Sabtu, 28 Februari 2015

How to Address Conflict in Ministry

How to Address Conflict in Ministry

Chris Wesley shares four tips on how to engage conflict.
Conflict comes in so many shapes and sizes. Sometimes it finds you and other times you need to create it. No one really wants conflict because it causes us to slow down and address something that’s messy. But the reality is that you cannot ignore it. Instead you need to:
The tendency is to hide from conflict, but all that does is create gaps in communication.  If the relationship isn’t solid then suspicion will fill in.
To take care of conflict immediately means: 
  • Acknowledging that there is a problem.
  • Communicating with all who are involved.
  • Creating a plan to address the situation.
If there is delay, the tension will grow along with the problem.
When emotions take over, it’s easy for rationale to go out the door. While you want to be authentic in your feelings, you need to make sure they don’t consume the conversation.
Change the focus from you and put it on resolving the issue. Think about what’s best for the relationship. Slow down the process, listen to the whole story and ask God for guidance and wisdom.
In conflict you need accountability and an outside perspective. An outside party will be able to hear things that you might miss. They’ll be able to explain the situation in a new light.
Partnering up is also important when meeting with someone of the opposite sex. It removes any misinterpretation and can diffuse any discomfort on the other person’s part.
Keep short accounts. Don’t keep a tally of how many times a certain person places in conflict in your life. Try to move on after a resolution is found. In the end you’ll be happier.
You might find that someone is a reoccurring problem. Again, in those situations it’s important to have accountability. Bring any conflict you have to your pastor or supervisor, so that they can help you create safeguards.
Conflict is not fun, but it is necessary. It’s going to help you stop, slow down and think about what you are doing. Instead of ignoring it, address it and move through it. In the end it will make you stronger.
What other tips would you offer when it comes to facing conflict?   
Chris Wesley Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met my wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, heI was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry. More from Chris Wesley or visit Chris at

The One Sentence Mantra That Could Change Your Ministry

The One Sentence Mantra That Could Change Your Ministry

Can one sentence change the game for you? It could.
I’ve taken everything I’ve learned about reaching super-busy students …
… and I think I’ve boiled it down into one sentence that, if applied, could radically change your ministry.
Now, I hate it when bloggers write headlines that make wild, exaggerated claims just to get clicks.
The headline to this article is NOT an exaggeration.
It’s one sentence, and it could fundamentally change your ministry forever.
Here it is:
Your ability to share God’s love with teenagers is not dependent on their attendance at your program.

It hit me when I drove home from a one-on-one with a student who almost never comes to youth group. He’s got pretty intense social anxiety and our large group can intimidate him.
Good thing my ability to share God’s love with him isn’t dependent on his attendance at my program.
I don’t mean to diminish the importance of church attendance, and I do think it’s important for teenagers to experience faith corporately with one another.
But I also know that too many of us have gotten caught in a trap where we start to believe that we can’t do ministry if they don’t show up.
It’s ridiculous when a student plays video games all weekend, then skips youth group on Sunday night because he’s swamped with homework.
It’s more ridiculous when we believe that we can’t be in ministry to students who are procrastinators, but sometimes that’s exactly what happens.
My ability to share God’s love with teenagers is not dependent on their attendance at my program.
If you can read that sentence out loud, I’ve found that it’s actually incredibly freeing.
It’s freeing because so many of us spend so much of our time racking our brains trying to figure out how to get teenagers to show up at youth group because we’ve been conditioned to believe that youth group is the place where ministry happens.
And while that may be true, it’s time to get reconditioned because youth group isn’t the only place where ministry happens.
He didn’t even know he was a youth pastor …
I have a friend who’s a director at a camp that serves primarily low-income families. He plans and delivers nine weeks of summer camp, and that’s a lot of work.
But he spends the bulk of his off-season following up with the kids who attended his camps. In a typical week, he sees about 30 students either one-on-one or in very small groups of two or three.
He spends more time listening to and praying with students than any youth pastor I know. His ministry isn’t dependent on a student’s attendance at his program, and that’s a good thing, because for 10 months of the year, he doesn’t have one.
Now, I understand that it’s impossible for you—one person—to run a wide-ranging ministry and give dedicated one-on-one time to every student who never shows up. There simply aren’t enough hours in the week.
But this is absolutely a mindset that you can transfer to volunteers and other leaders too.
Just because they’re not here for youth group doesn’t mean we can’t somehow be in ministry with them.
Here’s your very basic action item …

There may be dozens of students who fall on your “doesn’t really show up” list. That’s pretty common actually.
What I’ve noticed in most youth workers is that there are usually three or four who really haunt us. They stick out. It seems that God’s placed those students directly on our hearts, and so we work especially hard to invite and entice them to our programs.
It’s in these cases that I think oftentimes we’ve clearly heard God’s calling, but we’ve misinterpreted our next step.
If God has especially placed a student on your heart, it’s not because he wants you to invite them to your program, it’s because he wants you to be in ministry with them …
… and that’s something that is not dependent on their attendance in your program.
So, your action item is this: Write down the names of three students who don’t show up and who God’s placed on your heart.
Then instead of trying to figure out how to get them to come to youth group …
… start trying to figure out how you can be in ministry with them even if they don’t.  
Aaron Helman Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes at Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations – things like leading volunteers, managing money, and communicating effectively. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana. More from Aaron Helman or visit Aaron at

