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What You'll Discover in this Episode:


The Great Commission and the Great Commandment



In this episode, we continue our discussion about "Biblical Counseling in a Gentle Voice". With this, we always start with our definition of "biblical counseling".


What is biblical counseling? It is living a godly Christ-centered life and passing this on to others -- walking with the Lord, loving the Lord, knowing the Word and being filled and touched by the Holy Spirit. It is being involved in the local body of Christ in church life, worshipping with your whole heart, mind and soul. It is walking day-by-day in relationship with other people loving God and loving others, walking in the Great Commission and evangelism and teaching people in the Word of God, walking by the Spirit and crossing paths with people who need guidance.


In this crossing of paths, God will use us to help guide them to the path of discipleship because we are instruments in the Redeemer's hand. In biblical counseling, we believe that the Word of God is sufficient and the Holy Spirit has the power to bring forth the right counsel. As biblical counselors, as we serve God, it is Him at work in us. He works upon us, in us and through us as we walk the path of discipleship. 


Biblical Counseling in a Gentle Voice. We want to have a gentle voice. We want to be those that consider to restore gently. Those people who have battled sin are broken, bruised and beat up by the world. We want to get their feet on solid rock. We want to pick them up, grab them and rescue them. That's a lot of work.


Working with a Network of Biblical Counselors. When you work with a group of trusted and equipped people, we can always get help when we get stuck with a person that we want to rescue. Because we don't to leave those people hanging. When we help, we help fully and wholeheartedly.


Biblical Counseling is walking with the Lord and calling others to walk alongside with you as you walk with Him. We need God's guidance to navigate.


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  • Walking in the Spirit and by the Spirit as a natural, organic experience of the Lord in us is so freeing! Jeff captures our expressive life in Christ so beautifully.
    Even in the “difficult cases” we lay down our time, talents and treasures as a natural outflow of what Christ did for us–again, an expression of Christ in us–knowing the Word and walking in it.
    I counseled a teen in 2020 who was frightened by the anxiety and depression she was experiencing. Her mom did not want to send her to psychologist as the daughter had requested. The daughter expected the psychologist to give her a diagnosis and then teach her how to get normal. Ah! How different was the counsel I offered:
    God made you different from others for His purposes. Let’s look at the blessing of those differences!
    Your weaknesses, when they turn you toward Jesus, allow His power to rest upon you.
    Only God has the understanding of who you are and what He wants to purify in you. His Word guides us to see what is sin and needs repentance.

    As the sessions went on it became clear that this was not a message she found exciting or hope-filled. She wanted her symptoms to be fixed not redeemed. What’s ironic is psych counseling doesn’t promise a cure. You do get a diagnosis, a label. Is that a comfort in some way? Any thoughts?

    • So comforting to me. But I find so many want a quick fix. A pill. The Lord offers relationship and that always requires something from us. All we can do is offer it. It is so much more then a fix of their behavior. They will find comfort and joy! They will find redemption but best of all they will find someone who loves them so much He was willing to die for them to be with them for eternity. Why do people settle for the “plastic fruit” when they could have the real delicious fruit I don’t understand!!

      • “Plastic fruit” is soooo true. Great comparison Kendal! Quick fixes, band aids and feel-good sayings don’t treat our core disease. It’s a tad disconcerting that our young are trading their innocence for a dx of depression, bi-polar, anxiety disorder, body dismorphophobia, ADD, etc. We might want to warn parents that these labels are very subjective but even if they are scientific they provide little hope for healing. In contrast, Christianity offers a relationship with the God of creation who purposed human differences for His will to be done in the earth. Though sometimes these differences can make us more prone to Satan’s lies, being in Christ provides the power to put down those lies. That is hope!

    • “As the sessions went on it became clear that this was not a message she found exciting or hope-filled. She wanted her symptoms to be fixed not redeemed. What’s ironic is psych counseling doesn’t promise a cure. You do get a diagnosis, a label. Is that a comfort in some way? Any thoughts?”
      Well I think she didn’t really want her problems fixed, she wanted the label so that she did not have to change, she could stay doing exactly what she wanted to do, allowing her to feed “self”. You see as you pointed out she didn’t want to be redeemed, which leads us to dying to self and living for Christ. Satan has the world blinded with the counsel of the world that says “We have it in ourselves to get better” We need to feed our flesh and then we will fill good about ourselves, then we will have have the strength to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in. The lies of Satan that have not changed since the garden! “Then the serpent said to woman, “you will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3
      Satan wants to keep us trapped, Christ wants to set us free!

