How To Experience Sabbath Rest In A Restless World

On the seventh day God rested from all His work.

Why did He do this?
Did God need to rest?
Was He tired, exhausted or burned out?

The Sabbath is something designed for every human being. Here are the R & R & R & R’s of the Sabbath!

1. Rest

God calls us to “abound” in work that is true. (Ephesians 2:10)
But God also calls us to “abide” in Him. (John 15)

If you just “abound, abound, abound” and do not take time to “abide” you will fizzle and fade.

Sabbaths don’t just happen in our culture today. You must prepare in advance for Sabbath rest.  A day of rest requires work!

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a
Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work.

~ Exodus 20:9-10

My Sabbath day off is only a day of rest if I have disciplined myself during the week to prepare for it!

2. Recreation

Todd, are you saying that I can actually get out and “do” things on the Sabbath? Yes, I believe you can. What qualifies as recreation on the Sabbath?

Authentic recreation should “re-create” you!

What re-creates you? Possibly …

  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Reading a book
  • Watching a movie with your family
  • BBQ with friends
  • Boating
  • Mowing the yard
  • Cleaning the pool
  • Washing the car

It could be any number of activities. But the key is that it “re-creates” you and adds energy to your day and honors Gods presence in your life.

3. Remember

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. ~ Ex. 20:8

The Sabbath day is certainly designed to be a important discipline that is woven into the fabric of our lives. But don’t wait for the Sabbath “day” to arrive to practice the principles of the Sabbath. You may actually experience Sabbath moments each day.

When I get home on a typical evening, before I go into the house I just sit in the car for a little bit. I reflect and speak to God about …

  • My position at my church
  • My home
  • My incredible wife
  • My friendships
  • That I get to be a dad

My mini-Sabbath time of reflection in my car sets me up to
succeed when I walk into our house.

You can do that, too. When your day is coming to a close, you can do the same thing God did in the first chapter of Genesis … reflect and remember the goodness of the day!

“Re-member” is to literally put back together broken pieces of time, events, conversations that happened during the day.

To “RE” member things means that life has been
“DIS” membered and you “RE” member it!

What I have discovered is that I live so much of my life at such a warp speed that it often becomes very difficult for me to make sense of things in “real time.” It is only by going back and “re” membering that a whole and meaningful picture can be created out the fragments of time.

SO … I sit around a lot on my “Sabbath Day,” and I think back. I “re” construct and “re” member things.

There is a great ancient liturgy called a “Prayer of Examen.” And it asks the questions …

  • When did I feel most alive / refreshed in the past week?
  • When did I feel most dead / depleted in the past week?

This prayer has been valuable to me as I RE-member my day.

4. Recalibrate

I have no problem admitting to you today that though I have been a Christian for over 20 years, I still tend to wander. I am amazed at how easily I can lose my Christian calibration.

When we spend time together on the Sabbath with God’s people and God’s Word it recalibrates us.

It reminds us of …

  • What’s true.
  • What’s right.
  • What matters.

There is no way I could live week after week after week
without a time of Sabbath recalibration. 

A picture of Sabbath recalibration might be seen in a family that is traveling on a plane during the Holiday season. They have a child who is sitting at the window enjoying her very first flight. As the plane takes off and soars over the ground the child becomes glued to the window. Gazing out the window the child soon exclaims, “Look mommy and daddy…

  • Widdle people
  • Widdle houses
  • Widdle cars

You see for the child soaring in the plane everything on the ground looks “widdle!” We know as adults that everything on the ground is still the same size. The only thing that has changed is her perspective.

Do you know what happens when we honor God and celebrate the Sabbath?

Our perspective changes!

By the time the Sabbath celebration is over we often have been recalibrated to God, and we find ourselves saying …

  • Widdle worries
  • Widdle fears
  • Widdle problems

The closer we get to a BIG God, the smaller our BIG problems appear.

Curious friends, may you decide today to submit yourself to the Sabbath and experience the rest and refreshment it brings.

Baby Carrots, The Pope & Our Rapidly Changing Culture

This article is an excerpt of a talk about our "Remarkable Culture." 
This talk was given six times in Fort Lauderdale, Florida several 
months ago to a gathering of pastors who lead Willow Creek 
Global Summit partner churches.

