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155: Interview with Dr. Howard Eyrich


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

155: Interview with Dr. Howard Eyrich

In this episode, we have the privilege to speak with Dr. Howard Eyrich to talk about the upcoming IABC 2022 Conference, “Counseling Life’s Most Difficult Issues”. Dr. Eyrich shared an overview of one of his teaching topics in the conference, “How to Provoke Your Children, Not”. 

“This conference is important for IABC as an organization because we have been spending the last two years restructuring, reorganizing, and relaunching the organization with the same theme we've always had, but in a refined and much better-organized fashion. We want our people to be there. We want them to get well acquainted with everybody that's in leadership. We want them to get excited about what we're doing. We want them to be trained further. And we want them to develop a continuity of fellowship among all the various members and counselors.” - Dr. Howard Eyrich

Register early to the IABC 2022 Conference

Dr. Eyrich is a retired Pastor of Counseling at Briarwood. He has been a church planter, college dean of men, seminary president, author, and more than thirty thousand hours of biblical counseling. He has MA Counseling, Post Doctorate Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, serves on the board of The Owen Center and is author of eight books and co-author of two books.

*Note: Content excerpts from the blog

Like a River, Life Flows

Think for a moment of all those wives whose husbands came back from Afghanistan minus limbs, eyesight, or suffering from post traumatic stress. They can never step back into yesterday's river. Their life kept on flowing when those men left for military service. They had only one choice. Go with the flow. 

A quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, ‘You cannot step in the same river twice.” It means that things are always in a state of flux.

Think of Abram. He was a wealthy, contented businessman of his day. Then, one day, God called upon him. God challenged him to leave his country, trust Him and wander toward the Promised Land. He could not return Ur to the Chaldees and resume his pagan life.

Life, like the River, Can Be Channeled

By sending Mississippi river waters on a new course, engineers hope to build new land—and test ways to save a retreating coast is the gist of a recent news story. What an incredible idea. Channel the mighty Mississippi! It will be a challenge, but she will be channeled.

A little research will yield numerous instances where rivers have been channeled to alter their flow and repurpose the energy of the river.

In like manner, we can ask God to redirect our lives for the glory of God, the benefit of our family, and the benefit of our own lives.

Jesus’ disciples were invited to use their skills to turn from fishing for fish to fishing for men. Jesus, who invaded their lives with his invitation to follow him with his promise to make them fishers of men. Their lives (and the lives of millions) have been challenged and repurposed as a result—the rivers of life kept flowing.

Life, like a River, Has Tributaries.

Whether they want more water or not, rivers have an influx of tributaries. Some tributaries carry trash and mud, while others feed it with fresh water that keeps its levels high enough to serve downstream purposes.

The river of life has many tributaries. Some are trash, like an auto crash. Some are debris of various kinds resulting from poor decisions or disobedience to God. Others will be opportunities that will enhance growth and development “downstream.”  

Life, like a River, Has a Destination.

Rivers flow to the ocean in which they are absorbed. Every life that flows into eternity is absorbed into either heaven or hell. Jesus offers to repurpose your life by accepting His call to repentance and a new life of faith and service. This acceptance brings a cleansing of sin, dredging of debris, and a new purpose of glorifying Him, leading to a new home that He is preparing for believers in His Father’s house.

For the poor soul who refuses to respond to His call, the gift of salvation and repurposing of life for the glory of God arrives at the ocean called hell and often a hellish life on the journey downstream with a life cluttered with the debris of alcohol, drug abuse, marital failure and all sorts other painful experiences.

Implementation or Channel by life by Praying–

As a person who is not yet a Christ-follower:

"Father, forgive me for I have sinned. Save me, for I am undone. Direct me, for I am lost. Grant me this day purpose for the present and all eternity. Amen!"

This prayer is for you for the believer whose river has become clogged with the sinful debris of life.

"Father, forgive me, cleanse me afresh as I confess my sin today. Cleanse me according to your promise, through John, that if I confess my sin, you will cleanse me from all unrighteousness while you remain both faithful and just. Amen!"

As the person who has debris cluttering the river of relationships, here is a prayer for you.

"Lord, I have sinned against my wife (or whoever) by (name it and own it—no excuses), please forgive me and help me to humble myself, own my sin, and ask my wife (or whomever) to grant me forgives so we can restore our relationship and glorify You. Amen!"

  • Velma Knapp says:

    I like the analogy between our life and a river with tributaries. Sometimes those tributaries can be hard stuff, like a loss of someone dearly loved. Sometimes to can be a divorce or, something like not having children you so desire. I believe even the good things can be a tributary, depending on how it effects you. I’m just always thankful that whatever comes our way we have God to trust in. This is something we can share with people we counsel. (The fact that since we know God, He is our help to turn to in times of need)
    We just finished a three week study on prayer at our church. (Women’s Ministry) I also like the idea of writing a prayer for someone. I’ve been praying for someone who I spoke to this past week. When I spoke to her again, she told me how God had answered prayer. We both rejoiced how God is the Wonderful Counselor.

  • Angela Shaffer says:

    I liked how Dr. Eyrich mentioned the accident with his one year mustang. We all face things in our life that we have no control over, but we do have a choice in how we respond to those workings in our life. I find the more I am seeking God, the more likely I am to have a positive reaction, but the further away I am, the more negative I become.

    • Velma Knapp says:

      Thank you Angela for reminding me that we do have a choice on how we respond to things that happen in our life. And yes, seeking God will help us with our response.

  • Joycelyn Hoyte says:

    I like how Dr. Eyrich illustrated how God uses our skill set and may add a certain spiritual gift so that we can use those skills in a way that will glorify Him. The disciples are are perfect example how their skills being fishermen would be transferred to fishing for lost men. We each can allow God to show us what gifts, skills and talents He has given us to be used for His service and make ourselves available for His use.

    • Angela Shaffer says:

      I liked that as well. It was a wonderful reminder to me that the Lord has equipped me with skills that I may have thought only useful in one manner, but God take those skills and use me in a whole other direction. Praying that God would keep me responsive into however He would like to use me.

  • Ann-Louise Graham says:

    It’s painful to think about the wrong responses to the debris, but it’s a comfort to remember how the lord transfers our skill set for his kingdom purpose. Praise him.

  • Serena Chavez says:

    Thinking about this verse when discussing how Each of our lives has a destination, and who do we listen to when we are living our lives here on earth?
    Proverbs 16:9
    The mind of man plans his way,
    But the Lord directs his steps.
    When we are guided by God, He will direct our steps, as ragged and weary as some may be, if we choose to put HIM first, we will get to the ultimate destination.

    The quote that Heraclitus once said, really resonated with me. Through the waters of life, through the rush of the tides, currents and tributaries, the water flow is not ever the same, just as in a walk with and without Christ. With Christ, we have the promise of Eternal Heaven. Without Christ, we are wondering aimlessly.
    I loved these Characteristics to ponder and mediate on.

  • Erin Foster says:

    “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your path.” This promise, familiar as it is, definitely came to mind while considering how we respond to those tributaries. It seems a recurring theme in teaching I’ve sat under lately to set my eyes on the destination/“heavenly things” as a means of fueling my daily walk.
    What a comfort that no matter how ragged we may be when we arrive, we await total restoration and peace for eternity!

    • Serena Chavez says:

      Yes, Amen! No matter how ragged we are when coming to Christ, as we are coming to HIM, he loves us and accepts us in all kinds of ways. The goal is to hear “well done my good and faithful servant” Matthew 25
      The destination is what we seek our eyes on.

      • Joycelyn Hoyte says:

        So true life as a river with that destination and the goal of hearing well done thou good and faithful servant is what we must keep our eyes on. For that goal we keep pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus

    • Ann-Louise Graham says:

      Amen an eternal perspective is so important. I think I would lose heart without it.

  • Timothy Graham says:

    I absolutely love the analogy of life being a river with tributaries that Dr. Eyrich uses in this episode It is so true that life, wether you are a believer or not, has a destination. And there is a flow and direction that life takes. We cannot change direction backward. As for the tributaries aspect, I can’t tell you how many times an event or situation enters my life out of left field; and how I have responded to them makes all the difference in life following. Good or bad the tributaries are merely conduits of influence in our lives, and we must lean on Christ and seek his will in those changing times.

    • Velma Knapp says:

      Timothy, I like what you said about, “out in left field”. It reminds me of what we often say, “life throws us curve balls”. 🙂 In either case, God is always there to help us. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Dean DeGroot says:

    It did stick out to me the analogy of the tributaries, and all the things that will flow into our life good and bad. There are already problems headed my way in life and there always will be, I really do not like the idea of compounding the situation with poor decisions and actions in life. Best to walk close to God as much as I can, and avoid adding trials to my life.

    • Serena Chavez says:

      That also spoke to me. The trash and debris that trickles in and out. How convicting that was for me, so important to allow The Lord to continue to lead and guide us.

  • Ken Rutz says:

    I really liked Dr. Eyrich’s metaphor of life as a river. I especially liked his reference to the tributaries that feed into the river and their impact on the river downstream (the future of our life.) And to zero in a bit closer, especially in the context of biblical counseling, the impact of poor habits and choices on the amount of “trash or debris” that funnels into our river. As Dr Eyrich pointed out, the Christian will still arrive in glory with everyone else who is redeemed, but their ride may be a bit bumpier and troublesome as a result of all that excess debris cluttering their river and its clarity.

    “Keep your heart with ALL VIGILANCE, for from it flow the springs of life” Prov. 4:23 ESV

    • Ann-Louise Graham says:

      Yes cooperation with the holy spirit in the process of sanctification will limit the ‘trash.’ Praise God for the victory that has the potential to become a witness.

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