Article

Desires

One of the better- known verses in the Bible is Psalm 37:4 which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (ESV). This seems straight forward to most people. Basically, if you put God first, you’ll get what you want in life. Maybe you desire a better relationship with your spouse. If you are single, you just want to be married. Perhaps you desire a better job or more income. It could even be ministry aspirations if you are a pastor or ministry leader. Whatever those desires are, it seems that they are accepted carte blanche as long as they aren’t overtly sinful. For example, we can all identify “bad” desires like lust or greed. However, if we peer deeper into the desire for a better relationship with someone, it might reveal a more hidden motivational desire such as acceptance. Is it ok to desire acceptance? If you delight in God, will he automatically give this to you? For some of you, God has been like a divine genie who grants your wishes— as long as you play by his rules. But God is after your heart, and he intends to change you.

The Nature of Desires

Biblical counselor, David Powlison, used to say that we can often miss the “rather than God” element common to many desires. In others words, you can desire something rather than God, as if God and the focus of your desire are separate things.  Scripture calls this kind of desire a fleshly desire (Gal. 5:16). However, there are also Spirit desires which are oriented toward God alone and are put in us by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:17). This means that good and bad desires may not be as easy to detect as once thought. In fact, you may be deceived by your own desires and even your own heart (James 1:14; Jer. 17:9-10). So, how do we know when a desire is good or bad?

Testing Desires

If we look back at Psalm 34:7, we see that it has an order to it. It starts with delight in God. The opposite of a fleshly desire is a desire that is from and to God. If God is at the center, then it redefines the nature of our desires. This is where things often get confusing for us. How do we know when a desire is from and to God? One way to find out is to look at your responses when you do not get what you want. If you have ever been around little kids before, you probably know what I am talking about. Everything is going so well until you take away the prized possession (and you thought they just liked your company!). We are willing to put up with a lot as long as we get what we want in the end. With God, we are never disappointed. There is nothing he lacks, and he offers it all to us in various forms. If we know this, we will be satisfied even though external circumstances do not seem to be in our favor. However, if our desires are based in something other than God, they are sure to be disappointed. When this disappointment comes, how do you respond? Do you throw a fit? Slander the people who let you down? Scream at your kids for not being thankful enough? Shame your congregation for not giving enough to the church fund? The list goes on for how we respond when fleshly desires are not met. James sums this up so well when he says, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:1-2).

Transforming Our Desires from Tangible to Transcendent

Since everyone is guilty of having fleshly desires, how can we change to have Spirit desires? This is the point at which God must constantly transform our desires from being focused on the tangible (flesh) and reorient them to the transcendent (Spirit). The actual nature of the desire must change. This means that we cannot simply change the object of our desire (spouse, ministry, sex, success, money, etc.), rather the entire desire itself must change. You might be asking how this relates to a deeper desire like acceptance. Acceptance is not, in and of itself, a bad thing to desire. However, it can become a bad thing when it is desired rather than God. Perhaps C.S. Lewis explains this best when he says, “No natural feelings are high or low, holy or unholy, in themselves. They are all holy when God’s hand is on the rein. They all go bad when they set up on their own and make themselves into false gods” (from his book The Great Divorce).

Where and How this Transformation Takes Place

This transformation is a change of heart. Desires do not truly change if the heart is not involved. The changed heart is God-oriented instead of self-oriented. It is inclined toward righteousness instead of unrighteousness. This is sanctification, and it is located in the heart since the heart relates to the moral aspect of being human. This brings us back to Psalm 34:7. If we start with delighting in God, it reshapes the whole context of our desires. Does God simply meet any desire you may have, or does God change your desire as you delight in him? The best news we have in the Gospel is not that God gives us everything we’ve ever wanted; rather, it is that he transforms our lowly desires into something we never could have imagined.

Do you desire this?

