What You'll Discover in this Episode:

The Lord is My Shepherd 

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biblical counseling, calvary chapel, cca, ccu, cgn, jeff christianson

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104: The Place Of Eschatology In Biblical Counseling

103: Practical Questions For Counseling Conflicts

  • Psalm 23 is a beautiful reminder of how our Good Shephard looks over and cares for us. It also reminds me of the atmosphere that must be created when we shepherd others. The illustration of the sheep not being willing to lie down and get comfortable until they were sure that the shepherd secures their trust and they feel safe, is a picture of how we must be when we shepherd or counsel one another. As a counselor we create an atmosphere where the sheep can trust that they are safe and cared for. The atmosphere must be free of judgement and condemnation, so that the seeker is free to open up and share their heart. People will not care much about what you believe until they believe that you care about them. The woman taken in adultery received Jesus’ counsel to not continue in sin when she received grace from Him rather that judgement. We need to lead these seekers into green pastures and still waters where they can receive nourishment and healing.

    • Thank you Harry, I like your perceptive reference to the woman who committed adultery – it goes to show how the Lord, our Shepherd, their Shepherd, pointed both the woman and her accusers towards the path of righteousness, living God’s way. To the woman, to not remain in sin, and to the accusers, forgiveness and compassion for others. Restoration is found only in Him, ‘nourishment and healing’, as you said.

    • Harry, you are right people need to feel comfortable and feel that we really do care about them. Even children can read people when they are not being truly genuine in loving them. We must earn people’s trust before they listen to our advise.

    • My pastor liked to reference Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” and Proverbs 27:9 “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” He would tell us that he would always approach those that sought counsel in a way that he could become their friend. Your comment reminded me of this and added the nuance of imitating the Good Shepherd in our own counseling. I notice in my own counseling, my friendliness makes a huge difference in a person’s receptiveness to my words. Even “setting up a green pasture” by preparing a nice quiet place and making the person coffee has been a good thing to do.

  • Our main goal as students of the Word in Biblical Counseling, is to lead people seeking counsel towards the Shepherd and Wonderful Counselor Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘No one can do it like He can,’ Pastor Jeff points out in ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ podcast. As His sheep ourselves, we look for Him and gravitate to where He is, because only in Him can we find sufficiency and rest. When we don’t know Christ as Counselor and Shepherd, we tend to depend on others or ourselves for advice and solutions to life’s problems, thus, we find ourselves settling for quick fixes and instant gratification that never offer lasting results. Only our Shepherd can give what we truly need and satisfies.

    • HI Angelica, Thank for you sharing, you are so right in the fact that only God cn bring everlasting comfort and resolution to our lives. Outside of him its temporal and leaves us wanting more. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

    • Quick fixes and instant gratification are exactly what people are looking for today. I understand the desire for “hacks” when I’m fixing my lawnmower or attending to my vehicle, but the soul is God’s business. These attempts by people usually focus on producing pleasant feelings, not long-lasting results that please God. For this reason, these measures can appear quite attractive. We must fix our eyes on Jesus and imitate His ways, which were dominated by feelings, but with a commitment to faithful obedience.

      • “The soul is God’s business” is such a great reminder to me because I do think at times life’s circumstances have made me question the need for possible medication however I look forward to learning more about this topic in how to correctly counsel others according to His perfect will because I can see that this topic could come up quite frequently and learning that discernment is quite important. I’m not saying God can’t use medication however maybe it’s something that is not always as beneficial as people think? Looking forward to learning more regarding this topic.

    • Instant Gratification never leads to lasting results. I love what you are saying here. Instead of going to the Shepherd who can truly remedy the problem we may then set ourselves for other dependencies aside from Himself leading to further problems. He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals and this is just such a clarification to me right now just trusting in God’s Sufficiencies with His sheep. I am so thankful that He knows how to heal the soul and if He takes us through something He can lead us through and out of those dark valleys. I like how Pastor Jeff explained that the “valley of death” is a dark and scary place and yet God is there guiding us through it.

    • Hi Angelica, I would agree that ultimately all of us in this class have a common desire and goal which is to help give biblical counsel to others. The times we live in is definitely all about “quick fixes” and “instant gratification”. Being able to get comforted and strengthened by our Wonderful Counselor will give us what we need so that we can continue to counsel and disciple others.

    • I find it fascinating that the Lord is our Shepherd, our Counselor, our Savior and yet he chooses to work through people to reach His people. I agree with Pastor Jeff’s statement that “No one can do it like He can” but I’m also reminded that he uses people like Pastor Jeff to instruct, guide, and counsel us to look toward the Lord.

