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10 Lies Men Believe about PornI just received a generous donation to my ministry and was asked to use it to give away 250 copies of my book, 10 Lies Men Believe about Porn, for free.

All you need to do is go to my online store and use the code 10LIESFREE. That will save you $14.99 on your order, which is the full cost of the book.

Unfortunately, I am not able to offer  international shipping at this time, so this offer is only good in the US.

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. —Stephen

You are a New Creation

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Who You are In Christ

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent countless years of my life trying to make myself into a better person. My biggest struggle was always with pornography, and my typical approach to fixing it was a combination of willpower and filter software—neither of which worked for very long. I’d look at my addiction and think life will only get better if I somehow fix this part of me. Or worse, God will only love me if I change. Unfortunately, no matter what I did, I never could change for the better.

Now this may surprise you, but since I’ve found freedom from porn I’ve come to believe that God wasn’t all that interested in changing me during those years of my addiction. Before anyone get’s all spun up about that, let me explain what I mean.

I grew up in the church and trusted Christ very early in life. Which means, according to this verse, God had already changed me into a new person years before I ever got hooked on porn. But if that’s truly the case, why did I struggle so much with sin (and, to be honest, still do at times)?

The answer, I believe, is that I’d never been taught the truth about how I had already been changed. I didn’t realize that I had been given a new heart with new desires (Ezekiel 36:26). I didn’t understand what it meant to have the Holy Spirit living inside of me, empowering me to resist temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). I had no idea that God had given me access to His wisdom and had already set me from the power of sin (1 Corinthians 1:30). I had all the tools and resources of the Kingdom available, but never realized they were mine to use.

The question I should have been asking during the years of my addiction wasn’t “What do I need to do to change myself for the better?” It should have been “How do I get to live my life now that God has already changed me?” Once I began focusing on what God had already done in me rather than what I could do for myself, that’s when I began to experience freedom from my addiction. Life was no longer about becoming someone new, it was about maturing into who God says I already am.

I’ll be honest though, there are still days where it doesn’t feel like I’ve been changed. But I’ve discovered that whenever I wait for something to feel true before I’m willing to trust it, I never experience it. If, however, I choose to believe what God says is true about me regardless of whether it feels true, then the feelings inevitably come. Trusting that God has already changed me, regardless of my feelings, is what allows me to live my life as if He has.

In the same way, if you’ve trusted Christ, you can trust that God has already made you a new person as well.

So remember, God isn’t interested in changing you.

Why?

Because He already has.

It’s done.


This has been a repost from the archives.

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My One Thing: Crystal Renaud

“What’s the one piece of advice you would give
to someone struggling with porn addiction?”

Crystal Renaud is the founder and executive director of Dirty Girls Ministries (a ministry that seeks to offer help, hope, and healing for women who struggle with pornography and sexual addition), and the author of the book Dirty Girls Come Clean.

Connect with Crystal:

Ministry: Dirty Girls Ministries

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WholeWomen

Twitter: @DirtyGirlsMin

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Check out all the “One Thing” video interviews here.


Transcript

Smart Quote: John Eldredge

“When it comes to loving a woman, the great divide lies between men as lovers and men as consumers. Does he seek her out, long for her, because he really yearns for her to meet some need in his life—a need for validation (she makes him feel like a man), or mercy, or simple sexual gratification? That man is a consumer. The lover, on the other hand, wants to fight for her—he wants to protect her, make her life better, wants to fill her heart in every way he can… Having his own heart awakened, he wants to know and love and free her heart.” —John Eldredge

Thoughts on this quote? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.

God Never Says “If Only…”

In the winter of 2006, the church I loved (and simultaneously hated) was crumbling around me, my pregnant wife had developed a growing sense of loneliness that would eventually bring us to the brink of divorce, and my porn habit was still safely wrapped in lies. However, if you had asked me, I still would’ve told you I was on my way to doing great things for God and living out the Gospel each day.

