All posts in counseling

Hope for Our Hurt

Nearly every Christian I meet has been hurt on some level in some context, and many have been hurt in spiritual contexts—environments and relationships that promised to be a haven from hurt. Hurt is not the exception, hurt is the norm. Everyone has a story of someone who hurt them at some point, or many…

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Help Your Graduates Prepare for the Future

A Tool to Help High School Grads Understand Their Own Hearts and Direction This is a repost that I pray will spur some ideas related to your teenage graduates as they chart their course forward. I want to encourage those who work with students to have a “senior appointment.” We have sit down appointments each…

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The Paradox of Sorrow and Joy!

The themes of joy and sorrow have been on my heart and mind these past several days and nights. I’m sure, to some degree right now, you have some level of sorrow in your life. How would I know that? Because sorrow is a given. It’s a part of life in a fallen world. It’s…

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How to Encourage Your Heart

Down days are part of every Christian life. Every spiritual leader, every pastor, every growing Christian wrestles with times of discouragement. Should it surprise us? No. Should we feel alone in it? No. Should we pretend we never deal with it? No. We should simply respond biblically and patiently. Emotions are shape-able. The heart is…

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10 Ideas for Enjoying God’s Word

Do you want to read God’s word consistently? More importantly, do you enjoy reading it? Or perhaps, like most Christians, you get stuck in the “duty and obligation” of the “ought to” attitude. Sure we “ought to” read God’s word, but there’s a better way! Reading, understanding, and applying the Bible is a “get to”, “want…

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Because of the Gospel…

Because of the gospel… The world can be falling apart, but my heart doesn’t have to. The world can persecute me, but that won’t destroy me. The world can mire down in political confusion, but I can press on in joyful clarity. The world can despair, but my joy can remain. The world can spite…

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When an Icy Storm Descends Upon Your Life…

I have never done this, but the Lord put it on my heart today. In an exchange with a friend who is going through a trial, he mentioned the introduction of “Off Script”—the book I wrote during my cancer battle nearly five years ago. Due to the emotions involved, I have rarely looked into the pages…

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The Anatomy of a Great Decision

What do you do when the euphoria of a great decision suddenly vanishes? The journey between sowing a great decision and reaping a great outcome is more difficult than we expect. Last year I planted some peach trees in my back yard. Why? Because I’m crazy about peaches. But peaches aren’t instant. In fact, peaches…

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Repost: Qualities of Unjust Criticism

Anyone who serves the Lord is going to face criticism. Some of it just. Some of it unjust. Just criticism is helpful, coming from a loving friend, handled personally, and can produce great strides of growth and maturity in your life. It flows between healthy relationships where hearts are like iron sharpening iron. No criticism…

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A Fresh Perspective on Your Hardship

Andrew Murray wrote the following thoughts about the Christian’s response to hardship… I believe it will encourage you! “First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.” “Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave…

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Why Teens Lose Their Way Sexually

There’s no debating that we live in a generation of sexual and moral confusion. This confusion is hitting our kids at earlier ages than ever! It seems that the center of Satan’s target for our young people is their sexual purity and identity. If he can cause them to lose their way sexually, then he can misdirect…

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Spiritual Weapons for Wayward Kids (Repost)

What can you do when your grown children begin to stray spiritually? I’ve seen a lot of parents hurt, mystified, and shaken by sudden and radical spiritual changes in the lives of their adult children. I realize, one day I may be one of them—and so could you. In these moments, some parents grasp for control—trying…

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If Following God Scares You…

Twenty-six months ago our family began serving the Emmanuel Baptist Church, in answer to God’s call. We were scared to death! Truly, this was the most fearful, most difficult, and yet most exciting thing God ever unfolded in our lives. One reason I write about this journey is that God has taught us much through…

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What to Do When You’re Down

Are you down? Ever? If not, this is not your post. If so, God gets it! He really does. In fact, He expects it. Fighting discouragement is a part of the fallen human experience. Sin stinks and it’s condemned us to a less than perfect world where emotions persistently try to get the best of…

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The Power of Solitude with God

Flourishing through Solitude with God Have you watched any news lately? It’s numbing isn’t it? Is it possible to flourish in a world that is truly floundering? Is it possible to abound with joy in a world that is abounding with chaos and confusion? The Psalmist in Psalm 92 believes so. “The righteous shall flourish…

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No Generation Gap!—What I Learned from Don Sisk

Dr. Don Sisk just spent two days with me and our church family. For many years, my office was about six feet from his office, so we talked and visited often. I have missed him. Few people have had as profound an impact on my life as this godly man. These past two days, he preached…

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6 Simple Words to Navigate God’s Call

Are you facing the possibility of a call to ministry? Or a call to the pastorate? Are you wrestling with God at the depths of your soul? Entering the ministry or the pastorate is not a light thing, and discerning that call and its implications can be a gut wrenching process. It was for me….

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The Crisis of God’s Call

Examining the Disruptive Call of God… Not long ago a young ministry leader facing a clear call wrote to me and asked about dealing with the painful reality when God’s call collides with everyone and everything you love and have given your life to. He is being called to leave people he dearly loves and…

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10 Ways to “Force-Restart” Your Heart

Do you ever find your heart (emotions) at odds with your circumstances—in need of an “attitude adjustment?” It happens to all of us. Maybe you got some bad news, ran into a grumpy person, remembered some burden, picked up an anxiety, or just generally slumped into self-pity. Gray days and emotional lows are a part…

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Passion—Life-Changing Lessons from Caleb!

Recently, in conjunction with our Sunday evening series from Joshua, I’ve been studying Caleb. Man, I love this guy! He just didn’t stop. He was a powerful picture of biblical, God-orientated passion in action. In Joshua 15, Caleb is 85 years old, and he’s waited for more than forty years to receive his promised inheritance….

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