Archive for October, 2011

Drag It Into The Light

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“Sin thrives in the dungeon, but slap it on the table for all to see, and it withers rather quickly.” – Ted DekKer

I think we must remember that change does not occur in isolation. As long as our sins remain in secret, we will have limited (if any) success overcoming them. Our secrets keep us sick. When I hear someone lean in and say, “I have never told anyone this before……but……_______(fill in the blank)” I get extremely excited. I know this person is moving along in the change process. If we continue to keep our sins secret, we will remain stuck in our current rut.We must confess. Drag our sins in the light. Watch it wither.

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

Facebook Friday – Have Your Private Parts Become Public Parts?

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How recognizable is this picture? The “ever so casual, hold my camera from above, and lean over a bit,  exposing my cleavage, but not focusing exclusively on said cleavage, so people will find me attractive, but not overly trashy” shot. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a picture like this on Facebook I could afford to have my own Island built somewhere in the South Pacific and stocked with a never ending supply of pastries (bear claw anyone?) and Diet Coke.

We get it. You have breasticas. Just like the other 3.5 billion women in the world. Just because you have them does not mean everyone wants to see them. I wish we could all understand the chasm that divides love and lust is vast. Ladies, you do not have to show skin to get attention. Guys, our lustful lust is crippling our ability to truly love and have a true connectedness with women. I work with so many men all the time having to untangle problems in their relationships because they never figured out how to love. They only learned how to lust. Lust promises something big and under-delivers in a colossal way.

I wish I could say it is only adolescents (with their crazy out of control hormones) that post pictures that devalue themselves. I wish it was only the teenage guys that have a lust problem. Truth is, this post applies to people of all ages. But surely Christians don’t struggle in this area? I wish that were the case. Brothers and sisters, lets get this whole love/lust thing figured out because it is killing our capacity to truly loved and be loved.

Speaking as a guy and a counselor, I know so many men that desperately struggle to keep their hearts pure. I can’t count the guys I have talked to who deleted their Facebook account because women (yes even Christian women) were posting pictures of themselves that made it easier to lust. Sure, when a man lusts it is his choice and his problem. I get that. But please don’t make it easier. My wife knows not to bring cheesecake home if I am trying to watch what I eat. It is my choice if I eat it, but that would be setting me up for failure.

Guys, what if we gave women the respect they deserve? What if we related to them as sisters. What if we worked to keep our eyes straight, our minds clear, and our hearts pure. What if we served women instead of serving ourselves?

I realize women lust too (as a matter of fact 17% of women struggle with a pornography addiction) but again, I am speaking as a guy. So ladies, please keep your private parts just that, private. Guys, don’t let your eyes linger. Maybe if we fixed this love/lust problem our lives would be different. Our relationships stronger. Our walk with God closer. Our ability to truly love intact.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. – Ephesians 5:3

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

Disclaimer: I felt dirty posting this picture.

Hell? Yes!

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Surely, a loving God would not send a person to hell, would He? The answer to this question is a resounding no. On the converse, a loving God would not send a person to heaven, either. Then where would a loving God send someone? The truth is, God gives us all a choice. We get to pick our own eternal destination.

When God created mankind, He had two options. He could force everyone to embrace Him as God. He could have essentially made us automaton (I try to work that word into conversation every chance I get) robots with no choice but to love Him. This really isn’t love at all. Love comes from a choice. God’s other option was to enable us with the ability to choose to accept or reject Him, which He did.

God has clearly communicated that He is perfect. His standard is perfection. All of mankind has fallen dreadfully short of God’s standard. Count the times we do wrong in a day. Think about the thoughts we have in a day. I would be embarrassed if someone camped out in my mind for a day. We are fallen and in need of redemption. God knew we would be in this predicament so He sent Christ to die in our place. All we have to do is accept the fact that we are fallen, believe what Christ did for us, ask to be forgiven, trust and accept Him. Done. Do this and you have chosen Heaven.

When you get down to it, some people don’t want anything to do with Christ. To this, God says okay. It is not what He wants for anyone, but He loves us enough to let us choose. For God to send a person to Heaven to dwell with Him, when that person wants nothing to do with God, would be hell for that individual. God will not go against our will. He will not force a person who rejects Him into heaven to be with Him anymore than He will force a person who accepts Him into Hell.

