What Is Your Problem?

 By: Dr. W.P. “Ab” AbercrombieQuestion mark gold

What is your problem?

This is a fair and important question to ask, because unless you understand the problem, you will never know the remedy. What is present in your life that impedes your joy and contentment?

You may see the issue as emotional. Often we describe our pain as depression, fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, or grief. Certainly any of these emotions can be a real and present part of human suffering; but do the feelings you have truly explain what is wrong?

You may define your concern as relational. You might have marital discord, conflict with children or other family members. You could be facing a divorce, the loss of a friendship, or a difficult work environment. For some, relationships have been altered or ended by illness or death. Relationships can be problematic; people can be disappointing; and loss can be devastating. But is your life and well being dependent only on the circumstances around you?

You may believe your problem is medical. Today, there is great emphasis placed upon the genetic and medical influences of life. Many conditions are seen as inevitable due to genetic vulnerabilities and family history. Other problems are explained as illness or disease for which there is no explanation.

Many “experts” agree that bio-chemical imbalances are to blame for the emotions and behaviors that undermine one’s stability and affect the quality of one’s relationships. But even if there is truth to this claim, does a genetic vulnerability or chemical imbalance explain everything that is present and problematic in your life?

You could see your pain as historical. In other words, you feel and act the way you do because of your history and experiences in life. Perhaps you have endured a dysfunctional or abusive childhood. You could be the victim of crime, trauma, or other event that was extremely invasive and life altering. And while these injuries are in the past, they remain alive and active in your current life due to memories and feelings that remain unresolved. But is our present circumstance dictated by the experiences that came before?

Finally, you may perceive your difficulty as circumstantial. For example, you may believe that if your circumstance could be changed, you would improve. If you had a better job, a godlier spouse, obedient children, greater income, or lived in a different city, your problems could be answered. Given the challenge of your situation, you may believe you are justified in the way you feel and the actions you take. But is your internal contentment truly dependent upon your external environment?

If a counselor, pastor, or friend asked you to describe your problem, what would you say? Write your response below:

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Counseling and the Church

By: Dr. David R. PenleyChurch steeple clouds


The following incidents occurred in my church this past Sunday:

1. In Sunday School, a class member asked for prayer and advice about her husband who was struggling with pornography and had stopped coming to church
2. After the morning worship service, in which the pastor had preached on the healing of the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54), a church member stopped me and talked to me about his daughter who has a severe liver problem for which we prayed
3. Before the evening service, a church member talked to me about the fact that he had lost his job that week, about which I shared some Scripture (including Matthew 6:25-34) and then we prayed.

Counseling takes place in the church all the time. In Sunday School classes, in worship services, in hallways. The church is where it should take place. We will look at the importance of the church in counseling in three segments:

First, we will give a biblical rationale for counseling as part of the church’s ministry
Second, we will look at some specific examples of the importance of this
Third, we will discuss what must happen for counseling to be part of a church’s ministry.

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The Greater Offense

By: Ab Abercrombie, Ph.D.Stormy skys

Mirriam-Webster defines an offense as: “An act of stumbling; a cause or occasion of sin; and/or something that outrages the moral or physical senses.” Most married couples seeking the support of a biblical counselor will report any number of such offenses. Their focus however is horizontal in its orientation. In other words, the husband and wife can readily report when, where, and how they have offended each other; but most fail to recognize the offense they have committed against God. Scripture tells us that this is the greater offense and that we must address ourselves vertically first, if we are to become the husband or wife we are directed to be.

Within the construct of the relational gospel, sin toward God has been largely replaced with the concept of error and failure between people. We are much more focused upon the needs of one another, than we are directed toward sanctification and holy conduct before God. As a result, our relational perspective is one of exchanging behaviors that fulfill our mates, instead of developing a connected and abiding relationship through Christ that builds and sustains godly character, integrity, and consistency under the marital covenant.

