I was able to spend some time with a great pastor and friend the other day, and during our visit, we talked about a variety of issues impacting the Church today, Hurricane Florence, COVID-19, and building struggles in the SBC. We also discussed the ministry of Christ-Centered Solutions. Check out my conversation with Rev. Joey Canady of Hampstead Baptist Church.
Earlier this week I uploaded a new video to my “ Just Thinking ” YouTube page and on day two, it went from about a hundred views to over a thousand. At the time of this writing there have been over 1,600 views. Now, I haven’t had any other videos take off like this one did, even my testimony took over a month to reach a thousand views. I also began to notice more comments and shares on my “Just Thinking” Facebook page and a couple on YouTube. Several of the comments have been quite interesting, and they all revolve around the word – GOD.
The video I uploaded getting all this attention at the moment is entitled, “ Why Didn’t God Stop the Abuse? ” Some of the comments came with assumptions based on the title rather than watching the video. Some individuals thought the video was about domestic abuse, but it was actually a response to a poster who had watched the question and answer segment with Dr. Milanak and me. This poster was challenging the existence of God and in their opinion, there was no grace or mercy to be observed in my story. Here is David’s statement in full, “If this is an example of god’s grace and healing, it means nothing, or it (god), wouldn’t have allowed the injury in the first place. ” I’m pretty sure David is an atheist. Others like him who I have interacted with in the past almost always address God as “it,” while also refusing to capitalize the word God.
The two posters on YouTube had similar statements to the one David left on Facebook, yet they went farther in their condemnation. These men questioned my intellect and ability to think critically, which is often an “argument” atheist make against Christians and other religious minded individuals. The truth is, the stance atheist often take against Christians isn’t an argument at all, but an attack rooted in emotion. They hurl disparagements toward followers of Christ such as being anti-intellectuals with the hope of quieting others. These two boiled my answer to the abuse question down to simply being stupid and weak for believing in God.
Let’s ask ourselves a few questions.
“Why do atheist get so upset when someone trust in a loving God they say doesn’t exist?”
“So, what if someone’s belief in God is a crutch? ( I’m not saying that belief is a crutch ) If said belief helps a person to cope with the daily struggles of life, then why would any open minded and tolerant person care what another believes?”
I have a theory about why atheists care what Christians believe. They care because when confronted with the truth their hearts and minds fall under conviction. They struggle for answers concerning pain and evil, but without God there isn’t a viable answer that can satisfy their deepest longings. They know that when they sit at the side of a dying loved one, they have nothing to offer but sorrow, and then they’re confronted with their own mortality, that one day they too will face the end of life with no hope.
In years past my skin wasn’t as thick as it is now, and such responses from individuals troubled me because I would wonder if I had made some sort of mistake making a bad situation worse. Today, I’m still troubled but for a far different reason. I don’t think producing such works and writings to be questioned or challenged by others is a mistake, actually it’s quite the opposite. I think it’s a mistake NOT to put out videos and blogs like the one getting attention now. It’s a mistake NOT to take every opportunity using the tools at hand to share the Gospel of Christ, even if it offends the unbeliever. Remember these words from the Apostle Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:18-19 (ESV) For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Romans 10:14-15 (ESV) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Christian, we have a responsibility to share the Gospel through each and every avenue presented to us, for in doing so it will make an eternal difference for some. While Christ-Centered Solutions focuses primarily on the needs of those in the Church, there are also many opportunities to share with those who are outside as well. My “ Just Thinking ” blog/vlog are an extension of CCS and I need your continued help to grow this ministry for the glory of Christ. Here’s how you can be a vital part of this ministry.
Please follow these links to:
Give a one-time gift online or to become a monthly partner: Christ-Centered Solutions.org
Purchase: “ Marriage and the Family from a Biblical Worldview ”
Watch: “ Why Didn’t God Stop the Abuse ”
And please don’t forget to subscribe to “ Just Thinking ” on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button in the bottom left corner of the video
May God keep and bless you!
