Featured Sessions

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Keynote Session Notes

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Featured Session #1

How Biblical Theology Provides Hope

Dr. Joe Miller

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Theology matters!  Our view of the attributes of God should inform our discipleship and counseling, shaping our understanding of personal sin or suffering!  

There’s no doubt about it—we are living in unprecedented times. It almost seems like the world is out of control. There is so much fear, grief, anger, and trouble going on right now that it’s hard not to lose hope. From the pandemic, to economic hardships, to political and racial tensions, to violence in streets, broken marriages and families, isolation and loneliness - there is much to disturb our hearts and minds. Very little in life feels “normal” these days, and we must be aware that things could get harder.  During these various storms of life, we need an anchor for our soul. The true anchor needs to be the truth of what God has revealed about Himself, about His character revealed in His Word!

However, too many followers of Christ fall short of fostering an intimate personal relationship with our Creator God. We deny ourselves the blessing and pleasure of more clearly understanding how awesome, beautiful, and wonderful He is!  The attributes of God are more than mere characteristics but are knowable eternal aspects of God that compel us to worship Him intimately.  Christ’s church has been blessed with biblical resources to help us unpack the various attributes of God, which compel the follower of Christ to glorify (Isa 43:7) and please (2 Cor 5:9) God. A.W. Tozer reminds us that there is none like God for He is one of a kind, and there is nothing, really, to compare with the Creator of all things (Isa 40:25). On the other hand, Tozer also points out that we must be careful about the language we use to describe and understand God:

"If we would think accurately about the attributes of God, we must learn to reject certain words that are sure to come crowding into our minds–such words as trait, characteristic, quality - words which are proper and necessary when we are considering created beings but altogether inappropriate when we are thinking about God. We must break ourselves of the habit of thinking of the Creator as we think of His creatures. It is probably impossible to think without words, but if we permit ourselves to think with the wrong words, we shall soon be entertaining erroneous thoughts; for words, which are given us for the expression of thought, have a habit of going beyond their proper bounds and determining the content of thought. " (Knowledge of the Holy, 17–18)

This session will reveal how the attributes of God should shape our discipleship and counseling and how spending more time meditating on these attributes will benefit the hearts and minds of God’s people!  We will walk through a case study involving Elizabeth, who struggles with a debilitating fear of flying, and determine how the attributes of God (Theology Proper) are the foundation for divine truth and wisdom to provide Elizabeth with both help and hope in her seasons of sin and suffering.  Practically: How do the attributes of God shape your discipleship and counseling? Are there certain attributes that are particularly helpful? How can you show Elizabeth more of the impeccable character of God in the counseling process? How can discipleship and counseling, based on the attributes of God, benefit Elizabeth’s spiritual heart and mind?

Featured Session #2

Hope for Those in Addiction

Dr. Ben Marshall

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When it comes to life-enslaving sins (often called addictions), it is very easy to see the sin that is involved: gross amounts of money are wasted, bodies are destroyed, families are divided, jobs are lost, law enforcement is often involved, innocent lives are lost, and so on. Counselors simply need to take notice of the fruit to arrive at the conclusion that sin is at the root. Complete biblical counseling, however, needs to minister Scripture not only to the sin, but also to the ensuing suffering that accompanies the sin. When David committed his sin against Bathsheba, he was the guilty one ( 2 Samuel 12:7). He even admitted that he was guilty (2 Samuel 12:13 and Psalm 51:4). Scripture also reveals David’s suffering as he watched the death of the child created due to his sin, as God has promised (2 Samuel 12:15-23). Addiction is full of sin AND suffering, and wise counselors will minister God’s Word to both.

In this session, we will walk through a case study highlighting those areas of suffering that exist, how Scripture sufficiently addresses those areas of suffering, and what wise biblical counsel could look like in walking alongside the addict.

Featured Session #3

Providing Hope Across Cultures

Dr. Andrew Rogers

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How can we strengthen churches worldwide through biblical counseling?  This session emphasizes the role of missions in strengthening and encouraging churches like Paul did in his second and third missionary journeys and shows how training in biblical counseling can do that. Additionally, attention will be given to the practical ways we can encourage and help develop a strategy for providing the necessary care for our missionaries.

Featured Session #4

Hope for Those in Distress

Dr. Joe Miller

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We are living in a time of unprecedented change, uncertainty, and instability.  The various hardships that we face in this fallen world can sometimes seem overwhelming. Perhaps the most important questions to ask about fear, anxiety [i.e. worry], depression, and even suicidal ideations is: “What am I doing in response to my distress?”  What a person does in response to distress ultimately reveals where their heart is. Jesus warns us of the trials and tribulations we will face in this sin-sick world.  However, He also points out that freedom from the captivity of fear, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation is found only in Him (John 14:27; 16:33).  

We know people inside and outside the church who battle with these things.  Some perceive these light momentary afflictions (2 Cor 4:17-18) as evidence that somehow they have been unfaithful to God’s Word or will and are now being punished by God. In reality, sin and Satan are the ultimate sources of people’s problems (1 John 2:16; 1 Pet 5:8).  This is why Jesus reminds us of God’s grace, “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  He does not promise to eradicate trials and tribulations from the lives of His people, rather He promises to provide sufficient help and hope in times such as these!

Today, as a church, we needsto reflect raise up leaders to equip and educate one-another in the knowledge of God’s Word, in order to do the work of the ministry by speaking the truth of Scripture in love, to study these passages, in order to effectively speak help and hope to others who are struggling with fear and anxiety like Peter (Luke 22:54-62), depression like Elijah (1 Kings 18-19), and even suicidal ideations like Saul (1 Sam 31:3-5).   God sovereignly walks with us through the power of His indwelling Spirit in these different seasons of distress to grow us in the character, kindness, and goodness of God.  Walking through seasons can cause our faith to flourish, not in ourselves or in temporal things, but in the unchanging character of God who is GOOD!

This session will provide pastors, disciplers, and counselors the ability to provide biblical help and hope to those struggling with fear, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideations. We will walk through a case study involving Erisa, who struggles with fear, anxiety, along with a severe form of depression called Hikikomri (def. known as acute or total social withdrawal and seeking out extreme degrees of isolation and confinement).

Featured Session #5

Hope for Those Experiencing Abuse

Dr. Ben Marshall

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While there are many different horrific situations one may come across, abuse of all sorts rises to the top in the complexity of counseling situations a counselor may face. This requires counseling that will help the counselee navigate theological truths involving sin and suffering; as well as, practical issues involving personal safety, law enforcement, and one’s community. When counselors focus only on the theological issues of suffering and sin, counselees often feel disconnected and hopeless as they are left wondering what they will experience over the next 24 hours and how they will respond. When counselors focus on practical issues without addressing theological issues, counselees are left to wonder where God is and how His Word has anything significant to say to their situation (especially if spiritual abuse is involved).
In this session, counselors will think about the myriad of different categories that need to be ministered to in the life of the one being abused, how Scripture sufficiently addresses those categories, as well as how those categories might be covered through a team approach consisting of counselors, life group leaders, and church leadership.

Featured Session #6

How Lament Brings Hope

Dr. Andrew Rogers

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Life is hard, and grief is normal. We all want to talk about it. But who will listen? The lament psalms provide hope. They give us helpful and healthy insight into how we can walk with others through their suffering and sorrow by helping them give voice to their suffering to God.