Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sex talk

Why is it that for something that God created and said was good, we as people of God most never talk about the subject of sex?? I know that those who are not Christians do so, and often crudely. Yet for us who are in Christ... we most never talk publicly about it.

I was sent this link to article by Joe Beam. he wrote a great article on the subject of porn. I hope you take the time to read it. Then.....let's talk...



Internet Porn is the New Sex Ed?

by Joe Beam
President, LovePath International

If I opened Details magazine before, I don’t recall it. I don’t think I’ll open another. The September 2009 issue caught my eye with quarterback Tom Brady’s name in huge orange letters on the cover.

That was the bait. The hook set when I noticed a smaller cover title, “Generation XXX: How Internet Porn Became the New Sex Ed.”

Be aware that I’m one of those people that takes seriously Jesus’ prayer about His followers being in the world but not of the world. (John 17:13-18) I seek opportunities to interact with people outside of church contexts, and love to be on secular TV or radio answering questions from people that are not remotely religious. Just the other day I was on the top-forty station 107.5 The River in Nashville with morning hosts Woody and Jim. These guys are very bright, extremely witty, and faster than lightning, so it’s a thrill-a-minute to be on their show taking calls from their listeners about relationships while Woody and Jim jump in readily. (They’re hilarious, but they’re also quite good at helping people.) All calls during this particular show happened to come from women living with their boyfriends. The most interesting was the lady who asked if her boyfriend’s obsession with porn, and resulting decrease in sexual activity with her, should be something for her to worry about or was she overreacting. She wanted an answer before she married him.

That was still on my mind when I ran across Details.

After thumbing through more than 70 pages of ads for clothes apparently designed for men that have never eaten, I finally found the table of contents on page 72 and flipped over to the article. It was saturated with language you’ll never find on Crosswalk, so I held my nose as I slogged through it to see if the author, Eric Spitznagel, had any information I could use.

Though he focused much of his article on porn use by teens, his message directed itself to adults.

He began by sharing “fond memories” of his first exposure to porn when he was fourteen, then explained how his experience pales in comparison to what a modern 14-year-old has available today. He stated that there are more than 400 million pornographic web pages, “The awkward truth, according to one study, is that 90 percent of 8-to-16-year-olds have viewed pornography online…By the time they’re in high school, America’s porn-fed youth have already amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of smut.”

He went on, “According to a 2008 survey, one in five teenagers have sent an explicit photo of themselves to someone else or posted one online.”

It gets worse.

He writes, “In fact, ‘porn readiness’ is now a source of pride. While on tour promoting her memoir, [porn actress] Jenna Jameson was reportedly stunned that 13-year-old girls kept telling her she was their role model.”

Spitznagel wasn’t writing about how bad this is, but rather thinks of these teens as “sowing the seeds of a sexual revolution.” I believe he’s right about those seeds, but the revolution won’t lead to greater sexual satisfaction as he seems to think. Just the opposite.

So why doesn’t someone do something about this?

The article quoted former State Department staffer Mary Eberstadt’s comments in Policy Revue, “[Porn] is widely seen as cool, especially among younger people, and this coveted social status further reduces the already low incentive for making a public issue of it.”

From the time kids first plop down in front of a TV, they are exposed to sexual situations that were not allowed even to be mentioned in polite society just a few years ago. That desensitization, along with the Internet, makes moving up to porn easier than it was for previous generations. I’m not claiming we should go back to hiding information and forbidding discussion about sex, but I certainly see that the current fixation with sexuality as portrayed by porn is having a dramatic effect on marriages, beginning years before the marriage itself. As porn becomes the new Sex Ed (my work with marriages leads me to believe he is right about that), it creates a set of expectations about sex in marriage that are quite literally impossible to fulfill. This doesn’t happen just with the guys; it’s happening with the gals as well. The porn from teen years becomes the disaster in marriages years later. Not just from the memories, but because porn usage continues into marriage for millions of people.

Why is that a big problem?

As people watch porn – whether they’re 13, 33, or 63 – they start to buy into the idea that most people, especially the spouse they have or are going to have, should always be ready and willing to have sex. Not only that, from exposure to the multiplied variations of sexual behavior modeled in porn, they expect their partner to have sex in every manner possible. For example, Spitznagel writes, “According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, the number of heterosexuals having anal sex nationwide has almost doubled since 1992.”

