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50shades2There are 5 million posts on 50 shades of grey coming out with people who are for it and others who are against it. When the trailer came out I wrote a post all about my concerns. Over the time period between the trailer release and maybe a month ago there just didn’t seem to be too much media on it encroaching on my space. Then February began and I could not watch tv without seeing the commercial. Everybody on the planet wrote a blog post on it. Every commercial on hulu had an advertisement and every late night host wanted to chat with the actors.

I didn’t necessarily want to flood the internet with more chatter, but I do have a few things to say on this topic as a Pastor, Man, Husband and father… so here we go.

In the last week I have seen discussion on twitter, facebook and other social media from friends and acquaintances about their excitement over the release tomorrow night of this film. I have seen people setting up ladies nights for valentines day to go see the movie instead of staying home with their husband. Most of these woman are Christians and It makes me sad.

As a pastor: I have had the pleasure of doing a bunch of marriage counseling. Marriage is hard and worth fighting for. Porn of course is our new addiction of choice. In the old days guys would hide their playboy under their bed. Porn was underground and secret. Somewhere along the way it became almost an expected norm that Guys would be into pornography. In recent years we have noticed a recognition that this addiction is not gender specific and women are also becoming addicted to erotica and pornography.  Whole ministries are dedicated to working on healing of the minds and hearts of these women, like Whole Women Ministries and Dirty Girl Ministries.  Study after study has been done that porn and erotica doesn’t “spice up” a marriage, but instead it destroys it. It creates in a mans brain a photoshop image that can’t be erased and in the woman’s thoughts a fantasy that can never be duplicated. I have seen this tear apart homes. I have seen it lead to affairs and divorce. Getting wrapped in it, is a perversion of love and an invitation of that perversion into your marriage bed!

I don’t care if the movie/book is good or not good. Arguing over it’s literary quality or cinematography is worthless. It is a twisted view of sex and relationships. Most importantly it is a perversion of LOVE. – From “50 Shade is Black and white

In addition to all of this is the sick and perverted increase of people who are searching for the abusive, submissive and violent world. You can call it what you want, but it all boils down to something commonly known as intimate partner violence. I have friends on the front lines of trying to take down sex trafficking. I have worked with bringing hope to hookers. I have pastored people who have been beaten, abused and almost killed under the guise of love.
This movie does NOT represent 1 Cor 13 and how God describes love. 

This is not a statement that all movies with nudity and violence are evil. It is a statement that 50 shades is designed to normalize smut. I have met with too many couples who’s marriage is on the rocks from issue after issue… Don’t add another one to it! I truly believe the precedence that this movie with make with it’s record breaking ticket sales and normalizing the erotic/porn culture will make the marriage counselors have more appointments this next year than they will know what to do with.

As a man: The word says “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 and if most of us are honest we have committed that sin.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Simply put that I know I will be tempted, but it’s my choice to take the “way of escape” that has been provided for me.

It is a man’s choice, knowing he is a visual creature, to remind himself to run from things that will be burned into his memory.

A man should be in pursuit of real intimacy and a healthy sexual relationship instead of a selfish, abusive cheap thrill.

“Guard your mind and your body. God has a plan for you and it does not include selfish Love. It is a sex-saturated society… Like David and Bathsheba, Stop looking out at woman bathing on rooftops! RUN!” – From “50 shades is black and white

As a Husband: One of the many favorite slams from the “pro 50 shades people” is that those who are against it are prudes. Let me go on the record here and say that sex is awesome! There is no reason to dance around that statement. Sex is great! God didn’t create something so good that he would also keep it from us. He wants us to enjoy it, but He also gave us boundaries for our sake. Sex is not just physical. It is emotional and spiritual. The Bible says that when a man and woman come together they become one. Most people who have had sex and broke up with their partner will also say that they lost something of themselves because it. God knew what He was doing, but our society has taken this amazing thing and made it common and of little value.
If a woman knows their husband is looking at porn, thinking about other women while having sex with his spouse, or going out to strip clubs… most of them would be pretty upset because they know it has destroyed intimacy. It has brought another “woman” into the marriage bed.
Erotica for women is no different.
As a husband if you found out your wife was reading erotica and pre-ordering tickets to see this movie you would be pretty hurt. What has surprised me about this movie is that scenario isn’t happening. Instead, many men are standing by idly while their wives make plans to see a movie the will add a visual to the fantasy they have already created in their minds from reading the book. This is a fantasy that breaks trust and creates a sexual longing for somebody other than their husband.
Men… Why are you ok with this? 