Francis Chan: Can the poor get in Your Door

Only Love Can Crowd out the Evil in our World

Image result for Only Love
Only Love Can Crowd out the Evil in our World
By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writer's Opinion)
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – Feb. 27. 2015)Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs”—Proverbs 10:12 (NIV).
In a recent morning devotional, the writer shared about the loss of his 17-year-old grandson, the fatal victim of a robbery. Commenting on his grandson, the grandfather said, “We had recently attended his high school graduation, and he planned to enter college in the fall. He was a handsome, loving and talented young man. Now, suddenly, he was gone.”
As the writer continued to share his story, my heart went out to him and his family. I can’t imagine the pain they’ve experienced. The writer said, “The senseless murder of our grandson was not part of God’s plan. ‘What,’ I wondered, ‘led the killers to tear a hole in the glory of God’s world?’ The only answer that came to me was that evil had taken root in their lives because love was not there to crowd it out.”
As I pondered this thought, I had to agree. If someone never experiences the love of a parent, a kind neighbor, a compassionate school teacher, a loving church family or even the kindness of a stranger, how do they understand the love of Christ? As the writer above said in his devotional, “Many people who commit crimes against their neighbors have not experienced God’s love through their interactions with others. Much of the violence in life can be prevented if we Christians extend love to all people.”
All people—even the ones whom we’d rather avoid? The ones that rub us the wrong way or slyly insult we have to love them too? Yes, according to Jesus, even the ones who annoy us, step on our toes, invade our personal space or whose personal habits cause us to turn up our nose in disgust.
In Mark 12:31, Jesus tells us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He didn’t say “like” them. He told us to “love” them, even the least of these.
Several times a month I work at our church’s food pantry, bagging groceries for those in need. Our Good Sam ministry now serves approximately 1,000 people a month. It has grown exponentially since I started serving in 2008. While it might be tempting to judge some of the “least of these,” we don’t know their story. As I have become less judgmental and more loving, I have learned how far a hug and a prayer go toward helping those who seek help. And you know what? I feel loved in return.
Jesus understood two important truths we must remember: Everyone is created in God’s image. Our Heavenly Father chooses to love each of His children. Second, because we’re all sinners, we’re unlovable. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Pastor and theologian Timothy Keller said, “If we know we are sinners saved by grace alone, we will be both open and generous to the outcasts and the unlovely.”
If God can love us, surely we can love those around us.
Read more

Joni and Friends Helps Organize Group to Facilitate Disability Ministry Worldwide

Joni and Friends Helps Organize Group to Facilitate Disability Ministry Worldwide
By Dan Wooding, founder of ASSIST and ASSIST News Service
WESTLAKE VILLAGE,CA (ANS – Feb 27, 2015) Organizers of the Global Access Conference, a first-of-its-kind event held last week to promote disability ministry worldwide, launched a new association at the conference that could prove to be its lasting legacy.
Joni with Dr. Charles WareAccording to a news release from A. Larry Ross Communications, more than 1,000 people from about 50 countries attended the conference, organized by the Joni and Friends ministry, at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. Almost half of them – 450 -- signed up for the new group, the Global Access Association.
“The world's 1 billion people with disabilities are desperately crying out for help and hope,” said Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and CEO of Joni and Friends. “This is why the Global Access Association is critically needed – we simply must resource, network with, and help one another reach for Christ this global population!”
Members of the staff of Joni and Friends, who had planned for the four-day conference for five years, said that the association will facilitate the growth of disability ministry as a worldwide movement by:
* edifying participants with practical knowledge and resources to accelerate their ministry;
* engaging participants in a global network of like-minded people and organizations; and
* encouraging the worldwide mission of the body of Christ through people with disabilities.
The conference – subtitled “Where Disabilities and Possibilities Meet” -- brought together disability leaders, ministers, educators and practitioners to share experiences, forge relationships and learn how to practically and effectively promote disability ministry in the Christian community.
The Global Access Association was a natural outgrowth of the gathering. For more information, please visit
Dan and Peter Wooding with Joni Eareckson Tada and her husband Ken after Dan had interview Joni at NRB 2015Attendees heard speakers such as Nick Vujicic, international speaker and founder of Life without Limbs; Dr. Joseph D'souza, International President of the Dalit Freedom Network; and Hyatt Moore, former president of Wycliffe Bible Translators who painted a 17-by-6-foot mural of the banquet from Luke 14 during the conference.
Conference participants also attended a pre-release screening of “The Drop Box,” a highly praised documentary about the “baby box” in South Korea where unwanted infants – many of them disabled – are left anonymously in the care of Pastor Lee Jong-rak. Joni and Friends also released a short film, “Ebenezer,” about the 100,000th wheelchair delivered under its Wheels for the World program.
For 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone. For more information, please visit
Note to Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview with Joni and Friends representatives, please contact Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or
Photo captions: 1) Joni chatting with Dr. Charles Ware, one of the keynote speakers for the Global Access Conference 2015. 2) Ken Tada and Joni Eareckson Tada with Dan and Peter Wooding at NRB 2015 in Nashville after Dan had interviewed them and Peter had videoed it.
Read more

Jumat, 27 Februari 2015's Craig Gross on Why Christians Should Have the Best Sex, but Don't's Craig Gross on Why Christians Should Have the Best Sex, but Don't (Interview - Pt. 1)