Some of my very earliest memories have to do with carrots. I can remember clearly coming home from elementary school and my mom would be peeling carrots for my snack or to put in a pot pie that night for dinner. I can remember how pungent they smelled when she pealed them and the sound of the garbage disposal working hard to chop up the peels as they went down the sink.

I grew up with these carrots as a huge part of my life.

My kids have not.

In fact, the increasing majority of people that we work with and lead in our churches have never seen one of these full size carrots. Yet they eat more of these carrots than any generation before them! How did that happen?

About 25 years ago there was a farmer in central California, and he was upset that he had to toss out tons of carrots because of imperfections.  They were too thick or twisted to be sold as full size carrots. So he took some of these hideous full size carrots and put them in a potato cutter and shaved then down to about 2 inches. And BAM – the baby carrot was born.

babycarrots

In the 1980’s farmers would sell about $150 million carrots. Today farmers will sell nearly a half billion dollars in baby carrots.

Today you could be offered baby carrots on airplanes, movie theaters, Disneyland or McDonalds kids meals.

The realization is that people still love carrots, but the way they consume carrots has changed.

In the same way, I would suggest that people still love the Bible, but the way they consume the Bible has changed.

Our culture is also changing how they consume and metabolize religion and the Pope!

 

Take a look at this photo of people waiting to see the Pope at St. Peter’s Square during the announcement of Pope Benedict in 2005.  And then look at the same location with people waiting for Pope Francis in 2013.

It speaks volumes about the changes our culture and its people are experiencing today.

st-peters-square-before-after

Our world and culture are changing dramatically how they consume almost every experience.

Here is what author Peter Drucker says …

 “Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself – its worldview; its basic values; its social and political structure; its arts, its key institutions. Fifty years later, there is a new world. And the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. We are currently living through just such a transformation.” 

So, here are three takeaways for today’s churches and leaders.

1. The message of Jesus does not change, but our methods concerning how we deliver the message must be re-freshed, re-imagined and re-packaged to reach this generation.  This is not easy to do. It requires energy, insight and great skill to re-package the message of Jesus without losing or diluting the message of Jesus in the process.

2. Technology and social media are a-moral. They can be used for good or bad. We are living at a very curious hinge point in history. It is up to leaders today to successfully navigate the journey from print to pixels without villanizing either medium.

3. Christians have always been the early adopters of new forms of media. The first “book” or codex was quickly adopted by Christians because it made the scriptures easier to carry around and search. We are now seeing leather bound bibles traded in for cell phones and tablets because, in the same way, they are easier to carry around and search. If I ask my kids to go get their Bible – they go get their phone. That is where they read and digest the Bible.  The leather bound Bible I have in my bag, and the smartphone with the Bible APP I have in my pocket carry the very same scriptures.

The main thing for the future of the church is not how a person locates a verse – 
it’s what they do with that verse once they locate it!

Live curious friends.

3 Thoughts for Christians Concerning The LGBT Community

*** I understand that putting these thoughts in print could be
dangerous as it does not allow for much interaction or perception 
of my tone. Please understand this is simply what I understand at
this point in my life about Jesus, the Bible and the LGBT community.

It has now been over 13 years ago that I moved my family from Louisville, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California.

Kentucky and California are different!

We arrived in Simi Valley, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, to plant a new church just like the first church in the book of Acts in the Bible.

We knew we were not the only Christians, but we wanted to be Christians only.

There are all kinds of crazy church planting stories … such as landing in the same valley as Francis Chan, which turned out to be an amazing partnership and friendship, but I about killed myself with comparisons. (I will write about that sometime.)

In the midwest, I had never really come into direct contact with the LGBT community.  I am rather ashamed to say this, but to me, the gay lifestyle was something “way out there” and removed from my daily life and conversation.

Then we moved to LA. 

And the LGBT community went from something “way out there” to real people who were very close to me. My world changed as I got to know and eventually employ people who struggled with same sex attraction.

Here are three things I learned while living in LA about the LGBT community.

