Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life (Study Guide with Leader's Notes)

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Every honest Christian knows the need for change. But how to get there? How do you move forward from struggles both big and small? And how does our faith in God impact our everyday thoughts, feelings, and actions?

This six-session small group resource gives participants an opportunity to reflect on one particular area in their lives and then to learn more about how God changes us to become more like Jesus. All of us struggle to love God and those around us, but God has promised to keep working on us. And God always keeps his promises.

The change his gospel produces will make your life and your relationships truly beautiful. This self-contained resource with leader’s notes will encourage small group participants to understand and apply a biblical view of change to their lives and relationships.

Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life is based on the CCEF model of change from David Powlison’s course, Dynamics of Biblical Change. The easy-to-use six lesson format and included leader’s guide encourages participants toward an honest discussion of their own struggles while providing an understanding of how a relationship with Christ brings change. 

Topics addressed include understanding how we typically respond to trouble, how the cross of Christ brings comfort, help, and change, and how we can grow to be like Christ in the hardest circumstances.


Andrew Nicholls, MA, MB, BChir, is a former doctor and pastor who is now the director of pastoral care at Oak Hill Theological College, London. He is married to Hilary, and they have two children.

Helen Thorne, BSc (Hons), MA, is the director of training and mentoring at London City Mission. She is a trustee of Biblical Counselling UK and involved in pastoral care within her local church. She is an experienced speaker and author of Purity Is Possible5 Things to Pray for Your City, and Walking with Domestic Abuse Sufferers.

David Powlison (1949–2019) was a teacher, counselor, and the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He wrote many books and minibooks, including Speaking Truth in Love; Seeing with New EyesPower Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual WarfareThe Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context; Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness; Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken;and God’s Grace in Your Suffering. David was also the editor of The Journal of Biblical Counseling. 


"Real Change is an excellent short course for applying the truth of the Bible to the struggles of everyday life. Not only is it thoroughly biblical in its content, it is inescapably applied to the ordinary growth of the Christian life. If you want to be challenged to grow in godliness, it's a terrific resource."
Dan Wells, Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Richmond, UK

"Do you have a tricky colleague at work? Are you worrying about Christmas with the family? Real Change enables you to connect the gospel of Jesus Christ to the real situations in your life. To see how your heart is responding to your situation, to learn what God is teaching you through your circumstances and to interact with him as he changes you."
Zena Schofield, Biblical Counselling Coordinator, Beeston Free Church; consultant psychiatrist, National Health Service

"Having taken CCEF's Dynamics of Biblical Change course as a student and having it taught several times as a Recitation Instructor for CCEF and for our church, I've long known that the material is tremendously beneficial for helping people know the God of the Bible better and understand how biblical change works. However, answering the question, 'How do we get this information more widely disseminated among the people at our church—especially through our small groups?' has been elusive to me. Real Change is just the resource I've been looking for! Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne have created an effective tool for introducing more people to the basics of how the process of being changed more and more into the image of Christ over time works in the life of a Christian. It's short in duration (six sessions), making it ideal for a Sunday school or small group curriculum. And yet it is faithful to communicate the essence of David Powlison's Dynamics course. I am eager to commend and utilize this new tool for creating more discipleship opportunities in our church."
Bryan Pickering, Pastor for Care & Counseling, Bethlehem Baptist Church Downtown Campus

"I am so excited by this book, which is so badly needed in our churches. Real Change provides an engaging, manageable, and thoroughly biblical exploration of spiritual growth. It helps us to do change as God intends—in community. It helps us apply the power of the gospel to the detail of our lives. It helps us help one another. I'm looking forward to making Real Change courses a regular part of the life of our church."
Steve Midgley, Executive Director, Biblical Counselling UK; senior minister, Christ Church, Cambridge

Additional Details

0.30 LBS
6.00 (in)
9.00 (in)
0.15 (in)
Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne; Edited by David Powlison
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12 Reviews

  • 4
    Helpful Study Guide

    Published by Joey Parker on 02 10 2019

    Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life  is a new study guide recently released from New Growth Press and CCEF. Real Change is meant to be used in one-on-one discipleship as a guide to help promote Christlike change in the reader's life. "Each week the Bible study, reflection, and discussion in Real Change will help you understand how God works with us. You will reflect on your own heart. You will reflect on life's hardships. You will reflect on God's mercies. And you will come to better understand how your Savior meets you in your particular life situation." 

    This type of study is carried out using the Three Trees Diagram that will be familiar to anyone with a biblical counseling background. I was first introduced to this diagram in How People Change. 

    Real Change is divided into six sessions that are drawn from this diagram based off of Jeremiah 17:5-8. These sessions are: 

    Real Change
    These sessions are meant to be applied to particular life situations to understand a biblical framework for handling trials and struggles in relation to our standing in Christ and for growing in sanctification. Each session is meant to cover a week and has a particular aim or goal it is trying to meet. This aim is worked out through reading Scripture, reading some summary thoughts by the authors, answering specific questions that are to be drawn out of the Scriptures, and homework that is meant to apply what was covered in the session. All of this is to be discussed during a weekly meeting.

    This is meant to be a one-on-one study session, but leaders need not fear if they feel unequipped to lead. The last 40 pages of Real Change are devoted to a Leader's Guide that will help any Christian as they work through this book with someone else. Real Change is an excellent book because it relies on Scripture throughout. This isn't a self-help book, but rather a tool to be used to grow closer to God through "his direct working and by the encouragement and prayers of other people." 