So, will a loving God send a person to hell? Absolutely not, we choose where we want to spend eternity.

“There are only two kids of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self choice there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Thanks for tuning in to Apologetic Wednesday.

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

Quotable Quotes

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“I am the master of my unspoken words, and the slave of those
that should have remained unsaid. -James McDonald

Words are like an arrow on the string of a bow. Pull them back, let them go, and they can never be taken back. Our words become cruel task masters when they should not be said. We must live in the wake of consequences from the negative words we speak. Let’s strive to be the master of our unspoken words. Our lives will be all the better for it.

Facebook Friday – Addicted to Love

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Well, it is our very first “Facebook Friday.” This  picture was inspired by all the tweens (and the not so tweens) who find it necessary to confess their undying love to the world for the person they met three days ago.

“Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.” That seems to be the mantra our society chants. I mean, after all, “All you need is love” (bum bum bumpadum). Is the love that we are addicted to really love? We use the word for everything from, “I love to eat bearclaws from the donuts palace” (these are the nectar of the gods) to “I love my friends, to “I want to hop in the sack with you” (and I am not talking about a two person sack race). Love has become one word with a multiplicity of meanings.

The ancient Greeks (with all their brilliant philosophizing philosophers) were smart enough to know one word for love would not do, so they broke it down into four separate kinds of love: affection, friendship, romance, and unconditional love. Each of these types of love have their place to be used individually, but for a love relationship (I want to date you, marry you, spend my life with you love) all four must be present.

Think of love like a chair. Obviously chairs have four legs (I see where he is going with this). If one leg is missing you have a wobbly chair. If two legs are missing the chair does not stand. What we see in society are people trying to have relationships that won’t support themselves. They are trying to sit in a chair with one or maybe two legs. That just won’t work.

Mainly, we focus on the romantic form of love or more specifically the “I want to sleep with you” form of love. Then we wonder why the chair is broken and we get hurt. Can I be the voice of reason? We are trying to sit in a chair with one leg. That never works.

For lasting dating (remember, you marry who you date) or marital relationships, all four types of love must be present. All four legs must be there or it will be dysfunctional. Romance and affection are nice, but it eventually hits a cold season. If the unconditional love or commitment isn’t there you will find yourself jumping from one relationship to another whenever it gets difficult. If the relationship is all friendship, it gets dull without the romance or passion. If all that is there is the commitment, you will find that you have a nice (probably expensive) roommate.

Are you married? Work on cultivating all four types of love. Are you dating? Well stop trying to sit in chairs with one or two legs. I promise, it won’t work. Get four on the floor. That is how relationships are meant to be.

Might as well face it…we’re addicted to love. Let’s make sure it’s the right kind of love.

Hope you enjoyed the first Facebook Friday. There are plenty more to come. We are now accepting Facebook Friday photo ideas.

Should I Apologize?

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Often, I am asked the question of what apologetics is, or  why it is named just that. I thought this would be a great place to jump in for the first “Apologetic Wednesday”, where each Wednesday, you can expect a post about apologetics.

Apologetics has nothing to do with apologizing. The word comes from the Greek word Apologia, which means defense. So, apolgetics is about defending what one believes as a Christian. It is not about being defensive, rather it is about making a good argument for what one believes. It is laying out the evidence to support the belief, much like we see in a court of law.  It is simply giving valid reasons for what one believes to be true.

So often, people claim certain beliefs, but lack the ability to explain or defend those beliefs. I Peter 3:15 states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” We are commanded to know what we believe and why. We will never have all the answers, I don’t even believe that is possible. Not being able to know it all is no excuse for not trying to know as much as we can.

When someone asks us why we hold certain beliefs, to not have an informed answer leaves us looking naive and intellectually shallow. Now, more than ever, Christians need to be able to lay out the evidence for the beliefs that they hold. I strongly believe that now is a very exciting time to be a follower of Christ. There is a wealth of knowledge that supports the claims of Christ and the Bible.

How can we share what we don’t know? How can we expect others to be intellectually honest in considering our worldview if we cannot articulate that worldview? We must be prepared to give an answer for what we believe.

Question:
Are there any questions about the Bible/God/Christianity you would love to see answered? What is it?

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

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