Lies About Sex and Porn: I Can’t Be Fixed

My wife and I were watching 20/20 last night. One of the things discussed was how a senior in High School stood up against a speaker at their school who was famous for lecturing about abstinence. The speakers heart may have been in the right place, but her methods were pretty awful. Listening to excerpts of her speech put into context a little more for me as to why so many people have the “It’s to late” attitude with sex. “I’ve already had sex so it is to late for me. I’ve ruined my future sex life forever so why I bother?” This attitude has been begun to creep into people struggling with porn.

This attitude has developed because the church has gotten to good at explaining how we lose some when we have sex outside of marriage. It has gotten to good at telling young men that there is innocence and purity lost when they fill their heads with images of naked women. It has gotten to good and telling people about the legitimately devastating issues of premarital sex and pornography. There is a problem though. We have made completely absent the hope of restoration for those caught in these lifestyles.

Maybe it is out of fear of not being like that group of people who are all about love and acceptance in the church without ever calling something sin. That is a legitimate problem in the body today. It is true that there are people who have focused so much on acceptance that the full truth of the Gospel gets ignored. However, those on the other side have had their message ignored. They make people who have had sex and trapped in a life of porn feel worthless because they frankly tell them they are worthless. They tell them they are worthless by ignoring the element of restoration.

This is why I love the story of the adulterous woman. The accepting sect of Christianity has hijacked this story a bit. They have used it as a beacon of fighting judgment and confrontation. We can never judge someone for their sin. We shouldn’t even call it sin. We just need to love people. We just need them to feel cared about, and then they will be saved. Unfortunately this hijacking has led to the other side all but ignoring the beauty and profound truths in this story.

Many of you have heard the story before. A woman is caught in adultery and is about to be stoned. Jesus enters the scene, and proceeds to tell the crowd that if any one of them is without sin then they can be the one to start the sentencing of death by throwing the first stone. They all leave except for Christ. We then glimpse into this beautiful picture of a broken woman who realizes her shame and sin in front of Jesus. She felt worthless in that moment. We all feel worthless in that moment. That moment where it is painfully clear to us that we have done wrong. In that moment we run the risk of believing a lie that restoration is impossible. We are forever doomed to wander our remaining years n this earth as a broken vessel that is incapable of being used for anything of true worth. We run the risk of giving up in that moment.

I wonder what this woman expected then. Did she assume Jesus would throw a stone at her? Did she dare hope for mercy? Christ tells us this profound statement. “Go and sin no more.” Both sides of the issue have some painful lessons to learn from this one statement.

What Jesus said was offensive He called her actions sinful. He declared a clear standard of morality that everyone is supposed to follow. In telling her to stop sinning he was telling her that she had failed to meet the standard expected of her. He was merciful, but his words today would be considered a huge insult. He wasn’t ignoring her sin. If he had ignored her sin then she would have never been able to receive restoration. You need to be acknowledged as broken before you can get fixed.

Jesus didn’t end with calling out her sin. He gave her an opportunity for restoration. He gave her another chance. He gave her an opportunity to turn form the life she was living in order to achieve something better. He did not give her mercy just so that she could go about living her life the same way. He gave her another chance in order that she could be restored.

Maybe you are reading this today and struggling with the sins of your past. Maybe you slept with someone you really felt you loved, but have been feeling the overwhelming guilt of the church saying sex is for marriage. You understood a little to late how sex was meant for marriage. How Scripture itself speaks as though sex and marriage are the same. Read these words today. od can still use you. You can still go on to have a healthy marriage if you treat these scars and baggage of past relationships. You can still live a lot of life to the fullest.

Maybe you feel you have ruined any chance of a healthy relationship because of your addiction to pornography. Your innocence feels lost, and you see no way to get it back. You too will have scars and baggage to bring into your future marriage, but restoration can still be found. Restoration is for all who bring their very lives to the cross and lay them down. God can give you purpose, new life, and a marriage full of love and purpose.

