26 August 2009

Counseling 501 - Role of the Holy Spirit in the Life of a Counselor

As some of you may know, I just started a Master's program in biblical counseling at Liberty Baptist (online). I have decided to blog some of my discussion questions.

Week 1

What role do you believe the Holy Spirit has in the personal and professional life of a Christian counselor?

The Holy Spirit active in the Counselor’s personal life is essential...It’s a must. In reality, ALL Christians are called on to be counselors at some level (Titus 2…older men and women should teach the younger ones), as all Christians are called on to be missionaries (Matthew 28:19-20). Now, if I am to counsel other Christians, I need to have the wisdom and mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:6-13 states, “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[
d] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

If I, as a “professional counselor” do not have the mind of Christ, or the Holy Spirit living in me, I CANNOT be a Christian Counselor. It is also ESSENTIAL that the Holy Spirit is part of the professional life of a Counselor. How can I have correct discernment or provide accurate help if I do not rely on the Holy Spirit at all points while counseling a client? If I am only filling the client’s head with worldly wisdom, what will the client profit? True healing ONLY comes through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. My client may or may not be a Christian. But, my hope and prayer is that by the power/influence of the Holy Spirit, the person would come into a saving relationship with Jesus. My job may be to plant seeds, water the seeds, or reap the harvest. But, if I don’t rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me, how would I know?

21 August 2009

Church Planting Part 2

We got back late last night from Ft Myers...we had a really good time and met some really wonderful people. There were about 16 people who were attending the training and about 6 or 7 seasoned church planters/stragetists who provided the training. The attendees ranged from a Haitian man from Jacksonville who is planting a church for Haitians in Jacksonville; a Black man from Tampa and his brother who just started a multicultural church; a Russian guy from South FL who has a heart for planting churches for Russian people in FL; and several White men/women who are planting various types of churches...one is planting a Cowboy Church for Spanish people in Ocala, several are planting contemporary churches, one is planting churches in gated communities, etc...it was really an eclectic group of people. Dave and I enjoyed meeting and getting to know everyone who was there...it is so cool to meet, get to know, and fellowship with people of different cultures...

Of course, just as ALWAYS knows someone when we go somewhere...wouldn't you guess that Dave would know someone all the way down in FT MYERS!!!!! When I told Shane, Shane just shook his head and laughed. Wouldn't you know it, Dave knew someone from Baptist College of FL there...

The group of leaders/teachers all are church planters with the Florida Baptist Convention and some have also been missionaries...they were really wonderful, totally approachable, and just really have a heart for helping others start churches. They were reluctant to share the details of church plants, because they are very concerned about planting ideas in people's heads...they are totally against copy cat churches...they value individuality and want us to pursue the vision the Lord has given us...There was also a guy from the North American Mission Board who is involved w/church plants...he was also totally approachable and wants to share his experiences and knowledge...we didn't know until he left that he actually has a PhD...

Some of the people there are a lot closer to starting their churches than we are...we are fortunate to have had this course. I totally recommend anyone who is interested in planting churches to attend this training...it has been immensely helpful. Dave and I started to define our vision statement, motto, and I think we have decided on our church name. Also, we have our church master plan started and a beginning integrated master schedule. We are praying about when to set our launch date...

Time for dinner...more later!

20 August 2009

Spiritual Warfare (Church Planting - Planning/Formation Stage) Part 1

This has been an awesome week for Dave and I. For those of you who do not know, we have been in Ft. Myers, FL at a Church Planting Seminar put on by the Fl Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board (NAMB). These guys have challenged us all week...and helped us pull out the vision of how/what the Lord is wanting us to do/how to structure our church plant. That will be another blog...We met some really cool people this week also...that will be another blog...

We have been under spiritual attack since before we left Panama City, FL. Dave and I have learned how important it is to have a group of people set aside to pray for specifics...that we could call at a moment's notice to pray for a specific item. Unfortunately, we did not learn this lesson before we left Panama City on Sunday...this will be something we will have to do next time we leave. We drove through a tropical storm, left our son home alone for the first time, and the stress level was rather high to say the least. Several nights I woke up at 1-2AM and my first thought was "did Shane make it home from work OK?" and so I would call him (yes, at 2AM...but that was about when he got home from work). Of course, he was either at home or on the way home, but it was nice to hear his voice and then chat with him on Facebook. At 2AM...which means I didn't get back to sleep until 3-4AM...but that's another story...

We should have seen the attacks coming and called them out as we went...Instead, we let our flesh get the better of us and we argued all Sunday afternoon as we were packing. We left at 3PM with a tropical storm preparing to make landfall later that evening. We took the "scenic" route to Ft. Myers, which meant we drove through Port St. Joe, FL; Apalatchacola, FL; and around the Big Bend of FL ... right through part of the worst of the storm. Granted it was mostly rainy and windy, but we did see tree branches fall in front of us, a couple of power lines that had been cut and were whipping in the wind, and waves splashing onto the road in some areas from the Gulf of Mexico. Sunday night, we decided to stop in Chiefland, FL about 9PM so that we could get some sleep...we were stressed out from driving in the storm. I wish I could tell you we did the godly thing and spent time in prayer once we reached the hotel...we didn't...we spent the rest of the evening arguing and getting on each other's nerves.

