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In a little over a week (9/1/14) my latest book Devoted will be available for purchase at your favorite online retailer and in bookstores all over the country. I believe in Devoted and I want it to be a Best-Seller, so I need your help.

Why do I want it to be a Best-Seller? Good question! I wrote this book to raise up a generation of Christians who view discipleship as a relationship to be experienced as opposed to a plan to be followed…and the best way for that to happen is for a bunch of Christians to read it. Understand? :)

I can’t wait for you to read this book.

What would happen if we just fell more in love with Jesus?

Before Peter began the most important act of his life—discipleship—Jesus didn’t ask him, “How many chapters of the Torah did you read today?” or “Are you attending services at the synagogue each week?” or “Did you give your tithe today?” No, before Peter began his journey of discipleship, Jesus asked him, “Do you love Me?” Arron thinks that we are asking new disciples of Christ the wrong questions and that it’s time to start truly following the example of Christ by asking of disciples what Christ asked of Peter: devotion, not duty.

In Devoted, I present a new paradigm for discipleship: falling in love with Jesus. This approach to discipleship emphasizes passion for Jesus as opposed to a plan for following Jesus.

On the Devoted book website you can watch a short video that explains Devoted discipleship a little more. Devoted Discipleship

Devoted has received some fantastic endorsements from some well-known and respected Christian leaders. Here are a few:

What I love most about Arron Chambers is his raw transparency and honesty about what it means to follow Jesus. That’s why Devoted isn’t a step-by-step plan to discipleship, but a devotee’s journal of the journey to loving Jesus. Devoted is a great starting place for any new (or growing) Jesus follower.–Geoff Surratt, Pastor, author of Ten Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing

Arron Chambers has done it again.  His writings always teach me truth, hold my attention and challenge me to become more intentional about my relationship with Jesus Christ.    Arron Chambers loves Jesus and Arron helps me to know and love Jesus more.–Dave Stone, pastor, Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY

What a romp! I have rarely enjoyed reading a book as much as I did this one. It was filled with great stories, joyous delight and powerful meaning. Mary Poppins was right, A little bit of sugar does make the medicine go down. And what is that medicine? Become a fully devoted follower of Jesus. –Bill Hull , Author of The Disciple Making Pastor, The Disciple Making Church, Christlike and the Complete Book of Discipleship.

The mantra of the Christian life is often articulated more like, ‘Do More, Be Better, Work Harder’ than it is, ‘Be Still, Listen, and Follow.’ In a world where the faith Jesus invites us into is often twisted into a works- and guilt-driven religion, Devoted guides us back toward finding rest in the ways of Jesus.–Chuck Bomar, pastor of Colossae Church in Portland, OR, and author of Losing Your Religion and Better Off Without Jesus

Arron’s engaging, easy-going style and biblical viewpoint in Devoted show me that loving Jesus is not about checking off a religious to-do list. It begins with exploring the depth of His love for me. Devoted is a practical, down-to-earth unveiling of the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel.—Ron Block, banjoist/guitarist/songwriter/vocalist with Alison Krauss and Union Station

In a world of 1-calorie Christianity and diet discipleship, Arron Chambers issues a clarion call for “devotees,” disciples utterly devoted to Jesus. Without this dazzling gem of a book, I never would have properly understood my vocation as devotion.–Leonard Sweet, best-selling author, professor (Drew University, George Fox University), and chief contributor to sermons.com

Devoted by Arron Chambers: This is one of those reads that I am so thankful for. In July my friend Arron Chambers handed me the first pre-release copy of this book and asked if I would give it a read. I could not wait to dive into this. The major premise of this book is that we as Christ followers are called to be radically devoted to Jesus. This is a book that every church leader should put into the hands of every new Christ follower. This is a book that reminds us that our call is to be FULLY DEVOTED FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST! Devoted comes out on September 1st and I recommend that each of you pick it up and radically change your life.–Trevor DeVage—Lead Pastor Mason Christian Church

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What will happen in your life if you fall more in love with Jesus?

What will happen in your church if everyone in your church fell more in love with Jesus?

What will happen if we raise up a generation of Devotees who love Jesus more?

I can’t wait to find out!

Will you join me in getting Devoted to as many people as possible? If so, here’s what I need for you to do:

1) Pre-order copies of Devoted for yourself and for your church from your favorite online retailer and Christian bookstore. I put a link on my pre-order page for Amazon, but it actually helps me most if you don’t pre-order books from Amazon. I’ll explain that a little more in #7 below. Pre-order Devoted Here 

For a book to gain traction in the marketplace it’s important for it to sell well in the first few weeks–especially the 1st week!

2) Contact your local Christian bookstore and ask them to carry Devoted in their store.

3) As soon as you buy or download your copy of Devoted during the week of 9/1-9/8, I need you to write a short review on Amazon or another e-tailer site. 

Your help with this is so appreciated because Amazon has certain algorithms that kick in after a book gets more than 25 reviews. I need Devoted to get as many reviews as possible in the first month.

4) Help spread the word about Devoted on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…or on any of your existing platforms, especially during the week of September 1st.

5) I need your ideas! Share ideas and brainstorm additional ways we might further expose the message to an even greater audience. You can send your ideas to arron@arronchambers.com.

6) Join my launch team! I’m looking for 25 people who will help me launch Devoted over the next 30 days. You can apply (Just tell me why you should be on the team) by emailing me at arron@arronchambers.com.  In return for your assistance you’ll receive the following perks:

-A free personalized copy of Eats with Sinners and Remember Who You Are

-Access to me—and the other team members—via a private Facebook group.

-A free half-hour teleseminar with me during launch week.

-I will publicly thank you on my blog.

-And, anything else I think of in the next few weeks to thank you for your help in making Devoted a best-seller!

7) You can help make Devoted a Best-Seller by not just Pre-Ordering it from your favorite online retailer and bookstore, but by also purchasing it during the week of 9/1-9/8 (i.e. “Launch Week”).

This is a strategy I learned from Christian Best-Selling author, Michael Hyatt. The reason is that I want to register as many sales as possible during this period of time in an attempt to get the book on the New York Times best sellers list.

You are the key. And I need your help.

The bestseller lists measure sales for a seven-day period. The book that sells the most through the channels and stores they poll, takes the number one slot. The book that sells the second most, takes the second slot, and so on. Each week, the list resets, starting from zero.

What this means is that selling ten thousand copies in one week is very different than selling the same amount over two weeks. Assuming you sell five thousand copies in each of the first two weeks, you have essentially cut your chances of hitting the bestseller list in half.

Pre-ordering on Amazon doesn’t help me that much because Amazon only releases the books when they have them to ship, which may or may not be launch week and I need to sell as many books as possible in the first week (9/1-9/8).

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Also…We’re also producing a 5-Week Church-wide event to go along with the Devoted 40-Day Experience in the back of the book. This 5-Week Church-Wide event will include sermons, small group study, videos, and other resources your church can use to maximize the impact of Devoted. And…wait for it…wait for it…it will all be available for download on 10/1 from http://www.devotedbook.com for FREE!

 

 

Tammy Davis is one of our Children’s Ministers. Recently, she spoke at Journey on the issue of Jesus and the Sex Industry. I asked her to share her message here because it is powerful, important, and it needs to be shared.

#JESUS& the Sex Industry

-Tammy Davis, Journey Christian Church

 The-sex-industry-001

Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”

Many times Christians have it backwards-we are as wise as doves and as innocent as serpents.  But we can’t hide in ignorance and hope to live lives that matter and change the culture around us.

