Hope Counseling Services: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, and Introducing our Board Members!

Wes Tubel, Executive Director Hope Counseling Services

It is hard to believe it has been a year since we began our work at Hope Counseling Services. God has done so much in such a short period of time. Our mission is to bring Hope to Life through Christ-centered biblical counseling services.  

The year has been filled with laying the groundwork to sustain a long-term ministry. We’ve spent time working on our bylaws, identifying and vetting board members, establishing our center’s policies and procedures, designing our branding, launching our website, and getting the offices set up to accommodate those coming for counseling. All of these are important and necessary in order to offer a high-quality service to those seeking help.

The year has also been filled with growing opportunities to provide counseling to many in our community. Since last spring, each month has seen a growing number of people coming to Hope for counseling. It is a privilege to walk with each person, seeking to understand the particular details of each story, and having the privilege to point them to the tailored mercies Christ offers in the midst of life’s particular struggles.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share some highlights as we look back at this year, and also share some exciting things as we look ahead in 2018.

In the month of December, 70% of our available counseling hours were filled. We continue to work hard sowing seeds and spreading the word about our counseling services.

We have provided counseling for couples and individuals throughout our community, serving people from 17 different churches.

We have also had the opportunity to counsel some who do not yet know Christ. We trust that seeds planted will bear fruit in their lives and that they will turn to Christ in faith and repentance.

250 people attended our launch event in early November (including many of you!).

2017 was a fantastic start to our ministry, and we praise God for all the ways he has provided, for the opportunities to connect the riches of Christ to the realities that many are facing, and to build fruitful relationships with a number of other churches. But in many ways, the work is just beginning. Our dream is to establish a long-standing counseling center that will impact our community for Christ for decades to come. As we look ahead to this year, I also wanted to share some of things we are excited about:

Each week we receive new inquiries for counseling. We are already considering how we can increase our capacity and available counseling hours, including bringing on an additional counselor sometime later this year.

Several churches have contacted Hope Counseling Services to inquire about our training services. We are in the beginning stages of making plans to provide these trainings.

Jacklyn will be the keynote speaker at two different women’s retreats for area churches in March

And we are excited to announce that our inaugural board will begin work with five members this month. It is a privilege to introduce our board to you:

Rik Gervais: Board Chairman, Ruling Elder at CCC

Marshele Carter: CCC Member, Founder of Carolina Cause Communications, and Adjunct Professor in Public Relations at UNC

Crystal West: CCC Member, CCC Women's Bible Study leader and Women's Ministry Team member, PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher, Dance Educator

Todd Rust: Ruling Elder at Church of the Good Shepherd, Senior VP-Investment Officer, employed by Wells Fargo Advisors

Wes Tubel: CCC Member, Executive Director Hope Counseling Services.

Please continue to pray for our ministry. We want to be wise and helpful to each person who is coming to Hope for help. And we desire to be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted to us. May God give us every grace we need this year to fulfill our beautiful mission.

May the Lord lead you to your “Rehoboth.”

Bobbie Gervais, CCC Meeting Space Team member

These were the closing words in an email from a pastor concerning Christ Community’s continuing search for a home of our own in Chapel Hill. I admit I had to look up the reference to “Rehoboth”—a name unfamiliar to me. The story is about Isaac digging wells in the Valley of Gerar in search of water. Isaac’s servants would dig a well, only to be told to “move on” by local tribesmen. So, he moved on and dug another well. Again, he was told to move on. So he did and dug yet another well. Here, “. . .no one quarreled over the well, so he called its name Rehoboth, saying, ‘For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.’” (Genesis 26:22) Ahhh, yes…may the Lord lead you to your Rehoboth!

As a member of the Meeting Space Team, that has been encouraging to me. Our team—your team—is diligently looking for a home for our church, and pray that we will follow God’s lead knowing that He will make room for us. We admonish each other to trust in God to guide us, to be patient, to be responsible, to be visionaries, to be faithful. It isn’t easy! We are eager to find our “Rehoboth.”

During our congregational meeting in May, we shared with you two possible locations under consideration. One was on the north boundary of Chapel Hill while the other was at the Chatham/Orange County line. With the help of our real estate agent and engineers, we have determined neither of those specific properties is workable as a future home for CCC. However, just like Isaac, we are moving on and looking for a place to “dig another well” knowing that the Lord will make room for us. We must remain faithful and not waiver from our task.

I can only imagine that digging wells in Isaac’s day was hard work, requiring strength and perseverance. Looking for a home for CCC is no different. Our work requires strength of faith and perseverance to task. Please pray for your Meeting Space Team as we continue to dig wells in and about Chapel Hill, knowing that the Lord will make room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

Meeting Space Team: Kelli Allen, Bobbie Gervais, John Meeker, Greg Norfleet, Byron Peters, Jessie Stewart

Familiar and Outrageous Friendship

    by Byron Peters, Pastor

So what marks Christian friendship? Lots of laughs and heart-to-hearts to be sure. But truly Christ-centered friendships are perfectly comfortable with the mundane, while at the same time utterly committed to the “outrageous” truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things. Familiar and outrageous.

