• One With Christ

    Posted on August 19th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Who I Am To Christ, Part Four—One With Christ

     

    Christ-Esteem: The world talks about “self-esteem.” But God’s Word teaches us about “Christ-esteem”—how God views us, sees us, accepts us, and loves us through Christ. Knowing how God relates to us because of our relationship to Christ is vital to glorifying God, defeating the lies of Satan, and ministering powerfully.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE

     

    As you read the following summaries:

     

    *Meditate on the verses and on the truth they share about you.

     

    *Reject the lies of Satan about how God views you.

     

    *Thank God for who you are to Christ.

     

    *Select one verse/truth per day and specifically apply it to your life and relationships.

     

    My Relationship to God through Christ

     

    Ephesians 1:4-6—I am accepted in the beloved.

     

    Ephesians 1:5—I was predestined to be adopted as God’s son.

     

    Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14—I am forgiven and redeemed.

     

    Ephesians 1:13—I have been included in Christ.

     

    Ephesians 1:13—I have been marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.

     

    Ephesians 1:14—I am God’s precious, treasured possession.

     

    Ephesians 2:10—I am God’s poem, opus, epic, masterpiece.

     

    Ephesians 2:13—Once far away, Christ has brought me near to God.

     

    Ephesians 2:19—Together with all believers, I am a fellow citizen of God’s kingdom.

     

    Ephesians 2:19—Together with all believers, I am a member of God’s family.

     

    Ephesians 2:22—I am a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

     

    Ephesians 3:6; 4:25; 5:30—Together with all the saints, I am a member of Christ’s body.

     

    Ephesians 3:6—Together with all the saints, I share in the promise of Christ.

     

    Ephesians 3:12—I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

     

    Ephesians 3:18—God’s love for me is wider than east and west, longer than north and south, higher than the stars, and deeper than the galaxy.

     

    Ephesians 3:19—I am filled with the fullness of God.

     

    Ephesians 4:12—Together with all God’s children, I claim the title, “God’s people.”

     

    Ephesians 4:30—I am sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of final redemption.

     

    Ephesians 5:1—I am a dearly loved child of God.

     

    Ephesians 5:2—Christ loves me.

     

    Ephesians 5:25—Together with all Christians, I am the Church, loved so much by Christ that he died for me.

     

    Ephesians 5:29—Christ nourishes me.

     

    Ephesians 5:29—Christ cherishes me.

     

    Ephesians 5:31-32—Together with all the saints, I am one with Christ.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE

  • The Road to Hope

    Posted on August 11th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Road to Hope: Vibia Perpetua, Part II

     

    Note: For Part I, read Sunday’s blog post at http://bit.ly/10gzOt.

     

    Read More/Grow Stronger: Read Perpetua’s life story and the story of over fifty amazing women in Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    “As If” Empathy

     

    On the day of Perpetua’s final hearing before being martyred for her faith in 203 AD, the guards rushed Perpetua to the prisoners’ platform. Her father appeared with her infant son, guilting her and imploring her to “have pity on your son!” He caused such an uproar, that Governor Hilarion ordered him thrown out, and he was beaten with a rod.

     

    Perpetua writes of this horrible incident. “My father’s injury hurt me as much as if I myself had been beaten. And I grieved because of his pathetic old age.”[i]

     

    Perpetua provides a classic portrait of biblical empathy. Her as if experience of her father’s pain is the essence of sustaining soul care—making the agony of others our very own.

     

    Summoning Christ’s Strength

     

    Perpetua not only finds in Christ the strength to empathize with her father, she also summons Christ’s power to console and encourage her family and her fellow martyrs. 

     

    “In my anxiety for the infant I spoke to my mother about him, tried to console my brother and asked that they care for my son. I suffered intensely because I sensed their agony on my account. These were the trials I had to endure for many days.”[ii]

     

    Incredibly, Perpetua’s greatest pain was her ache for others who hurt for her!

     

    A few days passed after the hearing and before the battle in the arena commenced. During this interval, Perpetua witnessed to her persecutors and ministered to other detainees.

     

    “Pudens, the official in charge of the prison (the official who had gradually come to admire us for our persistence), admitted many prisoners to our cell so that we might mutually encourage each other.”[iii]

     

    Facing death, Perpetua shared words of life with all who would listen.

     

    The Road to Hope: Maintaining Perpetual Persistence

     

    Felicitas (Perpetua’s friend and fellow prisoner) was in her eighth month of pregnancy. As the day of the contest approached, she became very distressed that her martyrdom might be delayed, since the law forbade the execution of a pregnant woman. An eyewitness to their eventual death shares his account of their journey together.

     

    “Her friends in martyrdom were equally sad at the thought of abandoning such a good friend to travel alone on the same road to hope. And so, two days before the contest, united in grief they prayed to the Lord.”[iv] Immediately after their prayers, her labor pains began and Felicitas gave birth to a girl whom one of her sisters reared as her own.