By Stephanie Samuel , Christian Post Reporter
January 27, 2015|7:38 am
  • Craig Gross
    (Photo: Facebook/Craig Gross)
    Pastor Craig Gross of
For years founder Craig Gross has been passionate about helping Christians struggling with pornography addiction and evangelizing men and women working in the porn industry. Now he has a new passion: to break Christians' silence about sex.
"When you come into marriage, there still seems to be this off-limits talk about sex where I haven't told my wife this is what I like or I like to do this," Gross shared with The Christian Post.
Together with his wife, Jeanette, and Dave and Ashley Willis of, they recently launched the Best Sex Life Now video series to help Christian couples work on their sex life.
In his interview with CP, Gross explains why some Christians feel uncomfortable talking about sex and how couples can make sure their sex life progresses at the same pace as the rest of their marriage.
Here is a transcript, edited for length and clarity, of part one of the interview.
The Christian Post: You said that Christians should be having the best sex ever. That's a really bold statement. What led you to put that statement out there?
Gross: I think for a number of reasons. Mainly, I deal with people obviously caught up in pornography, caught up in affairs, caught up in all that the world offers and I feel like what is portrayed in movies and magazines is like this 50 Shades of Grey. All this stuff portrays sex as this great thing and then I see Christians in marriage struggle with conversations about sex, struggle about all these things surrounding sex – the shame, the guilt, I don't know how to talk about it, I don't know how to approach it – yet I feel like it's all around us. The conversation is all around us but yet inside marriage, those of us who are doing this as I think God intended sex to be should be experiencing sex on a greater level than somebody who is doing this out of God's will. But the sad part about this is I feel like people are not.
I waited 22 years of my life to have sex and then I think we've sold people in the church, not a lie, because I think it can't happen, but it just doesn't happen automatically that you get married, you fall in love, you follow Jesus and you have great sex. Everyone has a different upbringing so when you come into marriage, there still seems to be this off-limits talk about sex where I haven't told my wife this is what I like or I would like to do this or I would like when. I mean even simple things like we talk about in the series like 'hey, we should have sex with the lights on.' Why is that off-limits? Why is that uncomfortable for … a husband and wife to talk about?
That's what we're trying to do in the series; like 'hey, let's talk through this.'
My wife and I went to a marriage conference, you know, just to check out what's out there. [It was a] Christian marriage conference, the leading marriage conference that's out there. The guy talked for a little, brief time about sex and what he brought up about it was, I thought, my expectations going into marriage is my wife would shave her legs every night before we got into bed. Everyone laughed and I kind of just thought, wait, that's your expectations?
We're in a marriage conference, we're all Christians, everyone's here, you can go a lot deeper than that and I was just like that's it? A couple giggles, a couple of thoughts? Man, I feel like the people I talk to today have worst expectations of what sex is and what to expect and maybe for 1984 that might of worked but to me in 2014 [I'm thinking] we got to talk about what pornography, what role that's played in your expectations.
So that's what we try to do in the series: like really practical, what are people thinking, what could we force people into having a conversation about that maybe their partners wanted to [talk about] but they never knew how to bring up.
CP: Why is it that outside of Christ everyone feels comfortable talking about sex but inside of Christ, few want to talk specifically about sex?
Gross: Sex has made its way into everything and you know when you've got 50 Shades of Grey as a major movie that's coming out only because of the books were so popular, and I think it just shows you that men and women are drawn to sex. I would argue men more visually and women more emotionally, but either way we're both interested and the world's talking about it and the world realizes this is how you get people's attention and then the church I think has come along. We get invited to church after church these days which never happened early on in our ministry but you know they're doing series on sex. You had Ed Young talk about having sex for seven nights in a row with your spouse.
You have a lot of conversation, but I still feel like it's once a year and when you do it, then people think you're trying to shock somebody rather than trying to talk through it. So my approach has been the more you can have these conversations, the less awkward they are; the more you can talk to you kids about it, the more you can talk to your spouse about it. But why is this conversation off limits? I have no good answer.
I'm 39 [38 at the time of the discussion], my dad died two years ago now and my mom's visiting and we're talking in the van with my kids, and we're driving by the house that she grew up at. My parents weren't Christians when they got married and I just starting asking her a bunch of questions… I said something like they got married very quickly and I just brought up the question about living together. (She answers) no, we didn't live together and I said did you guys have sex and she goes no, we didn't have sex and she's super embarrassed, she didn't want to talk about and she's like your kids are in the car and I was like mom, it's fine, why didn't you have sex? You didn't know anything about Jesus, your parents didn't raise you (in the church), and I was super intrigued and then I said to her, mom I'm 38 like it would have been great to know this when I was like 12 or 11 or 13. Like (it would have been great if) you and dad sat me down and said 'hey, you know what, we didn't know anything about it but we chose to do this.' I'm like pushing her and she's like just get me out of the car. She's still so uncomfortable talking about it and I'm like you have nothing (to be ashamed of) you did this the right way and ... I feel like we don't share our values and we don't share our stories.
For me, I didn't have sex before marriage; my wife did --she wasn't raised in the church – and so my kids know both of our stories and my wife can add a whole different conversation than I can and I feel like a lot of us have never talked through it with … our kids and then let alone with each other like how did your dating life or sex life prior to marriage how's that going to affect your marriage. We're scared and we're shameful so we just shelf it and then we get married and then sex isn't what we thought it would be – no wonder – it's awkward and then you don't do it and then you're roommates.
After years of doing this ministry, I met a guy this summer and he says, 'Craig, you know what, there's nothing out there for couples to have great sex.' I go, 'what do you mean; there's Cosmopolitan and 10 ways for this,' and he goes, 'no, I'm talking about my wife and I disconnected after basically our first year of marriage so I went to porn and then I went to strip clubs,' and his story just progressed downward and he's not blaming it on that, but he goes 'man we didn't have the counseling, we didn't have the help whereas if we would have figured this thing out, maybe I wouldn't have gone that way.'
There were a number of those conversations where I finally said to my wife, who never goes on camera, didn't want to do this, isn't a public person, is very private, 'Jeanette, I think we can offer something.'

Gross: I think it's physical and it's spiritual.
My wife jokes, I think on the series, if you're not having sex, you're just roommates and joking aside, I think there's something there. It's a benefit of being married but I think it's something that bonds you and bring you closer and it's something that's shared and obviously the most intimate thing you're going to do.
I'm convinced – I've heard it for years, people tell me our marriage is great but our sex life isn't, and I would really push into that like 'I don't think you can use those words and say we have a great marriage we just don't connect here.' But I would say this: I haven't met somebody who says my sex life is great, but my marriage is on the rocks. Most people I meet they go 'man, we've really worked through the sex stuff and we're connecting on a level there,' and those people I know, when I look at their marriages, [I see that the rest of their relationship] that's clicking as well because women aren't going to have sex with you when their marriage isn't going right. Men are probably open on that than women, but I think it's a real good indication there of how your marriage is really going and so without [sex] I think you're just selling your marriage short. You're missing out on not just a physical element but something that I think is going to connect you like nothing else.
But it is something that you don't just arrive there and go, 'oh, this is amazing.' I think it takes work, it takes time, it takes years sometimes but conversations will help you get there.

