World Magazine’s Dec 7, 2019 issue awards J-Curve: Dying and Rising With Jesus in Everyday Life, by Paul Miller “ACCESIBLE THEOLOGY BOOK OF THE YEAR.”
Marvin Olasky summarizes,
Paul Miller shows how the Bible teaches a pattern of dying and rising in the form of a J: We need to go down to come up. His message challenges the part of American evangelicalism that values winning and defines success much as the broader culture does, with adulation of celebrities and equation of suffering with failure. Miller shows through many examples that being born again often means the death of some previous ambitions, but the J-Curve is not a one-time experience: Miller calls the J-Curve “the spine of sanctification” and “dying and rising with Christ the normal Christian life.”
Miller is the son of seminary professor, Jack Miller who piloted The Sonship Course. That notebook and audio series was inspired by his grace awakeing through meditating on the Epistle to the Galatians, such as:
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Gal. 4:4-7)
The Sonship Course contains a helpful emphasis on grace, sanctification by faith and the believers identity in Christ. All of these themes are essential to revitalization.
World Magazine’s interview with Paul Miller is here: “Curving Heavenward.”
Pure Flix Alliance alert:
“The culture is changing rapidly – all you need to do is turn on the television during ‘family hour’ to see the major shift. Christians are called to be the salt and light of this ever-darkening world and how we respond to the shifts in culture – both in and through our family/community – will be our legacy.
“The Digital Revolution:What Leaders Must Know eBook is designed to equip the pastor, ministry leader and leaders of Christian-led organizations with solid insights on the media landscape. Just one asset is the chronology of the important events and significant studies that provide the backdrop to where we are today and how we can move forward with impact.”
Download a copy here: https://pureflixalliance.com/resources-alliances-2019/
One of the “wet blankets” that may hinder Pastoral Counseling and lay church-based Discipleship Counseling is the fear of a lawsuit. Although informal peer-to-peer ministry seems to avoid this stigma, when churches and parachurch helpers move into a more formal pastoral counseling role, the risk factor may come up. How can these fears be addressed? How can the counselor take wise precautions?
Adopt and ethics statement
Although professional code of ethics documents are more detailed than needed and are biased with secular values and professional policies, the Pastoral Counselor can adapt and use a policy document. Here is an audio lecture on ethics by Dr. Cry Lantz:
and a sample document: Ethics Policy
In formal personal ministry, have a second person present or nearby for accountability (for the benefit of the counselee and the counselor).
Use relevant forms
When forms such as Informed Consent and Waiver of Liability are used, this documents that the counselee agrees to non-professional, non-secular, Christian personal ministry sessions. These forms should be signed and kept with the client’s case notes. Here are sample documents that can be edited:
Informed Consent Form sample
Waiver of Liability sample
Get insurance coverage
If you’re doing formal ministry (appointments, goals, secure notes, donations received, etc.), a liability policy is reassuring and also affordable (relatively speaking). Consider this agency that covers pastoral/dicipleship counselors for about $100 or so per year. (800) 421-6694
As the apostle Paul admonished Timothy, let’s minister with integrity and confidence:
“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:6,7).
The topic of spiritual gifts can be a beneficial aspect of pastoral ministry. The teaching context would include 1 Peter 4:10,11, Eph. 4:11-12; and 1 Cor. 12-14.
Personal discipling/ counseling could facilitate the disciple’s appreciation, recognition and deployment of his/her gift(s).
A model that I have found very helpful over the decades considers the seven gifts Romans 12:3-8 as “motivational gifts.” In other words, each of us as believers has one of these seven gifts as a primary motivational gift. With that motive/orientation you may have one or more “ministry gifts”… and the use of these abilities may sometimes show up in a “manifestation gift.”
Here are some resources that unpack this approach:
(click the link on each of the seven for more detail)
An online (and downloadable) survey is at:
Books using this model include:
And note Charles Stanley’s sermons on the seven (motivational) spiritual gifts :
If the discipler appreciates the importance of spiritual gifts in life and ministry, he may discover this topic to be more scriptural and beneficial than the popular four personality categories (as used in the DISC profile).
by Dr. Lewis Gregory
We hear the phrase victorious Christian living often but I’m not sure very many people know what it really means, much less how to achieve it.
Raising the bar: I once thought the normal Christian life involved much failure and defeat. After all to err is human. And all God expects from us is to do the best we can, because He understands our weakness. But when we die and go to Heaven then everything will be OK. Wrong! It may sound nice, and even be comforting when we consider our future. But as one man said, “how does this help me in the ugly here and now?” It doesn’t!
THE SOURCE OF VICTORY
Such a life of failure and defeat is not indicative of God’s heavenly kingdom. And it’s certainly not victory. That is why Jesus told us to pray that His kingdom would come here on Earth as it is in Heaven. Once you receive Jesus Christ, God’s kingdom is within you, because the Kingdom of Heaven is the realm of God’s presence. But it is all in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the victor, He is the conqueror, and He is the triumphant victorious king. Hallelujah!
Heaven on Earth, that’s the life and the victory that Christ offers. We can live victorious because of the Victor Jesus Christ who has conquered Satan, death and hell. Jesus is victor over all things. Thus we can be victorious over all things through Christ Jesus our Lord-our indwelling king.
WHAT IS VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIVING?
Consider some biblical terms that describe victory in the NT:
Strong-in the Lord-Ephesians 6:10,
And yet we are told in Isaiah 33:23 that “The lame take to prey.” 2 Corinthians 12:10, Matthew 26:41, Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
courtesy of https://www.sourceministries.net/
Continue reading this article…
“But he [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4).
In the pastorate, the fall is usually a busy season, which rolls into the joys and challenges of Christmas programs and activities. The holidays can also trigger some depression. Sometimes this is due to comparing our families and circumstances to the ideal, or maybe it’s due to exhaustion—physical and psychological.
Our devotional and biographical heritage reveals that burnout can also be an opportunity to discover–in a new and deeper way–how God’s strength can be perfected in our weakness. As the apostle Paul testified,
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead…” (2 Cor. 1:8,9 emphasis added).
For more on the “not I, but Christ” illumination, see Hudson Taylor’s testimonial letter here.
For an article that gleans practical suggestions from the account of the prophet Elijah, see “When You’re a Pastor Who Suffers from Depression: What the story of Elijah (and psychological research) tells us about how to cope.” By Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell. It’s at the CT blog here:
by Chip Ingram (reposted)
You might be overworked, overwhelmed, and overcommitted if:
- You can’t remember the last time you took a nap without feeling guilty…
- You’ve bumped into someone at church and wanted to get together, but didn’t have room in your schedule for the next six months…
- Your family meals together consist of McDonald’s drive-through on the way to several activities during the week…
- You live from one “to-do list” to the next with the illusion that someday, in some way, things will slow down and then you’ll take that time to build relationships and serve God. But that someday never comes.
I used to live this way 30 years ago. Until one day, my doctor looked me in the eye and said, “Chip, you’re either going to die a young man, or you’re going to learn how to live very differently. You live at a pace and at a level that will kill you if you don’t change.”
Continue reading: Livingontheedge.org