Daniel Kim

김 다니엘 목사는 이민 1.5세로 초등학교 3학년 시기에 미국으로 가족들과 이민을 왔습니다. 청소년 시기에 목회자이신 아버지의 교회 개척을 돕고 섬기던 도중 하나님을 뜨겁게 만났고 복음의 능력을 경험하게 되었습니다. 청년기에는 목회자가 되기 위해 필라델피아에 위치한 웨스트민스터 (Westminster Theological Seminary) 신학교에서 목회학 석사와 상담학 석사를 전공하였습니다. 그는 15년동안 EM과 청소년, 가정 사역 및 상담 사역을 병행해왔습니다. 지금은 남침례 신학교 (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)에서 성경적 상담학으로 박사학위 (Ph.D.)를 취득 중이며 커넥션 포인트 성경적 상담& 교육 센터 (Connection Point Biblical Counseling& Training Center)에서 상담과 교육을 담당하여 섬기고 있습니다.

그는 우울증, 불안, 영적 침체와 같은 삶의 문제에 대해 상담하는 것을 좋아하며 십대와 그들의 부모가 겪는 독특한 어려움을 헤쳐 나갈 수 있도록 돕는 데 열정을 쏟고 있습니다. 그는 또한 목회자들과 사모님들이 하나님 나라를 위한 상처받은 치유자로 훈련될 수 있도록 돕는데 특별한 마음을 갖고 있습니다.

그는 아내 이루리 사모와 함께 성경적 상담 사역을 통해 조지아와 미주 지역을 섬기는 비전을 가지고 있습니다.

Lorna Hall

Lorna Hall is a Biblical Counselor who believes that God speaks through his Word about every issue we face in life.  She believes in supporting her clients by using the treasures of Scripture to address the normal and the not-so-normal trials of everyday life.

 Lorna has cared for family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances for over twenty years.  Over the years, this gift of caring has established Godly relational trust with those in her care. 

Her early educational background was in the business world.  The required attention to detail in the business world gained her leverage in caring for others.  She responded to the Spirit’s direction to formally build on the years of lay care experience by enrolling in programs that would bring added value to time spent with those in need.  She enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and graduated as a certified health coach.  This certification improved her understanding of our humanness.  After gaining that training, she enrolled, graduated, and received her certification as a Biblical Counselor, Level One, through the Association of Biblical Counseling.  Currently, she is finalizing her certification as a Level Two Biblical Counselor.  The combination of these certification paths supports her as she counsels the whole person.

She is active in her local church’s ministrys leadership, where she teaches and leads the Women’s Ministry.  She has been married to Robert for over forty years, and they have had the incredible privilege of raising two children.

Lorna’s mission is to see her fellow brothers and sisters encouraged and changed by connecting God and his Word in the most challenging places of life.

Ruth Lee

Ruth moved to New York from South Korea to pursue a career as a fashion designer, enrolling at Parsons School of Design during her college years. However, God had a different plan for her. After wrestling with the complexities of her identity as an immigrant and a pastor’s wife for several years, she discovered her true identity as a citizen of God’s kingdom and a sojourner in this life. Upon embracing this newfound identity in Christ, she discovered a profound purpose—to share God’s comfort, hope, and truth with those facing challenges of depression, anxiety, and isolation— as a biblical counselor. Although she wishes to provide Christ-centered healing through biblical counseling to all who are hurting, she has a special place in her heart for fellow pastors’ wives.

Ruth is currently finishing her master’s degree in biblical counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

God has blessed her life to be a sister, friend, and mother of her two daughters. She loves writing on her blog (ourhopestory.com), sharing hope in Christ, and offering biblical counseling resources for the Korean community. She also enjoys going for walks with her husband.

Lainey Greer

Hi I’m Lainey Greer, and my faith in Jesus Christ sets the foundation for all I do. My educational background from a bachelor’s in exercise science to a PhD in systematic theology greatly shapes everything you see here. Plus, my 20 years of nutrition advising and personal training paired with over 10 years working in the local church have given me the experiences that drive what I do today.

My aim is simple. I want to equip you with a biblical and theological foundation for the body matters and then extend that knowledge to areas of practical application. Christians believe in created bodies, an embodied Savior, and bodily resurrection. Given these truths, we should seek to glorify God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20), which impacts daily, practical realities. Laying biblical groundwork for your body is vital to daily realities and motivates the writing and speaking I do, along with the workshops, Understand Healthy, and the other services I provide.

Laura Andrews

Laura grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO. She holds a Master of Divinity degree in Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri. 

She has been counseling, coaching, teaching, and writing since 2009, and was a faculty member at CCEF and a lecturer in Biblical Counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary. 

