Christian Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

I am a counselor-in-training. I find myself using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in almost every session with my clients. CBT is a great theory for counseling. It has been proven to be very effective and it is straight-forward and simple enough to explain what we are doing in therapy with my clients. In fact this educational aspect is an important part of CBT.
I am also a Christian interning at a private practice site with other Christians. We integrate faith in sessions if the client is comfortable and desiring to also integrate the Christian faith in their sessions.
I have been studying how faith-based CBT is often more effective than just regular/secular CBT where faith is not involved. I have searched hard to find a handbook or manual of “how-to” do a faith-based CBT different from a regular or secular CBT. I have not found an actual workbook or guidebook with examples and interventions for a Christian or Bible based CBT.
I have some ideas of my own and I will share those but I am very curious to know if such a resource exists. In my mind there has to be. There continues to be a steady flow of research comparing faith-based CBT with non-faith based CBT, so I imagine that the researchers put together a manual or book of interventions based on each group they were studying.
While these researchers may not have been able to sale those plans and books for ethical reasons, I would think that someone else would have thought about making money by creating a “Christian Cognitive Behavioral Manual” by now. Since I am not finding this resource, I am contemplating making my own!
So the point of today’s post is to help me think through what some of the keys to such a resource would be:
-use of Scripture to dispute irrational thoughts
– use of Scripture to replace irrational thoughts with Biblical insight
-use of prayer through-out the process, in-session and out of session as homework
-the advantage of positive, healthy Christian fellowship to help against depression
– the insight of Scripture on topics such as stress, anxiety, depression, emotions, behaviors, and the list goes on
-the advantage of having Biblical morals to stand on
-the opportunity for Christian accountability between partners, friends and/or pastors

Let me know if I am on the right track and if you have some more ideas. Thanks.

Body of Christ

The Church is on a mission with Christ, the head of the Church (not Pastor Bill, the elders, or lay leaders) i our world to carry out the Father’s redemptive kingdom purposes.

No one individual has the total vision of God’s will for a local church.
When the Church comes together, it is vital that the counsel of everyone is included.
God places members in the body as it pleases him. God made us mutually interdependent.
Apart from the body, I cannot know God’s will for my relationship to the body.
Every believer has direct access to God and the church comes to know God’s will when the whole church is on the same page and understands what Christ, the head of The Church is saying and asking. Not just what a pastor is saying.
A spiritual gift is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work in and through a person’s life for the common good of the body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit decides to give assignments and enables spiritual leaders to accomplish His work.
God puts spiritual leaders and members in the body where he wants them to be.
The body is not complete without all the spiritual leaders and members God has given the body.
Members of the body should have equal concern for one another.
Spiritual leaders and members of the body have different assignments from God for the good of the whole body.
Right relationships with God are far more important than anything else. God does not add members to the body by accident. He builds the body to match the assignments.

Every single person at Cross Pointe has a place in the church. Every single person at Cross Pointe has a spiritual gift that the Lord has given you through the Holy Spirit.
As a member at Cross Pointe, we love you and we need you at Cross Pointe. You are essential for the common good of the entire church, because together as a whole we can know the Lord’s will together if our relationships are right with God.
One body part cannot function properly away fro the rest of the body. An eye without a mouth or eyes is useless.
Similarly a body without an eye makes life incredibly difficult. That is why every member is so important. God puts each person in a local church for a mighty purpose to use the Gifts he has gifted each with.

What makes education "Christian?"

The simple answer is “worldview.” Of course there s a lot more to it than this but this is the foundation. A group of people come together whom all have similar goals and similar belief system. This group usually has a strong foundation in the Word of God, the Bible. Their principles, people, purposes, processes, and products are all based out of the Bible or founded Biblically or function to be Biblical. Of course a lot of Christian schools are just schools with Christians in them because they error in one of many possible ways.

One of the biggest problems we see is that the kids are there for the wrong reasons. The parents, kids, teachers, and admins are NOT all on the same page. For example, the parents want their kids in a Christina school so that they are protected and not in the “evil” secular world. In this instance the kids, most of them, are only at this school because the parents give them no other choice. This kind over sheltering is actually bad for Christians and Christian schools. There is no unity. The teachers, admins, and some of the students who truly want to express their Christian faith in real life have great dreams and plans to “be the difference” and are founded Biblically. They want to grow their own faiths and challenge other students. They want to reach out to their lost friends and restore their community. But not everyone is on board. Sorry that was a rabbit trail of my own observation. I’ve spent time talking about the mistakes certain Christian schools have made, but let me say that when Christian education is done the right way, it is a beautiful thing.