So, I get to talk about Jesus and the Sex Industry.  I believe this is important because I know that the thief has come to steal, kill and destroy. Satan has taken something that God created as good and holy and pure and has stripped it of its value and distorted it in such a way that it is unrecognizable from what God intended. Quite frankly, that ticks me off. And he is presenting this distortion to us the way he presented the fruit to Eve in the garden, saying, “it’s good, what’s the harm? You will be enlightened”. And the disturbing part is, it’s not just the world that is biting, it’s also the church.

What is the Sex Industry?

Sex industry- any commercial enterprise offering or producing adult entertainment; also, a euphemism for prostitution or pornography (dictionary.com)

For the purposes of today:

Broadened definition- any entity or individual that gains money, power, or influence through the use of human sexuality.

First I want to share some ways the Sex Industry shows up in our world today. This was really hard to break down because the more I have studied and thought about the Sex Industry as a whole, the more I have come to realize how interwoven everything is. I really can’t separate the sex tourism in Cambodia from the way the American culture is immersed in the sex industry. In my opinion, it’s like this huge interconnected web of all these things that fall away from God’s design. I believe that what happens in the so-called privacy of our own homes affects not just our families, but also our neighbors, our churches and the world.

THE SEX INDUSTRY IN OUR WORLD shows up in many ways:

1) Sex Trafficking: Defined as- Commercial sex acts induced by force, fraud, or coercion or commercial sex acts in which the individual induced to perform commercial sex act has not attained 18 yrs of age.

About 80% of Human trafficking victims end up in the sex trade.

The commercial sex trade exploits about 1 million children every year.

Sex Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry.

It reaches from the brothels in Cambodia and Thailand, to the Strip Club in Chicago, to the massage parlor in San Francisco, to the home computer in Greeley. Most vulnerable to being victims are the poor, the uneducated and the oppressed.

This is why Journey supports the ministry of Rapha House- an organization that exists to love, rescue, and heal girls who have been rescued from trafficking and sexual exploitation.

I visited Rapha House in Cambodia a few years ago & have since kept up with their work and believe me, they are the real deal.

Other programs working with victims of sexual exploitation have reported an 80% failure rate (based on whether or not a victim will return to an exploitative situation) Rapha House success rate is over 95% because Rapha has a holistic, Christ-centered approach.

Rapha House currently has 3 homes in Southeast Asia with about 150 girls in safehouse programs. They also have Prevention Programs called Kids Club- and members of Journey sponsor about 80 Kids Club children. Journey also financially supports Rapha’s plans to open a safehouse in Haiti.

For more information please check out their website: (http://www.raphahouse.org)

Also check out Blackbox International- a Christian organization that seeks to bring healing to boys who have been sexually exploited. (http://blackboxinternational.org)

2) Prostitution- Many prostitutes are victims of human trafficking- one cannot easily separate the two since trafficking so heavily supplies the demand. But, even those who have entered into it by their own will are in fact victims. It is often referred to as a “vocational choice” or “unpleasant job” like cleaning toilets, when the facts show it as victimization and oppression. Survivors have described it as the choice for those who have no choice.

In the US- the average age of entry is 12-14 years old. These girls do not come from happy healthy homes. Research shows that most women in prostitution were sexually and physically abused at a young age. Of 854 people in prostitution in 9 countries- 71% experience physical assaults and 62% report rapes. 89% desire to leave, but feel they don’t have the resources to do so.

Prostitution takes place in the context of strip clubs, massage parlors, brothels, street corners, escort services, homes, and next to US military bases in foreign countries.

Prostitution would not exist without the demand and that high demand should open our eyes to the brokenness in our world; The brokenness of the victims and the brokenness of the perpetrators.

3) Pornography and Adult Entertainment- There are countless formats when it comes to pornography and adult entertainment- magazines, movies, the internet, Cable TV, strip clubs… I have to point out, when it comes to all of these forms of the sex industry, whether it’s in Cambodia or thee U.S., many women don’t freely choose it but are promised good jobs by sex traffickers and then end up enslaved, far from home with no passport.  And even if it really is a choice for some, just because someone views themselves as merely a sex object, does not mean that is what they are in the sight of God and it should not be what they are in the sight of the Christian. That’s why I love the work that Natasha Hurt does with her organization “Love Made Claim”. They take gift bags to strip clubs and women in the sex industry & just let the girls know they are loved and valuable. Surprisingly, they sometimes build relationships with the managers of these places who allow them to come in and deliver the gift bags. Love Made Claim also offers help to those wanting to leave the sex industry. (http://lovemadeclaim.com)

When it comes to pornography and the Christian perspective, whatever the format, we cannot differentiate between soft core or hard-core, so-called “classy” porn and “trashy” porn, upscale strip clubs or seedier strip clubs. Porn is porn, no matter the delivery method or context or the age of those involved.  (Side note, you should know that if you’re looking at Internet porn, there is a really good chance that the girls have been trafficked or are being used against their will.)  Sadly, popular opinion would have us believe that Hugh Hefner is a harmless old billionaire in silk pajamas who believes in freedom and openness and empowering women. It is evidence of his genius that he has convinced a so-called enlightened society that he is anything more than a glorified pimp.

Human beings are image bearers of the creator, but the world would have us view them as nothing more than the sum of their body parts.

The damage caused by pornography is far reaching- in 22 years of being married to a minister who works with youth and families, I have seen firsthand its destructive nature. Wives devastated, marriages broken, ministries destroyed, countless stories within the church… and our children are paying the price.

The American Psychiatric Association studied the effects of pornography and objectification and the results were summarized by Rachel Bell of the “Independent” in this way:  “The sexualisation of girls is not just shattering the lives of girls and women it is preventing boys and young men from relating to girls and women as complex human beings with so much to offer them. It is preventing boys from forming healthy friendships and working relationships with girls and women. Instead, it is nurturing potentially violent abusers, rapists, and johns. Ultimately, it means boys are not free to be themselves, to know their own humanity.” (Rachel Bell, Our sexual obsession damages boys as well as girls, [The Independent, 2/22/2007])

The church has sometimes created an environment where it is not safe to talk about pornography and the struggle that people face. At one church, a seminar that reached out to those struggling with pornography was publicized. A lady in the church complained, “I don’t want THOSE people coming to this church”.  The issue of pornography has been ignored and swept under the rug. But as my dad says, “If we keep sweeping things under the rug, eventually someone is going to move the rug”. The rug has been moved and we can’t ignore it any longer.

4) Sexual Objectification can be defined as “treating a person as a commodity or an object, without regard to their personality or dignity”.  I need to stop and explain myself here because of what I’m about to talk about. In Cambodia, I saw American men on the street with young Cambodian girls and it got me to thinking.  I thought, “where does this middle-aged American get the idea that he is entitled to this girl? That this is OK?”. I believe he got the idea from mainstream American culture because we are so comfortable with how our culture and media portrays women and even young girls as merely sexual objects to be sold.  I want us to consider whether we, as Christians, are participating in the objectification of women and even men.  It can be difficult to talk to American Christians about our entertainment and our rights. Everyone wants to talk about our rights as Americans and few want to talk about our responsibilities as Christ followers. When we objectify women in the safe context of American entertainment and culture, it has a ripple effect that extends to the girl imprisoned in the brothel in Cambodia.  When it comes to entertainment and what we indulge in, I want us to go back to that question we have been asking throughout this series and give an honest answer: Is it Good and Is it Godly?

