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Archive for April, 2009

You’ve got to read this – a FIRST for TIL and a RARE occurrence!

April 29, 2009 1 comment

You are NOT going to believe this!

One of our counselees led a young person to the Lord in our waiting room!

NOT a counselor but a counselee with whom we’ve been working for many months led a young person to the LORD.

How about that for God showing that He is working through this ministry for His own glory!

I don’t know of this EVER happening before at any ministry. Wow! Praise God for this counselee’s faithfulness to God. This just goes to show that counselees do NOT need a LABEL but need to be reminded that they are useful to the King of Kings! The label a counselee needs is not a psychological or secular label but the label of “Christian” or “evangelist”.

-Mark (simply amazed again at the awesome LOVE and power of God)

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2 saved in 1 day!

April 29, 2009 Leave a comment

By God’s grace, He saved 2 people in our ministry in just one day of biblical counseling! This is a first for TIL!

Praise the Lord!

-Mark (a first for TIL as God continues to show off His glory to all of us!)

Least read book in America? Not the Bible…

April 29, 2009 1 comment

The least read book in the U.S.A. is NOT the Bible – it’s your car’s instruction manual. Very few people read that book. Crisp, fresh, unmarked, and clean is how you’ll find this manual in most cars.

But guess when people do read it?

When their car breaks down!

Don’t we do the same thing with our Bibles? When do we read the Word? When we are in trouble and need answers. That’s when we pray the most, too!

Let’s prepare for trouble ahead by reading the Word of God and by praying to Him daily.

You know your car will NOT last forever. You also know that in a fallen world cursed by man’s sin, you are going to experience some hardships in this life. Prepare for it.

-Mark (thankful to the very wise Brad Tollison for his thought-provoking contribution to this blog)

Casting the Vision for TIL

April 28, 2009 Leave a comment

TIL started small and is growing steadily by God’s grace. The vision for TIL is to be a replicating ministry unlike many others. Our vision is grand because our Lord Jesus Christ is able. I’d like to share the vision for making disciples with you below (Matt. 28:18-20).

What TIL would like to do is have a 7 day per week central location that supports the ministry with prayer and finances.

At that hub, our ministry wants to train Christians to do evangelism and discipleship through the context of biblical counseling. If we are helping lost people, we share the Good News with them and point them to Christ. If we are helping Christians, we are strengthening, encouraging, and supporting them through a difficult time so that they might be reconciled to Christ and restored to help others (Gal. 6:1).

From that hub, we would like to send out teams of biblical counselors to help churches to start biblical counseling ministries for the purpose of evangelism and discipleship. We would train the churches people in biblical counseling AND provide opportunities for them to observe and participate in team biblical counseling sessions that deal with real lives. In time, TIL would step away from the church and allow that church to have its own, thriving ministry.

We want to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. We are equipping leaders and challenging lay people to get involved in a unique TEAM biblical counseling setting.

One final piece that we have yet to do but plan to do in the near future is to establish evangelism and discipleship biblical counseling ministries utilizing the local church in FOREIGN countries (like Japan, China and Kenya for example). This is a missional vision that we have always had but not yet implemented due to financial constraints yet we are laying the foundation now to accomplish these goals.

It’s exciting to be a part of a growing ministry that honors the Lord and He alone is providing the blessings.

-Mark (thankful that He alone is producing His fruit through us!)

So excited at our growth!

April 24, 2009 2 comments

Psalm 34:2 – “My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.” – ESV

1 Corinthians 1:31 – “Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – ESV

Praise the Lord for steadily, slowly growing this ministry!

We have watched Him grow us from 3 biblical counselors (volunteers!) and only 2 sessions PER WEEK to now…(drum roll please!)

52 people have ministered the truth of God’s Word through the love of the Holy Spirit! 

All are volunteers (except 2, Jason and I – and our salaries are closer to volunteer status than “full-time” status! just joking, sorta!) and all are committed to the cause of lifting up Jesus! I absolutely love those involved in this ministry and I’m honored to be a small part of the team (I’m only 1 of those 52)!

We went from 3 people a year ago to 52 people now! That’s unbelievable growth the Lord is doing! (17 times more people are involved in the hard ministry of biblically counseling others)

What is gratifying to me is to watch people who volunteer for us grow. Many of them sit in with me and observe me. They speak out as I give them opportunities to share what the Lord lays on their hearts with counselees! The beauty of our model is that our volunteers grow spiritually as well as those hurting souls we are privileged to serve. I love being able to train, encourage, and mold the giving people involved in our ministry. These volunteers are GIVERS not takers!

Speaking of which, one more praise. I was looking at our calendar yesterday. When we started counseling, it was quite empty with only 2 counseling sessions in 1 week and a Board meeting. I compared it to this week’s calendar (April 21-24 since we only counsel 4 days per week). We had 55 scheduled sessions this week!    55!!!  That’s how many lives, families, and children we’ve helped this week!! Praise the Lord!

That’s 27 times more sessions than one year ago! That’s 53 more families we can impact for God’s glory by encouraging them to gaze only at Christ.

What more is there to say? Praise the Lord.

One final praise (I promise this is it). Someone came to know Christ as Lord and Savior this week (2 days ago). That’s what it’s all about. His soul will be with God forever – Satan lost another soul he thought he had!

I could go on that we have had at least one marriage in the process of reconciliation each week for the past 7 weeks, but I won’t mention that praise in detail.

To God be ALL the glory for the great things He’s done through this ministry!

Little is MUCH when God is in it.

-Mark (privileged to serve the King of Kings for His own glory)

Videogame addiction article on the web

April 20, 2009 1 comment

An article came out recently on Yahoo – http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20090420/hl_hsn/almost1in10youngvideogameusersaddicted

Please read it.

One thing I found interesting. When comparing gambling to gaming, a person was quoted as saying:

“It’s one thing for a child to fib to his mom about how long he’s played a video game,” Olson said. “It’s another thing to lie to your wife about gambling.”

Oh, really! That’s her standard but what is God’s standard? A lie is a lie is a lie and it’s a sin to lie (violates one of the 10 Commandments). Both people are lying and both are sinning against a Holy God – they just have different consequences in this life! That’s all that’s different. (Note: Sadly, the consequences are the same in eternal life!)

I even like that she said “fib” instead of “lie” when referring to the child’s sin but called the husband’s sin a “lie.” She minimized the child’s sin! She gave the child an excuse! She demonstrated her heart!

Video game “addiction” is a topic near and dear to my heart. Read my booklet on it (available from www.focuspublishing.com ).

I suggest you LIMIT your child’s video game playing to once per week and only a few hours on that day. Get your child involved in positive hobbies like piano, guitar, saxophone, etc. to replace excessive videogaming.

Rarely do you ever hear about an adult getting a high paying job playing video games! It just doesn’t happen! Get your child to read a book instead!

-Mark (angry at the lack of parental discernment in this world – and mine, too!)

Atlanta traffic!

April 20, 2009 Leave a comment

I recently drove through Atlanta and the traffic reminded me that I must totally trust in Christ – for all things, especially protection!

In reality, our difficulties in life are designed to point our minds to trust in Christ. We should be trusting in Him anyway but when things are easy, sometimes we forget about the Lord (see the Israelites in the Bible).

-Mark (learning to thank God for the difficult trials in my life)