God created all of us with a deep desire to know others, and to be fully known ourselves.

Why Do People Turn To Porn When They’re Lonely?

I’m excited to announce that another post I wrote for went live this morning. If you aren’t familiar with xxxChurch, they’re an online ministry offering biblical help for those who struggle with porn addiction. I suggest you check out all the great resources they offer to help you on your journey to freedom. And, of course, check out my post on their site as well.

Why Do People Turn To Porn When They’re Lonely?

A while back, XXXchurch ran a survey asking people why they turn to porn. Overwhelmingly, a large percentage of the answers stated “because they’re lonely” as a driving factor.

When we’re talking about the kind of lonely that drives us to porn though, it’s typically not the kind that comes from living in isolation. The majority of us have people in our lives—friends, co-workers, partners—whom we’re around on a daily basis. We’re by no means “alone,” yet for some reason, we’re still lonely.

But what if this loneliness so many of us experience isn’t due to a lack of being around anyone but from a lack of being known by anyone?

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Is the Fear of Being Found Out Contributing to Your Addiction?

What is your biggest fear?

Personally, I hate snakes. Even little, innocent, harmless, garter snakes. I know they can’t hurt me. I’ve been told they’re more afraid of me than I am of them. Whatever. I still hate them.

It still curls my nose hairs when I think of the woodpile in our backyard. My wife was an avid gardener and was constantly in need of more trellises and raised beds throughout the yard. I liked to swing a hammer, build stuff, and pretend to be manly, so it worked out great. My dad called me up one day and told me he had an old, weathered trellis that needed to be removed and hauled to the dump and figured he’d ask if we could use the wood. It wasn’t just any trellis though. It was over twenty feet long! Of course we jumped all over the prospect of free, pre-weathered wood and told him to go ahead and dump it in our yard instead. Over time, I built a few things out of it, but the majority of the pile sat untouched behind the shed.

There was one particular afternoon where I needed to use the tarp covering the woodpile to line the bed of my truck. I carefully removed it with one hand, casting it aside quickly so I could fight off any striking rattlers (garter snakes) with the pitchfork I was holding in my other hand like a spear. Seeing none, I relaxed, bunched up the tarp, and carried it over to my truck to spread it out.

As I unfolded the tarp I saw the most frightening thing I have ever seen in my entire life: Not just one, but TWO garter snakes had been curled up in the tarp. I had just carried these wretched creatures in my own arms! I instantly screamed like a little girl and did that freak-out dance where you jump and run in place at the same time while your whole body convulses in sheer terror. I’m sure I made my wife proud.

CobraAs ridiculous and exaggerated as this story sounds, I can assure you it is all true. Typing it out all these years later still brings a shiver to my spine. The crazy thing is, at one point in my life I had a fear that was significantly more crippling than my fear of snakes. If I were given the choice between facing this greater fear, and being a stand-in for Indiana Jones in the snake pit scene, I would have asked for the whip and fedora without hesitation.

The one thing that scared me even more than snakes was a fear that someday, someone might discover who I really was. I might let my guard down and allow my true self to be seen. Someone might discover that Steve, the upstanding, churchgoing, youth-group volunteering, hard-worker guy was actually Steve the porn addict. Steve the pathological liar. Steve the sinner.

You see, I believed I was the only man sitting in church fighting this battle—failing at this battle. If I allowed others to see that I wasn’t perfect, they might reject me. After all, I didn’t want anyone to think this whole Christianity thing wasn’t working for me. I lived my life in a state of constant fear—fear of getting caught, fear of being found out, fear of being rejected if people got to know the real me.

When you believe the real you is worse than everyone else, and you fear that God and others would be ashamed of you, the only option you will feel you have left is to clean yourself up and make yourself acceptable again. This plays right into the trap of the devil though, because your sin isn’t something you can actually clean up on your own. No matter how hard you try, you will continue to spin your wheels and get nowhere. Your sin and shortcomings, if anything, will become even more central in your day-to-day awareness because of how much time and effort you will be devoting to fixing them. They will become your focal point. And the more you focus on your sin, the more gasoline gets dumped on the fire of your shame.

But God’s desire is not for you to struggle in isolation. He wants you to reach out for help, both from Him and from others. We are told in James:

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (James 5:16).

Did you catch that? If we confess our sins to each other, we will be healed. For some reason, God has decided He wants the healing of our habitual sins to be a team sport. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Jesus tells us the defining characteristic of a believer that sets us apart from the world is our love (John 13:35), and nothing shows Christ like love to others more than coming alongside a brother who is struggling, sharing your life with him, praying for him, and accepting him regardless of his issues. It’s through these types of relationships that we can begin to experience what the unconditional love of Christ looks like.

It’s ironic—and heartbreaking—that so many men are hiding their struggles with porn in an attempt to protect themselves, when in reality, the hiding is contributing to their bondage. If you are in Christ, He has already set you free. All you need to do to experience that freedom is bring your hidden sin into the light so the blood of Jesus can cleanse you and set you free from it.

What is the biggest fear you have had to overcome?

cover-mockupThis post was an excerpt from my book, 10 Lies Men Believe About Porn, available wherever books are sold.

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Can You Get an Intimacy Do-Over?

Can-You-Get-an-Intimacy-Do-Over-BlogWhen Craig [of] asked me to write a follow-up to Dave Willis’s recent post, 7 Intimacy Killers in Marriage, I immediately agreed. After all, I was guilty of many of the intimacy killers Dave talked about. These killers not only destroyed the intimacy between my wife and me, but they ended up contributing to the destruction of our marriage as well.

But once I began to write, I realized I’d already shared a lot of those details in my recent post, 3 Ways Porn Destroyed Sex in My Marriage. I knew my story was still relevant to this discussion, but I didn’t want to sound like a broken record.

Then it hit me. Instead of focusing on how my mistakes had caused so much harm in the past, I could share how learning to avoid them has benefited my current relationship.

You see, I’ve been given a do-over when it comes to intimacy.

If you’ve read my book, 10 Lies Men Believe about Porn, you already know that I’d been waiting for my former wife in hopes of reconciliation. What you probably don’t know, however, is that God had another plan. Just last summer, she married a great guy, closing the door on our reconciliation but opening the door for me to date again.

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2 Reasons My Addiction Evolved From Fantasy To Reality

BLOG-Online-to-Offline---Why-My-Addiction-Evolved-from-Fantasy-into-RealityMy addiction isn’t hurting anyone. It’s only pictures on a screen. It’s not like I’m cheating on my wife. There’s no way I could ever do that.

At least that’s what I told myself.

Right up until I had my first affair.

I never would have considered myself capable of being unfaithful to my wife. I loved her, found her attractive, and honestly wanted to be a Godly husband. I simply couldn’t fathom the thought of hurting her in that way.

So what happened? How did my addiction to pornography erupt out of the computer and evolve into multiple real-world affairs?

Looking back now, I can see two main issues that fueled my evolution from online to offline.

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If you aren’t familiar with, they’re the #1 site on the internet offering biblical help for those who struggle with porn addiction. I suggest you check out all the great resources they offer to help you on your journey to freedom (after you read the rest of this post of course).

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3 Ways Porn Destroyed Sex in My Marriage

I’m excited to announce that another post I wrote for went live this morning. If you aren’t familiar with xxxChurch, they’re the #1 site on the internet offering biblical help for those who struggle with porn addiction. I suggest you check out all the great resources they offer to help you on your journey to freedom. And, of course, check out my post on their site as well.

BLOG-3-ways-porn-destroyed-sex-in-my-marriageOne of the lies I often hear is that pornography can be a helpful tool to spice up your sex life—especially in a monogamous relationship like marriage. After all, if you’re getting tired of the same meal, shouldn’t you pick up a cookbook for some extra inspiration?

This logic breaks down though, when you realize the purpose of sex (unlike food) goes much deeper than to merely satisfy physical desires. (Tweet This!) The purpose of sex is to bring you and your spouse together in a way that unites your entire selves together; not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

But what happens if you allow pornography to influence your marriage bed?

I tried.

It completely destroyed our connection.

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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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5 Ways Pornography Affects a Father’s Relationship with His Daughter

Pornography Affects on a Daughter

Photo by BrianTuchalskiPhotography

Many people will claim that pornography is a victimless crime. “It’s not hurting anyone,” they say. “What a man does behind closed doors is his own prerogative.”

The problem with that belief though, is it couldn’t be further from the truth. Pornography hurts everyone involved, and the closer someone is to the user, the more likely they are to be deeply hurt.

One of the more common places where this can happen is the relationship between a dad and his little girl. For that reason, I think it’s important to consider five ways pornography use affects a father’s relationship with his daughter.

1. It will Cause Him to Pull Away from Her when She Needs Him Most

If a father is looking at porn, he will have a hard time offering appropriate loving affection to his daughter once she starts to mature physically. He will notice her looking more and more like the women he has been watching online, and misplaced shame will cause him to avoid hugging her because it just doesn’t feel right anymore.

Sadly, his daughter will notice this and begin to wonder why she’s no longer receiving affection from her father. This frequently leads girls to believe there is something wrong with them or, often times, to seek affection elsewhere (usually in the arms of a teenage boy who has noticed her physical changes as well).

2. It Hinders His Ability to Model a Loving Husband/Wife Relationship to Her

The shame that frequently comes from porn use will cause most men to become distant, isolated, and hidden. Rather than modeling how a husband should be pursuing his wife daily, he will be teaching his daughter to settle for a man who merely exists physically—but not emotionally—within the same house.

Furthermore, the percentage of divorce cases that site pornography use as major contributing factor is extremely high. This was the unfortunate end-result of my own addiction, which means my daughter is now growing up in two separate homes with two separate parents. She may have a wonderful example of a mom, and (hopefully) a great example of a dad, but our divorce has robbed her of the opportunity to observe how a mom and a dad can lovingly interact with one another.

3. It Communicates the Wrong Messages to Her about Beauty

There are countless stories of girls discovering porn on their dad’s computer and believing she must look and act like these women if she wants a man to notice her. These beliefs will often stay with her for many years, if not her entire life. But even if she never discovers the porn itself, she’s likely to notice other behaviors in her dad that often come with porn use:

  • Turning his head to watch a girl walk by in tight pants
  • Looking down the shirts of her friends
  • Paying more attention to the cheerleaders than the game itself

You see, when a man uses pornography, the way he views all women changes, and examples such as these become much more likely (and noticeable) in his life.

4. It Takes Him out of His Role as the Spiritual Leader and Protector of the Home

There are many views in the church regarding the presence of negative spiritual influences. The Bible makes it clear, however, these things not only exist, but they are actively seeking to harm us (see Ephesians 6:13, 1 Peter 5:8 . I personally experienced frequent nightmares and terrifying visions when I was in the grip of my addiction to pornography, but they stopped completely once I asked God to set me free from the bondage I had invited into my life. That was proof enough for me that there was something very real about the connection between spiritual forces and my porn addiction.

Now, I can’t say for sure whether a father’s use of porn will invite spiritual bondage into other members of his home. What I do know, though, is the risk is certainly not worth it. You wouldn’t invite a known criminal into your house, so why would you open the door to any other negative influences?

5. It Pulls the E-brake on His Walk with God

Ultimately, compulsive porn use will hinder a father’s relationship with God. This is not the result of God turning away from him because of his ongoing sin (Thankfully, God’s love is never dependent upon our behavior). It’s because the man has chosen to rely on his own power to manage his life and meet his needs.

Trying to manage and meet the needs in your life independently from God is exhausting. And, as a father, I can assure you that being an effective parent without God’s help is impossible. That’s why it’s vitally important to rely on Him for the wisdom and ability you will need to effectively guide your little girl into becoming a healthy woman. The role of a father is far too great to try to do on your own.


Fathers, I don’t tell you these things to make you feel guilty about looking at porn. I tell you them to help you recognize the full effect it may be having on those you love.

Don’t lose heart, though. There is hope. Freedom from pornography is available for those who seek it. The best part is that it’s not about learning to fight better or resist temptation more effectively. In fact, it has nothing to do with what you are capable of at all.

Freedom comes when you are given a new heart, with new desires. A heart that no longer desires porn because it’s found something so much greater. That, my friend, is true freedom…and that freedom can only come from Christ.

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Why is a Five-Year-Old Girl Telling Me She Loves Me?

As a single-parent, my time with my daughter is limited, so any chance I get to squeeze in additional time with her is a huge blessing. One of my favorite ways to get some of this “bonus time,” is by helping out in her kindergarten class.

Every Monday, I go in and help the kids come up with words that begin with “H” or words that rhyme with mouse. If it gets any deeper than that I punt back to the teacher.

As much as I love working with these kids, though, I often leave with a heavy heart. Why? Because a sweet little five-year-old girl, who is not my daughter, keeps telling me that she loves me.

Importance of a Father's Love

Photo by Jason L. Parks

I noticed something was different about Susan (not her real name) from the first day. As soon as I was introduced to the class, she came up to me and said:

“Hi Steve! I’m Susan. Do you like my dress.”

No more than ten minutes later, she came back up to me and hugged my arm:

“I like when you come and see us, Steve.”

I had said maybe ten words to this girl all morning, yet for some reason she had latched onto me. At one point, I went to give her a high-five and she tried to hold my hand instead. As I left that morning, she told me the same thing she continues to tell me every time I’m there:

“I love you Steve.”

Why would this five-year-old-girl, who doesn’t even know me, tell me over-and-over that she loves me? Because she desperately wants me (or any father-figure for that matter) to love her back.

I happen to know Susan doesn’t have a dad at home. I don’t know the circumstances that have led to this situation, nor do I presume to pass judgement on anyone involved. What I do know though, is there is a void in Susan’s heart because of this absence. A void she is attempting to fill by reaching out to me.

The Importance of a Father’s Love

In his book, What a Difference a Daddy Makes, Dr. Kevin Leman explains what he calls “Daddy Attention Deficit Disorder (D.A.D.D.).” He mentions that many dads are simply not there for their daughters. Some are emotionally absent, refusing to engage their daughter’s heart out of fear or confusion. Some are physically distant, working long hours or spending their weekends focused on hobbies that keep them out of the home. Sadly, many are not present in their daughter’s life at all.

This absence of a father’s love is often interpreted by a little girl as a sign that she is not worthy of love. Her heart is aching to be loved by her dad, but no love is offered to her.

Unfortunately, many girls will eventually seek to find this masculine love elsewhere, just like Susan.

When a five-year-old approaches
a man she has just met and
tells him she loves him, it’s cute.
When a sixteen-year-old does it,
it’s heartbreaking.


Make Sure Your Daughter Knows You Love Her

Dads, your daughters need you to love them. Hug them. Hold them. Snuggle with them. Wrestle with them. Tickle them. Whether they recognize it or not, they crave your healthy touch.

Tell your girl that she’s beautiful. Let her know that you notice her. Remind her how much you delight in her.

Above all else, remind her daily that you will always love her…no matter what. Remind her that there is nothing she could ever do to make you love her any more or any less, because you already love her with all of your love.

Pick up the phone, or better yet, pick up your little girl, and let her know how much you love her. Whether your daughter is five or fifty-five, it’s never too late to begin showering her with your fatherly love.

When she starts rolling her eyes and saying “Yeah, yeah. I know Dad. You tell me that every day,” then you know you’re doing it right.

You can do this, dads. Your daughter’s need you to.

How much do you love your daughter? Share with us in the comments and then tell the same thing to your little girl.

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Conversational Prayer (AKA: The Art of Talking to Jesus Like a Crazy Person)

In the past week, I’ve had three different conversations with friends trying to explain what it’s like to have an intimate relationship with Jesus. No matter how hard I try to explain it though, it ends up being about as effective as trying to describe a color to someone who has never seen it.

You talk to Jesus and He talks back? Even about stuff like relationships, feelings, and everyday decisions? Riiiiight…

The reality is, until you experience this type of relationship with Jesus for yourself, it makes no sense. In fact, it sounds downright crazy. I get that.

Sometimes I wonder if I really am crazy. Am I just talking to voices in my head? But then I see the undeniable impact of how this type of relationship with Jesus has changed my life and realize that even if I am crazy, I’m never going to stop talking to Jesus in this way.

Conversational prayer with Jesus has become the only thing that keeps me going when life gets hard. Knowing that my Savior loves me so much that He actually desires to sit down and talk to me has freed me from the need to pursue that type of acceptance from others. It has freed me from worry and anxiety, because I know that Jesus is listening to whatever is troubling me. Ultimately, it’s a constant reminder that I am deeply loved (and even liked) by my Creator.

But for many believers, they never experience this type of prayer relationship with Jesus. Why is that?

I don’t claim to know the answer to that question, but I do know Jesus wants to talk with you.

While reading Brennan Manning’s book, Abba’s Child, this week, I was convicted that trying to describe prayer (or giving out books on prayer) wasn’t the best approach in these conversations. Perhaps the better approach would be to remind my friends how much Jesus loves them and encourage them to seek to know Him personally rather than simple know stuff about Him. And the way you get to know Jesus personally is the same way you get to know anyone personally: You sit down and talk to Him.

Manning shares a story that illustrates this beautifully:

Once I related the story of an old man dying of cancer. The old man’s daughter had asked the local priest to come and pray with her father. When the priest arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said.

“No, who are you?”

“I’m the new associate at your parish,” the priest replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”

Old chair“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the priest shut the door.

“I’ve never told anyone this, not even to my daughter,” said the man, “but all my life I have never known how to pray. At the Sunday Mass I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head. Finally I said to him one day in sheer frustration, ‘I get nothing out of your homilies on prayer.’

“‘Here,’ says my pastor reaching into the bottom drawer of his desk. ‘Read this book by Hans Urs von Balthasar. He’s a Swiss theologian. It’s the best book on contemplative prayer in the twentieth century.’

“Well, Father,” says the man, “I took the book home and tried to read it. But in the first three pages I had to look up twelve words in the dictionary. I gave the book back to my pastor, thanked him, and under my breath whispered ‘for nothing.’”

“I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” he continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because He promised, ‘I’ll be with you all days.’ Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’

“So, Padre, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the rectory.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the priest that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.

“Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found Him dead. But there was something strange, Father. In fact beyond strange, kinda weird. Apparently just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside his bed.”

Friends, Jesus wants to talk with you. There is no fancy formula or required level of knowledge. All you need to do is sit down and talk to Him.

I would encourage you to set a chair in front of you and practice talking with Jesus today. Yes, it may seem weird at first. But once you experience the crazy amount of love Jesus has for you, it will change everything.

This practice of conversational prayer has changed my life, but then again, what do I know?

I’m just a crazy guy who has conversations with an empty chair…

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.
Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life.
~Thomas Merton~

What is your experience with conversational prayer?

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Focus on My Voice

Unless you’ve been living in a box for the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard about the new Superman movie: Man of Steel. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you get to a theater and check it out.

Superman-new-1It’s no secret that the Superman story is heavily influenced by the life of Jesus. Both men willingly set aside their superiority in order to experience life as a human being. Both men came to Earth with unbelievable powers, yet chose to use them for the good of others rather than their own gain. Ultimately, both men were willing to sacrifice everything in order to save mankind.

The main difference between the two, is that Superman is a fictional character, and Jesus Christ is the living Son of God.

I tend to geek out on theological parallels in movies, which is perhaps why I also enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movies so immensely. What touched me the most in Man of Steel though, wasn’t the way that Superman modeled Jesus and His miraculous power. I was impressed with the way He modeled Jesus in His humility and humanity.

The first scene that stood out to me, which modeled his humility, was when Superman was detained by the military—in handcuffs. Obviously, the only reason Superman was even in handcuffs was he allowed it to happen, which he makes clear a few minutes later as he snaps the handcuffs like a piece of thread. Yet, even after displaying his strength, he continued to remain in their custody voluntarily.

It reminded me of the time when Jesus was being arrested. Peter pulled his sword out to defend him, but Jesus just asked him to put his sword away. He then goes on to tell Peter:

Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now? (Matthew 26:53–54)

Jesus knew the guards had no power to stop Him, yet He still chose to willingly put aside His infinite power and humbly surrender to them. Likewise, the entire time He was being tortured on the cross, He was a single prayer away from that very same army of angels coming down to set Him free from His pain. Jesus knew this full well. But He also knew He was the only one who had the power to rescue us from our sin and fulfill the role God had called Him to fulfill.

In the same way that Superman willingly surrendered to the military, Jesus willingly surrendered to death—not because He had been overpowered, but because His love for us was so overpowering.

The other scene that touched me, and reminded me of the humanity of Jesus, took place when Superman was still a young boy. He hadn’t learned yet how to control his superior senses, which often resulted in him becoming overstimulated and causing panic attacks. This particular time, it overwhelmed him so much that he locked himself in a closet to drown out the world. No one was able to calm him down, so they asked his mother to come to the door to try to talk to him.

Clark Kent: The world’s too big, Mom.

Martha Kent: Then make it small. Focus on my voice.
Pretend it’s an island out in the ocean. Can you see it?

When I heard that line, it was as if God was speaking to me directly.

If Jesus had to rely on My voice when His world got too big,
you will need to do the same.

I obviously recognize that I’m not Jesus, and no amount of spandex will ever make me Superman. I’m just a normal guy. Which is why the only way I will ever have any hope of making it through the seasons where the world seems to big—those times where life is overwhelming—is to focus on the voice of God to make the world smaller. If I keep looking at the big picture and all the steps I’ll have to take, I’ll get overwhelmed. If, however, I listen for God to just tell me the next step and focus on Him rather than my problems, it becomes easier to trust that He really will get me through.

Jesus recognized his need to be connected to His Father throughout His entire earthly ministry. He knew how dependent He was for God to direct His every move. And if Jesus (who was fully God as well as fully man) needed that support, how much more will we need it?

So go and see Man of Steel. And as you watch it, remember, Jesus willingly set aside His power, submitting to death on the cross and setting you free. And if you have trusted in His work on the cross to give you life, you have full access to God and can boldly come to Him whenever your world feels too big.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me… (John 10:27–28)

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