Just a few days ago I received a post from a gentleman who had just watched the Q&A portion of “Resilience: A Testimony of God’s Grace and Healing,” where Dr. Melissa Milanak and I discuss the healing process of my PTSD. In that video we talk about the importance of faith, my relationship with God, and His working through Melissa and others to help me with this disorder. The response of this gentleman, whose name is David is interesting, and I’d like to share it with you along with my thoughts.
He wrote: “If this is an example of god’s grace and healing, it means nothing, or it (god), wouldn’t have allowed the injury in the first place.”
Notice his view of “god” – that is little “g” God. I think there’s a strong possibility David is either an atheist or at an agnostic. There also seems to be a hint of anger in David’s statement. I find this to be pretty typical from the few negative responses on my “Just Think” Facebook page regrading these two videos.
Now, at first, I wasn’t going to respond to David, but then I decided I did need to say something. I usually don’t respond to a lot of what I consider to be negative comments or post anymore. My reasoning is that Facebook, and other social media platforms, really don’t allow us to give in-depth answers to attacking comments left by posters. I have tried to answer such critics in the past by writing a long in-depth response, and only then to receive yet another negative comment whereby I felt the need to write even more with an argument going nowhere. That’s why I occasionally write a blog or produce a video like the one above where I can address issues more fully.
Back to David.
My response to his statement of God’s absence of grace or lack of caring went like this: “I'm sorry your philosophical view won't allow you to see the grace of God in the service of others who minister to the hurting. You certainly have a right to question the value of the video, but you have no rights to the credibility of my experience of healing in the work done with Dr. Milanak. The real question raised in your statement is that of God's role in my experience and others like me. Acts of evil lay squarely on the shoulders of mankind in his fall/sin and not on God. I suspect though that you deny the existence of God, and if you're right, the problem is still an issue with mankind. I pray God's grace and peace will be manifested to you. Thank you for watching and at least hearing what I had to say.”
I think it’s interesting that we as human beings often want to attack God’s character by questioning why He doesn’t intervene and stop the evil before it happens, while on the other hand when He has done so as in the past, we criticize Him as some maniacal monster.
What do I mean?
Many atheist and critics of the Bible attack God’s actions in the Old Testament, calling Him a “monster” when He ordered the Israelites to wipe-out certain clans and people groups which included men, women and children. His reasoning was often in response to the abusive practices of these groups, which at times included the sacrificing of children to the god Molech by burning them to death. There were others also who He ordered to be put to death, (even some Israelites because of these same sacrificial practices), or because of their acts of sexual immorality involving women, children, and animals.
What David and others don’t often understand, or better yet acknowledge, is that God has never been the problem, it’s mankind and his sin. Listen, there have been times in my life when I have struggled with this truth, because I personally wanted revenge for what was done to me. I didn’t always like the thought of leaving justice up to God because like Jonah, I know God is gracious and long suffering.
So, we come back to question at hand. Could God have stopped my abusers along with every other abuser throughout history? We could also ask: Could He have stopped Hitler, Stalin, and Mao? Could have stopped the terrorist on 911, or the mass shootings in the last couple of weeks, or last few years?
Of course He could, but that would require an act even more extreme on His Part. It would require God eliminating everyone, all men, women, and children from the annals of history. Again, God isn’t the problem, and eliminating Him from the equation isn’t the answer because it doesn’t change the abuser, mass murdering dictator, or the mentally deranged who shoot random people.
Often, there's question that follows and it is, "Then why couldn’t God take out just those who are evil and leave the rest of us to live a peaceful existence?" What’s interesting about this question is that we never see ourselves as evil, only those who commit the most heinous acts. The truth is we’re all evil, we’re all sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy, and by removing only those we don’t like creates other problems like the domino and ripple effects.
As for David’s question of God’s grace within my trauma, I choose to see Him, God, working in and through the compassion and love of other Christians, like my wife, family, church, and Melissa. Clearly, David missed mine and Melissa’s statement on the providence of God in our first meeting. Had she not been a follower of Christ, there’s no doubt I wouldn’t have returned for a second visit to receive the help I desperately needed.
