The War Against Weakness

2017-03-25 The War Against Weakness– by Lee Lewis

In walking with people bogged down by sin, I have noticed a consistent trend: an independence from God. This observation is further enforced in Scripture. Genesis 3, Romans 1, John 15 and countless other texts point toward the realities that exist when man operates outside of God. To sum this behavior up in one word, you could call it “pride,” but there are other factors at work, and one of those is weakness.

Mankind is overwhelmed by weakness. In the beginning, when God creates Adam and Eve in a perfect, sinless Eden, He creates them with need for His provision (Gen. 1:28; 2:16-17). Before sin enters the world, there is a need within mankind – there is a weakness.

Neediness in and of itself is not sinful, but it is where neediness is directed or terminates that creates problems. In Genesis 1 and 2, God supplies everything that mankind needs, and there is never any worship tied to creation. God creates and says that it is good, and man responds to Him with praise. There is a beautiful dependence of mankind upon God.

Sin enters the world in Genesis 3, and this dependence upon God – and God alone – becomes a dependence on creation. In Romans 1, Paul describes this shift as the preferring of creation over the Creator. Pride is most often seen when this dependence or neediness is unacknowledged and hidden. People frame their lives to make themselves look strong and calm when, in reality, they are weak and burdened. The beautiful picture of Adam and Eve resting perfectly in the provision of the Lord is exchanged for a pseudo provision aligned with whatever hides our weaknesses.

An incredible opportunity is missed in this vulnerable state. The Psalmist says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121). He understands his weak and compromised condition and that provision is found in God alone.

If this is the humble response, then how would our pride have us respond in moments of weakness? One response is to address the weakness in our own strength and bolster our vulnerabilities, but this response only increases pride in the heart. A second response is to sit in our weakness as a victim and justify doing so because of how we have been wronged. This response is equally prideful and steeped in self-pity.

The gospel however frees us up, in our weakness and brokenness, to find rest and refuge. In our weakness, He is strong. There is always an opportunity in weakness, and that opportunity is to press in and look to the mountain – that is Christ – where our help comes from.

Build Your House on the Rock

2017-03-18 Build Your House on the Rock

-by Lee Lewis

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27

As I grow in pastoral ministry, I see more and more the God-designed need in people for refuge. The Psalmist would say it this way, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge.” Genesis 1 and 2 paint an incredible picture of a God-designed dependency within Adam and Eve that is perfectly satisfied in God. What I see many times in my own life and the lives of others is a failure to realize the implications of a need for security and refuge in the Lord. Because of it, we seek a foundation to be planted on anything and everything but what God created it to be.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus leaves no room for a neutral position on the matter – either you are planted on the rock or the sand. He is very clear that you will look for a foundation somewhere. We are secured, founded and fastened perfectly by God through a God-dependant heart. The self-dependent heart is not void of these needs for security, protection and peace; in fact, it is very much in search of these things. In other words, there is no neutral point when it comes to security. There are massive worship and idolatry implications at work.

Another thing that Jesus points out in this text is that the same storm hits both houses. I can remember singing a song in Sunday school about the rock, storm and sand. The song sure didn’t emphasize the storm hitting the house on the rock, but Jesus says storms will come, and those planted in Him will survive and even thrive. Those planted elsewhere will be destroyed. I would like to think that I am always planted on “the rock.” In terms of salvation, I believe this to be the case, and I believe the text is addressing salvation. However, many believers plant their trust in other things besides God, so this parable has implications for sanctification, too.

The question for the Christian then is this: What is exposed in your heart when a storm or trial (suffering) comes? It is in difficult moments that we see our peace being tied to something other than Christ. We see our need for security or protection, but do not go to the Author of peace. So in His grace, He sends a storm to expose misplaced affections and allegiances.

Jesus uses the picture of a house in a storm to show that He alone brings salvation. Our hearts long for and desperately need this salvation. In the Lord’s grace, He uses storms to reveal our deep need for Him and where we have planted our hopes. So rather than weathering the storm, would not it be better to prayerfully consider what is being revealed because of the storm?

“Jesus is Better” – But is that Practical?

2017-03-11 JesusIsBetter

Sometimes the roots of a problem extend far deeper than what we first might think. When a person comes to you as a Biblical Counselor, it might be easy to identify the solution to their problem. But what if there is something far deeper than the apparent anxiety or fear or idolatry? If this is the case, trite answers will not reach the destructive roots that  over years have permeated every area of life. How can we address root issues? How can we be more practical in our help?

In his article “Jesus is Better” – But is that Practical? Kim Kira suggests “we need to think more deeply about a person’s idolatry, so that we can more particularly and more practically demonstrate Jesus as supreme.” 

Biblical counselors often refer to this as the difference between ‘dispensing truth’ and ‘ministering truth’. Click here to keep reading: “Jesus is Better” – But is that Practical?

