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The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience Paperback – October 3, 2016
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“Scripture commands us to pay careful attention not only to our actions but also to our hearts. Yet, as many Christians know, the fight against indwelling sin can be one of the most challenging and exhausting aspects of the Christian life. In this book, Jeremy Pierre shows us how to deal with our hearts according to the truths of the Gospel. This book, firmly committed to the sufficiency and authority of Scripture, is a needed resource for the church.”
R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“In The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life, Jeremy Pierre wonderfully describes how a heart with dynamic faith will so value things that God finds valuable that God becomes the ‘control desire’ in human experience, emotion, and choice. This insight provides not simply an understanding of human motivation but a profoundly helpful tool for transformative Christian counseling.”
Bryan Chapell, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church; author, Holiness by Grace and Christ-Centered Preaching
“I am delighted to see this book in print. Jeremy Pierre has ministered to me as a friend and colleague much more than he realizes. Now, through this book, many others can see why he is so appreciated by his students, seminary associates, and fellow church members. In these pages pastors, counselors, caretakers, and just about anyone who works with people will find help to better understand the heart and experience of the person in front of them, and thereby be more fully equipped to minister Christ to that person.”
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Praying the Bible
“There is nothing more important in counseling and Christian growth than understanding what God’s Word says about the heart. That is why I am excited and thankful for Jeremy Pierre’s new book. He thoroughly unpacks what Scripture says about the heart and then brings to light how we can practically fulfill this instruction in our counseling and in our everyday life. I highly recommend it and look forward to using this volume in many aspects of local church ministry.”
Steve Viars, Senior Pastor, Faith Church, Lafayette, Indiana
“Thoughts. Emotions. Choices. All three are important aspects of human experience. Overlook one or more aspects, and ministry to struggling people will be truncated at its best and dangerous at its worst. In this well-organized resource, Jeremy Pierre paints a three-dimensional picture of our hearts in relation to God, self, others, and the circumstances of life. In so doing he gives pastors, counselors, and other leaders a helpful, Christ-centered framework for wise and balanced ministry.”
Michael R. Emlet, Faculty and Counselor, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF); author of CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet
“Christians are privileged today to have access to many books that are true and helpful. But every now and then a book comes along that is truly brilliant. The Dynamic Heart is such a book. Dr. Pierre expertly weds a theology of the soul and an explanation of the practice of personal care to create one of the most important books ever written in the biblical counseling movement. Every student and practitioner of counseling needs to become familiar with the concepts in this book.”
Heath Lambert, Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Florida; Executive Director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
“In this illuminating work, Pierre shines a light on our hearts so that we have a more profound understanding of both others and ourselves. Still, this book is not fundamentally about human beings but about human beings in relationship with God. As a master teacher, Pierre helps us think through what it means practically for God to be the Lord of our hearts and the Lord of our lives. What a delight to read a book that is written so clearly, and the illustrations and anecdotes bring home wonderfully the message of the book. At the same time, Pierre is faithful biblically and theologically. Counselors, pastors, and, yes, all Christians will want to read this book.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
“Jeremy Pierre’s masterful piece, The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life, offers a theologically robust, intellectually rich, and conceptually accessible model of human psychology that is thoroughly biblical in nature. This book offers both counselor and counselee a comprehensive assessment of the inner dynamics at play upon the human experience while providing, thoughtful, practical wisdom in applying scriptural truth to that aspect of our humanity known most deeply by God alone—the heart. A genuinely enlightening read.”
Jeremy Lelek, President, Association of Biblical Counselors
“Dysfunction occurs when a heart’s worship design is directed away from God and toward self,” says Pierre. This book is packed with biblical wisdom, keen observations, pastoral sensitivity and understanding, and practical applications into very complex issues in order to help the counselor and counselee move from the fallen dynamics of the heart to the joyful experience of the redeemed soul. Definitely, it is the best I have seen in this field.”
Miguel Núñez, Senior Pastor International Baptist Church of Santo Domingo; President, Wisdom & Integrity Ministries
What a load of wisdom—biblical, theological, psychological, and relational—is contained within this book! It may be the most comprehensive treatment of the human heart written by a Christian counselor in our day. Evident throughout is the guidance of a thoughtful, godly, caring, and open-hearted Christian, guided himself by deep biblical convictions. It will be widely recognized as an outstanding contribution to biblical counseling literature.
Eric L. Johnson, Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“If we understand other people accurately we will be nearly over-whelmed by the complexity of their lives—Dr. Pierre wants us to get close to the brink as a way to walk humbly with those we help. But then, like an experienced pastor-teacher, he takes us into sound doc-trine and actually equips us to know and help with wisdom and love.”
Edward T. Welch, CCEF faculty; psychologist; best-selling author
“Jeremy Pierre understands that in order to shepherd the flock, the pastor must also be a doctor of souls. In this book he provides bibli¬cal knowledge, shows how to make a proper diagnosis, and sharpens our skills in prescribing the remedy Scripture provides. It is a must-read for all involved in pastoral care. I recommend it with unreserved enthusiasm.”
Alistair Begg, Senior Minister, Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
“We’ve all had this thought many times, no doubt: How profoundly helpful it would be to understand better why people (including you) do, and say, and act, and feel, the way we do. Even better, how liberating it would be to see what can be done to help people (including you) change and grow in human wholeness and Christlikeness. Jeremy Pierre’s The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life provides such perspective, and I can guarantee every reader that they will benefit greatly in self-understanding from reading this profound, biblical, sane, and insightful book. One will find here a theology of the heart, a theology of human experience, and a theology of counseling that is revolutionary. For your own heart’s sake, and for the benefit of others you have the privilege to help in their growth, I strongly encourage a careful reading of this excellent primer on the human heart.”
Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“This book explores the deepest recesses of the human heart. Why do we love what we do? Why do we choose what we do? Why can't we seem to change? From other guides, such an exploration could be depressing and scary or abstract and irrelevant. This book is different. Drawing from a deep grasp of the gospel and years of experience with people, Jeremy Pierre presents a wise, hopeful, joyful map for change. Read this, and march on toward renewal.”
Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
About the Author
Jeremy Pierre, PhD, is Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling and Dean of Students at Southern Seminary. He is also a pastor at Clifton Baptist Church. He is coauthor of The Pastor and Counseling. He and his wife Sarah raise their five children in Louisville, Kentucky.
Top customer reviews
The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life is about the desires of the heart and how they can lead to problems in life. The book offers guidance about how one can counsel someone else and help that person to identify and apply Christ-centered solutions.
A strength of the book is that it highlights the importance of appreciating where people are. Simply telling people to stop sinning and to obey the Bible does not necessarily work, according to Pierre, although those are ultimate goals. Helping people to identify the desires of their heart and the role that they play in their decisions, by contrast, can be effective. For instance, are they obsessed with approval from others, and this is why they are angry? Do they play video games a lot because that gives them a sense of accomplishment, which they are not getting at work?
In terms of spiritual guidance, a biblical counselor can help people to clarify their views on God and prayer, in order to assist them in dealing with any roadblocks in their Christian walk. Pierre has a lot of narrative in the book, but he also includes thoughtful questions that a biblical counselor can ask. A point that Pierre makes is that a Christian worldview can enable people to place their struggles in some sort of perspective: to focus on glorifying God, rather than just on themselves and whether their own desires are being met.
Pierre is clear that this is a process and that many people do not do it perfectly. Pierre also acknowledges that such a Christ-centered approach will not solve every problem: a person with clinical depression may still be clinically depressed, for instance, but she can still glorify God, and perhaps even be closer to God on account of her depression. Pierre seems open to the possibility that his suggestions can help non-believers, too, but he says that the help would have limitations, in their case: one can do righteous things without being a Christian, and God’s common grace can help a non-Christian, but a transformed heart that accompanies spiritual regeneration is what can enable a person to love God and to desire and do God’s will.
The book had positive and constructive insights about how one can look at life and other people. For instance, the book talked about how people can fall into ruts when they are isolated, how church can be a place where people value others apart from their social status, and how we should view people realistically, yet charitably. The author was honest about his own personality flaws. And the book was clear, yet it had a sophisticated prose, which can give readers a sense that they are reading something substantive. I cannot say that this book taught me anything earth-shakingly new, but I was edified in reading it. This book perhaps can help people to organize and to clarify what they already know to be true. If they lack previous familiarity with the sorts of points that Pierre makes, on the other hand, then they will learn something new.
In terms of critiques, the book could have been more specific about some things. How, for instance, can Christ meet the desires that people are seeking to meet elsewhere? What exactly is it about Christ that does that? Pierre says that people should seek to build others up in the Lord, but what does that mean, on an interpersonal level? Pierre may feel that he answered these questions, and maybe he did, on some level. The book has its share of constructive insights: about gratitude to God and service to others, as well as the importance of dependence on God in spiritual struggles. Still, after reading the book, the sense that I get is that Pierre diagnosed the problem well, and he effectively showed that people need something constructive apart from their self-centered desires to focus on. The Christ-centered solution to distorted human desires, however, perhaps could have been better developed.
Pierre seems to write from a Reformed, Calvinist perspective, and there is nothing wrong with that, necessarily. Still, there was a case in the book when he was using his Calvinism to help people to feel better, when it could potentially raise some troubling questions. For example, he encouraged victims of abuse to think about God’s justice and hatred of sin, but then he also said: “[God’s] relationship to evil events is indirect: he withholds the common grace of his righteous character directing the actions of people created to be like him” (page 172). Does that imply that God somehow causes evildoing? Perhaps such a thought can encourage a victim that God has a plan for horrible experiences (not to put words in Pierre’s mouth), or to rest in God’s sovereignty. Still, a number of people would find that concept troubling.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Cross Focused Reviews. My review is honest.
In this book, Pierre writes about three main dynamics that interplay in our hearts. He refers to these dynamics as cognitive, affective and volitional. We could also label them thinking, feeling, and intentions. He says that, as we counsel other believers, we often find that we are paying more attention to the outer action that caused the problem than to the inner beliefs and feelings that caused a response. This creates a lopsided approach to counseling. After all, an angry person knows that they need to be less angry, and they may even be bewildered by their own fits of rage. Yet, they may not understand enough about themselves and their inner heart life to be able to make the change that they want to make. How do we help connect needed changes to people’s hearts and allow them to be able to be transformed?
Pierre’s book proceeds to be divided into three main sections. In the first, he discusses the dynamic functions of the heart and how we experience life. The second section of the book bring up what our heart responds to–God, self, others and circumstances. The final section of the book lays out a methodology for ministry and counseling. It’s the practical section where we can address our problems.
I really enjoyed the reading of this book. I don’t think that I realized how often my responses to myself and to others are shaped by something that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual interaction that I’ve just had. Instead, my beliefs and feelings are always shaping my heart’s response, and those that I interact with are not always able to see why I have reacted in a way that seems to be unhelpful, overblown or simply wrong. I think, as a result of reading this book, I will be far more able to evaluate myself before I make a response to others that would seem a little off. I will also be able to evaluate others in my interactions with them and extend grace much more freely than I have before. In my interpersonal ministry and discipleship, I have more questions to ask to help those that I work with evaluate their actions in light of the different aspects of their heart, and that is never a bad thing.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.