    I am confident that any Christian that decides to work through this book with a friend will be greatly edified and encouraged. 

    I received a copy of this book from New Growth Press in exchange for an honest review. 

  • 4

    Published by Teresa Kander on 01 19 2019

    This is a study guide for a six-week course on how to change for real, with God's help. The six sessions are titled CHANGE, HEAT, THORNS, CROSS, FRUIT, and REAL CHANGE. They discuss reflecting on the need for change, on ways your circumstances affect your heart, on ways which the desires of your heart drive your responses to the heat of life, on the ways Jesus' mercy impacts your past, present, and future, on the ways Jesus produces good fruit in your life, and how to persevere on a lifelong journey of change.
    The course is designed to be used by two people, or a small group divided into groups of two. It goes deep into the subjects and provides a lot of food for thought in each session. There are discussions in each session, as well as homework assignments for the time between sessions. I intend to recommend this study to both of the small groups I am part of, as I think it could be very beneficial.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from through Audra Jennings PR for New Growth Press. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  • 5
    Real Change for a New Year

    Published by Theron St. John on 01 15 2019

    Barely into the new year, the struggle is real. The resolutions many people made have already failed or their commitment is waning. Then the mindset starts to set in that this year will be like every other year, and no change will take place. Yet, the reality is that while the struggle is real, the change can be too! It is this very truth found in Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life, a new work by Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne.

    With the well-known David Powlison serving as editor, Nicholls and Thorne use the basis of CCEF's "Dynamic of Biblical Change" course to provide the reader with a 6-session course study guide on how to change for real. With the "Three Trees" diagram as a visual, the 6 sessions walk the reader through how God changes people, from understanding the influences and seeing their sinful hearts to looking to the cross in repentance and faith in Christ, Real Change trains the Christian in the right change, into the image of Christ, and encourages the context for biblical change.

    Real Change: Becoming More Like Jesus in Everyday Life by Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne is the resource to equip churches with the gospel truth that changes lives. It provides those who are wanting to change with the right motive and means to change. With a leader's guide to help give some direction in each session, the study is designed to be used in groups, particularly in the local church context. The study guide dives into the reality of sin, the complexities of our struggle, and the clarity of the gospel. Additionally, Nicholls and Thorne are sensitive to the time and culture we live in, making it clear that if there are legal matters at play or if there is abuse going on, the respective authorities need to be alerted (Nicholls and Thorne 70, 72). Still, in their sensitivity to those issues, they do not shy away from the seriousness of addressing personal sin. That's because real change only occurs when we admit we have a real problem. A real problem can only be addressed when believers are real with one another about their struggle and their need for the Savior. Real change needs the accountability of a real church. So, if you're looking to find lasting and real change this year, resolve to get a copy of Real Change by Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne and go through it with others in your church. Be ready to be changed!

    I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 4
    Bible Study

    Published by Kristie on 01 07 2019

    The title of this new Bible study is what grabbed my attention: "Real Change: becoming more like Jesus in everyday life;" I feel like this is a continual goal of mine.

    This book is divided into 6 chapters, each one focusing on a broad concept which is then gone into detail and further broken down. Each chapter begins with a sentence or two stating the aim of the chapter. I like this as I know from the start what I am to get out of the reading. In the later chapters there is also a recap, a sentence reminding you of the previous chapters. There are readings, discussions, Bible verses to look up and read and questions to answer in relation to that and homework to work on before the next study. There is also a leader's guide included in the 2nd half of this book.

    The layout of this book is very straightforward and easy to follow and work through. I really liked how direct it was and it was a nice amount of material included for each section as it was not much that it was overwhelming, but it also wasn't so little that it seemed like not enough; it was a perfect amount for each section.

    I worked through this book on my own, and I feel like I benefited from this. However, I really think working through this book in a small group setting would be very beneficial as well and maybe I will in the future!

    *Thanks to New Growth Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book.*

  • 3
    Study on one aspect of spiritual growth

    Published by Joan Nienhuis on 12 21 2018

    This is a six week study based on a model of change developed by David Powlison for a CCEF course. We have pressures and we can respond to them in two ways. One is a self-focused God dishonoring way reaping negative consequences. The other is a God honoring way. The course aims to help us allow the Spirit to bring us to repentance and change our hearts so that our response to the pressures of life are God honoring, producing good fruit and reaping positive consequences.

    There is a Three Trees diagram describing the model and each lesson deals with one of the parts of the diagram. The lessons rely heavily on the diagram and the model. This is not a study of spiritual growth or change in general. It is specifically dealing with the model and the diagram.

    The format of the lessons includes lots of reading, discussing, and writing. The amount of text to read is more than I have generally seen in a study like this. Participants are encouraged to discuss the material and answers to questions with one person, rather than in a group. The authors note that self reflection is an important part of the process of change. (Loc. 62/1452) They encourage participants to journal and there is a great for participants to write about. This study would be appreciated by people who like to read lots and write lots.

    The first half of the book is the study while the second half is a leader's guide. It is very detailed, suggesting five minutes of discussion here, ten minutes on this topic there. The information in the leader's guide is quite informative, making me think this study would be most effective in a group setting with a leader and not by someone trying to do it on their own. Also, the leader's guide is so detailed that someone new to leading a group would find it very useful.

    This study might be most useful for relatively new Christians. It is also quite focused on decisions we make and how they relate to our growth.

    I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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