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Archive for June, 2008


Refer to STEP 11: I made a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.


All authority has been given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end if the age (Matthew 28:18b-20).

If you ask a Christian to explain what the Great Commission is, he or she will probably say it’s to witness to people—to tell them how they can be saved. It’s popularly believed that everyone in the world needs to hear the “Good News” before the Lord can return. In evangelical churches, it’s a big deal—no doubt about it.

The emphasis is on evangelism—pure and simple. But that’s not the emphasis of the Lord’s last words. It’s just the spin on them. The emphasis is to disciple—not evangelize. Read it for yourself in any translation you choose.

In Christian churches, however, more services end with a call for the unsaved to come forward than not. Why do you think that is?

I believe it’s because churches are constantly looking for new, fresh people to “get saved,” which they consider to be the purpose for their existence. If they emphasized discipleship, they would have to look at the spiritual and emotional health of their sheep, and most churches are unwilling to do that.

It would show they are not fulfilling the Great Commission, as they should. Instead they look for new people and forget the ones they’ve ground down to nothing—those abused, rejected, discarded, and forgotten. By constantly looking ahead, millions are discarded by churches professing their commitment to The Great Commission. Much of this may be inadvertent, but it’s true, nevertheless.

This just isn’t right and, in the days ahead, I’ll spell this out in detail. Pray for me because this is going to make some people very angry, but it needs to be said. The truth hurts. You know this, right?

POIGNANT COMMENTARY: L. R. McCullough
Louisa@ByDesignCoaching.com |

I do understand where you are coming from, but the church is not the enemy of our souls. Those that fall into this kind of behavior are just pawns in the hands of our true Enemy. And His ultimate goal it to make things within the Body irreparable by sowing seeds of pain. I think one has to be very careful in dealing with this issue. And as you said, you need prayer about it. But I think you need prayer not because you might make others angry, but you need prayer so that this blog is a place of reconciliation (another ministry we are given) not further separation in the Body.

You have a very powerful voice, Jack. May God use it for His Glory and the building up of His Church which is His Bride.

From PART 1: The Great Commission—What Is It, Really?, 2008/06/30 at 7:12 AM

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Refer to Step 10: I believed that God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

If a man is going to do anything worth while, there are times when he has to risk everything on his leap, and in the spiritual domain, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold by common sense and leap into what He says, and immediately you do, you find that what He says fits on as solidly as common sense.
–Oswald Chambers—

Going through an abusive situation is never something a person plans for his or her life. When it happens, it’s always considered a detour—an unwanted bump in the road. It’s unexpected, unwanted, and definitely unappreciated.

At the same time, there are no accidents with God. Everything has a purpose, including many undesirable things—even abuse. If we learn to go with the flow—to believe God still loves us and has a positive plan for our lives, we are on the right track.

It’s normal to go through a myriad of emotions after being abused, including all the stages of grief but, at the other end, we have to come to the point where we are willing to risk it all again. We have to believe God has us in the palm of His hand and nothing can separate us from His love and purpose.

God is keen on the idea of us being everything He wants us to be, and developing rich character qualities like love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness is always the end result He desires for us. Knowing God is with you, regardless of the situation, makes trusting Him your wisest option, even after a trusted religious leader has abused you.

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Refer to STEP 4: I came to believe that God understood my wounded-ness, and He alone could heal me. I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted.

For most people, after being subjected to a pattern of verbal and emotional abuse—and occasionally physical, sexual or financial abuse, life never really returns to health and normalcy. Deep emotional scars cripple the abusee to the point that their lives never regain the richness, the fulfillment, or the joyousness it once had.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, and it most definitely is not God’s will or desire for it to be this way.

God loves you just the way you are—in your brokenness, in your despair, and in your uncertainty. He has not given you a spirit of fear. That comes from being abused and not from Him.

He has given you a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. It’s there just below the surface of your troubled heart, waiting for you to do the work necessary to appropriate the inner power that rightfully belongs to you—just as it does to all of God’s children.

It’s not easy regaining your composure after experiencing the deep wounds from abuse but, if you do the work necessary to heal, you will not be as good as you were. You’ll be better.

Love and joy will return to you but in a different way. It will be spiced with humility, discernment, and wisdom. When this happens—and it will, if you allow God’s healing touch to restore you, you’ll be more valuable than you ever imagined. I’m not guessing about this. I’ve seen it repeatedly. The choice is yours. You can go through life crippled by your debilitating experience, or you can use it to become everything God ever intended you to be.

