Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
From Leader to Leader: Out of the Darkness & INTO THE LIGHT: How PORN is stealing, killing & destroying the present and future relational & sexual health of our children & youth
by César De León Ph.D LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference
Any war strategist will confirm that knowing one’s enemy is vital to victory. This month we have decided to stimulate what we hope will spur further curiosity and candid conversations about and intentional, strategic plans to boldly expose to our families (parents, children and teens) attending our churches and schools how our enemy’s masterfully designed porn epidemic is hijacking the gift of emotional and sexual connection that God wired humans to enjoy in the context of emotionally and sexually healthy marriages.
The insidious use of porn is, unbeknownst to it’s unsuspecting consumers, stealing the love, tenderness and affection that God intended men and women to share with each other, killing healthy gender and relationship perceptions and practices, and destroying the God-wired capacity to derive sexual arousal and pleasure with one, 3-D, human spouse for a lifetime.
While many other religious communities have become increasingly aggressive in their attack against this invisible enemy, I believe that it is time that we Adventist spiritual leaders assertively join the ranks of those who have determined that they can no longer remain silent regarding this growing epidemic that is imperceptibly destroying the healthy relationship dynamics our boys and girls, youth and adults are experiencing, as well as the degree of emotional and sexual satisfaction they will experience in their future (and current) marriage relationships. Is it any wonder that so many Millennials and Gen Z’ers seem to be increasingly trigger shy when it comes to committing to a life-long marriage? Remaining sexually exclusive with one person for a whole lifetime seems to be getting more difficult for the current generations to imagine or desire.
Who Consumes Pornography
Over the past 10 years there has been a large increase in the pornographic material that is available to both adults and children. Porn use has grown increasingly common because it is anonymous—no one need know, accessible—one click away, and affordable—much free porn lures users in. Continue reading
by Pastor Dave Livermore, President of the Gulf States Conference
You’re up late, your kids have been in bed since 8:00 PM, an hour ago your wife said good night to you and went upstairs to go to sleep. You’ve been reading your Bible searching for a text to speak to you. Nothing really jumps out at this time. Your mind wanders. You fight it by turning on the TV, by now its quite late nothing really interests you. You turn on your computer, and you know exactly what interests you at this time of night. Your Bible is still sitting right next to you, but something else is driving you. You go online, your breathing is quickening, you listen carefully to make sure you don’t hear anyone from your family stirring. You type into Google: XXX or Porn. Millions of hits come up, you fall hard, you go deep into your private addiction. Your Bible, is still sitting next to you.
One survey says that fifty percent of us pastors visited a porn site in the last month. We wonder why the Gospel is impotent, our preaching boring, our spiritual life anemic. We have allowed the evil one to get his hands on us and it’s a slow spiritual suicide. There is hope though, into the darkness comes a website that speaks boldly against this cancer. If you got the problem, get help. Because sooner than later, this will cost you your ministry and maybe your marriage. www.purefreedom.com
by Stan Hudson who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference
Hollywood generally makes their movies using tried and true formulas, meant to draw the masses in for a look. One of the most popular formulas currently is to depict powerful women fighting against various evils, some sociological, some more menacing physically. Often having super powers, women are shown to be able to kick bad guys into next week. But an apparently necessary part of that super image is to be super gorgeous. Gal Gadot, for example.
It’s that kind of power I want to talk about. It’s something God designed. When Adam first saw Eve, according to Professor of Theology Dr. Jo Ann Davidson, his first word (lost in English translations) was “Wow!” He liked what he saw.
With a fairly normal curiosity, though in my fallen nature, I remember the first time I saw a picture of a naked woman. My recently-divorced dad was living with a couple of buddies in a bachelor apartment; as a nine year old I was exploring their digs when I saw a magazine called “Playboy.” I had a strong sense that I shouldn’t open the pages, but I did anyway…. Fast forward to my college freshman days and a hike with friends up a canyon near Palm Springs. There not far from Doug Batchelor’s famous cave were a pair of free-spirited hippies cavorting in a swimming hole. The couple sported their birthday suits.
Images. Images that are powerful, hard to erase. And there is someone who knows their power and wants desperately to use that power to hurt God’s precious things. Satan uses images to entrap people, especially men, to look at things that we shouldn’t.
When I was pastoring my first church we were in a major building project. One day about five of us men, including my head elder, were discussing things in the center of the unfinished sanctuary. In came the head elder’s daughter, maybe 20 years old, with a message for her dad. She was a beautiful young lady, tall, blond and…she had on cut-off shorts. Our group of men stopped talking and were clearly discomfited (look it up!). I had to stifle a laugh at this exhibition of a woman’s power.
There is something mysterious and sacred, something hard to quite grasp in all of this. Solomon said that a “man with a maiden” (Proverbs 30:19) was one of the things he couldn’t quite figure out. And this from a man who had literally hundreds of women!
We all know about David and Bathsheba. Good men can look where they shouldn’t look. David’s sin started with a look. It always does.
