Karl Lehman

Share Immanuel – Book Review

Share Immanuel – Book Review.

Wilder, E. James, and Coursey Chris M. 2010. Share Immanuel – The Healing Lifestyle. Pasadena, CA: Shepherd’s House.

“Share Immanuel” is the latest publication from Shepherd’s House in Pasadena, CA. It was written in collaboration by Jim Wilder (director of Shepherd’s House) and Chris Coursey (Thrive!)

Share Immanuel

The booklet has only 21 pages but is an excellent introduction to and summary of the Immanuel approach, which was developed by Dr. Karl & Charlotte Lehman and is part of the Life Model teaching at Thrive! conferences and Thriving recovery classes. It has already been used successfully in several different countries and cross-culturally situations.

The healing lifestyle of “Share Immanuel” includes only three simple steps:

  • Sitting with God
  • Sharing minds
  • Speaking

1. Sitting with God

means spending time in God’s presence, so to say “on the hill top.” This works much better as starting point for working through painful memories, than sitting in your pain, waiting for God to intervene and trying to “climb uphill.”

A good starting point is either remembering a situation where we experienced an interactive time in God’s presence (called the “Interactive memories seat”) or remembering things that fill us with appreciation (called the “Appreciation memories seat”). The later can include thankfulness for God’s gifts, or just special moments like a sunset or the smile of a child.

2. Sharing minds

means synchronizing our perspective with God, understanding how he sees things, and thereby making sense of things that trouble us. This results in “God peace” – a peace that is so perfect that you can’t improve on it.

This step often includes a “question time” with God, where we can ask him, for example, where he was in the painful moments, what keeps us from seeing him in the painful memory, and what we need to know about a certain situation. Once we have received his perspective on things, we can share the joy with others.

3. Speaking

refers to telling the Immanuel story you just experienced to others. It helps us to consolidate the new perspective and it creates hope in others.

We can tell the story from two angles: the “Once I lived in thorns” version has the bottom of the hill perspective, elaborating on all the pain we experienced – this will trigger similar memories in our listeners and depress them; while the story “What I appreciate about Immanuel” is told from the hill top perspective and encourages both story teller and listener.

This is the basic idea of “Share Immanuel.” The booklet includes of course much more, such as more details on how to tell the story, explanations on how we process pain, a chapter on solutions when you get stuck in the process, frequently asked questions, and links to more resources. I found that the booklet explains the process very well and in a way that anybody can understand, even without knowing the Life Model.

It is exciting to hear how the booklet has already been used in workshops in different countries and caused a snowball effect – participants who learned the basic steps, then shared their Immanuel story with others, and through this helped others to start “sitting with God” and experiencing Immanuel.

The booklet is a great summary and tool to share the Immanuel process with others.

 I found one phrase in the booklet especially descriptive:

 God offers hospitality!

 Let’s accept the invitation – come and sit with Him!

 The booklet can be ordered here.

Life Model Overview

Life Model Overview

Maybe you have wondered about this Life Model I keep talking about. The Life Model is “a new paradigm for spiritual and psychological health.” It was first described in  “The Life Model: Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You” by Dr. James G. Friesen, et.al. which is still the basic book on this topic, even though there is much more to it than this little booklet can cover. It is the basis of the ministry and teaching of Dr. Jim Wilder and others at the Shepherd’s House in Pasadena, CA.


I first heard about their approach in 2006 from a friend and since then read several of their publications. Last year I had the opportunity to attend their teaching classes for the first time. I have already profited so much from their teaching and ministry and can highly recommend them. Their ministry approach is a very interesting combination of their counseling experience and insights from brain science which can be helpful for any Christian to grow in their maturity and help others grow.

They also have a lot of experience in working with abuse victims and with all kinds of other areas in counseling. Their different branches of ministry are all focused on helping people break the unhealthy patterns that result from childhood trauma and other hurts. They do this by helping people learn important brain or maturity skills that we missed to learn when growing up. I believe that this can be profitable for anybody, not just for those who have experienced problems.

You can find more information on:

Shepherd’s House (counseling center) [N.B. the work was restructured in 2014 and is now called “Joy starts here“]
Life Model, Living from the heart Jesus gave you (book)
Thriving (their recovery program, developed by Ed Khouri together with Jim Wilder)
Thrive (their training conferences, organized by Chris and Jen Coursey together with others from Shepherd’s House)
Immanuel Approach (developed by Dr. Karl Lehman in collaboration with Jim Wilder) [N.B. meanwhile there is a new webpage that focuses only on the Immanuel Approach]

On these webpages you will find plenty of material to read, as well as contact addresses for counseling and training.

The class on Belonging that I have frequently mentioned in my posts is part of the Thriving program. In total, there are five modules, of which I have now attended four, even though not in the right order. I have profited from each of them. This is why I try to share some of the good stuff here on this blog.