In an article entitled “6 Things We Lose From Objectifying Women (and Men)”, Neal Samudre says this: “Today we seem so at peace as we continue to objectify women (and men to a lesser degree) on a daily basis. I’m terrified this culture will continue for my children, and one day they’ll dishonor the beautiful people around them, just because they’re not dancing naked in front of them.”  (Neal Samudre, 6 Things We Lose From Objectifying Women (and Men), [Huffington Post, 3/11/2014])

Sexual Objectification seems to be accepted as the norm in our society and if we dare question it we are labeled as backward thinking, sexually deprived prudes. It’s so pervasive it is impossible to NOT see it on TV, in movies, fashion & celebrity magazines, advertisements, and even some restaurants. The “Breastaurant” phenomenon (yes, that’s what they’re referred to as) is stronger than ever.

Successful chains include, Twin Peaks, and Hooters where girls can be pulled off the floor for the most minor flaw in their appearance or the Tilted Kilt, which touted itself in the Greeley tribune as a family-friendly restaurant. This is from an article posted on the Tilted Kilt web page- “If you’ve not yet heard of “breastaurants”, gird yourself. This new generation of mammary-centric casual dining chains- with their slick thematic formats, man-cave mentality and hyper-friendly female servers schooled in “touchology”- makes Hooters seem downright quaint”.  And the owners of these places have convinced us they are family friendly?  Again, this has nothing to do with whether or not women choose to objectify themselves. These businesses profit from the objectification of women, plain and simple. And as a Christian, I’m not OK with that. Isn’t the purpose of these businesses to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the male mind? To separate the humanity from the human? Is this what we want to teach our sons about the value of women? Is this the way we want our daughters to view themselves- as objects for sale? Is it empowering to subject yourself to any and all men who walk through the doors? From the husband and father to the guy living in his parents’ basement? Don’t we want our daughters to value True Beauty? Don’t we want all men and women to see themselves as priceless and valuable in the sight of God and not as commodities used by men for profit?  Is it any wonder that our daughters and even our sons struggle with eating disorders, distorted body image, and depression? When THIS is what is considered family friendly in our society. How can we view people as the images of a loving God when we objectify them through our choices of entertainment?

Is it good and is it Godly?

One Side note for the ladies only- a former Hooters girl who is now a Christian shared this: “I dare you to pray around the restaurant, go inside of it… and pray over the girls and men that are working in there. I needed prayer, I needed someone to stand in the gap for me. I needed you to share your story with me about how Christ changed your life.”

I can’t talk about the Sex Industry in our culture without mentioning another facet of pornography. Ladies, we can’t be disgusted by men looking at pornography or upset when our husband buys the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue if we indulge in what’s referred to by the world as “mommy porn”.  “Well that’s different! Women aren’t like men!” we say. For women, books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” where a woman is infatuated with an abuser or jerk or womanizer just because he’s good looking are our versions of Playboy. We are saying, our husband is not enough. We don’t want our husbands to know this, but it’s true. These type of books appeal to the female emotion and imagination by presenting twisted, even violent fantasies that certainly don’t promote relationships the way God intends them to be. His way is greater than our way. Is it Good and Is it Godly?

And what about hugely popular reality shows like “Big Brother” or “The Bachelor”.  Although it’s not the only show of its kind, I have to talk about the Bachelor because it’s so incredibly popular. Here’s the thing, I don’t want to talk about it because I know how popular it is with non-Christian and Christian women alike.  Trust me, I have tried in my mind to figure a way out of it, … On “The Bachelor”, a group of women compete for love and trade their dignity, privacy, self-respect and self worth for a chance at love, fame, or money. It culminates in the bachelor choosing the final 3 women who will each be invited to spend the night in his suite.  Yes, the

bachelor spends 3 nights in a row with 3 different women, followed of course by the romantic proposal. What every girl dreams of, right? Have we really lowered our standards so much that this is our idea of romance? Or do we just enjoy watching women embarrass themselves or engage in potentially destructive behavior? Do we like to look down on them? Should a Christian be entertained by this? I’ve been married to a youth minister for 22 years, able to observe youth culture up close…The normalcy of this kind of show affects the way teen girls interact with each other and view themselves, It affects the way guys and girls interact with each other, and the expectations they have for the opposite sex.   An article in SLATE magazine (not a Christian mag) says- “No show is as twisted about sex as “The Bachelor”.  (Willa Paskin, Finally, a Bachelor Contestant Exposes the Show’s Weird Sex Issues, [Slate 2/4/2014]) Ladies- Is it Good and Is it Godly? When it comes to some forms of entertainment, that is a decision we have to make for ourselves. It’s not a decision someone else can make for us. I’m not saying you can’t be a good Christian and watch the Bachelor. I’m just asking, Is it Good and Is it Godly?

So, that’s just a little about the Sex Industry (just the tip of the iceberg really) But now I want to talk a lot about Jesus. I could sit here all day and give you facts, figures, and statistics about the Sex Industry. But for every fact or statistic I would give you, I guarantee there is someone out there who could come up with a statistic that could show that this whole thing is no big deal. That the Sex Industry is perhaps undesirable, but not harmful to the world we live in. That pornography is actually good for society. So I have to go to God’s word because in the end, He is all that matters when it comes to these issues. This series is called Jesus AND because EVERYTHING in the life of the Christian should begin with “Jesus AND…”

WHY should we as Christians care about this? Because God cares about it. In Isaiah 1:17, we are commanded “Learn to do right; seek justice; correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless…”

We should care because God takes the subject seriously and because he cares about our purity. Not because he is a cruel dictator who wants to spoil our fun, but because he is a loving Father who wants to protect our hearts, our families, our churches and ultimately our souls. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly” Do you trust him or not? Do you love him or not? Do you believe he knows what is best for you or do you believe the lies that the enemy is selling?

The Corinthian church was becoming arrogant and abusing their freedoms. Some of the Corinthian Christians were using prostitutes, believing that there was no difference in this matter between the Christian and anyone else. The church was plagued with sexual immorality.

Paul addresses this problem in his letter to the Corinthians… 1 Cor 5:11 “I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed or is an idolator, reviler, drunkard or swindler- not even to eat with such a one”

1 Cor 5:13- “Purge the evil person from among you”

Wow, that’s some harsh language, right? Remember he is writing to the church, not judging the behavior of the world.

But the Corinthian Christians had become arrogant in thinking that they could live as they pleased with this newfound freedom that Christ had died for. They were saying things like “All things are lawful for me!” In other words (and this is my

interpretation here), “don’t tell me how to live my life!” “Don’t judge me!”  “I can eat what I want, I can party how I want to, I can have sex with whoever I want, isn’t that what freedom is all about?”

And here is Paul’s response- (quoting their claims) “All things lawful for me”- but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food!”- and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Cor 6:12-13

You see, the way we live should matter to us because it matters to God who wants us to experience true freedom, not the false freedom that the world offers.

So, I just want to share with you 3 responses that the Church should have when it comes to the Sex Industry and all that it entails.

