When praying about a theme and key verse for my counseling practice I finally settled on 1 Peter 1:3, "In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (TNIV). Thus, I named my counseling practice, Living Hope Family Therapy and Counseling. My desire, as I work with individuals, couples, and families, is that through our time together they might find a hope for their situation that truly brings life. My hope is that through our time together my clients might discover and experience the full meaning of this verse. There are a number of things to be considered...
In his great mercy... The beginning of a new day (a new life) for each of us is the realization of God's mercy for us. He loves us. He cares for us. He can forgive us. In short, He wants the best for us. No matter what we have done or what is going on in our life, God's mercy is available for us.
he has given us a new birth... John proclaims this truth: "to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God." Or, as Jesus described to Nicodemus, it is possible for us to be "born again." We can have a whole new start from our disappointing and troubled past.
into a living hope... This means that we not only have a whole new start in life; we now can have a whole new attitude, or way of life. We now have a life that is hope-filled, not one marred by guilt and despair. We live in the light of a hope that is alive and guides every decision and situation we face.
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. One of the most challenged and researched facts of history is the event of Christ's resurrection. Skeptics have tried to disprove it. Agnostics try to ignore it. Non-believers simply don't want to think about it. But all who acknowledge and embrace it find the mercy, life, and hope the resurrection can bring.
So, as both a pastor and a therapist I am excited about Easter Sunday. I am excited because both through the fellowship of the church and through the intimacy of the counseling office, I have the opportunity to see lives transformed by the power of the Risen Lord! My hope for each of us this day is that we will discover anew the Living Hope which comes through resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.