All posts in counseling

Like a Cardinal after a Storm

This morning I woke up to snow covered branches and rolling white drifts—the morning after a big storm. Amidst all the white, a flash of brilliant red caught my eye. A cardinal was blissfully darting back and forth from branch to branch across the yard—seeming to almost celebrate his survival. Two things struck me about…

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Have You Ever Been Hurt at Church?

Have you been hurt somewhere in your past—at church? At the one place on the planet that was supposed to be an oasis, a safe-zone, a place of rest and restoration—were you somehow bruised or broken? While a more brutish person would say, “Get over it and get right with God”—it’s just not that simple…

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Is This a Book You Would Read?

I’ve never done this. Will you help me out? I’m completing a book project right now about the normal, authentic, daily Christian life. It’s a book about all the misconceptions and misunderstandings that keep us from enjoying our relationship with Jesus. It’s basically the truths that have kept me walking forward with Christ when so…

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What Mary Teaches Us About God’s Will

In Luke 1, Mary’s world is disrupted by a Heavenly call. She had well-laid plans and dreams. Love, engagement, marriage, and a future. She had a good name and a gracious character. But God shattered her world with “His will.” You know, that fearful interruption to “our plans.” Why are we so scared by those…

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Cancer (Hardship)—A Gift of God’s Grace?

Are you facing a hardship? It’s a gift. Sounds crazy, I know. But go with me for a moment. It’s been 29 months since my last cancer treatment. But the fruit (the effects of the journey) are visible nearly every day. Somehow in the middle of that battle, God said, “Your life will never be…

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Top Ten Thanks!

Here are the top ten things that come to mind when I think of giving thanks! 1. Jesus—Saviour, Redeemer, Counselor, Mighty God, Creator, Healer, Advocate, and Friend. The best thing in life is to know Jesus, rest in Him, trust Him, and enjoy His unconditional love and absolute acceptance. “…and his name shall be called…

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The “Heaven’s-Eye-View!”

Looking into a fog? Struggling to see a solution? Confused, frustrated, wanting God to “make the crooked places straight?” Facing a difficult decision? Trying to untangle a messy place in life, marriage, family, or ministry? Is it complicated? Be careful. Wait. Step back. Breathe. Pray. Pray some more. Respond—don’t react. Oh, how we hate to…

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Do You Have a Problem Saying “No?”

Do you ever real trouble saying “no”? Many people do. And those same people are often overwhelmed with commitments to others and expectations of others. Saying “no” for some people is nearly impossible. If this is you, take a moment and consider a few things: Why do you say “Yes”?  There are likely several reasons…

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The Power of Your Words…

Have you thought about your words lately? They are powerful! They either build or destroy. They either encourage or discourage. They either pick up or put down. Words are weighty—powerful influencers. Words stay with people—for a long, long time. James compares words to fruit and water—things that are consumed and digested. What takes seconds for…

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When You Don’t Know What to Say…

A friend of ours has gone through unthinkable hardship in recent years. In fact, this hardship is so massive and so devastating that, when I see this friend, I really have no idea what to say. And so the temptation is to avoid the conversation. To say nothing. Don’t ask. Don’t call up the emotions….

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How to Survive a Tough Transition

One year ago, our family began the most difficult transitional challenge of our lives. God called us away from comfort and security, and into a journey of seeing a hurting church revitalized by His grace. We were terrified. In many ways, we still are. But a nearly a year into it, God’s grace has sustained…

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What Happens to Our Youth Group Grads?

It’s the time of year when many of your teenagers are graduating from high school and from the church youth group! What’s next for them? I mean—what’s next for them at your church? What’s next for them in ministry? Some go away to college. But many stay close to home. Is there ministry for them…

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8 Ways to Help Those Who Grieve

This week our ministry has experienced a devastating loss. Angie Larson—one of the sweetest Christian ladies I’ve ever met, and a joyful servant at Emmanuel Christian Academy, was suddenly taken home to Heaven on Friday morning. For Angie’s husband, five children, and our ministry family, this loss is indescribably painful. And the grieving process has…

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Five “Ministries” That Kill Real Ministry

(I use the word “ministry” in this post tongue in cheek.) It seems that some leaders and Christians have appointed themselves to unhealthy “ministries.” These are “ministries” that stifle the gospel, oppose growth in grace, quench the moving of the Holy Spirit, and kill the body life of a healthy local church. These are “blinding”…

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When You’re Spiritually Numb…

Have you ever been completely bewildered? Emotionally, spiritually, or relationally numb? Wondering where you are in life, how you got there, where God went, and what to do next? Are you there now? You’re not alone. But you are vulnerable. Life’s biggest mistakes are often made right where you are right now. SO… before you…

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Repost: Hitting a Wall

This post was written toward the end of my cancer treatments. I thought it might encourage you in facing the walls you might be up against today: Have you ever hit a wall in some aspect of your life? This is something that I haven’t written much about, but walls have become somewhat of a…

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20 Things I Learned about God Last Year

During a year of total change in life and ministry, God proved Himself to be more real, more powerful, more present, and more gracious than I’ve ever personally experienced. Can I share with you some things that God reminded me about Himself this year—in very real and personal ways? 1. He will pursue me relentlessly—Like…

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Trusting God in Tragedy

Seven Biblical Responses to Overwhelming Events This post is simply a resource for those who are hurting or know someone who is hurting. To hear the message from our Sunday morning service yesterday, CLICK HERE. Yesterday we studied “Trusting God in Tragedy”—seven biblical responses to overwhelming events. Perhaps they will encourage you in your time…

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What to Do When You’re Wasted!

Do you ever get completely exhausted? Some of the worst decisions ever made in human history were made in moments of exhaustion or depletion. When your spiritual, emotional, or physical gauges are on empty, you are in danger of doing the wrong thing every time! We weren’t designed to function on empty. In fact it’s…

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Falling Off the Wagon

Have you ever fallen off the wagon? I have. In fact, through all the transition of the past few months, I’ve just about fallen off the “blog wagon.” If you read these posts with any regularity, you know that. (Thanks for hanging with me, by the way!) But falling off the “blog wagon” got me…

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