What You'll Discover in this Episode:

The Psychologizing of the Faith

Our culture has become deeply and extensively psychological. Psychological theory has sort of become the folklore religion of the American culture, a culture with a desire to validate overt interest in the self-life. It’s called Self-exultation. Self is at the root of what prevents us from following Jesus.

Psychological thinking is now flowing into the American church. In many ways, too often, the American church has become spiritually weak, carnal, self-indulgent. So, instead of us sort of being salt and light to tell the world how God would have them think and walk, now the world is telling the church how to think, how to teach, how to counsel. And all the psychology in our culture is flowing into the church instead of truth in the church flowing out to the culture because of a lot of self-indulgence in the church which weakens us drastically.

What’s happening is that many foundation stones of the faith once for all delivered to the saints are being redefined. What this is amounting to, actually, is we are now getting a new man-centered theology instead of a Christ-centered theology as the word gives us.

What does the scripture say about counseling?

First, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). This prophetic passage of the Lord Jesus Christ gives us precise insight on how counseling is to take place in the family of God. That is, it’s going to all be anchored in the Wonderful Counselor. He wants to counsel us. 

How does He counsel us?

The Lord wants us delighting in His word, living in it, feeding on it (Psalm 119:24). And then as we’re in His word, the Lord is counseling us through His word. That’s the way God has designed counsel in his family.

Man counseling man versus God counseling man.

The ministry of counseling is to be all of us in the word, being counseled by the Wonderful Counselor, and then passing on to each other his counsel. So he is counseling all of us through each other by means of his word. It’s profoundly simple, but it’s life-giving, life-changing. It’s ordained of God, and it’s anchored in his word.

What’s happening instead of this in the church world?

Well, instead of the Lord Jesus being the Wonderful Counselor, the expert that we all turn to, now men like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, these men have become the experts that people are looking to for the help that they need. Instead of having the Lord Jesus counseling us through His word, we have the counsel of men like Freud and Jung and Maslow who, by the way, are self-proclaimed either atheists, agnostics, and some of them exceedingly even directly, like Freud, against Christ. It’s an unsettling phenomenon that instead of our Wonderful Counselor who made us, died for us, and lives in us, and has given his word to us, now we have brought into the church, through Christian psychological input, the teachings of men like Freud and Jung and Maslow who didn’t even know or believe the Lord God we know and serve.

Actually, though, the psychologizing of the faith goes far beyond the arena of the counseling ministry. If it only touched the counseling ministry, that would be severe and serious. That would be undermining lives and distracting people from the truth and building self instead of seeing self denied. That would be significant in itself if no other arena than counseling were impacted in the psychologizing of the faith. In fact, it gets to more serious matters than just where and how we find the counsel we need.

It’s the problem of sin. 

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  • First off before I get to answering the questions you asked concerning the students at Calvary Chapel University. I wanted to touch on the topic of the Podcast. I have found it so sad to watch where the worship in today’s churches has gone, where as you mentioned we are getting a man-centered theology rather than a Christ-centered theology. And as you mentioned Pastor Jeff this doesn’t just stop here but it has crept it’s way into so many aspects within the church. This idea that somehow man’s wisdom, and man’s ways are better than God’s ways. Just like our enemy to keep us deceived just as he did to Eve in the garden. If he can keep our eyes on our self then we are useless in the Father’s Hands. We need to defend the gospel and the focus being Jesus, not me, myself and I.
    God is our Counselor and His word our Counsel we need nothing else and nothing less!

    1) Why Biblical Counseling? I took this class as I was in need of an Elective for graduation. I also felt it very important to get back to the heart of it all, there is no need to seek an elective that was just going to check the box and be of no use. I wanted an elective that was going to be useful and encouraging and it has been just that. Also counseling is so important in all areas in our life and if by taking this class and being reminded of so many things helps just one person then it was worth every penny!

    2) If you could do anything ministry wise what would it be? Go back on the Mission Field in Germany full time! Ever since, we left the Mission Field in 2011 I have wanted to go back! Here I am Lord, Send Me!

    3) What are you struggling with in the area of Biblical Counseling? I am not struggling with anything in the area of Biblical Counseling, One area that I need to be creative and it isn’t so much a problem but as I said I need to be creative is bringing the truth of God’s word and counseling into any counseling I do at work as a Deputy, wether that be on a call, or in the schools or with co workers and God is always faithful to lead me and guide me which is awesome! Again He is the counselor and His Word the counsel!

    • Eyes on self is so tempting with promises that feel so good and yet cause depression, loneliness, despair, anger and hatred. Then they show up for counseling just to be encouraged to focus more on self. The gospel is so freeing but youre right Josiah they can’t even get pure biblical counseling in most churches.And it is just like our enemy to keep us deceived! Biblical counseling plus spriritual warfare is just what is needed.