Men…Pursue your wife today.. make sure they know how amazing they are. If you haven’t told your wife she is beautiful lately, GO NOW! The bible says to treat your wife like Christ treats the church. We are to be willing to give up everything for her. Not treat them as a slave for OUR selfish needs. Love her. Cherish her. Be intimate with her. Pray for her. Protect her. – From “50 shades is black and white

As a Father: I am a proud father of 4 kids. 3 boys and 1 girl. I want my kids to know how great sex is. I want to make sure they never feel weird about it or ashamed in a world where much of the church still treats the word “sex” like it’s taboo.
I also want to make sure that they understand why sex in a marriage was God’s plan for us because that’s where it’s best. I want them to know that intimacy with your spouse is the most amazing thing you can have.
When my boys talk back to their mom sometimes I pull them aside and say “I never want to hear you speak to your mom… or ANY woman like that again”. The reason why is not just because they need to respect their mom, but also because they need to learn that women are a gift. My boys need to learn that women are to be treasured and not lorded over. I want my boys to know and admire beauty without being in the trap of the disease of lust… And I pray for them daily and for their future wives.
Then there is my daughter. I want her to know how valuable she is. She is a jewel and the fingerprint of God! I want her to be strong, powerful, giving and beautiful inside and out. I pray daily that she will never ever seek her self worth in some jerk of a man who treats her like she is disposable. I pray daily for her future husband that he will love her, cherish her, applaud her and protect her.

If my daughter ever gets caught up with a man who is like grey in that he is a stalker, abuser, selfish, domineering, controlling, and violent then he needs to know that I will create my own red room of pain and KICK HIS SELF ABSORBED #$@!

Let me conclude this long and final post on this issue. Well… at least until 50 shades book 2 comes out.

I want to plead with you dear reader:

This is not art.
This is not a romantic chick flick.
IT is warped, twisted, photoshopped and scripted.

DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. Do not fall into the trap that this will be harmless fun. Do not bring this into your marriage bed!

Church Leaders: STAND UP and Don’t be afraid to tell your congregations that NOTHING about this film fits into what God wants in our minds and hearts according to Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Women: Valentines is this week and instead of going to see 50 shades with the ladies, stay home and have sex with your husband. Your marriage is worth more than $9.25! If you aren’t married…

How you choose to live in Christ NOW maatters. God has a plan for you. You are holy and pure because HE IS! Song of Solomon 4:1 Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! – From “50 Shades is black and white

Men: actions speak loud…Pursue your wife! PROTECT her and your home. Chase after intimacy and love.

If you aren’t married…

Like David and Bathsheba, Stop looking out at woman bathing on rooftops! RUN!

Parents: Teens are going to see this movie. Please teach them that what they see and feel won’t leave their minds. If your kid does go.. Pray and talk to them about it no matter how awkward it is.

 

A few links worth a read on this:

Glenn Packiam -http://mysteryoffaithblog.com/2015/02/10/better-sex-the-subjugation-of-women-and-shades-of-the-real-thing/

Challies – http://www.challies.com/a-la-carte/7-lessons-from-50-shades-of-grey

A real 50 shades relationship – http://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/the-reality-of-a-fifty-shades-relationship/

50 Problems with grey – http://www.garythomas.com/50shades/

Crystal Renaud and Dirty Girl Ministries – http://dirtygirlsministries.com/

 

 

When I was thirsty…

October 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

I have, in the last 37 years, had the pleasure of attending, being associated with or speaking/leading in many kinds of churches. I have been in liturgical high churches, charismatic, pentecostal, ones that speak in tongues, ones that don’t, those that have bands and those that think music is wrong, ones that don’t allow food or coffee in the church and those that eat popcorn and serve lattes, ones that center around communion and others that never do it… You name it and I have seen it.

There is something I want to point out though…
The father LOVES ALL THE FLAVORS of His bride. Even if we as Christians decide which flavors are holier than others (which quite frankly is judging on non-essentials), the Father sees us all on level ground and ALL His children.

So what then marks us as “mature” Christians?

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1

Simply this: How you do Sunday means NOTHING if you are not LOVING people recklessly Mon-Sat.
You are a clanging cymbal and God wants His bride to sound like a band that is in tune!

In the end Jesus will say “when I was thirsty did you give me drink… when I was naked did you give me clothes… when i was in trouble did you come to my aid?”

He will NOT say “when you DID church did you….”

Don’t just go to church… try something radical and BE THE CHURCH!

beeching

My friend Vicky Beeching was interviewed for this article yesterday, announcing that she was gay.

I have had the pleasure of working with vicky for a few years now.
She is one of the nicest and smartest (borderline genius…can’t give her a big head) people I know.

This article was heart-wrenching to read and broke my heart for her. I am sorry she had to walk this walk alone and that the “church people’s” labels superseded the truth in Christ over her life…I have seen so much spiritual abuse over the years, “in the name of Jesus”, and it sickens me when the church paints the wrong picture of the gospel.

