Friday, September 28, 2018

Pastoral Care is an act of worship!

This blog post originally was written and published on this blog (Tuesday, January 8, 2013). However, with recent events in my personal life it has even become more relevant.  Now serving as the Chaplain for Summit Behavioral Healthcare, as well as President and Teacher for Grace Church of the Valley School of Ministry I now even feel more confident in making this statement.

Pastoral Care is an act of worship!

Pastoral Care is an act of worship. As pastors and ministers of the gospel we are called upon to provide pastoral care in many different ways. We are called to visit in the hospitals those that are sick, preparing for surgery, being institutionalize in mental hospital, or suffering long term illness in a nursing home. We are asked to provide counseling for couples seeking to get married, marriages that are on the verge of divorce, and for families struggling with a difficult teen. We may be asked to visit in the jail or prison to those that have been found guilty of a crime. We are even at time called upon at times of crisis, such as the death of a loved one, a massive disaster, and etc.

However, in all these situations we need to exam OUR (as pastors/pastoral care providers) motives. I believe that Pastoral Care requires us to incorporate five specific things in order to meet the needs of the members of our church, and those that come to us for help.

1)     Provide an opportunity for an individual to know Christ

a.     I believe as a pastor, pastoral counselor, or pastoral care provider this one thing has to become the most essential factor of our ministry. Bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ was the focal point of every conversation that the great Pastoral Theologian of Scripture (The Apostle Paul) shared. He shared tirelessly about knowing Christ in a very personal way.

2)     Provide Prayerful Encouragement

a.     As pastoral care providers we need to have an exemplary prayer life, one that when we pray the Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit stop in their tracks to listen.  People that we pray with in the hospital, nursing home, funeral home,  office, or  the front of the church need to feel that presence of Christ and that we are talking to HIM as one who expects HIM to here.  It is also important that our prayers be positive and encouraging, not demeaning to the point which someone turns away from Christ.

3)     Provide scriptural wisdom

a.     Know the Scripture or least if you’re like me and sometimes have a hard time remembering things, have a cheat sheet of scripture that you can go to. The fact that scripture is always true, and always the same makes it the perfect reference point for helping individuals address many of life’s situations.

4)    Provide reassurance of the Love of Christ

a.     My experience as a pastor, men’s ministry leader, children’s pastor, and counselor has shown me that one of my key roles in Pastoral Care is helping individuals understand who they are in Christ, and that regardless of what they have done Christ loves them. Please understand this doesn’t mean that he will not judge them for sins they have committed but He loves us despite. A pastor friend puts like this … “Christ loves the sinner so much he died for him, but he will never Condones the sin he commits.”

5)     Provide an opportunity for a Heart Transformation.

a.     As I sit in the office and write this blog post, I realize that as a pastoral care provider it is my responsibility to provide the resources, wisdom, and encouragement to the individual sitting in front of me to Change their heart and mind.  To transform themselves from a sinner to a saint. From a lost individual to a saved member of Christ family, and to take their very being from the darkest and separation of God, to the pure light of know Christ as savior.

6)    Now you’re asking after reading this why I would say “Pastoral Care is an Act of Worship” and my logic is simple. When I provide pastoral care, whether in the hospital, nursing home, funeral home, families home, my office, or at the front of the church, my number one objective is help that individual to develop and strengthen their personal relationship with Christ and help them worship Christ as Lord of their life. There for I’m always attempting to Worship HIM with the person I’m talking to.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When is prayer relevant?

That is a question I was asked recently by an individual that is struggling to understand why God hasn't answered his prayer the way he wants. I shared with him that prayer is always relevant and has to be a very key part of our daily walk with God. I went on to share that prayer is relevant to four key areas of our life:

1)     Prayer is relevant in us having a personal salvation experience with Christ :

·        Scripture clearly teaches that in order for us to have a personal relationship with God, through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross we must “Confess our sins and ask his forgiveness “. Putting it very simply that is prayer that is relevant to us to spend eternity in Heaven and not Hell.

2)     Prayer is relevant to seeking our miracle or for that of someone else :

·       Scripture teaches that God is willing and able to do the miracle in our lives. However, he wants to hear from his children and have them “ASK “. The people with Leprosy in scripture , the father of the sick girl , the blind man all had one thing in common they " ASKED " for him to do the miracle , today society when we want these same miracle we are to Pray !

3)     Prayer is relevant to shaping the course of history :

·        Throughout history we have seen our nation on a conclusion course with destruction, and we have seen people (both individually and cooperatively) stand, kneel, and cry out in prayer. Seeking God's divine interaction in the events that our happening to us.

4)    Prayer is relevant to saying thank you for all he (God ) does in our lives daily :

·       We teach our children “Or a least hopefully we are” to say Please and Thank you “well if it is important for our children to say it to family, friends, and yes even strangers. Would you not agree it is important for us to say it to God every day, if not every minute?

I'm convinced that the world is at a crossroads of what God is going to do! We are seeing nations begin to crumble under the weight of secularism, and devils agenda to destroy any trace of God from the world. However, we that say Prayer is Relevant to turn the Heart of God, and restore the nations to God. You want God to be Relevant in your life, church, community, and nation “PRAY “.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Christian Counseling Resources 101

            I have been teaching a course at the Grace Church of the Valley School of Ministry where I have the privilege serving as President.  I was recently asked by one of my students what books I would recommend for her to read to help her be more effective as a Christian Counselor or as some put it in the non-professional realm “People Helper”

So as I thought about it I came up with 14 of my favorite books by Christian Counselor’s and Pastors.  It is very important to remember that a book can be really good and have some great information and insight. However, that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything the writer’s state.  All of the books listed below are books that I have used over the course of 25 years in the field of Christian Counseling and continue to use today in my role as Chaplain.


1)       The Bible For Hope (Caring for People God’s Way) NKJV BIBLE / Formerly Titled: THE SOUL CARE BIBLE / AACC 2011 Edition2011 by AACC and Tim Clinton

·        I have used this Bible throughout my counseling experience and have found it to be very practical and insightful.

2)      Listening for Heaven’s Sake; Building Healthy Relationships with God, Self and Others. By Dr. Gary Sweeten, Dave Ping and Anne Chippard.

·        I have known these three individuals personally for over two decades, and would highly recommend this book.

3)       Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty: Successful Steps to Healing, Growth and Discipleship by Gary Sweeten and Steve Griebling

·        I have known these two gentlemen and worked with them on a number projects over the years and would highly recommend this book.

4)      Christian Counselor; A Comprehensive Guide (current edition) by Dr. Gary R. Collins.

5)       Christ Centered Therapy; The Practical Integration of Theology and Psychology by Neil T. Anderson, Terry E and Julianne S Zuehlke. 

6)      Competent to Counsel, Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling

7)      How to Help People Change, The Four-Step Biblical Process by Jay E. Adams

8)      How to Be a People Helper by Dr. Gary Collins

9)      Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling by John G. Kruis

10)   Introduction to Psychology and Counseling: Christian Perspectives and Applications by Paul D. Meier and Frank B. Minirth

11)     Effective Biblical Counseling: A Model for Helping Caring Christians Become Capable Counselors by Larry Crabb

12)    Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling By Larry Crabb

13)    The Quick-Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Ron Hawkins

14)   The Billy Graham Christian Worker's Handbook: A Topical Guide with Biblical Answers to the Urgent Concerns of Our Day by Charles G. Ward (Editor)


Reflecting on scripture!

            As I read this morning from Mark 2: 1 – 12; I felt a special sense of urgency.   I was reflecting on the types of people we en...