    • Amen, God wants to use (or all) each of us for His plan and purpose, but it’s Him that equips each of us. Our world today needs more biblical counselors and not just counselors . He is the anchor of our souls and we need to be ready at any time to give a reason for the hope that lies within. Blessings.

    • Angelica thank you for sharing, I agree with you when you say the Lord is only one who is the wonderful counselor, He is the only one who we should turn to and show others to. Like you said when we rely on anything but God it is only temporary and its a quick fix that can not sustain us, like knowing the truth that the Lord gives us when we look to Him as our shepherd. He gives us the peace and rest we need in Him that trusting in other things does not give us.

  • This podcast got me super stocked. And I have to mention that, I am of the engineer mentally. Being an introvert standing in front of a crowd has never appealed to me. Sharing Gods words to any individual willing to listen and praying with them has giving me a rewarding feeling. One thing I enjoy doing is watching Ray Comfort transform life’s on YouTube. When Jeff told us that people will seek our counsel, and the more biblical we are the longer the line, it made me feel privilege. Peoples life’s will be change and i will see Gods work in them. I know, I sound really optimistic but people are hurting out there and need Jesus. We all, can testify its an awful feeling living with out Jesus. People are seeking counsel lets direct them to Jesus green pastors.

    • Hi Luis, I also felt the same way you did about the more biblical we are the more we will be sought out. That feeling of privilege and gratefulness came over me as well. It it definitely a privilege to used by the Lord for his kingdom work. It put a determination in me to be actively seeking God’s consistently and to interpret it correctly. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

      • Michelle, thanks you. It’s amazing when you find your God giving purposed. I pray that you continue to encourage others and Point them to Jesus. May God bless all that you do

    • God gives favor and grace to those that lay down their lives for his sake. You are not over optimistic, you are walking in victory, through in Jesus Christ. Let God use you to help transform others for His honor and glory. Use those spiritual gifts, because those who are faithful in the little, much more will be given to them, be ready for more spiritual work . Blessings

      • God bless you for lifting up my spirit with those encouraging words. Your right I feel victory because I finally have found my God giving Purpose. I been been broke down but God is building me dramatically! Praise our father God.

    • Luis, your post really hit home for me. There are hurting people and it is an awful feeling living without Jesus. Your words reminded me of when that time was for me and it highlighted the emotions that go along with that. When we are trusting in God’s Word we can be nothing else but optimistic because we know that He will watch over His Word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12)

  • The green pastures representing feeding on the Word of God is a revelation for me. I love this Psalm and come to it often. Now when I come to read it, it will have even greater meaning because I love to feed on the Word daily and it is so satiating and life giving to my soul.

    The sheep only needs to know where the Shepherd is going. That is absolutely true! We are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who is our Shepherd. When I get distracted or allow fear to sway my focus, that is when I feel overwhelmed.

    Only God can restore souls. Truly. Anything else is band aid. I love all the podcasts. This one is a favorite! I learned a couple of new things about a portion of scripture that I already love which nurtures me often.

    • Yes, it is such a good passage of scripture. I love that Gods word is nourishing and makes us healthy sheep. All we have to do is follow him, and he will lead us there. Our well being is in the hands of a Great shepherd.

  • This podcast came at the right time. Today is Election Day, and Psalm 23 is perfect for those who are fearful and uncertain about the events in the world. I know I woke up not so much fearful or anxious but concerned about how people are going to respond after today. As a matter of fact, Im already getting texts this morning and Im thankful that the word of God always provides wisdom, comfort, and refreshment for the soul that I can share. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to share the word of God and help care for those who are suffering. Thank you Pastor Jeff and thank the Lord God for his perfect timing. Blessings!

    • I’m with you and agree with you Michelle. How I wish and pray that the rest of the world can share the privilege we have of finding rest in Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd. I too, am witness first hand, of the panic this election brings out from most of my clients today. This teaching is timely indeed. Thanks Michelle and Pastor Jeff

    • Amen! I flew into California last night from Ireland, and now here I am in the craziness of Election Day. Such a great encouragement today that the Lord is our Shepherd and that’s true today and it will be true tomorrow. He will give us rest and restore us in Him no matter what the circumstances, no matter where we are.

    • Good words Michelle. This world seems to be falling apart, when it is actually just coming together into the perfect plan of God. If we truly know Him we do not need to fear men and their crazy schemes.