The choice is yours–as good as it gets or much more.

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Refer to STEP 1: My life was shipwrecked.

Do you remember the movie, As Good as It Gets, with Jack Nicholson? It was powerful and poignant, as it showed life can be tolerable, rewarding, and even pleasant in spite of substantial character shortcomings. The main character was so flawed he had to take medication just to be normal, but he was charming, nonetheless.

That’s how most people see themselves when it comes to recovery from abuse. They see their lives as fundamentally flawed—broken beyond repair at the core of their existence. Their spirit is like a dog that has been beaten—cowed, easily intimidated, and uncertain. They suffer from perpetual low self-esteem, which diminishes their value to themselves and others. In their hearts, they believe they are broken beyond repair, and they are certain they will never be healthy or normal again.

For most, this is what life is really like after physical and emotional abuse. If it’s accompanied by religious abuse, where the person’s relationship with God is also undermined, it’s even worse. For them, God doesn’t care about them either.

My questions are these:

  • Does it really have to be this way?
  • Is partial healing as good as it gets?
  • Can someone abused ever be a whole person again?
  • Does life have to be irreparably altered?
  • Does timidity and fear have to rule an abused person’s life?

Is God really capable of raising a person up and planting his or her feet firmly on the ground? Can He renew ones spirit so a person can be a confident, healthy person again—a person who can smile at the future rather than dread it? Is there really hope, or is it all just sweet, syrupy platitudes that have little relevance to reality? Is just making it through the day as good as it gets, or is there more–much more to life?

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Refer to STEP 5: I had to repair my relationship with God.

Everybody wants his or her prayers answered. That’s no surprise, but many people, perhaps most, really don’t want what God is seeking from them—intimacy with Him. They just want what they want and for God to grant their wishes. It’s as simple as that, and they become angry when God doesn’t comply.

It’s like everything else in life. You have to do the work necessary for anything worthwhile before you achieve success with it. If you want to be a scholar, you have to read. If you want to be an athlete, you have to work out constantly. If you want to have intimacy with God, you have to become like a child.

That’s right—like a child. You must leave your complexities at the door, humble yourself, and believe God is everything He says He is. It’s not easy. It’s much more natural to try and figure everything out for yourself, make your own decision, and assume God will “rubber stamp” your effort. That’s what most people do, and they’re surprised when they have no peace, joy, or fulfillment in their lives.

They don’t get it. All they have to do is become like a little child, who has complete dependence and reliance upon their Father. It doesn’t get any simpler or more complex than this. If your prayers aren’t being answered, don’t get verbose with God. Get simple, but remember, He is God and you are not. When you have the desire to be God yourself, that’s exactly what Satan wanted, and look where it got him.

THIS COMMENT IS SO ON-TARGET, I WANT TO ADD IT TO MY POST.

-JACK-

This is so true. When my children are in trouble, hurt or angry… after we work it through, and forgiveness comes… they smile, get up and start playing again. They don’t over-think if the forgiveness is real, nor do they often pull up the past wrongs and rehash them over and over. They rest in the forgiveness and get on with life… hopefully not repeating the cause again.

Amie

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Refer to STEP 7: I wrote down my experience completely and honestly.

Now it begins. The political season is in full swing, as the spin-meisters package candidates based upon market research rather than what the candidate really believes.

Twisting reality to please the greatest number of “likely voters,” particularly in swing states, is all that the mighty political machines, which package McCain and Obama, really care about. When someone in either campaign with conviction screams foul, they are placated and assured that the ends justify the means. Perhaps they really believe this.

Unfortunately, it’s just as true in churches and ministries. The ends justify the means, and people are hurt in the process all the time—little people like you and me. If the truth adversely impacts what the perception of the church or ministry is really like, the truth is avoided like the plague—just like it is in politics.

In politics, it’s the perception of character that counts—not the reality. In God’s Kingdom, however, it’s exactly the opposite. Character, real character always matters, and there’s a heavy price to pay for deceiving the sheep with subtle lies. Best of all, His standard never changes—never. So you always know where you stand and where He stands.

If someone tells you that perception is reality, you can say,”Well, not exactly,” just like the commercial.

Comfort yourself with this.

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Yesterday, at a rally, two Muslim women, who were sitting behind Barack Obama, were asked to move because they would be in plain view of the cameras that provide shots for the evening news. Hurt and offended, the woman complied and moved.

