(Part 10 of 10 from the article, “Through the Eyes of Heaven: Does ‘Talking It Through to Find Peace’ bring Shalom?”) By Jim Wilder and Ed Khouri

Having explained the practices, pitfalls, and perils of talking things through to find “peace,” let’s turn our attention to resources that can help. These materials encourage the development of healthy grace-filled, joyful, and loving attachments in small group settings. Within such spiritual communities, healthy identities are formed, and sustainable transformation is experienced. Together, followers of Jesus can practice and share God’s presence, grace, love, and peace.

As we pointed out in the previous blog, not all small groups are the same. Some are designed for participants who have not learned to manage emotions in healthy, relational ways. Others may just be starting a journey into recovery from significant life trauma or addictions. Still more may be in an acute crisis. While it can be important for participants in such groups to talk about problems, we must structure and lead them with a focus on solutions – and not the endless recitation of crises and painful emotions.

It is also quite helpful to offer classes teaching Immanuel Prayer. In these classes, students learn to talk with God about the issues of everyday life. As they practice, their connection with Jesus grows stronger. Students then learn to interact with Him about increasingly difficult areas of life. They discover how to share intense pain and emotions with Him – and find peace in Him.

Becoming a Face of Grace: Navigating Lasting Relationships with God and Others (Print and Kindle versions, and related podcasts.)

This book introduces individuals and small groups to the realities of a grace-driven, Presence-filled life. It establishes the connection between grace, healthy attachments with God and others, and the development of a grace-filled individual and group identity. Each chapter of the book contains small group activities to help groups experience and share grace. This is an excellent resource for groups who are just starting to meet and is available in both print and Kindle versions.

Beyond Becoming: A Field Guide to Sustainable, Transformational, Communities (Print and Kindle versions, and Beyond Becoming Worksheets.)

Beyond Becoming contains a working blueprint for small groups intentional about transformation. The book explains the biblical concepts and recommended structures for developing small groups. It also lists activities to help participants experience and share God’s presence and grace. This book is available in both print and Kindle and provides a foundation for developing groups to serve those who complete a “Becoming a Face of Grace” study.

The Weight of Leadership: How Codependency and Misplaced Mercy Undermine Life and Ministry. (Print and Kindle versions, and related podcasts.)

This book provides an excellent grace-based foundation for leaders of all kinds—including those who facilitate small groups. The Weight of Leadership can help small group leaders avoid codependent behaviors and misguided rescue missions that destroy small groups. It also helps leaders learn to lead from a place of grace, peace, and rest. It is available in print and Kindle.

The Pandora Problem (and Companion Guide for group study)

Forming a Christian group identity that does not justify itself or live from appearances is explained from a spiritual viewpoint along with brain development and function. The Companion Guide provides weeks of study for the concepts and sets of exercises for small groups to practice and learn who God created us to be.

Escaping Enemy Mode (Free study guide PDF and podcasts are available HERE)

This book, downloadable free study guide, and podcasts (Moody Press) address how we develop “as-if” kinds of avatar selves to look better, get results, and increase our status in our own eyes. We pretend to be bigger and better than we are when we feel threatened by people who might not be on our side. How to help ourselves and others escape this enemy mode of thinking and become our best selves is carefully laid out, along with ways to learn and practice.

The Other Half of Church (and podcasts)

This book and supporting podcasts offered by Moody Press have become the most downloaded podcast the publisher offers. This book outlines the five relational nutrients every church needs to transform character in participants.

The Life Model: Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You

This book includes a discussion guide to the five things needed to thrive along with weekly exercises to help us escape fear motivations through love and following God’s mind instead of trying to calculate the best thing for us to do.

Thank you for reading this whole series! Check back next week for more blog posts and updates!

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