Many Christians have no local church to attend where they feel safe and are being fed. For those who are in that position, we encourage you to listen to sermons and services online.
Churches, live-feed church services, and archived sermons that we recommend
Ps Sam Powell, First Reformed Church Yuba City, California
You can listen to Sam’s sermons anytime on Sermon Audio- First Reformed Church Yuba City
You can follow First Reformed Church Yuba City on Facebook. All their services are live-fed to their Facebook page. They also give a link to the sermon where you can listen to it after it has been live-streamed.
Sam Powell also posts links to his sermons on Twitter @sampowell365
Ps Jeff Crippen, Christ Reformation Church, Tillamook, Oregon
You can listen to Jeff Crippen’s sermons anytime on Sermon Audio – Christ Reformation Church Tillamook
Sermons that are particularly helpful to victims of abuse
Most Christians who are victims of abuse are tired of having to pick up crumbs from sermons while being on hyper-alert for things the preacher says that may trigger them.
Many Christians who are victims of abuse are exhausted (and almost despairing) because they have found by hard experience that if they go to church service they have to make an immense effort to discern and cut all the bad (triggering) things that the preacher has said, in the hope of picking up a few crumbs from the sermon that will help them.
Our sermons page gives links to sermons we know have been really helpful for victims of abuse.
(you can navigate to that page anytime by clicking on Resources in our main menu)
Some of the things you will find at our sermons page:
Imagine if pit bull terriers and poisonous snakes and spiders were commonly used as companion animals. Imagine if they were common in homes, schools, nursing homes, churches and missionary organizations.
And now imagine that a skilled animal-handler found a way to train pit bulls, snakes and spiders so that a few of them did not bite…but the training worked on only a few of them. No matter how hard the super-skilled trainer did his or her amazing stuff, the vast majority of those animals could not be trained.
Would it be sensible to say “Let’s teach all the animal trainers to use these amazing techniques so that a few less people are hurt by snakes, spiders and pit bulls?”
Or would it be more sensible to just ban poisonous snakes, spiders and pit bulls?
Of course, the analogy is imperfect…and I mean no offence to real snakes and spiders as they have a place in the ecosystem! But I think you get my point.
Psalm 15:1-4 NASB
O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the LORD;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
I grew up in a Christian home. I should clarify, my mother’s faith was always an inspiration to me, but all I saw with my father’s so-called faith was hypocrisy and using the Bible as a weapon against others.
Then one day, my mother came to me weeping over my father’s actions towards her. She had nowhere else to go, as over the years she had become more and more isolated, and bought into the lie that as a good Christian woman she shouldn’t talk about her marriage issues with anyone and cover her husband’s sin.
She came to me out of sheer desperation because the emotional abuse had got so severe. I was shocked but strangely not surprised. I guess I had always seen my father’s antics, just was surprised how far he had taken things this time.
I begged mum to go get help from another Godly couple we know (who have been a true blessing to her through this!) I begged mum to not go back to my dad but to separate from him. Enough was enough. I told her his behaviour was abusive.
Meanwhile, I confronted my dad directly. I heard his side of the story.
I tried pleading with him initially to go get counselling. He agreed to do so, only to twist their words and use them as validation for his behaviour! I was so horrified.
At that point I realised that he was emotionally manipulating everyone (including me)! I had never seriously thought of my dad as being manipulative, I think because growing up he used overt control and didn’t need to be subversive with me about it!
I realised at this point that pleading with him would only serve to further his cause. He wanted compassion and he wanted allies. He would just continue shifting goalposts and deflecting issues until he wore me down.
So I took a firm stand against him. I told him I would never agree with him, that what he was doing was sin and he was in a dangerous place with God.
At first he was angry with me, and then when he realised I wouldn’t sway from my convictions he told me that I didn’t have to agree with him – but I had to ‘accept’ what he was doing.
It’s just a play on words – in his mind acceptance will just flow on to agreement, and I have seen so many people fall into this trap with him already. They tell him they don’t agree, but they continue to have a relationship with him in the hope that one day he might magically change his mind. Meanwhile he tells everyone else that these people agree with him that my mother is a horrible person! These people (including family members) foolishly try to walk the path of neutrality, and they don’t realise they HAVE by default chosen a side…the side of the abuser!
I told my father I would not accept what he was doing. He threatened to not come around anymore if I was going to ‘lecture’ him every time he did (translation: disagree with him and call him out on his sin) and I told him perhaps that was best. At that moment he freaked out because his threat was just a bluff. Then he pulled out all the stops – accusing me of being a self-righteous, judgemental Christian with conditional love. According to him I was giving him ultimatums, I was threatening to cut him off (even though two seconds before HE was threatening to not see me anymore!) I was wanting to punish him. It was insane and heavy. He became desperate and bullying. After this altercation I told him repeatedly (and respectfully) to give me time and space and he refused. He attempted to bulldoze my boundaries about four times and in the end my husband had to step in and tell him he wasn’t welcome in our lives until he ‘pulled his head out’.
So now here I am. I haven’t spoken to my father in a while now. He refuses to repent or show even remorse. He has lied repeatedly. All the while he has played the victim which makes me so flipping angry, when all that has happened is a result of his choices! He has always blamed everyone else for his problems, and now he is out of control.
I feel a strong conviction in my spirit to have nothing to do with him. Until he repents. IF he repents (which I sadly fear he may never). Not to punish him, but to protect myself and my family from his evil.
