Posts Tagged: Forgiveness

Ten Most Read Blog Posts for February 2014

In this past month of February, my blog was viewed more times than any other month in it’s history and more times than the entire first year (2011) of “Outside the Pulpit.” This was due to the fact that three of the blog posts are in the top ten viewed of all posts in the 3 1/2 year history. So here are the most viewed posts on “Outside the Pulpit” for February 2014. Thank you for being a reader of this blog! I hope if it is a benefit to your life that you will share it with others.

If you missed any of the following posts I hope you will enjoy your read.

The Top Ten:

  1. “Why the Recent Rhetoric in the Church Makes Me Want to Shout About “Spiritual Formation” This post was not only the most viewed post of this month, it is the new number 1 viewed blog in “Outside the Pulpit’s” 3+ year history.
  2. Help! Adventist Ed is Dying: I was criticized by some for this article and I believe some of the criticism was fair, a point I made then about that post and I make it again here about the opinions I had in this post, “Take ‘em or leave ‘em as a parent that will soon have three kids in Adventist Ed, these are my thoughts.” They were just my thoughts.
  3. How I Hope Adventists Will Respond to the Kenneth Copeland/Pope Francis Video.
  4. Why I Get Defensive
  5. Please Count! This post to me is so important and can be a real help to folk, I hope more will read it!
  6. Please Move to The Middle
  7. A Response to Elder Stephen Bohr’s “Reflections on Deborah & Huldah”: This post was written back in October of 2013 but due to of course the nature of the ordination debate and the attention it continues to receive this blog has remained well read each month.
  8. Faster Pastor’s Episode # 7: “Is Christmas Compatible w/ Christ?” This was the most recent Faster Pastor Episode we did and also the most viewed of any of the episodes we have done. Dr. John Reeve joined us and we were blessed by his insights. David has moved off to Australia that may actually make it easier for us to do more Faster Pastor’s since he’ll be more permanent and not roaming all over the world now that he is the Senior Pastor of a church down there.
  9. Glad to Know I’m Still a Child of The King: I’m always a little saddened that my spiritual posts are not nearly as well read as my “controversial” posts. I guess that is just human nature. Though I hope we all realize, a controversy will never enhance our lives only the love of Jesus will. With that in mind I hope you’ll read this post for the first time, or 2nd time if necessary!
  10. The Superiority of Adventist Education–Please Read & Respond: This post was written back in 2011; yet at times it still pops up in the top ten list. What can I say? People are passionate about Adventist Ed, as well they should be!

Those are the top ten. Some new posts coming soon in March. Thank you again for being a great group of readers. I’d love to have you share any or all of these posts if you feel others would be interested.




The Porn Pandemic

We have a porn pandemic in this country! 12% of all websites on the internet are pornography. There is so much of it the government is making a listing for it, like .com, .org, .tv, there is now .xxx. Many people of older generations are oblivious to this crisis, but it is a crisis: 90% of children ages 8-16 have viewed porn. I personally wished I could have even made it to the age of 8! I was first exposed to pornography by a drunk, now deceased adult that thought it would be funny to show me graphic pornography at the age of 4. 30 years later I have no other media images in my head from that time of my life, but those still exist! Why? Because porn is evasive and corrosive to the mind!

There are those in our society that say Porn is no big deal, they even take the position well pretty much all males look at porn so “don’t worry about it”. Well I would have to say on one part of that I agree, I believe most men at one point or another have viewed pornography, but the majority does NOT determine morality. From my personal world view the scriptures determine morality:

“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.” –Romans 13:13

We are told to walk properly and that walking properly includes avoiding LUST. Well for those of you that may not know porn is a breeding ground for LUST! There are many other texts throughout the Bible that admonish allowing our minds to be filled with lustful thoughts and yet when individuals view porn, that is indeed the singular purpose.

Porn is a pandemic! But it goes beyond porn! Our society is a sexually saturated society!  In the old days the idea was protect your kids from all sexual images, now we must simply train our kids to avoid the worst of those images (i.e. 12-17 year old boys are the largest consumers of porn), because it is absolutely impossible for them not to see a billboard, a magazine ad, etc..

I remember I was about 7 years old, we were visiting some friends that had two older daughters. They were probably in their late teens, maybe even college age. On this occasion I happened to walk into a room where one of them was changing. She wasn’t naked, she was in pants and had a bra on, but I remember it being a huge deal, and getting yelled at. Why? Because to see a girl in her unmentionables was not appropriate for any man that was not her husband.

