VIDEO For God’s Sake, Domestic Violence and Religion – DV Sermon – Understanding DV

Julie Owens
Jun 1, 2017

I was honored to be asked to participate in the making of “For God’s Sake”, a brief documentary about domestic violence and religion. It was produced by the students of Professor Kris Macomber at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Spring 2017

Rev Bob Owens domestic violence sermon

 Mar 7, 2017

Robert S. Owens is a retired Presbyterian (USA) minister, and has been a pastor for over 60 years. He is the father of Julie Owens, and with her, survived an attempted murder by her estranged husband. Pastor Bob served many churches and retired as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu. He delivered this message at the “Shine A Light on Domestic Violence” conference in Charlotte, NC in 2013. Another of his sermons on the subject of domestic violence has been studied by many, many university students and numerous seminary students. It can be found in print form on the RAVE website (Religion And Violence E-learning) at His pastoral blog is at

Understanding Domestic Violence – Audio Training for Church Leaders

Mar 6, 2017

This lecture was my presentation at the ‘Shine A Light on Domestic Violence’ conference held September 7, 2013. The conference featured four experts addressing domestic Violence, what the Bible says about abuse, and how the church and community leaders can respond and support those experiencing abuse. SHINE A LIGHT on Domestic Violence is a ministry in Charlotte, N.C.

What Do We Really Want?


He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:11

“I went from the horse-and-buggy to a man walking on the moon,” said the elderly man to his granddaughter, who shared this story with me recently. But then he mused, “I never thought it would be so short.”

Life is short, and many of us turn to Jesus because we want to live forever. That’s not bad, but we don’t comprehend what eternal life really is. We tend to crave the wrong things. We long for something better, and we think it’s just ahead. If only I were out of school. If only I had that job. If only I were married. If only I could retire. If only . . . And then one day we catch an echo of our grandfather’s voice as we wonder where the time has flown.

When we find our life in Jesus, we enjoy life with Him, both now and forever.

The truth is, we possess eternal life now. The apostle Paul wrote, “The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Then he said, “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (v. 5). In other words, our desires change when we come to Christ. This naturally gives us what we most desire. “The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (v. 6).

It’s one of life’s great lies that we need to be somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else before we start truly living. When we find our life in Jesus, we exchange regret over life’s brevity for the full enjoyment of life with Him, both now and forever.

Lord, You said You came to give us life to the fullest, but so often we have our own agenda and the wrong goals in mind. Please forgive us, and help us desire what You want.

To live forever we must let Jesus live in us now.

By Tim Gustafson


INSIGHT:Read John 10:10 to see what Jesus said about eternal life. What hinders you from enjoying life on earth now?

To read more on the subject of contentment see Cultivating a Heart of Contentment at

The Father’s Good Gifts

Matthew 7:7-11

One of God’s most generous assurances to His children is found in today’s reading from Matthew 7. Not only are we granted permission to come to the Father with our requests, but He also promises to answer our prayers. However, you may be thinking, If this is true, why hasn’t He given me what I asked for?

The key to understanding this passage is found in verses 9–11: “What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? … If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Think in terms of parenting. A child may want the latest video game, but his parent knows that a different gift would be better for him. In the same way, the God who made us is more keenly aware of our needs than we are (Matt. 6:8).

Because of spiritual immaturity or the limitations of our humanity, we may ask for what we perceive as good and necessary, when it isn’t truly in our best interest. But our Father gives what He knows is more beneficial. The qualities of Christlike character are among His best gifts, but these develop through trials and testing. We may feel He’s given us a snake instead of a fish, but the problem is with our lack of understanding, not with the Lord’s goodness.

When it seems that the Lord isn’t answering your requests, remember that He’s a loving Father, and consider what good gifts He is giving instead. Although it may take years to gain a godly perspective, in time you’ll say, “Lord, You were right. Thank You for giving me exactly what I needed.”

The Gardens of the Lord

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.” (John 18:1)

As Jesus, after the last supper with His disciples, walked out with them, they soon crossed over a small brook and entered the little garden called Gethsemane. Eventually, He left the disciples and went farther into the garden alone for a time of solitary prayer.

Perhaps He remembered how, long ago, He had walked in His first garden with Adam and Eve in beautiful fellowship. But then they had rebelled against His Word and had to be expelled from the Garden of Eden, leaving Him alone there also (Genesis 3:8).

As He prayed in Gethsemane, He knew that it would be only a few hours before He would be buried in still another garden, one “wherein was never man yet laid” (John 19:41). He would be carried to a new tomb prepared in a newly planted garden by the loving hands of Joseph and Nicodemus, but then He would be alone once again.

He had walked alone in the first garden, seeking His own; then had knelt alone in the second garden, praying for His own; and finally was buried alone in the third garden, after dying for His own.