I am glad to know this woman.

I may not agree with all her opinions on all things, but I don’t have to.

As she said in her article in reference to her parents disagreeing but loving her:

“It’s a picture of what is possible, even when you don’t agree, that love can supersede everything.”

Love has no strings. Grace has no prejudice and I am so glad God pours that out daily for both of us.

I didn’t post about this to start a theology debate on my site, or on facebook for that matter, so if you have the urge to comment like that… Don’t!

Instead go and love like Christ did!

John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you,

Go find somebody in the church that has been labeled by something other than Christ….
give them a hug and tell them that Jesus loves them with a NEVER-ENDING LOVE.

Tell them that no matter what hurt or baggage they carry that they are a son/daughter of the King and have a seat at His table of mercy.

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

8th blogiversarry

August 5, 2014 — 2 Comments

My blogiversarry came and went; I started blogging in June 2006, about the time my family moved to RI. It’s been 8 years now as a blogger. Yesterday I posted my 800th blog post. There has been close to 6,000 comments and a few hundred thousand hits (fb and twitter changed those things for the worse).

I am amazed at the insights that have come from blogging. As I look back at my digital journal I can see all the places that God moved in my life. I can see the months where I walked away from my site to focus on a newborn child that was now in my home. I am in awe of the connections God has given me and opportunities He has blessed me with because this site existed. I have stood back as I watched God heal others through my writing and pouring out what he was speaking to me. Even more importantly I am floored at the friendships I have that were born out of a digital world and made tangible and irreplaceable.

I started the blog to equip church leaders… God had a much better plan for it. I can see 8 years of personal growth. It’s in black and white the times where I doubted and failed. And now it is documented proof of a gracious God who in his great mercy gave me some of the most priceless memories, friends and treasures anybody could ask for.

50

The 50 shades of Grey trailer released at 8AM on the today show yesterday barraging mens minds with the permission to control and lust after women as well as giving women the permission to live in a fantasy land and escape their marriage in visual adultery.

There is so much crap flying at our faces these days and quite frankly to keep our minds pure is a battle.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I have seen too many broken families in the last few years that have bought into the lie that fantasy is reality, that reading a book is equal to making love to your spouse, and that watching a “harmless” film doesn’t affect your marriage.

It is a lie from the enemy! It is not grey. It is black and white.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.- Matthew 5:28

I don’t care if the movie/book is good or not good. Arguing over it’s literary quality or cinematography is worthless. It is a twisted view of sex and relationships. Most importantly it is a perversion of LOVE.

God created sex and it is great! God is love and He is perfect. Don’t let your mind and heart be cluttered and jammed full of the garbage of this world. The Bible says to FLEE from temptation and sexual perversion. I know it is tough.  It says flee because God knows that it is tough and He wants us to run away and run towards truth. I get bombarded with these temptations…I am human too, but friends it is a battle worth fighting!

This is not art.
This is not a romantic chick flick.

IT is warped, twisted, photoshopped and scripted.

Real love… real sex… real commitment is messy, flawed and part of Gods design to bring a man and woman together and make them not only ONE, but also to teach them to love selflessly and unconditionally.

Men: Pursue your wife today.. make sure they know how amazing they are. If you haven’t told your wife she is beautiful lately, GO NOW! The bible says to treat your wife like Christ treats the church. We are to be willing to give up everything for her. Not treat them as a slave for OUR selfish needs. Love her. Cherish her. Be intimate with her. Pray for her. Protect her.
If you are not married: Guard your mind and your body. God has a plan for you and it does not include selfish Love. It is a sex-saturated society… Like David and Bathsheba, Stop looking out at woman bathing on rooftops! RUN!

Women: Submission doesn’t equal slavery and pain. You are worth more than a cheap popcorn smelling fantasy. You are a jewel and a daughter of God. You are created in His image and are beautiful. Keep your eyes pure. Pursue your husband. Let him know how great he looks and how much you love him. Love him. Cherish him. Be intimate with him. Pray for him. Protect him. Like David and Bathsheba, The only man who you should invite to bath with you on your rooftop physically or in your mind is your husband!
If you are not married: You are worth so much. Your past doesn’t define you. How you choose to live in Christ NOW does. God has a plan for you. You are holy and pure because HE IS! Song of Solomon 4:1 Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!

If you were considering seeing the movie, Your marriage is worth more than $9.25! DON’T
If you are considering reading the book, regardless of how innocent it may seem… IT is not the LOVE that God has taught us about. DON’T

Married or not, DON’T sacrifice LOVE for a cheap thrill that WILL harm you, compromise you and steer you away from the things of God.

REAL LOVE – 1 Cor 13 
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.