We want to live life on purpose. Dare to dream. But more and more today, young Millennials (as well as many in today’s society) are struggling with purpose and meaning. New studies continue to show an alarming number of people who feel lost, depressed, and without direction. So under the whole guise of New Years Resolutions and changes we want to make in the new year, perhaps the question is really, “Why don’t we live meaningful lives?”
Most people think pornography addiction is “no big deal.” Everyone looks, but doesn’t tell. What the stats and stories are telling us is quite different. We’re a generation enslaved to pornography and it’s ruining our sex lives, marriages, and relationships with the opposite sex. How can we break free?
Because each of us has been ensnared or enslaved in one way or another, and no matter how hard we try we can’t do anything to free ourselves, especially when it comes to the grips of porn.
In Gateway’s last message of the “I Heart Sex” series, you’ll hear specifically about freedom from pornography, yet the freedom offered in Christ that applies to any and all areas that may ensnare or enslave us.
There is no such thing as a self-made man. Every person needs guidance in life and you should never be afraid to ask for help. In Episode 23 of The Motivation Inside (TMI), host Anthony Scaramucci talks to author and U.S. Army veteran Benjamin Sledge about how he coped with the emotional scars of war and adjusted to life away from the battlefield. After initially struggling with the transition to civilian life, Ben was able to overcome his demons with the help of friends and a spiritual community. Now he shares his story and message through music (with HeartSupport) and writing.
Ben had the opportunity to talk with the fellas from BadChristian about his experiences in war and upon coming home to a church world that no longer knew how to relate or help. We talk about my experiences in the military, including what questions to not ask vets and the best response of the Church.
There’s a joke made by comedian Dane Cook that in every group of friends there’s one person that nobody likes. That joke hit home for a lot of people because it appears even though we may have friends and family we love, sometimes they just annoy us.
In many Christian circles there’s this mentality to just serve and love and love and love some more, but we end up feeling drained and with little joy. How can we learn to enforce loving, yet firm boundaries with the people that drive us nuts?
Loving people is hard. Loving messy people is even harder.
But God’s greatest demand is that we “Love God and Love people” and his claim is that EVERYTHING (the law and prophets) hinge on this. The Barna Group recently did a study on the attitudes and actions of Christians and whether they look like Christ or the Pharisees. Sadly, we’re not keeping in step with the man we claim to follow. 86% of Christians have the attitudes and actions of Pharisees. Whereas a whopping 14% have the attitudes and actions of Christ.
Why is this?
We’re forgetting how Jesus sees people. And often times I want the fame. I want the prestige that comes with being a follower of Jesus. Or I just ignore the messy people around me. But the call of Blind Bartimaeus still echoes throughout our society: “Have mercy on me! Just notice me!”
Will we turn a blind eye? Or will we choose to serve and love our neighbors?
For so long I’ve had the message of performance beat into me. If I want God to love me, then I better do what he says. I better not blow it. And when I stumble he’s just waiting to get me.
And the truth is, so many of us have had this message beat into us and it affects us all……
If you went out and had that one drink too many or used that illegal substance even though you’re a follower of Jesus, you might think “I’ve let God down, and now I’m gonna get it”. If you hooked up with that guy or girl or have had relationship after relationship you know is inappropriate or maybe even adultery you think, “There’s no way he could love me. I need to get my act together first and then he’ll be pleased”. For some of us it’s our addictions…whether that be porn, food, anger and hatred, and we think, “there’s no way God loves me let alone is pleased with me”.
But is this REALLY true? Or has church and so many others lied to us?
7 Years ago I was battling through a divorce, depression and anger coming home from Iraq, and slew of other addictions.
I was a really hard, hard guy to get along with and was not necessarily the best person to be around. I was out to use and abuse people. But during this time I met a guy named Josh Riebock.And what Josh found out real quick was that I wasn’t necessarily interested in changing, but I was cool bringing the party to him.
Eventually by him walking beside me, sharing his hurt, his life, and Christ with me even when I didn’t know it…..I began to change for the better.
The problem, however, is that most of us never think about leaving a legacy, let alone investing in someone so dark and hurting. We make the message of Jesus about US, as opposed to living it out to those around us. How can we become light to the dark world around us? How can we become “Desperately Salty“?
Growing up I felt I got lied to a lot by the American Church. Everyone was pretty. No one walked into church having marriage issues. No one had porn or alcohol issues. Nope. We were all pretty because what would people think if we actually came clean about where we struggled? Wouldn’t that “blow our witness” to a lost world.
Due to these wounds and struggles I found myself a pastor in a 12 Step program with other addicts. And what I found by coming clean was amazing…..Healing.
There is a travesty happening in the American Church. 90% of Americans will get married at some point in their life, but churches everywhere continue to only train people how to date well in their singleness that leads to young adults obsessed with the newest study looking for the silver bullet to put down the singleness werewolf. And the question I would ask is: “Why aren’t we preparing people for marriage especially with the divorce rate being as high as it is?”
Because here’s a little sobering fact. Did you know there is no middle ground in dating? You will either break up or get married. That’s your 2 options. There’s not a magical 3rd although some people like to stay in indifference land forever.
So what does it look like to be a godly wife and deal with the ever unpopular verse about the “evil” submission? What does it look like to be a godly husband and “Love your wife like the church” which among most men is completely lost on them?
****This will be the last sermon for sometime as Central is changing and evolving.