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Book Review: Get Outta My Face, by Rick Horne

  • Shepherd Press
  • 192 pp.
  • January 2009

As a high school English and World History teacher, Rick Horne’s Get Outta My Face: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel is a welcome book. Horne has every right in the world to write a book based on his own authority–a doctorate from Westminster East, 30 years of counseling teens, five adult children–yet this is a book based on the Bible’s authority alone.

Horne begins by defining the problem beneath every teen’s problem–that their desires and actions are corrupted by sin. He helps readers see that beneath all behavioral issues are heart issues, and he stresses the importance of identifying those issues. Yet, at the same time, these teens are made in the image of God, which means that beneath their corrupted actions are “wise wants.” And so, Horne begins Get Outta My Face by calling would-be counseling to humility–in the teen, we see our same sin-corrupted yet image-bearing selves.

The rest of the book is about opening a bridge of communication with your teen, pointing out the natural consequences of his/her actions, affirming the wise wants beneath your teens actions, and creating small, manageable steps toward changes that your teen wants. If you’ve worked with a disgruntled teen before, then you know how valuable some guidance on doing these things might be!

And finally, Horne points us toward the only true change-maker in the world: the cross. By building bridges to our teens, we can show them how the gospel changes everything in our lives.

Buy it at Amazon. (For the sake of transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I do receive a tiny percentage of any purchases made through the link.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Article Notes: “Are We Skilled Counselor Mechanics?,” by Ed Welch

If you haven’t ever visited CCEF.org, let me commend it to you. CCEF is all about making the gospel central in counseling, and that’s relevant to you if you believe that the gospel changes everything about our lives. If the gospel changes everything about our lives, that means it changes our relationships with God, ourselves, and others. Again and again, day after day, we need to “rub” the gospel into ourselves as we struggle with personal and relational problems.

But how do we do this? This is the question that CCEF has been thinking about and discussing for decades.

I was visiting CCEF’s website this past weekend and found a great article by Ed Welch called “Are We Skilled Counselor Mechanics?” In it, Welch looks at our human tendency to look for the how-to of counseling rather than the ‘why’ of it. This is a theme I see coming up again and again in my approach to many things–rather than seeking God for guidance, again and again my heart wants to find the techniques that will put me on easy street for good.

But then, what need would I have for God?

Welch discusses how our drive to find silver bullet techniques ignores:

  1. The movement from the Old to the New Testament.
  2. The doctrine of the person.
  3. The influence of culture.

I commend this short read — check it out on your lunch hour.

Tim Keller Blog Notes — “Revival: Ways and Means”

In a recent blog post, Keller carefully describes several “factors that, when present, often become associated with revival by God’s blessing.” Tim’s favorite book on this topic is William B. Sprague’s Lectures on Revivals of Religion (1832) — an oldie but a goodie, apparently 🙂

Here is the list of factors that Keller shares:

  1. Extraordinary prayer
  2. Recovery of the grace-gospel — that we are saved by God’s grace, not by moral effort
  3. Renewed individuals
  4. The use of the gospel on the heart in counseling
  5. Creativity

Keller’s addition of creativity to the list encouragers believers to unwed themselves to specific techniques or programs, and to instead be on the lookout for new ways to communicate the timeless truths of the gospel. “For example, under Wesley and Whitefield, outdoor preaching was a new, galvanizing method. Mid-day public prayer meetings were important to the Fulton Street revival in downtown NYC in 1857-58. I’m ready to say thatcreativity might be one of the marks of revival, because so often some new way of communicating the gospel has been part of the mix that God used to bring a mighty revival.”

May the gospel be the centerpiece of all that we do.

Book Review: Homosexuality — Speaking the Truth in Love

Recommended. A loving, biblical look at an issue that is often treated with blind bigotry.

Edward Welch begins this installment of the Resources for Changing Lives booklets at an appropriate spot: he calls for the Christian’s repentance of both personal and corporate sins pertaining to self-righteousness and homosexuality. “Many Christians can admit that they are sinners, but they don’t see their sin in the same category as homosexuality” (p. 2). I was thankful that Welch addressed this common misunderstanding from the outset.

From the position of humility that comes from repenting of both personal and corporate sin, Welch leads readers through the biblical data pertaining to homosexuality; next, he answers some of the common arguments people make for the acceptability of homosexuality before God.

After this, Welch examines arguments about the causes of homosexuality. Though he has no problem acknowledging that factors such as genetics, peers, deficient relationships with same-sex parents, sexual violation by an older person, and so on can all be secondary influences in leading a person to homosexuality, he shows how, biblically, all sin begins not with secondary influences, but with the sinful nature of the fallen human heart. “With some [the expression of our hearts] is greed or jealousy, with others it is sinful anger, and with others it can be expressed in homosexual desire” (p. 30).

The remainder of the book compassionately outlines the process of change. “Like all sin,” Welch says, “homosexuality at the heart level does not relent easily or quickly” (p. 30). His advice is specific to change for those expressing homosexual desire. Because of Welch’s robust grasp of the counsel of Scriptures, this book quickly and gently walks readers through a major hot-button issue of our day.

Book Review: Depression – The Way Up When You Are Down

Edward T. Welch
P & R Publishing, 2000, 28 pp., $2.99, http://www.prpbooks.com

Recommended. Biblical, compassionate, practical advice in a booklet format.

Part of the easy-to-hand-out booklet series Resources for Changing Lives, Edward Welch’s 28 pages on depression are packed with solid, biblical, practical wisdom on dealing with depression.

Throughout the book, Welch is compassionate toward the depressed. He does not belittle them or their feelings (or lack  thereof); instead, he empathetically describes what depression is like, how each day feels hollow and empty. Carefully, respectfully, Welch leads the reader to consider his or her purpose as a servant of God, and he reassures the reader that “if you do anything because of Jesus and what he did for you–from combing your hair to becoming a missionary–then you bring glory to God” (7). With gentleness and respect, Welch helps the reader to develop a statement of purpose, to listen (and really hear) the truth (rather than one’s own thoughts), and to pick apart the many things that depression can say.

Once the reader works through these thoughts, Welch guides him/her along “the path that leads to God”: thinking about the meaning of depressed feelings, confessing sin to our heavenly Father, and taking practical steps of love and obedience (he lists eleven ideas for doing this). An added bonus to this book is the end, where Welch shares answer to common questions, including, “What has helped other people?”

It’s impossible not to recommend this book: it’s short, packed with help, and that help points the reader to the only One who can ever make us truly feel alive.