Christian education comes from a Biblical worldview, so some of the obvious difference from public education is the beliefs in major social issues and scientific issues. The Bible is a book that actually can be used and believed in at a Christian school so evolution, abortion, gay marriage, and other sins (that the public school would never dare talk bad about) are brought up in the Christian school.

One of the better features of a Christian school compared to a public school is the fact that school is not limited to institutional learning of the basic classes and skills (art, gym, science, math, reading, writing, etc) but in the Christian school the students are taught about personal growth in their lives relating to their spiritual faith as well as more personalized focused on personal growth in other areas too (like physical shape, mental health, etc). In public school this care is skipped over, for the most part…too many kids, not enough time. The “personal” health of students in public school is assumed to be healthy.

What does it mean to be a disciple?

When one chooses to be a Christian, one becomes a follower of God. There are things that our leader, God, asks us to do as followers.These conditions of being a follower or disciple of God are not always easy. God wants a real relationship with his followers and when believers meet these conditions spiritual growth occurs. Personal spiritual growth is really important in being a disciple.

According to Barna success in making true disciples is: Seeing “men, women, boys and girls committed to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and growing daily in their knowledge, love, and service to Him.” Barna calls for Christians to single-mindedly focus, day to day on Jesus. The kind of obsession for Jesus that disciples have is all-consuming. They are passionately devoted to Him. They make a lifelong commitment to a lifestyle of following Jesus. But the personal devotion is only the half of it. And my favorite analogy is that of a coin. On one side disciples are committed to personal growth. But on the other side of the coin disciples are committed to sharing and multiplying themselves.

Some of the conditions of being a follower of Jesus are self-denial, renunciation, “leaving it all,” steadfastness, fruitfulness, and love. Jesus taught that God does not like half-heartedness. God desires a real relationship with his followers therefore it is imperative that followers show that they are serious about their faith and put God first. There could be many people who say that they are Christians and many people who want to follow Jesus but they are not truly followers because they are not willing to follow through on these conditions.

The first condition, self-denial, is setting aside one’s own plans, goals, desires in life and following God’s instead. This is one of the hardest things about being a disciple of Jesus. Our life is no longer ours, but Christ’s. This first thing disciples must do according to Barna, fits here. It is “disciples must be assured of salvation by grace alone.” The “getting in” to the discipleship club is that we realize that it is not about us. Nothing we can do will save us. It is only by God’s grace, therefore it is essential that we deny ourselves completely. Being a disciple of Christ means that we will have to choose between the desires of our own flesh and the plans of God.

The second condition, renunciation, means to reject or renounce earthly pleasures. It is a sacrifice. Take the idea of self-denial and step it up to the next level. Not only are you denying your own plans and pleasures but now also rejecting all earthly pleasures and desires as well. Remember God wants all of us in our relationship to Him, not just to be compartmentalized to Sunday mornings only. The second thing disciples must do is “learn and understand principles of Christian living.” If we reject the earthly things we need to replace the void in our lives. Understanding the essentials of Christianity is absolutely necessary to living (a Christian lifestyle) practically and passing it on. Instead of indoctrinating ourselves with the world’s ways we are to learn the ways of being a Christian.

The next condition of “leaving it all” builds on the same ideas of self-denial and renunciation. We are taught by Jesus to follow him. Not to follow our own ways, not to follow the ways of this world, instead we are told to “leave all” behind. This might mean leaving behind other “important” things like family, friends, or a career to do God’s will instead. Luke chapter fourteen tells us to leave behind our family, our possessions and instead take up our crosses to follow Christ! And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (v. 27).” “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple (v. 33).” “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple(v. 26).”

The fourth condition is steadfastness. Steadfastness means to be dedicated, devoted, loyal, and fixed on a goal. When it comes to being a disciple we are to be fixed on following Christ. We are to align our thoughts, doctrines, and teachings up with what Christ teaches in the Bible. The third thing disciples must do is “obey Gods commands.” (John 14). Perfection is not required but dedicated devotion and steadfast commitment towards following the laws is required!
We are to be fruitful. Christians will bear fruits of the Spirit. This also progresses from being steadfast. If someone is steadfast in their faith, abides in Christ, and is serious about their relationship with God then they will inevitably become more like Christ. This means they will act and behave differently. They will love. They will have peace, joy, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. The fourth, fifth, and sixth thing disciples must do fit under being fruitful. Disciples must represent God as His ambassadors. Those who are not Christians will know that you are a disciple because of your fruit and lifestyle. Disciples must love and serve others (John 13). Disciples must reproduce themselves in Christ.

In other words, if a disciple is truly a disciple, he is sharing Jesus with others. He is so zealous about Jesus that he wants (and is) telling others about Him! He is reproducing himself. He is reproducing his passion for Christ and setting other’s ablaze in that same passion!

