Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life



Equipping Churches to Understand the Process
of Biblical Change and How to Engage in It
By encouraging Christians to adopt a biblical,
accessible, and practical approach to change,
Christian communities can experience real, spiritual fruit.

Every Christian wrestles with the need for change, and all have hearts that go astray. However, it can be challenging to understand and apply a biblical view of change to our everyday thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships. God promises to change us to become more like Jesus, but what does that look like? How does this transformation make life and relationships truly beautiful, and how do we have honest discussions about our own struggles in light of how Christ brings comfort, help, and change?

Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life (New Growth Press/October 22, 2018), edited by Andrew Nicholls and Helen Throne through the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF), is a six-week, Bible-centered course for church groups and discipleship programs, introducing a simple model for understanding how God changes us to become more like Jesus. Based on the CCEF model of change from David Powlison’s course “Dynamics of Biblical Change,” readers will explore how they can grow to be like Christ in the hardest circumstances through Leader’s notes, Bible study sessions, pointed questions for discussion, and a “self-counseling project” for personal reflection or peer discussion.

“Most of us know there are things in our lives that could helpfully change,” says coeditor Helen Thorne. “But many of us don’t have a Jesus-centered model for working that change through. All too often, even as Christians, we simply try to work on our behavior without looking at what is going on in our hearts. This course helps us join the dots between our hearts and our actions and looks at the true hope Christ brings.”

Coeditor Andrew Nicholls adds that this Jesus-centered model is crucial for the life and growth of the church. “This kind of thinking and praying is meant to be a normal part of church life. As we freshly experience God’s love and grace for our sin, our desires for ourselves pale beside a growing, godly ambition to be like Christ.”

The course is designed for readers to participate in ninety-minute group sessions and, ideally, an hour of personal study. While the study material is designed for use within small groups, it can be used for one-to-one discipleship study as well. No matter the context in which the course is used, Real Change is a flexible course intended for any individual or group of Christians wanting to become more like Jesus. “We’ve seen leaders get together and help [teams] be accountable to one another and provide a framework for training in pastoral care. And we’ve used it in one-to-one settings as the basis of discussions with someone who is wrestling with personal struggles,” Thorne explains.

As Thorne shares, it is important to talk about personal change in a group setting. “As Christians, we are called to be people who share lives and enjoy spurring each other on to increasing Christlikeness. It can be tempting to only share our strengths, but there is something beautiful about working on our weaknesses together. This course doesn’t force people to share more than they are comfortable with, but it helps churches become ever more communities of change as Ephesians/Colossians encourages us to be.”

Nicholls expands on why it’s important to think about biblical change as something God brings. “God is not reluctant to change his children. God knows what it’s like to be me and you, so he both meets us in our situation and rescues us from it. If we think we’re generally fine, then it can be hard to understand why we behave as we do.”

The process of change is often slow, and the course certainly doesn’t promise dramatic transformation in readers’ lives in six weeks. However, Real Change introduces people to the process of change, and it encourages people to engage in it. Over time, both editors are confident this will produce real, spiritual fruit, which is up to God.

About the editors:

Andrew Nicholls, MA, MB, BChir, is a former doctor and pastor who is now Director of Pastoral Care at Oak Hill Theological College, London. He is married to Hilary and they have two children.

Helen Thorne, BSc(Hons), MA is the Director of Training and Mentoring at London City Mission. She is a trustee of Biblical Counselling UK and involved in pastoral care within her local church. She is an experienced speaker and author of Purity Is Possible, 5 Things to Pray for Your City and Walking with Domestic Abuse Sufferers.

New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and children’s Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life and other releases from New Growth Press, visit www.newgrowthpress.com.

Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life
Edited by Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne
October 22, 2018 / Retail Price: $12.99
Print ISBN 978-1-948130, e-Book ISBN 978-1-948130-04-2
RELIGION/Christian Ministry/Counseling & Recovery


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