On today’s internet nothing is difficult to find. How easy it is to see an advertisement or some kind of story that features a beautiful woman that tempts us to click into more images that entangle us. I have wished that God would grant us a delete button in our brains, but He allows us to live with the consequences, with the hope that we will learn to direct our gaze elsewhere.
But since there IS power there, God has very specific instructions as to how this power can safely be enjoyed. And that you all know is in an active, monogamous and loving relationship, where both parties are united in a sacred commitment to each other. Any images that draws us away from that or builds false expectations about sex, for example, will lead us down unhealthy paths. And those paths can lead to destruction of so many beautiful things.
by Pastor Aaron Payne, Chaplain at Columbia Adventist Academy
After sitting down and talking for a while about the youth’s problem I will bring our conversation around to overcoming the addiction. Usually if a young person has come to talk to me it is because they truly want to break free from this habit. I will ask them to do 4 things.
1. Recognize what times and situation they are tempted the most and avoid those times and places. Ex. Don’t stay up late on the internet.
2. When they are tempted have a Bible verse to quote and claim in the face of the temptation. A few verses I have suggested are Is.41:10,13, or Phil. 4:13. I teach them how to claim a promise since many are unfamiliar with doing this.
3. Find an accountability partner. Of course this person needs to be a person who has a strong walk with Jesus, is trustworthy, and does not share the same problem.
4. Ask them to commit to reading a book called “Every Young Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn, assuming I am dealing with a young man. There is also a book out there for young ladies, “Every Young Woman’s Battle“.
Only after they have taken these steps will I be willing to anoint them, asking for healing and victory. I find that if I anoint them first they may not follow through with the first four steps.
Finally I will communicate to the parents (with permission from the young person) and ask them to change their internet server to integrity online, which is a pre-filtered server. There should also be multiple planned follow ups.
by Marella Rudebaugh, Administrative Assistant in Ministerial, Creation Ministries, Native Ministries, and Evangelism for the North Pacific Union Conference
My husband, Mark, was seven years old when he was molested, but not by the type of person the world has come to expect. Not by a priest or a coach or a father or an uncle….by his seven year old friend. Mark’s friend came to his house for a sleep over and they camped alone in a tent in his back yard. It was then that his friend suggested experimenting. That one experience led to several more with the same boy over the months which led to a lifelong sexual addiction.
When Mark reached the age of 13, he discovered pornography in a magazine at a friend’s house and realized that a sexual experience between a man and a woman (he hadn’t been taught what sex really was) looked much more appealing and his addiction to pornography and self pleasuring began.
Fast forward 12 years and he meets me, his future wife, who had a part in leading him, once again, to Christ. We were married and then he was rebaptized a few years later, all the while hiding his addiction from me. He wanted to lead a life for Christ, but didn’t know how to break the cycle. He didn’t know where to turn for help. The church body doesn’t really talk about this type of problem and there’s so much disgust and shaming involved that makes it very difficult to even broach the subject with anyone. When his problem was finally discovered, he was very remorseful and ashamed. He saw the hurt it caused in me and I began to feel as if I wasn’t good enough to keep his attention.
Over the next 10 years, the cycles became pretty consistent. Mark would make an effort to change, then I would find some reason to doubt (perhaps an image on his phone or a behavior) and the same conversation would ensue; deeply hurt, I would cry and ask him why he couldn’t just stop. He would apologize and promise to do better. On and on this went.
Then something changed. We both became fed up with the cycle and I found an inexpensive internet filter ($55 per year or $44 with coupon discount code QUST20) and put it on every device we had, with me being the only one with the passwords. This helped for a while. He suddenly lost access to pornography. Problem solved! Well, no. He still had problems with his fantasy world of imagination and self pleasuring. I started looking up resources (sadly there did not seem to be much out there if you were on a limited budget) and discovered the Recovered Man and Pornfree Radio. This website became a tremendous help to both of us. We both started listening to the podcasts by Matt Dobschuetz which allowed me to better understand what he was going through and why he couldn’t just stop. It also gave Mark practical tips on how to make changes. It helped him to know that he wasn’t the only one struggling with sinful behavior, I had a problem with being critical. We began to check in with each other every Friday to discuss the struggles each of us had the previous week.
It wasn’t until Mark opened up and became very honest with me that God really started changing him. He started reading his Bible everyday and praying that God would allow him to focus his attention and energy on me, rather than his fantasy world.
By me making the effort to understand what he was going through and him being very honest with his struggles, we began to feel closer to each other than we ever felt possible. The weekly talks have drawn us together. My attempts to understand made him want to be better, want to do more things for me, which led me to want to better meet his needs. Time with me became much more meaningful than his fantasy, which made him not want to enter that world anymore.
Mark is still tempted, but the pull is not as strong as it once was and the moment he feels that temptation, he calls me. He’s experienced sobriety from his sexual addiction for about a year now and although that doesn’t seem like very long, after 36 years of extremely harmful sexual habits, we’re both praising God for the progress God has made in him.
by Pastor Matthew Gamble who served for 18 years as an Adventist Pastor
Satan has a great way of sneaking this stuff into our lives at an early age to get us hooked in hopes to warp our sense of intimacy, love, and sex. For me pornography/lust came in at the age of 7. With the material now so easily accessible on the internet truly Satan is going to succeed in getting more people trapped in his world wide web. Or is he?