We all have baggage going into a marriage even if we have never had sex or looked at porn. God restores all of us. He gives us a second chance to turn away from our sin and do something better. To my readers struggling with guilt over sin, remember you are still loved. Remember that Christ has to show you your brokenness so that He can restore you. To the church. I beg you to tell the whole story. Don’t sacrifice a lost generation riddled with guilt and shame just so you can beat into the heads of others the dangers of sex and porn. We aren’t just here to warn people about sin we are a lighthouse that is meant to lead all those who are hurting to the one who can restore them.

Stolen Identity

Ellen Page is pretty ticked off at the creators of a video game called “The last of Us”. Why is she angry? Because there is a character in that game that apparently looks and sound remarkably like the young actress. I’ve never played the game so I honestly don’t know how accurate those feelings are, but Ellen Page clearly feels her likeness was used to create this character. It appears as though her identity was stolen.

I’m not here to talk about Ellen Page though. The example of her concern of having her identity stolen simply lays the scene for a big issues we believers can face. It is the battle for identity. We have an enemy who would like nothing more than to steal our identity from us. Make us forget what our identity is meant to be found in.

It’s easy for us to say that we find our identity in Christ, but living out that truth gets complicated. Life gets in the way. Money troubles settle in. Relationships develop. Crisis beings to rule the day. We end up finding it so easy to put our identity in our success and failures. We put it in our families. We put it in marriages. We put it in our possessions. We put it in our intellect. We put it in our morality.

Our identity is meant to be in Christ. Our identity gets stolen though. Sometimes we are convinced that we cannot possibly have our identity in Christ because of our sin. We feel unworthy to receive His love and mercy. The world is full of Christians who feel they need to compensate their insecurity in Christ with something else in this world. That is why we get so upset when something in our life is lost. We feel like a piece of us is gone because we put part of our identity in that person or thing.

Ellen Page has been pretty ticked over a situation of a video game seeming to steal her mere likeness. Why are we not more torn up about a legitimate issue of our identity really being stolen? Why are we so willing to let it happen. I think it is partly because we do not like the vulnerability necessary to have our identity in Christ. We are made much more painfully aware of our flaws and problems. We realize that it is impossible for us to truly possess and real sense of control. It is hard because we are meant to experience a love undeserved. There is something very exposing and almost painful about that love.

If we were to push through that pain we would experience something beyond this world. We would experience a love we would never wish to lose. We would experience forgiveness and mercy that compels us to do better. We would never want this identity to ever be stolen again. It is the only true identity that satisfies because it is the real identity. It is a completion of who we really are, because we are going back to the one who created us. We are putting ourselves in his hands to become a finished product. Anything else is just a cheap knockoff.

So tell me, are you going to stand for this? Are you going to just let your identity be stolen?

What’s Your Endgame?

So the Supreme Court made some decision today revolving around same-sex marriage. I’m not going to talk about those changes to Laws, and how it affects us today, because I think there is a bigger element in all of this that needs to be written about. I also see no reason to write about how this Law changes things, because it really shouldn’t If any Law changes how you are doing Christianity, then you were doing Christianity wrong before that law was in place.

Today and over the next few days there will be many Christians taking to twitter, blogs, and facebook to stand up for the beliefs and opinions. They will believe themselves to be boldly proclaiming God’s truth to everyone they know. They will feel the need to offset a loud statement made by our culture today. They will feel the need to defend God and His word. MAny will do all of this with the absence of love.

People know where I stand on these sorts of issues. I’m Biblical on my viewpoints with these sorts of things. Marriage is designed by God to be between a man and a woman. No change in culture will sway me of that, but I also believe I am not an idiot about it. I’ve never written blogs or preached sermons specifically about homosexuality, because I have always personally had bigger fish to fry. I don’t write about the standing today in the Supreme Court on facebook because I have to ask myself what I am trying to solve in taking that sort of action.

The average Christian who will write about this today will simply be preaching to their own team while shoving the opposing side further away. We are supposed to love people. That is part of the Gospel. Speaking with hatred and anger over this sort of things gets us nowhere. Speaking without thinking will get you in trouble. Expecting culture to blindly agree with us is simply foolish.

How will this change how I do things? It simply won’t. I loved homosexuals before today, and I will continue to love them after. I respect them as real people. I care about them, and want them to live the best life they can possibly live. I want them to experience things I experience. I want them to know the full extent of God’s love. I want to them to see that I genuinely care about them whether they agree with me or not.