Well times sure have changed! My sons or their dad can’t walk through the mall without being exposed to Victoria Secrets (not so secret really), Abercrombie, Fredericks of Hollywood. Now as an adult I understand the need to avert my eyes to look away, but as a 3 or 4 or 5 year old boy that is probably a much more difficult thing to do.

My oldest boy often times when he is with me will point out blondes and say, “Daddy they look like Mommy” (even when they don’t at all, but the hair color is the same). We drive to Fresno and there is a billboard of a strip joint with a blonde on it…I always try to distract him with the trains on the other side because I don’t want him seeing the advertisement for the strip club, and saying, “she looks like Mommy.” I don’t want that image in his head.

Because, yes those images are bad too! You see we’ve begun to worry so much about graphic pornography that we’ve not realized the tempting images in our own homes. Images that are in your every day magazines and on your TV’s that the men in your home (although we shouldn’t just put the pandemic on men: 1-6 women struggle with a porn addiction), and your children are seeing these images and these images can be just as addictive to a young or an already susceptible mind. As a child we didn’t have pornography in our house, we didn’t have a computer where I could find porn, we didn’t have cable TV that I might “happen” upon it, but we did have Victoria Secret Catalogs and Cosmo magazine, etc.. Nothing that most would give any mind to, but they were for me dangerous ground.

Can I suggest to all families out there that you get rid of even those little things in your home! For my parents they didn’t know I had seen porn at such a young age, they didn’t know that I was already struggling with those things early in life…you just didn’t share stuff like that…I am sure there are many parents out there that don’t know the fight their children and or there spouses have to control their minds, and these small little things don’t help.

Early in our marriage I made a comment to Christina about it not being good for me to see even those Victoria Secret catalogs. I know that my wife has bought things from Victoria Secrets and I know when you buy something there you often get the catalog, and I know we used to get the catalog. But can I tell you since I told Christina that these images weren’t good for me 6 plus years ago, I have never seen a catalog or anything like it in our home. If she gets them she must throw them out! I am appreciative to my wife for that. Which leads me to some steps that we can all take in dealing with this pandemic.

First while we are on the topic. Women, although sometimes it needs to be men as well, help to protect your husbands (or wives for men)! How can you do this? Well most women I know, especially in the church world hate the thought of their husbands looking at porn and yet in the movies they watch, in the TV shows they watch, in the magazines they have around the home, they are desensitizing the mind to being open to such things. The male mind that is already susceptible due to exposure in the past, will have a hard time NOT having these things be triggers in their lives for further and darker actions.

Women can also help their husbands, by not treating them like pariahs if they do struggle. Something I have learned about sin through the years, when buried it has more time for the roots to grow so that later it sprouts a destructive weed! We bury things because we are embarrassed and are scared that we will not be loved if we share our challenges. So wives and or husbands love your spouse in a way that they will feel they can be open and honest not just with this struggle, but in all struggles.

Protect your children! Both parents. No computers in places that are not in a public setting! No TV’s in rooms. Let me tell you why real quick on this one with a story from my childhood. Let me start by saying I believe the devil wants to destroy our kids! And he’ll do whatever he can to try and expose our kids to dangerous and damaging things. Between the ages of 12 to about 15 I had a TV in my room. Now we didn’t have anything by that time but basic cable. No premium channels, no extras just the basic network stations, and a few extra channels like USA and Prime Ticket (to watch my Lakers:)). Anyway one night late I was flipping through to get to Nick at Nite, I loved the old shows, “The Many Loves of Doby Gillis”, “My Three Sons”, “The Patty Duke show,” etc. And as I am flipping there is a fuzzy channel, but immediately something catches my eye I notice through the fuzz a naked woman…

Well I couldn’t see her very well, but do you want to bet that I went back and checked that channel on several occassions. Only to find fuzz everytime, until one night…there was a perfectly clear picture, porn! And for three or so nights I had free graphic porn. I honestly believe with all my heart the devil made that happen! And for that reason alone, my kids will never have TVs in their rooms. You may say, “that is overreacting, or what are the odds really?” Well with the devil the odds for the bad increase dramatically! He wants our kids!