CP: You say that just as a couple's marriage should progress from where it started when you were newlyweds, their sex life should also be progressing. How does a couple do that?
Gross: I look at it as when you start, whether you've had sex or not prior to marriage, when you start having sex with your spouse for the first time, there's still [unrealistic expectations] as close as you are. My wife and I dated for three years and we hadn't had sex and I felt like we're not going to have any problems here. We talked through this and still though, guys probably have more of an unrealistic expectation of it's going to happen all the time, she's going to wake me up, you know all this stuff and when you realize, not walls go up but I feel like when things don't get talked about or when there's disappointment, or when I thought that would happen more or I thought it would be like this, frustrations in the bedroom come from people just not being willing to talk through likes and dislikes.
It is about being comfortable in the most intimate level kind of with your spouse.
I talked to a woman and her husband and she said 'I've never reached orgasm in nine years of having sex,' and she told me that with her husband there and it's like the first time that [she's said that]. And now it's like you're faking it, and two, you're embarrassed. That guy is obviously going 'I'm enjoying this,' she's not; she doesn't want to do it; she feels disappointed and now it's just frustration rather than let's work, let's work to figure out what do you need here and that's the part, especially in the Christian world, where just those conversations feel dirty. Well I would like it if you did this or what about if we tried this, and for some reason I feel like Christians especially, we shut that down like 'ew, I can't talk about that' or we feel like that's wrong.
The joke I made [in the series] about having sex with the lights on. I don't know many guys that aren't visual (no matter what their) wife looks like. They don't care at that point that their wife might have insecurities and so that's a hard thing. Most women, whether they're a model or not, everyone has insecurities and so it's easier to have the lights off and go under the covers. So when you just explain that and you watch the video and we talk though it, then a wife can go to her husband and say would you like to have sex with the lights on and he goes yeah and she goes that's uncomfortable for me but let me work on that for you.
Those are things that now I feel that you can start going 'I did this and that might help you and I would like this' and not feel dirty or gross and feel OK to have those conversations with each other.

Let’s Call 'Fifty Shades of Grey' What It Is: Perverted

Let’s Call 'Fifty Shades of Grey' What It Is: Perverted

50 Shades of Grey
50 Shades of Grey (Facebook)
When the novel Fifty Shades of Grey was published three years ago, critics described it as "dull and poorly written," "depressing" and "a sad joke." Yet, it sold 100 million copies.
Women were fascinated by the dark tale of a 21-year-old college student, Ana Steele, who falls in love with a handsome but mysterious young billionaire named Christian Grey after she interviews him for a newspaper.
The book was accurately dubbed "mommy porn" because it is sexually graphic and full of crude language, and also because Christian expects his girlfriends to totally submit to his sexual tastes—which involve whips, chains, handcuffs and gray neckties.
This is not just mainstream porn. This is mainstream bondage porn. And it's coming to a theater near you, just in time for Valentine's Day.
The movie version of the book will hit theaters on Feb. 13, and Fandango says Fifty Shades of Grey is already breaking records for advance ticket sales. Presumably, fans of the book will be lining up at the cineplex to watch Christian abuse Ana in his bedroom, which she calls the Red Room of Pain.
Critics expected the film to be rated N-17. (After all, the actor who plays Christian, Jamie Dornan, visited a sex dungeon to prepare for the role.) But the Motion Picture Association of America announced last week that Fifty Shades will be rated R. That means (1) the sex scenes were edited carefully, (2) teenagers can see it legally, and (3) the movie will probably make a ton of money.
I think I'm going to be sick.
We Americans get really angry when oil companies spill toxic fuel in our oceans; yet we applaud when Hollywood dumps a tanker of poisonous garbage like Fifty Shades of Grey on our country—with no offer to clean up the damage. We should be outraged. I'm not going to picket my local theater when this movie debuts, but I'm urging people to think before they spend $10.50 to flush what's left of American decency down the toilet.
Here are three of the biggest reasons why we should urge everyone to cover their eyes and run from Fifty Shades of Grey:
1. It encourages sexual deviance. In the novel, Christian invites Ana to become his sexual partner, but he asks her to sign a document that spells out what he plans to do to her—and he demands that she tell no one about it. The contract says: "The Submissive shall accept whippings, floggings, spankings, canings, paddlings, or any other discipline the Dominant should decide to administer, without hesitation, inquiry or complaint." Ana finds out that Christian has had relationships like this with 15 other women—and yet she still pursues him, agrees to the painful sex and enjoys it.
There might have been some redemptive value in this movie if Ana called the police or ran out of Christian's penthouse and refused his advances because she respected herself. But no—she submits to the abuse, and signals to women everywhere that there is pleasure in pain. The film also tells women that it's OK to be a mindless sexual slave, especially if your boyfriend is rich, handsome and has his own helicopter.
2. It glorifies violence against women. Last year a researcher from the University of Michigan did a study on the effects of Fifty Shades of Grey on women readers. It showed that women who read the books (it is actually a trilogy) were 25 percent more likely to have an abusive partner; 34 percent were more likely to have a partner who stalked them; and 65 percent were more likely to engage in binge drinking.
Just as there is a link between violent video games and violent behavior in teen boys, this study showed that women who read graphic porn novels tend to gravitate toward the types of abusive relationships depicted in books like Fifty Shades. The study also showed that these women were more likely to have eating disorders. (Interestingly, the dominant male character in Fifty Shades carefully controls his girlfriend's eating habits.)
3. It totally perverts the meaning of love. In one scene in the book, Christian buys Ana a platinum and diamond bracelet so she can cover the bruises on her wrists—which she got after being tied to her boyfriend's bed. The message from Ana's lover: I will hurt you, but I will buy you nice gifts so you will stay with me. That's twisted. And couples are going to see this movie on Valentine's Day?
One of the most bizarre moments in the book occurs after Ana leaves Christian and then goes back to him. She says: "The physical pain you inflicted was not as bad as the pain of losing you." Any psychologist will tell you that is the mentality of an abuse victim, who is brainwashed to believe that the attention she gets from her abuser is better than no attention at all.
True love is not about pain, domination or control—but Hollywood is happy to serve big helpings of this slop if people are willing to pay for it. Please protect women. Please defend decency. Please don't support this movie.
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter @leegrady. He is the author of 10 Lies the Church Tells Women and other books. You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, at
Did you enjoy this blog? Click here to receive it by email.

Hope After Porn – “Forsaking All Others”

Hope After Porn – “Forsaking All Others”

The following is chapter 3 of the book, Hope After Porn: 4 Women’s Tales of Heartbreak and How Their Marriages Were Saved. Download the whole e-book for free right now.

