Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Just Joshing.

Have you ever heard Josh McDowell speak?
He's quite famous, you know.
According to the back of the book I just bought, he's spoken to 10 million people in 115 countries.

And tonight?
He was right here. Down the road. At Peace Portal.

I went with a couple friends; fully expecting to hear a message based on the topic of Truth Matters.
I brought my Bible and was prepared to take notes. (Because I hear better with a pen in my hand.) And I remember things better if I can refer to notes and not my memory.

(Actually, I heard an interesting thought about listening to sermons. It was suggested that instead of listening with the mindset of 'what's he got for ME today?' that one should listen to sermons with the purpose of "I need to hear this so I CAN TELL OTHERS."Or  "What am I learning? How can I share this?" And "God is using this pastor to equip me to share the gospel, I better take notes." )

So anyhow, there I am, ready to learn and he starts his introduction by saying he is going to talk about the Greatest Threat to Christianity today. The Greatest Threat to the cause of Christ. The Greatest Threat to Youth. And the Greatest Threat to Family and Marriages.

He got my attention and had my interest.

He then spent the next 15 minutes sharing stats. Stats about numbers of email messages, facebook users, itune downloads, tweets, wikipedia, and youtube.

And from there? He dove straight into p0rn stats. There are 4.2 million websites. Every 30 minutes another p0rn film is made in the USA. Sex is the number one search topic on the internet. 90% of all 8 - 16 year olds have viewed p0rn. THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF DIVORCE IN THE USA TODAY IS P0RNOGRAPHY.

62% of Christian men regularly visit p0rn websites.

The Greatest Threat to Family and Marriage is p0rn.
Nothing destroys marital  intimacy like p0rn.
Nothing ruins healthy family relationships, like p0rn.
Nothing as destructive is easier to access than p0rn.
Just one or two clicks and it's in the palm of your hand.
Nothing is as addictive... and it IS addictive.

How do you fight back?
How can you protect yourself and your family?
How do you protect your sons and daughters?

It was interesting... He started by saying you can't put enough controls on your computer to prevent it from entering your home. 90% of all teens are going to access it - if not on your home computer, they will get it on their phone. Or an ipad. The internet is the number one 'time waster' for our children's generation. TV is second. We can't change that.

We just have to be prepared to talk about it. We need to be equipped. Josh challenged parents to take the initiative by:

(I know! Again with the dad thing. Remember those statistics I quoted a year or so ago about church attendance? And how if children have a church-going, believing dad there is a 95% greater chance that they will continue going to church in their young adult years than if just their mom is a church attender? Seriously. Dads? SO MUCH DEPENDS ON YOU. Whoa. When God named you leaders in your homes, He meant it. The strength and health of families depends on men. Their example. Their integrity. Their sacrifices to put their families first; above desire for more money and man-toys, above search for personal happiness, above selfish pursuits ... )

As a mom of sons, I pray that my boys will become that type of man.


And I guess it goes without saying, that you, the parents, should have a solid knowledge as well.

A few years ago, when I was trying to encourage my, then, working sons, that they should tithe 10% of their paycheck to the church we were attending, I was told, "I don't have to. No where in the New Testament does it say that I have to give 10%. That was an Old Testament thing - doesn't apply today."

I was ill-prepared for this debate. My opponent, however, was fully armed. To my shame, he 'won' that round because he out argued me, quoting (misquoting?) scripture in his defense. Sadly, his studies of scripture didn't include verses that talked about being generous, or giving, or taking care of widows, or ... He just was looking for verses that supported his position that he didn't have to tithe.

I've heard of young couples looking through the Bible to find loopholes/verses that allow them to engage in premarital sex.

Or people taking up a scripture search to look for God's approval to leave a spouse. Or arbort a baby. Or focus on wealth acquisition. Or ignore the starving in India. And if they can't find specific verses that indicate God's approval, then no verses on the topic is taken to mean that God is indifferent - so it's OK.

Josh was challenging us to Read the Bible. Study the Scriptures. KNOW what they say. And then obey them. There is power in Biblical Obedience.

And that's how we fight back against the global impact of p0rn and it's damage to our world.


When I got home, I plugged myself in and listened to Northview's weekend sermon. We're still doing that Biography series, and this week, Jeff was preaching. His 'person'? Martin Luther. Oh my goodness, so fascinating. Please watch:

Bio: Martin Luther from Northview Church on Vimeo.

Or just listen here.

My 'take-away' from this sermon?

I am so, so lucky to live in this time in history and this place on earth, when I can own a personal Bible. Why am I not studying it? Why don't I read it every day? Why don't I treat it like God's letter to me? Why don't I meditate on it? Why am I not memorizing it? WHY HAVE I NOT HAD MANY MANY CONVERSATIONS WITH MY KIDS ABOUT WHAT I'VE READ?


Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Rich evenings with good friends and lots to think about.
2. Grace.
3. God's way of redeeming bad situations and poor decisions for His purposes and His glory. Josh McDowell, who, as I mentioned at the start of this post, has shared the Word of God with 10 million people in 115 countries is a family man with 4 married children, fully committed to preaching the truth and being a good dad. He himself came from a wildly dysfunctional home and was horrifically abused for 6 years. He didn't have a relationship with his dad, nor did he have a solid understanding of scripture growing up - and LOOK. God saved him. And Josh? Is doing mighty things for His Kingdom. Powerful things. Transformative things.

I love that about God.


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