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Spiritual or Secular

By: W.P. “Ab” Abercrombie, Ph.D.Crown of thorns

Over the past three decades, the Church has largely forsaken its mandate to counsel and restore its people. Rather than a function of ministry, counseling is more commonly viewed as a professional endeavor, requiring psychological training, offered outside the Church, through a community provider. With the development of this orientation, the Body of Christ has come to adopt a secular worldview regarding behavior, emotion, and relationships. Further, we have come to apply the world’s solutions to issues that require kingdom empowerment.

In Scripture, the world is never defined as a reliable source of wisdom, nor does it offer patterns worthy of emulation. Paul wrote:

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”  (1 Cor 1:20 )

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Marriage God’s Way: The Husband’s Call

By: Dr. Ab and Karen AbercrombieWedding hands

Excerpt taken from Christian Shrinks Answer ALL Your Questions…(No Couch Required), Xulon Press, 2005

What does the Bible say about the role of the husband in the home?

Biblically, the man is called to be the priest of his home.  He is directed to love, honor, protect, and lead; indeed he is held to a very high standard of accountability.  One of the first instructions given to the husband is the most basic, yet the most demanding:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. (Eph 5:25)

This scripture is a powerful calling.  It is an instruction to minister to our home as Christ ministered to the church.  If we are to love as Jesus loved, then we are to be close and active, not distant and passive.

There was nothing passive about our Lord’s love for us.  God could have loved us from the heavens, but instead drew near and demonstrated His love in an active, behavioral expression.

Jesus touched (Matt 8:1-3); He healed (Matt 14:14); He instructed (Mark 10:1); He provided (Mark 6:37-44); He prayed (John 17:13-21); He forgave (Matt 9:2); He resisted temptation (Heb 4:15); He served (Mark 10:45); and finally, He sacrificed all (John 19:30).

Using our Savior as the template of comparison, allow us to inquire:

  • Do you touch your wife as Jesus touched?  His touch was filled with understanding and compassion.  It was a touch that gave but did not take.  Touching your wife physically in this way assures her of your commitment and love for her (2 Cor 7:3).
  • When your wife is in pain, do you promote healing?  Our wives need to know they can bring their injuries and needs to us.  They need us to be engaged, interested, and invested in reestablishing their peace (Gal 6:2).
  • As the spiritual leader of the home, is your study of God’s Word faithful so that you can instruct and encourage your wife? A man cannot feed others unless he is fed.  Your fervent attention to learning the Bible will allow you to lead your family from a Christian worldview and will transform not only your message but also your heart (Heb 4:12, 1 Cor 14:35).
  • Are you providing for your family’s financial needs and security?  So many families today are overburdened by debt and commitments beyond their means, creating tremendous stress.  Financial problems are cited as the second leading cause of divorce.  Fiscal responsibility and leadership from the husband is central to protecting the home (1 Tim 5:8).
  • Are you in prayer for your wife and with your wife?  Do you make it a priority to lift her needs to God and to share the intimacy of prayer together?  Research tells us that less than 1 percent of couples who regularly pray together get divorced (Jas 5:16).
  • Do you forgive as Christ forgave?  Can you resolve and release the issues that divide you, or do you harbor them in your heart, allowing anger and sin to take root?  Studies tell us that the capacity to forgive is fundamental to the maintenance of good healthy relationships (Eph 4:26-27).
  • When temptation comes, what do you do?  There is no safe level of thought or deed when it comes to sin.  Any compromise or concession made by the man will affect his family (Gal 5:9). Boundaries are essential if we are to preserve the marital covenant.  We must actively pursue God’s cover and protection for our homes on a daily basis (Eph 6:10-18).
  • How do you serve your bride?  Whether in small matters or large, serving our wives is one of the foremost ways to demonstrate honor.  It expresses consideration, it defines her as valuable, and it produces a climate of mutual respect and loyalty.  Do something unexpected that reminds her of her precious place in your life (John 13:14-15).
  • Finally, is your love sacrificial?  Jesus gave everything for those entrusted to His care, and husbands are called to do the same (Luke 9:23). What can you sacrifice today that will bless your wife?  Is it time at work, hours watching T.V., attitudes or ambitions, behaviors or habits?  If it limits or injures the marriage, it needs to go.

