A Rock Star, A Soul Man and a Preacher: Speakers of Wisdom

I like to say that it is the difficult times that you discover who your true friends are. This includes refining some existing relationships and building new ones. I am always excited to see what God is doing in seasons of transition in my life. Some of my greatest relationships have been built in seasons of testing and difficulty. This is one of those seasons of my life and it has been neat to see what has happened.

I am a strong believer in the proverb from the Bible that says:

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverb 15:22

So, whenever I have to make big decisions, I immediately want people around me speaking into my life. I discern wisdom from their words and I see God speaking in them and through them. This season of my life has been interesting.

There are some people that I would go to in the past, but in this season I have been unable to reach them or they were too busy to return calls. (No big deal though. People are in your life for seasons and when He closes one door, He often opens another). I couldn’t be happier with the doors that He opened this time. New relationships. New wisdom. And new opportunities to learn and grow.

There have been many who have been there for me in this season, but let me just let you know about three that I am so honored to have in my corner:

Tim Nagle.

Part rock star/Part Jedi Master. This guy is a brother in law of a close friend and an answer to prayer. I played Facebook tag with him and then ended up hooking up on the phone for about an hour one Sunday afternoon. We talked and shared and thought out loud… talking about everything from small towns to styles of worship. He was an encourager. He was a friend. The coolest part for me, however, was when we spent some time in prayer over the phone… He in the cold lands of Idaho and I in the hot deserts of Arizona. Worlds apart, but united in prayer in that moment. Thanks Tim!

If you haven’t seen the amazing video of Tim’s daughter, check it out here. It is SO inspiring! 

Brandon Holt

This guy puts the “SOUL” in Soul Man! Our paths converged via Facebook. Some random video that popped up of this guy singing and when he sang… I stopped to listen. There was something deep and real about his words and I just wanted to hear more. I sent him a message on Facebook. He answered. We became friends on FB and the next thing I knew we were on the phone. He spent an hour sharing with me about worship and God and wisdom on how to move forward in the season that I was in. We prayed and listened to the spirit together… He in the humid jungles of South Carolina and I in the hot deserts of Arizona. Worlds apart, but united in prayer in that moment.

If you haven’t heard this guy sing yet, you are missing out. Check out one of many songs by clicking here

Reginald Steele

Pastor, Preacher and Investor in Leaders. This story started one night as I was watching Christian TV (which I don’t do too often), and there was a woman sharing with the logo of a church I never heard of called “Kingdom in the Valley Christian Church“. I looked them up and checked out their website. It seemed like they were building leaders and building up men and I needed wisdom on how to do that. So, I sent an email in the “general email box”. I didn’t expect a response because I’ve never heard back from so many churches, but I heard back from Pastor Steele’s assistant and he called me direct to make an appointment. Within a week and a half I was sitting at a table gleaning wisdom from a pastor of thousands who was taking time out of his schedule for a church planter from Wickenburg, Arizona. So grateful, thankful and impressed with this man. He in the busy streets of Phoenix and I in the small, quiet town of Wickenburg. Worlds apart, but united under God in that moment.

Here is my message to you. If you need wisdom… seek it out. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t always lean on those that you used to lean on. Be open to new faces… new voices… new wisdom. You may be surprised at where God brings it from. He may bring someone that you’ve never met into your life to make an incredible impact. I know that is what He has done for me.

Thank you!

GP

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5 Keys to Common Sense Biblical Counseling

Now, I’m not talking about the kind of counseling where you need a plaque on the wall to do it. I’m talking about the “‘down and dirty’ representing Jesus to help someone” kind of counseling. As Christians, we are called to be available to help others throughout life.

Let me give you five quick keys to making sure that your Biblical Counseling time is fruitful:

Key #1: Keep Christ First and Last

If you are going to sit down and provide someone with counsel, make sure that you start and end the time in prayer. This is the moment where you can invite the Holy Spirit to be part of the conversation. Ask Him to lead the conversation and help you hear what needs to be heard. Too often we just dive right in without taking time to pray. Take a few minutes to focus on God… it will make all the difference in the world.

Key #2: Listen More Than You Talk

This simple key has revolutionized my ability to counsel. There is something about silence that makes us want to fill it. I get uncomfortable when no one is saying anything so I try to fill it with words. When counseling, you need to embrace the silence. Sometimes, the silence allows the opportunity for the person you are counseling to say what they normally avoid saying. Don’t be afraid to sit, be silent and let THEM fill the void.

Key #3: Don’t Excuse Behavior or Make Excuses for Them

In the past, I would find myself trying to defend or “make sense” of people’s situations. This is not my responsibility. Trust me… people can make enough excuses for themselves and they don’t need my help. I am not here to justify mistakes or actions that they have done, but simply hear them through. Bite your tongue next time and don’t let yourself make excuses.

Key #4: Delineate Between the Need for an Ear and the Need for Advice

Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them. In fact, I’ve found that some people can actually come up with great conclusions for their lives by simply hearing themselves speak. Others, however, need an action plan or steps to apply to their lives by you. As you are counseling them, try to keep an ear open to what their need is. This can happen by asking them near the end of your time, “What are you going to do with what we talked about?” If they don’t have an answer, this may the moment for your two cents.

Key #5: Don’t Tell Them What to Do, But Allow Them to Search Scripture and Pray to Make Decisions

In Biblical Counseling, I want to point people to the Bible and Prayer. God wants to speak to His children. He wants to lead them in their decisions. The more that I can get someone to focus their heart, mind and attention on God… the more wisdom they will be able to attain from Him. This will happen, sometimes, by opening up the Bible and pointing to verses that deal with the subject of the counseling time. It can also come from giving them portions of scripture to read, think about and commit to memory. Point them towards spiritual action and you allow them to develop strong, healthy habits.

There it is! A few keys to help you help others. Now, get out there and get busy helping people make great decisions and find wholeness in their hearts and lives.

GP

Accountability Questions to Ask and Answer

Accountability is an important thing in the Christian life. John Wesley took this seriously and encouraged Christians to spend time in small groups and answer some simple questions.


Here are the questions that would be asked in their small groups: 

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3. Do I confidentially pass onto another what was told me in confidence?
4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work , or habits?
5. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
6. Did the Bible live in me today?
7. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
8. Am I enjoying prayer?
9. When did I last speak to someone about my faith?
10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
11. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
12. Do I disobey God in anything?
13. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
16. How do I spend my spare time?
17. Am I proud?
18. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican?
19. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it?
20. Do I grumble and complain constantly? 

21. Is Christ real to me?

In Chuck Colson’s book “The Body“, he tells about how Chuck Swindoll was so moved by these questions that he altered them and would ask a group of male Christian leaders that he would meet with on a regular basis these questions: 

1. Have you been with a woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising?
2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?
3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material?
4. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
5. Have you given priority time to your family?
6. Have you fulfilled the mandates of your calling?
7. Have you just lied to me?

These are all great questions.

However, at the heart of it all is this simple question… Do you have someone in your life that you can be honest with? If not, you are in dangerous waters. Find someone soon.

Which question was your favorite? Post below and tell me why.