Good article on discipleship and what it is not. So many times, we may feel or think we are following in the steps of Christ but good discipleship is guided by the Holy Spirit and imitates Christ in everything.
The article, “What discipleship isn’t” by Greg Garner looks at discipleship as not just a moment in life but a continued vocation.
Discipleship is a lifelong, till death do us part relationship between the Creator and His creation… between a Savior and those whom he has saved. Unfortunately, no Easy Button exists. Maturity in Christ is a slow, oftentimes painful process that requires the blazing hot fire of God’s refinery.
Spiritual gifts are given to everyone. Each person has their own unique gifts for their particular calling. Together, persons share their gifts for the building of the mystical Body of Christ. This is why the Holy Spirit shares unique talents with everyone. These talents are essential for the building of the faith.
The article, “Stewarding spiritual gifts” by Diana Myers reviews how important it is to steward our spiritual gifts and share them with the church and for own spiritual salvation. She states,
“FCA believes that every believer has a calling. And in order to fulfill our calling to the utmost, God has provided each of us with a unique set of spiritual gifts. Knowing and leveraging our spiritual gifts enables us to be more effective members of the body of Christ.”
With such importance, it is critical we all cultivate our own spiritual gifts and help utilize them for the greater honor and glory to God. Please also review our Christian Counseling Training Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
Christian life is powered through the graces of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was promised to the apostles after Christ ascended into heaven. The Holy Spirit first manifested after Christ’s departure on Pentecost where he appeared like tongues of fire upon the them.
The apostles spoke in tongues and performed many miracles on Pentecost. They also spiritually themselves were revitalized. The gifts of the Spirit manifested upon them and gave them the courage and bravery to preach the Gospel. Pentecost was the first time Confirmation was experienced in the church. Through the reception of the Spirit, the apostles became soldiers for Christ.
The amazing power of the Holy Spirit is still experienced today in the Church. Believers who receive the Spirit are able to develop their particular talents for the betterment of the Church. These graces are open to the believer after Baptism. Through the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit’s ability to communicate grace to baptized souls is once again realized. While confirmation is a reception of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is communicating grace to believers well before.
The Holy Spirit is able to communicate life giving grace to the soul once Baptism occurs. This new life is referred to as sanctifying grace. Yet through Confirmation, new graces are received. Various sacramental graces are also given to the soul by the Holy Spirit throughout the course of one’s spiritual life, as well as multiple spiritual gifts.
These freely given gifts which are never earned but given to us through Christ’s death help individuals. This actual grace helps individuals to choose good and do good. So the Holy Spirit gives to the believer numerous types of grace. Sanctifying grace to give life, sacramental grace to help us grow and actual grace to help us with everyday situations.
These graces help promote virtue within the life of the soul. Some virtues are supernaturally given, while other virtues are moral virtues that are elevated through grace. Faith, hope and love are the three theological virtues which allow the Christian soul to first experience the life of God. Faith helps one believe, while hope helps one have the certainty that the graces needed for salvation will be given. Charity or love is the greatest of the three virtues. Love allows us to experience the love of God himself and share it with our neighbor. Love lasts forever, even unto eternity. (1)
The Holy Spirit also gives to the soul a variety of other virtues. The moral virtues help the soul deal with moral problems of everyday life. Prudence helps the soul make wise decisions. Fortitude helps the soul deal with spiritual adversity. Temperance helps the soul regulate the passions of the body. Finally, Justice helps the soul to treat all others fairly.
The Holy Spirit also gives a variety of gifts to souls. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit help the soul guide itself and others to God. Wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fear of the Lord, fortitude and piety all help Christian better help others. (2)
It is of interest to note that counsel is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Christian Counselors can play a pivotal role with their gift in helping others cultivate the gifts of the spirit. With guidance and wisdom, a Christian Counselor can help others overcome doubt and fear and become better Christians.
Cultivating and forming spiritual life is based on the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fuels the Christian life. Through prayer, meditation and the sacraments, one can better cultivate the Christian virtues. Christian Counselors can play the role as Christian Mentors in this way. Spiritual advisers or Christian Mentors can help younger and developing Christians develop their spiritual talents.
Christian Counselors can also play a role with the Holy Spirit through guidance. Spiritual formation is not just about developing one’s spiritual gifts but it also about spiritual growth in God. Christians need to understand the inner calls of God. The consolations and desolations of Christian life with its numerous peaks and valleys are experiences that many need help navigating. Learning to spiritually discern good and evil and true vocation are key elements of spiritual growth. Again, a Christian Counselor, pastor, mentor, or spiritual adviser can play a big role in helping and aiding others in determining their spiritual path.
The Holy Spirit is the ultimate guide in this path. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, one is able to overcome all things. It is impossible without the guidance and grace of the Holy Spirit to achieve salvation. This is key in understanding. Christ’s death on the cross opened the gates of Heaven and its many graces, but we need to be open to these free gifts. Pentecost was the first outpouring of the Spirit, but it continues to this day.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a certification for those in ministry. The Spiritual Christian Counseling program is a faith based program that helps train ministers and Christian mentors in counseling from a Christian perspective. The program is online and open to qualified to professionals. The courses are all independent study, online and open enrollment. One then has the freedom to work at his or her own pace. This is great for working professionals who need time to continue in their ministry but also wish to progress in spiritual academics.
After completing the seven required courses, one can then apply for a four year certification in Spiritual Christian Counseling. One can renew every four years with five hundred hours of clinical experience and fifty hours of continuing education.
Christian Counseling is a calling and vocation. This calling and the spiritual talents that come with it can be further developed with the certification program in Christian Counseling at AIHCP. If you are interested in learning more or would like to become a certified Christian Counselor then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional needs and goals.
