3. Tracy: Starting the Brain Work

I queried Tracy in more detail about her experience with intimacy on the social level.  Her journey was a bit rougher than I had realized, and the short version is she does not have a track record of fulfilling, trust-based relationships with people.  That means that those networks are not in place in the brain for us to use for spiritual intimacy.  That is the bad news.

The good news is that we can grow them.

Now, understand that I fully believe that God can intervene in anyone’s brain, and anyone’s life, any time He wants to, with a stupendous invasion of intimacy that is totally effective, no matter how inadequate their brain is.  The spirit does not need the brain to connect with God.   We pray for that and hope for it.  But while we wait for the miracle, we use the principles.

This is an experiment to see if we have enough tools in our kit to connect Tracy to God in an intimate fashion.  If we fail, it is not because of her, it is because the Body of Christ worldwide has not developed enough skills.


So let’s begin.

Tracy, there are two areas of your brain that we want to develop.  The first is pleasure and then is joy.  Pleasure is what you can experience alone as you interface with the natural world.  Joy has been defined by Dr. Wilder as the emotion you feel when someone is glad to see you.  So joy is dependent on others, and there have been seasons in all of our life when just about no one was glad to see us come – and it doesn’t build the right nerve cluster when they are glad to see us go!

So in those seasons, we turn to the pleasure portion of our brain and begin to vigorously develop our ability to feel intensely those things that feel good.  Often intimacy with God begins with shared pleasure.  And there are pleasures that people share and some that they don’t.

Megan does not like hot drinks or milk.  I, by contrast, love milk and really love my hot chocolate.  So while hot chocolate brings me great pleasure, it is not a pleasure we share.  On the other hand, we both find pleasure in a finely crafted sentence and can have a certain level of relationship around a shared pleasure, even though that is a lesser thing than joy.

So we develop the pleasure center since it builds a foundation for the joy that is our eventual goal.

We start with pleasure felt by your body, then soul and then – ideally – spirit.

Today is Sunday.  I am in the office briefly waiting for my long awaited storm to blow in.  It is already raining, but there is no wind, and I want to see the waves and feel the rain stinging in my face as the wind blows.  I will leave in less than an hour, seeking a deep pleasure experience in body and soul, and possibly something spiritual to boot.

So my pleasure right now:  the sound of rain in the gutter outside my office; the warm wool shirt; the color of the shirt and how it matches my jeans; the sound of my boots on the warehouse floor; the taste of the hot chocolate I am sipping.

Let’s start there for you.  See if you can make me a list of 30 things that bring you pleasure.  Some will be repetitive, like hot coffee on a cold morning.  Others will be occasional like eating strawberries picked on a dewy summer morning.

And, as I pointed out in the PTSD album, there are three steps to building the nerve pathways.  Anticipation, being in the moment, and savoring afterwards.

I baked pineapple upside down cake this morning.  It is my third attempt to craft a recipe I can live with.  I am such a cranky old curmudgeon when it comes to recipes.  My way or no way.

I did something new today and am on tiptoe with expectation (inside, at least – physically I am sort of still sitting) to see how it came out.  The timer will ding in 3.8 minutes, and I will remove it from the oven and let it cool a few hours before I flip it and taste it.  I am anticipating the visual appeal and then the taste and texture in a few hours when I come back from my storm chasing.

Use the tools in the album, build a list of things that bring you pleasure and practice anticipating, being in the moment and then savoring after the fact.

Send me your list, and describe one of each of the three points on the savoring sequence.

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk An MRI of Fathering SLG Coaching blog

From the Hub, listening to the rain

P.S.  The visual pleasure was high.  I think I might have nailed it.  One for the keeper file.

43. Hebrew Worship: The God of the Grudge

The story of the battle with the Amalekites in Exodus 17 intrigues me because of the lack of clarity at the end.  This is the third of the compound names of Jehovah, so it carries huge significance to all of us.  Yet, the Hebrew is so ambiguous that as you scroll through the sundry American translations, you see a multitude of different conclusions, as very well educated people have wrestled with the word pictures – and disagreed enormously.

While much of the record in Exodus is vague, Moses’ recap in Deuteronomy 25:17ff is completely unambiguous.

“Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt.  When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God.  When the LORD your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.  Do not forget!”  NIV

Simply put, God was nursing a grudge, and He demanded that the Israelites join Him in that grudge and in getting even in the end.

This is yet another example of our pop theology creating a smoke screen that obliterates the reality of the God we serve.  Our culture likes simplistic solutions.  So, we have a massively well developed theology of forgiveness that demands that everyone forgive everyone unilaterally and if possible to reconcile.

Now, I am as aware as anyone of the dangers of bitterness.  The consequences to spirit, soul and body, not to mention community, your economy and your possessions of nursing unforgiveness are immense.   The pastime of nursing and rehearsing the injustice done to you has devastating consequences.

So, simple theology says, “Forgive everyone, immediately.”  And it is easy to point to Jesus on the cross forgiving his four Roman executioners as the basis for saying we should do likewise.

However, when you move beyond simplistic theology to the real deal, it causes brain bleed.

For example, when Jesus sent out the twelve on their first itinerant ministry, He not only gave them permission to be unforgiving, He required them to determine at the end of each campaign whether to bless or curse the city.  No middle ground was allowed.  They had no freedom to forgive basic rudeness or apathy.  They were to judge.  And Jesus committed to endorsing their judgments sight unseen.  Those cities were to be treated more harshly than Sodom and Gomorrah.  Mark 6:11.

And Christ unleashed a savage condemnation of Capernaum which carried no shred of invitation for reconciliation in it.  Matthew 11:23

So there you have a picture that is consistent throughout the Old and New Testaments.  God displays staggering levels of emotional engagement with some people.  And God displays staggering levels of enduring fury against others.

I have not found a way to develop a nice, neat, three point theological grid to determine when I should unilaterally forgive and when I should declare immediate or enduring judgment.

I tend to camp in Matthew 23 which is the most concentrated passage of Christian cursing to be found anywhere in the New Testament.  But after that vitriolic assault which resulted in the Diaspora, Christ’s tone changed in a heartbeat, and He closed with this:  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.  Look, your house is left to you desolate.”  Matthew 23:37-38  NIV

The God of the Grudge is terrifying, but beneath the most savage grudge, He still feels immense compassion.

And THAT is where I worship.  When I am burning white hot with anger, compassion is far from me.  When I am overwhelmed with compassion, I simply am not offended by anything about the person.

Only my Great King could speak and LIVE Matthew 23 – all in a single breath.

And for THAT, I worship Him today.

43. Hebrew Worship: The God of the Grudge  Blessing Intensity SLG Coaching blog

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub


Chemo and Authority

Greetings and Salutations to the SLG Tribe!  🙂  This is Megan from the California office.

I read Arthur’s first blog about chemotherapy and the idea of involving the spirit in the process of keeping the poison of the chemicals out of the rest of the body.  Several people commented that they had done something similar and saw positive results.  Then Arthur took it up a notch and said we could pray that the chemo would be a surgical strike against the cancer in a way similar to several stories in Scripture, beginning with the Hebrews and the Exodus.  This sent my mind and spirit whirring.  I was especially drawn to the plague on the firstborn sons.  Humanly speaking, it wouldn’t be that hard to track the firstborn in every family, though in an entire nation, it would be a lot of work.  Not impossible.  But God didn’t stop with the humans.  The plague extended to the cattle as well.   The Egyptians had already suffered from two plagues that killed their livestock, and who knows how many animals they bought off the Hebrews to replenish their herds.  Who could possibly have kept track of all of that?

God did.  In herds of hundreds, only the firstborn died.  That is some serious precision.

So, if our God knows that level of detail, would He not also know every cancer cell in a person’s body?  Could He not strike as precisely in the microcosm of a human body as He could in the macrocosm of a nationwide plague on the firstborn cattle?

This is our God!

Friends, as I pondered this facet of God’s nature and all of the people in our lives who are fighting cancer, I thought about how far we have already come in our war against the Egyptian Curse.  When Arthur introduced the concept months ago, it was for us to join together as a tribe and push against this spiritual dynamic that devours our lives.  We have warred and worshipped together with endurance, so why not turn that earned authority in the direction of people who are fighting this grim battle?