Add to this the fact that as spouses age, gain weight, and get wrinkles, they don’t compare physically to most of the women and men in porn. One woman said to me, “I wish I had the money to have cosmetic surgery from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet so that maybe my husband would want to look at me rather than those women on the Internet.”

From my perspective, it appears that the American expectation (maybe worldwide) is evolving into marrying a spouse that doesn’t age or change physically, thinks about sex constantly, talks, acts, and dresses seductively, can’t wait to jump into bed (or more exotic locations), makes every lovemaking session extraordinary, and does everything either of them has seen, heard of, or imagined.

Will all who have that marriage please raise their hands?

Real life isn’t like porn. Even the real life of porn actors isn’t like porn. People get tired, become preoccupied, develop broader interests, grow passionate about other dimensions of life, change after childbirth (both genders), and age a little every day. Occasionally, they don’t like their partner. Life isn’t nonstop sex. Sometimes I hear someone say that men think about sex every 30 seconds, or some such number. Ridiculous. Life is broad, complicated, and demanding. My friend, outstanding sex researcher, writer, and expert Barry McCarthy, PhD, spreads the message broad and wide that we shouldn’t expect every sexual encounter to be great. As we communicated about this article, he urged, “Emphasize the crucial importance of positive, realistic sexual expectations: The most important being that less than 50% of sexual encounters among happily married, sexually functional couples have outcomes that are mutually satisfying, and 5-15 % of sexual encounters in marriage are dissatisfying or dysfunctional.”

I’m aware that there are very frustrated husbands and very frustrated wives that are angry because they feel that their spouses are sexually inhibited, or seemingly don’t care whether sex occurs or not in their marriage. As part of completion of my PhD in sexology, I currently am designing a weekend workshop for married couples that will have one goal – helping couples develop a sexual life more fulfilling to each of them. Yet, no matter how good the weekend workshop will be (ahem, it’s already very good), it will not make every day a great day of sexual fulfillment. We may seek great sex in our marriages but we should accept that valid research indicates that about half our sexual encounters in marriage aren’t going to be wonderful. Seek outstanding sex in your marriage, but be realistic in your goals and expectations.

As a proponent of great sex in marriage, I shout from the rooftops that porn is not the answer to achieving great sex. It creates impossible expectations that lead to misery. If one of you pursues porn, you will drift emotionally from your partner into an imaginary world that will never exist in reality. If you use it together, you will eventually reach the point where your lovemaking relies on the stimulation of watching others and not at all on intimacy between the two of you.

While I pray that parents and church leaders will discuss sex, including porn, openly and frankly with teens, my purpose is to discuss it frankly with adults. According to McCarthy, about 15% of men and nearly 5% of women compulsively use porn. Barry isn’t a Christian, so his views aren’t “stained glass” church rhetoric. Instead his insights root themselves in solid research and education. Of compulsive porn users, he states matter-of-factly, “For them it is very destructive.” If the studies Spitznagel cites are accurate, it’s frightening to think how much higher those percentages will be when today’s teens become adults. How many individuals – how many marriages – will be destroyed when “porn ready” teens become husbands and wives?

However, right now let’s talk about people already married.

If you are both into porn in your marriage, please believe me when I say that my experience with thousands of couples demonstrates that you will develop problems with your intimacy, self-esteem, and fulfillment as a couple. Stop now. Save your future by rescuing your present.
If one of you is into porn and the other doesn’t know, don’t think that it isn’t hurting your marriage. Every exposure to porn immerses you into a fantasy world that erodes the real world you could have together. It will change you; maybe it has already. Think you can keep it a secret? Get real. When your spouse discovers, he or she will very likely feel betrayed, rejected, unattractive, and abandoned. Do they have the right to feel that way? Yes. You have violated the marriage covenant. (Matthew 5:28-30)

If one of you is into porn and the other does know, the spouse not into porn should take the lead in demanding the removal of porn altogether. Get rid of the Internet, just as you would remove an addict’s access to alcohol. Check up on missing time and missing money. Seek out a Celebrate Recovery group in your area (you can find locations online). Finally, do something immediately to salvage the future you can have together. If your marriage is in trouble, let us help. Our success rate over the last decade is three out of four marriages, even when porn, adultery, or other things have deeply hurt the relationship. If not us, let someone help. Don’t think a slap-on-the-wrist and a promise to do better will solve a problem that is deep-seated, especially an addiction such as porn.

I believe that a couple can overcome porn’s affects by learning a new kind of sex education. However, it is very unlikely that they will until they solve the problems in their marriage, especially unrealized expectations on the part of one, or feelings of betrayal by the other.

By the power of God, you can have a great marriage and a great sex life.

Act now. Save your future.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


This is the best rendition of this great song I have ever heard...

I hope we all sing it like this... because it is true...


Parents and Kid's Ministry

Here is a good article on how Kids' ministries and parents can work together better.

What do you think?? Please comment??


Now let's make a few assumptions. Let's assume our children's parents regularly attend church. Let's also assume that these parents love their children. Finally let's assume that these parents want their children to become adults who are Christ followers. If all these assumptions are true, then here are some ways in which children's ministries can partner with parents.

Communicate. It is important to let parents know on a regular basis what is taught in the church. Here are some of the methods we've used: sending take-home papers; projecting children's ministry teaching information on the screen during the main worship service; offering information on the website; teaching in conjunction with the adult curriculum to create family discussion. We know that none of these ways are 100 percent effective, but they provide help to the families who wish to use them.

Create family events. We started making children's events family-oriented. We ask that a parent be present at every teaching or social event. For example, our fall festival is a family event that doesn't require many volunteers, and it brings families together with other families in the church.

Discontinue the kids-only VBS. We have restructured our vacation Bible school to be a family VBS so parents are involved, too. In this type of structure, the parents are brought along in the teaching automatically. We don't dismiss the adults for a separate lesson—they stay with their kids the entire time. This is a great opportunity for families to enjoy quality time and a shared hands-on experience together.

Dedicate parents. For years, we have held Baby Day. There are lots of "oohs" and "aahs" as beautiful babies and proud parents are introduced to the church family. Make no mistake, though—this is not a baby dedication but a parent dedication. While this is a great way for a parent to make a public, verbal commitment, we have increased the impact by requiring that parents attend a special class before participating in the actual ceremony. Parents learn why it's important to dedicate themselves to godly parenting, and we provide parenting tools and resources. It's invaluable to educate parents at this juncture about their responsibility to teach their child about matters of faith. If they can form a habit of spiritual education in their family, they have a much better chance of sticking with it in the latter years.

Build a Backyard Bible Club. The main goal of Backyard Bible Clubs is to help church members see the influence they can and should have outside the walls of the church building. Each club is held in a church family's neighborhood and hosted by one or two families. The club is an outreach to the neighborhood, and it creates a way for families to work together to invite neighbors. This is a great opportunity for parents to model that faith is something to be shared on a daily basis.

Include parents. We offer a Bible 101 class for children who want to make a commitment to Christ. This is a four-week course, and it is mandatory for parents to participate the first and last week. The purpose of the class is to make sure the parents are informed about what their child will be learning. It's also to instruct and encourage parents to be involved in their child's experience of making a decision to follow Christ. The children are given a booklet to work on at home with their parents, and some questions require parents' input. Hopefully, the parents will become an integral part of their child's spiritual growth.

Organize family teaching. We allow and encourage families to teach together. We have several families who teach a Sunday school class as a family unit. This is yet another opportunity for the parents to be spiritual role models in service and attitude.

Mark spiritual growth. One area that we plan to develop is a way to applaud spiritual benchmarks of the children. I think this will be significant for the parents. If we are communicating what we expect the children to learn and then acknowledge these steps when they are accomplished, it will reinforce the importance of spiritual growth.

It is possible to only teach and never offer opportunities for parents to use what they have learned. It also is possible to offer opportunities, but never educate the parents on how to be spiritual leaders in their families. It would seem that our most effective efforts to bring family and church together are through teaching and coaching the parents and providing them with opportunities to use their knowledge in practical ways. These approaches go hand-in-hand.

Since there is limited time spent with the children in our ministry, we need to be effective partners in raising Christ followers. As children's and family life ministers, we have a timely and exciting challenge before us. Let's step up to the challenge!