But because He came “to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10), and because He now “ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25) after paying the awful price of “redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7), all those who believe and trust Him will spend eternity in fellowship with Him in a beautiful garden city. Here flows “a pure river of water of life” surrounded on both sides by “the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month” (Revelation 22:1-2), and all will be “very good” forever. HMM

“The rivers shall not overflow thee.”

Joshua 3:14-17

Joshua 3:14

But that was no difficulty with God, who can as well dry up an overflowing river as a shallow one,

At the division of the Red sea the waters stood as a wall, on both sides, but on this occasion the floods arose on one side only, and on the left hand the water quite disappeared, flowing at once into the Dead sea. The Lord has many ways of effecting the same end. Variety in the divine operations is a clear proof that the Lord is never at a loss for ways and means

Under the eyes of their enemies the miracle was wrought, and in the face of the arch-enemy God will grant his people safe passage through death’s cold flood.

Joshua 3:17

The ark of the covenant first led the way, and then kept the road open. The priesthood of Jesus and the ark of his redemption make for all believers a passage into the better land.

Joshua 4:4-11, 18

Joshua 4:4-7

Care must be taken by the best possible means to keep the Lord’s wonders of grace in remembrance in coming generations. This is a principal use of the two sacred ordinances of our holy faith, and it should be a main object of care with all good men.

Joshua 4:10

Christ will never cease his mediatorial work, till all his redeemed are safely landed. Ministers ought to be brave men, the first to risk all for God’s sake, and the last to leave their post. Note how the Israelites were both trembling and believing; they “hasted,”—here was fear, and “passed over“—here was faith.

Joshua 4:18

This proved that the whole transaction was a miracle, not to be accounted for by referring it to natural causes. Let the Lord be praised for it.


When I tread the verge of Jordan,

Bid my anxious fears subside;

Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,

Land me safe on Canaan’s side:

Songs of praises

I will ever give to Thee.


You Are No Accident, Because God Chose You!

Ephesians 1:4

From time to time, someone says, “My parents didn’t plan me. I was an accident no one expected.” People use this as an excuse for not accepting more responsibility in life, claiming that they are accidents who came into the world by mistake and aren’t even supposed to be here!

Well, I want to tell you that even though we may have been a surprise to our parents, we were not a surprise to God! The Bible teaches that long before you or I were ever conceived in our mothers’ wombs, God already knew us and was calling us to be His children with a special purpose to fulfill in this world.

In Psalm 139:15 and 16, David declares that God’s eyes were fixed on us not only when we were in the earliest stages of being formed in our mother’s womb, but even before we were conceived. David said concerning himself (and us), “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

According to David, God knew us when we were nothing more than mere “substance” in the earliest stages of being formed in our mothers’ wombs. God was so intricately aware of us that He took note as our arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes were being formed. In fact, this verse says He even knew us “… when as yet there was none of them” in existence! Think of it! Long before we were conceived, God already knew of us—and by faith He could see us being conceived, formed, and born into this world. This means there isn’t a single human being on the earth who was a surprise to God, and that includes you!

Those of us who are believers were also saved by no accident. Paul writes, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world….” The word “chosen” in Greek is eklego—a compound of the words ek and lego. The word ek means out, and the word lego means I say. Together these words literally mean Out, I say! It can also mean to call out, to select, to elect, or to personally choose.

In classical Greek writings, this word eklego referred to a person or a group of people who were selected for a specific purpose. For example, the word eklego was used for the selection of men for military service. It was also used to denote soldiers who were chosen out of the entire military to go on a special mission or to do a special task. Finally, it was used for politicians who were elected by the general public to hold a public position or to execute a special job on behalf of the community.

In every case where the word eklego is used to portray the election or selection of individuals, it conveys the idea of the great privilege and honor of being chosen. It also strongly speaks of the responsibility placed on those who are chosen to walk, act, and live in a way that is honorable to their calling. Because of the great privilege of being elected to a higher position or selected to perform a special task, those who are “chosen” bear a responsibility to walk and act in accordance with the calling that has been extended to them. They should look upon themselves as chosen, honored, esteemed, and respected—special representatives of the one who elected them!

So when Paul says that God “… hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…,” he is saying that God looked out to the horizon of human history—and He saw us! And when God saw us, His voice echoed forth from Heaven: “Out, I say!” In that flash, our destinies were divinely sealed! We were separated by God from a lost and dying world, and He called us to be His own.

Just as the word eklego in classical Greek times depicted the military selection of young men to leave their homes and come serve in the military, God looked out at the human race and personally selected, elected, and specially chose us to come away from the world and be permanently enlisted as His sons and daughters! Now as children of the King, we bear the awesome responsibility of walking worthily of the high calling we have received!

Look at when this selection took place. Paul says it occurred “… before the foundation of the world….” The word “foundation” is the Greek word katabole, a compound of the words kata and bole. The word kata means down, and the word bole means to hurl or to throw. These two words together mean to forcibly hurl something down, and it refers to the act of creation.

