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“Welcome. I am AMBrewster and T.L.P. is a parenting podcast designed to help you disciple your children in the Lord.
Before we continue, however, I’d like to encourage all of you to follow Truth.Love.Parent. on Facebook. When you “like” the page you should take one extra step to click on the “following” button and select “see first.” That way you won’t miss a single blessing, verse, article, or slice of wisdom designed to help you become an intentional, premeditated parent. And don’t forget to share them with your friends. We all need God’s Truth applied to our hearts and lives.
Well, 2017 is a banner year for me personally.
This year marks ten years of full-time Christian service for my wife and me. Now, for some of you, a decade in the ministry isn’t that long, and it’s my hope and prayer that the calling God has for me will last as long as many of yours . . . but for now, this is very exciting for my family, and all my praise and adoration goes solely to my Lord for leading and sustaining us.
One of the joys of the full-time Christian service I’ve been a part of is the reality that we’re genuinely living by faith in the realm of finances. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if God didn’t want me doing it. He keeps us going, and when He’s done with me in this ministry, it won’t take much to have the bottom fall out. And that’s exciting because that means that today, this episode, the work I’ll do at Victory Academy, Taking Back the Bible, and Evermind Ministries are a sacred responsibility from God.
As I reflect on the past decade, I’m drawn to one gleaming thread that ties it all together. It didn’t matter what my job description was at my previous ministry or here, I’ve always been a family counselor.
In college I wanted to work in camp ministries, so I majored in Camp Administration and then earned my master’s degree in Counseling.
But after graduation – instead of working at a camp – the Lord lead me to a Christian school in Schaumburg, IL.
To make a long story short, even as a sixth grade teacher, and then as a junior and senior high teacher, I was regularly in the process of working with my students and their parents. After a few years I had the supreme privilege of becoming an assistant administrator and the Dean of Students. At that point I took on much more of the student and family counseling.
Of course, where I work now as Lead Counselor at Victory Academy for Boys, that’s really all I do. And it’s the best kind of counseling, because it rarely happens over a desk. It happens in the moment. It’s biblical discipleship at its purest.
So, today I’d love to share with you six unique things I’ve learned from and about counseling in the past 10 years . . . and they all apply to you and me and every other Christian out there – parent or not.
And just so you are aware, we’ve started publishing podcast notes at EvermindMinistries.com. All of the Scripture I cite, the big points, and some of the explanations and applications will be available on a one page PDF if you think that will help you remember and apply what we’ve talked about today.
1. Okay, the first thing I’ve learned in a decade of counseling is that we’re all “professional” counselors.
Is it possible to study counseling as an occupation, be certified, and become a respected voice in the broader vocation known as counseling? Yes. But biblically speaking we are all called by God to admonish, reprove, correct, rebuke, edify, encourage, disciple, sharpen, and bear (Just check out I Thessalonians 5:14, II Timothy 4:2, I Timothy 5:20, I Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13, Matthew 28:19, Proverbs 27:17, & Galatians 6:2 to name a few). No one who calls himself a Christ-follower should ever feel unqualified to give counsel as long as he gives God’s truth from God’s Word. Too many times I find myself dealing with a student who has other spiritual authorities who’ve neglected their responsibilities. Don’t relegate counseling to your pastor or some other “professional.” Share God’s Word! At this point, I would strongly suggest you listen to Episode 4, entitled “Don’t Lose Your Influence.” That show was all about the responsibility that all Christians have to counsel.
2. Understand that we’re all in need of admonition. And that goes for the counselors too.
In the same way that we’re all called to be “professional” counselors, we’re all called to be counselees. None of us make perfectly sanctified decisions every day, all day. We all need men and women in our lives who’ll keep us accountable and to whom we can turn for God’s truth. You’re not the exception. Neither am I. I have a tight group of men and women I regularly turn to for advice and accountability. I also read articles and listen to podcasts because I know I need to grow. And, clearly, you understand the importance of this or you wouldn’t be here.
3. Our opinion doesn’t matter.
Humans like to seek out those people who will agree with their own decisions. But we need to skim the cream from men and women who (regardless of what they think about you or your decision) will share with you Truth from the inscripturated word of God. Everyone has an opinion, but if they don’t source their philosophies in absolute Truth, then there’s no guessing where’s it’s coming from. Do you really want to ground your reality in Wikipedia, your friend’s capricious emotions, the Disney Channel, Snopes, or the ever-changing arena of humanistic philosophy? Ephesians 4:14-15 tells us “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” If you just heard our theme verse at Truth.Love.Parent. Let me quote it again: “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” Truth in love is all we need.
4. We need to realize that sometimes God allows sin to destroy those He turns over to a reprobate mind.
“Getting away” with sin is never what it seems. Your sin is always known to God, and it seems to me (from biblical, historical, and personal experience) that having your sin “find you out” earlier is ALWAYS better than later. Romans 1:18-32 details for us what happens to unsaved people whom God turns over to their sin. It’s not pretty. Get help early! The consequences are always more bearable in the spring of a sin season then they are in the winter.
5. God chastens those He loves.
When we’re caught in a sin, the temptation is to feel defensive. The authority is the antagonist, you’ve been caught, and will now have to suffer the terrible consequences. But in reality, Hebrews 12:6 and Revelation 3:19 tells us that God chastens those He loves. This means that chastening is a joyous thing designed to communicate God’s love for us. He knows our sin will destroy us, and He doesn’t want that to happen, so He allows our sin to find us out. We should be thankful for the men and women God tasks with being his Truth-channels. God hasn’t given up on us, has a wonderful plan for us, and is actively working in our lives to accomplish it!
6 Mom and Dad need as much admonition as the children do.
I know this is a cheap repeat of #2, but there’s something about being a parent that deceives us. Look, I’m a parent too. No one’s a perfect parent. And we’re not fooling anyone pretending to be. The only thing that keeps parents from acknowledging
their own sins in childrearing is pride. When my children make bad choices, I always question myself first. The entirety of Episode 2 is focused on the reality that as a parent, everything is always about me. Don’t misunderstand, my kids are completely responsible to God for their own choices, but I always check myself to see if I’ve been a bad example, allowed certain behaviors to go unaddressed, or faltered in my discipling. And, believe it or not, when my children have regular sin problems . . . there’s always something I can do better. This is why there’s not a child I am blessed to work with that I don’t make the opportunity to speak with mom and dad.
So, let’s review:
- We’re all professional counselors when we rightly apply God’s Truth to another’s life.
- We are all in need of that same admonition in our own lives.
- Our opinions don’t matter. The Scriptures show us the only perfect philosophy.
- We need to be careful because sometimes God lets our sin destroy us.
- But the beautiful flip-side of that is that God chastens those whom He loves.
- Dad and Mom need as much admonition as the kids do.
And you can get all of that in note form at Evermind Ministries. I’ll link it for you in the description.
As always, if you need specialized help with your family, please contact us at Counselor@EvermindMinistries.com.
And join us on Friday to here “10 Things Parents Miss.”
May God bless you as you seek to parent in His Truth.”