I’ll never forget the first time I walked in on my husband looking at Internet pornography. Immediately my heart sank, and I remember this sick feeling wash over me. The thought that began to plague my mind instantly was, “How will I ever be able to compete with her?”
If I think about that day I can remember exactly what the woman looked like. How she was posing and what her facial expression was. I would tell you what she was wearing but that’s just it…she wasn’t wearing anything. She was very well endowed and made me look like I was just about to get my first training bra. Her long, gorgeous, blonde hair cascaded over her shoulders but not enough to cover up anything.
Hope After Porn - Cindy and Chris
I knew my husband, Chris, struggled with lust because we’d been married for five years. His admissions seemed to be vulnerable and honest but I’d later find it was just a smokescreen. I didn’t realize how hard it would hit me to walk in on him in the middle of him fulfilling his lustful moment. I guess I was okay with his sin being “out of sight, out of mind.”

Faith and Filth

Chris’ introduction to pornography came when he was merely eight years old. He didn’t ask for his sin to begin at that age, but it did. And for a growing, curious boy the desire to see more only grew throughout the rest of his childhood and adolescence. The hunger could be satiated by an occasional look at a National Geographic if you weren’t picky about the kind of naked women you’d see. His newfound addiction didn’t totally bombard his life as a youngster simply because to obtain such racy material meant that you had to know someone who could buy a Playboy or a Penthouse from the local convenience store.
It wasn’t until Chris became a follower of Christ at the age of 19 that he really realized he had a problem. I mean, it’s fairly normal for any man, regardless of his age, to want to look at naked women. Most of the world doesn’t feel bad about doing something that “all men do.” So he didn’t see anything wrong with it until one July day in 1991 when the gospel of Jesus Christ was presented to him in a small town diner in a way that he could truly understand. Chris accepted that Jesus Christ paid the price for his sins, and from that day forward it was apparent that God had changed his heart. Chris was different. One day he was a womanizer, dabbling in illegal drugs. The next day he was praying, worshipping God, and starting to tell others about this Jesus he just met. After a short time he even decided that one day he would like to enter into full-time ministry.
Now, I wish I could tell you that his newfound faith in Jesus zapped any desire from him to look at pornography. The truth is that he still struggled with it but seemed to have a handle on it until a little thing called the Internet showed up. And that, my friends, was like putting gas on a smoldering fire.
Only I had no idea how bad it was until one awful day: February 19, 2002.

The Devastating Confession

The date is indelibly written in my mind. I will never forget what I was doing when Chris walked in the door that Tuesday morning. We’d been in our new home in our new town for less than a week when he dropped the biggest bomb on me. After asking me to join him on the sofa, he proceeded to tell me that he’d been unfaithful to me many times with many different women over a period of about two-and-a-half years. In the midst of my immediate reeling, devastation, and line of questioning, he admitted that he was a full-blown porn addict.
In the early days, looking at pictures of naked women was enough to satisfy his craving. But, over time, looking at pictures turned into watching videos, which eventually turned into chatting with women who were just as messed up as he was. And before long, the unthinkable occurred: His online fantasy became a reality with a woman.
As he shared with me how this once small addiction spiraled out of control, I learned that these horrendous actions weren’t because he didn’t love me but because he was unable—or unwilling—to get free from his addiction. It sure didn’t feel like he loved me but eventually I realized that the bondage that took over his life was more than he could handle. So he acted out.

Stipulations for Change

Within minutes of his confession we were in the company of people who really cared for us. Our pastor and several church staff members came to our aid and truly wanted to help us. We needed this badly because we hardly knew anyone in our church. But our church leaders told us if we really wanted help restoring our marriage, Chris would have some strict stipulations placed upon him. And some of these stipulations would inconvenience me. Was I ready for that?
Knowing the road ahead would be far from easy, Chris willingly said he would do anything and everything to get free. He said he was desperate for freedom. And even though a big part of me wanted to head for the hills and never look back, a bigger part of me wanted to see if this jacked-up marriage could be redeemed.
Chris resigned from his pastoral role at our church and immediately began to look for a new job. He has a college degree so how hard could it be to find something? The leadership team at our church told Chris that he could not get a job where he had access to a computer, was going to be alone with women, or had to travel. That left The Home Depot. Chris’ new “salary” was more than cut in half by taking this new job. Strict stipulation number one.
The team also came and removed our computer from our home for more than two months. They wanted to make sure that Chris had no access to pornography. Talk about inconvenient. We had to go to the public library to check our e-mail. Strict stipulation number two.
Chris also was not allowed to do things on his own for several weeks except drive to work and back. He was either with us or his mentor from church. The team didn’t want there to even be a hint of an opportunity to make a bad choice again. Strict stipulation number three.
Basically, the first few months after his “confession” were not easy even on the easiest days. It was inconvenient for both of us. Sometimes I would get frustrated that I had to deal with the consequences of his actions. But my pastor, Craig Groeschel, said that sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more. Despite the crazy amount of hurt that my husband caused, I still loved him. The love I had for him didn’t just “go away” because he wounded me. I was willing to set aside “me” in order to see “us” be healed. Even though it was painful and oftentimes dreadful, it was the choice I made, and I do not have one regret for making it.
Hope After Porn - 4 StoriesAs much as I loved my husband, I loved God more. I made a commitment to God early on in my college years that I would follow Him and live for Him no matter what, that I was “His girl,” and that he could count on me even when things got rough. Well, things were rough, to say the least. However, even in the midst of my darkest hours, He was there comforting me because I leaned into Him instead of running from Him when the hurt, pain, and fear invaded my every thought.
As hard as the stipulations were, they were good. Necessary, even. I know that sounds contradictory to what I just wrote. The good didn’t necessarily happen during all of this but as a result of everything. I don’t believe that an addict can break free without a total abandonment of his or her drug. My husband certainly couldn’t. We knew that eventually we would have a computer in our home again. I can’t tell you the fear that struck in me. As much as I wanted the convenience of checking e-mail in my own home, I was frightened that my husband wouldn’t be able to handle having his “drug” so available.
That’s where Covenant Eyes came into play. Before the computer was brought back into our home, we made a plan to install the protection that Covenant Eyes Accountability software offers. Let me tell you, it was such a relief knowing that I would know every website that our computer went to. And when the day would come that Chris would have his own laptop for work, we would have that computer monitored as well.