In the meantime, the Holy Spirit is the essential element in all spiritual formation. It starts and ends with the grace of the Holy Spirit who constantly feeds souls the necessary graces to work towards Christian perfection and salvation. God the Father is our creator, Jesus Christ, the Logos, is our Redeemer and the Holy Spirit, is the sanctifier
Let us all praise and worship our Triune God, who also found in the Third Person, known as the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is an essential part of Christian Life. This is why Christ sent Him to the apostles. The Holy Spirit sanctifies what Christ has redeemed. He is the fountain of graces that Christ has earned on the cross and the fuel of all sacramental life.
The article, “Pope Francis on Pentecost: ‘Christian life unravels’ without the Holy Spirit” by Hannah Brockaus states,
“Without the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Christians lack that which animates them and gives them internal life and harmony, Pope Francis said on Pentecost. “Without the Spirit, our Christian life unravels, lacking the love that brings everything together,” Pope Francis said at Mass in St Peter’s Square on June 9.”
The Holy Spirit is indeed the source of grace and infuser of virtue. To read the entire article, please click here
Ministry presents a multitude of challenges. Pastoral care from caring for the sick, dying, as well as the grieving can strain any minister. The time and energy it also takes to spiritually guide a flock can be demanding.
The article, “10 common pastoral care challenges” by Thom Rainer explores ten common challenges in pastoral care and ministry. He states,
“So, for the most part, the challenges are not the members themselves, but the capacity to meet all the pastoral needs members have. Here are how the pastors expressed ten of their greatest pastoral care challenges.”
Suicide for the longest time was considered only to be a sin of despair. It was a stigma and received more condemnation than care. Today, individuals who attempt suicide are treated more like victims fortunately. Family is also given the care and love they deserve from a pastoral perspective.
The article, “SUICIDE: MOVING BEYOND CONDEMNATION TO CARE” by Elizabeth Evans states,
“Numerous faith traditions have a history of criticising suicide as a sin – and one that leads to damnation. But some faith leaders are now working not only to offer those facing despair help in addressing the root causes of suicide but to remove the stigma that keeps so many suffering families quiet after the death of a loved one.”
Discipline and a good Christian upbringing for children is difficult in this secular society. Christian parents must work hard to preserve the faith and also raise good, moral, and respectful children. Discipline is important
The article, “Christian parents, you’re not alone in discipling your kids” by Lyndsey Koh states,
“In America’s post-Christian society, it can be daunting to make sure your kids have a strong foundation of faith. Today’s Generation Z kids tend to be less religious and more relativistic than the generations before them.”
Suicide is a very stigmatizing act. Fortunately, it is being more and more seen from a pastoral way than a condemning way. While it can contain elements of the sin of despair, modern psychology is showing more than not, it is a mental issue revolving around a deep depression. In essence, it is a sickness.
The article, “What does the Bible say about suicide?” by Jim Denison takes a closer and theological look at the sinful history and nature it can have but also its inherent relation to pathological state of mind. In this, Christianity is less harsh on this “unforgivable” sin as maybe in the past. This is not only good news for the deceased but also for the state of the mind of the family who endures this horrible cross. The article states,
“More people die from suicide than from homicide in America. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged fifteen to twenty-four and is most common among those aged sixty-five and older. Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed. In the last half-century, the suicide rate among adolescents and young adults has nearly tripled.”
Hence a theological as well as a pastoral standard are needed when dealing with suicide and the family. Grief Counseling, Crisis Counseling, as well as Christian Counseling are all important disciplines in helping those facing suicide or families who have been hurt by the act itself
Lent is a time of renewal and rebirth. We enter into the desert with Christ for forty days and hope to re-emerge stronger and ready. We die with Christ in hopes of resurrecting with him.
Part of this rebirth is fasting and prayer. Prayer is the first step because it directs our fasting and begs for the graces to fulfill the tasks of Lent. We commit acts of goodness and self sacrifice during Lent to strengthen our souls in our reshaping of our spiritual lives.
Fasting helps one to curb inclinations and passions. Fasting that is self imposed has benefits in this but the greatest fasting is from above. This is why the Church provides general fasting and days of abstinence. The first day of Lent is a full day of fasting, while Friday, in the West, and Wednesday and Friday in the East are days of abstinence throughout the Lenten calendar.
It is critical when targeting vices in our spiritual life to utilize prayer and fasting as a way to overcome our human weaknesses. Prayer and fasting strengthens the soul against the inclinations of the flesh and reinforces spiritual discipline. Both personal and social fasting is key. This is why we not only observe the Church’s Lenten rules, but also offer our own small sacrifices during Lent.
Ultimately our sacrifices are not just for the sole purpose of spiritual rebirth but also as an offering to Christ. Christ gave us his life as an example of how to live the good life in a fallen world. Lent helps us to show Christ our love and thankfulness in emulating and imitating his ways. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit through prayer, we are able to fulfill our Lenten goals. We must remember, our own works are fruitless before the Lord, unless done in His name and through His grace.
Please have a blessed Lent and find strength and growth in Christ through the Holy Spirit. May this Lent also bring us not only closer to Christ, but also to our other Christian brothers and sisters through the variety of Lenten services.
Please also remember to review our Christian Counseling Certification to see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The online program is best for counselors and clergy who wish to utilize Christ in their counseling.
Dealing with grief in schools is a big issue as more and more shootings and tragedies occur in our nation. Schools do not always have the resources or grief counselors on hand to help students overcome grief.
The article, “Schools fall short when it comes to helping grieving students” by David Schonfeld states,
“An adolescent experiences the death of his mother after a lengthy illness. When I ask what services he would like to receive from the school, he initially says he didn’t expect special treatment, would be embarrassed by counseling from the school mental health staff and wouldn’t feel comfortable if many of his teachers asked to talk to him about his grief.”