Church Hurts And

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Forgiving the Nightmare with Mark Sowersby

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Have you ever had something happen to you which has haunted you for your entire life? 

Forgiving the Nightmare with Mark Sowersby

“I really don’t like Bob. He’s rather arrogant and aloof I think.”

“Oh, he’s not that bad if you get to know him.”

“Well, who would want to get to him? He’s a jerk.”

“Well, he’s been through a lot in life. Give him a break.”

Who among us has not had a conversation like this? I heard it so often when I was younger I got sick of it, but it got me thinking. What is it about people who manifest unattractive relational skills which drive people away, but whom underneath can be really nice people? And since I don’t have the time to get to know everybody, what should I learn about how I should behave?

Now that could be a book, but let me jump to the conclusion. Every person you meet has a story. Part of that story will probably include some very vulnerable life-changing events or relationships which made an indelible imprint upon them. I am not talking about the kind of things that come up in a two-minute cocktail party introduction. “Hi. My name is John and I had an evil stepmother who defined my childhood. How are you?” That isn’t how it works, is it?

But then there are those rare moments, those times in life when another opens up to you in a moment of vulnerability. They wouldn’t be doing this if a certain amount of trust hadn’t already been built. And then it comes. You hear a bit of their nightmare. Everything changes. They wonder if you will run away, ask more questions, or be frozen by the reality of it all.

Today we have someone with a real nightmare and the courage to bring it into the light. He’s even discovered some life principles which others have used to get them through their own nightmares. Let’s welcome Pastor Mark Sowersby to Church Hurts And.

For more about Mark:

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Romantic Theology Today with Dr. Michael J. Christensen

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Have you ever heard of Romantic Theology? Sounds good, doesn’t it? Let’s find out more with Dr. Michael J. Christensen.

After becoming a Christian at the age of 13, I developed some habits and behaviors which could have been considered prudish, ironically quite contrary to my generally outgoing personality. Not committing adultery or fornication before marriage became my obsession for over a decade, carefully studying the meaning of the word, along with fornication, the way other teens might have devoured those certain National Geographics or hard to come by Playboys. How was a Christian adolescent survive a normal increase in testosterone which felt more like an abnormal bomb going off in my body?

“Be careful of those things which could naturally lead to inappropriate sexual intimacy in your relationships with girls,” I heard from Rev. Bob Letzinger during a mid-winter conference at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Pittsburgh. Amazingly he confessed to having a climax the first time he ever held hands with a girl. His talk was famous, and we knew it was coming, but did he really say that? And he kept going, warning about the hugs which lasted too long, the times alone without accountability, the dates which lasted too late into the night.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, my very best friend sitting next to me (who currently holds a very prestigious position as a professor of theology at a premier evangelical seminary) looked over at me and noticed the mark on my neck. He looked like he had seen a snake as his face turned red and his hands started to shake. Quietly and accusingly he pointed at it, trying not to be obvious as the speaker continued, “That’s a hickey,” he said with wide eyes.

I hadn’t known about hickeys until the previous evening with my long-term high school girlfriend, Kathy. You remember those days, your first love, the power of attraction, the depth of longing. Could that tell us anything about God and the Church?

Let’s ask Dr. Michael J. Christensen. professor of theology at Northwind Seminary.

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Reality, Jazz AND Faith with John Patitucci

If you are a jazz fan, you don’t want to miss this. If you aren’t, get ready to learn from an amazing man accomplished in a lot of ways. Today, bass virtuoso, John Patitucci. 

PREFACE: Reality, Jazz, AND Faith

If you grew up in a church traditional at all, you will remember a worship component called the “offertory.” To me it seemed simply to be a time for the music director to show off his high-brow classical taste, sometimes with a soloist belting out with too much vibrato in a foreign language. With a little more reflection it seemed to be a programing sleight of hand designed to cover the exact amount of time it took the ushers to collect the offering before the organ abruptly broke into the Gloria Patri shaking the very foundation stones of the church with a refrain all knew and were able to sing along without looking at the words.