Photo by paolobarzman, Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by paolobarzman, Flickr Creative Commons

I didn’t recognize the one thing that was driving all of my pending catastrophes: the selfish desire to focus on the If only’s…

If only my wife’s sex drive had spiked in the second trimester like that book said it would…

If only my pastor would see my potential and hand me the reigns…

If only God would choose me… bless me… anoint my efforts…

If only people would understand that my occasional lust binges were no big deal…

If only I was someone else… somewhere else…

If only sin didn’t have consequences…

I’ve since learned that God never says if only… He never wishes that He had another plan or another Church. He never looks at His beloved like a poorly picked schoolyard team.

No, God chose His children before the world began. He knew us and predestined us for the good works He’s setting before us even now. He doesn’t wish He’d only made you taller, or smarter, or whatever (see Exodus 4:11). God made you a jar of clay on purpose. He wants to put His treasure in you the way you are now.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part 1 in a 2-part series. Be sure to check back next week for the second part: Why I No Longer Chase after “If Only…”

Weekly Web (W)roundup

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Each week, I round up the best resources, articles, and videos I find that are relevant to finding freedom from porn addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it does not mean I agree with everything in the linked article. It just means I found it interesting enough to share.


Reverence Movement: How would the real Jesus answer the question “Is homosexuality a sin?”

“About 80% of the people I speak with about God and Homosexuality are very open-minded when it comes to learning about and discussing the subject in a loving manner. As a Pastor, I find this very encouraging. However, there are a select few who still wish to draw a line in the sand; a line they will not cross.

People of the Second Chance: Undeserving Freedom

Many of us have experienced wounds that cut to the core. The problem is that most of our wounds have held us captive with the belief that what we’ve done has disqualified us from being used by God. It’s time to let that belief go. Guilt and shame don’t belong to you anymore. They belong to the one who uttered the words, “IT IS FINISHED.“

Tim Challies: The Seed of Divorce

“One young man asked how to ensure that a couple does not bring into their marriage a seed that could bloom into divorce. And it did not take me more than a moment to realize that in my marriage and in your marriage and in every marriage, there is already the seed of divorce.

NACR.org: Grace in Action

“The hard rule of grace is that there is nothing you can do to earn it. Anything we do to try to earn grace cuts us right off from The Source. We can’t experience God’s grace unless we are willing to let God give it to us—not an easy task.”

Sam Allberry: “What are some ways that Christians can more effectively minister to church members who struggle with same-sex attraction?”

You Have Been Given the Confidence to be Bold

Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold (2 Corinthians 3:12).

Who You are In Christ

Boldness. Confidence. Bravery. Chutzpah.

Whatever you call it, it’s the same idea: The ability to face fear, danger, or opposition—all for the name of Christ.

Is boldness something you generate on your own though? Can you just “man up,” “grow a pair,” and overcome whatever fears are holding you back from proclaiming the love of Christ to others?

Maybe for a bit, sure. But not consistently. At least not to the level it will take to reach the far corners of the Earth.

For that, it will take the confidence that only comes from understanding this “new way” Jesus has brought us into:

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face… Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! (2 Corinthians 3:7-9)

The old way—following the rules and making sacrifices—led to death. Why? Because no one could follow the rules. No matter how hard anyone tried to be good enough, they knew deep down they were failing.

Sure, they could make sacrifices to temporarily cover the death penalty for their sins, but what if they overlooked one? There was constant fear that some sin was left unaccounted for. No one truly knew for sure if they were right with God. They had no confidence because their hope was tied to their own abilities.

But now that you are in Christ, you have been brought into the “new way.” You have been made right with God because of what Jesus has done for you—not because of what you tried to do for Him.

In addition, you now have the Holy Spirit living within you, empowering you with the same eternal life that brought Jesus back from death.

And the best part, is this righteousness, power, and life will last forever. You cannot lose it. It will never be taken away from you. Which is why you can trust this new way with an everlasting confidence, empowering you to boldly proclaim its good news to everyone who has yet to hear it.


This has been a repost from the archives.

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My One Thing: Dr. Ted Roberts

“What’s the one piece of advice you would give
to someone struggling with porn addiction?”

Dr. Ted Roberts is the Founder of Pure Desire Ministries International and author of the bestselling book, Pure Desire.

Connect with Dr. Roberts:

Ministry: Pure Desire Ministries

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Pure-Desire-Ministries-International

 

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview


Check out all the “One Thing” video interviews here.


Transcript

Smart Quote: Paul David Tripp

Do you find yourself often dissatisfied? Could it be that you're seeking "life" from people and places instead of the One who is "The Life"? —Paul David Tripp

Thoughts on this quote? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.

Book Review: Sex God

{F4B9DC3A-E2B1-4574-AB29-C711F7B375BE}Img400When my wife and I moved into our new home a few months back, I claimed the all-important task of merging our individual book collections into one glorious, unified library. After all, that’s what everyone looks forward to the most in a new marriage, right?

As I was unpacking my wife’s books, however, one of them caught my eye: Sex God, by Rob Bell.

Yes, that Rob Bell.

My wife owned a book by Rob Bell, which is probably something she should have brought up in premarital counseling.

Now, before anyone runs away at the mention of Rob, I have a confession I would like to make. Actually, I have two:

  1. My first reaction when seeing the book was to get rid of it. I’d heard enough about Rob to subconsciously categorize him as a heretic in my mind, even though I’d never read any of his stuff myself. I had judged him based solely on the testimony (and tweets) of others. To be honest, I’m ashamed of that reaction, as it’s exactly the type of thing I try to avoid.
  2. My second reaction, which came after reading Sex God, was that it is hands-down the best book on Biblical sexuality I have read to date.

All that being said, my second confession makes me all the more ashamed of the my first confession. It also made me realize I should never question my wife’s ability to discern which books are worthy of being added to our library.

In all seriousness though, what is it about Rob Bell that polarizes people so much? Granted, I’ve only read one of his books, so I don’t know all the things he’s said in his other works, but are a few questionable beliefs enough reason to reject everything he’s put in print? Especially considering he has never claimed to be “right” about everything, he’s just trying to figure stuff out like the rest of us:

“Just because I’m a Christian and I’m trying to articulate a Christian worldview doesn’t mean I’ve got it nailed. I’m contributing to the discussion. God has spoken, and the rest is commentary, right?” —Robb Bell, back cover of Velvet Elvis

I doubt many Christians agree with everything Russell Brand says, yet we’re willing to stand unashamedly with him as he talks about the destructive nature of pornography. Most of us love Russell even though we don’t agree with him universally, so why don’t we treat Rob the same way? Is it because he carries the label of pastor? I don’t know.

What I do know, though, is Sex God is an amazing book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to develop a deeper understanding of the connection between their spirituality and their sexuality. When my daughter is older and our discussions about sexuality become deeper, this is the book I will recommend to her. It’s that good.

And as for Rob? The way I see it, if I had even half the ability to connect with the hearts (and hurts) of people the way he does, I’d be a better person for it. Rob may not get everything right (as none of us do), but he loves others amazingly well. And for that reason, I can now say that I’ve become a huge fan of Rob Bell.


Purchase Sex God on Amazon today!


Highlighting My Highlights:

I’m one of those guys who can’t read a book without a highlighter in my hand, and as far as I’m concerned, it would be a shame to mark up my favorite content and never share it with you. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite quotes from Sex God.

Chapter 1: God Wears Lipstick

“The problem is when a ‘she’ becomes a ‘that.’ We forget the objects of our sexual desire are human beings with the image of God and reduce them to body parts.”

“How you treat the creation reflects how you feel about the creator.”

Chapter 2: Sexy on the Inside

“There’s a saying in the recovery movement: ‘You are only as sick as your secrets.’This is true for relationships as well. If there are secrets that haven’t been shared, topics that can’t be discussed, things from the past that are forbidden to be brought up, it can cripple a marriage… And so they’re sleeping together, but they’re really sleeping alone.”

Chapter 3: Angels and Animals

“In the creation poem that begins the Bible, people are created after animals. And from the rest of Scripture, we learn that people were also created after angels… When we act like angels [shut down our desires] or animals [blindly give in to our desires], we’re acting like beings who were created before us. We’re going backwards in creation. We’re going the wrong way. We’re headed back toward the chaos and disorder, not away from it.”

Chapter 4: Leather, Whips, and Fruit

“Whatever it is that has its hooks in you, you will never be free from it until you find something you want more. It’s not about getting rid of desire. It’s about giving ourselves to bigger and better and more powerful desires.”

Chapter 5: She Ran Into the Girl’s Bathroom

“Anytime we move toward another in any way, we are taking a risk. A risk that she may say no. Our gesture may not get returned. Our invitation may be rejected. Our love may never be reciprocated.”

“Why is heartbreak so universal? It’s universal because we’re feeling something as old as the world. Something God feels. The Bible begins with God making people who have freedom. Freedom to love God or not to love God. And these people consistently choose not to love God. It’s written in Genesis 6:6 that God “regretted that He had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled [broken].”

Chapter 6: Worth Dying For

“There is something about losing yourself to another and their losing themselves in you at the same time that defies our ability to categorize. Healthy marriages all have this sense of mutual abandon to each other. They’ve both jumped, in essence, into the arms of the other. There is a sense of mutual abandon between them. If one holds back, if one refrains, it doesn’t work.”

Chapter 7: Under the Chuppah

“Sometimes when a couple is living together, one of their friends tells them they should make things right in God’s eyes by making their relationship a legal marriage. But maybe it’s already a marriage in God’s eyes, and maybe their having sex has already joined them as man and wife from God’s perspective. This isn’t a low view of sex, it’s a higher view of sex. It’s a higher view of marriage. It’s people living in the reality of the decisions they’ve already made… Often people are unaware of just how serious this bond is, and it suffers—they suffer.”

Chapter 8: Johnny and June

“When our trust has been betrayed and those who were supposed to stand by us don’t, this naturally has consequences for how we think about God. It becomes hard to trust that God is good when our significant relationships simply aren’t that good.”

“The passage in Genesis about Adam and Eve is about whole persons coming together. All of Him being given to all of her. All of her being given to all of him. If he wants her just for her body, that splits her. It means that she is good to him only for a part of her. That’s why when she’s slept with him, she wants to know where the relationship is headed. She wants to be integrated. She craves it. She wants to know that he will be there in the morning, and the next morning, and the next morning. She wants to know that beyond the sex, he loves her, he wants her—all of her.”


Purchase Sex God on Amazon today!


Weekly Web (W)roundup

weekly_roundup-img-640x290

Each week, I round up the best resources, articles, and videos I find that are relevant to finding freedom from porn addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it does not mean I agree with everything in the linked article. It just means I found it interesting enough to share.


Joshua Rodgers: The Right Time to Tell My Darkest Secret

“The thing was, when I was growing up, telling the story wasn’t an option. I simply knew that the wrong person had sexualized me at the wrong age, and I was never, ever to speak of it. But I desperately needed to get it off my chest.

Credo House: Four Characteristics of Legalism

“Legalism is something we all lean toward in one way or another. Humanity has been plagued by this from the very beginning as we see in Job’s friends. Why is this? Well, we like to have everything under control. We don’t like risk. We don’t like it when things get uncomfortable. And showing grace, to ourselves and others, takes the ball out of our court. Rule, laws, and lists of requirements are so much easier than grace and freedom.

Donald Miller: Before You Get Married, Do You Need to Talk About Money And Sex?

“Before my wife and I got married, I called my counselor friend Al to see if he would do our pre-marital counseling for us. His response really surprised me. He said basically, “no” and then explained how he didn’t like to do pre-marital counseling in the way you typically think about pre-marital counseling.

Jaunita Ryan: Recovery from Distorted Images of God

“When we examine our private images of God and discover significant distortions, we may feel horrified at the thought that we could harbor such negative images of God. Viewing God in negative ways may seem unacceptable and frightening. In spite of our fears, however, I believe it is critical that we explore our private images of God.”

John Piper: Do You Love God?