1) FLEE

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God? Your are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

We need to FLEE LIKE JOSEPH (Genesis 39)- Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers and then rose the ranks to work in the household of Potiphar where he was in charge of everything. Joseph was a good-looking guy so it wasn’t long before Potiphar’s wife started making the moves on him, asking him to come to bed with her- and he refused time after time. One day Potiphar’s wife desperately grabbed Joseph by his robe and begged him “Lie with me!” But Joseph took off. He left his robe in her hand and fled out of the house. This made her angry and she falsely accused him and he ended up in jail. Joseph was such a man of integrity that he simply fled the scene. He had tried reasoning with her before and when that failed, he just ran away leaving his coat behind, and ultimately leaving his reputation, his job and his freedom behind. He was willing to leave it all behind to protect his integrity. He could have convinced himself that he had a right to Potiphar’s wife and could have easily given in, avoided angering her, and no one would have known. It may have been easier in the short run just to give in. But Joseph fled the scene! This is one time when fleeing the scene is a good thing! Sometimes it’s that simple; just leave, get out, run away. God will be with you! Time after time the Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph- no matter what his situation or hardship, the Lord was with Joseph because Joseph was committed to the Lord. Are we that committed to the Lord? Do we trust him? Do we love Him so much that we live to please Him the way Joseph did?

God cares about our commitment to Him-

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life- is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

“Whoever does the will of God abides forever” That is a promise and God keeps his promises.

FLEE like Joseph- If pornography in any way, shape or form, or any sexual immorality is tugging at you, begging you to give in like Potiphar’s wife did to Joseph…Just FLEE. Run. Get out. Do whatever you have to do to remove yourself. Sell your computer, get rid of your smartphone, your TV, leave whatever situation you need to leave, end your unhealthy relationships, leave your job, move your feet, whatever you need to do or leave behind, no matter the cost, because the cost to NOT flee will be much greater…

Joseph left his robe behind along with his job security, his reputation, his freedom, his power, his position…. What are you willing to leave behind in order to escape sexually immorality?

“forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what lies ahead”. …(Isn’t that what Joseph did?) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:13-14

2) FIGHT

We need to FLEE like Joseph but we also need to FIGHT like Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 4)

Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and was facing opposition from the enemy, Sanballat. He mocked Nehemiah and the Jews and threatened violence against them, but Nehemiah did not let this stop him. Instead he called his people to rise up-  Nehemiah 4:14- “I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes” It goes on to say the laborers worked on the wall with one hand and held weapons with the other.  I love that image of Nehemiah and the Jews, facing the enemy without fear and fighting to protect their families.

Notice Nehemiah did not say, “fight WITH your brothers… or WITH your children and wives.” Fight FOR them, for our battle is not against flesh and blood.

Colossians 2:5- “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you; sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”

You can’t put something to death without putting up a fight.

But God is saying to us what Nehemiah said to his people- “Don’t fear the enemy, Remember me, I am great and awesome- so pick up your weapon and fight”

Men- Fight for your purity. First you have to acknowledge the battle. It doesn’t matter if you look at porn 1 hour a week or 50. Any amount is too much. You have to admit to yourself that there is an enemy and be aware of his tactics. Is he mocking you the way Sanballat mocked Nehemiah and the Jews?  Is he telling you to give up because after all, you’re just a man and that’s what men do? Is  he telling you, you deserve to indulge yourself, who is it really hurting, no one will know? Is he making you feel worthless and hopeless because you fail time and time again? Those are all lies thrown at you by the enemy.

Fight not by your own power, but by the power of God and his word. The Bible is called the “sword of the Spirit” for a reason. We can’t go into battle without it.  Don’t let your guard down. Fill yourself up with His word.

1 Cor 10:12- “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”

Stand with your brothers in Christ and talk openly with each other and encourage each other & stop pretending. Married men, FIGHT for your marriages. Be honest with your wife so

she can have your back. Trust me, your wife wants to have your back. Most women I know will go to battle for their husbands. She doesn’t expect you to be perfect but she doesn’t want you to fall.

Go back to that image of Nehemiah and the Jews standing side by side with their weapons in one hand and working to build the wall with the other. Men- that is the way we need you to build up your families and the church and the people around you. Without fear, keep working, encourage each other, and be ready for the fight at all times so the enemy doesn’t catch you off guard.

Women- We need to fight also. We need to fight for our purity. Stop objectifying ourselves on Facebook or by any other means, reasoning that any kind of attention is good attention. Single women, be the kind of woman that younger women can look up to as someone who values herself and carries herself with dignity. Not as someone who places her value in the worlds shallow definition of beauty but seeks true beauty.

Married women, you need to have your husbands back. You need to help him guard his heart and his mind. You need to guard your OWN heart and mind by being careful about what you watch and read. And you need to understand that just because something may not seem like a temptation or a big deal to you, that does not mean it is not a temptation for your husband. Are there magazines in your house that you need to throw away because they are full of women wearing next to nothing? Your husband is your brother for whom Christ died… Don’t let your rights become a stumbling block to him. Does your husband have magazines that you need to throw away and then have a talk about? Or an Internet history that you need to talk about? If you need to, get rid of the Internet in your home for his sake! Would you rather lose the Internet or your husband? If your husband is looking at porn, you are not protecting him by keeping his secret for him. Are you enabling your husband’s habit or addiction to pornography by looking the other way or are you willing to go into battle with him, pray for him and urge him to get the help he needs? If he refuses to get help for himself, keep praying and if he still refuses get help for him or at the very, least for yourself.

Parents. Please, please protect your home. Make it a safe place for your kids. The ONE place where they don’t have to be exposed to the twisted version of sexuality that the world is selling. Don’t we owe that to them as their protectors? Practically speaking, have your computer in an open place in your home, not tucked away in a private place. I cringe when I see computers in kids bedrooms. Personally I don’t think you should give your middle-schooler a smart phone- it’s just too dangerous and pornography is too easily accessed, even by accident.  I’ve just read and heard too many stories. A Christian friend and wonderful Christian mom shared with me that her very young son had been looking at porn. She didn’t realize he was accessing it on a smartphone in his room.  This doesn’t just happen to the bad kids or families that don’t care.

Parents, Protect your daughters’ hearts by modeling what real love is, not the Bachelor version. Tell her she is beautiful, not because she meets impossible standards but because she is God’s masterpiece. Teach your sons to respect girls and women and don’t allow them to objectify them.  Do your best to teach them about the dangers that they will face and how to fight.

Don’t judge their struggles, be honest about your own struggles, listen, love them, and help them.  Teach your son to reject what our culture says it means to be a man and show him what it means to be a man of God.

FIGHT not just for your families, but for those who can’t fight for themselves. Fight for the victims of sex trafficking, the girls trapped in brothels and strip clubs in Cambodia and Haiti, the girls at Rapha House, the prostitute on the street corner.

I am tired of seeing the enemy win. I am tired of seeing the enemy destroy people. The enemy is a liar and a fool.

“FIGHT for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes”

3) FREE

We need to FREE like Jesus. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1

Did you know that a slave cannot set another slave free? A slave cannot set another slave free! If we want to partner with Christ in bringing freedom to the captives, then we need to be free ourselves first.

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” 

I love the powerful imagery of the runner casting aside anything that slows him down. The image of the trained athlete that has his eyes focused solely on the race in front of him.

God has set a great work before us when it comes to those trapped in the Sex Industry or suffering from the effects of the Sale and marketing of sex in our world. If we want to endure, if we want to join with him in this work and FREE like Jesus, then with his help, we need to be FREE ourselves. What seems impossible to man is possible with Jesus- Hebrews 4:15&16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Did you get that? Tempted in EVERY respect. Jesus has gone before us. Jesus is with us. Jesus is there to help, strengthen and forgive us.