Modern liturgies, which some would consider not liturgical at all, a conclusion with which I strongly disagree, lean toward something less repetitive. I remember one time in a mid-week service the offering was the last thing done before I was to get up and teach. That is the time for a preacher to compose himself, double-check that his zipper is up, make sure the notes are in order, and grab a moment of prayer remembering it isn’t about him. “Get out of yourself turkey,” my spirit would hear.

But this Wednesday evening the music director introduced a guest musician to do a solo instrumental piece for the offering. Doesn’t sound too unusual, right? But the guest’s instrument was a bass. “This should be interesting,” I thought. And the bass had six strings, not four. Thankfully I would be getting up in a few minutes to save things if it was a flop.

A few minutes later I walked up to the lectern, wiping tears from my eyes, wondering what had just happened. Nothing I could say would reach the heart of people like what they had just heard. I would teach humbly, knowing God had shown up already, thankful to be a part of the body of Christ.

Let us welcome today to Church Hurts And, that bass player and renowned virtuoso, John Patitucci.  

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For more about our guest, you can check him out at:

Crazy Church Boards with William Larson, Esq.

If you’ve ever wanted to scream the classic Rodney King line, “Why can’t we all just get along?” it might have been in church. Today: Crazy Church Boards with Attorney William Larson. 

Did you take civics or political science when you went to school? Part of basic education is learning how people have tried to organize themselves to get along in this world. Who can tell whom what to do, why, and how? A few forms of government might stir the cobwebs in the brain: Democracy, Communism, Socialism, Monarchy, Theocracy, Totalitarianism. Now for the pop quiz. Describe each in a few sentences and then explain why you think one is the best.

Now let’s get a bit more practical. With a bit of thought, we realize that nations aren’t the only thing that needs to be governed. Schools do too, and corporations, and states, and homeowners associations, and families. Oh, that’s right, and churches too. Uh oh!

If you ask people who have been hurt by the church somehow what it was that hurt them, it won’t be long before you are talking about church leadership and church government. If you care to know, it is a sub-category of “Ecclesiology,” a big word for the study of the church. They might not use the word “government,” let alone “ecclesiology, but that’s what they are talking about. Leaders, pastors, priests, elders, deacons—all referring to roles in church government. And wow, they sure have the capacity to mess things up and make one wonder if common sense has been banned from the church board room.

Let’s find out more about this from someone who might know. A practicing attorney who has sat on more than a few boards, let’s welcome William Larson to Church Hurts And.  

If you have benefited from this radio show/podcast and would like to support the ongoing efforts of this ministry, you can do so by visiting Donations are fully tax-deductible, needed, and appreciated more than you know.

Animals, Family AND Photos with Holly Youngblood Cannon

Are you an animal lover? Have a soft spot for the furry creatures of the forest or the brilliant feathered friends above?  Today, Animals, Family,and Photos with Award-Winning Wild Life Photographer and Artist, Holly Cannon.

Do you know the three basic distinctions which make up the foundation for any worldview which is considered Christian? They are all found in the first chapter of the first book in the Bible: Genesis one. 

#1 There is a distinction between God and creation. There is a fundamental difference between the two and if you get that confused, everything else turns into a mess. In the beginning God. Not in the beginning God and. God didn’t check in with me, or you, when He decided to start this world as much as we might like to believe otherwise.

#2 There is a distinction between human beings and all other creatures. Being in the image of God is something uniquely reserved for mankind. God gives man the special responsibility to rule over all the creatures of this world. Its part of the job description we have as humans. Interesting, huh? 

#3. Man is distinct from woman. God made man; male and female he created them. It doesn’t matter how confusing the use of language or pronouns are, a man isn’t a woman and vice versa no matter how confusing we might try to make that.

Three fundamental distinctions are worthy to consult when things get confusing in this life. Today we are going to talk a bit more about one of them which all too often gets overlooked. What about all those other creatures which God put on this earth the do their thing? If God put them there, I bet they can teach us something about Him, even if they aren’t in His image like us humans are. How are we to rule over them if we don’t know them, study them, and enjoy God’s creation?

Ever consider that the first job God gave man? It is common to say prostitution is the oldest profession. That’s not true. Adam and Eve were Zoologists. So let’s talk to someone who has seen animals of all kinds and gives us a peek into their glory.

Welcome, Holly Youngblood Cannon to Church Hurts And.  