Encourage your children to be honest with you and also to feel that they can say and share ANYTHING. When i was shown porn at the age of 4 by an adult. And when in my early teen years an older woman watched porn with me. No one ever said to me, “DON’T TELL ANYONE ABOUT THIS.” I was never given that admonition. I just instinctively knew it was wrong and therefore kept my mouth shut. It takes a very strong and CLOSE relationship for your kids to be able to break through those natural barriers and share. So please, build those relationships with your kids! And when they do share something, don’t blow it off as no big deal, it is a big deal to them or they wouldn’t have shared it! And also don’t overreact like it is the end of the world. If your kid tells you that they saw porn on the computer and you run over yank it out of the wall and smash it to bits on the ground, they probably aren’t going to share next time! Oh and don’t start bawling profusely! Waterworks don’t help kids share either!

For those like me that have experienced levels of abuse or maybe just by their own doing have exposed themselves to stuff like this and now it has a hold on them. It may be necessary to seek help! That is OKAY! It is not weakness to need help. I am a very strong, strong believer in Therapists, Counselors, Psychologists, etc.. Get help! And I am one that personally believes it is better to get help from a professional than to just have your buddy or even your spouse help you. Why? Because with a buddy or a spouse there is always that temptation to “hide” or to make yourself “look better than you are.”

And for all of us, I believe the greatest help in this pandemic is Jesus! We need to spend less time in the things of the world and more time doing the things of God. Not as a way to escape or deny our problems, but as an avenue by which to reshape and rehabilitate our minds.

I recently was speaking with an individual that had been battling this issue for decades. But finally over the last several years there has been a level of victory. You know what they told me finally did it, that they just began to spend inordinate (at least inordinate to their previous history) amounts of time just falling in love with Jesus through the study of the Bible and prayer.  Getting rid of things they used to watch and do, instead giving that time fully to Jesus, His work, and His Word.

The Bible tells us this,

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” –Psalm 119:11

We can’t simply take something out of our lives, we must fill that gap with something else. So fill your brains with the Word of God. Memorize scripture, hide it in your heart; allow God to provide a level of protection, healing, and victory that ultimately can only come through Him!

In closing I want to say to folk out there that may struggle with this pandemic! Jesus loves you this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong they are WEAK, but HE is STRONG! Yes Jesus loves you, yes Jesus loves you, yes Jesus loves you, the Bible tells me so!

You may hate yourself and see yourself as awful. But what I read in the Bible and what I have experienced in my life (as one that walks with the definite limp of sin) Jesus loves you and sees you as His beautiful and glorious child. He already died for you on the cross, accept that gift and let Him work out the junk in your life in His way, in His time!

If you are someone that is a member of my church, I want you to know as well. Your sin whether this or any other doesn’t matter to me, you are still welcome and loved at our church! I hate all sin, not just the secret ones! I hate sin because I love the people I see these sins destroying. So please be a part of the family, don’t hide, let us love you, pray for you, and journey with you!

Thanks for reading y’all. Let us all pray that through the power of God we will fight the good fight and finish the race.




Zechariah’s Beautiful Picture of The Gospel

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.  Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes. And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head. So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.”

” –Zechariah 3:1-5

Is this not one of the most beautiful Gospel texts in all the Bible?!

It is a courtroom scene, a judgment scene. There stands Joshua, obviously guilty in His filthy garments. The author of that filth the one who made Joshua filthy is also demanding justice. He, Satan, is the prosecuting attorney. Isn’t it ironic the one that authors our sin, leads us into sin, is in the end the one that will ultimately demand our lives. How quickly evil turns on itself.

I love how in this passage we don’t see Joshua, the one accused, the one guilty, the one needing to defend himself even speak a word; but he doesn’t need to! The Lord stands up and speaks on his behalf. The Lord tells Satan to be quiet. The Lord then commands the filth, the guilt be removed. And then the Lord speaks again and commands that new clothes, freedom, guiltless living be put on Joshua.

We make the Gospel very hard, but when we stand before the Lord He reads our hearts. He reads our sorrow. He knows our regret and our desire for things to be different. And because God looks on the heart He speaks over us forgiveness and newness of life.

I pray today no matter how guilty you are, that you will be willing to stand humbly before the Lord and let Him clean you and make you new through the blood of Jesus.

Struggling With Sin?

If you are like me and struggle with sin, here is a great clip that I pray will bless and encourage you. (Sorry for the shakiness of the picture)

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