5 Reasons You Need to Come to the CTPM Retreat in May 2021

Friends, I speak at only about one conference a year (and the 2020 one was cancelled, of course), so this is a big deal for me, and I’m super excited.

This Retreat Conference, sponsored by Joy Forrest’s Called to Peace Ministries, is called “He Makes All Things New.”

It will take place in the Asheville, NC, area over four days, Thursday through Sunday May 13-16, 2021.

To someone like me who comes from little (maybe you can relate) it looks expensive! That is, the retreat conference itself costs $200 before March 31 and then $300 after that.

On top of that you’ll need to pay for your room, which will cost $20-$125 per night depending on the room and the number of roommates. (So if you stay 3 nights, the minimum would be $60.)

Five meals are included (three on Friday, breakfast on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday). Thursday evening’s dinner and Saturday’s lunch and dinner are not included in the package.

Reason #1 you should come: Scholarships Are Available

I want to say right up front that Joy Forrest has said “We never want finances to prevent anyone from attending!” So, if you would love to come but finances are the only hindrance, you can email info@calledtopeace.org to ask for a scholarship. You can also ask there about getting a roommate for the retreat.

Reason #2: It’s Designed for You

This Retreat Conference is for those needing rest and restoration after oppressive and harmful relationship(s).

It’s also for people helpers who want to be better equipped to support and care for those who have been wounded.

I’m guessing that covers just about everyone who reads my website.

Reason #3: The Location Is Amazing

Your rest and restoration will be aided by the absolutely gorgeous setting at Lake Junaluska near Asheville, NC. Joy calls this a “Retreat” instead of a “Conference” because she does want you to truly rest and be restored here.

Reason #4: Leslie Vernick Will Be There

The primary presenter will be popular speaker and relationship coach Leslie Vernick, who speaks at way more than one conference a year, lol. She wrote The Emotionally Destructive Relationship (a best seller) and The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, among others.

Reason #5: Others Will Also Be Speaking, Including Me

The schedule of all the speakers should be coming out soon on the Retreat web page. I know there will be several breakout sessions, but at this point the only one I know about is mine.

At Joy Forrest’s request, I’ll be presenting something I haven’t spoken much about publicly but have been quietly doing for five years, and very regularly for three. Here’s the formal description, which will go up on the Retreat page soon.

Immanuel Approach Prayer Ministry to Help with Healing of Trauma Wounds

Christian psychiatrist Dr. Karl Lehman developed the Immanuel Approach through years of counseling, study of the human brain and mind, practicing EMDR, applying other prayer ministries, and developing an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. 

He found, and describes in his book, that even those who haven’t been through many years of formal traditional counseling training can learn to use this prayer ministry model with great success if they love Jesus and listen to the Holy Spirit.

Rebecca Davis, author of Untwisting Scriptures, tells the story of her own discovery of prayer ministry (or “spiritual coaching”). She explains how Immanuel Approach prayer ministry helps to increase a person’s capacity for joy, which will then increase the capacity to process pain. She describes how this ministry can be used even in the most extreme cases of abuse, when a person’s soul has been fragmented into numerous “parts.”

The wounds are many, the devices of the enemy are many, and the need for prayer ministers is great.  But the prayer ministry process can also be very rewarding, as we see our great Healer, Jesus Christ, bring His beloved children to greater and greater healing, joy, and strength in Him. 

This is a topic that can be stretching, to say the least, to those who have never experienced prayer ministry before. But it can be a very helpful tool in the toolkit for Christian mentors, life coaches, and even licensed counselors.

I’m super excited to do this breakout session at Joy’s retreat conference.

Sign-up details and answers to questions can be found at the Called to Peace Retreat page here.

I hope to see you there!

How Jay Adams Would Counsel a Pedophile

Part 1 in the Series: Competent to Examine Jay Adams and His Nouthetic Counseling

I have posted about “nouthetic counseling” (later rebranded to be called “Biblical counseling”) more than any other tagged topic on this blog.

But this series will examine Jay Adams’ writings themselves, drawing from the work of Valerie Jacobsen on her Facebook page, with her permission.

Because all Christians have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit and life experience and access to the findings of brain science, so all of us can be competent to examine Jay Adams’ teachings. Continue reading “How Jay Adams Would Counsel a Pedophile”

Small to Great (guest post by Rochelle Sadie)

I’m delighted to post this week from my friend Rochelle Sadie’s blog My Dear Sister. In spite of her blog’s name, please know that this post is not only for women but for men as well, anyone who has been harmed by a spiritually abusive system and made to feel “small.”