Do you know the mistake that many of us are going to make on blogs, facebook, and twitter today? We are going to tell hosts of people that they do not belong. They don’t belong in this country, they don’t belong on this earth, they don’t belong in our discussions, they don’t belong in our churches to look for answers, they don’t belong in our lives. We will blindly proclaim truth, and will do nothing to help people to listen to what we have to say in the process. I’m not saying we don’t stand for truth, but what we do and say will largely be received based on how we do and say it.

When you say something about this today I beg you to consider what you are trying to accomplish with your words. When you decide your goal then evaluate how the words you are choosing to say will actually help you reach that goal. What’s our endgame, and how are you planning on getting there?

Saul’s Failure

Ever notice how big leader in Scripture lose all their moment when they stop depending on God? Fear keeps them from focusing on God. It is ironic really. When we are faced with fear it should be our natural inclination to depend on God. Fear often instills in us a desire to react quickly. We crave for control in the face of fear. This is where we get into trouble.

I think I may have talked about this on here before. In truth I really can’t remember. (I should probably do a better job of personally documenting what I write about so I can find it quickly). All the same, this bears repetition if I have written on it before.

Have you ever wondered why king Saul was eventually taken off his throne by God? Exactly what did Saul do that made God so angry that he sought a shepherd boy to be the new king of Israel? We often think back to the battle with Amalek. Saul was commanded to destroy everything in this battle. Don’t spare the any of the livestock. Amalek was to be killed for his wickedness and cruelty. Saul and his army didn’t follow through on this though. They kept the spoils of war. They did not destroy the livestock. The left Amalek alive. We look at this and believe that this was the moment where God went on the hunt for a new king. Few realize that the hunt happened sooner than this.

1 Samuel 13 is an interesting chapter. It is even a bit on the odd side. it is one of those chapters where God gets ticked off, and you can easily find yourself wondering what the big deal was. Saul is waiting with his army to fight the Philistines. He has been specifically commanded by God through the prophet Samuel to wait for Samuel to arrive for a sacrifice to be made toe the Lord before the battle. Samuel tells Saul that he will be there in seven days. One problem, Samuel got held up.

Saul made a daring and painfully sinful move in going ahead with the sacrifice. This is wrong for two reasons. First, he was specifically told to wait for Samuel to make an offering. Second, Saul is king and sacrifices were a job for priests. It was a law placed by God on His people. Saul was being disobedient to a specific command, and a command placed for the entirety of his people. Saul was literally leading his army into a sinful act by not waiting for Samuel.

What was Saul’s problem? He believed time was his enemy. He believed that the God who created time was held by the restraints of time. He was afraid to wait on God. Saul was a leader who feared to wait on the Lord. This cuts deep for me. As a leader I have feared to wait on God sometimes. I want to take action. I want to regain control of the situation.

I think Saul believed he was doing the right thing in the moment. He tried to seek God provision and protection, but he demanded it happen on his own terms with his own timetable. I think the church is filled with people who pray for God’s protection, but demand the timing is done the way they desire. They demand to have full control of the situation. Saul’s failure as a king is a failure many of us partake in. it was a failure of dependence on God.

Take a look at the opposite spectrum with David. This is the new king God has chosen. Even upon David’s anointing he has to wait an insane amount of time to be king. During those years of waiting he has multiple opportunities to speed up that process by taking control and killing Saul. What we find in David during the pre-king years is something utterly absent during the entirety of Saul’s reign. We find a heart courageous enough to wait.

Failure to wait is a hunger for control. It cost Saul a legacy. What will it cost you and me?

Quit the Profession of Pessimism

Awkward, unpleasant, uncomfortable, sad, depressing. All are things that can describe encounters with a skilled pessimist. It’s rarely enjoyable. You notice that heavily pessimistic people do not keep close friendship for to long. The friendships get to worn down and tired far to quickly.

My generation is exceptionally bad with this. I’ve gone through phases of it myself. My generation drives me nuts with are generally failure to be thankful for our blessings. We always need to focus on what we don’t have. We focus on the things that make us unhappy. We want to “warn” those behind us not to go the path we have gone. Follow me instead to the much greener pasture until we suck it dry.