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Death, Drugs, AND Church with Jeff & Shannon Bryant

Know what it is like to live with a smile masking pain and hurt so deep there aren’t enough drugs to cover it up? Today, Death, Drugs, AND Church with Jeff & Shannon Bryant.

It is hard to imagine this today, but there was a time when the selection of a marriage partner began with the assumption you would choose someone from your family's own ethnic identity and religious affiliation. This wasn't a problem for those whose lives were completely surrounded by only such people anyway. So Dutch married Dutch. Scots married Scots. Mexicans married Mexicans. Chinese married Chinese.

Notice I started with national identities because you know it gets messier when we add religion into it. Surely the nice Scottish Lass raised in the Church of Scotland wouldn't want to marry a Roman Catholic Scot, of all things, would she? If this were a discussion group, all of you would be ready with stories of your own. You know someone whose parents were horrified when he married a Russian girl and at the wedding… dot dot dot. These are stories that include way too much relational pain, generational conflict, historical changes, and cultural metamorphosis. They are hard to understand, more challenging to live, and often produce irreconcilable damage to children who find it all just stupid.

So let's cut beneath all of those external cultural, national and religious labels and dive right into the home. Here we have a happily married couple with three children. Issues arise as they always do in life, some more significant than others. How does the couple navigate these challenges as they turn to their important fundamental values? She thinks Church would help if they could go together as a family. He's not surprised because she's always been a bit more spiritual than he was. "Go ahead, Honey, take the kids."

"But I'd like you to come with us." she implores. To say the least, he isn't tempted. 

Years go by with the script remaining the same. He misses that the issue isn't about Church at all, really. His wife longs for faith to play a part in their marriage, their family, their decisions. The bickering between the two of them becomes more commonplace. The once passionate love affair turns into an endurance race, finding ways to avoid the growing gap between them. Now what?

Let’s find out. Welcome, Orange County Entrepreneur Jeff Bryants to Church Hurts And.  

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Brain Science AND Belief with Dr. Ken Baugh

Ever thought the devil made you do it? Why do you do what you do and how does faith fit into it?

Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve gotten addicted to binge-watching a series on Netflix. No, really, don’t tell anyone because the language is way too graphic, and the sex on the screen won’t pass any Sunday School test, but the storyline and imagination is simply overwhelmingly compelling. The series is called Outlander, and it forces one to contemplate the cultural, medical, and spiritual dynamics in the mid 20th century compared to the mid 18th century. How would you handle life if you woke up tomorrow 200 years back in time? Imagine the differences, beginning with no lights to turn on, much less, thermostats to adjust, or prescriptions to take.

So why do we just keep that line of thought going for a minute? In the Christian world, it wasn’t long ago Catholics believed all Protestants were heretics, and Protestants all thought The Pope was the Anti-Christ. Psychology as a specific field of study was not even born as myths and superstitions abounded in the areas we might call brain science today. You are doing something crazy? What are we supposed to conclude if we don’t know about brain tumors, chemical imbalances, and personality disorders?

Rushing forward to today, do you wonder why you are struggling with faith and relationship issues in a way that seems unique? Do you question the prescriptions which are supposed to take the edge off of your anxiety or depression, still finding yourself unsatisfied? Does trust in God seem to elude you, making you long for the faith you see in others?

Let’s ask someone who has pondered these things for most of a lifetime.

Founder and CEO of IDT Ministries (Institute for Discipleship Training) and former pastor of Coast Hills Church in Aliso Viejo, welcome Dr. Ken Baugh to Church, Hurts And.

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Man of Iron with Terry Kolb

In our opening, we mention having a “dash of recovery” thrown in. What is that? Recovery? Recovery from what? 

If you Google recovery, the first thing to come up will be how to recover a lost or corrupted Word document. That is something we hope we don’t have to do anytime soon. But we are looking at something far more important and fundamental. That’s easy for me to say not panicking over a corrupted Word document containing months of work, but you get the point.

Consider the meaning of the prefix “re.” It means simply “back” or “again.” It appears hundreds of times in the English language. Rearrange. Retool. Readjust. Reborn. Reform. Remember. I could go on and on or chose different words if I wanted to redo this intro.

