Earlier this week, one of you asked me how I was doing, and I didn’t have to think twice: “I’m really encouraged these days,” I responded. “I see God opening new doors and building fresh momentum in Harvest’s Love & Truth Counseling Ministry, and that excites me!”
This month began with a bang as twenty-five Harvest members participated in the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation’s National Conference in Hershey, PA (19 of us in person plus 6 by live stream). The worship, teaching, and fellowship (and chocolate!) were fantastic. But let me share three examples of how the flywheel is gaining steam as we grow forward.
First, Adult Sunday School: We’re now three weeks into our our fall series called “Marriage Matters,” and it seems all of us can identify at some level with “Jack and Jill.” He snapped at her during breakfast; she brought up his past failure. He stormed out the door; she left without saying good-bye. Just another ordinary moment in an ordinary marriage. But what if the downward spiral of conflict and distance could be transformed into the upward spiral of oneness and delight? It can, and God is showing us how! It’s not too late to join us (11:15 a.m. in the Auditorium), so come and see how God works his extraordinary change into our marriages as we take in and work out his grace in our ordinary, everyday moments.
Second, “Real Change” Training: Every honest Christian knows the need for change. But how do we get there? Last spring, I led a small group of women through this six-lessons course, using it as a double opportunity to train an “apprentice” to lead the course, and to teach participants how to apply the riches of Christ to one specific life struggle of their choosing. What a joy it was to experience how our risen Lord Jesus truly changing us—right here, right now, right where life actually happens. Today, this trained leader and her “apprentice” are guiding a new group of women through the same course and experiencing the same joy. And me? I’m coaching and cheering from the sidelines, all the while smiling and thanking God for multiplying this movement from one generation to the next.
Third, and Coming Soon: I’ve longed desired for a way to offer downstream the same counseling training I received upstream from the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). That dream is starting to come true as, last week, I received news that their School of Biblical Counseling (SBC) approved my application to have Harvest Church partner with them by offering a local, church-based version of their “Dynamics of Biblical Change” course this coming January through March (10 weeks).
This means that students from Harvest—either auditing the course or taking it for credit toward SBC certification—will be able to watch the same online lectures by Dr. David Powlison, read the same articles, and complete the same assignments as SBC students worldwide—but with the added benefit of meeting as a local “cohort” a few times under my guidance (as an approved facilitator), and at a significantly reduced cost of enrollment. For a general overview of CCEF/SBC course offerings, check out their website here. If you’d like to hear more details regarding this special, local course offering at Harvest, please reach out to me; even better, please join me for a 20-minuite informational meeting before evening worship next Sunday, November 6, at 5:00 p.m. in the Craft Room.
So, “How am I doing,” you ask? I’m very encouraged by what God is doing in our midst, and I trust you will be encouraged, too!
Seeing with New Eyes and Speaking Truth in Love by David Powlison
My former counseling professor, David Powlison, has summarized “counseling wisdom” as “an exquisite mix of three things: a personal integrity that applies the truth firsthand (humility); a breadth and depth of knowledge, of God and people (truth); and a rich bundle of relational skills and attitudes (love).” In these two favorite books of mine, he gives wonderful samples of what all of this looks like action.