Let’s be frank, there are some things in life that just suck. Sometimes we need to learn to deal with the harder things in life. Life is never perfectly matched up to our ideal situations. We will always face something that is unpleasant. Whether it be relationships, school, work, or family. Things never work out the way we hope they will.

25 years of life as of today, and that is one of the few things I can always say to be true. Life is never exactly as you expect and want it to be. It is still bountiful with God’s blessings all the same. Pessimism is ultimately insulting God. It is an attitude bred through the ideal that we deserve better than we have. I’m not talking about the victim of a brutal sin, but simply just the everyday hardship of life. We think we deserve and need better. My generation breaths off this philosophy of life, and we are destined to failure because of it.

I’ve had some situation come into my life lately that have been a huge blessing for me. They are situations certain to bring about struggle, frustration, and difficulties, but they provide me with provision. It has been God’s way of providing for me. Pessimists have tried to steal that realization away from me though. They say I am in for a road not worth traveling. They say they came out the their end to beat up to make it worth it. They say all this not realizing that they are spitting on months of prayers that have been finally answered. Months of tears, sweat, and waiting. Months of surrendering fully to God no matter the costs. They spit on God’s provision.

They don’t mean to. Every pessimist believes they do what they do for the betterment of humankind. They believe they are helping shape a better life and future for those who do not yet know better. The problem is pessimists don’t know everyone’s story. It is like the rich man who mocks the young boy who travels from another country just to work a menial job for a small paycheck. What appears as a curse and unworthy cost for the rich man is a glorious feast to the man in poverty.

Today is my birthday friends. My advice to you on this personal day of celebration is simple. Don’t waste another day being a professional pessimist. Don’t try and rescue others with your pessimism. Your motives in it will never led to fruition. All they become is insulting.

Lies About Sex and Porn: It’s “Their” Fault

It was my freshman year in college where we discussed “complicated” topics in my GNED course. That day we were discussing the issue of modesty. What level of responsible are women supposed to have in how they dress? Boys and girls gave their answers as best as they could. It quickly devolved into the blame game. The guys had trouble articulating their thoughts because they were embarrassing, and feared being called cowards who were just making excuses.

“It doesn’t matter what I wear”, said one girl. “Even in my frumpiest clothes and giant sweatshirts there are guys who still treat me like an object. Why should I when they won’t bother to have any self control?” An excellent question. It is one girls everywhere are asking. Why should the be so responsible over men’s thoughts. Why must they be the ones making all the sacrifice and work?

Men grow helpless when they can’t catch a break. Going to the beach or pool becomes a chore rather than enjoyable. doing research on the internet ends up requiring an amount of brainpower dedicated towards focusing on the harmless task rather than doing any snooping. Why else would girls dress so provocatively if not to get our minds heading in a bad direction? Why can’t they understand this struggle we fight within ourselves?

Two sides who are playing the blame game. Which side is really at fault? Are women really supposed to be more responsible in what they wear? Do they really bare some responsibility in helping men? Do men really need to get their thoughts back in line. Do they need to learn how to be better disciplined in remaining dependent on the Lord and his strength when faced against temptation? The answer to all is yes.

Let me state right now that a victim of sexual abuse is never asking for it. It does not matter how they are dressed, what they have done, what they have said, etc. Sexual abuse is sin and the guilty party is the attacker. You will never see me defend the actions of an attacker like that. I just wanted to make sure I had that clear and out in the open.

There was an interesting study done at Princeton a few years ago. Men were presented in rapid speed with pictures of women. Some were fully dressed while others were wearing bikinis. Any men reading this already know where this study is heading. The pictures of women in bikinis gave an interesting result in the brain scans. The section of men’s brains that is used when thinking and working with tools and such went nuts. It lit all up. any men experienced a deadened state in the brain that is used for emotional connection. The part that comes to life when you are thinking abut someone on an intellectual level.

What did this mean? Men were viewing bikini wearing women as objects. A simple tool to be used to however they best met their needs. Here is the thing, women will read this and probably have an immediate first reaction that is the wrong one. You will say that all this means is that all men are pigs. I can see the reasoning behind it. I can even understand it to an extent. That is such a mistake though. To my Christian female readers out there I beg you to take this study and use its information wisely. Men are hardwired in a bizarre way. We are needing to fight against are basic blueprint in order to keep our thoughts under control. It sucks. The world bombards us with images that play to this natural brain chemistry because they know we are susceptible to it. We fight this battle everyday. What we really desire is a place where we can gain some relief. What happens when a well meaning man cannot get this relief at church, youth group events, friendly parties meant for laughter enjoyment? We feel suffocated ladies. We feel like we are slowly being choked out of existence. It’s painfully difficult for us.

Men, this is not a free pass. Even when our Christian sisters pull this off brilliantly we are still facing off against the rest of the world, and the world is a very big place. What does this research tell us? It tells us we are naturally bent towards visual experiences. This can be an amazing thing when accommodated with God’s design, but can easily be abused just like many other things that were meant to be good. I like that I am physically attracted to my wife. That is natural. It is a good thing. However, it can get screwed up. This all tells us that we need to better depend on a higher power. We need to lean on God for strength and courage. We need to cultivate a community where we can be open about these struggles in order to produce healthy accountability. We need to get to work. We need to be thankful to those women we know who strive to keep from adding to the problem. We need to thank God for them We need to be grateful to them for their dedication and sacrifices in order to help make our lives a little easier.

Both of us need to stop playing the blaming game. Both sides need to stop telling the other side what they need to do to fix the problem, and start asking themselves as an individual what difference they can make. The individual need to take responsibility for the individual. To the ladies, I thank you for all you already do. I apologize for those men who lack all self control and live by self-rule rather than dependent disciple so that they may ogle you no mater how hard you try to present yourselves properly. To my fellow men, press on. The world will never fully understand the harm it is causing us. We can’t rely on the world to make this trial easier for us. It is not the worlds job to fix it. Press on, remain dependent, strive to live peaceably with all.

Things Christ Did Not Die For

Christ died to give us life, and not just any life, but an abundant life. If we are to be honest there are many times where our lives to not reflect the cause of the cross. We can chose to live in a pre-cross world. We can do this by ignoring God’s teachings, giving into fleshly desires, and simply by being ignorant. With that I have a list of some things Christ did not die for.

1. He did not die for us to be divided. Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Assemblies of God, Non-denominational. Go in even the smallest of towns in America and you will find an insane amount of variety in churches. The list I mentioned was just a very tiny sampling of them. No this isn’t an attempt to be trendy and say we should break down al denominational barriers. I get that we view some thing differently, but in truth we are largely divided over petty issues. Many denominations do not really have any division over the cross and the Gospel yet act like any difference in views is directly impacting of the Gospel they believe in. The average denomination has become a club within a club whom each believe they understand the Bile just a little better than all the others, and I simply protecting truth when they choose not to associate with those other clubs.

2. He did not die for us to fight over style and method. Worship debates in the church are by far one of the dumbest things church families can do, and that is coming out of a very long list dumb things they can do. Whenever we argue over worship in terms of style, expression, and volume we have immediately taken all the focus off of Christ, and put it squarely on ourselves to meet whatever is most comfortable to us as an individual. When we fight over worship we are essentially telling people, “You are worshipping God wrong.” The irony? The average person in this debate can not define the difference between worship and praise. Do we really think Christ died for us to fight over what makes us comfortable and ignore simply worshipping Him?

3. He did not die to make life comfortable. Life isn’t supposed to be a vacation on this earth. Society tells us different It tells us to make as much money as you can. Be your own boss. Work from home so you can travel whenever you like. Seek comfort and retirement early so you can live your life the way you want to. Christ died for us so that we can be a living sacrifice for others. He died for us so that we can come together as a church family to worship, learn and grow together.

4. He did not die for us keep quiet. His disciples understood this after seeing His resurrection. hey realized that they were witnesses to the greatest act of God this world will ever know. They were literally incapable of keeping their mouths shut about it. They could not keep silent. Why do we think we should?

5. He did not die for good people. I have said this before, but it should be said again Christ did not die for us because we were doing something right. He died for us because we were doing something very wrong. We were undeserving of Christ’s sacrifice. It as 100% a gift. A gift we must chose to accept even though we are completely undeserving of it.