In helping people with this addiction, I have found several resources to be invaluable. I will list them below:
1. XXX Church is a Christian based ministry that is seeking to help people with addiction to pornography. They provide free software that can be downloaded onto your computer that will provide accountability for you while you surf the internet. If any questionable sights are viewed, the addresses will be sent to your accountability partners.
2. Prodigals International offers training and materials to help local churches establish effective ministries to sexual addicts and their spouses. The director is a good friend of mine and has recently linked up with researchers from Loma Linda University as well as the General Conference to see how these materials can be applied in Adventist churches nationwide.
3. Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover.
Above all else I encourage people to recognize that we are more than conquerors through Christ. As we accept His gift of victory on a daily basis and learn to trust Him over self, we WILL have the victory.
by Matt Dobschuetz, Founder of The Recovered Man and Pornfree Radio
If you are anything like I was, you are desperate to get out from under the shame that goes along with a porn habit. I think back to when I first needed help there were not many good resources. I want to encourage you on your journey. Whether your goal is improving your marriage, your business, or just making you a better dad- getting rid of the porn will free you to make it happen.
Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you in your recovery:
1. Porn Free This Year
Watch my free video training to jump start your recovery this year. Includes downloadable worksheet. – Click Here
2. Try Your Porn Free Playbook Video Course
The framework of everything I talk about on Pornfree Radio is based on your recovery plan. Find out how to build a rock solid plan for your life. Get access to my 5-day video course and more. – Click Here
3. Join a REV Group
I created REV groups for men who need more connection and accountability to activate their plan. REV groups meet weekly through secure video conference. To apply – Click Here
4. Work with Me One-on-One
If you’d like to work directly with me on your plan or your next steps in recovery… email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “One-on-One” in the subject line… tell me a little about your situation and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!
When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don’t say to yourself ‘All is lost. I have to start all over again.’ This is not true. What you have gained you have gained….When you return to the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.”
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
by César De León Ph.D LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference
When the sun set on the last day of 2018, I had already decided that 2019 could not simply be a repeat of the last. I had no special list in mind, as I knew better than to think I could even come up with worthy resolutions.
I did, however, think about what my personal and ministry life could become if I were to surrender ALL of my plans and agendas. . . ALL of myself to a Holy Spirit-directed revival? How would those yet unknown changes affect my life, my family, my ministry, my neighbors? I thought, if there is more that the Holy Spirit can infuse into my life to make it fuller, more meaningful and Kingdom-impacting, I wanted it! After all, when Jesus spoke concerning the effect the Holy Spirit would have on His followers, He said that out of their hearts would flow “rivers of living water” (John 7:38,39).
A few months ago, our NPUC President, John Freedman, was impressed to invite NPUC Executive Committee members, department heads and staff to 20 days of Call in Study and Prayer in 2019. We were all given Helmut Haubeil’s book, “Steps to Personal Revival” and were invited to read through this book “in community” through a call-in system, over 20 sessions of reading, meditation, discussion and prayer to consider how we might experience a personal revival that could become contagious in our circles of influence.
Jesus’ Return is eminent! I believe that in order to awaken from our Laodicean condition, we need to pray and fast for a Holy Spirit revival that will begin with me!
Haubeil proposes there are three types of people in respect to their personal relationships with God. “Within each of these groups there are many different shades depending on the parental training, character, training of oneself, age, culture, education, etc. But even with all the differences there are only three basic attitudes towards God:
1. No relationship—the Bible calls this the natural man.
2. Full, real relationship—the Bible call this person spiritual.
3. Divided or feigned relationship—the Bible describes this as a person of the flesh or carnal.
The author invites his readers to an authentic self-evaluation. After all, we can’t get too exited about a Spirit-driven revival unless we’ve identified our actual spiritual condition.
It has been an interesting journey for my wife and I so far. We are being deeply challenged to rethink the way we think about ourselves, others and Spirit-driven Kingdom-building. I am being challenged to surrender every corner of mind, heart and soul to the transforming influence of the Holy Spirit daily and to trust Him, ever deeper, with the steering wheel. The truth is, our spouses, children, neighbors and communities need to see and experience the lovely and loving character of Christ reflected in His followers, not just a beautiful set of fundamental beliefs presented by a charismatic preacher.
How might your personal life, family and ministry be affected by a Spirit-choreographed personal revival?
6 Then he said, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty—you will succeed because of my Spirit, though you are few and weak.’ Zechariah 4:6 (Living Bible TLB)
At 9:00 PM tonight, our cell phones will again ring to remind us to connect to this evening’s community study & prayer session.
I urge you to consider reading this small, relevant book and sharing it with your friends, family, church elders/leaders and members. You might even consider creating a reading & prayer community, as we have done. Can you begin to imagine the HOLY FIRE the Spirit can ignite???