The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Help for Physical Abusers: Why You Keep Beating the People You Love

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Joe is walking alone down a dark alley at night.  Suddenly a masked man with a bat leaps out of the shadows and demands that Joe hand over his wallet.  Terrified, Joe rushes to obey.  He tosses his wallet at his attacker’s feet and fearfully backs away, pleading for mercy.  Score one for the mugger.

A short while later, another man named Todd heads down the same alley.  Once again, our mugger leaps out of the shadows wielding his weapon and demands that Todd hand over his wallet.  Todd lunges forward, tears the bat away, and beats our mugger into a bloody pulp.  Thus ends the career of our mugger. Read more of this post

Rejecting Labels of Inferiority: Help for Victims of Abuse

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

There is an element of power in every human relationship.  What defines whether a relationship is healthy, dysfunctional, or abusive is how that power is being distributed and used.  An important point to bear in mind is that among humans, it is never correct for all of the power to be on one side.  In peer relationships, the goal is to keep the power equally divided.  In parent-child relationships, the parent is supposed to start off with the majority of the power.  As the child grows, the parent is supposed to gradually allocate more and more power to the child until the relationship finally settles into a peer dynamic when the child is an adult. Read more of this post

The Mindset of Trauma Rehearsal: Trying to Acclimate to the Unbearable

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Trauma is initially created by a lack of debriefing.  It wasn’t just that you experienced something overwhelmingly negative—it was that you were prevented from being able to emotionally depressurize immediately afterward.  It is the absence of debriefing or processing which turns upsetting experiences into crippling traumas.  Heather and Kim are  good examples of this.  Both women had terrifying drowning experiences when they were girls.  But in Heather’s case, she was able to run to a caring mother, cry it all out, and receive both sympathy and help in gaining a new perspective of her experience.  While she was being held underwater, unable to breathe, Heather was terrified.  Her mind was leaping to all kinds of overwhelming conclusions, such as the brother who she trusted was maliciously holding her under.  As Heather’s mother talks her through these feelings and helps her understand that her brother was not trying to harm her, overwhelming fears are put to rest, and Heather is able to quickly recover.  Read more of this post

Toxic Success: How Thriving Ministries Can Drive Us Away From God

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Mark and Emma are a husband-wife missionary team who have been engrossed in a thriving evangelistic ministry for the last ten years.  Their work is so consuming, so exciting, and so rewarding that it has become their entire life.  When they are out in the field, it’s all about helping other souls grow closer to God.  When they are alone together, the ministry is all they talk about.  The work is so intense, the feedback so encouraging, and the subject matter so important, that they feel totally satisfied. They plan to keep going like this for the rest of their lives.  Why not?  They’re doing God’s work.

But then, after a decade of work, the unthinkable happens.  Mark and Emma suddenly have their funding cut off and then they get forced to leave their mission field and return to their home country on another continent.  As they settle into their new home, they also settle into a deep depression.  They simply don’t know what to do with themselves now that they have no ministry to focus on.  Even worse, they realize that they’ve totally lost touch with each other.  Before they got engrossed in the ministry, they were very close.  But somehow in the last ten years, they’ve gone from feeling like best friends to feeling like polite housemates.  The intimacy feels lost, and they no longer enjoy each other’s company the way they used to.  As long as they had other souls coming to them for help all day every day, sacrificing their personal time together felt like the noble thing to do.  But now all of those souls are an ocean away, the rush has ended, and they suddenly realize that they’ve lost something truly precious.  Read more of this post

Psalm 109: Learning from David’s Hatefest

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Psalm 109 was written by David when David was in a very angry, very hateful mood.  This is the carnal ranting of a hypocritical grudge holder.  As is typical for those wallowing in a victim mentality, David considers himself to be morally superior to the fellow who has stuck it to him.  Not only does he expect Yahweh to take his side in this matter, but he has already decided how God should handle this situation.  In this psalm, David is basically throwing a bratty tantrum and peppering Yahweh with a long list of demands.  David isn’t content to just see his enemy suffer—he is so consumed with hate that he wants to see the man’s relatives and descendants suffer as well.  Psalm 109 is a fabulous example of carnality run amuck, and to call such garbage “God breathed” is utterly absurd.  David was certainly not passing on the words of God when he wrote this hatefest.  Instead, he is grossly exaggerating his own importance by talking as if anyone who opposes him is deserving of unending suffering.  Well, no, the universe really doesn’t revolve around David, and David is totally out of line to boss Yahweh around like this.  Let’s now go through this psalm line by line and see what positive lessons we can learn from David’s terrible example. Read more of this post