      • I think that seeing a psychologist is the new normal for many teens right now. When my (now 20 year old) was in high school, she said that most of her friends saw a psychologist. She went to a Catholic school with average French families. My 14 year old daughter asked (last year) if she could see a psychologist, and when I asked why, she said because she wanted to talk about problems she was having with friends at school. I said “Well, you know, that’s kind of what Moms are for!” Her friends at school see a psychologist to talk about how to deal with schoolyard issues! I think it can be part of a certain social status as well. These are strange times we live in.

        • Wow Becky! I think you are spot on. When psychologists first became a source for help, it was hip for the rich to use that route. It hadn’t occurred to me that today’s teens see no stigma and I didn’t ask her what her peers were doing for help. I use an “Outside Inputs” questionnaire during my first session with counselees to understand what they are letting into their minds: TV shows they watch, books they read, podcasts they watch, best friends, etc., and now I will add another question! Something like, “What do those around you do for mental help and advice?” Thanks for the insight.

          • That’s a really good question to ask ! They are inundated so much, and unless we ask the right question at the right time, we won’t know. Even “Christian meditation apps” to help them fall asleep! It is astounding how much is out there! You are doing a great work Carolyn!

      • Hi Josiah and all,
        As a former Psych major I have taken many psychology classes and have even earned a degree. I am not happy that I spent that much time in the world, and being saturated with such worldliness; but ecstatic that I can now understand sin in a way that will help me to help others see the error in their thinking.

        We know that sin begins in the mind, followed by an action. Someone who desires to see a psychologist has a desire to “know” about sin, but the psychologist calls it something else. Psychological counseling promises a label an that label is eased with a pill, and that pill is part of their healing even if it is a placebo. For the patient, the label is comforting because they have a new way to describe what they’re feeling and doing, without calling it what it is – sin. Sin sounds so much worse than a diagnosis. If it is a diagnosis, how can it be a sin?

        In Schizophrenia patients, studies of the mother of these patients has shown a lack of nutrition in the first trimester of pregnancy; but, my husband and I have laid hands on a woman with schizophrenia as the Lord prompted us, and she was then in her right mind. Even two years later when we saw her again, she remembered us and was still in her right mind; and, a believer.

        In many depressed people, anxiety too, we have lead them to praise and worship and depression left.

        Jesus tells us that our body is a temple, and He has taught me about the importance of caring for the temple in the form of vitamins and minerals.

        People lean on their diagnosis like a crutch, but we have to show them how to lean on Jesus.

  • Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice! Be an instrument in the redeemers hands!! Two great sentences of advice on a day like today for me! About 15 years ago my husband and I were asked by our church at the time to come along a retired pastor and his wife. He had gotten into legal trouble and the church had put him on discipline and meeting with us was but one requirement. He had charges being brought up against him and his beautiful dear wife was standing by him but not too many more people were standing with him. He admitted his wrongs and was extremely repentant! We heard God call us to walk with them. It was one of the hardest things God had asked me to do up until then. He had a jail sentence that left his wife desolate! There was much weeping as we held her as her dear husband was taken away. When he was finally let out they had lost everything and were living in a trailer. The consequences of his actions were heavy and harsh. But we walked with them. We brought them food and love. We stored their belongings and would just go to love and talk with them while it looked like everyone on earth had abandoned them. It was awfully heartbreaking but God always empowered me with His Spirit to love them and give them what they needed at the time. Eventually they had to move away and slowly we lost contact. This morning their daughter reached out to me to let me know the husband her father had died last May and her dear momma died 2 weeks ago. I wept! They had won over my heart despite circumstances. The daughter wanted me to know that in their last years after I had lost track of them they mentioned us often. They told her their love for us and all we had done. How we had been an instrument in the redeemers hands! It is so hard sometimes when God asks us to walk along His people that may have strayed off the path of righteousness. Or a victim of the consequences when a spouse has done this. But I know God continually gave me HIS love for them His words when I had nothing. His counsel when I knew this man had pastored his whole life and had so much fruit wondering what could someone like me offer? He told me he had also retired from being in the word and that led to destruction for him. This day my heart breaks because I grew to love them so deeply. My weeping is mixed with such joy. They are free and with the LORD! And as for me the deep gratitude for God as he offers the deepest privelege and that is to enter into the lives of others. Walk in their mess. Love them in their mess and be used by God to counsel and disciple! What a messy joy! This was such a timely podcast for me as a validation that God has me right where he wants me!!

    • What a beautiful story Kendall, and what a heartbreaking one as well, how easy it is to find people to walk with when all is shiny and bright, but it is truly a testimony to your character and to the grace of God that dwells in you that you continued to minister to this family during the most dire of situations. I am sure that it deeply ministered to their daughter as well. Blessings to you

    • Awesome testimony! “God will never leave us or forsake us” even when there are consequences to our actions God still makes room for his grace and transforming power. I can see he used you guys to show his love and compassion.

  • Pastor Jeff, when you talked about a person with deep difficulty needing a deep discipleship, and the lengths we may have to go to to walk with that person, it certainly brought up reactions and thoughts within me. The knee jerk reaction was “I will have to refer a person with that level of problems to a more experienced counsellor”. Then, hearing you convey that the answers for all man’s problems are in the Word of God, my next thoughts were: “Would I be willing to go to the extent needed?”, “Do I know enough of the Word, and how to use it for counselling, to be able to help such a person?”. Eventually my thoughts returned to the foundational Rock and I remembered that it would not be “I” who would be doing the counselling, and it would not be “I” carrying the weight of the extended discipleship; it would be the Lord. Yoked to Him the burden of the plow is light, as long as we remain as one with Him.

    • Isn’t it amazing when we can step out of the way and Let God, how precious then things become! If God would call us to walk at lengths with someone who is in deep difficulty and needing deep discipleship then He will equip us to do so. Like you said it is not “I” who be doing the counseling, and it would not be “I” carrying the weight; it would be the LORD! Amen!
      That right there is so refreshing, and encouraging! It is God in us, working through us to touch the broken and hurting of this world! We simply are called to walk along side of them, and lead them to Him!

    • I, like you Rick, had similar thinking. On one hand I love that there is no pat anwers. I have actually experienced the need to walk long lengths with very difficult cases. But when I hear cases that sound so difficult I start to doubt I am the one for the job. Do I know the WORD well enough to use it for such cases? Your thinking returning to the ROCK and getting our eyes off of ourselves and remembering It is not us but HIM who would be doing the counseling is encouraging reminder and I love how you said it would be HIM who would be carrying the weight of the extended discipleship! I don’t think we can be reminded of that enough!!!

    • Yes I agree there with you sometimes it is intimidating to think “what could I do?” especially with what we perceive to be difficult situations. They are not too difficult for God but one thing as you mentioned “I” am not the counselor what was told to me once was “your not the Messiah” lol. When we can trust and rely on God and not get caught up in the moment we can prayerfully be led to help even if its just a little or perhaps beyond.

    • Hi Rick, I too had a similar thought when I heard this episode. Would I be able to counsel anybody with an extremely difficult situation. But as I was reminded recently by something that happened to me at church, serving others in ministry is not about ability, but about availability. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.

  • Great stuff! Not being impressed by man and man’s wisdom but being impressed by Jesus and His word! We do not need to be expert counselors as the world would have us to be with a degree hanging behind us as we speak with those in need. As you mentioned, this is not bad, and many are called by God to this and have gotten the education yet there hope is not in the piece of paper hanging on the wall to help them counsel but it is in the trust and reliance on the Word of God taking root in the hearts of those they are counseling. This is so important! Counseling is living a Godly centered life and passing that on to others. You walk with those people in need to the foot of the Counselor Jesus Christ, there they will find freedom and healing. You walk with them through the Bible for it is there they will understand and gain knowledge to the issues they are dealing with! The Word of God is sufficient! We counsel biblically with a gentle voice, not condemning the one who is broken and distraught, but with loving and caring arms we carry them to the One who will heal them!
    “Count the cost Counselor!” Are you hearing the Spirit speak to you? Are you listening to His guidance as He places in your path those who need someone to walk along side them and direct them in the Word to the One who has the answers?
    Use your time, talents, and treasure for His glory and walk with those who are in need!