We have momentum already because of our prayers.  I invite you to extend that momentum towards those who need this precision strategy against cancer.   What new colors of God’s wisdom could we see through this?  What might God want to reveal about Himself when an entire tribe of people unites to bring God Speed to the healing of cancer and to make a spectacle of the enemy?

I look forward to celebrating Him with you!


2. Invisibility: Legitimizing Joy

Lauren has been working on the Office of Personhood album for a couple of months now.  One of the things she brings to the table is a terrific work ethic, so she plows deeply in whatever I give her to do.  Hence, the blogs on this theme of her becoming visible will be quite sporadic, but I anticipate huge change over time because she walks in stark reality and invests deeply.

Listening to the album made things markedly worse, in that she now realizes the problem is much larger than simple invisibility.  She is not even remotely in the office of personhood.  She grew up in a controlling environment, joined a profession that is quite rigorous in how they dispense legitimacy and is in a city that competes savagely for their flavor of legitimacy.

So on every level, she was commoditized from childhood especially the devaluation of being a woman in a man’s trade.  She received the message she would always be less than, but if she sacrificed deeply to make the men around her successful, she would be allowed a small place on the playing field.

Being a hard worker, she worked hard to become the best commodity out there, only to find that her best was not good enough.

She listened to the album, made a list of a few things that brought her joy and proceeded to try to figure out how to walk this out.  She is still in a variety of contexts where the pressure on her to conform to the look and the ideas of most of her communities is quite large.

So, Lauren, here is my strategy for now.

First of all, you have made huge progress in discovering that you were designed to be “quirky” as you described it.  And you seem to be pretty OK with that discovery.  That is huge and valuable.

Your art form at present is to enjoy your joy privately until there is a large enough imprint on your spirit, soul and brain to deal with the outside world.

Here are some examples from my life.  My home town has a train track through it with active trains.  Most people hate it, and the price of housing goes down the closer you are to the track.  I happen to like the sound of the train whistle and the thunder of the train as it goes across the one bridge.

So when I am in a grocery store, surrounded by strangers or with my wife, I might hear the train whistle in the distance.  I do nothing externally.  But internally I smile and enjoy the sound.  I call that “being alone in public.”  I am enjoying my joy in private, inside, even though I am in public and my wife is trying to decide which avocado is going to be ripe in two days.

Here is another.  I enjoy odd juxtaposing of clothes that actually work.  So sitting on an airplane, watching people board, I am casually watching the people coming by.  Most clothing is boring, stupid or ugly.  But when I see that college athlete come in wearing that impossible combination of clothing that actually WORKS, the artist in me smiles and savors and enjoys how he pulled it off.

Most of the time, the things I enjoy are not what other people enjoy.  So I have learned to enjoy my joy widely, privately, even though it is not socially acceptable to do so publicly.

So start there.  Let’s do two things.  First, can you send me three illustrations of your quirkiness that you like and how you enjoy your joy there?  I would like our tribe to have an opportunity to enjoy your design with you.  Then, start keeping a record and see if you can hit 20 joy sessions a week.  That is three times a day that you consciously gave yourself permission to enjoy your joy and you did.

Now, in the bigger picture, we have massive challenges with your outside world.  Your family will possibly never come to enjoy God’s workmanship the way you do.  You might move someday to a different city that is a bit more laid back.  You might not.  You might get a different job, but your trade is pretty stuck in a rut in terms of not being joyous or quirky.  So how you live life as yourself long term needs a bunch of conversations over time.

But right now, we are going to choose not to have those conversations.  First, you need to be solidly reconciled to yourself.  You need to come to immense peace with the person God designed.  So start with what you have on your list.  Learn to celebrate “alone in public” and let’s build some good stuff into your being.

I look forward to your e-mail with three of the quirkiest things about you that you love, and how you do on your first week of keeping track of enjoying your joy.

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk  Office of Personhood SLG Coaching blog

From the Hub

2. Tracy: The Big Frame

When Tracy contacted me I was very up front that I have helped a LOT of people find intimacy with God, but have not been able to crack a tough nut yet, since I have not had anyone who would spend long enough to exhaust the tools I had.  She said she would like to run with it.

So here is my grid as a logician.  This is how I solve problems in the lab.

First I look at what right is.

