Growing in Getting Up!

This week in our men’s group we had a great talk which started in 1st John.

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on
account of his name. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known
him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you
have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you
have known the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you have
known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men,
because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have
overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:12-14

Knowing that your sins are forgiven is huge! Especially for those that are sensitive to their sin. The idea behind the, “your sins have been forgiven,”
is the idea of continuing to be forgiven! Little children need all the encouragement in the world. We do too.

On account of Jesus we are forgiven. We fall a bunch, as babies tend to do, but we get back up, and try again. “For though a righteous human falls seven times, they rise again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” Proverbs 24:16

What does the number seven signify in the Bible?

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I
forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22

When the deciples heard Jesus teach on forgiving a person who sins again you seven times in the same day, they asked for something! Do you know what it was?

Watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to say, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”… Luke 17

They said, “Increase our faith!” They understood that walking in fellowship with another takes faith. Faith to forgive. Jesus assumes that we will sin. And we will sin many times even in one day!

Do we trust God to walk with other humans in this kind of way? Do we trust God by giving forgiveness to those that seek it from us?

Many times we think that a good relationship is predicated on a lack of sin, yet Jesus indicates that even the act of giving a gift to our kids can be sinful!

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

That hits us a bit don’t it! You mean even my good deeds aren’t that good?

But think of this; if it is true that Jesus taught that we are sinners who sin, and would need mercy and continual forgiveness as we learned in 1st John, then do our relationships bear the mark of believing such a teaching? What would that mark look like?

The deciples knew in order to be like Jesus in our forgiving of others, we would need a ‘increase in faith!’

But think about it. Does your relationship with your spouse, your kids, your friends etc… bear the mark that you are a follower of Jesus? If so, then you will be asking for forgiveness regularly, and also forgiving those that sin against you. In doing so, we are showing our need for forgiveness and also giving forgiveness to those who need mercy. Showing our need for forgiveness takes a willingness to admit fault. This can be difficult as there are many excuses we can make for our behavior. And many of us do.

People struggle with hearing our sins, but God does not. God actually wants us to come to him in brokenness. You can bring your heart to the throne of grace the Bible tells us. Is your heart burdened by your sin? Bring it to the one who can forgive you completely. You family might not be able to! Neither your friends! But God will! Why? Because the Father loves the Son and will forgive anyone who comes to him in His Son’s Name.

We live in a culture that is unable to grant forgiveness well. Mercy and Grace have been removed words from our vocabulary. What a shame we could say. Jesus faced a similar culture in his day. And the culture that removed forgiveness, mercy and grace from there minds is the same one that crucified him. Maybe all we are left with is self righteous hate when void of these behaviors. Forgiveness, mercy & grace.

Looking to Jesus we are given wings to rise up from our despair to new heights that we could have never imagined. We can get up and we can help other get up as well! Praise God for His Son!

Why God Created Sex

This is a excerpt from the first Chapter of my new book.

There are a few things that you must understand about Christianity. First, that God is personal. What this means is that just as a friend gets to know you, so God is knowable. That’s not all Christians think about the nature of God, but for now you simply need to trust me that this is a truth we hold. Someone might ask for scripture references and I could give them, but really, the entire Bible is about God being available for people to communicate with, sometimes as one friend talks to another.

Second, that God is the first cause of all things. This means that God is the creator of all. But not just that! Everything that is created declares a glory or value of His being. So when the Bible says, the Heavens declare the Glory of God (Psalm 19:1), it means that when I look up into the sky and see the stars, sun, clouds, or planets, I get some kind of truth about the creator. In the case of Psalm 19:1, God is amazing. In what way? Well, the more we understand about the stars, sun, clouds, or planets, the more we get a greater understanding of God’s amazingness. That’s one way to look at it. 

In this same line of thinking, humans are said to be made in the image of God. I find it so fascinating that after the Creation of man and woman, he declares they are made in His image (Genesis 1:27)! So Christians believe that man and woman are made in this image of God. The more scientists study the body the greater our appreciation is for how we are put together. In every area of study of our body scientists are pleasantly surprised by our delicate intricacies. What does all this amazing complexity tell us about God? From a Christian point of view, it shouts glory to the creator. He is the master scientist. But even more than that, the glory that this human precision shows is that God must be complex, for not only are the heavens complex, but we are! I remember before I was a Christian trying to make up a god. What would my god be like? I gave the god human attributes and likeness, qualities that I found worthy of a god. I fashioned a god that I could understand completely. Overall, he was quite the simple deity! Now this god, as you understand him, might be ok for a moment or two, but to Christians, God is not to be fully comprehended (Isaiah 40). No matter what kind of god I construct in my mind, it is nothing like the inventor who created my mind. So Christians believe that God is complex and unique in His nature. 

The last thing we need to understand to move forward to answering the question, “why God created sex,” concerns an insight into the intimacy of God. How God is complex and unique is seen in the functionality of man and woman. I find it fascinating that the declaration of praise that Adam (or mankind) has upon seeing Eve (life) speaks of becoming one flesh. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).” The first command God gave to Adam concerning his relationship with Eve was to be intimate with her. And they would become one. This is God’s doing in his creatures that bear His image and likeness. We are intimate, simply because…God is.

