compassionate. My take home sentence from his presentation: “God is the friend of the honest doubter.”

Our fourth session was a video presentation as well, only this time we watched a Biblical counselling session recorded from Faith Counselling Ministries. We were looking for things about the process of counselling which would help us in our own practice. So, we watched the video then interacted with one of the pastors at Faith on the things we noticed that the counsellor did in the process of counselling. It was helpful, as most all of this week has been! I don’t have a take home sentence from this, because it was a counselling session, but I did notice that the counsellor in the video was not afraid to push back and leave some space for the uncomfortable silence before the counselee gave an answer.

We then had a question and answer session with Dr, Stuart Scott, followed by a seminar on parenting by Dr. Scott. His parenting session was excellent. He and Martha Peace have co-authored a book which I picked up and will put in the church bookstore. It promises to be a great resource. My take home sentence from his parenting session was this: “If you’re a faithful parent, you won’t always please your child.” This is true! Too often we are trying to please our child, and not our God! We say yes when we can, but no when we must.

Finally, after a supper break at a Mexican restaurant with Dave Coats and some Northland alumni, we returned to Faith for the final session of the evening. This time, Dave Powlison, who is one of the preeminent and founding fathers f the Biblical counselling movements spoke to us. After reviewing the history of the movement and giving his assessment of why there is great reason to hope, he dove into eight questions the counselee has of the counsellor when they begin their time together. They were excellent, insightful questions, and frankly, I would expect nothing less form Dr. Powlison. He is an excellent and insightful man, not to mention one clothed with humility! My take home sentence from his session: “People grow because a Word is both proclaimed and lived.” Counselling, it seems, is both what you say, when you say it and how you say it.

Been a great day, but it is late and need to pack for my departure tomorrow. I leave around 3:00pm and hope to be home by 11:00pm.

Thanks for keeping an eye out for my family.

C-you all Sunday

Pastor Herb

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