Simply put, in this situation, there is a transmitter and a receiver.  Both have to be functional for there to be intimacy.  God is never broken.  He is at times silent, but His transmitter is not broken, and over as long a period as Tracy has been seeking God, there is every reason to believe that God has been reaching out to her some of the time.  AND God has an extremely detailed master plan of how each person’s receiver works.  So God is not the problem.  But there is a problem, so it must be in the receiver.  We know that Tracy is plugged in, spinning the dial, reading the instruction manual and doing everything possible with her will to connect with the frequency of God’s love, so it is not lack of will or engagement on her part that causes the problems.

Second, I take the problem and try to break it down in pieces so I can see what works and what doesn’t.

Clearly, we are dealing with spirit, soul and body.  All three can contribute to a broken connection.  In absolute terms, you can experience God with your spirit alone, but that is usually the result of someone who has an encounter initiated by God, or they have worked for many years to connect with God spirit to Spirit.  So pragmatically, we could have problems in one, two or three sectors.

Third, I look at possible obstructions.

Here we have the usual collection of critters, trauma bonds, devices and generational issues.  Any or all of those could be obstructing the transmission of God’s love, exacerbating the problems in the receiver, or they could be the sole cause of the problem.  Her receiver could be in perfect condition, just blocked by one of those.

Fourth, I look at where there has and has not been work already done.  No point in reinventing the wheel.

Clearly there has been a ton of work on all of item #3.  And in item #2, she has had a lot of inner healing for her soul.  The possibility remains there might be some work yet to be done in the areas she has already worked, but we have as a starting point the fact that Tracy has invested a LOT into this journey already, which makes my job a lot easier.

Fifth, I evaluate where to start based on risk and potential ROI.

In terms of risk, there seems to be little.  She is not in crisis.  There are not 20 other ministries competing with me for her attention.  If I fail at any point, nothing will get worse except the discouragement.  So that is not a factor I need to consider.

When I have a well honed set of tools, I can determine where I will get the greatest ROI pretty easily.  However, when I am starting a project, there is no such grid, so everything is just a guess.

With that amount of vagueness, I have decided to go with the areas that have had the least work, and where she can do basic things herself.  Not exactly a profound approach, but hey, we work with what we have.

With that in mind, I asked her to listen to the PTSD album.  This is not a diagnosis she has, but this teaching has some of my best material about intentionally growing neurological pathways in the brain, so I asked her to become acquainted with the tools I shared there so we could modify them a bit and apply them to a different area of the brain.

My logic is that her troubled childhood kept her from developing the brain pathways that we would normally use for intimacy with man or God.  So we will start there, to be sure that this part of the receiver is working.

I am going to go off-line and have some email dialog with her, and when we are on the same page, I will return and explain her first assignment.  PTSD SLG Coaching blog

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub




Chemo and Freedom

I have been very excited about the replies to the previous blog about controlling the chemo so it does not destroy the body.  Obviously others have been way out ahead of us.  We have two stories in the comments indicating that they did exactly that and it worked.


I realized that while that is good, it completely misses the main point which is to kill the cancer.  Some of the plagues were carpet bombing like the way we use chemo today.  There were frogs and locust everywhere.  Others were precise and limited.

Here we are talking about the tenth plague which was the targeted killing of only the firstborn, from the king to the slave to the animals, to any Hebrews who did not cover their door posts with blood.

You see, going through seven plagues with protection did not set them free.  What brought freedom for the Hebrews was some very targeted death all over Egypt.

THIS is what we need to focus on.  Yes to protecting the good cells.  But let’s speak to the human spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to supernaturally concentrate the chemo in ways no human doctor can, precisely and specifically on every single cancer cell.  Invoke the fact that no firstborns in Egypt escaped.  It was targeted in that no second born kids died, but it was also targeted in that EVERY firstborn was accurately identified – all the way down to the cattle.

Another picture is the Battle of the Valley of Aijalon in Joshua 10:10ff.  The Canaanites were running away faster than the Israelites could kill them, so God got out His slingshot and began potting the retreating soldiers with hailstones.  In the end, He scored endless direct hits and accomplished more than the Israelite army did.

Another one is in 2 Kings 7 where there was a stampede and just one officer was killed – the one who sassed the prophet and The Almighty the day before.  Who ever heard of a stampede where only one person was killed?  A targeted killing, by God, who was angry at the man.