She lives in the greater Philadelphia area and loves gardening with her husband, Joel, and their son and daughter. 

Joe Brinkmann

Joe is a Midwesterner at heart and will always be rooting for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Perhaps more than sports, Joe enjoys reading theology, making music, and learning about what makes people tick. Most of his time is spent being a dad to his five kids and a husband to Stephanie. He has spent a good bit of his adult life in ministry both domestically and internationally including the last four years as a pastor. Joe graduated from Wheaton College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling). Joe holds an Advanced Certification from the Association of Biblical Counselors.

Although he is always up for addressing whatever God may be doing in a person’s life, Joe has a particular desire to help leaders who may be struggling. Sometimes the most crucial needs go unnoticed (or ignored), and it can be difficult to trace our steps to where things went wrong. Joe likes to help when people find themselves in these places and see where Jesus will lead them. Additionally, he has special concern for individuals, marriages, and families that have been wounded by multiple forms of abuse in the home and in the church. 

Sarah May

Besides writing, Sarah loves traveling with her family, exploring the outdoors, watching sports of all kinds, weightlifting, gardening, decorating, and having any conversation over a cup of tea. Her passion for seeing potential in unfinished spaces is not just relegated to the decorating world. Though Sarah has a heart to walk through the muck with others through any type of suffering, she is especially burdened for children and teens, as well as those struggling with parenting, parent/child relationships, identity, understanding felt emotion, life transitions, and infidelity. Her greatest desire is for individuals to see their worth in Christ, understand they are uniquely gifted because of the significance God has created in them for His Kingdom, and that in any situation, you are never alone.

Sarah graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and has spent the majority of her professional career working with children, adolescents, and teens in public and private schools as well as church environments as a teacher, children’s director, mentor, and group leader. Sarah has completed all of the coursework for an M.A in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northcentral University and holds a Level 2 certification through the Association of Biblical Counselors. Sarah is also a published author, and her book There is Always Hope has been ranked #1 in New Christian Counseling literature on Amazon.

Danielle Sheets

Danielle was born and raised in Michigan, graduating from Capital University with degrees in Psychology and Sociology. She has lived all over the United States in her many years of marriage, and wherever God has taken her, Danielle has always had a heart for the isolated, the overlooked, and the sufferers. She was inspired to begin counseling by a counselor who ministered to her during one of life’s many difficult seasons, and after graduating from Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling), she began counseling regularly in her local church and in her surrounding community. Danielle is passionate about pointing sufferers to Jesus and the rest He gives to those He loves.

In her free time, Danielle enjoys spending time with her family, British tea and literature, working on home improvement projects, and traveling to new places. Danielle and her husband have six children and currently live in North Metro Atlanta. Throughout her experiences as a friend and a counselor, Danielle has come to love serving women struggling in their faith, women of all ages who are bemused by life, young adults seeking guidance as they launch into life, and parents experiencing parenting issues. In all her work, Danielle desires to see Christ magnified, His People blessed, and the Church strengthened to the glory of God. 

Kathy Tufts

Kathy grew up in Northeastern Ohio, but a military man took her on an adventure around the country.  After 27 years of military moves, she and her husband, Winfield, have called Georgia  home for the last 20 years.  They have three adult sons, 3 wonderful daughters-in-law, and 5 adorable grandchildren. Kathy has a passion to walk alongside women in every season of life – from single women and young moms to empty nesters and every season in between.  Her desire is to help people see who they are in Christ and to find their fulfillment in Him.  In this fast paced world, there is hope and rest to be found in Christ.

Kathy holds Advanced certification with CCEF and Level 1 certification with ABC. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Theological Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary and her Level 2 certification with ABC.

In her free time, Kathy’s favorite pastime is time spent with her family.  She loves to have people in her home for a good meal or a cup of coffee and chat.  When she’s not spending time with her grandchildren, she loves to be outside and hiking, biking, or trying something new. 

Connection Point Ministry Biblical Counseling Atlanta Georgia

Angela Shelton - Founder

Angela is a woman with big dreams, a big family, and a big heart. She grew up in rural Alabama and became a believer in Christ at a young age. She graduated from Auburn University (B.S. Psychology), Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling), and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Angela holds an Advanced Certification with the Association of Biblical Counselors and has recently been approved as a certified trainer for aspiring biblical counselors.