Lastly, as I’ve told many others, I don’t believe God wastes the pain of His children. I truly believe His intention is to take what Satan has meant for evil and to turn it into something beautiful and redeeming for His glory. For me, I choose to believe God will take my hurt and pain and put it to use for someone else who has experienced something similar, and who is also in need of His healing.
If you haven’t watched, “Resilience: A Testimony of God’s Grace and Healing” parts 1 and 2, please follow the links in the description below.
Blessings, till next time!
Resilience: A Testimony of God's Grace & Healing Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn8_d... Resilience: A Testimony of God's Grace & Healing Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKOFn...
The actual title of my story is, "Resilience: A Testimony Of God's Grace And Healing." Credit for the title goes to my doctor Melissa Milanak of MUSC. In this video, I share my childhood story of growing up in a physically and sexually abusive situation. I also talk about the emotional trauma and living with PTSD for almost 50 years before really starting the healing process with a Christian therapist. Visit my YouTube page for the Q&A session I have with Dr. Milanak where we discuss the steps taken toward healing and their connection to my faith in Christ.
If you'd like to download this video to share with others at no cost, please visit the resource page on my ministry website at www.christcenteredsolutions.org.
This is my story, my testimony of coming to Christ and living with PTSD. It's my prayer that others who suffer from PTSD will hear this story and seek Christ and the help they may need to overcome their own pain and suffering. Please visit the resource page at www.christcenteredsolutions.org to receive a copy of "Resilience: A Testimony of God's Grace & Healing."
Watch a 15-second promo on Amazon @
to enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of "Marriage and The Family from a Biblical Worldview."
This book was developed from several years of writings for my blog "Just Thinking," and answering questions from former church members and clients presented through my years in ministry. So, this work isn't meant to be an exhaustive study on marriage and family issues, rather it is to serve as a quick help and maybe a conversation starter for small groups and Sunday school classes.
Some of the chapter headings are:
There are a few more chapters as well but this is an easy, and I believe, a helpful read.
Please know that when you purchase this book you're helping others receive the biblical assistance they're looking for through Christ-Centered Solutions. All funds go directly back into the ministry.
I’m fifty-five years old and for almost fifty years I’ve lived with fear, shame, anger, and more because of the acts of violence and abuse experienced in my childhood. Through many difficult events I learned various coping skills in order to maintain a sense of control and sanity. One of those skills has been the ability to cover or mask my true feelings, and I have often employed this skill to avoid being hurt anymore than I had been already. Vulnerability and trusting others aren’t my strongest attributes, even now as I’m beginning to open up more than ever before and share my story. For the longest time I thought, “No one will understand unless what happened to me also happened to them.” I felt so alone, and I added to that loneliness by isolating myself more and more with the belief that physical and sexual abuse was rare for little boys, but that my friend is a false belief.
Here are some numbers to keep in mind as your feet hit the floor in the morning. About 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Broken down by gender those numbers are approximately 1 in 6 girls and 1 in 25 boys who will be sexually abused before the age of 18, and typically by someone they know. What’s most shocking is that these numbers are based on reported cases only, the real number is much higher because many people, like me, never reported the abuse. It’s not until years later when we’re no longer able to hide what happened that the stories begin to be told. So, when I recently read about the sexual abuse of 700 children over a twenty-year period in Southern Baptist Churches, I really wasn’t shocked, and I wish I had been. Some may feel the need to begin a defense of the SBC by saying this is a small percentage out of the 46,000 churches associated with the SBC and I would simply say, “there is no defense.” As a pastor, and as a victim, I realize we really need to do more to protect the most helpless and innocent in our care.
In the last two days I’ve read and listen to several stories of parents whose children were abused by those in leadership, and I’m a bit numb. These are stories of children who have been changed forever because of the abuse they experienced. Many of these kids grew up self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, some attempted suicide while others were successful. Let me just say I can identify, and these are some of the reasons I began Christ-Centered Solutions near the end of last year. I want to help. I believe there are many still living in the shadows of shame who want to seek help but are afraid to step out and take the risk. To be frank with you, I’m terrified of even putting this blog online. I’m terrified of sharing the fullness of my own story in a few weeks when it will be available on DVD, and part of the reason why is because I know once it’s out there’s no taking it back. I also know that confronting the darkness and sharing with others is the only way to take the power of the secrets away. Isn’t that what we do when we surrender to Christ? We come out of the darkness and into His light, laying our shame and guilt at the foot of His cross. There is power and life in Christ Jesus.