Continue reading “3 Thoughts for Christians Concerning The LGBT Community”

5 Messy Myths About Pornography

Do you remember the first time you were exposed to explicit or questionable content?

I do … it was my first day of first grade.  I was 6 or 7 years old, and I was walking home from school with two friends; I can still remember their first and last names, but I won’t mention them. They asked me if I wanted to see something cool, and of course I said yes. They led me to a big oak tree that was rooted virtually in my own back yard, and they pointed to a hole about 8ft. up the trunk. They told me to climb up there and look inside. I was nervous, but I did it. And I can still remember, to this day, what I saw.

It was a front cover to a magazine that said “Playboy.”

I can still remember exactly what that front cover looked like, and that was close to 40 years ago!

I will be honest with you, I rushed home from school for the next several weeks more quickly than usual. I climbed that tree many more times to sneak a peak at that cover. Then one day when I climbed the tree, the magazine was gone, & it never appeared again.

My exposure to explicit images was then dramatically altered and reduced to the times I could find a thick JC Penny catalog laying around the house and quickly look at the lingerie section! Or once a year when the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue came out, and my buddies and I could go to the local convenient store, distract the store clerk and look at those girls in bikinis.

Fast-forward to today, several decades later, access to pornography is easy and everywhere. Anyone with a smartphone in his or her pocket can view pornography at a moment’s notice, really whether you want to or not!

Today, pornographic images are practically unavoidable. Whether you are seeking it or simply stumble onto it – it’s pervasive in our digital society.

Did you know …

  • 12% – 18% of all websites are pornographic.
  • 30% of all data transferred across the internet is pornography.
  • 25% (1 of 4) of all search engine requests are pornography related.
    – Last year, porn sites got more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.
  • 47% of families say pornography is a problem in their home.
  • 8 – 11 years old is the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography.
  • 90% of high school males will view pornography before they turn 18.
  • 64% of Christian Men / 15% of Christian Women say they watch pornography at least once a month.

We can ignore all of this and pretend these statistics don’t apply to our lives, our marriages and our children.

Or we can be honest, brave and bold and address this subject.

This weekend at Christ’s Church of the Valley I shared a message where I unpacked and debunked these “5 Messy Myths About Pornography.”

My goal in this message is not to make you feel bad about your past – it is to make you feel optimistic toward your future.

My goal is to convince you that a porn-free life is actually possible.

MESSY MYTH #1 – Pornography is a private thing and not really hurting anyone.

 

Anyone who has battled or become addicted to porn has at some point adopted this erroneous mindset in order to justify their actions. To a clear mind this sounds crazy, but to a mind that is trying to rationalize out of bounds behavior, this notion makes perfect sense.

Friends, this is naïve and foolish. We live in a world where everything is interconnected, and it’s virtually impossible to assume that your private behavior has no public impact.

There is story after story of men and women where pornography became a gateway to sexual escalation. Eventually their private pornographic sessions led them to publicly crossing boundaries they swore they would never cross.

Consider the fact that pornography is a gateway to sexual escalation. Eventually private activity leads to public interactions and giving yourself permission to cross boundaries you swore you’d never cross.  You don’t do anything with your body that you don’t first conceive of in your mind.

Porn is always progressive.

What happens “online” will eventually happen “offline” in our real lives – there is always an escalation.

Then, after desire has conceived,
it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown,
gives birth to death.
~ James 1:15 

Pornography is something that always escalates and will eventually destroy you emotionally, relationally and spiritually.

MESSY MYTH #2 – My desire to read or look at pornography will go away when I get married.

 

No, it won’t. There is no research or indication anywhere that saying, “I DO” magically eradicates a person’s pornographic tendencies or desires. In fact, the most devastating manifestations of pornography are often only exposed after you get married.

One of the most detrimental consequences of pornography in marriage is unfair and unhealthy comparisons. I know an increasing number of men who have a real problem comparing their real-life wife to a fake woman on a computer, smartphone, tablet, TV,  Xbox or PS3! And equally there are women who after years of reading erotic romance novels cannot be captivated or romanced by a real-life man.

They have been Nicholas Sparki-fied!