Boundaries that Bring Freedom

Today—after years of counseling, accountability, and personal growth—Chris is back on staff at our church. He knows that every move he makes on his computer is monitored. Knowing that reports of his Internet activity are sent to his boss, his best friend, and to me help keep him free. Chris really doesn’t want to go back to the life he lived for 20+ years, but when temptation arises, he knows that we will all know if he fails. And he will tell you that knowing that helps him so much.
Some people might feel like they are in prison with this kind of Internet protection. Not Chris. He saw the boundaries as keeping him free! He desperately desired freedom from the monster that invaded his life for so long. It didn’t bother him that his every move was monitored. In fact, he thrived under this boundary!
Our world fell apart in 2002. It’s been quite a journey to say the least. Every Thursday I still get a Covenant Eyes report that tells me all of the websites my husband visits. Week after week, year after year, I see the same common websites that he visits. I see that he likes to read reviews on products before he buys them. I see that he enjoys catching up on some sports every so often. I see that he watches a few silly videos on YouTube from time to time. But you know what I don’t see?
I am grateful for our path. Not because of the pain, but because of what the pain has brought about in our lives. My marriage is one of the healthiest I’ve ever seen. Trust has been restored in amazing ways because my husband and I have no secrets. We are truly best friends who want to keep our marriage strong. In order for that to happen, we do whatever it takes.

Cindy Beall - Hope after PornCindy Beall is a writer, speaker and mentor to women. She and her husband, Chris, speak openly about their difficult journey through Chris’ infidelity and pornography addiction that nearly destroyed their marriage and ministry. Through God’s grace they have inspired thousands of people and have returned to full-time ministry where Chris serves as the Oklahoma City Campus Pastor at Cindy serves as the Sisters Women’s Ministry leader for their campus. Her first book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, was published in 2011 through Harvest House Publishers.

Selasa, 24 Februari 2015


Image result for AB Simpson

Albert Benjamin Simpson lahir di Prince Edward Island, Kanada, pada 15 Desember 1843 dari pasangan James dan Janet (Clark) Simpson. Keluarganya beremigrasi dari Skotlandia, dan pelatihan kerohanian Simpson berasal dari iman Scottish Covenanter (gerakan Presbyterian Skotlandia -- Red) yang diwariskan orang tuanya. Gelombang depresi melanda Kanada pada tahun 1840-an, menyebabkan bisnis ayahnya bangkrut. Dari sana, mereka pindah ke Ontario bagian barat untuk bertani. Ayahnya adalah penatua yang terhormat, dan orang tuanya menekan Simpson untuk menjadi seorang pelayan Tuhan. Namun, Simpson memiliki kehendak yang bertentangan. Ia memang memiliki latar belakang moral yang baik, tetapi tidak memiliki keyakinan apakah ia benar-benar dipanggil untuk melayani.

Simpson belajar di Knox College di Toronto untuk menjadi pendeta Presbyterian. Di bawah tekanan yang berat selama pendidikannya, fisik dan emosinya mengalami keruntuhan. Saat itu, Simpson baru berusia 14 tahun! Ia yakin bahwa ia dapat mati setiap saat, dan ia menjadi terbeban oleh pikiran bahwa ia tidak sungguh-sungguh mengenal Allah dan mungkin saja ia tidak memiliki hidup yang kekal. Pada tahun 1858, ia mengalami perubahan besar dalam pengenalannya akan Allah ketika ia membaca buku yang ditulis Walter Marshall berjudul "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification" (Misteri Injil tentang Pengudusan) di ruang belajar pendetanya. Dalam buku itu dijelaskan mengenai pentingnya menerima Yesus sebagai Juru Selamat dan bahwa segala sesuatu yang dikerjakan di luar Dia adalah sebuah kesia-siaan. Pembenaran sejati hanya berasal dari penerimaan akan Yesus, dan berdasarkan penerimaan itulah kita juga akan menerima Roh Kudus dan hati yang baru. Yang mengherankan, hal ini adalah sesuatu penyingkapan yang baru bagi Simpson. Saat itu juga, ia berlutut dan menyerahkan hidupnya bagi Kristus. Ada damai sejahtera baru yang mengisi hatinya dan sejak saat itu, firman Allah menjadi lebih hidup daripada sebelum-sebelumnya.

Simpson lulus dari Knox College pada tahun 1865 dan diterima sebagai pelayan di Knox Church di Hamilton, sebuah gereja dengan 1.200 jemaat, dan merupakan gereja terbesar kedua di Kanada. Simpson melayani gereja itu selama delapan tahun sebagai pendeta yang luar biasa berhasil. Gereja itu mendapat tambahan sebanyak 750 orang selama Simpson melayani di tempat itu. Simpson masih dalam keadaan sakit ketika ia menerima tawaran untuk melayani Gereja Presbyterian di Louisville, Kentucky pada tahun 1874. Pada saat itu, Perang Sipil Amerika meninggalkan permasalahan finansial dan spiritual bagi gereja dan Louisville. Simpson terpanggil untuk mengajak semua orang mengadakan rekonsiliasi dan pertemuan doa. Persekutuan doa yang diadakan bagi para hamba Tuhan selama dua bulan itu melahirkan beberapa pertemuan interdenominasi dengan 10.000 penduduk lokal. Simpson juga mendirikan pelayanan misi di seluruh penjuru kota untuk menyediakan tempat bagi orang-orang yang tidak pergi ke gereja. Dalam pelayanan ini, Simpson mendorong dirinya melampaui batas kekuatan fisiknya sehingga ayahnya khawatir ia akan mencelakakan dirinya sendiri. Di penghujung tahun kelimanya, Simpson merasa bahwa ia telah melakukan semua yang dapat ia lakukan bagi Louisville. Pada tahun 1879, Simpson dipanggil ke New York City untuk melayani di Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church.

Tahun 1881 adalah titik balik dalam kesehatan dan keyakinan Simpson tentang kesembuhan ilahi. Ia pernah mengalami kasih Allah dalam hal tersebut beberapa tahun sebelumnya. Saat itu, seorang perempuan yang anak sulungnya dalam keadaan koma dan sekarat, meminta Simpson datang dan berdoa bersama anaknya. Ibu itu tidak benar-benar yakin apakah anaknya telah memperoleh keselamatan. Jadi, Simpson datang ke rumah ibu itu dan berdoa supaya anak itu dapat menjadi cukup sehat untuk membicarakan hal itu dengan ibunya. Ketika Simpson hendak pergi dari sana, anak itu bangun dan mulai saat itu, ia berangsur-angsur pulih. Kejadian itu sangat berkesan sehingga Simpson tidak pernah melupakannya. Simpson berupaya untuk memercayai Yesus sebagai tabib baginya, tetapi karena seorang dokter mengatakan bahwa yang ia percayai itu hanyalah dugaannya saja, Simpson pun meninggalkan keyakinannya akan hal itu.

Pada musim panas tahun itu, Simpson dan keluarganya pergi ke Old Orchard Beach di Maine. Di sana, Dr. Charles Cullis mengadakan sebuah pertemuan, tetapi Simpson hanya mengikuti beberapa sesi di antaranya karena ia ke sana dengan tujuan untuk beristirahat dan bersantai. Selama musim panas itu, ia mendengar beberapa kesaksian dari orang-orang yang mendapat kesembuhan karena memercayai firman Allah. Hal itu membuat Simpson berkomitmen untuk mencari tahu sendiri apakah hal itu benar adanya. Jadi, ia membuka Alkitabnya dan berusaha mencari tuntunan Allah mengenai hal ini. Setelah menemukan bahwa hal itu benar, ia pergi ke sebuah hutan sendirian dan membuat komitmen untuk memercayai tiga hal. Pertama, memercayai bahwa kesembuhan ilahi memang ada dalam Alkitab dan ia tidak akan meragukannya. Kedua, bahwa ia akan menyerahkan kesehatannya sepenuhnya kepada Kristus dan hanya akan menggantungkan perlindungannya kepada Yesus. Ketiga, ia akan berbicara tentang kesembuhan dan akan melayani dalam bidang apa pun yang Tuhan inginkan. Ia benar-benar diliputi oleh hadirat Allah dan tahu bahwa ada sesuatu yang berubah. Ia disembuhkan dari kelainan jantungnya pada bulan Agustus.

Simpson mulai mengajar tentang kesembuhan ilahi, yang pada saat itu dipandang dengan penuh curiga oleh orang banyak. Saat itu, New York memiliki populasi imigran yang besar dan Simpson memiliki beban yang besar bagi orang-orang miskin dan terhilang. Ia memimpin sekitar 100 orang imigran Italia kepada Kristus dan menginginkan mereka untuk menjadi anggota gerejanya. Namun, jemaatnya mengatakan bahwa gereja lain mungkin lebih tepat bagi 100 orang itu. Hati Simpson hancur mendengarnya sehingga pada bulan November tahun itu, ia meninggalkan Thirteenth Street Church untuk memulai suatu pelayanan yang mau menerima semua orang, tak peduli latar belakang mereka. Jadi, ia mendirikan sebuah gereja bernama Gospel Tabernacle di New York City sebagai sebuah gereja independen. Ia mengadakan penginjilan-penginjilan, mengadakan beberapa operasi penyelamatan, berkhotbah di penjara, mengadakan persekutuan bagi para pelaut, membuka panti asuhan dan rumah bagi ibu-ibu yang tidak menikah, menyediakan klinik bagi orang miskin, dan memulai Sekolah Pelatihan Misionaris.

Pada tahun 1883, Simpson mulai mengadakan pertemuan-pertemuan secara rutin untuk mendoakan orang-orang sakit. Mereka mendedikasikan rumahnya sebagai Rumah Penyembuhan bagi Iman dan Fisik, dan jam-jam doa dijadwalkan sebanyak dua kali seminggu. Simpson juga mengadakan persekutuan umum di gereja Tabernacle pada Jumat malam. Pertumbuhan gerejanya sangat cepat dan pengajarannya semakin tersebar. Di antara tahun 1883 dan 1917, rumah penyembuhan itu dikelola oleh Sarah Lindenberger dan dipindah ke tempat yang lebih besar selama empat kali, sampai akhirnya mereka menetap di Kampus CM&A di Nyack, New York pada tahun 1897. Rumah itu terus beroperasi sampai tahun 1917 ketika Lindenberger pensiun pada usianya yang ke-76.

Simpson mendirikan dua kelompok: Christian Alliance untuk mengejar kehidupan Kristen yang lebih tinggi, dan Evangelical Missionary Alliance untuk pelayanan luar negeri. Dua tahun kemudian, dua kelompok ini bersatu menjadi Christian and Missionary Alliance. Simpson berkata, "Kita adalah aliansi orang-orang Kristen untuk pekerjaan pelayanan di seluruh dunia. Kita berpegang pada kepenuhan Yesus; Ia yang 'tetap sama baik kemarin, besok, dan selamanya!' Lembaga ini menuntun anak-anak Tuhan yang lapar untuk mengenal hak waris mereka sepenuhnya, yaitu suatu kehormatan dan berkat bagi roh, jiwa, dan tubuh mereka. Kerinduan lembaga ini adalah juga untuk mendorong dan menguatkan umat Allah untuk mengerjakan pelayanan yang diabaikan pada zaman ini di antara orang-orang yang tidak bergereja di Amerika dan orang-orang yang belum percaya, yang terhilang, di luar negeri."

Pada tahun 1918, Simpson pensiun dari jabatannya, setelah lebih dari lima puluh tahun melayani Kristus. Ia meninggal pada tanggal 29 Oktober 1919. (t/Yudo)

Diterjemahkan dari:
Nama situs: Healing and Revival
Alamat URL:
Judul asli artikel: Take the Full Gospel to the World
Penulis: Tidak dicantumkan
Tanggal akses: 23 Oktober 2014

Sabtu, 21 Februari 2015

Help me Rescue Girls from Forced Prostitution

Help me Rescue Girls from Forced Prostitution

Tomorrow I am getting my hair cut.
I am also using my haircut to raise money (and awareness) for human trafficking victims. The more I raise, the more hair I cut.
Rather than write a bunch of words about the dire problem of human trafficking and forced prostitution, I decided to just post some pictures and infographics. Sex slavery and forced child prostitution a bigger issue than most realize, and it is is huge problem right here in the United States. You most likely have human trafficking and child prostitutes right in your own town.
forced prostitution
Human trafficking
sex slavery
forced prostitution
Human Trafficking and Drug Trade 7-06-2014A 10271147_727945063933005_7918263557732447964_o-1
forced child prostitution
sex slavery
Human trafficking
forced prostitution

Thanks for helping Rescue Girls from Sex Slavery

Thanks for helping Rescue Girls from Sex Slavery

If you had lived back during the days of slavery, would you have helped slaves gain freedom?
If you answered “Yes!” then keep reading…
First, I want to thank those of you who donated to help me rescue girls from sex slavery.
I said I would cut off one inch of hair for every $100 dollars raised. I raised almost $600, but went ahead and cut off over 10 inches of hair anyway. I didn’t get enough to shave my head though!
Here are the Before and After shots:
Jeremy Myers hair
Hair of Jeremy Myers
That second shot was with my webcam, which obviously as terrible color….
Anyway, if you would have helped rescue slaves from slavery, you still can. There is more slavery today than at any other time of history, and most of these slaves are young girls. How much more dire could it get?
If you are somehow still not aware of the crazy epidemic of slavery in our world (and here in the United States!) RIGHT NOW, go see some of the stats on this page about Forced Prostitution.
And just think about this: Current estimates say that about 12 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic for slavery from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
But according to Human Trafficking Statistics, there are CURRENTLY 12.3 million slaves RIGHT NOW. Yes, this year.
Human Trafficking
And many of them are children who are forced into prostitution. The average age is 12-14 years old. Most are girls. California has 3 of the 13 highest child sex trafficking areas. Some of them are raped 30-40 times EACH DAY.
Human Trafficking and child slavery is more common today than it was during the 300 years of slavery of our past. ⇦ Tweet that!
There are more slavery victims this year than the total number of slaves during the entire 300 years of slavery in the past. ⇦ Tweet that!
If you want to help, our favorite organization is the International Justice Mission.
Hasil gambar untuk homeless
The Unseen Homeless Who Are Getting Back on Their Feet
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service ( Writers Opinion 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS. FEB. 20 2015) While perhaps unwillingly, residents of Albuquerque’s Tent City have gotten the homeless (and their cause)  a lot of publicity in the last few weeks.
Much of the press has focused on the negativity surrounding the embattled encampment. While  the ultimate solution for Tent City is still up for debate, what’s certain is that there are no easy answers. 
But while media understandably focus on this issue (because conflict and the unusual are what sell newspapers and draw viewers to the news), lost in the shuffle are all the homeless people who are quietly making great strides daily toward getting back on their feet again. 
So while we as a community collaborate to find answers for the homeless who for whatever reason  don’t choose, or are unable, to make use of area shelters and services, let’s not forget those individuals who have already achieved, or making strides toward finding, a new and productive life.  
Marcos Atwood, now a Joy Junction resident services supervisor, was one of those people.  He recently shared with members of Joy Junction’s Christ in Power Life Recovery Program how God changed his life. 
Marcos was formerly addicted to cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and alcohol. He’s been clean since 2006,  and for some time now quietly and unassumingly helping Joy Junction life recovery program participants work through some of the issues they face. 
After sharing his story with a life recovery class recently, Marcos said that while some participants  had known a little about his addiction, others were shocked. 
He said, “After class, they (told me they feel now) that I  am able to relate to what they are going through.” 
Linus Carver is a former addict who went through our program at Joy Junction. He is now a driver for us. Part of his duties are picking up large donations, like furniture. 
While going about his duties recently, a donor’s neighbor came and talked with him. This woman told Linus that she and her children had been homeless at one time and stayed at Joy Junction. 
This individual is now doing well, and wanted to know if she could make a donation to Joy Junction. 
Linus said, “I told that of course she could. She brought out a box of children's books and gave it to me with a blessing for ‘Everyone at JJ,’ and went back into her home.” 
Diana Peterson-Lane is our volunteer coordinator at Joy Junction.  But at one point, her life was very different when she was on and off the streets. Diana said that after a number of years a friend brought her to Joy Junction, where she worked through our life recovery program. 
She said that while in the program, “My needs were finally met, spiritually, medically and emotionally.” 
After her graduation, Diana was hired by Joy Junction, where each day by working with our volunteers she plays her part in helping the homeless guests who are able get back on their feet again. 
Diana loves to make people smile (both guests and volunteers), and that’s especially important  for guests as they walk the often difficult road to recovery. 
Much of Joy Junction Chef Thomas Mares’ work is done “behind the scenes.”  However, its impact and importance are apparent, as Thomas is responsible for the production of more than 16,000 meals each month. That’s a lot of food! 
As our Joy Junction guests work each day to get back on their feet and overcome the issues that have derailed their lives, good meals are an important part of that recipe. 
Thomas said, “ I am proud to serve good, balanced, and quality meals ...  They are important to (our guests) ... and for the children, success in their education.” 
He added, “I believe I help our children by preparing a balanced breakfast before they go to school. Seeing a smile on their faces every morning is priceless.” 
Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Denis Billy works daily with our guests on all the behind the scenes issues that crop up during recovery. Denis said he regularly meets with current and potential life recovery program participants. He said that in these meetings he discusses program details and responsibilities. 
He added, “These times have also turned into a counseling session.  New participants usually have issues that they need to discuss during these meetings, so I'll take the time to listen.” 
I don’t minimize the fact that there’s still much remaining work to be done in Albuquerque to help ensure that all of our homeless community have the access they need to programs from which they can benefit.
However, as I said before,  let’s not forget the work that has already been done and is still quietly carried out daily-far away from the glare of media headlines. 
To learn more about Joy Junction visit
Read more