Posts Tagged ‘Counseling’

At first, people wishing to recover the Heidelberg Catechism may wonder how it “fits” in. The “12 Steps” are a resource many are familiar with but which aren’t routinely recognized as “Christian”. That is a complete misreading of the evidence as Dick B, the AA Historian shows in: Twelve Steps for You: Take the Twelve Steps with the Big Book, A.A. History, and the Good Book at Your Side. This page is for future reference because from time to time the ways in which the Heidelberg catechism relates to the “Twelve Steps” will be documented so others can see the connections. This version of the “Steps” was reconstructed and adapted from early AA documents before references to God were expunged to make the steps more “palatable” and less definitively tied to Christian orthodoxy. You can find the original reconstruction in the above book by Dick B. on page xvi.

The Twelve Steps for Christians

STEP ONE is about recognizing our brokenness

We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God and that our lives had become unmanageable.

I know nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out
(ROMANS 7:18)

STEP TWO is about the birth of faith in us

Came to believe that God could restore us to sanity.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

STEP THREE involves a decision to let God be in charge of our lives

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship.
(ROMANS 12:1)

STEP FOUR involves self-examination

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.

STEP FIVE is the discipline of confession

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed
(JAMES 5:16)

STEP SIX is an inner transformation sometimes called repentance

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up
(JAMES 4:10)

STEP SEVEN involves the transformation or purification of our character

Humbly asked Him to remove these shortcomings – holding nothing back.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
(1JOHN 1:9)

STEP EIGHT involves examining our relationships and preparing ourselves to make amends

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.
(LUKE 6:31)

STEP NINE is the discipline of making amends

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
(MATTHEW 5:23-24)

STEP TEN is about maintaining progress in recovery

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.

STEP ELEVEN involves the spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

STEP TWELVE is about ministry

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
(MATTHEW 28:19,20)

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On fear, faith, and love

by R N Frost

Fear holds a paradoxical status in Scriptures—it is regularly treated both as a positive and a negative; as fruitful and as destructive. 


Positively, wisdom is a crucial moral outcome for those who “fear the LORD”.  On one occasion in Genesis God is even personified as “fear” when Jacob twice addressed his hostile father-in-law, Laban, with a vow based on his father Isaac’s relation to God: “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty handed.” And, “So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac…” [Genesis 31:42& 53]  Yet in the next stage of Jacob’s story he faced the threat of meeting his embittered brother Esau whose last announced intent had been to kill him, and so Jacob was both “afraid” of and in “fear” of him. [32:7 & 11—as a technical note: separate but largely synonymous Hebrew terms for fear are used in the separate chapters] Later in the Old Testament we find that Saul was “afraid” of David; David was “afraid” of King Achish; and David was also “afraid” of God. [1 Samuel 18:12; 21:12; 2 Samuel 6:9—same Hebrew word]


This paradoxical quality of fear is also a New Testament reality.  It often speaks of the productive fear of God, as in the Old Testament [Acts 9:31; Romans 3:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1].  And also of the fear of Christ [Ephesians 5:21].  So, too, there is a negative fear as in the fear felt by the guards of Christ’s tomb when he was raised [Matthew 28:4]; and the fear of death the devil uses to rule the world. [Hebrews 2:15]


What, if anything, do these apparently competing versions of fear have in common with each other?  Certainly one feature is that fear is affective: an emotion; a heart-based, visceral response to something or someone we encounter.  And, as such, fear is a powerful motivator—it tightens the gut, creates sweat, arouses our fight-or-flight reflexes, and—applied negatively—is able to undermine the soul over time through emotional exhaustion, depression and destructive doubts.  Fear will also reshape our priorities.  It follows us until its source is overcome or resolved.  Peace evaporates in the presence of fear.


How, then, does a fear of the Father and the Son relate to our call to live by faith as those devoted to God?  The question is crucial to faith.  An Old Testament text can help us here….


For more on fear and faith…. View article…

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Why We Give Hollow Confessions

On a way too regular basis we observe others making apologies and/or confessions for wrongs done. This morning in my house, my one son hurt the feelings of the other and in working through the problem he made his apology under our direction. Not to be outdone, the other son wasn’t truthful about the situation and so later he too made a directed apology (aka, highly encouraged, but not forced).

Have you noticed that these kinds of apologies, whether from a ten year old or a 50 year old, ring hollow? It is easy from our stand point to concur that they don’t really mean what they say.

I think, in general, that this assessment isn’t accurate. Here’s why.

To hurt another; to do something for ourselves at the cost of others requires that we divorce empathy and self, reality and fantasy. So, when we do apologize, we cannot quickly reconnect these parts. Often the person does feel bad, guilty, afraid of the consequences. Notice that these feelings are rather self-centered. In time, if they go about reconnecting care for others and their feelings, they will feel much more empathy and concern for the wounded party. However, at the outset of their confession, these two things are still divorced. Thus the hollow confession. They do not know what they are really apologizing for beyond a few facts. The longer the deception, the longer the disconnection and time taken to reconnect to the experience of the other.

There are other confounding variables that hinder empathic confessions. One’s goal (get out of trouble, stop the pressure, smooth it over, please the other) may also decrease the likelihood empathy.

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Theological Journal

Tyndale Bulletin is now online up to 2005. You can go to this page and see a listing of all the articles by issue


Have OCD? Know somebody with OCD? Michael Emlet of CCEF (Christian Counseling & Education Foundation) has written one of the best articles I’ve ever read on OCD, an article that also serves as great exposure to CCEF’s thoughtful counseling approach: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Understanding and Coping.

Link Directly to Locations and Chapters

We’re happy to announce a new addition to the feature set of BibleMap.org.  Bloggers, pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible can now directly link to any chapter or location.  Here’s what the links need to look like:



Have fun linking directly to BibleMap.org!

Blog for Christians with Chronic Pain

Chronic Illness and Christian Faith.

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A friend comes to you. He explained that he and his wife had recently experienced the death of a young child.  He spoke of his faith in Christ and of his desire to be obedient.  “But, can we question God?”

What would you say?

To see how Al Mohler answered this question, visit his blog. View article…

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