R.L.M. -University

In the Hopes of teaching up and coming Pastors a Biblical approach to sharing sexual topics from the pulpit, we are putting together a presentation that we will make available after we finish it up!

You might ask why this is important. And that’s a good question! The Bible tells us that nothing is new under the sun. And sex is a part of that ‘nothing.’ For many in the ministry sexuality, sex and sensuality is avoided! This is quite odd to us as our Bibles are filled with intimate topics. There are many reasons why teaching Pastors will stray away from such a sensitive subject. And we hope to help!

But why is there such a disconnect with Pastors on topics of sex, sexuality and sensuality? And how can leaders in ministry share these topics with grace and honesty and still be a leader? How do ministers deal with the topic of pornography or homosexuality? Is there a place for ministers who battle sexual thoughts in the ministry? Is there a correct way to teach these topics from the pulpit? What examples of teaching do we have from the Bible that can help us? What kind of leaders do we see in the Bible?

All these questions and many more will be a part of this presentation. We believe it will be important for any minister that is engaged in the teaching ministries within the body of Christ!

The New Porn

Many people worry about pornography and it’s affects on the family. When I wrote my first book in 2007 my introduction painted a picture of a undetected killer that lurks within all of our homes. This killer was in the form of erotic material on your Cable and internet. The Church world is full of these kinds of descriptions of the dangers of pornography. I am just another pawn that has described visually sexual images in such a way.

I am known to meander through my blogs and talks. It is my style I guess. So I will do my best not to let anyone down in this blog as well. Though the kinds of pornography that ‘lurks’ in your homes potentially could be harmful if watched it for 10 hours a day, most do not watch it that much. With the many facets and genres of sexual images ranging from the normal to the brazen, one would think, if given enough time, a person would get sick of it after such exposure. Give a person who likes sweets sugar on end, and enough is enough. There is a moment of simply being done.

But there is a new porn to which I am amazed by how people continue to take in repeatedly, hour upon hour. Every day, every month, every year. This new porn has such a pull and lure on the human that they cannot give it up so easily. If they turn off the TV, they watch it on their phone. If they throw away the phone, the TV comes back on. The impact this new porn has on the viewer or listener is gripping without release. It is all the time; constant! Twenty-Four, seven. The sea of depression is where it leads. Your body will grow old with sorrow, your life zapped, but you still go to it. It is a trap, a trap it is…there is no stopping our appetites towards it!

A continual dripping from a leaky faucet this is! This ‘new porn’ wakes us up at night in panic! It says, “Update! Tune in now!” (Did I mention the fear that this kind of giving in does to us as a society?)

We look at one another different, objectifying one another as we can no longer see the straight…we are tainted, stained, manipulated…we become disillusioned, no longer able to see properly anymore. There is too much in our heads our hearts. And did I mention the fear? Oh, of course I did…the fear! Fear of them… afraid of what it might mean for us!

But what if someone finds out what I am watching daily? What if they knew the inner secrets of my heart, my mind. I’m afraid of that too! What does it say about a civil society (or me!) that claims to be civil yet at the same time watches more and more?

If they only knew my dreams that have been daily squashed due to my inability to turn it off! I desire so much to be a joyful person, but oh how can I with this giving over to the new porn I so love. You are my rose of Sharon!

I do not see the error of my ways. Everyone else does it, and they are fine… aren’t they? What a common issue I have, what could possibly be the danger? It is certain I am locked in place, unable to move where I would wish. Too much fear, too much fear! Who do I look to? Where to turn? I know! I will once again turn on the Faithful One for 10 hours a day. I can watch it with others in the home without shame now, for it is good! Yes, it is good!

Oh, I am tricked again! The music that was once in me, is gone. At one time, so long ago, my life was embellished with graceful chords and scales that filled the page, but now all I can hear is a simple little ditty over and over again. No more beautiful scale runs…no more gorgeous arpeggios, just that simple little ditty… over and over again.

The NEWS. That is the new porn! It ravishes hearts, and steels life, feelings and dreams. It brings out the worst in the human condition, as it feeds confusion and contradiction! So confused you will be! But you will be beyond recognizing this illness! As it births fear, so fearful you will go! And you thought I was talking about pornography!? Ha… gotcha!

If only… Imagine a world without the mainstream news…just image…

There are many prophets of today, but none like you! “You that moves nations!”

Just turn it off I might say. Just stop it, don’t watch it! Don’t you know your eyes are a lamp? Why do you click? Why do you tune in? Don’t you see what it is doing to you? Don’t you feel your fear, your hatred?

Your shrinking away. All your dreams you once had are long gone.

You make lunch and it is in the room with you. At night before bed you watch more…more and more till you are full.

Courage is all gone now. Courage is gone. You sit and stare, aroused by the screen and await death.

“And they will drink and stagger and go out of their minds”