     

    This eyewitness records their witness for Christ to the very end. “On the day before the public games, as they were eating the last meal commonly called the free meal, they tried as much as possible to make it instead an agape. In the same spirit they were exhorting the people, warning them to remember the judgment of God, asking them to be witnesses of the prisoners’ joy in suffering, and ridiculing the curiosity of the crowd. . . . Then they all left the prison amazed, and many of them began to believe.”[v]

     

    To the very end, Perpetua maintains her perpetual persistence. “The day of their victory dawned, and with joyful countenances they marched from the prison to the arena as though on their way to heaven. If there was any trembling, it was from joy, not fear. Perpetua followed with a quick step as a true spouse of Christ, the darling of God, her brightly flashing eyes quelling the gaze of the crowd.”[vi]

     

    Stubbornly Resisting to the End

     

    As they were led through the gates, they were ordered to put on different clothes; the men, those of the priests of Saturn, the women, those of the priestesses of Ceres. “But that noble woman stubbornly resisted even to the end. She said, ‘We’ve come this far voluntarily in order to protect our rights, and we’ve pledged our lives not to recapitulate on any such matter as this. We made this agreement with you.’ Injustice bowed to justice and the guard conceded that they could enter the arena in their ordinary dress. Perpetua was singing victory psalms as if already crushing the head of the Egyptian.”[vii]

     

    Here we witness not only Perpetua’s courageous example of persistence, but also her model of biblical confrontation. She provides riveting testimony to Christ’s power at work in the inner life of a Christian woman whose spirit could never be overpowered.

     

    Read More/Grow Stronger: Read Perpetua’s life story and the story of over fifty amazing women in Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

     



    [i]Ibid., emphasis added.

    [ii]Ibid., 20.

    [iii]Ibid., 23.

    [iv]Ibid., 26-27, emphasis added.

    [v]Ibid., 27.

    [vi]Ibid., 28.

    [vii]Ibid., emphasis added.

  • The Best of Multicultural Ministry, Part Two

    Posted on August 10th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best Of Guide

    The Best of Multicultural Ministry and Intercultural Relationships

    Part Two

     

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide: Making your life easier by finding, summarizing, evaluating, and posting the best resources on a wide variety of topics from a Christian perspective.

     

    Note: For Part One, please visit http://bit.ly/2BXt0

     

    Note: Excerpted from African American History, Life, Christianity, and Ministry: An Annotated Resource Guide, By Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC. For information on the full version: http://bit.ly/f1AvT

     

    Esterline, David, ed. Shaping Beloved Community: Multicultural Theological Education. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2006.

     

    Many Christians talk about multicultural ministry. Esterline and his team outline how to teach, train, and equip ministers in a multicultural seminary setting. Personally, teaching in a seminary with no majority culture in the Washington, D. C. area, I found Esterline’s views practical, helpful, and realistic.

     

    Gilbreath, Edward. Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical’s Inside View of White Christianity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006.

     

    Edward Gilbreath has written a powerful and priceless book on reconciliation in Evangelical circles—or the sad, disappointing lack thereof. Writing with openness and candor, Gilbreath shares his own experiences in Evangelicalism and the process and progress of his journey. He then narrates the wider Evangelical scene historically and today, especially in para-church and church life. His book combines hope and realism, human action and trust in God’s direction. The practical examples of churches that do it and barriers that hinder reconciliation are worth the price of the book.

     

    Griffin, John. Black Like Me. Reprint Edition. New York: NAL Trade, 2003.

     

    In 1959, John Howard Griffin temporarily abandoned his privileged life as a Southern White male, medically darkened his skin, and posed as a Black man in the deep South. Some rightly question whether a short period of immersion such as this can allow the pain of racism to etch onto and penetrate into one’s soul. Of course it cannot. It cannot allow for the decade after decade after decade build-up of racist attitudes and history. Nor can it allow for the day after day after day of soul-numbing hatred. Still, for its time, this book was revolutionary. And even for our time today, Black Like Me can at least provide Whites with some small slice of the horrors of racism.

     

    June, Lee, Sabrina Black, and Willie Richardson. Counseling in African-American Communities. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

     

    Counseling in African-American Communities: Biblical Perspectives on Tough Issues presents a well-researched, practically-developed, biblical methodology for pastors, lay people, and counselors working from a Christian perspective and/or working with the Christian client. Though focused on African-Americans, the material can quite effectively be used cross-culturally.


    The editors, June and Black, divide the book into four parts. Part I delves into various addictions, their nature, development, and treatment. Part II focuses upon family issues. Part III highlights mental health matters. Part IV is entitled, “Confronting Other Critical Issues,” and includes matters such as conflict, faith, demonology, unemployment, and research in clinical practice.

     

    In each chapter within each section, the research is presented in easy-to-digest form, almost always with helpful charts. Interspersed within each chapter, the reader finds real-life vignettes that bring the material to life. The foundation of every chapter is the biblical counseling diagnosis and treatment plan. The authors use theological concepts as well as specific principles from pertinent passages to build a biblical approach to the topic. Finally, every chapter includes a brief, helpful bibliography for further research.