And then, have you ever been in a situation where you were responsible for too many things and the deadline was looming? You are running around checking on things and someone says, “I got this covered.” Wow, does that feel good! Covered. Protected.

Now we have something which was supposed to be covered but was left out in the elements too long. The storms came. The snow fell. The wind blew and too much exposure has taken its toll. Maybe we should just throw it out. Or, or is it worthy enough to RE-cover.

I have discovered that recovery people are some of the most gracious-giving people in this world. They know what it means to be beat-up by life. They know what it means to be exposed to too many storms. They know what it means to have a second chance.

You get to meet one of these people who knows something about this subject today.

Welcome former Iron Worker and current CEO of NJ Boom and Erectors, Terry Kolb to Church, Hurts And.


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Bonhoeffer 1945 AND Today with D. Paul Thomas

Bonhoeffer 1945 and Today

I don’t know about you, but I know life seems more complicated to me today than it was years ago. What used to be apparent black and white issues have turned into an insane amount of grays and purples and browns. It reminded me of third-grade art class when we were first allowed to play with paints and shown how to mix colors. Blue and yellow could make the loveliest shades of green. Like every other ADD child, of course, I figured if two colors mixed was good, why not three and four and five. You know the result, that ugly shade of mud which was irredeemable. 

Unfortunately, when I am talking about life being complicated, it isn’t as easy to understand as paint mixing. When what we learned was good ends up being not so good, or even harmful, confusion kicks in. If a right isn’t right, and wrong is what we were told was right, how are we act? When what was cast in stone in front of the courthouse from ten commandments is now forbidden to be on public property, who is making the rules, or maybe more importantly, who has changed the rules, and why?

In college, I was taught that there were different views of ethics, the two primary ones being Absolute and Relative. Absolute Ethics emphasized what was always true, no matter what. Relative Ethics emphasized that ethics changed based upon the situation. The classic illustration given was based upon lying being bad. If lying is evil, what do you do when the Gestapo comes to the door and asks if you are hiding Jews in your attic. If you tell the truth, they will surely be shot. If you lie, you have violated God’s prohibition against lying.

Today we will talk about a man who actually faced those issues, in that time with the Gestapo and Hitler and churches as messed up as church gets. His name was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. To find out more, let’s ask an actor who has played Bonhoeffer all over the world in the play Bonhoeffer 1945.

Welcome actor/playwright D. Paul Thomas to Church, Hurts And.

Heart of the Artist with Rory Noland

Christian Podcast | Heart of the Artist

I was the ripe old age of 22, settled into a graduate school outside of Chicago, and attempting to adjust to the north again after a marvelous year working in Key Biscayne, Florida. My father had died the previous year from sorosis of the liver, leaving me a bit lonely, while at the same time feeling quite adult. I was on my career path into church ministry, already quite settled into my theology of choice, yet eager to learn, and get my walking papers to be a legitimate clergyman.

Attending a singles group in the city, I ran into an all-too-cute girl who wouldn’t quit talking about her church in the suburbs. Actually, everyone seemed to be talking about that church, so I allowed myself to be dragged along one Sunday, more interested in the girl than I was in the church. I knew things were going to be different since the lobby was packed in the theater hosting this new fangled trendy church, awaiting the previous service to let out.

It is hard to imagine nowadays, but back then churches were mostly known for their pipe organs, choirs, and liturgy. The site of a band set up on the stage was different. But then, four female vocalists with microphones and smiles started to sing in harmony, quite well by the way. And then it happened. I saw the drummer lift slowly from his seat at the drum kit as the singers paused. With no shame or apology, and all the strength the young man had, he came down on the snare and the beat was on. Welcome to the modern church.

If I had to compare those three years in the seminary with the impact of that one church on my thinking, I’m not sure which was greater. I do know this, I will forever be grateful. Why do we do what we do in church? How much of it is because of outdated traditions, and how much of it is led by God’s instructions in the Bible?

Today we have a special guest who has spent his life asking such questions, picking the songs, rehearsing the bands, and leading the worship. Today he continues to serve the church as the director of Heart of the Artist Ministries. Let’s meet him.

Welcome, Rory Noland, to Church Hurts And.

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