Smart Quote of the Week: Timothy Keller

“Legalistic remorse says, "I broke God's rules," while real repentance says, "I broke God's heart." —Timothy Keller

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

Reader Q/A: How Can Churches and Communities Help Men who Struggle with Porn?

Question: One of the biggest things on my mind recently is how to bring support and recovery groups to churches and communities to impact young men and women. How do you set up support groups? And what kind of resources do you use? Have you found one particular method to be more effective than another?

Reader Q/A

I agree that equipping churches to deal with this issue has been a hurdle in the past. Most churches understand porn is a huge issue but feel like they don’t have the knowledge to properly help men (and women) find freedom from it.

In reality, the best thing a church can do isn’t to try to “deal with it” per se, but to simply offer a safe environment for men to be honest about their struggle without condemnation. That’s why in the groups I lead we constantly repeat the idea that we aren’t here to fix each other, we’re here to bring our junk into the light so it loses its power over us. Once the addiction is no longer hidden, God can finally begin His work of healing in you.

I had looked everywhere for a good resource to use in my own groups and couldn’t find anything I was happy with. There are a ton of great books out there that deal with the symptom (IE: the behavioral response of looking at porn), but nothing that directly addressed the underlying cause (IE: what is causing you to desire porn in the first place).

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, this is exactly why I wrote my book.

In order to take away all the hurdles and make it as easy as possible for churches to get groups going, I wrote a 12-week study guide and have provided all of the marketing materials (posters, bulletin inserts, announcement slides, promo video, etc.) as free downloads.

Furthermore, churches (or anyone who wants to start a group) can purchase a group kit (5 books, 5 study guides) from me at cost.

This means the only thing a church needs to do is provide a private room and let guys know about it. The guy leading the group could even be going through the material for the first time himself.

In the end, the best thing anyone can do to help an addict is to love them wherever they’re at and help them follow Jesus. Don’t try to fix them. Don’t point out their flaws (trust me, they already know them). Simply love them. Once they trust your love, perhaps then they will trust God’s love. And that is ultimately what will change them.

Thank you again for your question. I hope this answer helped bring you more clarity.

Grace and peace to you in Christ,
Stephen

This question was taken from the recent Reddit AMA I did for NoFapChristians.

If you have a question about pornography addiction, my personal story, or anything else for that matter, you can send it to me by filling out the form on the Contact page (or just click my picture in the sidebar on the right). I will do my best to answer every question personally and will never post your question without your permission.

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Weekly Web (W)roundup

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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.


To Love, Honor, and Vacuum: Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Brain, Your Marriage, and Your Sex Life

“Pornography is ravaging marriages. In our culture porn is treated as if it’s harmless, but it’s not. Porn will wreck the arousal process in your brain and end up wrecking your sex life in marriage. The effects of porn are devastating.

Covenant Eyes: Is Your Accountability Group Doomed to Fail?

“All I know is that when I’ve thrown it all out, grace is what remains. It won’t leave.”

Dave Willis: 5 Ways to be a Better Husband

“I still maintain a friendship, a quite close one at that, with one of the men from that group, but as for the stated purpose of pursuing purity and integrity together, that Tuesday morning group remains to me a symbol of what is wrong with men’s accountability groups.”

Donny Pauling: Is Viewing Porn Harmless?

In Christ, You are Made Righteous

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Who You are In ChristImagine you receive a letter in the mail one day. As you read it, you realize you’ve been found guilty of tax evasion. Not only that, it’s been going on for years.

Because of back taxes and fines, you now owe the IRS over $500,000! Your entire net worth is pennies compared to the fine. You can barely make a dent in it, and can never, ever pay the complete fine.

In addition, the minimum prison sentence is twenty years.

You show up at the trial and realize there is substantial evidence against you. Financial records, invoices, previous tax returns—it’s all there. You have no case.

You plead with the judge, claiming it was an accident and you honestly had no idea you were doing anything wrong. He sternly reminds you that ignorance is no excuse for criminal behavior. You broke the law and now you must pay the consequence.

The gavel slams against the desk as he sentences you to the maximum prison term in addition to your fine.

As you’re being escorted out of the courtroom, however, the judge speaks up:

“Stop! You may not know this yet, but I love you more than you can fathom. I can’t bear to see you punished like this. I will have my own Son pay your fine. He will serve your sentence for you. I can transfer all of your guilt to Him, allowing you to go free as one who is forgiven and restored to righteousness. You must decide, though, if you trust Him to do this for you. Will you receive this gift of forgiveness?”

You ponder the offer for a moment. It seems too good to be true. But then again, you have no other options. You’re desperate. It’s too late for you to undo what you’ve already done.

“Yes, your Honor. I trust your Son. I need Him to save me since I will never be able to overcome my own guilt.”

Immediately, the handcuffs are taken off you and placed upon the wrists of the Son.

You are now free.

Your debt has been paid.

As the Son is escorted out of the room, you thank him with tears in your eyes. You have never felt such an overwhelming sense of relief—or gratitude.

Friends, this is not just a story. This is the gospel.

This is what Jesus has done for every one of us who have trusted Him: He took our guilt, trading us His righteousness in return.

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Jesus Loves Ragamuffins

I typically save videos such as this to feature in the Weekly Web (W)roundup. This one, however, deserves a post of its own. It’s one of the best presentations of the same message that set me free—not just from porn—but from everything that had been holding me back from experiencing Jesus fully, deeply, and intimately.

Please set aside 18 minutes and watch it. You will be glad you did.

Smart Quote of the Week: George MacDonald

“It is better to never have learned the Father than to have learned Him wrong.” —George MacDonald

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: Does He Need to Confess Adultery to His Wife?

“Today I have an email that came in from someone who is writing—he is a Christian man, a member of a church, who writes and tells me that he had an affair several years ago, that this affair only lasted about a week, that he put an end to it, but he writes and wants to know whether or not now—even though he has confessed it to God, he has repented toward God, he has talked to a couple of key accountability partners in his life—whether or not he ought to tell his wife.

Redemption Pictures: Experiencing Grace

“All I know is that when I’ve thrown it all out, grace is what remains. It won’t leave.”

Beyond Evangelical: Romans 8 Remixed

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate you from my love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither your fears for today nor your worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate you from my love.”

TrueFaced: What have we discovered about living with shame?

In Christ, You Can be Bold

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

Who You are In ChristBoldness. 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 those who are lost?

Maybe for a bit, sure. But not consistently. 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. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 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! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)

The old way—following the rules and making sacrifices—led to death. Why? Because we couldn’t 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 missed one? There was constant fear that some sin was left unaccounted for. No one could 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.

Why? Because it has nothing to do with you. It’s all because of Jesus.

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.

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Smart Quote of the Week: Richard Rohr

“My starting point is that we’re already there. We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness… We have nothing to attain or even learn. We do, however, need to unlearn some things.” -Richard Rohr

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

Reader Q/A: Does the Bible Forbid Masturbation?

Question: I know the Bible says lust is wrong, but can I masturbate if I don’t lust?

Reader Q/A

The Bible never mentions masturbation, which, given the sheer number of laws and regulations that are outlined, is rather telling in itself. In other words, I believe God left masturbation out of the “rules” because He trusts us to use wisdom and the guiding of the Holy Spirit to discern the correct answer for our own individual selves.

The Bible does, however, clearly calls lust a sin and warns us of its detrimental effects. You simply cannot argue that lust is anything apart from sin if you are looking at it from a Biblical perspective.

Can You Masturbate without Lust?

I don’t know. That isn’t a question I can answer for you.

I’ve heard of some guys who can do their thing while thinking about mowing the lawn or whatever. But I know for me there is no way to separate the action from the mental fantasy. If you’re one of the guys who can keep your mind from wandering into lustful thoughts while masturbating, then I don’t see any reason why it would be a problem Biblically.

For me though, this is simply not possible. I can’t separate the two, so in my case the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean it’s the same answer for you.

Can You Masturbate without Becoming a Slave to it?

The other thing to consider, is can you masturbate without it becoming compulsive? The apostle Paul addresses this issue in his letter to the church in Corinth:

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything (1 Corinthians 6:12).

When looked it in the broader context of this letter, it’s clear Paul is referring to sexuality. No, he’s not saying that everything is okay. The Bible as a whole clearly puts that idea to rest. But He is talking about the areas of sexuality where God allows us the freedom to make decisions based on His leading, such as masturbation.

Paul’s is teaching that because you may have the freedom to masturbate (apart from lust), it isn’t wise if you become its slave. And chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you are very aware of how easy it is to become a slave to masturbation.

This is why you need to ask yourself if you truly are in control of your masturbation? If it’s controlling you, then perhaps masturbation is not a wise choice for you.

Deciding for Yourself

The bottom line, is God hasn’t given a blanket answer that applies to everyone. This is a decision He wants to make with you individually.

So seek His wisdom. Consider these questions I’ve brought up and answer them honestly. If you seek His direction in this area, He will let you know.

Thank you again for your question. I hope this answer helped bring you more clarity.

Grace and peace to you in Christ,
Stephen

This question was taken from the recent Reddit AMA I did for NoFapChristians.

If you have a question about pornography addiction, my personal story, or anything else for that matter, you can send it to me by filling out the form on the Contact page (or just click my picture in the sidebar on the right). I will do my best to answer every question personally and will never post your question without your permission.

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