Encouraged and thankful


Over the past week your Canadian Biblical Counseling Coalition board has been sharing their reflections on the conference, and hearing your feedback as well.

For use the highlights were clear and spoke directly to our vision:

  1. Many connections were made. Folks spoke with each other, shared with each other, prayed with each other, encouraged each other.
  2. For a significant portion of our attendees this was their first introduction to biblical counseling. More Canadians are now aware of the heart of biblical counseling; and based on your feedback it was a positive, challenging, and thought provoking introduction.
  3. God was present in a way that humbled us as organizers, and glorified Himself. For us, that makes it all worthwhile.

Giving Hope amid Hardships


Scripture not only guides us as Biblical Counselors, but also speaks straight into the circumstances of those we counsel. God’s Word is alive and active and able to penetrate the heart. In tandem with the Holy Spirit, it illuminates, convicts, guides, and transforms.

Robert Jones speaks of how one simple verse can bring hope in the midst of hardship: Giving Hope amid Hardships: The Power and Simplicity of 1 Corinthians 10:13

Why The Emphasis on the Word?

-by Betty-Anne Van Rees

“Why the emphasis on the Word?”

This is a question I am asked from time to time. “There are lots of good places to turn for wisdom to help people who are struggling. It’s almost like you worship the Bible,” is how the conversation sometimes goes.

I appreciate being asked questions like this directly. Real conversation helps God’s church. I’m always glad for a chance to help people understand how I’m thinking, rather than leaving it to them to guess which will inevitably leads to miscommunication, misunderstanding and most probably, broken relationships.

Do I worship the Bible?

Well, sort of …. Here’s why I’d answer that way. John tells us that the “word (the Greek transliteration is ‘logos’) became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) The author of Hebrews tells us that the “word (also ‘logos’) of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Do I worship the pages and the ink of the Bible? No. Do I worship both the Incarnate and inspired living Word of God. Yes. My reading of the Bible leads me to believe they are not separate entities.

How Does God Reveals Himself?

An overview of the Scripture leads me to believe that God has chosen to reveal Himself three different ways. Collectively, His purpose is so that we might know Him and that this ‘knowing’ would move us to long for Him so that we might be reunited with Him for His glory and our good.

Psalm 19 is a beautiful song about God’s communication of Himself to us. “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Day and night He is proclaiming the knowledge of Himself to us through His creation. The psalm gives just a small glimpse of God’s communication to us through His creation before the psalmist turns to God’s words. This is a song of contrast. Creation shows us God well, but His Words show us Him with greater clarity leading to greater power in our lives. His perfect, sure, right and pure words have power to revive the soul, make the simple wise, rejoice the heart and enlighten the eyes. Then, in one final act of personal revelation, God sent His Son for the same purpose. He longs for us to know Him. It seems to me that to separate Him from His word is an error.

Because of these truths, I unapologetically look to God’s written revelation of Himself to know Him, to know who I am, and to know how life in our broken world works. When I am given the opportunity to speak into the lives of others, I want to offer them the same unparalleled wisdom and hope that fuels my life.

Helping Those Who Are Angry With God


When life doesn’t go as planned – or worse yet, when life completely crumbles – people often become angry with God. They shake their fists at an all-loving, all-powerful God, disillusioned by the fact that He could have prevented this trial – and yet He didn’t.

As biblical counselors, we come across this situation frequently. How to you counsel someone who is angry at God?

David Powlison speaks wisely to this. Helping Those Who Are Angry With God

God’s Word is Relevant


In the previous post a case was made for the relevancy of God’s Word: “Although penned thousands of years ago, the Bible is completely relevant to life today because it is a living book (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Its wisdom is timeless, it’s details accurate, and it’s message current.”

But sometimes we need examples to help us span the centuries between the original parchments and today’s Bible we access on our smart phones. Although the text has been preserved, we wonder how wisdom and encouragement penned thousands of years ago can be relevant to today’s issues. There seems to be a world of difference, and yet God’s truths are eternal.

Celebrity Culture in the Church

In his second letter to the Corinthians (what we call 1 Corinthians), Paul addressed division in the church at Corinth. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, these New Testament believers were dividing over the same issue many Christians do today. Paul says, “For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying,”I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”” (1 Cor. 1:11-12). The early believers were aligning themselves with their favourite teachers. Some preferred Paul, some Apollos, and others Cephas (Peter). But Paul asks them an important question: “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13). The answer is obvious. Of course not! But we don’t have to think hard to realize that this celebrity culture is flourishing in the church today. People align themselves with their favourite teachers, mega-church pastors, and Christian authors. Certainly we have to be discerning when determining who will influence us in these areas, but when we draw lines and create camps based on current Christian celebrities, we are headed down a very destructive path. Christ has not been divided, and neither should we. As divisions over celebrity culture was an issue in the early church as it is today, we rightly conclude that the Scriptures are relevant.


