Our difference
If counseling is to be truly Christian, we must pursue that which is most important to God.

And that is the two commandments of scripture that cover everthything God is concerned with: "Love God with our whole heart and soul" and "our neighbor as ourselves".

At Smetlzer Counseling I am deeply committed to assisting you in your relationship with God and your relationships with other people and yourself.

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A few words about John Smeltzer
I have been counseling and helping Christians since 1966 to strengthen their relationship and walk with God, and to help resolve dilemmas that they have with themselves and other people.

I graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in psychology, from the Dallas Theological Seminary in 1966 with a ThM majoring in Greek, and from Trinity Southern with an M.A. in psychology.

After graduating from seminary, I began to pastor on church staffs which I did for over 24 years. These ranged from Bible and Baptist churches to those that embraced all of the gifts of the Spirit,working in Massachussets, Texas and California.

I was also privileged to help start two of those churches. In 1979 I began a separate counseling service in Fort Worth, Texas called the Christian Counseling Center, where I have served as a professional counselor for 31 years.

Freedom from Christian Prison is a 5 CD, 6 message series designed to help Christians discover what keeps their spiritual lives from working. In the American church we are desperate to know how the Christian life works since we are so often told what to do and believe, but not how to do what we already know in our heads. This message is meant to show that by living from our hearts, we can genuinely live the Christian life we seek

CD 1: The Nature of the Heart

The Scriptures teach truth about the heart that has long been lost for some reason to the American church. My hope is that these secrets will once again belong to the church and that the church will begin to live more fully in and from its heart so that the Lord Jesus Christ is honored and glorified as never before in the church’s history.

When I speak about the heart, I of course am not talking about the organ that pumps blood through our body. I am speaking of that immaterial, invisible part of us that is our actual personality. The heart is who we are...it is our true personality. What most people are afraid of when they think about living in their hearts is not their hearts but their flesh. No want or desire comes from the flesh; only impulses, cravings, compulsions and addictions. From the heart come wants, needs and desires. So learning these distinctions can help us greatly.

Thus, this series begins with two secrets: our heart is the real us, our real and truthful personality; …And second, this marvelous heart is also cleansed from sin and contains righteousness, both by the blood of Jesus washing the heart and by the power of the Holy Spirit who grants us Jesus’ righteousness. To embrace these truths and to begin to live life by them is historic. My prayer is that it will become true for everyone who listens to these CDs

CD 2: Living in the Heart

If living in the heart is so important, how can we do it? What are the characteristics of living in the heart? To answer, there are several: First, we must be aware of our surroundings using our five senses, the feelings in our hearts, and the random thoughts in our minds. Second, living in the heart requires risk taking. In fact I believe this may be the number one rule for living in the heart. It requires continuous and daily risk-taking. Risk-taking forces us out of our thinking and out of our false sense of security. It deliberately creates insecurity which requires trusting the heart instead of the mind. Every time we risk, we are being trained to “trust in the Lord with all our hearts,” rather than depending on our own understanding.

Third, living in the heart means trusting our hearts. If we trust our hearts then we trust the following experiences: First and foremost, we trust our inner knowing. The heart knows, the mind thinks. As Pascal said, “The heart has reasons that reason knows nothing of. Second, we trust our feelings. Third, we trust what our body senses. Fourth, we trust our wants. Fifth, we trust our need. Sixth, trust what brings you pleasure. . “whatever your had finds to do, do it with all your might” even enjoying the desires of your heart that you love and enjoy. Seventh, trust what you want to do with your life.

Fourth, living in the heart means waiting. When we live in our hearts a stillness descends into our lives. And fifth, living in the heart means friendship with Jesus. Friendship with Jesus means hearing His voice and doing what He tells you. Living in and from the heart then is what our American church needs as much as anything else. It is not complicated. It is relatively simple to learn to do this. Not easy, but simple.

CD 3: The First Reason We Do Not Live in the Heart

The first reason most of us can’t live in our hearts is because we’re religious in a negative and destructive way…I’m not talking about a religious spirit; I’m talking about you and me being so religious that we can’t walk with Jesus. The most important thing I found out (in my personal journey) is that religiosity is not a matter of behavior, but it’s a matter of the heart. I discovered over a long time that there are three conditions of the heart that make a person religious. If a Christian has a hard heart, a hidden heart and a blind heart, that person is religious, no matter what other spiritual behaviors he engages in. And I discovered to my shock that I had all three conditions in spades.