    • As a believer who has been through what were for me some significant battles or trials I too am not impressed by what people can accomplish academically. What is impressive is to watch people who will walk people through seasons of darkness and despair and to see both come out of tunnel into the light. Yes the prayerful counsel and leading of the Holy Spirit is what people need our greatest service and ministry is to bring people to the foot of Jesus Christ!

    • Josiah, I love the fact that you picked out the fact that we are to counsel biblically with a gentle voice and love; this reminds me of the prophesy about Jesus found in Isa 42:3 “A bent reed He will not break off And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;” (NASB via Biblegateway). Jesus spoke some things that were very difficult for people to hear, but spoke it out of love and with love, with gentleness of heart. A good example of this was when Jesus was speaking to the woman of Samaria at the well and he pointed out that she had had 5 husbands and the man she was with now was not her husband. He spoke the truth to her in a non-threatening way putting the ball in her court to decide how she would respond to the sin just made evident.
      I can certainly testify that God has reveled things to me about myself in the same way. Praise be to God. When we see this, and experience it, we can, as you say, “with loving and caring arms… carry them to the One who will heal them!”

    • I loved that point that Pastor Jeff made too about not having to be an expert. I too think we need to make sure we are not puffed up in the knowledge we can receive with academic credentials. The Biblical wisdom of the Lord is greater than any letter we achieve behind our name. The world can offer you ways to budget and make money, but the Lord alone can give you the right heart spending and making that money. The Spirit reveals what is priority in our life and who really is the One who gives and takes away. I know I take for granted many times the power, authority, and wisdom that comes from the word of God and the power that lives within me and upon me. Through this podcast I am reminded that God is the expert!! I can have a boldness in that.

    • Hi Josiah,
      Bringing to remembrance the part where Pastor Jeff said, ““Count the cost Counselor! Are you hearing the Spirit speak to you? Are you listening to His guidance as He places in your path those who need someone to walk along side them and direct them in the Word to the One who has the answers? Use your time, talents, and treasure for His glory and walk with those who are in need!” While the cost can be great, it is also rewarding in the sense that not only are we rewarded with an unquenchable joy, but over the longrun we are able to see transformations in the lives of those who we walk beside.

      Those who we go to church with consist of those who either, already believe, or, are looking for something to believe in other than what they experienced in life thus far. It is the ladder who will be attracted into a relationship with the Lord by first being gently guided from that still small voice spoken through us from the Lord, while the former will appreciate gentle guidance in our patience and gentleness in speaking the truth of God’s Word – something that I have been learning over the last couple of years.

      The greatest challenge we face is outside of the church doing evangelism where people are first attracted by what we can first offer them in the physical sense; the problem is that, when someone is not in need of something, then speaking with them is fleeting as they run off after hearing that we’re so called, “bible thumpers.” The planting of a seed is as simple as saying something like, “it was wonderful to meet you, God bless you; I’ll pray over your situation; Wow Jesus has surely blessed you with…!; hey, if you like, I’ll pray that God will have favor in …; I’m sorry to hear that – maybe Jesus is trying to get your attention?”

      My husband has a voice that is gentle, even if he’s upset; he is slow to speak and if he’s angry, he doesn’t show it. He is the most humble and gentle man I know; and is perfect for the type of ministry that we do. His patience with me is immeasurable! 🙂

    • Hi Josiah, I really liked what you wrote. So many people will be drawn to the Lord if they meet such a counselor. Nowadays, we find people everywhere who are depressed, confused, frustrated, angry about their lives and they are looking for answers to their questions. They are looking for answers within or they even travel to other countries looking for the truth or join cults or get into mysticism. Today, both churches and the world need the kind of counselor who is in love with God and His Word, who speak with a gentle voice and the truth with love. Like you wrote, not those who condemn the broken and distraught, but those who with loving and caring arms carry them to the One who will heal them.

  • I really appreciated this podcast, that Gentle Voice of our Maker being echoed through us into the world we live in, it makes such a difference! I personally needed to be reminded that “when someone has a deep difficulty, they need a discipleship that will correspond with the challenge”. There are a few people in my life that I needed to be reminded that the Lord put them there, and that I need to count the cost and pour the time and energy that is needed into their lives for their sanctification. Honestly, it is good for my sanctification as well, I learn patience, I am reminded of how patient the Lord is with me, I am reminded of what a great price the Lord paid for my salvation, and I am confronted with my own sinfulness when I want people to mature prematurely. It isn’t for me to determine the speed of sanctification, but to walk alongside the saints pointing them to Jesus. Thank you for this Word today.