Did you know the use of the drug Viagra has skyrocketed in recent years some 312% between 18-45 year old males? One of the theories, that is never shared in commercials, is young married men have been so repeatedly stimulated by fake pornographic fantasies, they can no longer be aroused by their real-life wife!

Listen, young men and women … your unattended lustful thoughts or desire to look at porn or read explicit material will not go away when you get married. I want to challenge you today, if you are single, to fight for your purity.

Singles, every time you guard your mind and heart and soul and say NO to explicit content – you are saying YES to your future spouse and marriage!

Singles and students, don’t buy into the lie that your out of bounds habits before marriage will all of the sudden disappear when you say, “I do!”

MESSY MYTH #3 – Pornography can spice up a stale marriage.

 

This is a lie. I have talked to enough men and women over the past few years who have told me that when their marriage really went off the tracks is when they decided to believe this lie.

They decided to bring porn into their marriage. They thought it might help. They thought it might bring them closer to each other.

And the truth is … every single time … it does the opposite.

I was reading this week about the typical narrative of pornographic sex. It is pretty simple: strangers meet, have sex, and never see each other again.

This scenario doesn’t work for married people because, for starters …
YOU HAVE TO SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN!!!

Married people, take a look at this verse from the Bible …

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
~ Phil. 4:8 

  • Would you say that verse describes a husband & wife watching porn together?
  • Would you say that verse describes a man looking up explicit hashtags on Instagram?
  • Would you say that verse describes a woman reading 50 Shades of Grey?

Friends, listen, pornography does not spice up a stale marriage – in fact, it does the opposite and destroys marriages.

MESSY MYTH #4 – Kids don’t start struggling with pornography until puberty.

 

As mentioned in the statistics at the beginning of this article, the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is between 8-11 years old. It’s not just boys. Girls are also struggling to live pure in this sexually explicit world.

Parents, our kids find porn two ways.

Some of them are seeking it out, & some of them are stumbling onto it, and there is a big difference.

Here is a graphic that explains the progression of pornography in our lives.

image1

I explained this graphic in detail in the blog post “Porn Again & Again Christians” a few days ago.

Parents, you need to understand this progression of pornography.

And you need to fight this like it’s your job … because it is.

Parents, do not let another week go by with an unrestricted stream of pornographic images & explicit content flowing into your home!

MESSY MYTH #5 – I can’t defeat this addiction to pornography.

 

That is also a lie from the evil one himself! You CAN defeat this addiction because …

Greater is He who is in you
than he who is in the world.
~ I John 4:4

Through Jesus, you can defeat this desire, but it’s not easy, and it likely won’t happen in a day.

Listen to what Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, says about our human nature and sin in Romans 7:17-27. (Message Bible)

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel,
and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?
Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Curious friends, you can find freedom in your life from any temptation, sin or addiction but it will only happen through Jesus Christ.

So here is the challenge … make a decision today to get accountable.

Accountability is the greatest enemy of pornography.

Here is a path to accountability.

1. Admit it.

Admit to yourself that what started as a temptation has become an addiction. What you were simply “stumbling” onto at first, you are now “seeking” out. Be honest with yourself, you owe that to yourself.

Admitting this to others such as your friend, family member, fiancé, spouse or parents could be the toughest thing you feel like you have had to do in decades. But don’t forget that accountability is the greatest enemy of pornography.

Admit it to God. And realize when you do, He is not going to say, “What, are you kidding me? I had no idea!!!” No, He already knows. So why not go ahead and admit to God what He already knows to be true about you?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
~ I john 1:9

2. Engage it.

Nothing will change in your life until you make some changes in your life!

I know the mindset when it comes to pornography can easily become, “I’m never going to solve or defeat this problem, so why even try?”

It’s true … you likely will not solve or defeat this problem in a day or a week.

But don’t let that keep you from engaging this issue.

Make a decision that this will be the last week that this MESSY SECRET remains a secret in your life, family or home! And realize that getting past porn is a spiritual partnership with God in your life.

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy,
which so powerfully works in me.
~ Col. 1:29

The key to getting past pornography is not your own power, but it is the power of Jesus & the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Friends, live curious and counter to the culture of this world and make a decision that this will be the last week that this messy secret remains a secret.