Monday morning we left around 9AM, since the person at the front desk told us we were about 3 1/2 hours away from Ft. Myers...boy, was SHE wrong! I think the enemy woke every living person up along the HWY95/29/19 South and told them to go driving on HWY95/29/19 South during that time...I have never seen SO MANY cars on the road as I did during that time period...needless to say we were NOT 3 1/2 hours away...we were more like 5 hours away...which meant we were an HOUR late for the start of the seminar. Now, for those of you who do not know Dave very well, he HATES to be even a MINUTE late for anything...

Monday night, Shane decided to spring on us that he wanted to get a tattoo on his right arm and a piercing in both ears...the next day! FTR, I am not opposed to tattoos or ear piercings on guys and cannot find any scripture against it...but COME ON! Shane, are you SERIOUS??? You are springing this on me at 2AM??? When I am 9 HOURS away??? I am very grateful that he was wanting our blessing, was willing to talk it out, respected us enough to listen, and has agreed to wait...I'd rather him get a temporary tattoo and fake ear piercings as a trial to see if this is what he REALLY wants to do.

I'll leave you with this for now, the Lord reminded me that as much as I love my son, that HE loves my son even more...and that MY son is actually HIS son...and that I need to relinquish control of him and trust the LORD to direct Shane's path...

Have to go...more later

14 August 2009

IRS Woes

I am officially tired of dealing with the IRS. I have tried to be patient, loving, kind, long-
suffering...you know, all the fruits of the Spirit...but the IRS just seems to keep pickin' my fruit before its ripe!

See, in 2008, Dave and I found out that someone had stolen our SSNs and thought it would be a good idea to file fraudulent tax returns for CY 2007 in our names. Thank you Liberty Tax in Miami FL and Jackson Hewett in Sunrise, FL for your fine and accurate (NOT!) way of identifying your customers! Apparently it made sense to these tax companies that Dave and I would travel 12 hours from NORTH FL PANHANDLE to SOUTH FL to file our tax returns.....and because they are so good and thorough at checking people's identities, they DID NOT ask for a picture ID nor did they make a COPY of the picture ID of the people who were posing as US. So, for 2008, the IRS thinks we owe them lots of money...instead of the IRS owing us a nice, big refund. :~(

Fast forward to now...I'll save you most the drama of dealing w/the IRS over the last year with this exception: The IRS has a branch of people whose sole purpose in life is to work fraudulent tax returns...the TAX ADVOCATE. We have been working with our TAX ADVOCATE for the last 13 months. He is a really nice guy, but way overworked. Six months ago, we sent our packet of identification...copy of SSN, paperwork from SS office saying we are who we say we are, signed copies of forms saying we promise we didn't file the fraudulent return, copies of bills with our names and current address, hair samples, blood samples, and our first born son...sorry, Shane :~) Anyway, we got a lovely letter from the IRS (the real IRS, not the advocate) yesterday saying they were taking our 2008 REFUND and applying it to what we OWE for 2007 and would we PLEASE send them the rest of the balance we owe...WE DON"T OWE YOU ANYTHING YOU OWE US A REFUND DUMMIES! Called the IRS advocate today...and he says, "I know its taking a long time for you and I'm really sorry. I have HUNDREDS of other cases just like yours that are taking a long time. I'll add you to my priority list and start working on your case next week..." Um, yeah....that's what you said in June....

Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..." IRS, will you kindly PLEASE QUIT PICKIN' MY FRUIT!

13 August 2009

Mediate on Him

Dear Blog,

I have been thinking about creating one of you for some time now. As I have been musing it over, I think of all the things I can do with you. I can write about truth, life, ministry issues, husbands :) , children, encouragement... but now that I started, I don't know where to begin. And as I was thinking about the title for you, I had to look up the word muse. From Webster's Dictionary, musing (v) means to "become absorbed in thought; especially : to turn something over in the mind meditatively and often inconclusively." Yep! Thats me! I can do this for HOURS! Over the same topic! I end up wasting so much time mulling/musing about everything...what people said, what I said back, did I say the "right thing," did I say the "right thing in love," did I say truth the "right way?" Sometimes, I find it easier to "check out" for a while on Facebook...but, really, how will me playing Farmville, Farm Town, and Sorority Life on Facebook for hours effect a positive change in my life or bring encouragement to others???

In Phillipians 4:8-9, Paul stated, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate (muse) on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."


I want to bring glory to You. Please help me clear out the junk in my life that I am consuming my time with so that I can be a better servant to You and others. Please help me to remember to muse on things that are good, just, holy, and pure and please filter my mind of the junk that does not fit this. In Jesus Name, Amen