    • Hi Becky, I love that you point out that it is good for your sanctification as well. It is so amazing that God can simultaneously accomplish so many things through one event or one seasonal relationship. Several years ago two other guys and myself began an in-depth Bible study together; our wives did the same. One of the guys was our associate Pastor at the time, yet he said he was coming into the study not as a Pastor, but just as a Christian; he was not there to lead it, but rather to embrace a brothers in Christ aspect where who was teaching and who was learning could change and shift however the Holy Spirit would lead. This was a weekly study that went for 18 months. During those 18 months the intense discipleship one to another was incredible; the brotherly bonds that formed are seared into our very lives. God is Awesome!

    • I can identify with what you have written. In our ministry overseas, we had some people who were very, very difficult because they were so deeply hurt. They found it hard to trust me when I told them it was the Lord loving them through me. Sometimes, I felt so helpless but over many years of one-on-one discipleship and reminding myself that Jesus doesn’t give up on me, I was able to persevere and be patient and eventually, they became believers and grew into discipling others.

  • I am really enjoying getting to hear these weekly podcasts, it makes me feel like I have just sat down with Pastor Jeff for a morning coffee and talk! There are times when I have definitely run into difficult situations with respects to meeting with people needing help. I like what was mentioned about Gods word promising a place for every member of the body and to be open to the leading of the spirit to know and look for practical means to see God fulfill this through us! It can be simple like knowing that God has given each one of us a limited means of filling those areas and to see to it that we can use what he has given to us for his glory. The young man mentioned did well when he was given a purpose and surrounded by a loving situation like Pastor Jeff moving him into the bible college with him for a couple of years. That was the means given to Pastor Jeff and I believe each one of us has the same opportunities in different ways if that makes sense. I have heard it said “not everybody can do everything but everybody can do something”. Also having a gentle voice is coming up again and this means a lot in this world we live in because there are alot of LOUD voices out there. Gods voice is very kind to me I know he loves me sometimes he wakes me up the exhortation but I can still see His Love. [Gal 6:1-3 NKJV] 1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who [are] spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

    • Yes Michael, having a gentle voice is one of those statements that stood out to me also. The still small voice of the Lord has power and authority, and I think that many times He speaks in this way so that we can focus and seek His voice out among all other voices. There are so many things screaming for our affection and attention, and yet there is One who is worthy of it.

      I also love that Jeff said there is a place in the church for every member of the body to be used. My heart is for those with special ‘abilities’, and many times it seems as though those with disabilities are unseen or overlooked. They are not given an opportunity to be used or to exercise their spiritual gifts. If they are in Christ they are a vessel fit for His use. I pray we see those with disabilities as a part of the body and treat them as such. I have a 23 year old son with mild mental retardation (PC Intellectual Disability), but whatever the title the world has given him, the Lord has given Him a bigger and greater one, He is a Chosen Child of the King. He loves others unconditionally in a way I could only wish to love others. He sees in others beyond what our eyes can see. He worships the Lord loudly, unashamed and with abandon. I know the Lord is using Him and will continue to use him, but I also pray He will find HIs community and his place within the actual church and body of believers.

  • Thank you, Pastor Jeff, for all of the wonderful information you provided on how to counsel and disciple using gentle words. Each of your thoughts was so meaningful to me because I can see how important it is for me to apply these points in my counseling and discipling ministry. Your emphasis on loving and serving people in the church in order to disciple them is exactly the way I want to minister. Your example of discipling the brother with Asperger’s Syndrome was so significant because you helped him in such a practical way by finding his abilities and helping him grow and eventually, find a job. I really liked your focus on persevering and sticking with people. When I accepted the Lord, I just shared the gospel with people and brought them to the pastor of my church for discipleship. But years later, after I was married, my husband and I were called to another city to plant a new fellowship. We didn’t know anyone in the city but the Lord guided us to love people. Through our girls’ school, at our office, and in our neighborhood, we tried to make friends which was a long process that cost us so much of our time, emotions and required many sacrifices. In particular, one family, after 10 years of sharing the gospel and building friendship, and dealing with their issues through God’s Word and help, finally became believers. It took 8 years to disciple them and now they are making disciples and leading others to the Lord and have started their own fellowship. I fully agree that Biblical counseling is one-on-one discipleship. Jesus is the counselor and uses us to help other people by his Holy Spirit, through His Word but this can be a very long process that requires our love, sacrifice, and perseverance.

