Leaderology By Jeff Rawlins Launching soon.

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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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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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