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Paul Tautges Christian Blog and Commentary

Counseling Homework that Engages Mind, Heart, and Life

  • Paul Tautges
    Paul Tautges serves as senior pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, having previously pastored for 22 years in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Paul has authored eight books including Counseling One Another, Brass Heavens, and Comfort the Grieving, and contributed chapters to two volumes produced by the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He is also the consulting editor of the LifeLine Mini-Book series from Shepherd Press. Paul is a Fellow with ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). He and his wife, Karen, are the parents of ten children (three married), and have two grandchildren. Paul enjoys writing as a means of cultivating discipleship among believers and, therefore, blogs regularly at Counseling One Another.
  • 2016 Sep 01
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Recently, a man who had attended a conference in 2010 emailed to request the homework examples I had given in the workshop I taught on the need for personal discipline in sanctification. It took a bit of digging to find them, but yesterday I stumbled upon them. Thought they may be of benefit to you, as well, in your personal ministry of the Word to one another.

Example 1

Read and meditate on Matthew 5-7 three times this week. In your journal/notebook list:

  • What does Jesus teach me about my heart? What are its characteristics?
  • What does Jesus teach me about the fruits of my heart?
  • What changes does Jesus call me to make? What sins must I repent of?
  • What warnings does Jesus give to me?
  • What promises does Jesus give to me?
  • Are there any spiritual disciplines that Jesus presents for my spiritual health?

Example 2

Read and meditate on James 4:1-10 three times this week. In your notebook, answer the following questions.

  • In your present conflict, what is your heart craving? What “pleasures” (v. 1) are you seeking?
  • How do we commit “murder of the heart” in our conflicts with others?
  • Explain the meaning of the phrase: “You have not because you ask not” (v. 2).
  • If your desire is a legitimate need? If so, can you trust God enough to see that it is met by Him?
  • How have you been trying to get your own desires fulfilled?
  • What might be some of the “wrong motives” that are the "functional gods" of your heart?
  • Why does James call his readers “adulteresses” (v. 4)?
  • Why is God jealous for the Spirit’s rule in our hearts (v. 5)?
  • How are you manifesting pride in your present relationship conflict?
  • In what specific ways does God want you to humble yourself before Him or others (v. 7)?
  • Are there any specific sins that you need to confess to God or others (vv. 8-10)?

The longer I'm involved in the personal ministry of the Word, the more often I see greater transformation take place when we lead those we are counseling to spend substantial time in the Bible. There are many, many excellent counseling resources available for our use (more than ever before!), but none of them hold a candle to the power of the pure Scriptures. Let these two examples serve as stimulus to you to generate many more Bible study projects that are geared toward renewal of the mind and life application.

[Originally posted at Counseling One Another]

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