    • Hi Josiah, now knowing that you were on the mission field in Germany, do you happen to have some insights on ways to present the Gospel to people in the German culture? Where I work we interact frequently with our manufacturing facility in Germany; as part of my job I host a weekly call with many colleagues there and have gotten to know some of them a bit. I would like to find some inroads for sharing the Gospel with some of them as I believe a few would engage in conversation off of work hours. Any insights would be appreciated.
      Thanks, Rick

      • Germans are very logical thinkers, they are huge on relationships. We Americans can be very superficial and shallow in our relationships, this is something the Germans are not. They are at the onset closed books until you build trust. Once this is done you have a friend for life, and open communication. They are an amazing people, very smart and dedicated! I can’t wait for God to open the doors to send me back!!!!

        • Hi Josiah, thank you very much for the insights; these can certainly help me with my interactions with my German counterparts. Looking back on my conversations with some of them, they bear witness to the things you are saying. May the path I’m on be another way God will use to reach people in Germany.
          Now, do you happen to know anything about the people in Asia? 🙂

    • Hi Josiah, where were you in Germany? We’ve probably met at either the Austrian or the Siegen conference! You may have met my husband, Mike Dente! We’ve been on the mission field in France since 1997.
      I hear what you mean about worship being me-centered. My family is very musical, and love to worship and to integrate new songs into the church’s repertoire. But honestly, Biblically sound worship that is up to date musically is hard to come by.

      • Anja and I started at Calvary Chapel Heidelberg, then we went over to City Chapel Stuttgart. Yes I know Mike! what an awesome small world in the family of Christ! I often find myself singing old songs I grew up on, they were so Bible-Christ Centered! We need to get back to this, back to lives that are Christ centered and Bible Centered. It is what this world needs and what broken lives need!

  • The danger of psychologizing our faith is real and has touched my family. My son was diagnosed at 3 years old with ADHD. As the years went on and psychologists were baffled by his scary behavior he was diagnosed with learning disabilities, oppositional diffiant disorder and the diagnosis I refused from top psychologists was conduct disorder. The church sent us to many Christian Counselors that were baffled like the rest. I knew in my mom heart something was terribly wrong. I decided to take it to the LORD in prayer not even getting help in that way from church. I knew that God was the answer but was so immature in my faith and when pastors and elders couldn’t help I was lost. I sought out pastors who understood prayer. And didn’t know any biblical counselors. I actually learned how to pray and do spiritual warfar praying from books written by pastors. 9 excruciating years of humiliating behavior from our son. Years of scrutiny on our parenting. Years of watching my son be in constant trouble for his behavior even and especially at church. Finally, when he was 11 years old he started throwing up and had excruciating headaches. After 3 visits to his doctor for answers a brain tumor was found sitting on his “angry spot” . The tumor was the size of a large pear in an 11 year old brain. We were told he wouldn’t survive the removal. The church, his school and many well meaning people including us were so humbled for thinking it was him and our parenting that had caused his severe disobedience. I continued praying and the surgeon was able to scoop out this large tumor. It miraculously had a border all the way around it. Then his tumor flew around the United States and what usually takes 2 weeks for a biopsy took 6 weeks. The doctors were baffled because most of the tumor was fat. But they would find a small part that was an antiplastic ependimoma. Deathly cancer that takes over the area with tentacles. This was so curious because the fat protected his brain from death. It just happened to wreak havoc on his behavior. God spoke to me saying the fat that protected my son was my prayers. This changed our lives forever by seeing the limitations of all doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and the church. Not one had been right and the only thing that saved our son was God! God knows far more then our limited minds and resources. So it was then as my husband and I started lay counseling at church that we turned to the word for guidance, discernment, truth and the ever present help of including Holy Spirit in all of our ministry to one another. 20 years later the WORD has proven over time to be the transforming and all superior power for all the people God brings us. Isaiah 9:6 has been the foundation of our ministry. He is Wonderful Counselor.
    I chose Biblical Counseling because we counsel a lot and now that my kids are grown, and it has become my ministry I wanted a certification in Biblical Counseling. I would love to be able to open up a center and be able to offer Biblical Counseling for free to our community. We have been doing lay counseling at a church as a ministry and we were overwhelmed by the amount of people in the church that needed counseling. This was further proof that what was being preached at this church was not emphasizing the power of the word. We just left that church and now are attending a church that not only believes in Biblical counseling but the pastor is a certified Biblical Counselor. I hope having a certificate will enable me to broaden my outreach and reach out to the community. The challenges are many for this dream. Having a building to do this in, finding more people like me with this like minded dream to be able affect the community greater. I love the thought of not just offering counsel but also being a tool for evangelism!

    • Oh Kendal! What a trial and what a redemption! I loved how you took us on a journey as you experienced over ten years of heartache and frustration. What would we do without faith? Your testimony of being left without any options other than trusting prayer for an answer exercised your spiritual muscles in ways which truly have built His glory in you. So blessed that you know what trusting in the darkest dark looks like because your confidence that the Lord is faithful is on display to all of your counselees past and present!