In conclusion, being a disciple means being a zealot for Christ. It means giving everything over. Not only is it surrender but it is a new life. It is a new life in Christ. It is about maintaining a passion for my first love. Being a disciple to me means dedicating my all to Christ. I love Christ. For all that He has done for me, I want to serve Him. I want to learn from Him. I read and study about Him in the Word to become more like Him. When my focus is on Him, my life is transformed. I am serving and loving others. I am growing my own faith, but I am also telling others about him. Being a disciple is a dedication to a day-to-day, moment-by-moment lifestyle.

Barna, George. Growing True Disciples. Waterbrook Press: Colorado Springs, CO, 2001.

Worship: Making the sacrifice

Worship is an essential part of spiritual formation.
Spiritual formation is about our relationship with God. Abiding in Christ, means living with Jesus in our lives, hanging out with him, making the choice to obey him! The Bible tells us that we are to worship God by sacrificing our whole being to God. We are to do his will and not conform to this world.

“Worship” has many facets, many levels to it. It is not merely singing praises. There is a lot more to it. To summarize “Let’s talk about worship,” we see that “worship” is about acknowledging and knowing the Lord, adoration and loving Him, and action in service to God. The word has several meanings and there are many ways to worship God. This is what we are discussing today, the many ways to express our worship to God in our worship services and in life.

In
regards to …the first directive that strikes my attention is that
we are to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise…” The idea is to praise
God all the time, without ceasing. In our worship services this means that when
the singing is over, the worship is still happening. We worship God when we
give our offerings. We worship him in prayer of praise. We worship him in
learning from his Word. We worship him in fellowship with others. Also I must
note that our entire life can be an act of worship. We must not compartmentalize
our worship to Sunday morning instead continually worship God.

The
second directive is the repetitive idea of “offering up a sacrifice” similar to
. Praise is not about making ourselves feel good and energized, but it is
about worshiping, giving to God. It is not entertainment for your own soul, but
a gift to God, a sacrifice. In our worship services, we must remember that
church is not merely for us. Sure, God blesses us and fills us. Our entire life
is about worship. It is not always going to be easy to worship God. But we
sacrifice for God. And he is pleased with us when we do.

The
third directive is “do not neglect doing good and sharing.” (This is another
sacrifice!) We can and should please God through sharing our wealth, money,time, energy, blessings, etc. But we also share life together with other Christians. We share our time, our sacrifices, food,
fellowship, but also our tragedies, our prayer requests. I think also that we
must not only share with other Christians, but also with those who are sick,
those who are in need, those who need Jesus, and those who are not into the
church. It is good, right, and a sacrifice (of sorts) that pleases God when we
share the Gospel truth!

Grave clothes or Grace clothes

In life as a Christian we can wear either grave clothing or grace clothing.

This was a great illustration my pastor used during a sermon.

It comes down to our two options as a Christian:

obedience in Christ or disobedience in Christ.

When we are living for God and being obedient we are in God’s grace and receive his blessings.

When we are living for ourselves and not in obedience with God, we are wearing grave clothing. We are as good as dead!

Is secular humanism to blame for our nation’s breach into a post-Christian society?

First what is secular humanism?

Secular humanism is a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics and justice, and specifically rejects the supernatural and the spiritual as the basis of moral reflection and decision-making. Like other types of humanism, secular humanism is a life stance focusing on the way human beings can lead good and happy lives.

How is it contributing to our society in a bad way?

Yes. In a number of ways! I will briefly go over a few. Here is a great chart!
Humanists usually do not believe that God even exists. Humanists believe mankind is the highest entity. (“Man is the measure of all things.”)
Humanism see man as basically good. Thinks that people should feel good about themselves regardless of their behavior. Tries to deal with guilt by positive self-talk.
Rejects the idea of a “sin nature.” Believes that whatever I want to do is ok, as long as it “doesn’t hurt anyone else.” (But is often shortsighted in deciding what may hurt someone else!) Tendency to rationalize that all behavior that I wish to do is acceptable.
Humanists believe some things are right for some people and some situations that may be “wrong” for other people and other situations. There is no absolute right and wrong. Everything depends on the situation.

Do you see how all of this can lead to post-modernism!

What does post-Christian mean? Are we there?

a post-Christian world is one where Christianity is no longer the dominant civil religion, but one that has, gradually over extended periods of time, assumed values, culture, and worldviews that are not necessarily Christian (and further may not necessarily reflect any world religion’s standpoint).

America is leaning that way. I do believe.

Here is a good article discussing the differences in Christianity and Secular humanism and some great links.