Counseling

Shepherding the Dysfunctional, Part 1

by Joel Tetreau

Author’s Note: This article is not meant to be viewed as an exhaustive treatment of the topic at hand but merely an introduction to a theme I believe needs further examination. It is my sincere pastoral desire that this article will simply be used to spur further thought and discussion. “Ecclesia reformata et simper reformata!” (“The Church Reformed and Always Reforming!”)

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Showered with Stones or Grace?

As the crowd watched, she was dragged into the center court of the temple. The scribes and Pharisees had the stones in their hands, and they were prepared to kill her. They told Jesus her crime. “She was caught in the act of adultery.” Then they tried to trap Him into an answer by saying that Moses had commanded them to stone an adulterer and by asking Jesus stones.jpgwhat He would do. Jesus, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), gave a beautiful and wise statement. “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7, NASB). No one fit that criteria, so they dropped their stones and walked away. I’m afraid that too often we are the stone throwers instead of the grace givers. Our brothers and sisters in Christ fall, and we leave them lying in the ditch of their sin instead of lifting them up and helping to set their feet on the right path again.

The Bible has much to say about sin and its devastating consequences. We know verses like “the way of transgressors is hard” (Prov. 13:15) and “be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). We see examples of people like Achan, whose sin affected the whole nation of Israel. So I don’t ever want to minimize the serious results of sin.

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The Testimony of Casey Foster

Note: This year at SI, we’d like to feature stories of life change. If you are aware of a story that is current and shows the power of Christ in the life, please email it to jasonjanz@sharperiron.org. The stories should be 1,500 to 2,000 words long and should include a photo. Also, we’d like to have a pastor’s recommendation sent along with the testimony. We trust these stories will be a blessing to you and will help us all to be reminded why we are here.

When you feel as though you have no right to live, or nothing to live for, you begin to act on the belief that nothing around you has that right either. There was a time in my life when I had no feeling, not even for myself. I was constantly creating and destroying life.

I had no understanding of how to live, and God refused to let me die. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to hear an angel speak, to feel my heart pierced, and to see my life forever changed.

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The Garden of Sanctification

Imagine you are walking through a garden. Some areas are lush and filled with beautiful fruit. Then you take a few more steps and notice huge patches of dry ground where plants are bent over, withered, and brown. That dry patch will eventually produce dryness in the rest of the garden.crackedsoil

Our fundamental churches are like that garden. Wonderful aspects of our ministries are flourishing, and the perfectly green trees there give shade and encouragement. In the midst of the lush areas, however, are areas of discipleship and counseling where the soil of many of our fundamental churches is cracking and dangerously dry.

The First Layer of Dryness: The Lack of Discipleship

The first layer of dryness is the realm of discipleship. We are commanded in several passages of Scripture to build each other up in the faith. In his list of gifts in Ephesians 4, Paul clarifies the purpose of the gifts as …

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Reaching Out to Homosexuals

Note: Jason Janz asked Don Sands to write a personal testimony in regard to his brother passing away from AIDS. Thanks, Don, for your contribution.

by Don Sands

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10, NKJV, emphasis added).

I trust that those reading will see that my aim is to share the truth of the Gospel with the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and convert sinners.

Is there a problem in the Church with reaching out to homosexuals in our society? No doubt about that. The visible Church goes from one extreme to the other in proclaiming the Gospel to those who are homosexual.

There are those who either totally disregard the clarity of Scripture pertaining to lifestyle as a sin. Then there are those who condemn this particular sin in a most condemning manner without exhibiting the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both extremes have done tremendous harm for those who are genuine witnesses to the homosexual community.

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