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Restoring the Soul with Michael John Cusick
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Restoring the Soul with Michael John Cusick

Author: Michael John Cusick

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Conversations that cultivate freedom, flourishing, and wholeness of heart through Jesus-shaped spirituality. If you would like further information about Michael and Restoring the Soul, visit
191 Episodes
“This is about something a lot more than screens, it’s about something a lot more than limits, and it’s not just about the kids.” - Andy CrouchMichael's guest for the next two podcasts is author, musician and speaker, Andy Crouch, who joins Michael in a discussion about his book, "The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place."Andy is an eloquent communicator who masterfully makes connections between culture, creativity, and the Christian faith. He is also on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary as well as the Council for Christan Colleges and Universities. For more than 10 years he was an editor and producer at Christianity Today including serving as the Executive Editor from 2012-2016. Andy joined the John Templeton Foundation in 2017 as Senior Strategist for Communication and his work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine.He is also the author of several books including "Culture Making", "Playing God", and "Strong and Weak" (which in his first appearance on Restoring the Soul, we explored in-depth). According to Andy's website, "Making good choices about technology is more than just using internet filters and limiting “screen time.” It’s about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media, rather than accepting technology’s promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world’s knowledge at our fingertips."HELPFUL RESOURCES:Episode 11 - Andy Crouch, "Strong and Weak, Part 1"Episode 12 - Andy Crouch, "Strong and Weak, Part 2"
“Restart and reboot yourself. You're free to go.” - BonoOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael continues his in-depth look at Surfing for God and concludes a 2-part discussion called, “Your Brain on Porn”. Over the past 20 years, the field of neuroscience has exploded our understanding of the human brain. Recent discoveries have profound implications on treating various addictions and psychological disorders and pursuing physical and emotional well-being. The consistent theme is that contrary to conventional wisdom, our brains are highly changeable. Your brain can unlearn, and it can change.7 Rs to overcome pornography:Recognize the problemReorientationRelationshipRegulationRebootRestoreRepentance* Michael refers to the Restoring the Soul podcast, Soul Care with iCare
"Like sand on a beach, the brain bears the footprints of the decisions we have made, the skills we have learned." - Sharon Begley, NEWSWEEK Science EditorOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael continues his in-depth look at Surfing for God and introduces a 2-part discussion called, “Your Brain on Porn”. Over the past 20 years, the field of neuroscience has exploded our understanding of the human brain. Recent discoveries have profound implications on treating various addictions and psychological disorders and pursuing physical and emotional well-being. The consistent theme is that contrary to conventional wisdom, our brains are highly changeable. Your brain can unlearn, and it can change.Key Facts About the Effects of Porn on the BrainPorn is a drugPorn has harmful consequencesPorn hijacks the brainPorn changes the wiring in your brainPorn creates an addicted brainPorn-addicted brains can be rewiredThere is hope for porn addiction of all kinds* In this podcast, Michael refers to the resource
“I don’t work well with people who have it all together.” - Dr. Janelle HallmanOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael welcomes colleague and one of Restoring the Soul’s Intensive Clinical Soul Care Specialists, Dr. Janelle Hallman.Janelle is a Licensed Professional Counselor, ordained minister, professor, author, and speaker on issues such as redemption, healing, and wholeness. Her passion is to counsel, facilitate, teach and share realities about God, life, and the human experience in a way that transforms and touches a person’s deepest heart. She loves working with any individual or couple seeking greater wholeness.Dr. Hallman has served as an adjunct professor at Colorado Christian University. She is currently an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary and regularly supervises, trains, and consults other therapists, pastors, and lay leaders.Dr. Hallman received her MA in Counseling from Denver Seminary and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University. She loves beauty, babies (being a grandmother of course!), nature, and reading, and absorbing the spiritual masters.