—Becky Arthur has been children's minister at Harvester Christian Church in St. Charles, Missouri, for l5 years.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Daring Teens To Share

Hello everyone...
Here is that article I told you I would post on the our Blog in the service yesterday. You can find the original article by Greg Stier here


Ask any teenager what means most to them on this earth and most of the time the answer will come back centering around their friendships, relationships and/or how they are viewed by their peers. Evangelism risks all of these to follow the command of Christ and, as a result, triggers exponential spiritual growth in the heart of the evangelizing teenager.

When Abraham was willing to offer his son Isaac on the altar this was a courageous act that resulted in exponential spiritual growth in his own heart. According to James 2:22, “his faith and actions were working together and his faith was made complete by what he did.” In the original Greek language the words “made complete” could literally be interpreted “matured.” In other words, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice what meant most to him resulted in accelerated spiritual maturity in Abraham.

What’s true of Abraham is true of Christian teenagers. When teenagers are willing to sacrifice their friendships if need be so that their friends can hear the message of Jesus it results in exponential spiritual growth. They pray more (because they are afraid.) They depend on God’s Spirit more (because they need His power!) And they study the Bible more (because they want to know how to answer any questions that their friends may have!)

Maybe one of the reasons why the majority of teenagers abandon their Christian faith after they graduate from high school is that they’ve never been inspired, equipped and deployed to reach their own circle of friends for Jesus before they graduated from high school.

Mormon high school teenagers are trained at “Seminary” class every school day from 6am-7am so they can be better witnesses for the Mormon church. When they graduate they get a backpack, a nametag, a bike pump and a map to our neighborhoods. For two years these young missionaries knock on doors and share their version of the Gospel message. After two years of door to door work their faith has been steeled and sealed for the long term. Maybe that’s why you don’t meet a lot of ex-Mormons. They own their faith because it, like a stake, has been driven deeply into their souls by their outreach efforts.

We are the true church of Jesus Christ (of everyday saints!) And if teenagers are unleashed on an evangelistic mission in their own schools their faith will be steeled and sealed for the long haul. As they choose to lay it all on the line to share Jesus with their friends, not only will they be used by God to save the souls of their friends, but their own souls will be transformed in the process.

Daring teens to share and equipping them to do it doesn’t just result in more lost souls being reached, it results in more Christian young people knowing, living and owning their faith for the rest of their lives.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Story

Gilbert Bilezikian, in Community 101, tells a story that is worth repeating. It happened in the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. This is a church where ministry is recognised not as the privilege of the few, but as the divine call for all to invest themselves fully and joyfully in the work of the kingdom. Under the broad ministry umbrella of the church, more than a hundred subministries are in place, functioning around the clock or ready to respond to emergencies at a moment's notice. Most of those ministries were started because someone in the congregation saw a need, gathered a team of believers with similar gifting and passion around herself or himself, and, under staff coordination, launched a new dimension of outreach or community care sustained by volunteer lay workers.

One Sunday, as Bilezikian was standing at the back of the auditorium watching worshippers making their way out of the building, someone tapped him on the shoulder. Turning, he saw a shy, plain-looking woman with two small children standing quietly beside her. She said, "Dr. B, I want to thank the people of this church. It saved our lives." Intrigued by her statement, he asked her what she meant. In a flat monotone voice, without show of emotion, she told her story.

She had attended the church with her children and they had loved it. As a result she had received Jesus as her Saviour. Then, eighteen months previously, her husband had left her for another woman. He took the car and they had two months rent due on her apartment. There was no money and almost no food. She didn't know who to go to for help and all her neighbours went to work every day. She sat alone in the empty building crying all the time. She became sad and could do nothing. All that came in the mail was bills and letters from lawyers asking for money. She thought they might die and hoped that all three would die at the same time. Eventually she had the idea of going out in the middle of the night and searching her neighbours' garbage bins for food. Then, she said, a miracle happened:

One evening, the buzzer rang. When I opened the door, an angel of the Lord was standing there. She came in, saw my predicament, and left. That same evening, some people came in and brought a beautiful hot meal. A man and his son brought bags of groceries and children's clothes. They said it was all from the church's food pantry. Two people came with a little stack of twenty dollar bills and said the money was ours. I couldn't believe my eyes, for they were complete strangers to me.

