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Archive for May, 2008

Our motto right now is – QUALITY not quantity!

May 31, 2008 Leave a comment

In merely 15 days of counseling, we have had the privilege to minister to the following types of people with these results:

10 different biblical counselors have worked in teams of 2 (or 3!) to serve 45 different people

3 people have become Christians and 2 more have re-committed their lives to Christ

100.5 hours of total discipleship/counseling in 60 total sessions (avg. length of a session is 1.5 hours)

Most people have been sent to us by a friend or a pastor! We have done NO ADVERTISING and we are booked solid for next week. We are currently praying for a third location to better serve others. Our Board of Directors will vote on a location next week.

It’s exciting when you think that we only have two minimally paid staff persons, little in our bank account, no advertising, and are only 7 months old at this point.

Plus, we have the upcoming opportunity to train 10 people in biblical counseling and will be able to give them counseling experience after they complete the training!!!! We are building a biblical counseling ministry at 2 churches and have a few other churches interested in our ministry, also.

Praise the Lord!

-Mark (called by God to TIL)

Philippians 4:11: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (electronic ed.) . Good News Publishers: Wheaton

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Learning to “Wait on the Lord”

May 27, 2008 10 comments

Have you ever been in a situation that forced you to wait?  No, redlights and department store lines don’t count! I remember waiting to receive my acceptance letter from College.  Maybe you have had loved ones in surgery and had to wait with other family members in hopes of success.  I’m sure each of you can bring to rememberance many areas and times in life where you were stuck waiting.  Were we really stuck? 

Many times in life I find myself pursuing my own way, sometimes foolishly forgetting to consult God before I make a decision.  Historically speaking this ALWAYS ends up being one more lesson session from my Loving God.

Below is an article that I recently read from Dr. Charles Stanley that shares many valuable benefits from learning to wait on the Lord.  I would love to get some feedback on what God has taught you in the waiting periods of your life. 

Why Wait?

Waiting on the Lord does not mean doing nothing. Oftentimes, a period of waiting means spending time actively seeking God’s will in prayer.

We wait where we are, doing what God says to do, until He intervenes or tells us to do something different. For instance, we usually shouldn’t quit our jobs before God leads us to new ones.

What are the Benefits of Waiting?

1. We discover God’s purpose for us.

Read Lamentations 3:25 and Romans 8:28. In what area of your life are you having difficulty trusting that God has good things for you?

Write a brief prayer, asking God to increase your faith to trust that He has something good for you in that difficult area.

God is not stringing us along to tantalize us. He is not saying, like earthly parents, “Well, we’ll see.” He promises to provide what we need, when we really need it.

2. We receive supernatural physical energy. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Actively waiting on God energizes us. When we wait on Him, He supplies us with supernatural physical strength.

When the Lord finally delivered David from the hands of his enemies, including Saul, David attributed his strength to the Lord, “For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me” (2 Samuel 22:40).

Describe a situation in which you were able to rely on the supernatural strength of the Lord for either physical or emotional energy. (If you haven’t experienced this, you may want to write a prayer asking God to show you how to depend on His energy.)

3. We win battles.

In Biblical times, manpower and horsepower usually determined the odds of success, humanly speaking. However, God’s criteria for success are different. Read Psalm 147: 10-11.

What natural talents or strengths do you tend to depend on instead of the Lord?

Why do you think waiting on God empowers us for victory?

4. We receive answers to our prayers.

Psalm 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.” Many times, God requires us to go through a season of waiting before He answers our prayers for provision, guidance, or healing. If we are unwilling to wait on God, we fall into sin—trying to meet our needs ourselves—or simply miss His timing. Either way, we won’t experience His best for our lives.

Think of a time when you became weary of waiting on God’s direction or His provision for your need. Did you wait patiently on Him, or did you rush ahead without His guidance or blessing? What was the outcome of your action?

5. We see the fulfillment of our faith. What do Isaiah 49:23 and Isaiah 64:4 promise to those who wait on God?

When others encourage us to forge ahead instead of waiting on God, we should remember that He will not let us down.

God Uses Waiting

While we wait, God may change circumstances, get us in step with Him, and prepare us for His answers. Think of a situation in which you had to wait on the fulfillment of a dream or desire and describe how God used the time you waited.

Waiting is not wasted time. No matter why we are waiting on the Lord, God will use the long pauses in our lives if we let Him. He is the God who “acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:4).

Prayer

Father, thank You for having a purpose and a plan for every season of my life. Help me wait patiently on Your best in every area of my life. Increase my trust that You will do something wonderful in my life if I submit to Your timing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

-Adapted from Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living. pp. 333-335. 1996.

A Biblical “Memorial” Day

May 26, 2008 Leave a comment

In the United States, Memorial Day is the time when we remember those in our military who have given their lives in the line of duty. I thank God for our strong military and the freedoms we enjoy as a result.

What message could we send out to all the families of those who have lost loved ones in this time of war? To those who are remembering the loss of someone who gave ALL in service of our country we would say this:

“Please know that we appreciate what your famliy member and/or loved one has sacrificed for our country and other countries in order for us to remain free.” 

In like manner, today is an opportunity to also remember the One person, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave His ALL as a ransom for our sins! And the freedom we Christians now enjoy as a result of HIS laying down of His life is eternal. We are free from the punishment of our sins. We are free from the power of our sins to rule in our mortal bodies. And one day, when our bodies are resurrected in the new heavens and the new earth, God will grant us freedom from the practice of our sin — which means NO MORE SIN! Praise the LORD! What a day of rejoicing that will be!

Be thankful with us at TIL for the great freedoms we all are experiencing by the grace of God,

-Mark Shaw

TIL – A Revolutionary Model for Biblical Counseling

May 24, 2008 1 comment

The Great Commission is known by serious Christians as an important mandate given to the followers of Christ. It is found in Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (ESV).”

 

Thankfully, biblical counselors all over the United States take very seriously this Great Commission to go and make disciples of Christ “teaching them to observe” all that Jesus taught His disciples. The field of biblical counseling is fulfilling the Great Commission well, yet I see room for improvement and thus developed the model for TIL from Luke 10:1: “After this the Lord appointed sevent-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go (NIV).”

 

TIL is a unique model that is NOT widely employed because it requires two persons to do the work of discipleship and biblical counseling. The model requires double the time and double the effort but it is based upon Christ’s model from Luke 10:1. Christ Jesus (as a Man) was pioneering a way to conduct ministry and it offers many benefits to Christians who choose to be a part of it. TIL is a team approach to biblical counseling under the authority of the local church. It is based on Ephesians 4:15: “…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, Christ.”

 

“While it is much easier to remain silent when others around us are harming themselves or others with a sinful pattern, it is not the loving thing to do.”** The counseling and teaching model for Truth in Love Ministries has been uniquely designed to most effectively speak the truth in love and multiply disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 10:1 tells us how Jesus appointed a group other than His twelve disciples and sent them ahead of Himself to do, what I would term, “lay ministry” in pairs or teams. So, just as Jesus sent them out two by two, Truth in Love Ministries will send two biblical counselors to each and every biblical counseling session. This team approach to counseling is unique yet offers a balanced and effective way to “speak the truth in love.”

 

The model for Truth in Love Ministries is a co-counseling model. The benefits of this team approach to ministry are manifold. Here is just one of the benefits. First, with two counselors, wisdom, experience, and insight are doubled for the person(s) being counseled. When surgery is required on the human body, no surgeon goes into the operating room alone. If the surgery is serious, often there will be another surgeon with the primary surgeon, along with numerous other support staff, acknowledging the seriousness of the situation. Likewise, this standard will be upheld for the Christian counselors of Truth in Love Ministries, who will be dealing with the human heart and very serious spiritual matters.

 

Stay tuned for more of the benefits of this model in future blogging sessions!

 

-Mark Shaw (thankful for Christ)

 

P.S. Our team of biblical counselors LOVE the co-counseling model! To God be the Glory!


**Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 146.

Killing Pride

May 23, 2008 2 comments

Romans 8:13 states: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (electronic ed.) . Good News Publishers: Wheaton.

Pride influences all of the “deeds of the body” and must be put to death! I often say, “Either you humble yourself or the Lord will humble you!” The Lord humbled Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, the prophets of Baal,  Diotrephes, and the Pharisees. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God to humble me like He did those people! God loves us enough to humble us in a loving, convicting way.

In this brief blog, the best, quick advice I can give you is to do good deeds and spiritual disciplines in secret without others seeing your good works! According to Matthew 6, pray, fast, give money, help others, and read your Bible privately without seeking the praise of mankind. These spiritual disciplines are to be done in secret, not announced to the whole world with a trumpet and a parade! These are things the Christian ought to do willingly. The only Person a Christian must receive approval from is the Lord.

After we put-off pride, we are to put-on humility which is strength under control. An explosive, angry man is not humble. In fact, with anyone who struggles with anger, you will find a prideful heart directing those moments of explosive outbursts. In time, an angry person can become more Spirit-controlled and humble. There is hope for change and the Bible is explicit in how to change!

We are so honored to have the privilege to see people change over a period of time through biblical counseling!

Prov. 14:29: “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (electronic ed.) Good News Publishers: Wheaton.

-Mark (trying to put-off pride and put-on humility moment by moment by God’s grace!) 

Biblical Counseling is “Micro-Discipleship”

May 23, 2008 Leave a comment

What we do at TIL is a small subset of DISCIPLESHIP. Discipleship is the command given us in the Great Commission. The way I conceptualize it is that discipleship is a BIG PIZZA with lots of slices and one little slice of this “pizza pie” is Biblical Counseling.

Biblical Counseling is “micro-discipleship” in that we usually focus upon one area of the disciple’s life at a time to try to bring some resolution or change in thinking. We may be working with someone who is extremely sad, fearful, angry, grieving a loss, embattled in marital and familial problems, and the like. Our team approach to ministry focuses upon this one area by giving the person the Bible’s perspective on their problems and practical solutions to implement derived from biblical truths. Yes, the Bible is VERY practical.

So, when we say that we do “discipleship,” we most certainly do – in a very pin-pointed, focused manner!

As to what we do, Proverbs 9:9 says it best: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (electronic ed.) . Good News Publishers: Wheaton.

-Mark (training others to do the hard work of pin-pointed, “micro” discipleship)

Our Purpose – as it relates to MISSIONS

May 21, 2008 Leave a comment

In our Articles of Incorporation, it states TIL’s purpose:

The purpose of Truth in Love shall be to educate and train the Body of Christ to make and multiply disciples of Jesus Christ within their own respective communities and cultures for the glory of God.

The word “cultures” is purposely in that statement as I wanted people to know that one of the primary desires of our hearts at TIL is to be an international ministry that equips pastors and lay persons in other countries. Today, by the grace of God, we may have our second opportunity to travel to a foreign country to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20 below) and our TIL “great commission” as given in the purpose statement above. Please pray that the Lord’s will be done in this situation and for the necessary finances to be supplied for us to do this important work. If the Lord wants us to do it, I am very confident He will supply the finances – and He may be calling you to be a vessel to help us in this endeavor!

Matt. 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (electronic ed.) . Good News Publishers: Wheaton.

-Mark Shaw (following the Lord’s leading as best I can!)