    • Kendal, I have to admit that I am in tears over your testimonial experience with your son, and how God showed you just how full of mercies He is; then to show you and everyone around you who He is and what He can do! It increases my hope for my adult son who is in the world believing that he is not the gender that he was born as. He was given a title of having high functioning Asbergers Syndrome at the age of 9 and bullied because he was involved with brain activities over masculine activities. He secluded himself to his bedroom where I had to ground him from his room, and where he had to earn his room back by spending time with his sister and I. I fought for him as a single mother who was educated by the world and from a worldly mother, and although he attended a Lutheran church, I did not attend with him, and he became worldly. I haven’t seen my son in 9 years and pray for him all of the time. There are times when I use Biblical tools, and do spiritual warfare on his behalf and within days after I will receive an anonymous call from the area code he lives in, in California; maybe it’s my hope that it’s him calling and one day I will hear his voice. My mother is supportive of his choice to be what he thinks he is, but I am not. He talks to her, but she will not tell me anything about him and his life.

      One of my spiritual warfare fights are against the LGBTQ, where I have taken a stand against them during school counsel meetings when it was decided to incorporate this doctrine into the school curriculum anyway. I hate this demonic belief, and hate what I see being taught to our children; I saw this coming back in the 70’s and 80’s after living with a mother and two aunts who were part of and fought for women’s rights in the civil rights movement. Just as they were passionate about that movement, I am passionate about sharing my faith. I have even had a chance to tell my two aunts about the damage that came out of that movement and what I experienced as a result of their involvement; of course, God used that to incline my ear to Him, praise God. Today, I also want to be able to counsel better, and on a level that will increase my use as well as help others to see what the Lord is trying to say to them through their experiences, and cause them to rely on the Lord instead of the world.

      • Thank-you Kristi! Our momma hearts just bonded! And mine right now is feeling the heartbreak! I will join you in spiritual warfare for your boy. We are headed into a time on earth that the bible warns us about yet as we are confronted with it daily it can still be shocking. Prayer is powerful. Probably more powerful then all of the other things we try first. Our God is so good and such a comforting and encouraging counselor and I am so glad you are here! I am glad to get to know you too!

    • Kendal, your story is powerful! What an amazing testimony the Lord has built that you are now able to share with others! Praise God for strengthening you and your family to turn these life circumstances and trials into ministry for others to be blessed by. I am also hoping that becoming certified allows me to broaden my outreach. My husband and I have raised all of our children, and we are looking forward to a season of ministry in biblical counseling together like you and your husband. May the Lord use us greatly!

    • Wow~ God is amazing! It is so awesome to know that God is faithful and that He has brought you through all this so that you would be where you are today, tools in His hands. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for you consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.”
      This is what the Holy Spirit brought to my heart and mind as I read your testimony and and comments to the podcast! He brought you through all that, as hard as it was so that through you many might be helped.
      2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

    • I am amazed at the testimony my brother! I can say without a doubt God was truly watching over you and your son as I am sure everybody else has seen God work in their lives. It gives me pure Joy to hear from God’s people who have trusted in his guidance and his miracles never cease to amaze. I sure hope you continue to seek God in the community outreach with biblical counseling in mind and I know that God will honor his will in your life. Thank you for sharing!

  • Hi pastor, just some info about myself as you requested. I have been a Christian for just over 34 years, married for just over 33 years, a father of two, and a grandfather of three. I hold a development engineering position at a large company. BC201 is my first counseling course, working toward CCU’s certificate in Biblical counseling. I was inspired by an assistant Pastor, at a church I attended years ago, who would act as the initial counselor when people would seek help at the church. At one time it was I who needed counseling and he was there for me. Fast forwarding to present day, I see the evident need for biblical counseling now more than I ever have before.
    With regards to this week’s podcast; I love the fact that Jesus is the wonderful counselor; and the grabbing comment you made that “ He wants to counsel us”. What an amazing gift bestowed on mankind; yet so many cannot receive this counsel because it needs to be absorbed by a renewed mind through the Holy Spirit ministering the Word to our spirit which has been made alive in Christ. The world receives man’s psychological counsel because it is derived from man’s thoughts and therefore can be understood by men whose spirit is dead within them; carnal understands carnal.
    The nation of Israel, and the society as a whole, was in a pretty bad place when Jesus walked the earth; yet Jesus said “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” John 4:35b NASB. As our society grows darker, I truly hope the fields are becoming whiter and whiter for harvest and that God will be able to use us all to reap for Him.

    • Your words “carnal understands carnal” is excellent. And so true!! It clearly and precisely explains the attraction to psychology. You also describe the gift to be received from Jesus to us in an easy way to understand yet so deep! A renewed mind through the Holy Spirit ministering the Word to our spirit which has been made alive in Christ! I too have been married just over 33 years. Married in 86?

      • Hi Kendal, Congrats on the 33 years of Marriage! My wife and I were both saved in 1986 and were married in 1987. What a blessing from God. We had dated for about 6 years when I received Christ. I was sharing with her all that I was learning about the Lord, yet I knew in my heart that if she were to reject Christ, I would have to stop dating her. As I would explain what God was teaching me to her, she would just cry; I didn’t know at the time if this was good or bad. It turned out that this is how she was reacting to the Holy Spirit dealing with her. Within a couple of months she too gave her heart to the Lord! It wasn’t long after this that we set a wedding date. To God be the Glory!

