Sex

Is Porn the Norm?Premium Content

Several years ago, Faith Popcorn, America's foremost trend expert, hailed by the New York Times as the "trend oracle" and as the "Nostradamus of marketing" by Fortune magazine, declared, "Porn is norm." She was not endorsing pornography, but predicting that media technology would push the limits of what is acceptable and would facilitate a culture of instant gratification; thus porn would be the norm. True to her prediction, pornography has moved out of the back allies of the urban scene and onto the main streets of America.

While most Internet businesses were going bankrupt, the porn industry was raking in huge profits, making it perhaps the most profitable business on the Internet. In the past, one had to travel to sleazy backstreets to find porn; now, it's only a click away on the computer and on the remote control of the cable/satellite TV. Easy, private and nobody knows?except God. At home or in the hotel, porn is private, available and acceptable. Some estimate that as much as 70% of in-room hotel profits come from porn and that over 50% of hotel patrons participate. As people consume it in private, porn becomes the norm and goes public.

Whether it's the infamous Super Bowl incident or the recent Paris Hilton hamburger commercial, porn is seducing its way into the mainstream. The church needs to be on guard against this tsunami of trash. As it inundates our culture, it is also seeping into our churches. Shepherds must be vigilant and use the rod and staff to defeat this enemy and guard Christ's sheep.

A Reality in the Church

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Breaking the Silence on the "M" WordPremium Content

by David Kyle Foster
After ten years of celibacy, Jim (not his real name) had concluded that masturbation was his consolation prize - door number three in a world where the big deal of the day was behind door number one. "It was God's provision for single people and for those in sexually unfulfilling marriages," he surmised, concluding that it would be unfair for God to have made things any other way. "Even more," he thought, "it was necessary to maintain healthy physiology. After all, the Bible was silent on the issue wasn't it?"

For some reason, the Church has never found it easy to talk about sex. I'll never forget the time I was talking to some colleagues at a large gathering of religious broadcasters and was asked what I was working on. "I've been writing a chapter on masturbation for my new book," I replied. You'd of thought I had exploded a stink bomb. The man who asked the question visibly blanched and stumbled backward, exclaiming, "Well, why don't you just say the word!" He then furtively looked around to see if anyone had overheard the "M" word being said in conversation with him.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

We resist getting help

In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

Fear

It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

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UncondemnedPremium Content

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1


My immediate reaction when I read this verse is, Hallelujah!!! If there's any reason for the children of God to praise the Lord - and there are many reasons piled on top of each other - this must be it. If we were to list our blessings, as the old hymn exhorts us to do, surely the first in line would be the fact that if we're in Christ Jesus, we are uncondemned.

Only those who understand our state outside of Christ can truly grasp what that simple phrase - no condemnation - means. Anyone who lacks a clear vision of human depravity simply doesn't have the background to understand the fundamental importance of this verse. We must first understand, in the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, that:

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Run, Don't Walk to Your Forgiving Father

You know, we don't really believe that the Bible is true. We say we do, but often we ignore things in it. We say, "Well, there must be another way" or "In this case, it won't happen like this." But the fact is, the Bible is unequivocally true. Everything it says will happen the way it says it. Period.

When wickedness comes, contempt comes also;
and with dishonor comes disgrace.
Proverbs 18:3 NRSV

With wickedness comes contempt and with dishonor comes disgrace. In other words, we can't hide our sin.

Be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 NRSV

King David was absolute ruler over all his kingdom. Not only that, but he could have any number of wives and be well within his rights... as long as the women he chose were available to marry him. In other words, he could have any woman except one who was already married. And, of course, human nature being what it is, he wanted a woman who was already married. We all know the story. He had an affair with her and she got pregnant. So, David arranged for her soldier husband to come home, hoping that the husband would have sex with his wife and never know that the baby she bore wasn't his. Unfortunately for David, the husband was a more honorable man than his king and refused to enjoy his "vacation" while his men were still fighting and dying on the front lines. So David, in a frenzy not to have his sin found out, sent Uriah to the front lines to be killed in battle. And so he was.

How does someone win victory over any addiction?

How does someone win victory over any addiction?

The first thing to make sure is your Salvation, which can come only through complete belief on and trust in Christ, and His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary.

When you do this, Christ comes in to dwell in your life. He alone can filled that God-shaped void that was there before you were Born again--accepted Jesus, and Him alone, for Redemption from sin.

Rights and Wrongs: The Moral Absolutes of The Christian Premium Content

We have what is well known as The Seven Deadly Sins
Pride -opposite of humility
Covetousness – opposite of liberality
Lust – opposite of chastity
Anger – opposite of meekness
Gluttony - oppositie temperance
Envy – opposite of brotherly love
Sloth – opposite of diligence

Pride we have discussed as being snobby, above others such as the so-called prayer the Pharisee prayed beside the sinner/tax collector.

Covetousness has been discussed within the 10 Commandments. Be happy with what you have and be happy for what others have. There is no room for jealousy in God's home.

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Our "Pet" Sins: Can a Christian be a Christian and still sin?Premium Content

Romans 6:15-18 NRSV
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Can a Christian be a Christian and still sin? I think that all of us know that is true. Unfortunately, our churches have been teaching (for many years) that it's possible for a Christian to be a Christian and still embrace sin. And that's not true.

We would like it to be true. All of us have "pet" sins that we do embrace, attitudes, expectations, desires, lusts that make us feel good, that help dull the pain in our lives. And, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, we don't want to give those up. It's that simple.

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Counseling Concerns For WomenPremium Content

  1. A special strategy for people with drug and alcohol problems is essential
    Addicts have special needs that the "garden variety" sinner does not have. They can be identified by using a standard alcohol screening test during the intake process. Then we can help them to get into an active program of recovery using such activities as support groups, addiction therapy, educational activities, etc. Use community resources if the shelter's staff does not have expertise in this area. Addiction is a primary issue, so all other help giving will amount to nothing if the person cannot stay sober.

  2. The Issue of Toxic Shame
    By definition, "toxic shame" is an inner sense of being defective, faulty, unlovable, undeserving, unredeemable and hopeless. It is root problem for addicts, codependents and people from dysfunctional families. Most adults in family shelters fall into at least one of these categories. Toxic shame is the "glue" that holds the wall of denial together and prevents hurting people from accepting the help we offer them. They think - "If I admit I have problems, it proves that I am a worthless, useless human being." Addiction leads to a total deterioration of a person's moral life leading to a destructive mix of toxic shame and guilt. The Bible tells us that admitting our problems is not an admission of hopelessness or defectiveness. Instead, it is the key to forgiveness, freedom from our pasts and a new self-image.

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Making Choices

Romans 6:16-18 NRSV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

The Lord has been talking to me a lot lately about how I make decisions. There has been instilled within me a strong Puritan work ethic: God only helps those who help themselves. And while I do believe that Christians are commanded to work and to work hard (and often), I think that my own worldview has been corrupted with the idea of American self-determination.

Romans is an interesting book. Of all the books, this is the one that is the least personal. All of Paul's other epistles are letters written to churches with whom he had personal relationships, but the letter to the church at Rome was written to people he had never met. Thus, Paul takes the time to outline the doctrines of Christianity. In essence, this--even more than the other epistles--is a book of the Bible written to us for this time, a church which Paul never meets and a church which desperately needs the anchor of correct Christian thought and practice.

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