    The book’s audience is clearly the helper—the professional counselor, pastor, or lay care-giver. The lay person himself/herself, struggling with a particular issue, could benefit through reading the pertinent chapter(s). However, the intent of the book is not primarily to be a “self-help” manual. Counseling in African-American Communities provides a comprehensive introduction to a biblical perspective on a wide-range of issues facing counselors, pastors, and spiritual friends.

     

    Kellemen, Robert W. and Karole A. Edwards. Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.

     

    Beyond the Suffering is a one-of-a-kind African American narrative. It is not simply a history of America, not simply a history of African Americans, not simply a history of African American Christianity, but a narrative of how African American Christians ministered to one another. As the title suggests, the book tells how African American believers helped one another to move beyond their horrific suffering to a place of healing and hope.


    The characters are the African American believers themselves. The plot is their real-life battles told in their empowering words. The authors are a co-authoring team, one an African American female, the other a Caucasian male. Together, they embrace the legacy of how African Americans sustained, healed, reconciled, and guided one another in the faith.


    Written in an engaging style that allows African Americans to tell their own story, Beyond the Suffering reads like a novel. It empowers African Americans and all people of all races and nationalities to love like Christ loved even in the worst of circumstances. Readers not only are riveted by the powerful historical chronicles, but are also equipped to apply soul care and spiritual direction principles to their own lives and ministries.

     

    McNeil, Brenda Salter. The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Societal Change. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004.

     

    Brenda Salter McNeil has written a ground-breaking book on racial reconciliation. The subtitle alone speaks volumes about the core change needed: soul change. Only when the individual is changed by the infinite love of Christ can society then even begin to be changed. Writing with wit and wisdom, experience and truth, and speaking the truth in love, The Heart of Racial Justice offers a stirring, practical model for positive racial change and reconciliation.

     

    Ortiz, Manuel. One New People: Models for Developing Multiethnic Churches. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

     

    Manuel Ortiz has written a very practical “why and how to” book on developing multicultural congregations. He provides transcultural and time-tested models for moving a church (change management) culture from monolithic to multicultural. Though dated (and thus the demographics tend to be outdated), the principles and practices are timeless.

     

    Sande, Ken. The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. Third revised updated edition. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.

     

    Ken Sande has spent a lifetime studying, teaching, and applying biblical principles of conflict resolution. His credentials as a lawyer and student of the Bible combine to make him eminently qualify to write this work. Though the subtitle emphasizes the resolution of personal conflict, The Peacemaker and its principles can be used in corporate/church conflict resolution situations, also. With each principle, Sande presents the biblical foundation as well as practical applications.

     

    Steele, Shelby. White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2006.

     

    Shelby Steele writes about race in the style and substance of Bill Cosby. Both men speak as successful Black men who have lived their “up-by-the-boot-straps” philosophy. Both men also insist that African Americans must maintain personal responsibility for their present condition, while recognizing that White Americans were responsible for the horrors of the Black past.


    Steele’s basic premise concludes that, yes, African Americans were horribly treated and that at the onset of the 60s Civil Rights movement, a “balancing act” was necessary to provide disenfranchised Blacks with a “fair start.” However, Steele affirms that along the way, something went wrong. This something, he calls “White Guilt.” Liberal Whites, in particular, attempted, in Steele’s view, to gain the moral high ground by punishing current White Americans for the past guilt of White America.


    In the process, and as a result, Blacks who now, according to Steele, had a more or less level playing field, were re-classified as an entire race of people in need of a White hand up and a White hand out. Thus, liberal White guilt was still White racism: “We are better than you and you need our help to survive.” When African Americans accepted this Faustian bargain, they wandered off the path of meritocracy (you earn success) to mediocrity (you are given an easy way toward success), according to Steele.

     
    Being raised in Gary, Indiana in the 60s and 70s, and living in the 90s and early 00s in D.C., and now having returned to the Gary region, I have, as a White male, witnessed the eras of which Steele speaks. Much of what he says resonates with me. In fact, I would give him five stars for White Guilt except for a few issues.

     

    First, I don’t see the end of racism of which he seems to speak. I still hear it and see it, albeit, in subtle ways, and even more subtle policy-making. Additionally, I’m not convinced that the playing field is always level. Certainly, I am convinced that African Americans have total equality of ability. I’m simply not sure that everywhere in America they have total equality of opportunity. One final point of departure: by his definition of White guile, we may take away from the historical reality that there was true White guilt. False guilty feelings and faulty guilt-driven policies may mask the reality that there was (and is) true guilt. European Americans did indeed despicably mistreat and literally beat down African Americans. I would be saddened if Steele’s title caused anyone to minimize the suffering. In fact, it is in admitting and facing the suffering that we see the true resilience and character of individual and corporate African Americans who rose above and went beyond the suffering.

     

    Walker, Clarence. Biblical Counseling with African Americans. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

     

    Biblical Counseling with African Americans is an excellent contribution to multicultural counseling from a Christian perspective. Walker integrates biblical theology, research on African American culture, and his own extensive counseling practice to weave together a very practical and thorough book. Some books of this genre tend to be heavy on theory or on methodology. Walker nicely balances the two, linking understanding to practice. The book is now a little dated in terms of research works quoted (most coming from the 70s and 80s), but besides that it has withstood the test of time.