I could feel the cold hard wood floors on my feet as I stumbled in the dark, looking for my glasses. “Okay, feed the dogs, getting my coffee…” Continue reading “Small to Great (guest post by Rochelle Sadie)”

“Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue

When I was a young graduate assistant working at Bob Jones University (learning publishing at BJU Press), like all the other employees I was given certain odious assignments to fulfill each semester, such as monitoring the “dating parlor” for a couple of hours on a Sunday.

One Sunday after I had finished that odious assignment, my replacement came along, a BJU lifer, Miss Potts. She asked me if I was going to obediently head on over to Vespers (the University’s drama program presented on Sunday afternoons).

“No,” I responded somewhat defiantly. “I’m going to church.”

Miss Potts was an old Southern lady with an absolutely perfect Southern drawl.

“The Univuhsity,” she said, “would want you to go to Vespuhs.” Continue reading ““Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue”

Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality

If you’ve blogged for over ten years as I have, you probably have scores of jotted ideas, half-baked posts, drafts, and . . . what do you know it, full posts that somehow never got posted.

Today, when I had a few moments but wanted to avoid listening to the news that literally put me to bed yesterday on Pentecost Sunday, I began scrolling through my files and files of blog ideas. 

And then, there before me was a complete post about Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy that I never had posted. And since Gothard—a man that I, along with many thousands of others, used to adore—has been in the news again recently, and since his teaching promotes complete compliance to abusive authorities (talk about being pertinent to the news!) I’m posting it now.

My previous blog post about the Umbrella Heresy is here. Continue reading “Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality”

Christians and conspiracy theories: a response to The Gospel Coalition

I had to wait a while to write this post, because last Friday I became angry with Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition regarding his blog post about conspiracy theories. (It isn’t the first time his writing has angered me—his notorious “Beware of Broken Wolves” post three years ago fired up several of us abuse survivor advocates and others, so much so that the post itself got over 300 comments. Those comments have all been removed now, but the post still stands.)

I warn you, this is a long post. I’m going to be speaking from personal experience about conspiracy theories. Continue reading “Christians and conspiracy theories: a response to The Gospel Coalition”

The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees

Dear friend, the world can seem scary and crazy. We’re on lockdown, loved ones are sick, and some are dying. But Good Friday is almost upon us, and then Resurrection Day. There is still reason to rejoice. Jesus is risen and has broken the power of sin and death in the hearts and lives of all who call upon Him in faith.

In each gospel this week, I’ve been reading the account of the betrayal leading up to the crucifixion.

My focus was Jesus. But I couldn’t help but continue to see the Pharisees and other religious leaders, standing out in bold opposition to Him.

They’ve been misrepresented, you know, those Pharisees. Almost every time they’re portrayed or described, we think about them as obviously pompous, obviously arrogant, obviously hypocritical. But their hypocrisy wasn’t obvious to the Jewish people at all.

You think, perhaps, that this is because they were naïve, and you wouldn’t have been so naïve? Well, maybe not. But perhaps there are some among us today Continue reading “The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees”

A “We Care About Sex Trafficking” Initiative parable, by anonymous guest writer

Pastor: We’re holding this meeting today to talk about ways that we as a community of believers are going to get involved and act as Jesus would to the world of sex trafficking.

Member #1: That’s great—I’ve been hoping we could get involved! Our community has been ripped apart by sexual abuse. It even occurs in our churches, Christian schools, mission programs, Christian universities, Christian camps, youth groups, etc. I have so many friends and neighbors whose lives have been shattered, and they’ve never encountered a church community willing to come alongside them, help them heal, and stand for justice in their oppression. Continue reading “A “We Care About Sex Trafficking” Initiative parable, by anonymous guest writer”

Is God glorified through our suffering?

Recently I received a question from my friend Ana Harris. She said,

When people’s prayers for God to be glorified in my suffering are disconnected from his goodness and love, they start to sound rather cruel, almost like God is using me and taking pleasure in my pain. Does God cause my pain and suffering for his own glory? Why would he need our suffering to get glory for himself? Doesn’t he already possess glory because of who he is?

What is your answer to this? How do we truly glorify God? What is glory anyway?

Continue reading “Is God glorified through our suffering?”