 

*** I am indebted to many websites and articles for this message. But I want to specifically give thanks and point you toward XXX Church that has incredible content and a power-packed software called X3 Watch. And also Covenant Eyes, a website full of great information for families when it comes to living pure in this sexually explicit world.

Porn Again & Again Christians!?! (An InfoGraphic)

I am deeply saddened at how porn has become so pervasive even in the lives of Christians. Most would no longer label pornography an epidemic in our world but a pandemic, admitting that everyone is exposed to and adversely affected by pornography.

Research says…

  • 47% of families say pornography is a problem in their home.
  • 8 – 11 years old is the average age of a child’s first exposure to porn.
  • 90% of high school males will view pornography before they turn 18.
  • 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month.

This past week I was flying home,
and on the back of an America Airlines napkin
I wrote out the graphic shown above
concerning how pornography progresses and prospers in our lives.

I gave my little “napkin” sketch to our creative team at CCV, and this is the result.

image1

Let me explain the graphic and how porn prospers in our lives.

Smartphone – The first step is often when a person gets a smartphone, or any other digital device such as a tablet, computer, TV, Xbox or PS3. These devices are amoral; they can be used for good or bad. But they are often private portals into the world of pornography.

APPs – Once you acquire one of these portals you begin to add APPs to it. APPs such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat of course are not porn APPs. But these APPs and many others like them carry a stream of questionable content.

Stumble Onto Pornography – Here is the tough truth … once you have access to these APPs, you WILL stumble onto explicit and pornographic images and links.

And when this happens you can move in one of two directions …

Confess – When people “stumble” onto explicit images and links they can choose to confess this and have a conversation about it. This conversation with a student might go something like this:

  • Son – “Mom, this is hard to say, but yesterday on my phone I clicked on a link that took me to some pretty bad stuff.”
  • Mom – “What was the name of the link? Can you show me? What did you see?”

A conversation as simple as this moves people toward confession and healthy conversation. There is then the ability to set up guardrails to block certain websites and questionable content.  These conversations and guardrails do not solve everything, but they move the issue into the light instead of letting it remain in the dark.

Cover Up – If people decide not to confess and have a conversation about what they have seen, then covering things up is the only other option. Things stay in the dark.  And things that stay in the dark today have the potential to destroy a person tomorrow. When people decide to cover up their explicit discoveries, eventually what happens is they no longer “stumble” onto the content – they begin to “seek” it out.

And when this happens you move into a very vicious cycle …

MORE – Our appetites only know one word and that is the word “more.” And nowhere is this more true than in the world of explicit images, literature and lust. If a person covers up and begins privately seeking pornographic content it will become …

  • MORE regular.
  • MORE explicit.
  • MORE secretive.

Porn is always progressive.

Here is the BAD NEWS … if people have a smartphone or access to any other digital device, they have stumbled onto and been exposed to explicit content. If there has not been a conversation and some level of confession then they have secretively moved in the other direction and are likely currently covering up their exposure to this content. They might not be “seeking” it out yet, but they will repeatedly stumble onto it again and again as long as they are online.

Here is the GOOD NEWS … a simple conversation can change this whole equation. A student, parent, trusted friend, teacher, pastor or grandparent who has the wisdom and guts to ask something like …

  • “So, have you seen any images or links online that were out of bounds?” 
  • “Hey, I read the other day that 80% of people online are regularly exposed to explicit content – do you think that’s true?”
  • “I have read a lot lately about how much porn is easily available online – can we talk about that as a family this Saturday morning?”
  • “Son, I noticed some questionable hashtags on your Instagram account – can we talk about those?”
  • “Daughter, I looked through your text messages last night on your phone – we need to talk about some of the things you and your friends are saying to each other.”

And a couple last thoughts for parents …

  • Porn is always progressive. Your kids will not figure this out and become free of this devastating potential addiction on their own.
  • Accountability is the greatest enemy of pornography. Talk to your family today.
  • We must fight this like it’s our job – because it is!

 

* On Sunday afternoon, September 6th, I will post the notes to my message concerning “The 5 Myths (Lies) About Pornography”. 