When her nose is not in a book, Angela enjoys gardening, beekeeping, home improvement projects, and spending time with her large family. She is married to Brad and they have ten children and two grandchildren. Though she counsels many different issues, her counseling passion is to help adults and families overcome the trauma of sexual abuse. Angela’s desire is to peer below the surface to uncover the depths of a person’s heart and then link that person’s broken heart to the true Comforter and Healer.

Steve Worth

Steve is a fellow image-bearer of our Creator, who thoughtfully connects with people when they are experiencing the complexities of life. He has a heart for people who have experienced trauma and has worked with foster and adoptive families. Walking alongside men, pastors, ministry leaders, couples, teenage boys, and others is a passion for Steve.

Steve grew up as a missionary kid in Scotland. He loves traveling and learning about people and places. Besides his wife and two daughters, some of his loves in life are outdoor adventures, drinking quality coffee and considering a good story in print or film. 

He has degrees from Napier and Heriot-Watt Universities in Scotland and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling). Steve holds an Advanced Certification with the Association of Biblical Counselors. He enjoyed an internship with the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) prior to contract counseling with CCEF in Pennsylvania and Montana between 2013 and 2014. Steve has also provided informal counseling in church settings. For the past ten years, Steve has worked in child welfare, most recently with foster families providing respite. Steve loves spending time with someone long enough to hear their heart and help them see Jesus and his renewing faithfulness in the uniqueness of their own story.

Trisha Adams

After fourteen years in ministry, Trisha is pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling from RTS, in view of becoming an Advanced Certified Biblical Counselor. She is passionate about seeing the beauty of the gospel mending our shattered world. She is a deep conversationalist and thinker, and loves Jesus and people, especially teens, young adults, foreigners, and the elderly. Every person and every story is miraculous. She has a soft heart particularly for those navigating grief and loss, and believes in the power of walking together as we navigate complicated relationships, and our embodied human experiences and circumstances.  

Trisha has spent a decade in Colorado where she met her husband, before moving to Thailand, and is now currently settled near family in Georgia. She has a bachelor’s degree in music education as well as a master’s of music performance in percussion from Colorado State University. Her education has been used in middle and high school public education, senior citizen education, as well as music director for a local church, in addition to performing and touring with multiple bands as well as solo performances. Her personal and professional interests have led to a variety of vocations including a backpacking guide in the Rockies, ministry training in Nepal coordinating youth, college, and young adult ministries, working with missionaries, foreigners, and refugees at home and abroad, and even in biopharma with the FDA. Her favorite way to spend free time is either reading on her back porch, exploring new contemporary art exhibits, or going on prayer walks, alone or with her husband, usually through botanical gardens with coconut La Croix and Welch’s fruit snacks. 

Shaylee Harper

Shaylee is active in her rural community of Littlefield, Texas. She grew up in a farming family and continues that legacy with her husband, Chris. They have four children and three grandchildren. Shaylee enjoys reading, cooking, community service, and good conversations. Shaylee attended Lubbock Christian University. She graduated Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling), and holds an Advanced Certification with the Association of Biblical Counselors.  Shaylee is a lifelong learner who is always looking for opportunities to continue in education. 

Shaylee works with Connection Point Covington as a remote counselor. She counsels many different issues and welcomes those who are overwhelmed with life and underwhelmed with God. Her own experiences of raising a child with autism, infertility, losing a parent, and being a caretaker of those with mental illness shape her work as a counselor. 

Daniel Kim

Daniel has been a pastor for over fifteen years, serving families and youth through biblical counseling in the New York City and Philadelphia area. He is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. and M.Div) and currently pursuing his Ph.D. in biblical counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

He was born in South Korea and raised in New York City, where his faith was tested and strengthened while assisting his father’s church plant throughout his high school years. Although he has a love for counseling individuals with any life issues, such as depression, anxiety, and spiritual guidance, his passion is in helping teenagers and their parents in navigating through their unique struggles. He also has a special place in his heart for counseling pastors and their wives to help them rise as wounded healers for God’s Kingdom.

Daniel is happily married to Ruth, and they have two beautiful daughters, Ellie and Sharon. He enjoys reading, watching movies, and going for walks with his wife and children.