Thus, before God ever spoke the earth into existence—before His booming voice ever called out for the first layers of the earth’s crust to be put into place—He had already spoken our names! He selected and elected us before the very first layers of the earth were created.


In light of these Greek meanings, Ephesians 1:4 could be phrased to read:

“When God saw us, He said, ‘Out, I say!’ In that moment, He separated us from the rest of the world and enlisted us in His service. And think of it! He did all of this before He ever hurled the first layers of the earth’s crust into existence….”

So if your flesh ever tries to rant and rave that you’re not worthy enough to be used or that you’re just an accident, you need to take authority over your flesh and tell it to shut its stupid mouth! Then you need to declare, “God chose me, and He planned a great future for me. He wants to use me. I’m not going to listen anymore to this foul garbage from my lying flesh and unrenewed emotions. I have an awesome destiny! In fact, I’m a significant part of God’s plan!”

Don’t listen to your filthy, stinking, lying, fibbing flesh anymore! God has been waiting for your arrival for a very long time! It’s time for you to accept His assignment and make the necessary changes to flow with His program. He’s calling out to you all the time, saying, “Get up and jump in the race! I want you. I’m calling you to be a part of My team.”

There is too much at stake for you to make the mistake of sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. You’ll only begin to experience true significance when you accept the fact that God has chosen you, and when you begin to live up to the glorious calling He has placed on your life! No matter how large or small the task, no matter how big or tiny the assignment, joy and satisfaction will be yours when you start accomplishing what God brought you into this world to do.

This is what imparts true significance to any person’s life. No satisfaction compares with this satisfaction. Those who contribute nothing to life are usually the ones who struggle with a sense of purposelessness.

Even if you think your gifts are small in comparison to others, you can still use them! If you use the gifts God gave you, they will increase. And the more proficient you become at using those gifts, the more valuable you will become to your family, your church, your business, and your friends. On the other hand, you will cause your life to be inconsequential if you ignore the gifts God gave you and minimize the life assignment He has entrusted to you.

A person’s life becomes pointless when he or she contributes nothing to the world. Don’t let that describe YOUR life! God didn’t bring you into the world so you would live a pointless and inconsequential life! He has a purpose for your life. He wants to use you! He wants you to be a significant part of His plan!


Lord, I am so glad that You knew me and called me even before I was conceived in my mother’s womb. According to Your Word, I am no mistake; therefore, I ask You to help me start looking at my life with respect, esteem, and honor. You called me, and You have an awesome plan for my life. I ask You to help me uncover that plan so I can get started on the road of obedience toward the fulfillment of what You brought me into this world to do!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I boldly declare that I am no accident and no mistake! God knew me before the earth was created; He called me before I was formed in my mother’s womb; and He has long awaited my arrival on planet earth! God has a plan for me! I am purposeful; I am respectful of myself; and I walk in a way that honors the One who called and anointed me to be enlisted in His service!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Have you ever been tempted to think that your life was pointless and inconsequential? What happens in your life most often that triggers these negative emotions?
  2. Can you think of a time when you were supernaturally illuminated to the call of God on your life? When that happened, what did you understand was the chief purpose that God had for you in this lifetime?
  3. If you have been struggling with feelings of purposelessness or of inferiority toward other people, what are you going to do to stop these negative emotions from affecting you in an adverse way?


The True Measure Of A Shepherd — Discipler

I wonder how much of what is accepted today as “shepherding” or “discipling” has the imprimatur of Christ’s life upon it?



  • Appear to be indiscriminate in their selection of people:
  • Jesus ministered at large to lepers and princes, outcasts and the elite. In selecting the twelve disciples, He chose rebels. Working-class men. Nondescripts. Their one commonality seemed to be a mutual hunger for God (Judas excepted).
  • By contrast, we tend to choose those with whom we find a natural affinity: Those who “fit in” with our social, educational, or economic milieu.
  • Are willing to suffer whatever is necessary to see their sheep mature:

Consider Paul’s example:


Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the electI am in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” (2 Timothy 2:10a; Galatians 4:19b)

  • By contrast, we tend to evaluate “success” in our ministry by such relatively superficial criteria as our disciples’ (1) mastery of certain disciplines, (2) their endorsement of our ministry objectives for them, or (3) their continued affirmation of us as their spiritual leader.

When John’s disciples met Jesus, John immediately stepped into the background, thereby allowing them to follow the Master. (John 1:35-39; 3:30)


By contrast, we run the risk of developing in our sheep an unhealthy sense of dependency upon us, or obligation to us. Unwittingly, this aberration is fostered through subtle manipulation or abuse of authority, thus delaying or inhibiting their matriculation toward healthy independence.


Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brothers way.” (Romans 14:13b)


QUESTION: In ministering to others, what is our primary motivation: The furtherance of God’s Kingdom and Glory, or something as mundane or minuscule as our personal fulfillment or aggrandizement?


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