  • First of all thank you for this podcast Pastor Jeff. Each week I look forward to leaving with “tools” that I can use practically and knowledge I can think upon and look further into. Before this class I never realized just how much of psychological theory has crept into the church and His people in so many ways. We find those who speak well, clever, and catchy to be “right”…we need to be like the Bereans and ultimately line everything we are taking in the light of the Word of God. I think our American culture and the American church has become lazy, and we regurgitate everything we here and we want to be spoon fed all that is lovely and easy. It is sad. Contending for the faith takes discipline, dependency on the Spirit, commitment and “work”. We must not be lazy in seeking out the Counsel of God, about knowing God and walking in that knowledge. We have a privilege and responsibility with what we proclaim and to whom we proclaim. I had to ask myself the question you asked us in the podcast: “Where do I embrace psychology in the faith?” As stated, the church SHOULD be flowing onto and influencing culture, rather than the culture flowing onto and influencing the church.

    1) I am a mother of 3 adult sons (one of whom has an intellectual disability), one adult daughter, one daughter in law, and 2 grandsons. I married my high school sweetheart whom I have been with since I was 14 years old. We were teen parents at the age of 16&17 and married while I was pregnant with our 2nd child at the age of 20&21 at City Hall. But praise God for His divine intervention and perfect will in our lives to call us His own on Oct.1 1998! This was not only our “BIRTH”day but a day the Lord remarried us in Christ. We have been living for him and serving Him ever since. I am currently a Behavioral Assistant with the School District, although my position is not being used right now I am taking the time to study and disciple others.

    2) I chose Biblical Counseling specifically because I have been involved in ministry for many years, but the last few years the Lord has brought some young ladies and women in my life who I have been able to come alongside and disciple. I am insecure in my ability to counsel, and wanted to be better equipped. This class as really opened my eyes to what I will continue to do as well as what I will no longer continue to do. I hope to get a certificate in Biblical Counseling to not only be better equipped but to hopefully continue to work towards a Bachelor Degree in Biblical Counseling. I want to use this knowledge and wisdom in ministry. Right now I am involved in women’s ministry as a group leader and women’s bible teacher. I am a leader in the Discipleship ministry at the church as well and I am discipling 3 young ladies right now. I also lead a ministry for young ladies with unplanned pregnancies. I come alongside them to encourage, disciple, and equip them. With these ministries come many walk of life with many heart issues and struggles. I truly believe in the “Be counseled by God–> I counsel you–>you counsel me”.

    3) I hope to pursue in the future full time ministry in the Church. That is my heart’s desire and I feel like the Lord is preparing and equipping me for this. Women’s ministry is where my heart desires to pour into. Regardless, I choose to pour into the women the Lord brings me now, knowing that ministering is for every season, and my desire is to be faithful with whatever He places in my hands.

    4) I think the most challenging part is not shying away from truth knowing the opposition and false belief of those receiving truth about God being all sufficient. When you say that therapy is not needed to help God heal a person, that is taken with a lot of resistance. But are we really needing to be healed form every physical ailment? Thorn in the side is sometimes life long and not meant to be physically healed, if there is a spiritual fruit that is strengthened…yes? no? I know Charles H. Spurgeon suffered with depression for most of his life, and yet He was a man who loved and served God. I would not question His faith, and yet He pursued Christ and His calling in spite of that “thorn in the side”. It gives me a lens that it is more about the spiritual growth than the physical healing and relief. I don’t necessarily see a second challenge, If anything I am more convinced His word Is all I need for life and godliness.

    • Hello Kristine,
      It’s nice to meet you and get to know you better! We don’t always get the healing that we so desire. I remember when I was in need of bowel resection surgery, everyone prayed for me. People all over the world prayed that I would be healed. The elders layed hands on my and anointed me with oil and truly believed that I would be healed. The Lord gave me the verse in John 11:4 This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” And that was all I needed. I wasn’t miraculously healed, I went through surgery and everything came through just fine, and was able to encourage others because of it. I still have chronic colon problems, but God is still glorified through it. The goal is that God is glorified through our lives, whether through healing or through sickness, may we draw closer to Him. Sometimes the thorns in our sides are a pain, but used by God more than any of our blessings.

      • Awesome testimony and bible verse God gave you! Even though he didn’t heal you instantly he reminded you that he was with you through scripture! thank you for sharing.

      • Amazing testimony of God’s goodness. Yes “the goal is that God is glorified through our lives, whether through healing or through sickness”. I am in joyful agreement with your statement that sometimes the pain in our lives is used to glorify God greater than the blessings in our lives. Praise God in the high and in the lows. Thank you for sharing!