  • Psalm 23 is one of my favorites psalms so I am so glad we got to listen to more on it. The analogy of the sheep is my favorite also. It’s true that sheep are timid, and defenseless, and we need to be told where to go! I love that God will lead us to still waters and green pastures. His word should convict us at times but also restore us and give us hope for good when we follow his path. There were times where I avoided going to the word because I thought I would find condemnation. But knowing that our Shepard is good and wants to lead us to still waters of peace is comforting instead! Also people will be more blessed when our counsel is biblical. That is all they need.

    • Hi Leslie!

      I too avoided the bible for many years because I was afraid of the condemnation I would find inside. All the years I wasted, feeling shame and all the while, God wanted me to abide in Him, rest in Him. I can really relate to sheep because I act like one and know it. Thank you Lord for your redeeming power through Jesus Christ!

  • So many people who seek counsel are frantic, anxious, and worried and can be looking for a quick fix. Yet what they truly need and what will meet their deepest needs is simply to rest in the green pastures of the Word. I took note of the Scripture journals Jeff mentioned because I love the idea of sending someone home with the Word and a means to just write out what God is showing them as they rest in Him and feast on the green grass He provides. Also this satisfies my ever present struggle to provide an “answer” to someone! I’m always wanting to send them home with something concrete, and the journals are a tangible way of doing that.
    Also loved “a long obedience in the same direction”. That’s a phrase I want to remember both to my impatient self and as an encouragement to others as they walk in the path of righteousness!

    • It sounds like you have much of the same struggles I do. The Lord has brought me a long way but I still struggle with not being a fixer. In my BC years I was constantly approached by people for advice (which in that time was my wordly advice, and often quick fix idea’s) and I always wanted to have the answer. I was actually approached more precisely because of being a “problem fixer”. That attitude brought on my so many problems. I can’t thank God enough for the transforming of my mind. Now the only solution or answer i give is Jesus. I still struggle with natural inclination to want to give answers but I call on the Holy spirit for help. I must say though, with the transformation that God has done in me, I get much less people seeking my advice. Not many people are willing to be sheparded by Jesus.

    • Rachel, this is such a beautiful and calming picture of this lush pasture by a flowing stream with the sheep as they are nourished and watched over by the shepherd. It is a word picture of us and our Great Shepherd.

    • Hi Rachel, The scripture journals are such a great idea to help us remember and bless someone else that is in need of comforting words from the lord. It is also my goal as I counsel to leave a word of encouragement to that person, because it is the only way to help care for someone who is struggling. thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  • As I listened to this podcast, I was reminded of John Maxwell’s teaching on Psalm 23 from a leadership perspective. As a Shepherd, the Lord provides correction and direction. He provides, gives rest, leads, guides, restores, protects, comforts, feeds, loves, and supplies shelter.

    Through the Lord’s Servant leadership, we are counseled, strengthened, and equipped to do the same.

  • “The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want” that alone talks about the sufficiency of our Lord to fill us and take care of all our needs and keep us safe. As counselors it is important to think of the characteristics of the sheep to much better appreciate the work of the Shepard. You have broken that down so perfectly Pastor. The sheep don’t easily lay down unless they are not in fear, friction,not bothered by flies, and are satisfied (famine). This ministered to me. When I feel so overwhelmed, as I currently do, and consumed by my circumstances, I need my Shepard to lead me to lay down, relax and feed on his word. And on this note my biggest revalation is “if I permit him to”, so many times I myself have not permitted the Lord to lead me anywhere, much less allowed myself lay down. I find this to be the biggest challenge in counseling as well. Many people seek counseling, but refuse to allow the Lord to lead them. They want the 12 step program, they want the “how to” book, they want it “simple”.

    I just want to thank the Lord for ministering to me today through Pastor Jeff. Thank you Lord for restoring my soul, and for being our Shepard, the one who leads us and the one we can point to to lead others!

    • Hi Erika!
      Your words resonated with me. It’s ironic how people want the answers to their lives in a simplistic way but really, what we all need is the simplicity of Jesus and the grace that we have so freely in Him.

      Jesus wants to lead us beside quiet waters, restore our souls and lead us on paths of righteousness for His Name sake. What a beautiful picture, what an amazing Shepherd we have!

    • I can understand why Pastor Hoekstra spoke against the multistep (e.g., 12 steps) type programs IF those programs are not directing people to Jesus. We are all looking for a guide on this journey, much like all of us in this class are looking for a guide in our journey to Biblical Counseling. The emphasis shouldn’t be on the number of steps but on where those steps are leading us.

      The revelation of the truth comes from being faithful to His teachings and being a true disciple.

      Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 NLT

    • In the trials and struggles it is so difficult to sit still. I appreciated the example of sheep liking still waters and not running water and when they are there the sheltered restores the soul. Many walk in the doors of churches seeking relief from the anxieties of this world. So how important it is for churches to be healthy and ready to love, pray and come alongside one another. Definitely a podcast to listen to over and over again. Blessings.

    • Thanks for sharing Ericka, I can relate to when you say when you are overwhelmed or consumed in your circumstances we don’t allow the Shepherd to lead us anywhere. I know me i tend to get so consumed in everything i tend to overlook the fact that God is the Shepherd and I am His sheep, and all I need to do is lay down relax and trust and not fear for He will supply my every need. All I need to do is be still and know He will supply everything. This pod cast also spoke wonders to me and reminded me of who I am and what I need to do, and it’s not let fear and everything consume me it is to rest in the Shepherd and let Him guide me.

  • A Comment on Dr. Kelly Brogan’s video:

    So many technical terms to learn from Dr. Kelly, however, the video title itself gives away the essence of, from my understanding on what she’s trying to convey – Psychiatry is not science. Psychiatric patients are not being treated for a disease, therefore, ‘treatments’ does not involve science but deductive reasoning – key word here is ‘reasoning,’ coming out of man’s wisdom.
    It just goes on to prove the basic truth I’ve learned in Pastor Jeff’s Biblical Counseling class – Man cannot fix man, only the Creator of all man, can and will.

  • It is so comforting that our Wonderful Counselor is also our Good Shepard who knows that we need rest and provides rest for us. When Elijah found himself under the broom tree God knew exactly what he needed in order rest and recover. God doesn’t want us to burn ourselves out by trying hard to do things on our own. He wants to give us rest. I know I have been very anxious recently due to many different circumstances in my life. But anytime I’ve felt completely overwhelmed it’s like God prepares some extra time for me to rest in Him. Sometimes it’s meeting with a friend and other times it has been some unexpected free time in my day to spend with God.

    • Thank you for this great reminder. Often I have looked at ways to accomplish more in a day rather than looking for opportunities to rest in Him. Honestly, I struggle with being still and resting in this way. I was raised to detest slothfulness and so I work hard to accomplish and produce results. I can imagine I get separated from the flock quite often with my desire to be more “efficient”. Instead, I should lie down and remember where my “sufficiency” comes from instead of my “efficiency” as a laborer.

  • I appreciate Pastor Jeff’s insights on the LORD; the Good Shepherd. As an assisting pastor, I can forget that I am prone to the same fears, timidity, and folly of those we serve. Thinking that “I have arrived or apprehended” causes me to neglect the simplicity of listening to the voice of the shepherd of my soul. I overwork when I should lay down. Instead of being at peace with my fellow sheep, I seek to get them to see things “my way”.

    Thankfully, His Word brings me back to the place where I can feast in those green pastures beside still waters. I found great encouragement in the reminder of Christ as the sole restorer of my soul. Vacations, inactivity, and secular interventions will not/cannot bring true and lasting restoration. The LORD who made us knows how to restore us perfectly. This is the kind of work that man can imitate but never duplicate.

    • It is true that no amount of rest from the world will help us. I know that when I am tired and feel burnt out 1 Peter 5:10 is a much needed reminder. “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

  • Often times I can tend to “tune out”, or not pay attention as much when I come across a passage or story in the bible that I think I already know about. These thoughts came to me while attempting to listen to the podcast but I am so glad that I intentionally chose to dismiss that attitude and listen with a newness of heart. I especially enjoyed hearing the explanation describing the details around the sheep laying down in green pastures. It was settling to me knowing that my God will take care of everything that could possibly keep me from being settled or rested with Him. This is overwhelmingly comforting.

  • It really resonated with me when Pastor Jeff said that the times are revealing how much the world truly needs biblical counselors. God opens the doors and prepares the harvest, we just have to be ready to walk through it. It’s a calling for me to know these great passages like Psalm 23. The times we are in are displaying the fact that people are like sheep. Especially with Covid and the election, on both sides of the aisle, people are anxious and uncertain. There is nothing more satisfying and calming than the words “He makes me lie down beside still waters.” It is a message that needs to be heard, and we are equipped to deliver it. May we be bold ambassadors our Lord and Shepherd Jesus Christ.

  • This is a comment on the Dr. Kelly Video,
    This statement stood out to me, “To first engage in basic tenants of investigation BEFORE initiating medication especially ones with extreme side-effects…”. Taking the least invasive approach has the least risk. I think “to first do no harm” is a wise approach.