** On Monday afternoon, September 7th, I will post the video of the full 35 minute message.

*** This message about pornography will be presented at Christ’s Church of the Valley on September 5/6, as we begin a new series called “Messy Grace.”  The title of the series is inspired by the soon to be released book by Caleb Kaltenbach; you can read more about the book and order it here.

 

Life Is Eternal. Don’t Have An Affair.

For the past three weeks I have reading, studying, praying and writing a message specifically about pornography. In my studies I have come across dozens of great articles and for the next 5-7 days I’m going to share some of these articles and insights into our explicit world with the live curious community.

This article was posted on  The Exchange on August 25th 2015. The author is Ed Stetzer and he is one of my favorite missiologist, researchers and pastors on the planet. This article is written in light of the recent Ashley Madison website hack.

exchange
This week, we’ve found that it’s not as simple as AshleyMadison.com would like its (former) users to think. “Life is short. Have an affair.” So they say.

Get caught. Lose your reputation. Lose your spouse. So they omit.

I’ve been told that pastors I know, people in my neighborhood, members of my extended family, and prominent Christian leaders have found out they have been found out.

At the very moment I am writing this, I sit in a group of pastors who have ALL received news that someone they know is on the list.

For many, today, their secret sins are now public information.

Ashley Madison

 

The Ashley Madison website was launched in 2001 as a place for people in ostensibly committed relationships to go if they wanted to cheat on their spouse or significant other. Ashley’s allure was secrecy. For millions, their greatest fear was realized in July when The Impact Team, a hacker group, cracked the Ashley Madison database. The group held the personal data of 30+ million users ransom, demanding the owners shut down the operation.

What do Americans think about adultery?
Do Americans accept it?

 

Two weeks ago, the data was released on the Dark Web, and millions of users have since been exposed of cheating, or at least trying to cheat. Without a doubt, millions of people are reaping what they’ve sown. Light has revealed the darkness. Spouses who may not have had any idea of a fractured marital foundation now find themselves floundering in emotional quicksand. Others will not be surprised when their spouse or significant other confesses.

The prominence of this hack does raise the question: What do Americans think about adultery? Do Americans accept it? It is like going to a movie—some do, some don’t, but no one really cares? Or, is it something more?

In our increasingly sexualized culture, one may be surprised to find many are appalled at the thought of cheating on a partner—at least when they answer a survey questions. In recent polling, around 90 percent of Americans said having an affair is immoral. And, perhaps related, the vast majority of Americans (according to LifeWay Research data released last week), don’t believe it is a sin to divorce after adultery. 

It’s a Cultural Issue

 

Many are reaping what they have sown individually, but we are also reaping what we have sown culturally.

Though what was in the dark is now in the light, and though those who share our faith face utter embarrassment, our place is not to gloat. Perhaps, rather, we should grieve at what sexuality has become in our culture.

As the Ashley Madison leak moves from a big data file and glaring headlines on a computer, to strained conversations or screaming matches around the kitchen table, maybe it’s worthwhile asking, “Is this really what we wanted as a society?”

During the same week the Ashley Madison hack was revealed, an Old Dominion University fraternity made national news, by hanging out banners for fathers pointing out a “freshmen daughter drop off,” that includes the suggestion to “drop off mom, too.” (If you think the attitudes expressed here are abnormal, read Kimbery Thornbury’s article on the hook-up culture.)

I could list many more examples, but perhaps at some point, we must ask, “Is this what we really wanted when culture turned against traditional sexual mores?”

We could pretend this is not mainstream, though a trip to a local theater, a look the history of a typical browser, or a conversation with a college student might tell us otherwise.

We kid ourselves if we think what
happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

 

Now, freshman girls (and their mothers), are sport, affairs are encouraged and for fun, and modern entertainment affirms this harmful view of sex and sexuality.

Revolution

 

The only problem is that the sexual revolution is, by definition, a war against something—in this case against the previous sexual mores. And wars, whether we admit it or not, always have victims. Few walk away unscathed.

In revolutions, attacks are launched, bombs are dropped, and victims are made. So it is in the sexual revolution.

We kid ourselves if we think what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Or with Ashley Madison.

That’s the way of our culture today.

Ashley Madison was right. Life is short. But the proper response to the brevity of this life is to focus on those things that will last beyond it.