  • Tell about my life, background, job, ministry aspirations, family…
    I am truly nobody on the timeline of important Bible figures, and the fact that I am only a woman under God’s umbrella who stands next to her husband in life and in ministry, means that I value the system of authority streaming from God’s grace. I rely on God’s grace.
    I chose to pursue a Biblical Counseling degree because I have a supernatural His-story; one that most people would scoff at, including fellow-believers. I told the story once and was looked down on, and wrote it in a book which I never published because of the response that I got when I told the story. It was my testimony, and I received retaliation; however, I will speed it up to current and say that I am first in need of being counseled so that I can be an effective counselor to others.
    I moved to my current location of Reno in 2007 because I knew that there was an outreach to the homeless that I was supposed to be involved with. I had open visions, 3,000 miles away from here, of this ministry, and knew that this ministry was going to be my “baby” per se. I was taking online classes, studying to be a Paralegal; but I sold all of my possessions, packed up my vehicle with my son’s belongings, and drove across the country. Arriving here and my journey while being here is another supernatural testimony, and I will just say that the Lord sustained me and directed my steps.
    My journey was not in vain, and today my husband (who is a Pastor; another testimony) and I are leading the only outreach ministry that is 100% outdoors, year-round, without walls, in all of Nevada, that we know of. This was the ministry that the Lord showed me in my visions; we call it “Loaves & Fishes; The Church Without Walls.” This month we are celebrating our 13th year in ministry, and our 6th year of being registered with the IRS as a church (yet another testimony). Each year the Lord surprises us with His presence and we as well as our attendees and volunteers have witnessed miracles that have made believers out of those who witnessed them. Any ministry where the Lord is present, is my ideal ministry.
    My aspirations are to be a better counselor to those who look to us for guidance. I listen, but I want to be used better. I have had dreams of opening a counseling center/day center, but the Lord hasn’t provided for that; He keeps providing for this outreach in such abundance that we know that this is where He wants us. I would like to be able to connect my Biblical knowledge with the issues that are brought before me by our attendees: they look at me like a mother and rush to me when they see us arrive, and share all that they have experienced in the world that week and I respond with acknowledgement and understanding, but know that I need to use more Biblical experiences to help them relate. This is my issue; that I know the big picture of biblical stories, but do not relate them to today’s problems like I should.
    I had already shared my experience with psychology in modules 1 and 3 and know that psychology is not the avenue that I want to travel. I want to become stronger and more knowledgeable in the Lord and His counsel. My favorite saying, “I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul.”

    • Kristi, I love that you do this. I love that your heart is to minister to people right where they are at. How awesome that you heard the Lord and answered the call. I always wonder why there isn’t a van that doesn’t just drive around to homeless camps or have designated pick up spots, and say, come to church, get a free meal and a place to be welcomed. I know there is more to being able to do this, but I also know there are so many I don’t see in the church. The disabled, the deaf the homeless, the foster youth. Yes, I know there are possibly “some” in possibly “some” churches, but for the most part the numbers are next to nothing or none at all. Not sure if these just don’t come or won’t come. My son when he was 16 years old had a heart for the homeless. a Friend of ours would take our son out to an area with him where there was a homeless encampment. While I was scared about this, I truly knew that the Lord drew them and used them and would protect them. They grew relationships with many there, they would bring them lunch, provide some material needs, and just get to know them and why they were where they were. This led them into being able to actually have conversations and the ability to share the gospel with a few. Life happened and their time there diminished. But, I pray someday my son sees the gifting he has again and uses it for God’s glory once more. (He is now 26, married and has 2 small boys) Anyhow, I will Pray for the ministry you are doing, and thank you for sharing!

      • Hi Kristine,
        Thanks for your response and thank you for sharing your son’s love for the homeless; this brings much joy to my heart. Now that he has 2 little ones, maybe he will use this venue to teach them about humility. My husband and I took our grandsons with us many times throughout our journey, and both of them soared out of love. When we flew our daughter & soon to be son-in-law, grandson and granddaughter from Pennsylvania to visit, we put the two of them on the serving line. It’s been about 4 years since they visited and out of all of the places that we took them all over Northern California, it was serving the homeless that they remember the most, and want to return again to do.
        My connection with the homeless was due to being homeless myself at the age of 17 a couple of months after graduation and sporadically throughout my 20’s, even while I had my two children. I learned a lot about them which depleted any fear of being around them. It’s funny that before I came to Jesus willingly, the Lord put up many roadblocks that directed my path; and when I finally surrendered, it was a homeless ministry that the Lord placed me in before I answered His call to move to Reno to pursue the outreach that I currently am doing. I look back and I can see clearly, just how He directed my path, caused me to be humble, chastised me, blessed me…
        I love hearing how the Lord has directed the paths of other people; I wish more people would share, and I sure wish that more ministries all across the U.S. would pop up and go to the streets. The church has relied too heavily on each of their city’s to care for the needs of those whom the Lord has called the church to care for.
        My husband and I, have been helping a homeless couple who are living in a motel, to care for their baby since she was born 20 months ago. We pick her up every weekend and we get to teach her about Jesus; she loves when we all pray together. When she goes back to her motel and sits in between her parents laying down on their bed, she touches both of them on the head and prays in baby babble <3 We love her like she's our granddaughter and she runs to us when she sees us come for her. Here I'm babbling; but, we're being blessed… "give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again Luke 6:38."
        Over the last year our homeless population has increased. We found the homeless camp: hundreds of tents lined up between the Truckee River and the Railroad tracks. We began to show up with food, scripture printouts, Daily Bread's, Bible's and anything we could get our hands on that would open a door for them to trust us. We are finally at that point where they know who we are and they are beginning to open up to us. As soon as the weather becomes nicer we are going to begin to show up one Sunday morning with all of our ministry gear, worship leader and volunteers and put up the popup tents and cause a revival among them!
        I truly appreciate you including us in your prayers! 🙂