“The last thing in the world that I was supposed to do was become a believer.” - John LynchOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, we reprise a conversation Michael had with John Lynch. John served for 27 years as teaching pastor at Open Door Fellowship in Phoenix, Arizona. As a gifted communicator, John is a vital Trueface staff member, joining the team in 1997.John has co-authored The Cure, Bo’s Café, Behind The Mask, and his own story, On My Worst Day. In this podcast, we hope you’ll discover:The secret that John carried for decades, even while ministering and offering a message of hope, freedom, and authenticity.That we are changed and transformed by living in the reality that we are loved.How John’s story has helped people understand and experience the Gospel, the original Good News, as it was meant to be.
"The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it." - John EldredgeEvil is real, and it has a name: Satan - the adversary, deceiver, father of lies. After being thrown out of heaven for cosmic treason, Satan and his legion of fallen angels have had one goal: to defame God(Gen. 3:1-4). The Enemy comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He wants to devour you and all God intended you to be and to accomplish (I Peter 5:8). He exists to block you, in whatever way possible, from becoming the man or woman God created you to be. He hates your soul, hates God in you, and hates how your life can make God known. If he can’t kill your body, he’ll try to kill your soul. And if he can’t kill your soul, he’ll try to convince you to cover it with shame and get you to hide (Gen. 3:1-10). Or, more subtly, he will try to convince you that you’ll never change: “For the struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12).On this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael continues the journey through Surfing for God with a look at Chapter 9: The Invisible Battle. We’ll take a look at 3 ways to combat Satan and his attempts to deceive you and rob you of your freedom found only in Christ.
“...Jesus only comes to us in our realities, not our illusions.” - Dr. Ekie KikuleOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael continues the journey through Surfing for God with a deep dive into Chapter 5: Exposing the Counterfeits. We’ll take a look at 3 primary areas where Satan attempts to lure us away from the fulfilled life in Christ; Counterfeit Good, Counterfeit Truth, and Counterfeit Worship.No matter how much you have already lost, there’s still time to surrender the counterfeits in your life for the real things. Tim Keller has explained, “Idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced. If you only try to uproot them, they grow back; but they can be supplanted. By what? By God Himself, of course. But by God, we do not mean a general belief in His existence. Most people have that, yet their souls are riddled with idols. What we need is a living encounter with God.”
“ was a desperate move to save our marriage.” - Kelly PykeOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael welcomes Eli and Kelly Pyke to discuss their emotional journey from counseling intensive to the purchase of an RV and ultimately a cross-country adventure in hopes to save their marriage. They documented their journey in the film “Far Green Country” which showed the lengths Eli and Kelly would go to in order to fight for each other’s hearts - and win. We’ll also get the back story of Eli’s emotional connection with his terminally ill father and what resulted from their time together during his last days on earth.Watch The Far Green Country on Amazon (free with Prime)Watch Far Green Country 2: At Road's End on AmazonCheck out their site, to get merch, get updates, and/or get the low-downFollow them on Instagram @thefargreencountry
"What do you want?" - Jesus of NazarethOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael and Brian discuss Chapter 8 of Surfing for God titled, "Your Good Heart". If you belong to God, you have a good heart. In the deepest part of who you are, you have a passion to love God and walk in His ways. This statement isn't based on mere emotion. It is a present reality. At this very moment, God says this about you:You are pure and clean (I John 1:5-9)You are without stain or blemish (Eph. 5:27)You are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21)Christ lives in you. (Gal. 2:20)Your heart is alive to God. (Rom. 6:11)You have a good and noble heart. (Luke 8:15)
“Internal conflict is growth trying to happen.” - Dr. Alison CookOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael welcomes Dr. Alison Cook, co-author of the best-selling, “Boundaries for Your Soul” which asks the question, “What if your overwhelming emotions hold the keys to your success?” In today’s conversation, Michael and Alison conclude that it is critically important to develop a “relationship”, or an understanding, of your emotions in order to discover the peace you've always wanted to have.Alison Cook, is a counselor, speaker, and co-author of Boundaries for Your Soul. For over 15 years, Alison has helped women, ministry leaders, and couples forge healthy relationships and say "Yes" to the life God has for them. Each week, she provides expert advice to over 30,000 people who subscribe to her email newsletter and blog posts. You can find out even more about Alison here.
“It was such a joy to discover in his deep heart, behind the scenes, Eugene was the man we thought he was.” - Winn CollierOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael welcomes back Winn Collier. If you admire the life and writings of Eugene Peterson, you’re in for a real treat. As you will soon hear, Eugene Peterson was not only Winn’s pastor, he was his friend. So it made complete sense for Winn to take on the humbling task of writing the Authorized Biography of Eugene Peterson titled, “A Burning in My Bones”, which was released this past January. Winn is also the Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Christian Imagination at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He is the Director of the Eugene Peterson Center for Christian Imagination and author of 5 books, including Eugene’s biography. You can discover even more about Winn on his website.
“There’s a revolution that could happen if we could understand that humility is one of the practical outworkings of love.” - Dennis EdwardsOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael welcomes back our good friend, Reverend Doctor Dennis Edwards. If you’d like to listen to previous conversations with Dennis, look up episodes number 132 and 150. Podcast Number 132 is titled, “Turning the Tables on Injustice” and number 150 is about his book, “Might from the Margins.”Biblical humility is the main topic of this particular podcast and the need for more of it in our world, especially from the church. We hope you enjoy today’s conversation.A quick fun fact about Dennis, he once appeared on the TV game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. To discover even more about him, visit his website.
“The question for our lives is not whether we will surrender, but to whom or what we will surrender.” - Gordon DalbeyIn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael and Brian discuss the move from the Soul Snare pattern to the path of Soul Care. As we consider our brokenness, when negative feelings arise, our reflex is to avoid or control them. Carl Jung was referring to this idea when he wrote that all neurosis is caused by the avoidance of necessary pain. By avoiding or controlling our brokenness, the whisper of porn (or any other addiction, for that matter) can become a shout, and the lying promises of our addiction begin to sound like a sensible solution. Then we profoundly mishandle the ache of living in a fallen world.It is our hope that by listening to this important discussion, your heart will be free from the fixation on your addiction to be captivated by God’s love, all so that your heart can be given more fully to God and others.
“Shame is like a raincoat over the soul that repels the living water of Jesus that would establish us as His beloved.” - Andy KamiskiAll of us have hiding places where we stow away our shame. Where do you hide yours? What memories or triggers send you scurrying for cover? If the voice of shame could be silenced, what do you think the voice of Love might say to you? What do you long to hear?Understanding shame is crucial in our journey from lust and addiction to freedom. Discover the path to freedom on this episode of Restoring the Soul as Michael unpacks the chapter on shame and core beliefs from his book, Surfing for God.
“It’s important to understand our brokenness because it’s what drives our sinful patterns, our addictions, and our compulsions.” - Michael John CusickThe following is an excerpt from Michael John Cusick’s book, “Surfing for God”.“King David was a man intimately acquainted with his brokenness. Aware of his divided heart, he wrote in the Psalms, “Train me, God, to walk straight; then I’ll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear.” (Ps. 86:11 MSG)As a man heals from his bondage to porn, he must understand his brokenness and allow it to compel him toward Jesus. Our brokenness is our only requirement for receiving God’s grace.”On this episode of Restoring the Soul, you will discover the 5 Ws of Brokenness:Wickedness - sin that has gone really far. We turn away from God.Weakness - a limitation or vulnerability that we carry.Woundedness - wounds of presence/wounds of absence.Warfare - we are in a battle. We have an enemy.Wiring - we are physiological beings.If you have missed any of the previous conversations about Surfing for God, click on the corresponding link:Surfing for God, Part 1Surfing for God, Part 2Surfing for God, Part 3
“I’ve always been most passionate about trying to help people connect the broken reality of their life to the reality of God’s heart.” - Michael John CusickHope is life-giving, but to deeply and intensely desire something and not receive it can be virtually unbearable. On the other hand, the consequences of losing our spiritual thirst can be as dramatic as losing our physical thirst. How can we love God with all our minds, hearts, souls, and strength when the desires of our hearts and souls are not operating at full capacity? Our souls’ thirst is the core desire from which everything else in the Christian life flows.During this episode of Restoring the Soul, you will discover the Seven Core Desires & LongingsAttention: To be seenAffection: When I see you, I want to be with youAffirmation: You have what it takesAcceptance: I deeply desire & thirst to belongSignificance: I want to matter for just who I amSatisfaction: Fullness. Contentment. It is well with my soul.Security: My soul finds rest in God alone.
“All sin promises us something but it never delivers on the promise.” - Michael John CusickOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael and Brian present the second episode in a seven part series of podcasts on Michael’s book, Surfing for God. Today’s discussion reveals the broken promises of pornography.Pornography promises:Validation of our manhood but without requiring strength.Sexual fulfillment without relationship.Intimacy without requiring risk and suffering.Passion and life without connection to your soul.Power over women without responsibility and humility.Comfort and care without depending on others.
“There was something deeper, something more real that I was drawn to in what he said.” - Jim CressOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael and Jim Cress remember Dr. Larry Crabb who recently passed away.The following is the post written by The Larger Story:It is with great sadness and astonishing joy that we tell you of Dr. Larry Crabb’s arrival in Heaven early Sunday morning. Heartache because we already miss him so much, and heartfelt delight because we each have a faint sense of just how much he is now enjoying the great celebration and perfect rest of life in the presence of the Trinity.As one who taught so many of us that it is possible to trust no matter our circumstances or condition of soul, Larry can now testify to the unspeakable joy and unlimited goodness of God. It truly is well with his soul.Rachael, Kep, Ken and the family are grieving together and want you to know that they are well. They are planning two memorial services, one in Charlotte and one in Denver for mid- April and both of those will be livestreamed at  We will send more details as these plans are finalized. The Crabb family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support that you have offered to them and appreciate your patience as they navigate this season together.The Larger Story team also requests your patience as we work to fulfill orders from our store during this time of disruption. We will get those items to you as soon as we can and we apologize for the slight delay as we adapt to our current situation.During his long and fruitful life, Larry Crabb ushered so many into a new and more vibrant life with the Trinity, and now his death is continuing to stir us to become more fully alive to the future waiting for us in heaven:3-5 What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.  1 Peter 1:3-7Larry lived his life firmly anchored in the truth of this scripture, and now he is healed and whole and his lifelong faith points us all to the certainty of God’s great victory. What an honor to be part of his legacy.Blessings,The Larger Story Team
“Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.” - G.K. ChestertonOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael and Brian launch into the first of a seven part series of podcasts on Michael’s book, Surfing for God. In a world where there are 68 million searches for pornography every day and where 70 percent  of Christian men report viewing porn in the last year, it’s no surprise that more and more men struggle with an addiction to this false fantasy. Common wisdom says if they just had more willpower or more faith, their fight would be over. Is the answer really that simple? Listen in and find out.
“The solution to lust is to see women. It isn’t to avoid them. It’s to see women as whole people made in the image of God.” - Sheila Wray GregoireOn this edition of Restoring the Soul, Michael welcomes speaker, blogger, award-winning author Sheila Wray Gregoire. About 800,000 people read her blog every month, “To Love, Honor and Vacuum” and her book, “The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex” won the 2012 Grace Irwin Award for the Best Book Written by a Canadian Christian, one of the largest literary prizes in Canada.Her latest book, “The Great Sex Rescue” is due to hit the shelves on March 2nd (you can pre-order through Amazon) and we’re thrilled to feature her conversation about the book with Michael today. To learn more about Sheila, visit her website.
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