     

    Wimberly, Edward. African American Pastoral Care. Nashville: Abingdon, 1991.

     

    African American Pastoral Care is Wimberly’s 1991 “sequel” to his 1979 Pastoral Care in the Black Church. In his newer work, Wimberly continues his important focus on sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding, while highlighting a new emphasis: pastoral care through narrative. Narrative therapy has been a growing model for at least two decades. Wimberly nicely blends the historical African American use of oral tradition with the insights of post-modern narrative therapy.


    In his introduction and first chapter, Wimberly concisely explains the nature of narrative story-telling in African American pastoral care. In each subsequent chapter, he demonstrates how this model can be used in various counseling issues such as addiction, bereavement, life stages, marriage, and family matters.

     

    Important Stuff

     

    *Your Guide: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, is the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries (www.rpmministries.org) through which he writes, speaks, and consults to equip God’s people to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. He blogs daily at http://rpmministries.blogspot.com.

     

    *My Necessary Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t endorse everything in every article, book, or link that you’ll find in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide. I report, you decide.

     

    *Your Suggestions Are Welcomed: Feel free to post comments and/or send emails (rpm.ministries@gmail.com) about resources that you think deserve attention in various categories covered in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide.

     

  • From Victim to Victor

    Posted on August 9th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    From Victim to Victor: Vibia Perpetua, Part I

     

    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    Giving Voice to the Voiceless

     

    When we think of the early church, our minds focus on the Church Fathers. Sadly, we normally fail even to consider the Church Mothers. Yet, these godly women heroically waged spiritual warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Their loses and their victories, their pain and their joy, their walk with Christ and their journey with one another are all an inheritance from which each of us are eligible to draw. There is a mighty company of gallant women believers from whom we can learn.

     

    Vibia Perpetua (181-203) heads that company. The early Church preserved her manuscript, The Martyrdom of Perpetua, as a martyr’s relic because it is one of the oldest and most descriptive accounts of death for Christ. It is also the earliest known document written by a Christian woman.

     

    Anyone who has ever suffered for the faith or has been oppressed by the powerful can carry on a conversation and feel a bond with Perpetua. In fact, in the introduction to her story, we read that it was “written expressly for God’s honor and humans’ encouragement” to testify to the grace of God and to edify God’s grace-bought people.[i]

     

    Of course, even reading the word “martyr” likely causes us to imagine that Perpetua was a spiritual “super woman” whose life and ministry we could not possibly emulate. The story of her life, however, demonstrates just the opposite.

     

    The Story of Her Life

     

    Perpetua lived in Carthage in North Africa during the persecution of Christians under Septimius Severus. At the time of her arrest in 202 AD, she was a twenty-one-year-old mother of an infant son. Born into a wealthy, prominent, but unbelieving family, she was a recent convert with a father who continually attempted to weaken her faith and a husband who was, for reasons unknown to us, out of the picture. Nothing in Perpetua’s situation or background prepared her for the titanic spiritual struggle God called her to face.

     

    Perpetua, her brother, her servant (Felicitas), and two other new converts were discipled by Saturus. We learn from Perpetua of the arrest of all these faithful followers of Christ. “At this time we were baptized and the Spirit instructed me not to request anything from the baptismal waters except endurance of physical suffering. A few days later we were imprisoned.”[ii]

     

    A Light in the Darkness: Experiencing the Pain of Others

     

    Perpetua candidly faces her fears and expresses her internal and external suffering. “I was terrified because never before had I experienced such darkness. What a terrible day! Because of crowded conditions and rough treatment by the soldiers the heat was unbearable. My condition was aggravated by my anxiety for my baby.”[iii]

     

    This very human woman exudes superhuman strength. In the midst of her agony, she empathizes with and consoles others. Her father, completely exhausted from his anxiety, came from the city to beg Perpetua to recant and offer sacrifice to the emperor. “I was very upset because of my father’s condition. He was the only member of my family who would find no reason for joy in my suffering. I tried to comfort him saying, ‘Whatever God wants at this tribunal will happen, for remember that our power comes not from ourselves but from God.’ But utterly dejected, my father left me.”[iv]

     

    Note: Read part two of Perpetua’s life in tomorrow’s blog post. Read her whole life story and the story of over fifty additional amazing women in Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith: http://bit.ly/YmaM1


    [i]“The Martyrdom of Perpetua,” in Wilson-Kastner, A Lost Tradition, 19.

    [ii]Ibid., 20.

    [iii]Ibid.

    [iv]Ibid., 22.

  • Book Review: Strength in Numbers

    Posted on August 7th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Strength in Numbers:

    The Team Approach to Biblical Counseling

     

    Book Details

     

    *Title: Strength in Numbers

    *Author: Dr. Mark E. Shaw

    *Publisher: Focus Publishing (2009)

    *Category: Church, Biblical Counseling, Ministry

     

    Reviewed By: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, Author of Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, Sacred Friendships, and God’s Healing for Life’s Losses.