The next day, the rent was paid and the phone reconnected. Two ladies came in, put a set of keys on the table, and said there was a car parked outside that was provided by the car ministry of the church and that it was mine. In the following days, they arranged for child care and gave me leads so I could look for a job. I did find a job and now we're standing on our own feet. I know we're going to make it. You see, Dr. B, this church saved our lives.

Bilezikian made a discreet inquiry and found out that the "angel" in the story was none other than the Sunday School teacher of one of the children. She had noticed the child's absence and had tried to reach the family on the phone. Upon learning that the phone had been disconnected, she assumed that they had moved away and removed the card from the file. But it was her habit to pray through the roster of children periodically. Each time she came to the name of this child she felt a strange unrest. Finally, she got up one morning, pulled out the family's address, located it on the map, and in the evening, after work, drove over - just in case.

Taken from

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Some Midweek Fun!

Unbelievable.... when I saw this picture it was tagged "The greatest day ever"

The things people use their time for... ha...


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Living SENT... not living "STAID" : PART 2

Here is part two of the article I posted on Sunday... you can find the original version here.

"Words have meaning.  It is because words have meaning that we should take care in how we use them when speaking on the mission of God, and it is because words have meaning that we should use intentional language to involve all of God's people in all of God's mission. Words build and words destroy. Words cast vision and words halt progress. And words have the ability to lead toward a preferred future.
In church life, some words have become so codified that they may as well form a second Decalogue. Come forward, Bow your heads and close your eyes and the like are pregnant with both intended and unintended meaning. If we are to involve all of God's people in all of God's mission, we need to ensure that our articulations match our intentions.

Two decades ago, Lesslie Newbigin wisely reminded us of the need to consider context in language: "In some cultures a dog is seen as a member of the household and an object of affection; in others it is primarily a scavenger and an object of contempt. The word 'dog' has distinctly different meanings in the two cultures, and the full meaning of the word can never be exhaustively specified" (The Gospel in a Pluralist Society). In the same way that the context of dog has to be explored, the context of words like mission, missional, and global engagement must be explored and explained.
The second thing, therefore, that we need to involve all of God's people in all of God's mission is better language.
The government makes a distinction between military and civilian so that we will all recognize who is tasked with defending the country and fighting wars--the military. Leaders in the church have made an unhelpful distinction by the use of the words clergy and laity. The unintended consequence is that we are left with the impression that one group is tasked with engaging in ministry--the clergy. We know that is not so, so why not stop speaking as if it is?
It will help all of God's people to be involved in all of God's mission if we will do the work of both defining the mission and choosing an appropriate cultural articulation of the mission. As Stephen Neil has said, "When everything is mission, nothing is mission." The mission of God cannot be the catch-all that includes everything from folding bulletins, to picking up trash on the highway, to coaching a ball team, to the gospel infiltrating a previously unreached people.
Admittedly, this is made no easier by the fact that some terms cannot be agreed upon across Christendom. Try coming to unity on the meaning of kingdom or a solid definition for missional. You'll find a difficult task awaits. What can take place, however, is a local church can choose words that convey meaning in the context of that body. In turn, those words can define the mission of God, the work of the church and the role of the members. When that happens, all the members of your church can be involved in all of God's mission.
As we do this, I believe a church seeking to involve each member in God's mission--a component of any missional church--will intentionally include the motive of God's glory to be expressed among the nations. It is impossible to separate the mission of God from the glory of God since His glory is the goal of His mission. God's glory among every tongue tribe and nation can and should be a theme for every church. Habakkuk reminds us, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD's glory, as the waters cover the sea" (2:14, HCSB).
So emphatic is God about His glory being displayed throughout the earth, that I don't think a church should call itself missional unless it is seeking to serve locally, plant nationally, and engage an unreached people group globally. Without a global vision, there will always be a missing focus resulting in a church out of balance. Rather than saying "all Christians are missionaries," I prefer to say, "All Christians ought to be on God's global mission." Remember, words have meaning. As we are careful to take context into account in our local churches, using words that clearly communicate what the mission is and what it requires, we can see a move toward all of God's people being involved in all of God's mission.