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In Christ, You Can be Deeply Rooted

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7)

Who You are In ChristJesus once told a story about a farmer who was planting seeds. Some of the seeds fell on the hard path and were quickly eaten by birds. Some fell on shallow soil and appeared to grow just fine, but as soon as the hot sun came out they withered and died. A few of the seeds fell into the thorns and were choked out by the more aggressive plants.

Wow. Thanks for the bummer story Jesus.

Yes, if the story had stopped there, it would be a total downer. Thankfully though, the story doesn’t stop there.

Jesus tells us about a fourth group of seeds that landed in good soil. Fertile, life-giving soil, full of nutrients and moist with the water of life. These seeds not only grew, they produced crops that were up to 100-times more than what was planted!

What we often fail to realize though, is this story isn’t really about how to plant seeds. It’s about the condition of your heart.

Or, more specifically, has your heart been tilled and softened to receive the message of God’s grace?

The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted! (Matthew 13:23)

The moment you put your faith in Christ, the soil of your heart was transformed into good soil because of His presence within you! Which means you already have everything you need to establish deep roots into the water of life. Not because you’re a special seed (sorry), but because your roots are planted in special soil.

Has the message of God’s grace established deep roots in your heart?

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Smart Quote of the Week: John Piper

“Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.” —John Piper

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

Weekly Web (W)roundup

weekly_roundup-img-640x290

Each week, we roundup the best links, articles, and videos we find that are relevant to finding freedom from pornography addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it doesn’t necessarily mean we agree with everything in the linked article. It just means we found it interesting enough to share.


Gospel Coalition: Fifty Shades, Twilight, and Teaching Young Women to Desire Abusers 

“The study found that compared with nonreaders, females who read at least the first novel were more likely than nonreaders to have had, during their lifetime, a partner who shouted, yelled, or swore at them and who delivered unwanted calls/text messages; they were also more likely to report fasting and using diet aids to lose weight at some point during their lifetime. ”

XXXChurch: Is Being Open Safe?

“There’s just something about telling someone you fell to masturbation or pornography that doesn’t exactly feel welcome in our day. Who wants to leave the security of a good, commendable image and throw themselves under the bus of their own immorality?”

Experimental Theology: God’s Unconditional Love

“About two years ago there was a discussion we had out at the prison bible study that has haunted me. I keep thinking about it.”

Dennis Jernigan: Sing Over Me


Watch the entire film here.

Welcome, new readers from Patheos and Beyond Evangelical!

Interview MicWelcome, new friends!

A lot of you are coming here for the first time after reading my interview on Frank Viola’s Patheos blog this morning. I’m glad you’re here and hope you take a minute to look around. I suggest you check out the following pages to get a good sense of the types of conversations we have around here:

If you still have further questions after that, send them to me via our anonymous contact form and I’ll do my best to get back to everyone as quickly as I can.

Once again, welcome! I’m glad you’re here.

—Stephen

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Free Music Downloads: Carrollton

Worship Wednesdays

About once-a-month, on a Wednesday (hence the name: Worship Wednesdays), I will share one of my favorite albums I’ve been listening to. Most of these will be from NoiseTrade, the internet’s best source for free music and eBook downloads.


carrolltons summer songsCarrollton: Summer Songs

There’s something about this southern rock album that makes me want to roll down my windows, crank the stereo, and drive out to the mountains to drink in the glory of God.

The entire EP is great, but be sure not to miss the Prodigal Son themed lyrics on my favorite track, Bring Me Back Home:

I lift my eyes and Yours meet mine
And I surrender to Your love.
My shame gives way to amazing grace
You’ve come to bring me back home.

From NoiseTrade: Named for the Kentucky town between Cincinnati and Louisville, Carrollton merges a rock sound with southern sensibilities and God-focused intentions. “This Is Life”, a driving rock song, and “Red,” a heartfelt anthem, both speak about looking for God’s provision in times of uncertainty. “Bring Me Back Home” has you stomping your foot, while the band sings about the prodigal son being welcomed back home. Finally, “Rest” is a worshipful plea to God for guidance within restlessness.

Smart Quote of the Week: Charles Spurgeon

“God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God" —Charles Spurgeon

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

What I Wish I Could Say to Morrissey

Morrissey I have forgiven JesusEvery now and then a song comes up on my iPod and it completely wrecks me.

Typically, it’s a worship song that reminds me of God’s love, making His presence seem even more intense in that moment.

Often, it’s my favorite Johnny Cash song, reminding me of the broken and pain-filled past Jesus has rescued me from.

Sometimes though, it’s a song that breaks my heart not out of happiness, but out of sadness.

Morrissey’s “I Have Forgiven Jesus” is one of these songs.

I’ve been hooked on Morrissey since my roommate introduced me to his music back in college. As much as I love his music though, the emotional honesty he puts into his lyrics makes it hard for me to listen at times. I can’t help but hurt for him when I hear him sing about the pain and rejection that has defined his life.

The sad part though, is some of that pain doesn’t need to be there. I don’t say this to minimize anything that may have happened to him in the past (after all, I do not actually know the man or what he has been through). What I do mean, is that some of Morrissey’s pain comes from a misunderstanding of how Jesus views him. If He came to know the truth in this area, his pain would be replaced by the freedom, joy, and peace that everyone is longing for.

I doubt I will ever get a chance to talk about these things with Morrissey, but if I did, I would want to share with him these three life-changing truths:

1. Jesus never has, and never will, desert you.

Forgive me any pain I may have brung to you
With God’s help I know I’ll always be near to you
But Jesus hurt me when He deserted me.
—I Have Forgiven Jesus—

Yes, we all make mistakes in life, and many of these mistakes will cause pain to others—even to Jesus. But as Jesus hung on the cross in agonizing emotional and physical pain, what did He say to God regarding the men who were causing Him pain in that moment? 

He offered them forgiveness. Not only that, He continued to go through with the plan to rescue these very men, even though it would cost Him His own life to do so.

If Jesus was willing to forgive these men and stick with them even as they were torturing and mocking Him, I’m pretty sure you can trust Him to stick with you no matter what sort of pain you may have caused Him.

37 Those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them (John 6:37).

2. Jesus loves you, and He made you to be a lover as well.

Why did you give me so much desire
When there is nowhere I can go to offload this desire?
And why did you give me so much love in a loveless world
When there’s no one I can turn to to unlock all this love?
—I Have Forgiven Jesus—

I could be wrong, but when I read these lyrics as one who has struggled with sexual addiction, I hear the same question I wrestled with for years: Why did God give me such a strong desire for love and intimacy and then tell me not to have sex until I was married? What a jerk move.

Unfortunately, these thoughts were actually pulling me away from the only thing that ever could truly satisfy the desires that consumed me.

If you believe that love, sex, and intimacy are all the same thing, you will inevitably begin to question God’s goodness. You will view Him as a cruel and controlling master, much like a man holding a carrot just beyond the reach of a donkey. It will seem as if God has put these desires in you and then forbids you to satisfy them.

The truth though, is God made you to be a lover, which is why you have this strong desire to love and to be loved. This love isn’t sexual though, it’s sacrificial. True love is always about what you can do for others, not what others can do for you. (Tweet this!)

This type of love isn’t something you can produce on our own. It’s something that is only unlocked when you trust Jesus to produce it though you.

19 We love each other because He loved us first (1 John 4:19).

If you can come to trust God’s unconditional love for you, your ability to love (and to be loved) will suddenly come alive.

3. Jesus doesn’t hate you.

And why did you stick me in self-deprecating bones and skin?
Jesus, do you hate me? Do you hate me? Do you hate me?
—I Have Forgiven Jesus—

You are correct in looking at your flesh and wondering why it controls you as it does. In fact, the Apostle Paul made the same observation about his own flesh:

15 What I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate… 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh (Romans 7:15,18).

Yes, nothing good can come from your flesh. No matter how hard any of us try, none of us can overcome the sinful desires within our bodies. But before we get too down on that reality, we need to also look at what Paul says next:

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)

The truth is, Jesus doesn’t stick you in self-deprecating bones and sin—He wants to free you from them! He came to rescue you from your flesh, not condemn you for it. (Tweet this!)

In fact, the very next verse reminds us that “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)

How can Jesus hate you if He doesn’t even condemn you? The truth is, He can’t.

And why would He purchase your freedom from sin and death with His own life only to turn around and resent you? He won’t.

No matter what you have done, it will never separate you from the love of Jesus.

Nothing will ever cause Jesus to hate you. That’s the beauty of His undying love for you.

•••

You have given all of us a gift, Morrissey, with your music and honesty. For that I thank you.

If you’re ever passing though Oregon, let me know. I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee.

Don’t worry, I won’t talk about Jesus the whole time. But I will remind you that Jesus doesn’t hate you, He hasn’t rejected you, and He loves you more than you know.

And I believe I can speak for all of your fans when I say we do as well.

Wherever you are…Don’t lose faith.
—I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday—

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Weekly Web (W)roundup

weekly_roundup-img-640x290

Each week, we roundup the best links, articles, and videos we find that are relevant to finding freedom from pornography addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it doesn’t necessarily mean we agree with everything in the linked article. It just means we found it interesting enough to share.


Relevant Magazine: What’s the Big Deal With Porn? 

“I get that porn is frowned upon, but why is it such a big deal to look at it since it doesn’t seem like it’s “as bad” as premarital sex? I mean, if you think about it, it may be corrupting you, but it’s not messing up someone else, just you. So what’s the big deal?”

People of the Second Chance: The 5 Most Powerful Things You Can Say to a Friend Who is Hurting

“This week, every one of us will come across someone who is hurting. Saying these simple and honest statements will help them keep fighting.”

Covenant Eyes: Marriage After Porn—Milestones of Healing

“There was a day in my marriage now known as The Confession—that moment when the reality of my pornography addiction came to light. For about six months, one day to the next there was plenty of fluctuation with regard to how my wife, Carolyn, and I were getting along.”

Jefferson Bethke: A Few Thoughts Women, Men, Porn, & Sexual Assault

In Christ, You Have Been Rescued from Darkness

For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

In ChristIt seems like everywhere you look today you see pain and suffering. If you don’t believe me, just turn on the evening news. It’s not hard to recognize that the world we live in truly is a kingdom of darkness.

But it’s not what we were created for.

Thankfully, God has rescued us from the darkness through the work of Jesus. He purchased our freedom and forgave our sins, clearing the way for us to be invited into God’s Kingdom—a Kingdom of light.

The Kingdom we were created for.

Once again, notice how this verse is written in the past-tense.

  • He has rescued us…
  • [He] transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son…
  • [Jesus] purchased our freedom…
  • [Jesus] forgave our sins…

It’s all done friends. We’ve already been rescued. Our home is now in the Kingdom of God’s dear Son.

There’s nothing left for us to do but believe it.

In what ways are you experiencing God’s Kingdom today?

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Smart Quote of the Week: Francis of Assisi

“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” —Francis of Assisi

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