     

    Recommended: Strength in Numbers is a helpful introduction to biblical counseling done two-by-two by God’s people in the local church.

     

    Review: Biblical Counseling Two-by-Two

     

    Dr. Mark Shaw, author of Strength in Numbers, is passionate about team biblical counseling. By “team” he means counseling in tandem—in teams of two. The title, subtitle, and cover image (a team of eight holding hands) initially led me to think the book was about how to become a church where biblical counseling principles of Christian living infiltrate the DNA of everything a church does. Though Pastor Shaw’s writings support that concept, readers should realize that “team” in this book means co-counseling with one other person.

     

    Team Biblical Counseling

     

    Shaw builds his approach to two-person counseling from passages such as Luke 10:1; Mark 11:1-2; and Mark 6:7, where Jesus sent his disciples out two-by-two. Shaw also uses Paul’s ministry with Barnabas, Silas, and Timothy to support his tandem counseling theory. Additionally, Shaw shares a litany of reasons why tandem counseling can be better for the counselors and for the counselee.

     

    What Shaw pictures and promotes involves two counselors in every counseling session. Sometimes his model would involve a “Paul/Barnabas” pairing of a more experienced biblical counselor mentoring a counselor-in-training. Other times his model includes a “David/Jonathan” pairing of two equally experienced counselors working together with a counselee in ongoing sessions.

     

    Wisely, Shaw acknowledges that “the Lord is not limited to one model of ministry…” (p. 41). In other words, while Shaw prefers and practices two-person counseling, he does not claim that it is the only right approach or that “traditional” one-person counseling is “wrong.” This is important since other verses could be marshaled that teach and illustrate one-to-one ministry, and theological and logical reasons could be offered in support of individual ministry. Also, church history is replete with examples of individual spiritual direction from the Church Fathers, through the Reformers, to the Puritans.

     

    What Is Biblical Counseling?

     

    Even before addressing team biblical counseling, Shaw introduces his readers to what he means by biblical counseling. First, he distinguishes it from secular psychological therapy and from “integrationist” approaches (which he defines briefly as “mixing” biblical truth and man-centered theory).

     

    Second, Shaw relates biblical counseling to soul care. “Biblical counseling reclaims the care of souls to the body of Christ” (p. 9). He seeks to reclaim the care of souls to the rightful owner—Christ and His church.

     

    Third, he offers definitions of biblical counseling. “The goal of ministry in a biblical counseling and discipleship context is to lovingly confront someone when their thinking is unbiblical” (p. 13). “The biblical counselor is called to speak the truth of God’s Word in the love of the Holy Spirit to hurting souls” (p. 18). “Biblical counseling is micro-discipleship, meaning that we focus upon one specific problem area at a time in an effort to help the counselee grow in Christ” (p. 33).

     

    Shaw is to be applauded for his clear emphasis on both the truth and love components. Some biblical counseling has been caricatured as neglecting the relational, loving aspect. But Shaw consistently insists on integrating truth and relationship. “Let’s counsel others with the balance of compassion and doctrine. Let’s present the truth of God’s Word in the love of the Holy Spirit” (p. 13).

     

    Shaw’s definitions and illustrations in the book can give the impression at times that biblical counseling is only or primarily problem-focused (confrontation of unbiblical thinking, focusing upon specific problem areas, etc.). This is a common definitional emphasis issue in modern biblical counseling.

     

    Biblically and historically, “counseling” has been broader than sin-focused, confrontation-focused, and problem-focused. It has, instead, focused comprehensively on the person’s whole life through soul care that offers biblical sustaining and healing for suffering and through spiritual direction that offers reconciling and guiding for struggles against sin, both with the goal of personal sanctification that glorifies God.

     

    While Shaw’s emphasis on love, on hurting souls, on counseling as whole life discipleship, and on returning soul care to the church surely indicates a comprehensive approach to suffering and sin, readers might be better served by more expansive definitions and illustrations of the nature of biblical counseling. A Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed approach to spiritual friendship empowers biblical counseling to blend seamlessly into the fabric of the ministry of the Body of Christ.

     

    The Nuts and Bolts

     

    While Strength in Numbers will not teach readers how to “do” biblical counseling, it does teach pastors a model for implementing team biblical counseling in the local church. Like other books on lay counseling in the church, Shaw suggests a three-tiered ministry. The level one minister is the supervisor; the level two ministers are leaders-in-training; and the level three ministers are lay biblical counselors.

     

    Shaw outlines a step-by-step developmental process. The level one leader is to be trained, typically by an outside biblical counseling accrediting organization, and then brings that training back to the local church. That primary supervisor then recruits a team of leaders-in-training, duplicating the training received outside. That group then recruits lay people from the church who receive at least thirty hours of biblical counseling training. Once the training is completed, co-counseling begins. Ongoing theory/practice equipping is required. Shaw addresses issues of advertising, organizing, administration, assigning cases, and other nuts and bolts matters.

     

    Some Minor Formatting/Editing Issues

     

    While not central to the message of the book, Strength in Numbers has some minor formatting problems that can distract from the message. Some quotation marks are straight and others are cursive. Some book titles are underlined and some are not (most current books use italics for book titles). On some occasions when underlining is used for emphasis, the underlining goes to the end of the words while at other times it goes beyond the end of the words. Unlike most professionally formatted books today, Strength in Numbers double-spaces between paragraphs (accept the few times when this is inconsistent). A few times quotation marks are lacking at the beginning of a quote. A few times there are no spaces between sentences. At times exclamation points are used excessively. Again, these are formatting/editing issues and not content matters, but they can divert attention from the message. Hopefully future additions will give the book a more polished, professional look and feel.

     

    Team Biblical Counseling in the Local Church

     

    Strength in Numbers is a helpful introduction to biblical counseling done two-by-two by God’s people in the local church. It encourages readers to counsel based upon the sufficiency of Scripture and it encourages pastors to equip their people for the work of ministry. It is biblical, practical, and balanced. And, other than the aforementioned formatting issues, it is an easy, enjoyable read.

     

  • A Child of Promise

    Posted on August 7th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Who I Am To Christ, Part Three—A Child of Promise

     

    Christ-Esteem: The world talks about “self-esteem.” But God’s Word teaches us about “Christ-esteem”—how God views us, sees us, accepts us, and loves us through Christ. Knowing how God relates to us because of our relationship to Christ is vital to glorifying God, defeating the lies of Satan, and ministering powerfully.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE

     

    As you read the following summaries:

     

    *Meditate on the verses and on the truth they share about you.

     

    *Reject the lies of Satan about how God views you.

     

    *Thank God for who you are to Christ.

     

    *Select one verse/truth per day and specifically apply it to your life and relationships.

     

    My Relationship to God through Christ

     

    1 Corinthians 1:9-10—I am called into intimate fellowship with the Son.

     

    1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12; 5:23—Together with all the saints, I am the Body of Christ.

     

    2 Corinthians 1:22—I am sealed by the Spirit, secure in Father’s forever love.

     

    2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14—I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, guaranteed my eternal inheritance as a member of God’s family.

     

    2 Corinthians 5:18-19—I am reconciled to the Father by the Son and my sins will never be counted against me.

     

    2 Corinthians 6:18—The Father says of me, “You will be my sons and daughters.”

     

    2 Corinthians 11:2—Together with God’s people, I am espoused to Christ as His pure virgin bride.

     

    Galatians 3:26; Galatians 4:6-7—I am an adult son/daughter of God.

     

    Galatians 3:27—I am baptized into Christ.

     

    Galatians 3:27—I am clothed with Christ.

     

    Galatians 3:28—Together with all believers, we are one in Christ.

     

    Galatians 3:29—I belong to Christ.

     

    Galatians 3:29—I am an heir of promise.

     

    Galatians 4:5—I have received the full rights of an adult son/daughter of God.

     

    Galatians 4:7, 31—I am no longer a slave, but a son or daughter.

     

    Galatians 4:28—I am a child of promise.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE

     

    http://bit.ly/1htG2

     

     

  • Joint Heirs with Jesus

    Posted on August 6th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Who I Am To Christ, Part Two—Joint Heirs with Jesus

     

    Christ-Esteem: The world talks about “self-esteem.” But God’s Word teaches us about “Christ-esteem”—how God views us, sees us, accepts us, and loves us through Christ. Knowing how God relates to us because of our relationship to Christ is vital to glorifying God, defeating the lies of Satan, and ministering powerfully.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE  

     

    As you read the following summaries:

     

    *Meditate on the verses and on the truth they share about you.

     

    *Reject the lies of Satan about how God views you.

     

    *Thank God for who you are to Christ.

     

    *Select one verse/truth per day and specifically apply it to your life and relationships.

     

    My Relationship to God through Christ

     

    Acts 10:43—My sins are forgiven.

     

    Acts 20:28—I am Christ’s flock.

     

    Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2—Together with all the saints, I am God’s Church.

     

    Romans 1:7—I am loved by God.

     

    Romans 4:7-8—My transgressions are forgiven and my sins are covered.

     

    Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14-17; Colossians 1:21-22—I have peace with God.

     

    Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18—I have full, free, confident, bold access to God.

     

    Romans 5:5—God has poured out His love into my heart.

     

    Romans 5:6-8—God demonstrated His love for me in that while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.

     

    Romans 5:9—I am saved, delivered from wrath.

     

    Romans 5:10-11; Colossians 1:20—I am reconciled to God.

     

    Romans 8:1, 33-34—I will never be condemned because I am in Christ Jesus.

     

    Romans 8:14—I am among those called, “sons of God.”

     

    Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6—I have received the Spirit of sonship so I can cry, “Abba, Daddy.”

     

    Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 3:6; Titus 3:7—I am an heir of God.

     

    Romans 8:17—I am a joint-heir with Jesus.

     

    Romans 8:23—I am adopted into Father’s forever family.

     

    Romans 8:31—God is for me, never against me.