CD 4: The Second Reason We Do Not Live in the Heart

The second reason we can’t live in our hearts is because we have a style of life and a way of relating to other people that is compulsive, predictable, rigid and unworkable. We have a survival sytle of relating that is destructive. There are three choices we make when we relate to other people. In every conflict that arises, every discussion we engage in and every opportunity to choose, we either resist, we submit or we separate from the other person in the relationship. Some of us have trouble making these choices, thus we find one that is most suitable to our temperament and it becomes a rigid mode of relating to others. If we don’t feel the freedom to make all three kinds of choices in our relationships with others, then we’ll have troubled and unhealthy relationships.

CD 5: PT 1- The Third Reason We Do Not Live in the Heart

The Christian life may sound complex but it is relatively simple. It is the simple fact of Jesus Christ being asked to express His life through us as continually as our humanity will allow. When one lives through the whole heart, he is aware of the two sides of himself. He is aware first that there is a magnificent side to himself. His heart is clean, his human spirit is supplied with righteousness and his soul is purified. But there is another side to ourselves that we become increasingly aware of when we live in our full and whole hearts. This may be the single and most powerful reason that many of us do not want to live in our hearts. On the last CD, number four, I indicated from the scriptures that we are really ordinary people. God knows no super-ordinary people. Ordinary means that we are weak, limited, wounded, needy and sinful. When we live in our whole heart, we become astonishingly aware of our ordinariness.

God accepts us this way, as a sinful person. Although He does not accept our sinful behaviors or our sinful experiences, He does fully accept our sinful being. And He never changes our sinful being... Rather, He requires that we depend upon Him for everything that we need that we aren’t: our Holiness, our confidence, our security, or temper, our anger, our impatience, our lack of love, our irritability, our discouragement, our pessimism, our unbelief and so on."If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water" (Jn 7:37-39).

CD 5: PT 2- How to live in the Heart

On this CD we will discover three very important closing ideas about living in our hearts: first we will discuss the simple process that gets us into our heart, second we will see how to let Jesus live through our hearts, and finally we will briefly learn how to distinguish our flesh from our desires and our flesh from the Devil.

Learning to live in the present moment is fundamental to living in the whole heart. When we get present in the moment, when the focus of attention is on our very own experience in that moment, when we become fully aware of what we see with our physical eyes, what we hear with our ears, what we smell and taste, and what we identify as sensations of touch in our bodies, then we are on the way to becoming present in that moment.

This is essential for several reasons: First, being present immediately puts us into our hearts. It is the door to our hearts. Second, it gives us Jesus in a fresh and continuous way. Most of us don’t get Jesus experientially because we don’t live where He is. He is with us, right next to us always, and He is in us. Therefore getting present puts us in the dimension where He is. And third, we connect with others in a deeper way through our souls when we are present with other people.

The second idea that I am concluding this series with is that we consciously ask for and allow Jesus to live—not in—but through our hearts. If the Holy Spirit is not pouring the life of Jesus through our hearts moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, then it is impossible to experience the Christian life. The Christian life is the life of Jesus literally being poured through and experienced by the believer through the Holy Spirit.

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Our history plays a vital role in our adult experience. As children we absorb pain and shame; from which come false beliefs, and then we devise strategies to deal with the pain and shame. Our history needs healing.

In I Peter 1:18, Peter addresses our generational history when he tells us we have inherited "a futile way of life from our forefathers." These sins, failures and curses must be removed.

Our history damages our heart, soul, and spirit. God has given me a way to actually heal the damage done to our heart, soul and spirit through prayer.

As children we develop particular relationship styles or patterns that can be damaging and unhealthy. If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must heal our dysfunctional way of relating.

In 1992, the Lord led me away from the dual role of pastoring and counseling into full time counseling. It has been my great honor to be trained as a pastor and as a professional counselor, to have been licensed by the State of Texas, and to have understood and experienced from God Himself some of His ways of restoring and healing people, and to specialize in people's healing.

I now reside in Texas with my wife of 43 years, Joyce. I have two grown children and have been blessed with two grandchildren, Axel and Anthony.