There are many other Christians and non-Christians we need to help also. Christian couples aren’t immune from martial issues and many are seeking sound biblical counsel, this includes young couples in need of premarital counseling. There’s also another group I’m really concerned for and that’s other pastors. There’s a growing problem of ministry burnout among this group, but what’s even more disturbing is the increase of suicides among pastors. Rarely does a week pass that I don’t read of a pastor, who seemingly has his act together, and shocks the Christian world when they hear he has taken his life. There is much work to be done in our churches to help both ministers and laity.
Listen, I need your help, Christ-Centered Solutions needs your help. For CCS to grow as a ministry and help others we need the financial support of Christians who believe it’s our duty to counsel and minister to other believers in need. In our first four months of operation we’ve provided 143 hours of Biblical counseling and almost all has been at a reduced or free rate, and just so you know, I’m not receiving any compensation for the care provided, yet we do have costs. Some of our funds have aided several families in need of food, housing, and clothing because there was nowhere else to turn at the time. Other costs are simply associated with starting a new ministry. We have legal and processing cost, website, supplies, ministry projects like the “My Story” video, printing teachable materials, and other costs.
I’m praying some folks like you will consider becoming a monthly supporter of this Biblical counseling and training ministry. Can you possibly afford $100 a month? How about $50, or any amount per month to help CCS help others? If you can’t, I understand, but please consider maybe a one-time gift to help get us on solid ground. You need to know that CCS is incorporated and registered with the State of South Carolina as a charitable organization. We are also in the process with our lawyers to present, and hopefully, to obtain our nonprofit status with the IRS. Once we are given nonprofit status then all funds which have been donated for up to 27 months can be retroactively deducted on your tax returns. Please visit Christ-Centered Solutions web page and help support this ministry. Once on the website simply click the “Giving Tab” and fill in your information. You’ll have an opportunity once on the giving page to choose a one time or monthly option when giving. Let me also inform you to ignore the “Login Here” button at the top of the page unless you’ve given before and would like to change something on your account.
Before I go, let me ask two more things of you. 1) Please share this ministry with your pastor or church leaders so I might have the opportunity to tell them more about how Christ-Centered Solutions can help them and their congregations, and 2) please commit to pray for me and this ministry.
A couple of months back, you may remember having received a ministry update from me saying I’d soon again be writing my blogs, and that’s still the plan. My goal for writing has always been to inform and equip Christians how to examine the culture we live in, and with the hope of that what I write helps each believer on a practical level while bringing glory to God. Now, in conjunction with my writing I also hope to add my thirty years of experience as a pastor and a biblical counselor into the mix. I truly desire to help to the Christian community as much as I possibly can before God calls me home. So, I’m in the process of making some changes. My “Just Thinking” blog is now connected to a new ministry known as “Christ-Centered Solutions Inc.” This new ministry has been in development for a long time, and I would go so far as to say it has always been a major part of every ministry I’ve been involved with throughout the years.
Back in the early eighties, when I was at Liberty University, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, or so I thought. I was going to graduate in 1986, get a job to support my new family, and attend graduate school to become a Christian clinical psychologist. I was going to help others while secretly “fixing” myself too, (I’ll share this part of the story in another letter/blog to come). I did find a job in the mental health system of North Carolina and shortly thereafter I began attending graduate classes at ASU in Boone, yet things were not right in my life. Long story short, my life and family began to fall apart, and after about two years of suffering I surrendered to what I believed to be God’s call to the ministry. I eventually ended up in seminary at Piedmont Bible College in Winston Salem, NC, and a few years later I finished my courses online while pastoring Ebenezer Baptist Church near the Outer Banks.