Now I am struggling against the enormous pressure to resume a relationship with my dad despite his sin and lack of repentance. I hear “but he’s your dad!” Apparently, it’s acceptable to cut all toxic relationships from your life EXCEPT if it’s family. And yet it’s family that can do the most damage if they are toxic.
I feel other people’s judgement, that somehow I am not a loving person because I can’t accept my dad for “who he is” and forgive him. I judge myself worst of all. I am constantly at war with myself, battling the lies my dad has spoken over me (judgmental, self-righeous, punishing him…)
I can forgive him, but I cannot comprehend a relationship with him if he is unrepentant. I don’t even know how that can work. It sends my soul into turmoil at the thought of it. I get fearful and anxious at the thought of him being in my life given his toxic behaviour.
I sometimes battle with intense anger. I wonder why I am the one with all the expectations on me to make the situation ‘right’ when I am not the one who caused all this mess – my mum and I are victims of it. Yet NO ONE except for me has stood firmly against my dad to defend my mum. All these people who know my mum’s character and can vouch for it…yet they keep trying to ‘love’ dad into repentance. It sounds so Christian, but it’s so twisted, and dad is lapping it up. It hurts my heart and I feel so alone sometimes.
It’s so jolly hard to decide not to have anything to do with your own father. I didn’t take my decision lightly, or impulsively. It’s even harder to deal with another Christian’s pressure to reconcile. I will say though, that my closest friends have been very supportive and understanding of my position and that is a true blessing.
I would love to reconcile with my dad. But I need to see repentance. Why is that so polarizing to Christians?!?!?
Thanks very much to Porcelain Warrior who gave us permission to publish her story as a stand-alone post.
Faith is not man’s opinion and dream, as some imagine, and form their own ideas when they hear the story of the gospel. The cause is that when they hear the gospel or glad tidings, they fashion by their own strength certain imaginations and thoughts in their hearts, saying, I have heard the gospel; I remember the story; lo, I believe! And this they count true faith – which nevertheless, since it is but man’s imagination and assumption, does not profit. Neither do good works or a lasting amendment of life follow.
But true faith is a thing wrought by the Holy Spirit in us, which changes us, transforms our nature, begets us anew in God, and makes us the children of God, as you read in the first of John. A faith that is genuine kills the old Adam, and makes us altogether new in the heart, mind, will, desire, and in all our affections and powers of the soul, and brings the Holy Spirit with her.
Faith is a living thing, mighty in working, courageous and strong, ever doing, ever fruitful, so that it is impossible that the person endued with faith should not work good works. A person of faith does not ask whether good works are to be done or not, but has done them already, before mention be made of them. And he is always doing, for such is his nature now: a living faith in his heart, and the active moving of the Spirit, constrain him and stir him to this. Whoever does not do good works is an unbelieving person, and faithless, and looks around groping after faith and good works, but does not know what faith or good works are, even when he talks ever so much about faith and good works.
Faith is then a living and steadfast trust in the favour of God, whereby we commit ourselves altogether to God. And that trust is so surely grounded and sticks so fast in our hearts that a man would not once doubt of it, though he should die a thousand times for it. And such trust wrought by the Holy Spirit through faith makes a person glad, joyful, cheerful, and true-hearted, toward God and toward all creatures. And thus he or she is willingly and without compulsion glad and ready to do good to all, to render service to all, to suffer all things, so that God who has given him such grace may be loved and praised. So it is impossible to separate good works from faith, even as it is impossible to separate heat and burning from fire.
Therefore take heed to yourself. Beware of your own suppositions and imaginations, which to judge of faith and good works will seem wise, but indeed are blind, and of all things most unwise. Pray God that he will assent to work faith in your heart, or you will remain evermore faithless, however much you surmise, imagine, strengthen your resolve, wrestle with yourself, or do what you will or can.
From William Tyndale’s Prologue to Romans, Matthew’s Version Abridged (1537). The language has been gently updated into modern English by Ruth Magnusson Davis.
Unlike most of our Sunday posts, today’s post is not a sermon. But if you want to listen to a sermon, there are a vast number of Ps Sam Powell’s sermons on Sermon Audio.
Lastly, here is a hymn that one of our readers sent me.
The Matthew Bible is the first complete English Bible, and Ruth M Davis is gently updating it for modern readers – in this post you will find out more about William Tyndale. He translated the Greek New Testament and about half of Hebrew Old Testament, but was taken captive and martyred before he could complete his translation of the OT. His translations were incorporated in the Matthew Bible.
UPDATE: Our supply is now exhausted. If we receive more copies before they are released onto the market, we will let you know in this post.
We have shared in the past about Don Hennessy’s new book, Steps to Freedom: Escaping Intimate Control. To learn more about his book see Barbara’s post: Steps to Freedom: Escaping Intimate Control – Don Hennessy’s new book
The Irish publisher Liberties Press has sold out of its first printing and has reprinted it. But book release dates differ in the non-American market from the American market. Amazon USA says the book will be available in September. And for reasons we can’t understand, Book Depository which is a UK company says it will be available in October.
Meanwhile, Don Hennessy has generously donated copies of his book to ACFJ. As we have done in the past with other books through our Gift Book project we are making these copies available to cash-strapped victims.
If you are a victim of abuse who wants but can’t afford to purchase or is hesitate to purchase because your only credit card account is jointly shared with your abuser — a copy of Steps to Freedom, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We presently have only a few copies of this book. We will handle requests in the order that we receive them.