    • Anita, I also loved the example of Pastor Jeff ministering to the young man with Asperger’s. We, as counselors, do need to count the cost. The Lord asks us to love others well as we counsel, and many times that will include sacrifice that we had not anticipated. You most certainly did not anticipate that bringing that particular family to the Lord would involve a decade of sharing the gospel and building relationship! They now have such a beautiful example of how to sacrificially love and serve others. God bless you in your continued ministry!

  • There is so much I loved about this podcast. Before taking this class, the big question on my mind, “what is the difference between counseling and discipleship?” Another question I think about, “what is the difference between mentoring and discipleship?” Sometimes I see these terms intertwined or interchangeable, maybe they are supposed to be, or maybe they are not. We have a mentor ministry within our church and within that mentor ministry we meet with women for a limited time, 8-10 weeks going over a book or a book of the Bible. I have never considered myself mentoring, but rather discipling, nor have i ever put a specific timeline to our time together either. Every lady I have discipled has been at least a year or so of meeting weekly or bi weekly. It involves building a relationship with them as we seek and build our relationship with the Lord. Is there a timeline on discipleship? I am learning more and more though, that discipleship within counseling is necessary and edifying. As mentioned in the podcast, I am an instrument in the Redeemer’s hand, and I want to be one who is not only loving people, but walking with them through the hard, through the confusing, through the conflicting, through the heartbreaking–not because I have the answers to any of it, but because in Christ they will find all they are lacking or needing. I want to lift up their arms when they grow weary in the battle. I want to lift up their eyes to HIM when they have become focused on the circumstance. I want to intercede for them when they have no longer have the words to pray. I want to remind them of HIS Truth when they have forgotten His promises and their position in Christ. This is why discipleship is so important to me. Yet, so many people are lonely and walking through this life left out, forgotten, and looked at from afar. Why is that? I think we consider our time, our resources, our gifts, our comforts–as our own, when they are not. They are for His purpose and should be at His disposal, we are only stewards of what is all HIS anyway. One of the definitions of Biblical Discipleship given in the podcast, “living a godly Christ centered life, and passing that on to others” is such a beautiful picture of loving one another and a beautiful reflection of the heart of Christ. A timely reminder of how I can not ask others to do what I myself am not willing to do. I love how we are reminded to count the cost and to know that sometimes people will require a “deep discipleship”, a depth of discipleship that is reciprocal to their challenge. I love that Jeff said, “rescue work is a lot of work”. Restoration may come in different ways, by different means, and within different timing. This may mean more than a half hour planned question and answer meeting. Restoration may look like inviting others in my home, giving them shelter, food, and a bed to sleep in. It may look like serving beyond the normal hours and days of ministry. It may look like watching the someone’s children in the late evening so that they can go to the hospital and get an emergency MRI. The list can go on and on. So thankful that the Lord is our example, our reason, and our hope.

  • This is an extremely difficult podcast for me to respond to. I have sat and contemplated on each of the topics below and, with the exception of the first part of the definition of “what is biblical counseling” I fall short in so much of the remainder.

    It is difficult to ask others to trust my knowledge of the word of God, when I fall short in trusting man enough to become intimately involved with members of our current church because of the pain that other churches have caused prior to this church. Our church members are kind and is generous in giving to other groups such as the Crisis Pregnancy Center, a church in Africa, some projects that others are doing, and our outreach ministry, but they would rather hear about what their money is going to than to participate in reaching out. In our church I have had several people approach me trying to get details of my life before even having a conversation with me; and have had others try to force the connection of our ministry with other ministries that have intimate friendships with those who caused us harm; I have even had one person try to twist the scripture into something that resembled spiritualism/witchcraft. We have been invited to attend women’s Bible studies, and men’s Bible studies, but we feel that since we are married that couples should be trained up for ministry, and not trained to be separated. We love the pastor and his wife and believe they are God-loving and sincere, but we just happen to know that we are oddballs to them, and do not want to connect with the members in a “daily walk” capacity. I feel terrible saying that, but it is the truth.