Today Ruby Bea and I attended the funeral of a dear friend, Beverly Headen. Beverly was the Client Services Director at PSS (Pregnancy Support Services). Though God only had her there for a couple of years, in that time she became a dear friend and was, for us as for so many, a true “counselor” who lived an outrageously Christ-centered life.

The New Testament book of Third John gives us a peek into one of these wonderful Christian friendships. The Apostle John writes his friend Gaius, and we get to read over his shoulder:

The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

See the warm, simple familiarity? “My dear friend, whom I love in the truth.” John and Gaius were very close. They were dear friends. Note well that warm greeting and honest prayer for the simple enjoyment of good health. Then that wonderful blanket prayer, “…and that all may go well with you.”

But it wasn’t just warm and familiar. John and Gaius were also engaged in an outrageously eternal work. Gaius encouraged John in the truth of God’s Word. He was also a very hospitable person. When the missionaries came through town, he willingly invited them into his home and cared for their needs. Gaius stands in sharp contrast to Diotrephes, an arrogant bully that John promises to deal with later.

But it’s the last part of that prayer that grabbed my attention this morning. The Apostle John wraps the embrace of his prayer directly around Gaius’ soul. “I prayeven as your soul is getting along well.”

What does a soul that is getting along well look like? A true friend sees it in you and prays it into you. A getting-along-well soul is both familiar with Jesus and outrageously committed to the obedience of faith. It talks with him all day long, soaks long in his Word, and will take a costly stand no matter how much the world hates you for it.

Beverly demonstrated all of this. After years in a corporate environment, God called her into ministry. She sold the dream house and car, got a Masters in Biblical Counseling, and started counseling young women whom the world had cast off.

Ruby Bea would often hear Beverly say, “Only God can do these things.” Beverly knew that, because she knew Jesus, because she knew his word, and then stepped out in radical obedience. And it’s those “outrageous” friends that are the most precious, isn’t it? Like dear Gaius. A man who loved the truth, loved the Apostle, and opened his heart and home to others.

May God make us familiar and outrageous friends.

Learning to Talk Like Jesus

Greg Norfleet, Associate Pastor

According to Scripture, “wisdom” is the art of knowing how to live, and one behavior that the Book of Proverbs is especially concerned to highlight and transform is the way we speak. Since God is the speaking God, and since we are created in his image, key questions confront us: Does the content of our talk image God’s truth, and does the intent of our talk image God’s love. The words that we speak are never neutral: They are either wise (a truth spoken to build up) or foolish (a lie spoken to tear down).
 
When we follow the thematic thread of “wisdom” from the Book of Proverbs to where it leads in the New Testament, we find that wisdom comes to full expression in the person of Jesus. In him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom” (Colossians 2:3). So, having been united to Jesus by the Holy Spirit, and by drawing daily from Jesus by faith, we can grow up in the wisdom that walks and talks like Jesus!
 
As we survey the Book of Proverbs with an eye toward growing in wise, Christ-like speech, what emerge are both a vision to pursue and a method to employ. The vision set before us? “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (25:25). Like a city planted beside and nourished from the river that runs through it, so the Book of Proverbs envisions God’s people planted beside and nourished from a river of wise counsel infused with Good News: “Take heart; your God reigns!” (cf. Isaiah Isa 52:7). And the method to guide us? Proverbs outlines at least three principles.
 
First, Proverbs calls us to listen carefully before we speak: “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (18:13). What is more, we must listen carefully in two directions. One the one hand, we are to probe and pay close attention to God’s Word, “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (2:6). On the other hand, we are to probe and pay close attention to our neighbor’s heart, for “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (20:5).
 
Second, Proverbs calls us to think biblically before we speak: “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things” (15:28). Failing to match a true word with a real need pays a great price: “Whoever sings to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda” (25:20). But, wisely connecting the word of truth to the need of the hour reaps a great reward: “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances (25:11; cf. 15:23).
 
Finally, having listened carefully and pondered biblically, Proverbs calls us to speak truth lovingly. In some cases, speaking truth in love looks like coming alongside to comfort. For example, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (12:25); “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (16:24); “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend” (27:9). In other cases, speaking truth in love looks like coming head-on to confront. For example, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips” (24:26); “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (27:5); “He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue” (28:23).
 
Oh, the beauty and utility of wisdom that talks like Jesus! Curious to learn more? Join us this Sunday, August 27th, from 9:15 to 10:25 a.m., in the Franklin Room, as we begin a six-week Adult Sunday School that explores how the Holy Spirit transforms the way we speak.