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Ethics in Ministry and Counseling

By: Dr. David Penley, Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and BCI Faculty Member. The link below will take you to a recent Webinar presented by Dr. Penley on the topic of Ministerial Ethics. It is a presentation relevant to all areas of ministry and specifically to the ministry of biblical counseling. … Read More

Marriage God’s Way: The Wife’s Call

By: Dr. Ab and Karen AbercrombiePre-marriage bride & groom hold hands

Excerpt taken from: CHRISTIAN SHRINKS Answer ALL Your Questions…(No Couch Required), Xulon Press, 2005.


What does the Bible say about the wife’s role in the marriage and home?

God’s Word tells us that the wife is indeed unique, created in a manner unlike any other creature.  Do you realize that God spoke the world and all its creatures into existence?  He made man from the dust of the earth brought to life by His very breath.  But, God created woman from the rib of man.  God didn’t do this because he needed a spare part!   We see this as the ultimate expression of intimacy between a man and woman, and it reflects the Creator’s plan for oneness in the marital bond (Gen 2:1-25).

God could have created woman through any means, but He chose this rendering of life so that man and woman were forever to be “one flesh” (Gen 2:24).  This reality does away with the idea that husbands and wives are to be independent of one another.  Instead we are to relate in an interdependent way.  Each is different, yet each bears gifts and strengths central to the union.  Remove the idea from your mind that dependency is bad.  God requires our dependency on Him and has joined husband and wife in just such a manner.  Early in Genesis, God describes the primary role of woman:

“…I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Gen 2:18b)

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Repentance and Forgiveness in the Family

Couple argue back to back Dr. Ab Abercrombie

Actions and behaviors are damaging. Things said and done between people often provoke emotions that are hurtful, even destructive, over time. Often, it is the root of bitterness and unforgiveness that lies at the core of unresolved issues and without attention, can deceive and destroy the peace of our relationships. Unforgiveness undermines:

  • Our relationship with God and places us in a state of disobedience.
  • Our communication with loved ones and provokes a state of disharmony.
  • Our self-awareness building instead a response of righteous indignation that becomes impenetrable and condemning over time.
  • Our willingness to reconcile, resting instead in our “right” to feel as we do, justifying the return of sin for sin, reviling for reviling, and evil for evil.

The Bible is clear concerning this topic…the heart condition of unforgiveness is unacceptable to the LORD who calls believers to display His character and standards toward others. Jesus said:

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt. 6:14-15).

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The Impact of Biblical Counseling

Valley Baptist Church Biblical counseling is having a significant impact toward fulfilling our purpose of “Preparing People to Meet Jesus” here at Valley Baptist Church.  This is taking place on three distinct levels. First, we now have about 16 people who either have completed or are working toward certification in biblical counseling in a congregation … Read More

Lord Teach Us To Pray

Praying hands b & w

By: Dr. W.P. “Ab” Abercrombie

The spiritual discipline of prayer is a wonderful and unique aspect of the Christian life in that, we are afforded access to the Throne of God. We have the scriptural mandate to pray. But more than that, we have the privilege of communicating with our Heavenly Father in a way that is personal, powerful, and promise-filled!

But as much as prayer is central to the spiritual life, the Body of Christ often struggles with misaligned expectations and misunderstanding about it’s potential and it’s purpose. In Luke, the disciples had the great opportunity to ask Jesus about prayer:

Luke 11:1-14

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'”


I know this is a passage familiar to most of us; one we have read many times. But in examining the text several riveting points are made evident:

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