Chronic anxiety is rampant in our culture, and the ancient Scriptures have much to teach us about how to handle anxiety. In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Obviously the believers in Philippi needed to be reminded about what to do with their anxiety, and the answer is the same today as it was then – turn your worries into prayers! Again, we see the relevancy of Scripture.


Very few would argue that the pursuit of material possessions is common to our present North American culture. Many families go to great lengths in time, energy, and money to have the biggest homes, the latest fashions, and the most exciting vacations. In fact, we are weary from all our striving to keep up with the Jones’. Scripture also speaks to this modern-day issue, which apparently is not isolated to our day. In 1 Timothy 6 Paul warns against the ruin and destruction that is inevitable when pursuit of riches is the highest priority. In fact, he says, “Some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Tim. 6:10). Instead, the Bible tells us to chase contentment. “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim. 6:8). Again, Scripture is entirely relevant, written centuries ago, but speaking to today’s issues.

There are many more examples we could cite. The relevancy of God’s Word is astounding, pointing to the eternal nature of its Author. God is able to see the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10) and therefore He had us, as well as future generations, in mind when He inspired the ancient writers to pick up the quill. The truths contained in Scripture are timeless, accurent, and current. Whatever you may be struggling with, the Bible has the answers, because its Author is the Answer.

The Authority, Sufficiency, and Relevancy of God’s Word


It comes as no surprise that Biblical counselling is rooted in the Bible. No other source of knowledge thoroughly equips us to counsel in ways that transform the human heart (Psalm 19:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). As biblical counsellors, we believe God’s word is authoritative, sufficient, and relevant (Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 4:4; Hebrews 4:12-13). As the inspired and inerrant Word of God, on its pages we find comprehensive wisdom for any and every issue of life.

The Authority of God’s Word

God’s Word goes out from His mouth and doesn’t return to Him without accomplishing what He desires (Isaiah 55:11). We accept the Bible as the final authority because it has been authored by the Holy Spirit. The authority of the Bible does not depend on our ability to understand it, but on God, as the highest authority. God’s Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). Scripture is the final authority.

We believe the Bible is authoritative and therefore we place ourselves under its authority in obedience.

The Sufficiency of God’s Word

The human experience is quite varied. Among many others, we journey through times of great joy, dark despair, crippling anxiety, blissful celebration, all-consuming grief, muddled confusion, and paralyzing fear. In all the ups and downs of life, God’s Word is enough. It is able to speak to any and every situation. Psalm 19:7-9 is perhaps the most clear and concise statement about the sufficiency of Scripture. God’s Word is perfect, sure, right, pure, and clean and is therefore able to restore our souls, make us wise, give us joy, and enlighten us. That is why we do not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Scripture is completely sufficient.

We believe the Bible is sufficient and therefore we turn to it alone to address life’s questions and concerns.

The Relevancy of God’s Word

Although penned thousands of years ago, the Bible is completely relevant to life today because it is a living book (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Its wisdom is timeless, it’s details accurate, and it’s message current.  The Bible fits our culture today as well as it did when the holy writers put pen to parchment. The Bible answers the common questions each generation has faced (e.g. Where did we come from? What is the meaning of life? Why is there suffering in the world? What happens after we die?), and offers comfort and hope to every generation. Scripture is entirely relevant.

We believe the Bible is relevant and therefore we engage with it as a living and active book.

Purity of Counseling Methodology


Our upcoming Gospel Conversations conference (Feb 23-24 2017) has the theme “Let’s talk purity.” As you’d expect, this theme addresses the need for sexual purity in a world that doesn’t value it. It may be less obvious that this theme also address the importance of purity of counseling.

One of the most common questions from genuine believers about Biblical Counseling is how it differs from Christian Counseling backed by psychology. There are many ways to answer this, let me give you one answer.

If we are honest, we recognize that it takes careful study and discipline to correctly interpret and apply the Scriptures in our lives. A significant percentage of those who are born again admit this is a challenge. It takes significantly greater skill to analyze and assess a mixture of truth and error, and correctly separate the two. In my experience, those who champion the inclusion of psychological elements in Christian Counseling are often unable to perform this difficult analysis and separation correctly.

A positive, unity building way to explore this with a brother or sister in Christ is to work through a case study together and identify places that psychological approaches may be different from biblical truth.

In the end, it is more fruitful and productive to focus upon what the Bible itself teaches about counseling methodology and the multitude of common-to-man problems each of us face throughout our lives.

I am taking vacation time from work and travelling over 4000km to attend our upcoming conference. I hope to meet you there and have many gospel conversations with you!

For more information and a registration link visit our conference page here: