Leaderology By Jeff Rawlins Launching soon.

Tag: door to door evangelism

Porn: It doesn’t really hurt anyone, Right???

Porn: It doesn’t really hurt anyone, Right???

Many of the choices and deeds in life have quite predictable outcomes and consequences. Look at a child playing near a mud puddle, for example. Chances are that the child will eventually get muddy and wet if left to their own devices, right? Proverbs warns us of such natural, predictable consequences when it comes to sin, in particular lust:

Proverbs 6:25-27

“Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?”

In other words, if we play with fire, we are bound to be burned. And, make no mistake that lust is a fire that sets marriages in flames of destruction and can easily burn them to ash.

Pornography being so rampant, easily consumed, and anonymous has made it a huge culprit in setting marriages afire in lustful destruction.

Internet Porn Makes Lust A Mud Puddle That’s Easier Than Ever For Christians To Fall Into

We are surrounded by portals for lust daily, but what the internet has done is make these pornography and sexually-charged chat sites seem free of harm through anonymity and indirect sexual behavior, or at least at first. It’s served to remove that predictability of consequences from a tangible, real mud puddle of adultery right in front of the viewer. But, make no mistake that the consequences are very tangible and real.

According to a Psychology Today article, Dr. Jill Manning shared testimony on pornography and marriages before the U.S. Senate in 2004. Her data found that 56% of divorces claim pornography as a ground.

A 2003 poll by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recorded that two in three polled reported the internet played a factor in their divorce, with half of those specifying online pornography.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming these numbers are reflective of a secular society. A ChristianNet survey actually found that 50% of men and 20% of women who label themselves as Christians are addicted to porn. Do you know what sexual psychologists report is their most commonly asked question amongst Christian seminar groups? – “If both spouses watch and enjoy, then how can porn harm my marriage?”

How Does Porn Destroy Marriages?

1. It’s Emotional, Spiritual, And Mental Adultery.

In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

We are intended to only share the sexual elements and desires of ourselves with a spouse. Inviting third parties via pornography, even if mutual, is still adultery.

2. Porn Destroys Your Spiritual Thinking And Defiles Your Temple

1 Corinthians 6:20 – “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

3. Porn Rips Your Relationship Foundation Apart.

Dating is like erecting a *relationship* home. Each building material is made of gained relationship aspects that are necessary to the couple moving forward – trust, love, commitment, attraction, spiritual congruency, etc. Marriage is like the final nail in the home. After that final nail, it’s then up to the couple to preserve and nourish what they’ve built.

Porn rips apart the home piece by piece, starting with trust.

4. Porn Creates Dissatisfaction, Ungratefulness, And Comparisons.

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.”

Pornography is often explicit and beyond ‘normal’ intimate acts, some being acts of perversion and blasphemy. It’s inevitable the viewers will begin comparing such fantasy acts and looks to reality and become dissatisfied and ungrateful for what they have in reality.

5. Porn Destroys Your Spouse’s Self-Worth.

Spouses pick up on dissatisfaction, and if they are aware of the porn habits of their spouse, then they’re certain to make their own comparisons between themselves and the porn figures in an attempt to figure out why the marriage bed isn’t enough. Such self-doubts and destroyed self-worth often makes a partner retreat because they feel inadequate.

6. Porn Is A Fantasy That Promotes Unreal, Unhealthy Expectations.

While porn depicts fantastical sexual gratification, the reality is that many of the actors are doing just that – acting. Statistics show that many have drug and alcohol addictions that fuel the fantastical acts being portrayed. Many have had all sorts of surgeries and suffer eating disorders to achieve a sexually alluring look. These are not acts and looks that transfer to realistic expectations for a spouse.

7. Porn Is Addictive And Never Satisfying.

Just as alcohol and drugs, porn can be very addictive. Studies have shown that porn triggers the pleasure centers of the brain much like illicit drugs. The sexual gratification (high) becomes addictive. The viewer begins to require more and more and different applications to achieve that sexual high. It’s an addiction that any spouse simply can’t fulfill or compete against because the porn addict can be married to the most beautiful woman imaginable and still crave different and more in search of the next sexual gratification. This is why pornography viewers often progress to more and more perversion.

8. Porn Is A Gateway Sin.

Many, even those that admit porn is sinful, feel that porn is a harmless sin. Some often use the justification that it’s better than an alternative. The problem with this line of rationalization is that pornography wears away your moral senses inch by inch. If a little is okay, then a little more won’t hurt, and if that didn’t hurt, then a little more should be okay, too. If I’m watching porn, then why can’t I chat sexually with a real life person? Chatting was fine… maybe just meeting someone to talk will be fine? What if I just kiss someone? What if I just do this next step? Before long you’ve justified yourself into a physical affair and divorce.

9. Porn Demands You Be Willing To Lose Everything.

Pornography rarely stays within the confines of a home computer. Eventually, kids and your spouse may find it at home and your boss and coworkers at work. Furthermore, the progressive behaviors and consequences often mean that you’re willing to lose your family, career, church standing, reputation, friends, finances, and relationship with God in pursuit of maintaining these lustful desires and acts.

Sexual Desire Isn’t To Be Confused With Lust

Anger, for example, is a natural feeling we get when someone wrongs us. It’s a temptation, not an act. Anger in of itself isn’t wrongful. It’s when we allow that anger to fester into revenge, hate, an unforgiving mindset, or an act that it becomes sinful. Sexual desires are much the same. We all naturally have sexual desires; it’s what spawns us to procreate and remain intimately connected with a partner.

Faith Hope Healing: Focus Your Body And Mind To Combat Lust

It’s when we allow those sexual desires to be released outside the confines of marriage or engage with lustful thoughts that we destroy our spiritual and marital wellbeing. The faith hope and healing powers of God mean that no sin is without recourse.

Galatians 5:16 “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the [flesh].”

We have been told how to focus our sexual desires appropriately, just as we do in not looking at immediate family members of the opposite sex in a sexual manner.

In Matthew 5, we are given a calling to both perform external obedience (not commit the act) and to have internal obedience (govern our thoughts and attitudes.)

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 we are instructed to control our bodies against passion: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

If you are struggling with Porn in your life and you would like to talk about it or you would just like prayer, please take 20 seconds to fill out the contact form and I will be glad to reach out to you.
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“Hey Dummy, Why did you take off your helmet?”

“Hey Dummy, Why did you take off your helmet?”

 

 

Freshman year of college, day 4 of 2 -a-days(practices), the second day of full pads and contact. I was getting the best of our all-conference nose tackle, who was one of the Quad Captains on our football team. He was a very good football player and he knew it and so did the coaches, he was treated like a God. His role was to get triple teamed if possible to allow the Sam and Will linebackers to roam freely and attack the ball. I was defending him alone, so our two guards were able to peel off and get to the second level to interrupt the linebackers free roam of the field.

I should have seen it coming but I had no idea. After a successful 10 yard run right up the middle and picking himself up off the ground yet again, our beloved nose tackle and captain took it upon himself to shove me in the back while I was walking back to the offensive huddle.

This was college football, it might as well have been a prison and the rules are the same. You are new and fighting for your life and respect. So I walked back to the huddle and the coach looks at me and says: “What are you doing?”, “Why didn’t you hit him?” Shortly after practice, he summoned me into his office and told me that standing up for oneself and fighting back at the older players was the only way to get respect. He told me not to let it go the next time it happens.

The next incident didn’t take too long, it occurred the following day. First play of practice – 52 Center Trap: I destroyed him, he shoved me in the back again and walked back to his huddle. This time without thinking twice, I took off running full speed, I literally left my feet and hit that man harder than anything or anybody I had ever hit in my life! His head snapped back and he dropped, as a matter of fact, he literally flew about 3-4 feet before he dropped! He was down and for a while. He had to be helped to his feet and off of the field and sat out the next several plays.

Everyone knew what was coming next. It was on! As Captain and one of the leaders of our team, this insubordination from a freshman could not go unpunished. The fight was coming.

He trotted back onto the field, we didn’t even call a play in the huddle. The coach walks over and says to me:  “hey man, with your wrestling background, you need to get this to the ground, “his reach is twice yours” He was 6′ 4′ whereas I was 5’9″. Okay, I got it. Pick him up, slam him to the ground and wait for the coaches to pull me off. Done.

As soon as we broke the huddle I could see him tightening his gloves and buckling the 4th snap on his helmet. As soon as I got into my stance, he jumped off-sides and shoved me to the ground and followed it up with a few 4 letter adjectives he used to describe me.

Never one to back down from the fight, I willingly got up, I was ready to nail this dude, so I threw my helmet off to get ready, and then it happened.

A minute or two later I was awakened by our trainer giving me that horrible smelling stuff to wake me up. I had a horrible headache and blood was gushing out of my nose and mouth. For a minute, while lying there I had no idea what happened, so I asked the trainer and he said you got head-butted!

What? Head-butted! Really? After a while I was helped up, my nose was stuffed with cotton, and I saw the coach walking over to me. I remember feeling angry that this guy “wussed” out of fighting me like a man.

Coach walks up and he says: “Hey dummy, why did you take off your helmet?” looks at me, the trainer and asked: “is it broken?” the trainer replies:  “nope” and says “get back to practice, no more fighting.”

Amazing. That was it! As soon as he saw me pull off my helmet, he “leaped” into action from what I had been told. To this day, I have no recollection off the headbutt itself. Although, to date I have had two nose surgeries.

20+ years later, I flashed back on that incident and came to realize that I lost my chance of winning that fight the moment I pulled off my helmet and gave my opponent an opening that he could use to attack, which he took full advantage of. That wasn’t on him, it was on me.

We as Christians give our enemy an opening to attack us when we focus on our problems and not on God’s faithfulness, this more times than not will lead to us speaking words not of faith but of Fear. This is all the opening and opportunity the Devil needs to attack and turn your words of fear into a self-fulfilling curses. “I am never going to find a job”, “All of the good men out there are taken”, “This Cancer is spreading, I am not going to make it”. I cannot begin to tell you how much of my coaching time is taken up by business leaders talking about their problems and how they are struggling. Let’s face it when we hit tough times, it is a natural tendency to focus on the problem and the desire to want to share it with others.

The problem with that is, it only compounds our problems, the issue with problems is not the problem itself but the length of time we suffer through that problem- that is what weakens us. Most of us are strong enough to endure for a short time but any longer than that we become stretched and fear begins to set in and we tend to blame God or others for our current situation.

The question becomes: as Christians how do we handle problems and situations that arise from them? How do we keep our faith in the midst of the marital problems, financial stress, addiction and heath scares?

The answer lies within this scripture!

“We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony” (Rev 12:11). We must realize that the battle was won that day on Calvary through the innocent shed blood of our Savior. If we have the victory through the blood, how do we get it to manifest in our situation? First we need to realize that these problems and situations are allowed by God into our lives.

We know that God will never give us more than we can handle otherwise he would be a liar. “There is no temptation, test or trial on your path but such is common to man. God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tested, tempted or tried beyond what you can endure but will with every temptation, test or trial, make a way of escape ” (1 Cor 10:13) These events are allowed to come into our lives because they will draw us closer to God, in order to see victory we have to come to the end of our own strength so we find the beginning of his. We must take our focus off our problems and place that focus or attention on the solution which is Jesus Christ. Easily said and done, right?

Our enemy would love nothing more than to have Christians holed up having a 24/7 pity party and sharing with the entire world all of their problems, why? It’s very simple, if you lose your testimony, you lose your witness!

What I mean, is the single biggest reason you are still alive is because your ministry (the call of God on your life, whatever he has called you to do and be) is not finished, you still have work to do. If you spend your time focusing on your problems, you have nothing left in the tank for other people.

That is important because as a Christian our lives are designed to be used as living and breathing testimonials of living victoriously through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If all we are doing is confessing our “issues” and living from one problem to another. How does God get the glory from that?

Simply put, he doesn’t. What God gets glory in is our faith and how we respond and draw closer to him in the middle of those storms of life. How I personally do that is to thank God for his goodness and to focus on the past answers to prayers that I have received.

How I do that is I go back and read my Answer Book. The Answer Book is something that my family and I have been doing for years. Every time we receive an answer to our prayers, we write the whole situation down in our Answer Book and date it. We do this to celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of God, to instruct our children in prayer and keep a record of our answers to prayer in order to use the next time those tempting storms of life flare up again to help encourage us and strengthen our faith.

I can’t tell you how amazing and life giving it is to go back and read our struggles from 2010 and see how God showed up and answered our prayers, it is literally an adrenaline shot of faith in the arm that brings instant encouragement! Once I read the Answer Book, I just began thanking God for his faithfulness and I always walk away lifted up because I realize that whatever problem or situation is the flavor of this month, God has brought me through worse circumstances than this. I just need to stay in Faith, confess the victory and wait patiently for the lord and go out encouraging and blessing others in his name.

Your answer to prayers will come, I promise. Focus on God and his faithfulness, thank him in advance for your answer, if you do not already have your own Answer Book, start your own, you won’t regret it.

Once you begin to focus on God instead of your problems, your eyes will be opened and you will begin to be sensitive to the needs of others around you and you can get back to the reason you are still here which is To bless and minister to those people around you who need to have the love of Jesus and the Joy of the lord that you experience daily.

This is truly where the Maturation process in our relationship with Jesus is formed, can we in the midst of our own struggles, issues and problems still allow the Holy Spirit to use us to bless other people? The young or immature Christian cannot get beyond their own issues to see the needs of others around them. They shut down, lose their fruit, stop tithing, going to church, reading their Bible and before you know it, they are living in sin and fall further away from the lord. This is one of the biggest reasons why Christianity has fallen on hard times in the world today. Too many Christians focused on themselves and caught up in the things and worries of the world (otherwise known as the Laodicean Church spoken of in the book of Revelation 3:14).

God always shows up for his people! Creating your own Answer Book will ensure you never forget that in the future. It will help you increase your faith and witness in tough times, something all of us can use.

Tomorrow will be a better day. I promise! God is bigger than any problem or situation that you are facing. You don’t have to face it alone.

If you are struggling, just need someone to talk to or prayer, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It takes only 30 seconds to fill out your info on my contact age. I would love to pray for you.

 

The What Commandments?

The What Commandments?

Whether it’s to remember, prioritize, or focus us on what’s important, we humans love to make to-do lists to divide and conquer the elements of life. These lists often separate the must-do checkmarks from the things that are just optional. Your grocery list, for example, usually is a list of the items you must have to successfully run your home and feed yourself. It’s when you stray from your list and add items, or by essence break the list’s rules, that you suffer negative effects. Have you ever thought about where this to-do list concept originated?

The Ultimate To-Do List: The 10 Commandments

The first documented to-do list is by far the most important, universal, timeless, and of dire need to accomplish – The Ten Commandments. These are the rules that God has provided to help us remember, prioritize, and focus our deeds toward spirituality. When we don’t follow them, we suffer negative effects.

Sadly, The Ten Commandments is a must-do, to-do list that often falls by the wayside to worldly lists. In today’s society of political correctness and using social norms as a justification tool, we often try to tell ourselves that these commandments just aren’t applicable today or do not apply to ‘modern sins.’ And, since many sins can now be committed virtually with little more than a few keystrokes, we aren’t even viewing sin as sin sometimes.

Why The Ten Commandments Still Apply Centuries Later?

Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 5:17-18:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” In other words, God’s commandments were applicable then, now, and all the tomorrows to come.”

“Until heaven and earth disappear” it’s as straightforward as possible. God’s laws for us apply today just as they did yesterday and will for all the tomorrows of this earth.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Clearly, straying from your grocery to-do list can lead to a number of tangible and immediate consequences, such as breaking your budget, health losses, and weight gains. The immediate visibility of these consequences usually keep us adherent. But, because the consequences of straying from our spiritual to-do list are not always immediate cause and effects, we often fail to remember its importance as a means to divide and conquer sin.

Use The Ten Commandments To Divide And Conquer Sin

1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

God has asked of you to hold nothing higher and to fully give yourself to Him. Such requires a deep, devotional relationship with God through prayer. It should be one where you seek him above all others in both good and bad times.

If you think about it… God has given you the tool to prioritize your entire life in this first commandment. By putting God first in every thought and deed, everything else falls into an orderly, rightly place.

When we allow naysayers and those with beliefs contrary to Christianity to cause us to doubt God in our hearts, minds, and souls, then we break the first commandment. There are people who believe all sorts gods exist and will try to persuade you to either affirm their beliefs or believe as they do. As a pacifist society, we tend to hide the might of our words in order to be accepted, liked. But, by not using our words and actions to affirm our beliefs, we are not loving God with all our might.

Keep in mind that love is a verb – an action. I can say that I love you, but if I deny your importance to others or have non-loving actions that aren’t congruent with my loving words, then would I really be loving you?

2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4–5).

The second commandment isn’t just about the graven statues of gold and mythology that our ancestors falsely worshiped. Anything that you honor, prize, or prioritize over God is a graven image – your job, home finances, possessions, philosophy, hobbies, peers, and even yourself.

The world is more vain, narcissistic, and self-indulgent than ever. A simple scroll through social media shows that we too frequently idolize ourselves and our possessions to the point that many are willing to alter their bodies, break various other commandments, degrade others, and die before appearing less than “perfect.” But, by recognizing and worshiping the single almighty power of God, we gain perspective that He is the only perfect being and we are but the vast individual grains of sand to the ocean’s body of water.

3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain”

How many shows and movies do you watch where the Lord’s name is used in a profane way? It’s a happening that society is almost desensitized from even recognizing. By supporting it on air and standing silent in person, we are complicit in the language. Be an example that His name is only to be used in reverence and respect.

Profanity is not the only way the Lord’s name can be taken in vain, or misused. After baptism, you’ve taken upon yourself His name. You’ve professed to be a Christian and to strive to do nothing that would dishonor God. If this vow isn’t upheld, if our following deeds do not match our baptismal profession, then we have taken upon ourselves his name in vain. If we use God to justify our misdeeds, then we’ve taken his name in vain.

4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Exodus 20:8–10).

Of the seven days, God has only demanded one be used for worship and rest. It’s the clarity opportunity we need to depart from all worldly pursuits to focus on our pursuit of spirituality.

We live in an age of 24/7 connectivity through smart devices, computers, and abundant and quick transportation. It enables us to stay focused on our jobs and social lives at all times. Look around your congregation at how many have their minds and eyes on a phone between the pages of the hymnal instead of on their church service. How many then leave their service to shop, play, surf social media, or work instead of connect with God through rest, prayer, and study.

Research actually shows that seven-day workweeks are associated with mental and physical health issues. A non-religious publication in Scientific America looked at innumerable studies about the brain’s need for downtime and found that periods of rest from worldly demands of life are mandatory for attention, motivation, productivity, introspection, creativity, memory, identify affirmation, and creating an internal code of ethics. But, science is only telling us what the fourth commandment has long ago directed us to do – take a day of rest.

5. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

While the first four commandments are to-do lists on how to love and honor God, the fifth commandment begins to guide us on how to love and honor others, including our Heavenly Father.

The internet and the need for many parents to both work or work multiple jobs, means that children are left to their own devices, literally, a lot. It makes it’s easier than ever for children to disobey and disrespect their parent’s instructions. A child can make a few taps on a smartphone or computer and be in a virtual world of sin and danger. Parental guidance and children respecting it has never been more important.

In Matthew 15:3-6, we are instructed to carry on this honor of our parents, meaning that it’s our responsibility to care for them as they did us in old age. How often do we see parents abandoned in old age as we are off living our own lives for ourselves? On the other hand, how often do we see children disrespect their parent’s end of life wishes, for such as life support?

Obedience to parents in of itself is a childhood life lesson that will follow throughout adulthood. Respect for and obedience to authority is necessary for a functioning society throughout every phase of every lifecycle. Submission to authority will be necessary for success in everything from school and church to employment, relationships, and parenthood. It’s a necessary learning curve to develop personal safety limits, social boundaries, and healthy concepts of family culture, and it all begins with following parental authority during childhood.

However, where much has been given, much is asked. Parents are likewise instructed to use this authority for good in Ephesians 6:4: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord”

6. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).

Clearly, God values all the lives he has created. With the exception of defense and dire circumstances, the Bible repeatedly instructs us not to take life. Killing not only takes from God. It also takes from your fellowman, whether that be directly his life or the effects his absence has on those around him, such as a fatherless child being orphaned. With that life, you take all the support and good it could’ve accomplished.

Yet, we live in a society where human life is valued less and less by the day. We see violence and fail to respond; sometimes we even become cheering spectators. We let our own angers fester and become of greater importance than God or life. We justify indirect killing, such as abortions, by scientific timestamps verses the word of God himself. We overwork and undervalue employees, slowly killing their health and wellbeing.

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Hate is the great predecessor to murder.

In James 3:5-8, we are also shown that our tongues can be deadly poisons. Bullying is a perfect example. How many children take their own lives because of the defamation they suffer from their peers?

And, in Matthew 5:43-45, we are told the alternative path to killing; we are to pray for those who persecute and use us and allow God to be their judge.

7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery”(Exodus 20:14).

Faithfulness was one of the first instructions given to the first couple on earth. Adultry is mentioned over 50 times in the Bible, and with good reason. Commitment is essential to a healthy, strong, spiritual marital relationship, but it’s also essential to the entire family unit. Children from broken homes are statistically more apt to be high school drop outs, resort to criminal behaviors, become sexually promiscuous, and engage in substance and alcohol abuse. Infidelity has a widespread collateral effect.

Many with modernistic codes of marital conduct only view adultery in terms of sexual intercourse, meaning that having a sexual conversation with a stranger online is harmless. But, this isn’t what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-28:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Long, close-contact work hours often blur the lines between a friendly, professional relationship and one that’s lustful for emotional, physical, or mental support that’s a spouses only to give. Lustful thoughts lead to lustful actions.

Likewise, the internet is full of married dating sites, polyamory sites, pornographic sites, and such that are not only spiritually degrading, but are destructive to marriages.

8. “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15).

This commandment goes beyond the taking of physical property. Anything you gain dishonestly is stealing, whether that be intellectual property a friend shares with you or your employer’s time by not clocking out properly. And, again, the digital age makes it ever so easy to take from others from behind the anonymity of a screen – from plagiarizing online content to hacking a credit card company. The action is still the same. You’re taking what isn’t rightfully yours and harming your fellowman.

9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16).

The essence of this to-do checkmark is not to lie and to do no harm. From Big Foot ate my homework and rumors and gossip to wrongfully suing someone, the commonplace of lying in society would put Pinocchio’s nose on its trillionth trip to the moon by now.

Lies, rumors, gossip, defamation, slander… they all do great harm to others and have significant secondhand repercussions. A simple rumor being spread, for example, can destroy a marriage or lose a job. And, the victim, may turn away from the liar’s environment, even if that’s a church one, which would mean that this little rumor just deterred someone’s spirituality.

In today’s world of social media, rumors, lies, and such can spread at the speed of lightening. Once shared and shared some more, these bits of information become permanent record for all to see and assumed to be fact.

10. “Thou shalt not covet . . . anything that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:17).

This doesn’t mean that you can’t save and work hard because you like your neighbor’s camper. Simply put, you just shouldn’t make worldly items your priority. If your focus is on your spirituality, you will not covet what your neighbor has in worldly possessions because we all have the exact same spiritual possessions – flesh, bones, and soul to love our Heavenly Father.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for [God] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

We are promised that God will always provide what we need and will never forsake us. That’s a huge promise that should provide peace and comfort and soothe jealousy, contempt, pride, and covetous feelings.

In closing, when we neglect to check off just one of these to-do commandments away from sin, we often resort to negating them all as unimportant, not applicable. For example, when we covet what others have, it creates a toxic mindset that may lead us to resort to stealing to get an item, adultery to gain a lover, idolizing secular viewpoints to make employment gains, and so forth and so on. Each of God’s 10 commandments are not only applicable in today’s world, no, they’re absolutely more imperative than ever to follow.

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Gossip- A Game That Nobody Wins

Gossip- A Game That Nobody Wins

Slandering, talebearing, rumors, and gossiping are all warned against in the Bible frequently and with fervor. Yet, it’s perhaps one of the most common misdeeds we do daily as we repeat what isn’t ours to repeat.

What’s Comsidered Being Gossipy?

Many try to justify telling other’s business as ‘information sharing’ by saying they only shared a truthful piece of information. However, gossipy information isn’t just false information. Gossipy information is talk without direct knowledge AND express permission by the subject of conversation for you to be talking to others about their business. It can be done with malicious intent, or slanderous, as in knowingly or purposefully talking about something harmful or untrue about a person with the intent to harm. It can also be idle talk, as in casually sharing information that’s simply not yours to share. Whether malicious or not, the result of partaking in gossipy behavior is the same – harming your fellow man, and that goes against everything Christians are taught.

It’s actually rather ironic how the term derived. In Old English, godsibb, now called godparent, was used to describe a spiritual sponsor. Middle English came to use gossib as a close friend. Now, we have gossips, which are far from being a Christian spiritual sponsor or friend.

The Responsibilities And Effects Of Rumors For Adults

Leviticus 19:16 says, “You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.”

We’ve been commanded not spread gossipy tales about our neighbors for good reason. It brings strife and discord to the subjects of it, and it’s often not just the subject of the rumor that’s affected. This can be a spiritual, professional, mental, physical, emotional, marital, and/or parental, strife that negatively impacts multiple facets of a person’s life and those around them.

Think on this situation. Mary spreads a rumor within her church congregation that Sussie appears to be overly friendly with another church member. These simple words can adversely affect Sussie’s reputation in the community, the health of her marriage, her children’s relationship with her, her mental and emotional wellbeing, and her spirituality.

Perhaps, Sussie’s behavior is purely innocent and the implications create strife where it doesn’t even exist. Perhaps, Sussie does have deeds she needs to communicate with God and her spiritual advisors about. But, even in the later case, have you helped her regain her spiritual path by telling or retelling the information? No. Think for a moment about the long-term implications that such a rumor could spawn. Sussie could take her children and leave church, thereby missing out on the spiritual guidance she and her children both need.

Proverbs 26:20-22 “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.”

It’s important to remember that youth watch adults for how to model their own behaviors and as a guide for what’s acceptable. Titus 2:2-3 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.”

The Effects Of Youth-On-Youth Rumors

Young people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rumors. Their still-developing minds, limited life experiences, and insurgent supply of hormones often leave them without the tools to constructively handle and overcome their secrets being exposed or negative innuendos being created. And, in today’s highly technological world, it’s easier than ever for such information to be created indirectly or anonymously and spread vastly and rapidly across cyberspace. For a teen, the secret of fabricated info being spread can easily seem insurmountable.

Teens often develop low-self esteem after being the target of rumors and bullying, which is one of the leading factors in promiscuous behavior, developing an eating disorder, and suffering depression.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds, claiming thousands of lives yearly. Studies have shown that most teens usually don’t spend countless hours planning their own demise. Instead, suicide is often a rapid fire decision following an event like bullying that produces overwhelming feelings of abject failure, shame, or loss.

It should be noted that these behaviors amongst youth often stem from the child spreading the info having their own self-esteem issues from wanting to be accepted, noticed, heard, powerful, avenged, or entertained. They turn to power of rumors often because they’re angry with peers and lack better outlets, such as a strong community church group, to provide constructive guidance.

Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

From bullying to being bullied, it’s a cycle of hurt that can only be stopped by teaching children that words have power and must be carefully wielded to prevent spiritual, physical, and psychological harm to themselves and others.

The Bible Gives Answers To Combat Rumors And Innuendo

We were forewarned of it’s abundance and given a solution to the evils of the last days, including people spreading our secrets and falsehoods.

• Avoid Them.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

• Turn To Your Faith.

Proverbs 11:9 “With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.”

By knowing the most important love of all exists within that of our Heavenly Father, you can rely upon your faith to see you through any difficult time. You may also seek your own heart for areas you need to improve to ensure you’re uplifting your neighbor, not harming him, with your own words.

• Lead By Example.

James 1:26 “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Exodus 23:1 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.”

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Many such passages can be found in the Bible where we are instructed to not only not be the founder of rumor but to also not to be complicit in its continued circulation.

Romans 1:29-32 “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters…Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

We must choose our own language carefully as words of encouragement against rumors we hear. “Benefit those who listen” … this includes the listening ear of the person telling what isn’t their place to tell. A great approach that helps both the victim and perpetrators is to cease these topics immediately and encourage a more Christian path of conversation.

• Confront Your Aggressors.

Anger is often the root of malicious slandering of another person. This is why we are taught to never let words leave our mouth with angry hearts and minds. Instead, humans need time to process, ponder, and pray for greater perspective. Once cooled off and judgment is sounder, most find that conflict resolution is the ultimate solution to anger.

In Matthew 18:15 we are taught to go directly to anyone who sins against us. It should be a private conversation between themselves. If the sinner doesn’t listen, we are instructed to approach him again with mediators. And, if that doesn’t work, we are to bring it to our spiritual advisors in church. One of the best ways to avoid harm with words and find reconciliation for what’s already been said is to be upfront with our grievances and earnest in our effort to resolve them.

In closing, using your words to harm never has a justification or winner. It’s never positive or helpful. The teachings of Christ strictly prohibit being the author and seller of rumor and secrets. It tarnishes reputations, airs secrets that aren’t ours to air, creates division and conflict, ruins relationships, and brings terrible pain. The result is anger and isolation that often pushes victims away from even the encouraging voices seeking to lift them up and help them succeed in their spiritual path.

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Reaching the Millennial Generation for Jesus

Reaching the Millennial Generation for Jesus

People age 18-34 comprise Generation Y, born between 1981 and 1996. The name “millennials” refers to the first high school grads among them in 2000, a millennium year.

SPIRITUAL TRAITS

study by Pew Research Center found that only 27 percent of millennials attend church weekly. While these young people don’t consider themselves religious, they are spiritual. On a weekly basis, 51 percent report feeling profound peace, and 76 percent are deeply grateful. Roughly half contemplate the purpose of life, and two-thirds believe in heaven.

With such evidence of spirituality, why aren’t millennials coming to church?

DISHEARTENED SOULS

Barna Group survey provides insight. When asked questions about faith, 59 percent of millennials who were churchgoers as kids said they’d since stopped. Only 20 percent stated that church was important to them, continuing to attend as adults. Those who rejected church gave three reasons:

  • hypocrisy among Christians
  • immorality of religious leaders
  • irrelevance of religion to real life

In April 2017, Fox News expanded on why church has lost favor among millennials. Most see Christians as judgmental, especially toward gays. Conversely, millennials have liberal views. Sadly, this generation comes from fragmented families, torn apart by divorce. Without fathers as role models, they can’t conceive of God as a heavenly father.

In school, kids were taught that man evolved from apes, refuting God as Creator. Additionally, this age group shies away from tradition.

MILLENNIAL MINDSET

As followers of Christ, we want to share the blessings He brings to our lives. To reach this generation, we must understand their values, beliefs, and needs. Here are distinguishing characteristics of most millennials:

  • sociable, craving community and collaboration
  • adaptable, embracing change
  • honest, desiring frank communication
  • appreciative, needing recognition of their talents and skills
  • altruistic, driven to support social causes
  • digitally savvy, expert in technology

CHANGING CHURCH

We need millennials in our pews, pulpits, and social outreaches! Our churches can use an infusion of their attributes – flexibility, zeal, transparency, ingenuity, open-mindedness, capability, and social conscience.

To draw this generation to church, we must satisfy their spiritual thirst. Millennials seek practical application of faith, religion grounded in reality. Jesus, as both God and man, fully understood this need. As you’ve experienced, His teachings are the keys to successful living. Infused with power, they mold us into noble human beings. He has the secret to happiness – loving God and neighbor.

To make our churches millennial-friendly, here are ministry areas on which to focus.

1. ONLINE PRESENCE

Website – Since millennials spend much of their time online, design a modern church website. Narrate a brief history of your church, highlighting what makes it unique. Post your bulletin, documenting parish news, special events, church services, and ministries. Feature plenty of photos, showing active, enthusiastic parishioners! To track new visitors to your site, create an “I’m New Here” page, inviting responders to leave their contact information.

Blog – Discuss local and global issues from a spiritual viewpoint. Spotlight topics that directly affect Generation Y,such as college debt and unemployment. Encourage young adults to email their opinions, and use them to spark ongoing blog conversation.

Social Media – On Facebook, you can announce church events, launch prayer chains, introduce new worship songs, and share inspiring articles and quotes. Here are details on logistics.

Suggestion Forum – On your website and bulletin, provide an email address by which youth can specify how they’d like to worship and serve. Include a note stating that all suggestions will be considered. Then, discuss the proposals at regular meetings of your church council or administrative board. Those that pass a vote can be forwarded to your Board of Trustees, to actualize ideas involving finances, church property, and legalities.

2. REALISM

Millennials want proof that a relationship with Jesus enriches life. They seek personal and practical examples. Pastors can take this approach in sermons, giving their testimonies. A powerful form of evangelism is witnessing, telling others what Christ has done for you. Likewise, during Bible studies, urge people to share how the Holy Spirit guides and teaches them.

Ensure a variety of social groups, by which parishioners can talk about their faith experiences with young adults. Consider holding breakfast meetings and communal suppers. Or you might offer seminars, citing how Christ’s teachings apply to marriage, raising children, working, finances, and family life.

3. FAMILY MINISTRY

Worship – During services, give young people leading roles, such as greeters, ushers, acolytes, readers, cantors, and choir members.

Bulletin – Teach faith to kids through your church bulletin. On pages in the back section, print activities that portray the Sunday scripture readings. For example, for older kids, you can design a Word Search and Crossword Puzzle. Young ones can color, trace letters, find hidden objects in pictures, navigate a maze, and match images. Children too young to participate in worship can still benefit from it while quietly engaged with the bulletin.

Programming – Consider having “Social Sundays.” Designate one Sunday per month when families meet after services for games, fellowship, and refreshments. For parents with tykes, offer a weekly “God Time” program, during which they collaborate on crafts, hear Bible stories, and sing simple hymns.

Target teens with monthly retreats, each with a specific theme. Vary the time frame, from a few hours to overnight. If your church doesn’t have adequate facilities, contact a local school, and discuss using the building and grounds.

Parent Newsletter – Address parental concerns with informative articles, such as how church involvement empowers teens to reject drugs and alcohol. Include a church calendar, highlighting events designed for families and kids.

4. WORSHIP FORMAT

To reach teens, you may need to modernize church services. Some communities with substantial funds are either upgrading buildings or investing in new ones. Such churches have a contemporary design, with new sound systems, lighting, and technology. However, if your budget can’t handle major changes, small tweaks can make a huge difference.

You might institute a separate Sunday rock service, featuring a band and contemporary hymns(I am not a fan of Christian Rock and am very opinionated about it) I am all for anything that gets these kids into a good solid Bible and Jesus preaching church. Talented kids can play electric guitars, percussive drums, and electronic keyboards. Another option is folk music, with acoustic guitars, piano, flute, and violin. These worship styles may be governed by your denomination’s administration and music director.

Some churches are shortening services. On average, young people have a 10-minute attention span. Pastors popular with millennials usually preach brief sermons, illustrating messages with stories, practical examples, and personal experiences. Since millennials are visual learners, ministers do well with using props. Another successful format is Question and Answer Sessions with the pastor.

Begin with minor modifications, and assess the response. Don’t be afraid to test-drive a new setup. Worship can take various forms, provided they’re respectful.

5. SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

Millennials want positions of responsibility by which to channel their skills. Let them lead outreach efforts in your community, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, clothing drives, garage sales, recycling drives, health fairs, and blood drives. Perhaps young adults can give free rides to senior parishioners for doctor appointments and shopping.

Allow millennials to organize and supervise fun projects, such as:

  • free meals to honor firefighters, police, or EMTs
  • planting flowers on the church grounds
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Game Day
  • delivering toys to the Children’s Ward of a local hospital
  • visits to nursing home residents

Allow young people to manage church fundraisers, such as car washes, bake sales, craft fairs, and potluck suppers.

A very effective form of evangelism is social outreach. People meet Jesus in Christians who regard them compassionately and want to meet their needs. Use outreach activities to subtly preach the Gospel. Design a leaflet, introducing what Christ offers, and have copies available at your service activities.

6. MENTORING

For the most part, millennial kids from broken families want to connect with mature adults. Ensure this opportunity with a church youth group and weekly Bible study.

Another avenue for mentoring is scouting. Programs emphasize outdoor adventure, life skills, and community service. Scouting cultivates virtues like courage, integrity, and reliability. By earning badges, young millennials receive recognition. Moreover, scouting programs have religious roots, acknowledging God and the duty to serve Him.

Adults benefit from “reverse mentoring,” becoming more fluent in digital technology. Reciprocal sharing fosters supportive relationships.

Barna Group advises that young millennials are most inclined to be active in church when they have friendships with Christian adults. By bonding with a young millennial, you’re contributing to the growth of your church.

WARM HOMECOMING

Let’s commit to inviting millennials to church! Maintain a Web presence, and use social media. Expand your family ministry. Upgrade your worship format, and share how the Holy Spirit helps you. Provide service opportunities with leadership roles. Mentor a millennial in your community.

Above all, embody warm Christian virtues – compassion, patience, humility, and honesty. When a young person sees kindness in your eyes, they’ll want to know why you care. Loving service is the best Christian witness!

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