    My husband and I have been running an outreach ministry for 13 years this month and we have a small group of volunteers, a few who are board members, and we are all somewhat close. We all play a part in making the ministry work and just know what we need to do. Over the last year we have had to take social distancing measures and have not connected as we have prior, but the simplicity of our work just flows with great precision and success as we each have a job to do; we do it, and interact with our guests who come for the services that we provide. We rely on God to provide what we need and we do the footwork each time that God provides it, and we rely on the Holy Spirit to impart the Word of God because we see the changes taking place in the lives of those who attend. Because we are dealing with the homeless and the poor, sometimes it takes years to see a change begin to happen. Our consistency and dependability over the years is what they all remember and refer to if they have left and we see them somewhere in the future. When no-one else cared, they remember the love that was given to “someone like them.”

    Coming beside someone, with unconditional love, who is so damaged that it caused them to be homeless, could be the very thing that leads them to the love of Jesus.

    With that being said and confessed; is it considered homelessness when someone is without a church home for any reason?

    • I want to be there for your question Kristi. Can you rephrase? I think I may know what you are asking, or maybe the Lord is asking you, but I want to be sure before I answer. Thanks Kristi, Carolyn

      • Hi Carolyn, 🙂
        That was kind of a rhetorical question. Would you consider someone homeless if they attend a church, but do not feel that the church they attend is Christ-centered, because they incorporate worldly theories, or seem to mention statements made by men more often then the Word of God?

        We have attended several church’s in our area that seem to do the same things and many don’t even ask you to bring your Bible, including the church that we attend. We continue to attend this church because they are the kindest and because there are some who desire to be Godly and even have home groups, but the home groups are separating husbands and wives (men with men in one home, and women with women held in someone else’s home) and no groups for married couples nor preparing anyone for outside ministry.

        At any rate, it’s difficult trusting these kinds of church societies.

  • Pastor Jeff, this episode reminded me of something that I experienced over 10 years ago. A friend of mine asked to speak to me about some issues he was having at home. He went on to explain that his wife kicked him out of the house and wanted a divorce because he was unfaithful. I recall telling him that the only thing for him to do was to seek the Lord and let Him work on his marriage. I felt so sorry for him that I agreed to meet with him once a week as a way to check up on him. During our weekly meetings we would simply catch up on the happenings of the week, read our bibles and pray for him and his marriage. Long story made short, after 10 months his wife forgave him and allowed him to return home to her and their two young boys. The Lord did an amazing work in his life and in his marriage. I see him from time to time and I always smile when I see him and his family together. I’m living proof that you do not have to be an expert to provide Godly counseling. All you need to do is display God’s character in your own life daily and He will use you. God is truly a Wonderful Counselor.

    • Awesome story, yes that is true! as pastor Jess says we don’t need a degree to be able to counsel biblically, but through God’s spirit and obedience we can offer his words to others, and help get them get their feet on the solid rock, Christ.

    • Laz, I love the simplicity of your story. You simply made yourself available to encourage your friend in his walk with the Lord, and let God do the heart work on your friend and his wife. You were certainly a source of encouragement to him during a difficult time, but you didn’t stop at encouraging him – you led Him the the ultimate Encourager! You led him to the One who has the answers he needs. God bless you in your continued ministry.

  • I love that verse and its perfect for counseling biblically, ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.’ it is true that only God can see into the hearts of men, and God isn’t guessing what is going on, but he knows, and only he can give the counsel through His word, and through his Spirit. It is important for us to always walk with the Lord, so that we don’t lead others astray!

  • Pastor Jeff,
    Thank you for sharing your example of sacrificial ministry, through gentle, loving words and examples. Your reminder of counting the cost brought to mind a question I asked a pastor years ago. This pastor was instructing us in biblical counseling, and I asked, “How can we minister to people in this way, and not take these problems home with us?” In other words, I was asking how to avoid feeling the pain and hurt that my counselees are going through. I did not want to bring their problems home with me! I will never forget his answer. He said, “I’d prefer you come alongside them and feel their pain as you minister to them.” God doesn’t want us to stay clinically distant. He wants us to love like Jesus loves. Jesus felt our pain so completely that He took our punishment and death. Jesus would have me feel their pain and bring them AND their problems home with me! To God be the glory!

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