     

    Romans 8:37-39—Nothing, nor anyone, anywhere can ever separate me from God’s love for me in Christ.

     

    Romans 9:25—Along with all Christians, God says of me, “You are my people.”

     

    Romans 9:25—God says of me, “You are my loved one.”

     

    Romans 9:26—I am a son of the living God.

     

    Romans 10:11—I will never be put to shame.

     

    Romans 11:5—I am chosen by grace.

     

    Romans 14:3—I am accepted by God.

     

    Romans 15:7—I am accepted by Christ.

     

    Romans 15:16—I am an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE

  • Self-Esteem or Christ-Esteem?

    Posted on August 5th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Who I Am To Christ, Part One—Christ Esteem

     

    Christ-Esteem: The world talks about “self-esteem.” But God’s Word teaches us about “Christ-esteem”—how God views us, sees us, accepts us, and loves us through Christ. Knowing how God relates to us because of our relationship to Christ is vital to glorifying God, defeating the lies of Satan, and ministering powerfully.

     

    As you read the following summaries:

     

    *Meditate on the verses and on the truth they share about you.

     

    *Reject the lies of Satan about how God views you.

     

    *Thank God for who you are to Christ.

     

    *Select one verse/truth per day and specifically apply it to your life and relationships.

     

    My Relationship to God through Christ

     

    Matthew 6:26—I am are very valuable to Christ.

     

    Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5—I am God’s forgiven son/daughter.

     

    Matthew 9:36-38—I am the Good Shepherd’s shepherded sheep.

     

    Matthew 10:31; Luke 12:7—I am of great worth to God.

     

    Matthew 12:12—I am of much value to Christ.

     

    Matthew 18:10-14—I am God’s precious, protected little one.

     

    Mark 3:34-35—I am Christ’s brother or sister.

     

    Luke 6:35—I am a son or daughter of the Most High God.

     

    Luke 12:4—I am Christ’s friend.

     

    Luke 20:36; John 1:12; Romans 8:14-17; 1 John 3:2—I am a child of God.

     

    John 1:13—I am a child born of God.

     

    John 3:6—I am born of the Spirit.

     

    John 3:16—I am so loved by Father that He gave His only begotten Son to die for me so that I could live with Him forever.

     

    John 8:35—I am God’s forever son/daughter.

     

    John 10:28-30—I am eternally secure in God’s holy love.

     

    John 13:33—God says of me, “You are my child.”

     

    John 15:5—I am a branch abiding in Christ the Vine.

     

    John 15:9—Jesus says of me, “As My Father has loved Me, so I have loved you.”

     

    John 15:14—Jesus says to me, “You are my friend.”

     

    John 15:15—Jesus says to me, “I no longer call you servant, but friend.”

     

    John 16:27—Jesus whispers to me, “The Father Himself loves you.”

     

    John 17:23—Jesus says of me, “The Father loves you as He loves me.”

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE

  • The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Science of Psychology

    Posted on August 4th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Science of Psychology

     

    Yesterday I connected with a new friend on Facebook. He posed some vitally-important questions to me about the sufficiency of Scripture and the science of psychology.

     

    These are much-debated and extremely-significant issues. His wording of the questions is the best, most succinct that I’ve seen.

     

    Questions to Ponder

     

    “Bob, I’d like your opinion about some things:

     

    1. Do you think there are any useful principles that the science of psychology has come up with that are in harmony with the Word of God?

     

    2. In your opinion are all of the truths that a Christian psychologist can effectively apply to his counselees found in the Bible?

     

    3. If not, can you give any examples of such truths that are not found in the Bible?”

     

    Your Thoughts?

     

    So what do you think? How would you respond to each of these well-worded questions about the relationship between the sufficiency of Scripture and the science of psychology?

     

  • Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide: Multicultural Ministry Resources

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best Of Guide

    The Best of Books on

    Multicultural Ministry and Intercultural Relationships

     

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide: Making your life easier by finding, summarizing, evaluating, and posting the best resources on a wide variety of topics from a Christian perspective.

     

    The Best of Books on

    Multicultural Ministry and Intercultural Relationships

    Part One

     

    Note: Excerpted from African American History, Life, Christianity, and Ministry: An Annotated Resource Guide, By Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC. For information on the full version: http://bit.ly/f1AvT

     

    Anderson, David. Gracism: The Art of Inclusion. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2007.

     

    Pastor David Anderson builds a thoughtful, practical, balanced Christian approach to multiculturalism. He avoids the extremes of color-blindness and of affirmative action. Skillfully he explains the biblical injunction to care for the marginalized. Gracism is a must read for anyone who longs to build bridges leading to racial healing, harmony, and reconciliation. Its balance between theology, philosophy, and methodology makes it a uniquely practical manual.

     

    Anderson, David. Multicultural Ministry: Finding Your Church’s Unique Rhythm. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.

     

    Pastor David Anderson has “been there, done that.” As a seasoned pastor of a multi-cultural church in a multi-cultural community, Pastor Anderson writes both with biblical insight and personal experience. A well-written, practical, and hopeful book, Multicultural Ministry is a foundational book for everyone interested in racial harmony and mutual ministry.