SEEK Freedom so that you can SHARE freedom:

Paul puts it like this in 2 Timothy 2:20-22 “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay. Some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passion and pursue righteousness, faith love and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart”

I want to be a vessel for honorable use. I want to be useful to God. I want God to use us to change the world.  I want God to use us to free ALL those used by the sex industry, especially the girls that Rapha House works with. But to be set apart for that good work, we have to cleanse ourselves. We have to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

May we love Jesus.

May we know His love.

May we see people the way Jesus sees them.

May we love people the way Jesus loves them.

May we serve Jesus with a pure heart.

 

May we Flee like Joseph.

May we Fight like Nehemiah.

May we Free like Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been 26 years today since my Dad died.

My sitting next to Dad circa 1975

Me sitting next to Dad circa 1975

I miss him, so much.

My oldest daughter just got married.

I can’t tell you how many times this summer I’ve longed for my Dad’s advice.

If I could just have 30 minutes with my Dad . . .

but that will have to wait.

The older I get the more real Heaven becomes.

As a child it was a place with a lot of clouds and harps, but with each year that passes on this side of eternity it becomes a place with a lot of my friends and family.

This morning I stumbled across this video of David Phelps singing, No More Night. This song is special to me and my family. Our dear friend Tony Buchanan sang this song at my Dad’s memorial service. Actually, Tony started the song, but–overcome by emotion–couldn’t finish it, so my sister Leigh-Angela jumped up, stood next to Tony and they finished it together.

It reminded me of why Heaven is going to be worth it.

No more night.
No more pain.
No more tears.
Never crying again.
Praises to the great I Am.
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

And remember, it’s not a dream; God WILL make all things new one day.

Miss you Dad!

 

couple-serious1-578x295

Over the past decade I’ve been heavily involved in Marriage Coaching. I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of couples–many who are trying to survive an affair. God has called me to work with some really “hard cases”–couples who came to me with very little hope. I’ve seen God do miracles.

My experience working with couples buried in the rubble of a broken covenant due to an affair and my work with them as they try to dig out and rebuild a marriage has taught me some of the keys to surviving an affair.

Btw…your marriage can survive! I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count. I’ve seen horrible and hopeless marriages restored through the healing power of God and the hard work of committed Christian couples.  In my experience here are 10 essentials to surviving an affair:

10 Essentials For Surviving An Affair

Repentance: For a marriage to survive an affair, the spouse who cheated needs to repent–biblically repent. Which looks like sorrow, grief, brokenness, and a commitment to never cheat again. If the spouse who cheated is unrepentant, any steps towards true reconciliation are illusory.

End it…Cold Turkey!: In my experience, when you are dealing with a person who is having, or has just ended an affair, you’re dealing with someone who–like a drug addict–will lie, cheat, and steal to keep the “high” going. They will do whatever it takes to get the next “hit.” Unrepentant cheaters will create secret email accounts, arrange clandestine rendezvouses, risk their jobs, risk their reputations, jeopardize their children’s well-being, and do pretty much anything to keep the affair going. The only way for a couple to survive is for the cheater to cut off all communication with the other person immediately, decisively, and completely. On more than one occasion I’ve had Christian men and women try to convince me that they needed to have one more conversation with the person to make sure that the other person was “right with The Lord.” My response: “You are the last person on the face of this planet who should be talking to that person about Jesus!” I also coach that any further conversations need to come (if they need to come, because often there is no need for or benefit to any further verbal interaction with the other person) from and through your offended spouse (assuming he or she is up to it.) No more phone calls, meetings, emails, texts…no more anything! If you hope to survive, all personal and unprofessional contact with the other person must end.

No more secrets: To survive an affair there must be a new-found openness and honesty in the marriage. Your spouse needs to have access to your email accounts, social media, and cell phone. Your spouse needs to have his or her questions answered. They need to hear whatever they need to hear until they’ve decided they’ve heard enough. I would suggest that, when the wound is already open, you need to confess whatever needs to be confessed. I would not recommend withholding important and painful aspects of your sin, because–if they are revealed years after the initial painful experience–your spouse may see that unconfessed sin as the “last straw.”

Grieve: When your spouse is found to be having an affair–to the offended spouse–it is as if your spouse has died. The spouse you knew before the affair is dead and gone and–if you are going to survive–you need to allow yourself to grieve. Grief does not play fair. Grief is a profound experience that does not visit briefly or gently. No–grief is a horrible experience that leaves a wound that leaves a pain that–although it dulls a little over time–never quite goes away, but serves to create a longing that will only be satisfied by an eternity with Jesus. This is one of the big reasons it takes years to recover from an affair.

Talk About It: It happened. Don’t act like it didn’t. Not dealing with it is an illusion. The pain, confusion, and heartache aren’t going anywhere and you need to talk about it. Significant healing will come through communication. Now, it has to be the right time and right place—and the spouse with the moral “high-ground” (the innocent party) gets to decide when and where that is and when “we’re done talking about it,” which…interestingly…tends to be much later than when the offender is done talking about it.

Get counseling: You will need the help and perspective of a skilled Christian counselor to guide you through this. I believe it’s naive to think you can just find your way out of the mess called “adultery” on your own. If you do, it will be a much longer journey than it needs to be.

“Loose lips sink ships”: And, too many people involved in your recovery effort will only make it more difficult for your marriage to survive—especially if the people you dump your affair “garbage” on are your parents, your spouse’s parents, your siblings, your spouse’s siblings, your entire side of the family, your spouses entire side of the family….get the picture? Keep it between you, your spouse, your counselor, and God. Surviving an affair is messy. Don’t make it worse by dumping your “mess” on a bunch of people standing on the periphery of your relationship. If your marriage survives an affair, you will be glad that you didn’t dump your “mess” on people who love you unobjectively and may or may not be able to forgive your offending spouse when you’re ready to return to some sort of normalcy. Share your pain appropriately with family: yes. Slam and shame your spouse to your family: not recommended if you ever expect your spouse to feel safe and comfortable around them ever again.

Make Love: And, by “make love” I mean, “have sex.” Yes, one of the purposes of sex is to make us one and unified with our spouse. Adultery breaks the covenant, so—if you and your spouse are both willing to try to restore your marriage—you need to start having sex sooner rather than later. Now, there will be tears and possibly some anger mixed in with those first few sexual encounters, so be prepared, but you will find the first manifestations of healing mixed in there as well. This can’t be forced or contrived or faked in any way. Both spouses need to agree that it’s okay to make love (right time, right place, or give permission to “go with it” if it goes there spontaneously), so there is no unnecessary guilt or anger if it happens. That being said, in my marriage coaching experience, the couples who survive an affair reconnect sexually sooner rather than later in the healing process. At all costs, protect the marriage bed as sacred space.

Get Intentional About Your Relationship: Many relationships go over the cliff called “adultery” because the couple began taking each other for granted and had put their marriage on “cruise control.”  If you are going to survive an affair you need to have a plan and that plan needs to include new mutual goals, new mutual relationship priorities, healthier moral boundaries, regular date nights, time for developing your relationship with Christ as individuals and couples, and time to bond through communication.

Grow in your commitment to Christ: All of the couples I know who have survived an affair got serious about developing and deepening their relationships with the Lord both individually and as a couple. A marriage built on the “rock” of God’s word is more apt to survive than one built on the “sand.” Which is important, because it rains on everyone. You can survive an affair, especially if you’re both standing on the words of Christ as you stand with each other in the midst of the storm.

©2014 Arron Chambers

Arron:

Okay, this is an old post (Sorry for the old picture, Sylas!) from July 8, 2008, but it still rings true for me today. I hope it blesses you on this special day.

Originally posted on My Lord and My Blog: A blog by Arron Chambers:

I sometimes take the freedom we have in the United States for granted.

I don’t mean to, but it’s just not something I think about very often.

Now, I know that the 4th of July was last week and that I’m a little late to the party, but I need to say something about freedom.

Freedom is so much a part of our lives here in the States that we don’t seem to be impressed with it anymore . . . at least I don’t.

I’m so grateful for the freedom we have, but–truth be told–I preach each week without the fear of being arrested, I share my faith with people without the fear of being turned in to the local authorities, and I pray with my family over our lunch at Ci Ci’s pizza and never once think that our public display of faith might get us into trouble…

View original 409 more words

#Jesus&Social Media

June 30, 2014 — 1 Comment

The response to my message yesterday has been very encouraging–especially from young people. It light of the discussions and interest it generated, I’ve decided to post the text of my message here.

#Jesus&SocialMedia

Tweeting Jesus

Have you embraced technology?

Let me give you some historical perspective as we begin today by reminding you of some of the changes we’ve experienced just in the last decade.
Remember…
PDAs
Email Accounts you had to pay for
Dial-up
Getting film developed
Movie Rental Stores
Maps
Landlines
Long-Distance Charges
Public Pay Phones
Calling 411
Floppy disks
Paper

My wife has been a late adopted to a lot of technology. She still has—and loves—her flip-phone. She shared this French commercial with me.

Some people think…

“Technology is our Savior!”
Some of you think, when Jesus said, “Follow me,” he was talking about Twitter!

“Technology is from Satan!”
Well, I’m pretty sure that MySpace was a dream of Lucifer. :)

I think technology—and social media in particular—is a tool—and just like any tool, it can be used to build things or tear things down.

What is social media?

websites and applications that enable users to create and share content.

The world is changing rapidly.

There was a tipping point last year that has major implications for business and brands. It will impact publishing and marketing strategies and tactics in the future.

Beyonce, one of the worlds biggest music stars ignored the traditional mass media product launching process. She bypassed the “normal” mass media release of a radio campaign, multiple TV appearances and retail and consumer brand promotions. Instead she announced it on Instagram to her 8 million followers with the word “Surprise” and proceeded to launch the 14 songs and accompanying 17 videos on iTunes.

It was a success and it exceeded the album downloads of the previous album which had used the traditional marketing model. Its a trend that is not going away anytime soon.

(Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/01/17/20-social-media-facts-and-statistics-you-should-know-in-2014/#uKMFtcX7WOdUtGTE.99)

Here are some interesting stats about social media:

1. 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
2. 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage
3. The 30-49 bracket sits at 72%
4. 60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds are active on social media
5. In the 65 plus bracket, 43% are using social media
6. Time spent on Facebook per hour spent online by country. Here are the top three. USA citizens get the top gong at 16 min/hr followed by the Aussies at 14 min/hr and the Brits at 13 min/hr.
7. 71% of users access social media from a mobile device.

Speaking of mobile devices. We now have a Journey app. It will be available this week for free.

Let me pause and explain some terms and items that are important to understand technology:

App: An application, typically a small, specialized program downloaded onto mobile devices.

Blog: A site updated frequently by an individual or group to record opinions or information. I have a blog. You can find it at arronchambers.com

Hashtag: HubSpot defines a hashtag as a “word or string of characters that starts with a number sign.” Identical hashtags are then grouped into a search thread.

Tags: Keywords attached to a blog post, bookmark, photo or other item of content so you and others can find them easily through searches

Viral: Anything shared across social networks that get passed along rapidly. YouTube videos are a great example.

We’ve looked at most of these social issues through the paradigm of 2 questions:

Is it good for me?
Is it godly?

Is it good for me?
In a 2011 article, Jan H. Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy and Bruno S. Silvestre: “present a framework that defines social media by using seven functional building blocks: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups.”

Identity: This block represents the extent to which users reveal their identities in a social media setting. This can include disclosing information such as name, age, gender, profession, location, and also information that portrays users in certain ways.

Conversations: This block represents the extent to which users communicate with other users in a social media setting. Many social media sites are designed primarily to facilitate conversations among individuals and groups. These conversations happen for all sorts of reasons. People tweet, blog, et cetera to meet new like-minded people, to find true love, to build their self-esteem, or to be on the cutting edge of new ideas or trending topics. Yet others see social media as a way of making their message heard and positively impacting humanitarian causes, environmental problems, economic issues, or political debates.

Sharing: This block represents the extent to which users exchange, distribute, and receive content. The term ‘social’ often implies that exchanges between people are crucial. In many cases, however, sociality is about the objects that mediate these ties between people—the reasons why they meet online and associate with each other.

Presence: This block represents the extent to which users can know if other users are accessible. It includes knowing where others are, in the virtual world and/or in the real world, and whether they are available.

Relationships: This block represents the extent to which users can be related to other users. By ‘relate,’ we mean that two or more users have some form of association that leads them to converse, share objects of sociality, meet up, or simply just list each other as a friend or fan.

Reputation: This block represents the extent to which users can identify the standing of others, including themselves, in a social media setting. Reputation can have different meanings on social media platforms. In most cases, reputation is a matter of trust, but since information technologies are not yet good at determining such highly qualitative criteria, social media sites rely on ‘mechanical Turks’: tools that automatically aggregate user-generated information to determine trustworthiness.

Groups: This block represents the extent to which users can form communities and sub communities. The more ‘social’ a network becomes, the bigger the group of friends, followers, and contacts.

(Source: H. Kietzmann, Jan; Kristopher Hermkens (2011). “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media”. Business Horizons 54: 241–251.)

Yes, some good things can come from social media.

Take Facebook for example.

I’m on Facebook to connect with my friends, to reconnect with old friends, to network with readers of my books, and to minister.

Yes, I did say “to minister.”

I view a lot of what I do on Facebook as ministry.

I regularly post links to this blog and I’m regularly involved with ministry to friends through my Facebook email.

A few days ago, a good friend from High School wrote to me and described how she and her Facebook “community” had just suffered a tragic loss.  Knowing I’m a minister, she asked me to post some scriptures on her wall that might help her friends in their grief.

A few months ago—and over the course of a few weeks—through emails on Facebook, I counseled an acquaintance through a serious personal issue.

Last week, a friend and I exchanged correspondence on an important theological issue.

Recently, I had the opportunity to help a Christian teen-aged friend understand the importance of making pure choices.

And these are just a few of the many opportunities I’ve had to minister on and through my Facebook account.

Can Facebook be time consuming?  Yes!

Do I need to be careful about spending too much time “messing” with my Facebook account?  Definitely!

Do I have to be careful to avoid sinful temptations that come while on Facebook?  Of course.

Does Facebook provide an opportunity for me to minister to others?  It sure does,  and—for that—I’m :)

Is it godly?
Social media is a tool and—as I said earlier—it can be constructive or destructive.

And it’s a tool I believe Jesus would have used.

Remember the definition I shared for social media:

websites and applications that enable users to create and share content.

I think you can tweak that definition and reveal how Jesus shared the Gospel—and prove that He would have used social media:

messages, images, and events that enabled Him (Jesus) to create and share content.

I’d argue, because he wanted to connect with people and share content with them, he used the equivalents to social media.

He used miracles.
He used food.
He used kindness.
He used invites to play Candy Crush!

Please stop!!! I have a theory. In Hell, you’ll get an invite to play a stupid Facebook game every hour for eternity.

Matthew 15:29-38
29 Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” 33 And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” 35 And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 38 Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.

Jesus performed miracles because he loved helping hurting people and because he wanted to prove that He was God.

He used food because people love food! I love food, too!

And He was kind!

There are some mean people on Facebook.

btw…there are also some stupid people!

A Minnesota man is in jail because he logged on to Facebook.

Police say 26-year-old Nicholas Wig checked his profile from a home he broke into, and then he didn’t log off. It happened June 19 in South St. Paul.

“World’s dumbest criminal,” the homeowner James Wood said. “I don’t know.”
Wood had come home to find his house ransacked. His credit cards, cash and watch were all gone.

In their place, the thief had left a pair of Nike tennis shoes, jeans and a belt, that were all wet.  Wood said it had been raining outside.

“I started to panic,” he said. “But then I noticed he had pulled up his Facebook profile.”
Wood posted to Facebook using Wig’s profile, saying Wig had burglarized his home. He even shared his phone number to see if someone would call with information. Wig texted him later that day.

“I replied you left a few things at my house last night, how can I get them back to you,” Wood said.

Wig agreed to meet with Wood later that night. Wood believes Wig was under the impression he would give him back some of his clothes he had left at his home in exchange for a recycled cell phone Wig had stolen.

Wood, at his friend’s house, left for home. On his way back to his house he saw and recognized Wig, from his Facebook profile, walking on the street. He immediately called police.

“I’ve never seen this before,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. “It’s a pretty unusual case, might even make the late night television shows in terms of not being too bright.”
Wig was wearing Wood’s watch when he found him. Police arrested him at the scene.
He could face up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines if convicted.

Yes, there are stupid people on social media, but there are also mean people.

And, in my experience, Christians can be some of the meanest.

As we use social media, we must not forget who we are and who we represent.

Is it Godly?

There are at least three filters we can use to maintain godliness while using social media:

Priority

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Some people are seeking social media first.

Facebook is among one of the most addicting (and therefore concerning) social networks. Nearly a quarter of Facebook users check their accounts five times or more per day. Furthermore, in a study conducted by IDC for Facebook, 25 percent of smartphone owners ages 18-44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them.

Harvard University looked at why social media is addictive. A study found that sites like Facebook and Twitter not only stimulate pleasure but it provides a way for people to share information about themselves and others.

Dr. Armand Schachter offers this warning.

“People’s productivity at work will decrease where its going to be noticed. People can get fired from work for essentially spending too much time on their Facebook, or Instagram, any social media activity,” said Schachter.

As with any addiction, you must first recognize there is a problem and then find helpful ways to reduce usage. Professional help may also be necessary. (Source: http://www.abc3340.com/story/25822605/study-social-media-websites-are-addictive)

“If you can’t stop it at all, come see a psychologist or a psychiatrist…” said Schachter.

I read a sad story about a young girl who died trying to save her cell phone.

In March 2014, a 14-year-old girl was killed by a train after she tried to retrieve her cell phone which she dropped on the tracks.

Jenna Betti was hit by a freight train in Martinez, CA. According to the 14-year-old’s mother Dena Derenale Betti, Jenna had reportedly been sitting on the tracks with her boyfriend and jumped off when the train approached. However, realizing that she had dropped her phone, she ran back for it, but misjudged the distance of the freight train and was “sucked in by its vacuum.”

Larry Carlat used to be a married editor of a famous men’s magazine. Then he became obsessed with Twitter, lost his job, got divorced, and alienated loved ones.

The tweetoholic describes tweeting “every hour on the hour, day and night.” His tweets were a clear violation of the company’s social-media policy. He was given to choose choice: to delete the account or face termination. He chose Twitter. About a month later, he lost his wife after tweeting “I would’ve taken a bullet for my wife, but now I’d rather be the one pulling the trigger.” He claims to have reached his lowest point when his son threatened to stop following him on Twitter.

After Tweeting as much as 30 times a day, seven days a week for over 3 years and amassing over 25,000 followers, Larry decided to commit “Twittercide” and left the social platform.

The results of a new Microsoft survey (http://campus.ie/news/college-news/microsoft-students-technology-survey) reveal that students just can’t live without their gadgets.

For some students, their love for and dependence on technology would push them to sacrifice years of their life to stay connected. One in four (23%) would rather live to the age of 60 with access to the internet, than live to 80 without ever accessing it: indicating that students see internet access as a basic right alongside food, sleep or air.

Exodus 20:3
“You shall have no other gods before me.”

A “god” is what gets our time, attention, devotion, and physical/emotional/financial/spiritual devotion.

Propriety
When it comes to social media and our godliness, I think it’s important to speak about propriety.

I’ve seen Christians post words and pictures that make me scratch my head and wonder, “What in the world are you thinking?!?”

Let me give you some things that might help us “mind our manners” on social media.

I got this list from a member of Journey who writes a regular article for the Greeley Tribune, Melissa DeBusk.

You can read her blog here: Living in the Deep End.

Recently, she wrote an article entitled, Social Media Manners: Stay Classy Moms.

I think she offers a lot of wisdom that can help all of us to be more proper on social media.

Think Before You Type: Whether it be a ranting status update or an angry comment, give yourself some time to cool off before you type something you’ll regret. Everything on Facebook is stored in their servers indefinitely, so make sure your words don’t come back to haunt you one day. Have a trusted friend or a spouse weigh in before you reply to help you gain some perspective.

Be Polite: If you are tempted to type something which you wouldn’t say to someone in person, this is a great sign that you shouldn’t put the nasty words on social media. It is incredibly rude to hide behind a computer screen or an iPhone and say something ugly to someone which you would never say to his or her face. Your friends and family are reading your typed words, and just because they aren’t spoken doesn’t make them any less hurtful, offensive or real.

Ask First: Before you tag an unflattering picture of your junior high bestie, a cute photo of a friend’s new baby or a snapshot from a wild party, get permission. Someone may not want the picture broadcast to their entire friends list or their employer, especially if it shows them in an unprofessional setting. Sometimes new parents want to be the first ones to share a picture of their baby or would rather you not post a picture of their child, so always ask permission to be on the safe side.

Skip the Drama: If you have a big blow out with a close friend, resist the urge to blast them on social media. Even a vague status update such as, “I really can’t believe some people,” can lead friends and family to question what happened and may lead to the involved parties feeling betrayed. Everyone has fights and arguments, but it will be much harder to make amends if you publicly shared your unhappiness. The same goes for your spouse. Keep your arguments and dirty laundry private.

You Can’t Reason with Crazy: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to leave “crazy” alone. If someone is passionately responding to something which you’ve shared or typed, it’s ok to let it be. Your friends will see the situation for what it is without you getting into a back and forth reply situation which could likely have no ending. There are people in this world who insist on having the last word no matter how hard you try to remedy the situation or find a solution, and it’s not worth your energy to continue to argue with them. Choose the high road, and accept that you cannot reason with crazy.

When in Doubt, Think About Your Kids: A great filter to use in social media is to think about how you would want your child to respond in the same situation. If your daughter was in your shoes and had a tacky comment written on her status update, how would you suggest she handle it? In all actuality, we are setting an example of manners and appropriate online behavior for our children, so it’s a great way to teach or prepare to teach our kids.