This, of course, made more news than if they had been allowed to stay. As I watched the morning news, each news person said that Obama was not a closet Muslim but a Christian, which his twenty-year membership at Trinity Church proved.

By saying this, the media, who knows no better, has imparted legitimacy upon Trinity, Jeremiah Wright, and Black Liberation Theology. Obama’s religious experience has become mainstream, or we’re supposed to accept that it’s mainstream.

Well, it isn’t–not even close. It’s more Marxist than Christian, and Obama has been infected with its poisonous worldview. He is not a Muslim, but his Christianity is skewed by twenty years of Jeremiah Wright’s twisted theology, which is an angry, racist distortion of the Truth.

To assume Obama can “bring us all together” is naive. It simply can’t happen–not based on his belief system. His supporters want it to happen, but it won’t because it’s not in him. His Christianity is not mainstream; it’s that simple.

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Refer to STEP 3:
I accepted that the responsibility for getting back on track was mine and no one else’s.

When you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you, as most of us have at one time or another, you start asking the tough but important questions.

  • Why did this happen?
  • What does God expect from me?
  • Is He really in charge—on a day-to-day basis?
  • Why have my prayers gone unanswered?
  • What’s it all about Alphie?

It’s when you reach this point—and not before—that God can finally have His way with you. It wasn’t possible before, was it? You had too many goals for yourself; your purpose was self-fulfillment and not abandonment to God’s purpose.

When we begin our walk with the Lord, we’re sure He has noble, wonderful things in store for us, and failure is not part of His plan. We’re sure of that. What we don’t count on is this: He sees things differently than we do, and He knows us better than we know ourselves.

He wants a relationship with us—an intimate one, not a superficial one where He fulfills our petulant requests like an indulgent parent, spoiling the child in the process. He wants strong men and women, not spoiled brats who demand their way about everything, throwing tantrums when they are refused.

If you’ve been knocked off your feet, good; it’s what you needed. God has a lot invested in you, and He pays careful attention to each of His projects. Remember, you do not belong to yourself. You belong to the Lord. Start talking to God rather than talking back to Him

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Refer to STEP 1: I recognized that where I am in life is not where I want to be.

After the pain of our abuse begins to subside and we realize our life is going to take a very different direction than we wanted or expected, we ask ourselves what lessons we need to learn from our painful experience. Although this may sound like a healthy place to begin, it’s not. There’s one step before this—one question we need to ask.

What do I need to unlearn from my experience?

Before we become fit and useful to the Lord after we leave our abusive situation, we need to unlearn the errors we readily accepted as truth while we were engrossed in our deception. Until we do, we will flounder and be useless to the Lord. It does no good to throw stones at the abuser; it’s not enough. We need to do more—much more.

We must recognize our deception and make a conscious decision to never be entrapped by the same falsehood again. By doing this, we will be unlearning whatever it was that imprisoned us and, when we do, we will get back to square one. When this occurs, we will be ready to allow God’s Truth to cleanse us and renew our spirits.

But make no mistake about it—we have to unlearn our errors before we become useful. If we don’t, we remain vulnerable to the next abuser who comes along.

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Like many if you, I have received numerous emails “proving” Barack Obama is really a Muslim with a hidden agenda. The clear implication is that he will betray our country if he is elected President of the United States.

These innuendos create fear in the hearts of those who read their emails, and they are forwarded to friends as “the truth about Barack Obama.” Perhaps he is, and I am really naïve; but I don’t think so.

His position about gay marriage in California is a case in point. If he were a Muslim, or a mainstream Christian, he would oppose gay marriage like a good Muslim or Christian. But he doesn’t. He’s for it, just like a good follower of Jeremiah Wright, who probably sees this as an issue of oppression rather than morality.

Obama’s belief system is shaped by Black Liberation Theology and not Islam. Although Wright’s version of Christianity holds militant Muslims like Louis Farrakhan in high regard, it is not one and the same.

If we elect Obama, his sympathies may favor Islam over Israel, but it’s simply unfair and inaccurate to say Obama is a closet Muslim. You can’t have it both ways. If Obama deserves criticism for his ties with Trinity Church, you can’t call him a Muslim as well. He can’t be both; they are mutually exclusive.

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Refer to STEP 4: I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted.

Humans want to believe they have control of their own destinies. Barnes & Noble is full of books that tell you how to make all your dreams come true. Some of them are very powerful but, unfortunately, they are nor true. We have an illusion of control—not the real thing.