Dealing with Death: Eight Lies that Keep Us Stuck in the Past

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Someone has died and instead of moving on with your life, you’re obsessing.  You’re stuck in the past.  You’re feeling obligated to treat the dead person as if they are still very much a part of your life.  There are many reasons why people choose to respond this way to death, and none of them are good for the soul.  If you’re not ready to leave your stagnating position, then this post is just going to make you mad.  We’re dishing out tough love here, and that means we’re going to blast you with a lot of bluntly stated truths with very little padding in between.  Our purpose in using a tough love approach is to cover a lot of ground in a little space while arming you with a ton of good food for thought. But if you’re not ready to do some deep thinking, then you’re probably going to feel overwhelmed very fast and you’ll want to go off and sulk or send us a snarky message instead of embracing the truths that we’re going to lay out for you. Maturity is something we must choose—it’s not something that can be forced upon us.  The longer we try to avoid it, the more miserable we become.  But once we do reach the point where we are tired of being miserable, then there is great hope to be had.  No matter where you’re stuck, you can move forward by gaining some new perspectives and making some wise soul choices.  Read more of this post

Understanding Conviction: Invitations to Engage

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You’re thinking about getting an abortion and God convicts you not to.  Is He worried that you’re going to snuff out a life prematurely?  No, because He hasn’t placed that power in your hands.  You can’t mess up God’s plans for another soul.  You can’t cheat them out of opportunities that He wanted them to have.  God isn’t convicting you because He’s worried that you’re about to mess up His universe.  He’s convicting you to force you to choose between obedience and rebellion.  He’s after engagement.  He doesn’t need your help. Read more of this post

Why We Shouldn’t Pray for Revival

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Praying for the lost to get saved.  Praying for the Gospel to be spread throughout the whole world.  Praying down that bad ole devil and praying for revival.  It all sounds so right, doesn’t it?  But what does God think about us praying for these kinds of things?  It turns out that He doesn’t like any of them.  In fact, He finds these kinds of requests downright insulting.  Of course He understands when we’re not trying to insult Him, and when He sees that we’re trying to please Him by praying for these things, He graciously credits us for our good intentions.  But the day must come when we stop letting other humans and the Church define who God is and give Him the chance to speak for Himself. When we do this, we’re going to start getting hit with one shocking revelation after another because it turns out that these teachers we’ve been counting on to explain God to us don’t really understand who He is.  In fact, trying to find folks who are well-acquainted with God is quite a challenging task because there just aren’t that many of them.  Why not?  Because humans have always done a lousy job of sincerely seeking God.  When they do seek Him, they’re usually so caught up in their own agendas that they simply aren’t interested in really learning about God’s perspective of things.  So while we claim to really know God, the reality is that we’re just recycling a bunch of manmade theories about Him which no one is bothering to ask God to authenticate.  It’s like you reading a bunch of articles about your favorite actor in the gossip rags and then saying that you really know the guy.  No, you don’t know him at all.  All you really know is what other people say about him, but what is that worth?  Until you actually sit down with the man himself and do some focused listening, you’re never going to know if any of the stories you’ve read about him have any truth to them.    Read more of this post

No Antichrist in the End Times: Can it really be true?

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

If you read through our material about the end times, you’ll discover that the prophetic picture we paint is significantly different than the Church’s widely accepted fear fest.  The Church is telling you to expect a modernized version of the book of Revelation in which some power hungry human with serious issues stars in the role of the infamous antichrist.  Read more of this post

Treating God Like God: Simple Steps to Improving the Way that We Pray

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Intercessory prayer has never been a respectful way to speak to God and it has never been effective in changing the way God that works with other people or demons.  We only think it has because humans are obsessed with the notion that they can find a way to lead their Creator instead of following Him.

Here’s a critical point to realize: you will not find good instruction on prayer in the Bible.  What you’ll find instead is a bunch of examples of how to pray wrong.  This is because the folks who do most of the praying in the Bible were not mature enough to model treating God with the proper respect.  The ancient Jews were obsessed with “the power of the spoken word,” verbal cursing and blessing, name claiming, and other such nonsense.  They had no use for reverential submission and they spent most of their history embracing defiant soul attitudes.  Today in the Church, you’re being taught to imitate folks who were acting like sorcerer wannabes and treating God with gross disrespect.  If you want to improve your treatment of God, you need to abandon the idea of imitating the ancient Jews. Read more of this post

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