April 9th, 2013
Looking for counseling to help you through difficult questions or a difficult time in your life? Grace Church’s pastors provide counseling, and our church has a partnership with the biblical counselors of Heart Song Counseling.
Check out more about our counseling ministry at our web site.
Please feel free to contact any of our counselors directly, or to work through Grace Church of Alexandria’s leadership for a referral.
No counselor has all the answers to your questions, but at Grace Church, we long to hear about your life, learn about who you are, listen to what you need help with, and offer counsel and prayer grounded in God’s truths. Our desire is never to give you pat Christian answers to complex life problems and situations. Rather, we hope to walk alongside of you for as long as you need. Through the process of walking with you, we will always strive to remind you of God’s character and promises as they are relevant to your life.
Introducing Our Counselors
Our three pastors are available to provide personal, in-depth counseling if you wish. Also learn more here about Steve Hoppe and Kelli Barbic from Heart Song Counseling, trusted biblical counselors whom Grace Church partners with.
December 3rd, 2012
Searching for a great Christmas present for a believer? Hoping to find something, anything that will be a lifeline to you as a weary, hurting Christian? Looking for something to guide your devotional reading in 2013? I dare say that you should check out The Heart of the Matter, a book which shows the intersection of the gospel with our daily lives.
Connecting the Gospel to Daily Life
As familiar as “the old, old story” of the gospel is to me, in difficult moments I seem to completely forget its power and struggle to see how it is relevant in the heat of the moment. Yet, when I do latch on to a truth about the gospel and see my pain/weariness/doubt/frustration through the lens of the cross, it always, always renews my hope and shows me the way forward. The gospel isn’t just for unbelievers so they can know God, it is lifeblood to a Christian for their journey to the kingdom that is to come.
A Daily Devotional Guide
Because we need the cross every day, I’m incredibly excited about this new devotional book, The Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections For Changing Hearts & Lives, which helps connect the gospel to the grittiness and messiness of daily life. It’s a collection of 366 bite-site (read “one page”) devotionals based on a Scripture passage and describing how the good news of Christ will change you, fill you with hope, and make sense of the craziness of life…if you meditate on it and fix your eyes on Christ.
For each day of the year, this handy devotional guide gives a relevant Bible passage and a one page explanation. Along the way, it covers topics including: love, hope, grace, redemption, faith, contentment, conflict, relationships, prayer, fear, patience, humility, and anger. I am grateful to New Growth Press for providing me an advance copy which has been balm to my soul. I eagerly recommend this to you the perfect companion for your devotional life in 2013.
April 14th, 2012
Book Title: Depression: Looking Up From the Stubborn Darkness
Author: Ed Welch
Publisher: New Growth Press (2011).
ISBN #: 1935273876
Struggling With Despair
Do you struggle with depression? Does a family member or friend of yours struggle with despair? I can tell you that you will definitely find words of help and hope in biblical counselor Ed Welch’s book Depression: Looking Up From The Stubborn Darkness. As a pastor and counselor, Welch’s caring, honest, thoughtful, gentle approach to depression has helped me care for souls in our church and even find help for my own heart when things look bleak. Welch writes in short, clipped sentences, and bite-sized chapters so that a person whose heart is in turmoil can work through a chapter in a few minutes, without feeling like they’re wading through heavy material.
Ed Welch’s care and concern for those who struggle with depression started when he was growing up. His father, a faithful Christian man, was weighed down with depression in an era when it was shameful to talk about it. And so Ed looked for ways to encourage and uplift his father in the days when the darkness of depression weighed heavily.
The first three chapters capture what it feels like to be depressed. If this is your battle, you will find that other people are going through exactly what you’re enduring too. If you’re a friend or counselor of someone in that battle, you’ll get a window into the thoughts, feelings, and emotions in their soul.
Part One: Depression Is Suffering
Sympathy. That’s what’s found in the next seven chapters. Here Ed Welch gives a biblical perspective on depression by showing how Job endured this stubborn darkness, how Jesus shows us the way through it, and how the Psalms give us words to cry out to help us through. Frankly, this book isn’t just for sufferers of depression, it’s for anyone who feels the pain of living under the curse.
Part Two: Listening to Depression
Answers. In these ten short chapters, this is where Welch really applies the gospel to depression and gives answers. What are the causes of depression? How can you manage and treat the symptoms of depression if it leads you to fear, anger, shame, dashed hopes, guilt, worry of death? For each of these, he takes you to the cross and to the promises of Scripture to give you reasons to hope in the midst of shadows. Part Two reminds me that “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.
Part Three: Other Help and Advice
Outside help. These four chapters give counsel on medical treatment, doctor’s visits, and how friends and family can best serve their friend who is going through depression.
Part Four: Hope and Joy: Thinking God’s Thoughts
Transformation. Can you believe, God is so sovereign he can use your depression to strengthen you, make you more like Christ, and develop in you the fruit of the Spirit? God can actually this struggle with despair to build you up. These two chapters show how God uses the suffering of depression to cultivate in us humility and hope, thankfulness and joy.
After reading Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, I realized this book isn’t just for those who wrestle with depression. It’s for all of us who face disappointment, discouragement, and weariness to any extent, light or heavy. Ed Welch brings the gospel to bear on the human condition and gives glimmers of hope by pointing to the person of Christ, his promises, his cross, his healing power, and his coming kingdom. Ultimately, this book is a guide for applying the gospel to the human condition in general.
I do highly recommend you pick up a copy if you’re feeling depressed or know someone who feels this way. I think if we understand depression in clearly biblical terms, the way forward in depression becomes more clear. Thus, my only regret for this volume is that Welch doesn’t make the case for replacing the vague modern psychological term “depression” with its more accurate biblical correspondent “despair.” Nevertheless, I’m keeping my copy of this book on my shelf as a ready reference for finding hope through Christ in the difficult moments of life.
Interview With the Author
You can catch an interview with the author about his book in the YouTube below–
December 13th, 2011
Check it out! CCEF Now! is a free regular magazine that launched last week to help apply the gospel through the Scriptures to everyday life.
CCEF is a biblical counseling organization that writes, teaches, preaches, and counsels biblical truth to problems in daily living. I am thrilled at the publication of CCEF Now! so that many of the articles, ideas, and counselors that I benefit from as a pastor are now accessible to every Christian for free. As a resource for counselors, it is geared to believers who are speaking truth into broken lives. Yet the message and hope offered address situations and struggles everyone faces, and so every Christian would benefit from checking out www.ccef.org or following @ccef to read the latest magazine issues.
Here’s a sampling of articles and topics from Issue #1”
- “Living Biblically” by Mike Emlet
- “Preventing Sexual Misconduct in Counseling”
- “Meaningful Acts of Easily Forgotten Kindness”
- “Journal of Biblical Counseling Lives in Progress” by David Powlison
- “What Has Helped You In Your Troubles?” by Ed Welch
- “Embodying Christ’s Love for the Shamed” by Winston Smith
I’m excited about this first issue and highly commend CCEF NOW! to parents, small group leaders, pastors, and any Christian who seeks to encourage and build up others.
12.14.11 update – Today I received a copy of CCEF NOW! in the mail, so evidently the magazine is also in print. Well worth it to sign up on CCEF’s mailing list to receive.