     

    Anderson, David, and Brent Zuercher. Letters Across the Divide: Two Friends Explore Racism, Friendship, and Faith. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.

     

    Pastor David Anderson and author Brent Zuercher have penned a groundbreaking and distinctive book. What happens when two friends of different races explore racism and faith? Letters across the Divide happens. For a firsthand account of what honest, open, bold, and loving multicultural relationships could look like, read this book.

     

    Breckenridge, James, and Lillian Breckenridge. What Color Is Your God?: Multicultural Education in the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995.

     

    As the subtitle suggests, What Color Is Your God educates pastors in foundational cultural understanding. Covering ethnic groups in America, this primer shows church leaders how to value cultural differences. It also highlights transcultural biblical principles and probes how various cultures apply or misapply these eternal principles in daily life.

     

    Conde-Frazier, Elizabeth, Steve Kang, and Gary Parrett. A Many Colored Kingdom: Multicultural Dynamics for Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.

     

    A Many Colored Kingdom provides ground breaking insight into the theology and methodology of spiritual formation from and in a multicultural perspective. The co-authors themselves live and breathe what they write, researching and writing with passion and precision. This book richly celebrates the diverse contributions to Christian spirituality necessary to fully engage and embrace the infinite, multifaceted beauty and glory of Christ.

     

    Cooper, Rodney. We Stand Together: Reconciling Men of Different Color. Chicago: Moody, 1995.

     

    We Stand Together would be a five-star book if it were not now somewhat dated. Editor Rodney Cooper is a leading Black Evangelical educator. Active in the 90s in the Promise Keepers’ movement, he surrounded himself with men of diverse ethnic groups to edit this primer on how men of different races can understand, forgive, reconcile with one another, and minister together.

     

    Emerson, Michael. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

     

    Please, don’t read this book without reading the “sequel” (see below): United by Faith.


    Divided by Faith outlines the problem, as understood through a dissertation research project, of race relations in Evangelicalism in America in the 1990s. The results are troubling and at times could even produce hopelessness. However, facts are facts, and this sort of detailed quantitative and qualitative study is all-too-rare in Evangelical circles.


    Emerson’s premise is that much of what White Evangelicals do to unite across racial lines end up being counter-productive. He does so by showing a concise history of Evangelical thought about racism from Colonial times to the Civil Rights movement. His core thesis is that most work done is too individualistic—one person trying alone to cross racial boundaries. His basic suggestion is the cross-cultural congregation. Unfortunately, until one reads United by Faith, how to accomplish this goal is left to the reader’s imagination—which may by now have been stunted by all the piles of statistics suggesting that Evangelical racial reconciliation is futile. However, the power of God, starting with one person’s commitment to cross-cultural relationships, can start a chain reaction—and lead to hope.

     

    Emerson, Michael. United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

     

    Emerson has convened a multicultural team of co-authors to follow-up his earlier work Divided by Faith. In this work, Emerson argues that Evangelicals, when they have done anything at all to work toward racial reconciliation, have been to individualistic in their approach.


    Emerson then argues that the biblical and effective approach is the multicultural congregation in which no one race makes up more than 80% of the congregation. The authors explain the biblical and social need for such congregations. They then follow with hope-giving success stories which provide the philosophy, principles, and practices necessary to obtain the biblical social vision of the multicultural people of God.


    Implied, but not highlighted or extracted in detail, is the truth that such congregations can and should then do two things: 1.) Be a visible testimony exhorting the world to “go and do likewise.” 2.) Take a stand against societal racism and promote racial reconciliation and justice.

     

    Kellemen, Robert W. and Karole A. Edwards. Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.

     

    Beyond the Suffering is a one-of-a-kind African American narrative. It is not simply a history of America, not simply a history of African Americans, not simply a history of African American Christianity, but a narrative of how African American Christians ministered to one another. As the title suggests, the book tells how African American believers helped one another to move beyond their horrific suffering to a place of healing and hope.


    The characters are the African American believers themselves. The plot is their real-life battles told in their empowering words. The authors are a co-authoring team, one an African American female, the other a Caucasian male. Together, they embrace the legacy of how African Americans sustained, healed, reconciled, and guided one another in the faith.


    Written in an engaging style that allows African Americans to tell their own story, Beyond the Suffering reads like a novel. It empowers African Americans and all people of all races and nationalities to love like Christ loved even in the worst of circumstances. Readers not only are riveted by the powerful historical chronicles, but are also equipped to apply soul care and spiritual direction principles to their own lives and ministries.

     

    Important Stuff

     

    *Your Guide: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, is the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries (www.rpmministries.org) through which he writes, speaks, and consults to equip God’s people to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. He blogs daily at http://rpmministries.blogspot.com.

     

    *My Necessary Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t endorse everything in every article, book, or link that you’ll find in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide. I report, you decide.

     

    *Your Suggestions Are Welcomed: Feel free to post comments and/or send emails (rpm.ministries@gmail.com) about resources that you think deserve attention in various categories covered in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide.