Viewing entries in

What's Next?

What's Next?

Today, America is waking up to a new trajectory. How will we handle ourselves in the wake of the 2016 elections?

Standing Up For What’s Right - Over this past year, I have seen people stand up for civil rights, education issues, crime issues, and so much more when discussing candidates for office. The question is, what are you going to do with the issues now that this election year is closed?  People are waking up today either happy or sad about the decisions that have been made at the state and country level. No matter how you feel about the candidates chosen, what matters most now is your involvement in your own community. Are you willing to love those different than you, show grace, and realize that by doing those things you can help change the civil divide amongst races? Laws can be set to protect race, culture, and religion, but ultimately it’s a matter of us loving each other for WHO we are and WHOSE we are. We are all daughters and sons of the king of kings. Do you treat others in that regard? Are you willing to get involved and sit around the table with your local educators to start working on plans to improve education, testing measures, and teacher retention? As a parent are you willing to be involved in your school system so you can actually have a voice at the table? 

Setting An Example - Our kids are watching us. My hope is that as adults we can set an example to younger generations on how to win well, or lose well. My hope is that we can handle ourselves in a way that shows kids that action does speak louder than words, and we live out what we believe. No matter what happens after this day, God is still in charge. Are we living and acting like it? Are we living in light of the fact that God has everything under control, even if it doesn’t feel like it? Your kids are watching how you handle yourselves in this. Your kids are watching how you talk about those in authority. Your kids are watching how you talk about your friends that disagree with you. What are your kid seeing and hearing?

Start Today - That passion that is stirring in your heart…pick it apart today. What part can you play in making small changes that will make a difference? Pray about it. Figure out your gifts, your talents, your connections, and start asking God to open up doors for you to get involved in that issue. Open your eyes, look at your community, and see that there are so many opportunities for you to make a difference in this world in the name of Jesus. Don’t turn away from the homeless, the orphaned, the hurting, the broken, the lost. This is the time we need to have our eyes focused on Jesus, and turn toward working on things other than ourselves. If each one of us takes up a cause that God has stirred in our hearts, what kind of community would we be living in at that point? I believe it would be a community in the process of healing. I believe it would look like a community that wouldn’t just talk about Jesus, but lives and loves like Jesus in such a way that people would wonder “what in the world is happening there?” 

Today you have a choice in light of choices that were made yesterday. We can either let this past year be just that, another election year, or we can use it as a catalyst of making change in people lives, your life, and your community. What part are you going to play?

Starve the Sumo

Starve the Sumo

Today pornography brings in more money than all professional sports combined. You read that right. Pornography makes more money than the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS combined. [1]

Pornography brings in higher revenues than the top technology companies combined: Microsoft + Google + Amazon + eBay + Yahoo! + Apple + Netflix + EarthLink. [1]

US porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of major broadcasting companies ABC, CBS, and NBC. [1]

Pornography is big business. These figures only point to pornography that was paid to view and doesn't include free content.  Pornography is a massive industry. 12% of websites accessible on the internet are pornographic. 40 million Americans are regular porn users. 34% of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content through pop ups and misdirected links. [2]

I understand that statistics are frustrating, but numbers equal people. And these numbers don't lie. Pornography is becoming less of a dirty word and more of a social norm. Porn usage isn't just a "non-christian" thing either. Recent studies have shown that 50% of church attendees struggle with pornography.

The reality is that porn is destroying marriages, families, and lives.

Fight the New Drug, a social movement against pornography, uses scientific research to view the effects of Pornography on the brain, the heart, and the world. It is medically proven that pornography is as addictive as cocaine. And that consuming pornography physically changes the wiring of the brain to crave more of it.  The use of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and pornography releases dopamine into your brain. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that rewards you. This is why pornography is so addictive. It's essentially sexual junk food. [3]

"The more porn a viewer watches, the more their real relationships don’t seem exciting enough, which gives them a reason to turn back to porn. And the more they watch porn, the more likely they are to be indoctrinated with porn’s version of how relationships should go." [4]

Viewers of pornography are more critical of their partners appearance, sexual performance, and displays of affection. Pornography is associated with feeling cynical about love, having less trust, and conflicting views of marriage. [4]

60% of divorce attorneys agree that the use of pornography is linked to the rise in divorce.[5]

Porn usage is a nasty addiction, but it can be beat.