God is in control—not us. Until we understand that, most of our prayers have little value. We pray, “God, I want You to do this for me.” Or, we can be more spiritual and say, “God, please do this for me.” Somehow, we think that by being deferential God will be more impressed with us and do what we want Him to do.

My experience is this: God wants us to understand who He is and allow Him to make choices for us. So prayer isn’t trying to get our way with God. It’s more like getting to know Him better so that we can move effortlessly with Him–with His plan for our lives.

If we were dancing, we would be like a female; we would follow His lead. When we try to lead, our dance step is clumsy, disjointed, and awkward. When we follow, as we should, it’s gracious, elegant, and captures the attention of all onlookers.

Learn to follow, and you will be dancing with the Star. If you insist on leading, you’re going to get your foot stepped on—a bunch.

The next time you pray, try thinking of it like dancing, and learn to go with the flow.

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Four Years after the Cult.


The following was so on target for Pushing Jesus, we’ve decided to post the comment as a guest editorial.

–Jack–

I just wanted to let you know we finally see God at work on our hearts. It’s been nearly four years since we left the cult. God’s been faithful to heal our wounds, and we’ve let our guard down to trust Him enough to do it–in His way, in His time.

The trial got postponed and should be in July now. Our negative feelings about everything have lessened, and we’re really sensing a time of real change for the better. We’re even talking about becoming part of a church family again–not to get involved with the politics or anything, but just to serve and accept people for where they are at with their walk with the Lord.

Thanks for today’s devotion. I’m thankful I’m taking time to read and reflect once again on God and resting in Him.

God bless,
Ken’s wife

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Gatorade has a series of commercials that are some of my favorites. They say, “Is it in you?”

For those of us in recovery, we know the answer: Yes, it is.

Having experienced the pain of religious abuse, all I had to counteract the devastating impact of the abuse was my relationship with the Lord. It wasn’t enough; it was more than enough. At first I didn’t think it would be but, over the years, it has been all sufficient.

It’s like the commercial. Because He’s in me, when the going became rough, He’s what came out of me–not my wounded, carnal nature. It’s like when I would sweat, Christ would be more present than at any other time–like Gatorade.

And people didn’t have to ask, “Is He in you?” they could see for themselves. When that happens with you, and it will, people will see Christlike characteristics in you. And that’s what you want.

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Refer to STEP 11: I asked Him “to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

For those who are abusers, it’s all about them—their mission in life, their calling, and their exalted purpose. For those who have been abused by getting in the way, it’s all about us as well—at least for a while.

When stung by abusiveness, the wounds an abusee receives are debilitating for a period of time. The emotional pain is intense, making the victim focus upon themselves. Although self-centered, it’s self-protective as well. It’s natural, but it should only last for a little while. When the pain ceases to be acute, healing can begin if the abusee practices the 11 Steps of recovery.

Invariably, victims want to know why this happened to them in the first place. “Why me?” is the universal question. The answer is God knows; I don’t.

The experience, however, makes you a more valuable person from the Divine perspective. After being wounded, you become much more circumspect about other abusers—those who have their own agendas. You can see and understand things others can’t, and you can help the naïve discern God’s way from those who twist the truth.

Your experience makes you valuable—a true Missourian. You’ve lost your gullibility, and that alone makes your painful experience have purpose.

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Refer to STEP 2: I refused to continue living my life pursuing self-defeating behavior.

I love that commercial about V-8. It says you had the opportunity to make a good choice about what you put in your body and chose instead to eat something that wasn’t good for you. Because Americans do this every day, we have weight and health issues galore.

The same is true spiritually. In the aftermath of spiritual abuse, nearly all of us make some poor choices. We feel defeated, so we act as if we have been defeated—as if our value to the Lord has ceased to exist. In essence, we accept as true what has been said about us and behave accordingly. We eat candy instead of having a V-8.

If you want your life to count—to have meaning and purpose, you have to change this pattern of self-defeating behavior, and it begins in the mind. What your abuser meant for evil; God meant for good.

It’s not all over for you. Your life is not ruined. You just think it is. Although your vision of what you wanted to be in life might have passed, God’s vision for what He wants of you certainly has not. He still loves you; He still has a plan for your life; and, He definitely wants you to be everything you can be in life.

So, as an act of your will, stop wallowing in discontent. Stop thinking and behaving like a failure. Get up and turn your heart to the Lord. It’s like having a V-8. It will nourish every part of you.

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