Sympathize: Remember you are not alone in the Facebook world by a long shot, and that anonymous photo which you snap to express your disgust or shock (like the one of the mom breast feeding) are not as anonymous as you might think. The same goes for the author of an article or blog post which you simply hate. Everyone is someone’s child, and all of your interactions on social media need to keep this in mind.

Keep it PG: This may make me sound old-fashioned, but I’d rather not see my newsfeed filled with obscene language and dirty jokes. If you must share something inappropriate, use messenger, email or the “share only with” setting. This also protects you in the long run with potential employers and others who you will interact with in a professional setting.

Have Grace: We are all going to make social media blunders, and having grace and forgiveness with others is the only way to expect them to have grace and forgiveness towards us one day. We are learning, human and imperfect, and we live in an imperfect world. Social media is simply a reflection of that.

Let me add a few more:

Could a pastor discuss this at his Sunday service?
While your posts need not be medicinal and dry, consider the potential eyes on your profile. Would you be comfortable if your boss, client, spouse, pastor or children’s teacher read and shared your views?
Is that a picture your pastor needs to see?



Take your complaints, griping, and sniping offline.
Especially when it’s so vague that everyone who knows you and reads it thinks it’s about them.
Something like this, “Thanks for destroying my life. You monster!”


It’s not all about you!
Think about other people when you post. Don’t always make everything always about you.

It’s not all about politics!
Next week I’m preaching on Jesus&Politics.
Posting about politics is the quickest way to start a fight.
I have very strong political views, but I just don’t feel like social media is the place to hash that out and I know that I’m delusional if I think 140 characters is going to change anyone’s political views.

Every time I read a political post that has exploded, I’m reminded of Matthew 7:6.

Matthew 7:6
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

It’s not all about cat videos!
But, if it was, it would be this video:

Let me make an important point here.

I’m not suggesting we don’t ever stand for anything on social media. Absolutely not!

Yes, Jesus wanted to connect with as many people as possible. Yet, when the crowds got too large, he’d say something unpopular to thin crowd out.

Matthew 15:24-28
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Now, some people seem to be negative because it’s all they know how to be.

As my Grandpa would say, “They’re again’ everything!”

Let’s speak the truth, but speak the truth in love. And, let’s be godly as we do it.

I think the Apostle Paul gives us a great paradigm for how to use social media.

I Corinthians 10:23, 24, 31
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor…
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Purity

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

A friend of mine is a very capable counselor who has worked with church leaders for decades. He recently told me, “Facebook is keeping my calendar filled. Over the past year just about every church leader I have seen who has had an affair told me it started on Facebook.”

Wow!

This is a wake-up call to any Christian who is on Facebook.  Men AND women.  I know of way too many women who have left their husbands to connect with someone they reconnected with on Facebook.  We must be careful.

Here are some practical things we can do to be faithful on Facebook:

Don’t accept a friend request from someone you don’t know who is dressed provocatively in their profile picture.
And–especially is she’s especially “hot”–don’t justify accepting the friend request because you “thought she was a young member of our church who might have some questions about the church that she needs answered before she can commit to becoming a member.”

Enter into an accountability relationship with another Christian man or woman who will ask you regularly about your interactions with other women or men on Facebook. 
Tell your accountability partner to ask you questions like, “Are you indulging in anything that feels inappropriate to you?”, “Has a female friend on Facebook shared anything with you that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with your wife?”  “Have you shared anything with another ‘friend’ on Facebook that your wife would find inappropriate?”  “Are you looking at pictures on Facebook that are causing you to lust?”

Share an account with your spouse.

Give your Facebook password to your spouse or accountability partner and ask them to check your account every week. 
Tell them to ask you, “Have you deleted anything that we might consider inappropriate.”

Agree that you and your spouse will only go on Facebook in a public area of your home with the screen in full view of one another.

Un-friend anyone who tempts you in any way to do, say, look at, or do anything that is inappropriate for a follower of Jesus.

Get off Facebook if it’s causing you to sin regularly. 
As Jesus would say, “If you Facebook account is causing you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one social networking opportunity than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

Put a picture of your spouse and kids next to your computer monitor.
I do this with my laptop on road-trips.  It’s a powerful deterrent to sin.

Use a picture of your spouse and kids as your screen saver.

Don’t hide your faith on Facebook.
If you regularly put scriptures, sermon quotes, Christian statements, etc. on Facebook, it may help to keep you–and any one who may want to reconnect with you in sinful ways–honest.

If you are married, don’t search for old girlfriends or boyfriends on Facebook. 
It may be innocent curiosity at first, but there’s nothing holy to be gained.  And don’t give me that garbage about “only wanting to reconnect with them so you can share your faith with them.”

If you are looking at something or writing something on Facebook that you’d be embarrassed for your 10-year-old son or daughter to see, then you are doing something inappropriate that needs to stop.

Don’t get on Facebook after your spouse goes to sleep unless you have his/her permission and the agreement that they can review your Facebook history in the morning. 

And, at this point, let me say something to people who aren’t technically savvy.   People, you need to know how to check the history feature on your computer.  Check it often and if the history on your computer is always empty after your wife/husband uses the computer you need to start asking some serious questions because he/she is hiding something.

Pray for purity before you log onto Facebook.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

©2014 Arron Chambers

 

 

My daughter is getting married this Saturday to a fantastic young man, CJ Jenkins.

CJ & Ashton

CJ & Ashton

When he asked me for her hand in marriage, this was my response.

12/18/13

CJ,

Today you’re asking me for something that is not mine to give.

Ashton has always belonged to God.  We raised her to be what He wants her to be and to do what He wants for her to do. His will for her life has ultimately been our only desire for her.

Since her birth, her mother and I have prayed for her with love.
Since her birth, her mother and I have prayed for you–with anticipation of her love for you and your love for her.

We didn’t know your name, yet we prayed for you–knowing that God knew your name and that your name would become our daughter’s name.

Soon you’ll give her what is only yours to give.

Your word.
Give Ashton your word and find the joy of keeping it.

Express your love through words.
Hold fast to your vows.
Be trustworthy.
Speak truth in love.
Speak grace.
Guard your character.
Foster intimacy through conversation.
Speak kindly because you like her.
Share the deepest desires of your heart only with her and with no other woman.
Lead her spiritually with your words.
Lead her.
Be the man Ashton deserves.
Pray for her.
Remember who you are.
Lead her from the cross.
Be.
Love Jesus.

Your heart.
Give Ashton your heart and find the joy of sharing it.

Express your love through actions.
Hold fast to her heart.
Be trusting.
Speak love in truth.
Show grace.
Guard her heart.
Foster intimacy through connection.
Be kind because you love her.
Lead her spiritually through your actions.
Love her.
Be the man Ashton needs.
Pray with her.
Remember who she is.
Love her from the cross.
Do.
Love Ashton.

CJ, you are kind-hearted. You are a hard-worker. You are a good man. You are godly.

Rhonda and I trust you and know that you will take care of Ashton.  We also love you and are excited to welcome you into our family.

Today, you’re asking me for something that is not mine to give, so I will simply say, “Care for Ashton on behalf of her true Father.” She belongs to Him. We both love her with everything we have. Love her appropriately.

Today, you’re asking me for something that is not mine to hold on to. We raised her for God and for you, so—with great joy—we release her into your loving care.

Today, I give you my blessing to marry my daughter realizing that—in doing so—we will receive the blessing of gaining you as a son.

Today, I give you my blessing to marry Ashton because that IS mine to give.

©2014 Arron Chambers