In his book, "Every Young Mans Battle," author Fred Stoeker compares fighting an addiction to pornography to fighting a sumo wrestler.  Sumo wrestlers are strong. Sumo wrestlers are big. Sumo wrestlers gain their power because they are constantly fed.  An addiction to anything is feeding a habit. When you consider fighting an addiction it feels like you are fighting against a massive opponent. It feels impossible... The reality is that YOU CAN stop feeding the wrestler. YOU CAN stop feeding the addiction. You need to starve the sumo.

If you ask anyone that has gone on a diet they will tell you that one of the biggest steps to take is to stop buying junk food. Why keep it in the house if you don't want to eat it? If you're going to starve the sumo you need to stop having pornography in the house.

Here are some of the best web filtering solutions you can use.

There are a ton of paid and free solutions out there that help filter web content on computers, tablets, and phones.  Also think through gaming consoles, Kindles, and anything else that connects to the internet.  Block apps like snapchat and tinder on your phone. If it's an issue with cable or over the air TV, cut the cord.

Matthew 5:28-30 discusses the issue of lust. Jesus teaches that if your right eye causes you to stumble to gouge it out and if your right hand causes you to stumble cut it off. These are extreme statements that shouldn't be taken lightly. We need to remove the areas in our lives that temp us and lead us to sin. It's time we throw out the sexual junk food.

There is a lot of research, online help, and video series that walk through addiction and how to overcome it.  We've provided links if you're dealing with an addiction.

While installing web filters are a great step it isn't a complete solution.

I once heard Pastor Matt Chandler compare our attempt to control sin to an episode of Animals Gone Wild. Every episode of the show someone is attacked by some form of wild animal. On one episode in particular they took a grown lion and put it on a chain and asked it to act like a kitten. The "handler" wants the lion to sit and look cuddly, be playful, but be under control. They want the lion to stop being a lion and start being what they want.  The only problem is that Lions have instincts. Lions want to hunt and kill. You can't take that away from a lion, It is who it is. When the lion acts like a lion and does what lions do the viewers are shocked at how wild and aggressive the lion is.

Sin isn't a kitten. Sin is a lion. Sin will mess you up.

We want to put our sin on a chain and make it controllable. We want to dictate what it does and doesn't do. But like a lion, sin has one desire—to kill and destroy. Chandler says we need to bring our sin into the light, with others around us, and we need to shoot it in the head.

We need to stop taming our sin and we need to start killing our sin.

The best ways to fight an addiction to pornography (or anything) is to tell others about it. Community is one of the best ways to fight sin together. James 5:16 says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed..."

Joining small groups, getting accountability, and lots of prayer are powerful steps to killing your sin.

Find other Christians that you do life with about your addiction.  If you don't have people in your life you feel comfortable sharing with XXXChurch has online small groups that offer great community with others struggling with the same thing.

I've heard people refer to fighting an addiction as battling the addiction. I agree with the terminology, but it isn't just one and done. Fighting an addiction is a war. It's a war consisting of endless battles. There are times that you will win and there are times that you will lose. There are times that you will be tempted and not fall to it and times that you will give into those temptations.

Many of us think that if we are tempted we've already lost. The truth though is that temptation isn't a sin. Many of us feel defeated because we are tempted. Jesus was tempted, but didn't sin. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin." Heb 4:15

In 1 Cor. 10:13 we see that God always provides a way out.

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." - 1 Cor. 10:13

I think the first line is very important. Temptation is common to man and it has the power to overtake you.  Temptation is powerful, but facing it doesn't mean that you instantly have to give in. "He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability." There is good news in this.  You can endure it!

If you're trying to fight an addiction to pornography you need to stop feeding it. You need to cut off access to pornography. You need to stop taming it. Confess your addiction to Jesus and to other people for accountability and support. Constantly Pray for wisdom and strength when you're struggling and when things are going well. Know that you're in a war. Stop instantly giving in to it. Temptation is powerful, but temptation isn't instant defeat.

The biggest thing you need to know is that Jesus loves you like crazy!

Jesus loves you when you're at your best and when you're at your worst.  He loves you when things are going well and when things have fallen apart. He loves you in your temptation. He loves you when you've failed.  He loves you when you've succeeded. He loves you period.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:38-39


Pornography is addictive and it is destructive.

But Pornography doesn't have to own you.