  • Thanks for the reminder of the fact the Lord is the Shepherd, who supplies everything we need, we just need to rest in His Word and trust in Him even though we go through dark valleys we are not alone He is with us. I needed this reminder with the Pandemic hitting my family really hard and family passing from it, and I myself have been battling it. It is so easy to get distracted and loose focus of the fact that God is our Shepherd, and we shall not want. all we need to do is lay still and be filled with His word. We are called to lead by example, this message is a good message to share with others. Especially when fear tends to settle in and distract you from God’s truth. This pod cast really spoke to my heart.

    • Oh Margaret, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my grandmother earlier this year and because of the pandemic I had not seen her for six weeks prior to that. It was extremely hard on my family, but God was so gracious in our mourning. He provided time for all of us to (safely) gather as a family and just rest in Him. God definitely cares for all of our needs.

    • Im so sorry about your loss and that you are also struggling with your health. Your words are very encouraging and shows how much you are resting in your Heavenly
      Father ‘s arms. May God continue to keep you and sustain you through this difficult time. Blessings!

  • I am so encouraged by the latest podcast called The Lord is My Shepherd. I am so refreshed to just see the clarification that we gain through the relationship between the sheep and the Shepherd. I was particularly encouraged to learn of the four ‘F’s’ which make it hard for the sheep to rest: fear, friction, flies or famine. I didn’t realize how much humanism was so entrenched in Christian Counseling. I loved the concept of just taking baby steps at times as long as we are heading in the same direction over time. I did enjoy the insight regarding the need for medication and how to discern that more accurately considering it’s more of a band-aid but doesn’t truly fix the problem over time. Last but not least I was amazed to hear of the wolf and there’s no way sheep can help protect other sheep from a wolf but instead a sheep can only help by bringing the other sheep to the Shepherd. Very encouraged and thankful for this helpful information.

    • HI Katie, I also feel encouraged by what Pastor Jeff teaching in the Psalm 23. It was comforting knowing that the good shepherd is there to comfort and ease our fear so that we can live a abundant life without being fearful. It was a beautiful message. Thanks for sharing. Blessings! Michelle

  • This is a comment on the Dr Kelly video”

    This video revealed to me the little that man has progressed in curing metal health. It seems to me that the pharmaceutical companies are still making billion with their limited remedies. If people constantly have to take medication does it really solve the problem? Maybe all the medicine they are handing out is making the human race worst? I would like to hear someones opinion on these questions. It sounded like some symptoms are just to broad to understand before they actually prescribe medication. I personality believe that medication helps but I don’t think is can solve the issue of relapse to the same mentality.

  • I learned a lot about being a sheep under God this podcast. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this topic. How many people lead me to the Good Shepherd when I need Him, I can’t say. I want to be someone who leads others to the Good Shepherd when we need Him. To simply follow Him and His voice, knowing that Jesus takes care of all of our needs, is crazy. I know I can’t sleep when there is tension somewhere, and when that comes I need to be counseled by God, and rest where He leads me. How beautiful it is, to be a sheep of a God Who cares for all of our affairs.

  • “This is a comment on the Dr. Kelly Video”
    Dr. Kelly expressed some interesting points that are worth exploring. The 2-minute video was brief and packed with a lot of terminology and definitive statements with very little background information. I hope our future lessons or courses dig deeper into this subject.

  • Thank you Pastor Jeff for this weeks podcast. This week has been another stepping stone for my journey in biblical counseling. As I listened I heard the call to be equipped with who God is in my life through His Word, the Holy Spirit and the importance of my daily walk with Him. As a counselor, we cannot come alongside others without the Lord working within us first. I thought of the verse 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 God is the comfort who comforts us in our trials so that we may comfort those who are in trouble. You shared four words to describe the sheep’s responses to their environment: fear, friction, flies and famine. Being in ministry for thirteen years as a pastor’s wife, I didn’t always see those four responses in my own life until now. As I sit in service as a congregant, I see all these four in my own life so clearly. Less than two years ago, my world was stripped of so much that I could not lie down, but His voice was loud with the words be still and know that I am God. His word and strength have lovingly kept me during this journey. This weeks podcast once again confirm God’s leading these past two years. Thank you.

    • What a great testimony you have about your walk with God in these recent years. I know that I have those responses as a sheep as well. As you mentioned, sometimes God allows things to be taken from us so that we trust in His shepherding a bit more. Countless times in my life have I needed to really refocus myself on the Shepherd and simply listen to His voice; it is truly the only steady thing in this world.

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