Let’s go back just a little. While taking classes at Piedmont, and pastoring a small church in the foothills, I was also working part-time in the Wilkes County school system, writing and carrying out behavior modification programs for troubled kids. No matter where I was or what I was doing, counseling in some form was always a part of my work and ministry. I was working with kids and teachers during the day and church folks at all other times. From the mountains of NC to the Outer Banks, and from Wilmington to North Charleston, I have constantly been asked to put my biblical counseling skills into practice. I’ve come to accept these skills and abilities as a gift from God, they certainly fit well with my gift of shepherding. I’ve had the privilege of teaching biblical counseling classes to groups at different churches for pastor friends, seminary level course in pastoral care for schools and organizations, and all the while ministering one on one as a biblical counselor to my congregants and others.
On August 1, 2018, I officially began the ministry of Christ-Centered Solutions Inc., here in North Charleston, SC. Teresa and I have had many conversations about our future in ministry during the last few years, and I came to the conclusion in 2017 that now was the time to begin forming what would become CCS. From my own personal struggles and to the many other problems and issues believers continue to share with me each week, now is the time for this type of ministry.
There’s another reason as well; almost daily I read of pastors having moral failures, struggling with their past, leaving wives and families, and most disturbing – committing suicide because they believe they have no one to turn to. Pastors need pastors too. We need a confidant, other than our wives, who will listen to us with compassion, while at the same time shooting straight with us, holding us accountable to God’s standards and call in our lives. The life of a pastor can be very lonely and discouraging, and I speak of this truth first hand.
CCS IS LEGIT
Christ-Centered Solutions is incorporated by the state of South Carolina, identified as a ministry, and we are currently waiting for the approval of our nonprofit status with the IRS. We also have a Board of Directors who hold me and the ministry of CCS accountable. Our directors are:
I serve as the Board Chairman, and Teresa serves as the Treasurer of the corporation.
THE AIM & WORK OF THE MINISTRY
The focus of ministry at Christ-Centered Solutions can best be summed up by the words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28, (CCS ministry verse). I, and those who will serve with me in this ministry, will proclaim Christ though the counseling and teaching of God’s Word, with the hope that all believers will reach spiritual maturity in Christ.
The word translated as “admonish” or “warn” in Colossians 1:28 is “noutheteo” which means to “counsel.” Much like Jay Adams, Dr. John MacArthur, and others, I believe Christians have a responsibility to provide biblically based, Christ-centered counseling to other Christians. As a pastor, I have seen all too often where another pastor felt ill equipped to counsel someone from his own congregation and ended up sending his member to a non-Christian therapist or counselor. While this may work at times, I hold to the belief that the best help for Christians is found in another believer who also holds to a biblical worldview. Every counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and social worker operates from some sort of philosophical worldview that almost always is in opposition to the Scriptures, and therefore Christians need Christ-centered helpers to aid them both spiritually and emotionally.
So, to be of the greatest help, CCS has four primary areas of ministry.
At present, I’m writing my story of abuse and PTSD. I’ve also recently worked with a film producer here in the Charleston area to get my story out to others. We have one more recording session set for early February, and we’re hoping this short film will be available by the end March 2019.
HELP IS NEEDED
Christ-Centered Solutions is like every other ministry, it is dependent on the generosity of others. In order to help as many Christians, pastors, and congregations as possible we need your help. Would you take a moment to pray and consider helping CCS? If, after praying you are led to help us, please visit our ministry website and give what you’re able to give. Simply click the website link www.christcenteredsolutions.org and go to the menu tab where you’ll see a tab for “Giving.” On the “Giving Page” you’ll be asked for your information and you can give through your checking account or by card, and for every gift of $50 dollars or more you will receive a copy of “My Story of PTSD” on DVD when it’s released. I’d also like to ask that you consider becoming a monthly supporter, and when you do, I’ll send you both the DVD and an e-copy of my book when it’s released. You can select to become a monthly supporter on the same “Giving Page.”
I’d like to ask one more favor of you, and that is will you consider having me come and share my story and vision with your church or small group? As a bonus, when I come, I’ll bring Luna, my service dog if it’s okay, and I’ll share her story and the importance she plays in my life today.
Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, friend, and lover of the Word of God!