Life is short, so have perspective.

Repentance

 

The news this week reminds us that Christians don’t always live the way we are called, but perhaps today can be another reminder that there is a better way. We are called to another way.

That way is the way of Jesus, who spoke of a man and a woman becoming one flesh—one marriage, one sexual relationship, for one lifetime.

Many are reaping what they have sown individually,
but we are also reaping what we have sown culturally.

 

But for those who have failed to follow that way, the cross of Christ reminds us that a way has still been made.

So, if you are on the list, or know someone who is, a key word is repentance and there is a word that is comes after that—forgiveness.

That will not free us from consequences, but it does point us to Jesus. He is able to lead us past the pain and lies of Ashley Madison and into the grace and truth He provides.

The other way—the way of the sexual revolution—is on display this week. It’s how our culture has decided to go.

But, Jesus shows a better way.

Life is eternal. Don’t have an affair.

Chris Martin and Marty Duren contributed to this post.

 

How To Lead A Person To Jesus On A Napkin

Photo courtesy of @MaryBairy

I want you to imagine you are having coffee with a friend, neighbor, co-worker, classmate or family member.

You are talking about all kinds of very normal, everyday things.

If you are a student you are talking about your favorite teacher, your new job, shopping or going to college.

If you are an adult you might be talking about your kids, career or a much anticipated upcoming vacation.

If you are a guy you might be talking about sports or cars … or sports cars.

Ladies, I’m honestly not sure what you talk about while having coffee … possibly shoes, purses or how men stereotype you!

The point is you are having coffee and talking about all kinds of VERY NORMAL things and then all of the sudden the conversation takes a spiritual turn.

The person you are sitting with starts asking what you think about church,
the Bible or Jesus.

Has this ever happened to you?

What do you do?
Do you get nervous?
Do you ignore it?
Do you redirect the conversation as quickly as possible to a safer subject?

Or do you go with it!?!

This can be a scary moment for many of us because often we are not sure we know enough about the Bible or Jesus or our own faith to engage in this kind of spiritual conversation with a person.  We feel like if we travel too far down this road we may actually mess up the message of Jesus!

Yet the Bible tells us in I Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

I want to show you how you can direct that spiritual conversation with confidence and how you can invite a person into an adventure with Jesus
using only one verse!

You do not need to know 15 verses from the Old and New Testament.

Just this one verse.

For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 6:23

Using this verse you can invite a person into an adventure with Jesus!

What you do is write out the verse and then spend between 3 minutes and 30 minutes, depending on how long you have,  breaking apart all the words. By the time you are done it looks something like this …

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And you can do this, by the way, on the back of a napkin!

This summer I shared this message “How To Lead A Person To Jesus On The Back Of A Napkin” in both Texas and California.

Both of the messages are available below.

So would you rather hear this message from Texas or Cali? Country or Surf? Belt buckles or surf boards? Cowboy hats or beanies?

Take your pick and learn how to lead a person to Jesus
ON A NAPKIN with JUST ONE VERSE!

“Surf Style” – Eastside Christian Church

 

“Country Style” – Community Bible Church 

*** NOTE: You can find many different versions of leading a person to Jesus with Romans 6:23 on YouTube. You can also find many different graphics for this verse on Google images. I believe the first time I ever saw this verse broken apart like this was many years ago in a Navigators presentation. I have used this method of sharing Jesus many times over the years. I believe this diagram was first created by a guy named Randy Raysbrook. Huge thanks to Randy and the Navigators for this amazing tool. You can find more versions of this presentation and many other great resources by searching the Navigators website!

Blessings friends as you live a curious life and lead people closer to Jesus.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”
– Matthew 10:32-33

71 Curious & Tweetable Leadership Axioms

The Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit took place the past few days on August 6th & 7th, 2015. I have set aside this weekend to marinate on these leadership quotes & principles.

My prayer is that as you seek to live and lead curiously,
these leadership axioms will also add value to your life.

Here are 71 great quotes and inspiring leadership principles from this year’s summit!
(Special thanks to Jeremy Jernigan, Brian Dodd and others in the Twitterverse for some of these nuggets.)

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