Another is Ahab.  He went into battle disguised as an ordinary officer so he would not get targeted by the Arameans.  However, God targeted him.  An enemy soldier drew his bow at random and God directed the arrow to kill the king who was under a death sentence.  2 Chronicles 18:33ff.

So God does surgical strikes better than any remote controlled drone can.  Let’s bless the chemo in the hands of God (not according to the doctors’ pronouncements and opinions) to be a fantasticaly deadly weapon, targeting the cells that are defying God’s order for life.

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk  Shame to DignitySLG Coaching blog

From the Hub

NOT a half baked potato.  A deadly, Biblical prayer.

1. Tracy: In Pursuit of God

We are starting a new series here.  A lady whom we will call Tracy wrote me.  Her story is one that I have heard many, many times.

She was born into a less than perfect family.  She met Christ.  She was introduced to deliverance and inner healing.  Tracy has spent large amounts of time and money going to all sorts of big names and no names looking for healing.

Along the way, a lot of things bounced (like they do with all of us) and some things took.  She is in a better place than 30 years ago.

However, in spite of all the amazing people she has listened to and all of the ministry she has received, she has not a shred of intimacy with God.

Like I said, an old, old story.

Most who write me about this particular flavor of deep pain come with a spirit of accusation, either against God or against religion and the inner healing movement that has over-promised and under delivered.

Tracy got my attention because she came with a spirit of sonship and said frankly that she was tired of things that didn’t work, but she still had a burn in her to connect with God.  She knew that any strategies that came from me would be primarily about a DIY approach, but she proclaimed her willingness to lean in one more time if I thought I had something more than she had already been through.

I wrote back, commended her on her emotional outlook about the situation and said I didn’t know if I could help her, but I was sure that I had some tools that others had not tried yet.  I proposed working with spirit, soul and body, not just one of them and said it would take some time.  I also asked if I could disguise her story a bit and blog it here, since others follow the same painful path.

She was a bit cautious about sharing her journey, since she is not a denizen of the blogosphere, so I told her I would send her the first one for her to approve before I posted it.  She has approved this, since it is sanitized enough to be the story of 10,000 other people, so we are off and running.  I will share my ideas.  She will share what she did with them and whether anything worked.

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk

From home

Chemo and Prayer

My understanding of biology is pretty primitive, but I am going to float a model and see if I get piled on by the scientists and doctors in our midst.

Broadly speaking, each cell was made to participate in exchange.  A cell receives something of value from the surrounding ecosystem, converts it to something of greater value to the ecosystem.

Broadly speaking, cancer cells receive and consume.  They exploit the assets of the rest of the body to build their own empire at the expense of the health of the person.

I share that because it seems to fit the picture of an Egyptian Curse.  When the Hebrews were in the brickyards, they were building for the benefit of the Egyptians and were not permitted to participate much in the benefit of their labor.

If we embrace that picture, then chemo therapy becomes an interesting picture.   It is, at the end of the day, just a fancy word for poison.  You poison the body to try to kill more bad cells than good cells.  As one friend said, “Surviving cancer is no big deal.  Surviving cancer treatment is a real big deal!”

The dream treatment in oncology is to be able to target the cancer cells while doing the least damage to the rest of the body.  That is part of the premise of radiation – you can point at a specific spot and not have to make the whole body toxic.

So I wonder what would happen if someone invoked the ten plagues as a model for chemo.  For the final seven plagues, God targeted the Egyptians with ruthless death and destruction, while exempting the Hebrews from the death.  Science has not been able to focus the chemo on just the cancerous cells, but I know God can.

If any of your friends are enduring chemo at present, why don’t you call their spirit to attention, explain the concept and encourage their spirit to partner with the Holy Spirit to funnel the chemo to the areas where it is needed instead of the whole body.

Obviously we can’t watch the process while it is going on to see what the changes are after that prayer, but if a person is already in the middle of the treatment and has a baseline, I would expect that they would have far fewer side effects when the poison is being concentrated in the right place.

This is clearly just one of my half baked potatoes.  Listen to your spirit and the Holy Spirit to see if it is even a road you should go down, but if you do, let me know the results – even if there is no change at all.

Prayer Before Surgery

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub