John Townsend

Canadian clinical psychologist and author

John Townsend (born June 1, 1952) is an American clinical psychologist, leadership consultant, and best-selling author. He has written or co-written more than 20 books including Boundaries, Who’s Pushing Your Buttons?, It’s Not My Fault, Leadership Beyond Reason: How Great Leaders Succeed by Harnessing the Power of Their Values, Feelings and Intuition, and, most recently, Where is God? published by Thomas Nelson.

As a partner in Cloud-Townsend Resources, Dr. Townsend has produced and spoken at numerous public seminars and conferences on topics including leadership and success to personal growth, relationships and spirituality.

Dr. Townsend holds clinical licenses in clinical psychology and marriage and family. He is active on the board of Mustard Seed Ranch, a program for abused children. He trains leaders in resource-poor parts of the world. Dr. Townsend is also on the board of Mariners Impact productions.



Where Is God (2009, Thomas Nelson publishers)

  • Whatever our situation, we feel some sense of confusion, anxiety, and helplessness. At the same time, we think about God and wonder where He is.
  • Though your experience may indicate that God has forgotten you or has left you alone, He is on your side. He is the God of grace, and He is actively working on your behalf.
  • The essence of grace is that God is for you.
  • It is easy to think that we should put up a brave front and stay positive about all our struggles. But that is not the biblical model.
  • David, the man after God’s own heart, got right to it and spilled out his guts about his experience: “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?”
  • …the central message of the Bible is about God redeeming a humanity that is in trouble and suffering.
  • Our tendency is to be strong, self-sufficient, and dependent on our own willpower, but rather than try harder, we should reach out to the God who is all-powerful…
  • I have noticed in this economic downturn that more of my friends talk about God…
  • …there is something beyond our circumstances, and that is an emotional, from-the-heart connection to God, no matter what is going on in our lives.
  • “Where are You?” can be both a protest against a problem and a search for understanding and perspective.
  • Our image of God, whom we can’t see, is deeply affected by people, whom we can see.
  • God has made Himself knowable through the Bible.
  • Connecting with others during difficult times makes the trials more bearable.
  • It is a comfort to us that Jesus didn’t suffer in silence or with a smile.
  • Trust in and value the benefit of God’s compassion and identification.
  • I would not feel a lot of trust or hope in God if He was simply in touch with me without any impetus, power, or force to accomplish things. You may not always know the end game, but He is working for you.
  • Where do you go when hard times hit? Most of the time, our tendency is to enter our internal cave…we naturally shut down, withdraw from it all, and try to figure things out on our own, reemerging from life when we have some sense of centeredness.
  • The message of Scripture is that God wants us to connect both with Him and also with each other.
  • I can’t keep count of the times when I have seen how hard times make people much more relationally accessible than they were before their difficulty.
  • Hope is impossible unless we experience empathy and identification. We cannot feel hopeful that things will be OK unless someone understands what we are going through and gets it.
  • What is faith? Faith is trusting God for your problems and for your life.
  • We want to know that life is good. Not perfect but good. Not problem free, but good. Good in some way that we did not anticipate. Good in some way that connects us to God, others, and our purposes in life.
  • …faith in God creates the possibility that even if our situations do not change, life can be good.
  • We must exercise faith. We don’t pretend we’re fine. We don’t deny it. But we trust in Him.
  • Some of us have young faith, some broken faith, and some mature faith.
  • Faith grows when we assume the position of one who can’t do it all by himself. That means we go to God, follow Him, and ask Him for help.
  • Open your heart and your sad feelings to Him and the safe people He brings to you.
  • God wants to help us and will bear our burdens.
  • …the big picture of our spiritual growth is not an event but the development of the habit of relationship with God.
  • He has always been here, and He is here now. He loves you and is working actively for your good in His own way.
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