  • Hello,
    I loved reading your introductions! I’m a missionary pastor’s wife, mother of four. My oldest daughter is married to a wonderful young man who is thinking of attending CU as well! I’ve been on the mission field since 1997, I served in Nice, France for five years, then moved to Paris, to plant the Calvary Chapel here. We had come to the mission field with plan of staying for 18 months, just to help the Pastor with a specific season, then saw the need, prayed, sought counsel and stayed. Over the years, the Lord has brought many, many people for me to counsel, and I would like to grow as a counsellor. Also, after the pandemic is under control, I am supposed to be hired as a paediatric chaplain at a main hospital in Paris. I don’t really know what future ministry looks like, I am pretty busy now, I lead the Women’s ministry, assist in the Children’s ministry, do some secretarial work, and help with other areas. I just know that I want to be faithful with the ministry that He has given me, to grow, to develop and to serve His flock with faithfulness and diligence. I think the one thing that I find challenging is that the that while there was a time when self-help/self-love/self-care was the predominant train of thought, in recent years, the majority of Christian counsellors that I know encourage personal responsibility and moving past the issue, to walk in the present into wholeness in Christ. At least that is true in my entourage, maybe this is just the people that I know. Sometimes I feel we can be too negative about other Christian counsellors that were trained outside this program. Even though I don’t agree with everything they say, I’ve known godly ones that have lead people to victory in Christ.

    I am so glad that the doctrine of self-love is no longer on everyones lips, a few years ago, every single service at least one person would tell me that they “just needed to love themselves more”. And then all of their problems would disappear. It was discouraging for them, because you can never love yourself enough. We need Christ’s love, to accept it, to walk in it, and to stop focusing on ourselves. Keeping Christ as our focus puts everything else in perspective.

    • Hello Becky,
      I understand what you are saying about ‘self-love.’ In my experience the prominent idea of having sufficient ‘self-love’ has given way to I have ‘mental illness.’ I recently attended a women’s conference that labeled anxiety and depression as mental illness. She held out God’s word as the solution to the problem – but nonetheless, continued to use the phrase ‘mental illness.’ This makes me think about the ‘blending’ that Pastor Jeff mentioned in his podcast. We cannot blend man’s wisdom with the holy, all-sufficient Word of God. May the Lord use us mightily in this battle for His word.

      • What an interesting progression in society JoAnn, and terrible for people who truly are suffering from mental illness. I have noticed that the terms anxiety and depression are thrown around quite easily lately in some circles. It isn’t really a thing in Paris ( to label themselves as having anxiety or even depression), but the terrorist attacks did shake up a lot of people.

    • I agree that those who have training in counseling in addition to God’s word, but who are now relying on God’s word and Spirit will be fruitful counselors. God’s word is sufficient and He has all of the answers for our life and godliness. If I understand you correctly, counseling is ultimately pointing people back to the Lord and calling them to rely on and receive from Him. To the extent that any counselor is doing this while abiding in and depending on the Lord, they will bear much fruit.

  • Thank you for another great encouragement Pastor Jeff! God gave me the great blessing of leading women’s ministries for 10 years, and through that time I grew in counseling as well. Most any ministry position presents moments of counseling. I knew that I needed to honor the Lord and rightly handle His word of truth. This is why, at 51, I am pursuing a degree in biblical counseling. I have been taking my time in this pursuit, wanting to ingest all that I am learning. I picture my future in biblical counseling as serving at our local church and encouraging other ladies to get certified through ACBC. The greatest hurdle for me has been coming to realize that I cannot avoid the debate of biblical counseling v. psychology. I did not realize that this was such a large problem when I began this journey. But, I see that it is and I want to grow in articulating the need for the purity of God’s word. I have witnessed, as Jude mentioned, the creep of man’s wisdom into the church. I pray that the Lord helps me please Him as I ‘go to battle’ for the Word of God! I agree that the psychologizing of the church is leaving it spiritually weak.

    • JoAnn you’re so right about not being able to avoid the debate of biblical counseling vs. psychology. Before attending CCU, I was studying psychology at UNR. I knew I needed to change course when classes became “the center for indoctrination” and discussing my belief in Christ docked my grade and left my discussion posts ignored or scoffed at. I did not realize that even though I knew that Christ was the counselor, I was not putting Christ First as the Counselor. I wanted to be able to counsel in man’s counseling centers to earn a living, but after the module 1 and the Bob Hoekstra video, I knew that there was absolutely no way that I could sit in front of someone involved with the lgbtq community without telling them about their lifestyle choice in relation to their eternity, and feel good about it. Don’t get me wrong, I would never feel good about helping someone further their lgbtq lifestyle; but, I knew that all that the University was teaching was filling me with darkness, which is why my spirit was stirred to agitation and I had to pursue a more God-centered education.

      As far as the church incorporating psychology, the church that we have been attending for the last 5 years talks more about CS Lewis then the Word of God. This last week we were watching the church stream service on Youtube. I told my husband that if I heard – just one – instance of psychology, I was turning the service off. The pastor gave a scripture, and within 5 minutes he was talking about some psychology thing. I turned it off. I was truly upset, and I told my husband that even though they were such nice people, I didn’t want to return to attend in person. Sadly, the last couple of church’s that we have attended incorporated some type of psychology into their sermon; or, the sermon was completely about money and tithing for weeks on end because of church expenses. UGH. I should not feel dread; I should feel excited about going to church, but I don’t. Most church’s around here we have attended but they all have commonalities; I just want to hear the Word, line upon line, precept upon precept.

  • Wow! This is a very needed exhortation to flee the false gospel which is spreading throughout God’s people. Thank you Jeff for courageously stating the common heresy, “distracting people from the truth and building self instead of seeing self denied.” Somehow, while the church was being Martha (careful and troubled about many things) the religion of “niceness” replaced Christ’s Gospel of Resurrection Life. Niceness denies a sufferer’s guilt and shame and says, “Whatever you are doing is natural and an expression of you–you’re great.” But they know they are not great and are thirsting for Someone to deliver them–free them.
    It is helpful to remember when I am counseling that John the Baptist came first. He was the hammer of the Law to the culture which must always come first to expose sin and coming judgement. Then comes shame and repentance. Then comes Jesus. His paths have been cleared, made straight and without hills by repentance and He does what only He can do–give new life.
    One of the “niceness” things which serves no one well is to call “sin” by the nicer word, “brokenness.” But we are not broken. We are dead. Jesus doesn’t put our pieces back together, He gives us newness of life. A fixer God is a false God.
    To answer your questions Jeff:
    I am a wife to Tim for 40 years, a mom to 4 adult kids and grandmom to 7. I left my career in the medical field 11 years ago to write and have written Christian articles and books.
    Why Biblical Counseling? I wish I could have a dramatic answer to this but the simple answer is that our church is moving forward with our pastor’s vision of having an onsite counseling center. We have purchased a building which will be moved onto church property in June, hopefully, and I was approached by one of the pastors to be one of the certified counselors. I began working toward that about 18 months ago and I have recently finished my Biblical Counselor Certification through ACBC and am currently doing counseling. Still, I longed to expand my education and after a lot of research I settled on IABC through CCU.
    If you could do anything ministry wise what would it be? I would develop a recovery retreat center for ministers who began in the Spirit but ended under the Law and suffered burnout, depression or moral failure. This center would include as part of hands-on spiritual healing, shepherding real sheep, working in orchards and tending fruit vines—using Christ’s ministry metaphors to break the lies which have bound many.
    What are you struggling with in the area of Biblical Counseling? Some problems can be scary. The dark mess of sin that is scarring the lives of those coming my way are like canvases waiting for the Gospel to transform. Sometimes that canvas is really frightful. BUT, more and more I’m recognizing that it not as important for me to plan out their recovery as it is for me to trust the power of God to guide what verses I teach and trust Him.

    • Great testimony, and what you desire to do in ministry sounds awesome, ‘pastors who started well, but got burned down’ in the process, I pray God blesses it since I haven’t heard of too many ministries out there for that specific need.

    • Carolyn that is exciting that your church has a vision of an onsite counseling center. I will pray that it bears much fruit. As far as the struggles, I agree with you. Some problems are scary. I feel like as a counselor I should have all the answers, but I know I don’t- but abiding in Christ will equip me to lead them to the one that does. I have learned that I can’t want more for them than they want for themselves. Sometimes the journey is longer for some than others. Sometimes the the tilling of the soil of the heart is longer, sometimes the watering of the seed is longer. But I like you, trust the power of God, and His sovereign will to bear the fruit. We are to ministers of the gospel so that the gospel can have its perfect way in the lives of those we counsel.

    • Jesus’ love attracts us. When we see his sacrifice for us, we begin to understand how much we are loved. Your ministry to fallen leaders is so necessary because our human tendency is to judge such people but restoring these precious ones is close to God’s heart. God will definitely fulfill your vision because this is God’s heart not just to save us but to keep restoring us through the love and compassion of Jesus. I will keep your vision in prayer and know that in His time the Lord will bring a team of people to you who share your vision to restore the prodigal.

  • I am from India and accepted the Lord 36 years ago. Thankfully, my pastor taught us only from the Word of God. I have read a lot of books but they were either biographies of people of faith or commentaries. My husband and I have served in several cities in India and I have always taught from God’s Word. I have chosen biblical counseling because as an evangelist, my focus has been preaching. However, in our last ministry location, I underwent training for prayer counseling ministry. During that training, it was so helpful to have someone listen to me. When I returned to my ministry, I began listening more while sharing God’s Word and as a result, a number of women who had not been receptive before became believers and grew into mature leaders. Now we are in the US and I want to counsel at the Calvary Chapel that I am a part of here. So I want to use what I am learning from this course depending on Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor (Is. 9:6) to disciple women one-on-one in our church.

    • Thank you Anita for being such an inspiration for a life lived for eternal reasons. It sounds like you’ve been blessed with a gift to minister and Biblical Counseling is remarkable for the opportunities to speak truth and deliverance. Most counselees are in a place where they are open to hear in a way they haven’t been before, right? That one thing makes this form of discipling ministry a fruitful one! God bless you as you move forward in America.

  • great podcast this week, what I gained was to have the heart of Paul in contending for the faith and like the bareans, align everything, that comes my way, through the lens of scripture. That is one thing that I have been growing in since taking this course at CU- The sufficiency of scripture..and it has been strengthening and establishing my faith! I started taking this course, because I began needing counsel myself due to many changes in my life, and since my husband is a new pastor I wasn’t quite sure how much to share and what was proper or who exactly to confide in because of his position. I wanted to receive the right godly counsel and In the process I decided I can learn to be better equipped to counsel others myself. And it has been a growing interest. I am newly married, going on 2 years now, and my husband just accepted his first pastorate in California a month ago. My desire in ministry is to lead a women’s ministry at our church, and anything else the Lord might have in mind, but more importantly to grow in my faith and be the best help mate, pastor wife, to my husband. I find this course is helping me grow and showing me the importance of scripture.

    • Hi Leslie,
      I agree with you about having the heart of Paul in contending for the faith, and to become more like the boreans. I believe that learning about the sufficiency of scriptures is the key to strengthening faith as well as providing the ability to counsel.

      I know you’re probably not looking for advice; but if you’re open, I’ll share my thoughts…
      Being a Pastor’s wife is both rewarding and challenging. My husband is a Pastor, but he also works full-time + lots of OT; like Paul, we do not want to use any of our ministry funds to pay for our household expenses. In my experience, being a Pastor’s wife also means there is an immense amount of added duties, besides praying for him and gently nudging, reminding him of Biblical stories related to his teachings when he’s overwhelmed, there are responsibilities that are multiplied to you. Write them down because you may want to share them with another lady who is new to being a Pastor’s wife. Eventually those responsibilities will become like “second nature,” but in the meantime, don’t forget to take time for the Lord each day. It is during this time that I find rest physically and spiritually, and emotionally filled with the Holy Spirit which strengthens me. I know this sounds obvious, but being a Pastor’s wife is exhausting at times.

      When you’re able to lead a women’s ministry, try to incorporate outreach into the community. When you do, try very hard not to allow secular agencies to have authority in your outreach; otherwise, it is like mixing the dark with the light. Also, consistency and dependability should always be seen by those you’re reaching out to; otherwise, the message of Christ and His love that you’re trying to give will have very little value.
      Remember that even when we have to be strong, we have to do it with love; otherwise, we could cause someone to stumble. Everything that you do, take it to the Lord in prayer first, and keep your husband informed; don’t forget sentiments of love. Be slow to speak and slow to anger. Proverbs and Psalms are your friends.

      You’re going to be a wonderful 1st lady; I’m sure you already are.

    • This is the same in my walk I know I can be better equipped and what I have gained more than anything is the sufficiency in Scripture I am more confident than ever in what God says and more confident that he can and does handle the hardest cases. I am sure you and your Husband have faced many challenges and will face much more and I want to encourage you guys to trust in the sufficiency of His Word. My wife and I understand that when God called he called both of us as we are one!

  • I have had many instances where psychology has affected me personally and my son as well as other family members. I had these experience’s with my sons “Christian School” Where he was having some trouble in the classes and listening to the teachers. Me and my wife were brought in to the office the first time and sent to what I thought should be called ” bad parent class” which was really a bunch of psychological behavior parenting teachings and had little to nothing to do with Christian parenting also I felt very ashamed because we were really trying our best to raise our son in a Godly way and still it was “Challenging”. There are many reasons we could blame for his behavior but we just recognized he was just like any of us a sinner who needed Jesus, but he could not receive from us and was being advised other ways than what we were telling him. The next meeting we had was an intervention with the principle and school dean and we were advised to seek psychological counseling and also put him on “Meds” which were for ADHD. I am involved in Drug and Alcohol ministry so I have seen many many kids and adults who have started their drug career this way on these drugs and I knew better than to follow their advice, This Christian School had been psychologized and were even readily handing out advice that does not line up with scripture and also did not support us in our desire to honor God and do things his way. What helped was when the school chaplain stepped in and started spending time with him and ministering to him and he was able to really see people who loved him. We thought we could depend on the Christian institution/school but what I now realize that the humanistic reasoning coupled with the pseudo Christian thought was a very veiled and dangerous false sense of security. This is where many Christian institutions and Churches are right now. I know God’s way works and his word is sufficient for everything including the Hard things.

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