Thursday, December 7, 2006

simple

nothing to lose, nothing to prove, nothing to hide. i wish more people would live this way. i wish i would live this way more. i've got the nothing to hide part down. i'm pretty good at the nothing to lose part as well. it's the nothing to prove thing that gets me every time. why do i feel the need to prove myself to others?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Porn

Porn has become a big part of my life. That statement probably scares some, but it’s true. I should clarify, though. I’m not dabbling in porn. I’m not spending countless hours on websites. I’m not hitting the Red Barn adult theater that’s around the corner from my house. So, put your fears to rest. A funny thing happened back in July. This guy named JR moved in to a house two doors down from me, and he happens to be one of the pastors at xxxchurch.com. He and I have become good friends, and so I’ve been committed to praying for their ministry, helping out in any way I can, and we’ve even opened our house up as a place for people to stay when they come to town for various events, etc.

But, the thing that really has been good is that I’m starting to see how much sin really can destroy people. On a personal note, I never struggled huge with pornography. I remember as a middle-school student watching late-night Showtime and Cinemax at my friend’s house. I remember the stack of Playboys and Penthouses that my friend’s dad gave us. But that was short-lived. I remember from time to time stumbling upon a porn website over the past 12 years and staying for longer than I should have, but it’s never been a habit…I haven’t been “walking in this sin.”

My sin was and is different. I was rebellious…especially while I was at school at Cornerstone. Sitting in a Christian subculture was not for me. Thankfully, the only outward manifestation of my rebellion was a pierced tongue (which was against the rules), an occasional six-pack shared with some friends, and a few visits to some local night clubs. But, the fact of the matter is that in my heart I was bucking against the place where God led me. There was a time where I hated all things “Christian,” and I’ll admit that there are still times where this attitude creeps in. When I first met my wife (before we started dating), I was in a funk…I had walls so thick built up around me that no one could get in. Somehow Heidi got in…and I’m glad she did. 1 Samuel 15:23 says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

What I’m trying to say is this: It doesn’t matter what your sin is. It will cripple you. It will destroy you. It will stop you from experiencing life the way it should be experienced. The only way to stop it from crippling, destroying, and stopping you is to cripple it, destroy it, stop it. Whether it’s porn or drugs or alcohol or stubbornness or rebellion or adultery or…kill it. Cut it off at the knees. Don’t let it continue. Get people in your life who know you’re dealing with it. Do whatever it takes to get rid of it .

I just heard the story of a guy who had an addiction to porn. He came home one day after realizing that it was destroying his marriage and his life. He said to his wife, “we need to talk.” He sent the kids downstairs to play. He built a fire in the fireplace. He brought out his collection of porn and one by one threw them in the fire. I don’t know what transpired after that, but I’d imagine his wife cried because there was a glimmer of hope. I’d imagine he shed some tears because of the small taste of freedom that had just touched his tongue. I remember when my walls came crashing down and there was Heidi smiling at me how good it felt to let someone in. I’d imagine this guy is feeling the same.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Here Comes Santa Crap

Why bother with Advent? I mean, isn’t it enough to celebrate the birth of Christ by stopping for five minutes on Christmas morning to read the story of his birth? Isn’t it enough to attend the Christmas Eve candle-light service? This season is too busy to stop and think about Christ for the whole four weeks leading up to Christmas. And so we don’t. We go to the parties, drink the eggnog, fill ourselves up with Christmas cookies and shopping and wrapping paper and bows and credit cards. We count the birth of Christ as just another day.

What if that’s not what it meant at all? What if advent was really a time to stop. Stop the busy-ness. Stop the hustle. Stop the overtime. Stop our world. Christians get so worked up over people trying to take “Christ” out of “Christmas,” when the fact of the matter is that we’ve done a pretty good job of doing that ourselves. I’m stopping during the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. Sure, I’ve got to keep working and I’ll go out and buy some gifts for people, but I’m stopping for a bit. I’m just going to slow down and take in God as we celebrate the coming of something momentous…and I don’t mean Santa Claus.