I honestly never thought I’d see the day when Christians would justify swearing.
I lived a sheltered life growing up. My Christian parents allowed me to watch a re-release of Gone With the Wind at the local theater when I was 12, and my virgin ears were scandalized when Rhett Butler told Scarlett, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I had never heard such language—and I knew that if I ever talked like Rhett Butler in my house, I would be sent to the backyard to choose my own switch.
Fast-forward to today, when profanity has so saturated our culture that dirty words are unavoidable. Dropping the F-bomb is a daily habit for millions of Americans. Jesse Sheidlower, the editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary, says the F-word has lost its shock value. He says, “For most people, it’s hardly noticeable anymore.”
Today students wear “WTF?” T-shirts to school. I’ve seen the F-word indelibly tattooed on people’s arms in dark blue ink. And I’ve heard guys and girls alike use the F-word more than 15 times in a sentence to simply describe their day. There’s even a mock children’s book titled Go the F*** to Sleep that was one of the fastest-selling titles on Amazon in 2011. What’s going on here?
Music has certainly played a role in forcing the F-word on us. (Listen if you dare to any popular hip-hop artist for proof of this nastiness.) One song by the rock band Limp Bizkit a few years ago featured the F-word 50 times. American rapper CeeLo Green released a song in 2010 called F*** You, and it was nominated for a Grammy Award. Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of America recently relaxed its ratings code to allow more uses of the F-word in PG-13 movies. (The old rule only allowed one F-bomb per film.)
I’m not going on a crusade to wash out our nation’s potty mouth. We live in a free country. And besides, I don’t expect non-Christians to talk like Sunday school teachers. But at the risk of sounding like a prude, I think true believers need to be reminded that it’s not okay to talk trash. This certainly goes for preachers—no matter how young and trendy they are.
I honestly never thought I’d see the day when Christians would justify swearing. But it was only inevitable, since many popular preachers have emphasized greasy grace while overlooking our serious lack of discipleship. The underlying message these days is: “Don’t be religious or legalistic. We have to be relevant to the culture.” The implied meaning is: “Go ahead and talk dirty. God doesn’t care. Maybe when non-Christians hear you swearing, they won’t label you a religious nut.” I’m not buying that line for three reasons:
1. Filthy talk defiles you and those around you. Jesus said it is not what goes into the mouth of a person that defiles him, but what comes out of his mouth (Matt. 15:11). Then the apostle Paul wrote, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths” (Eph. 4:29, ESV). The word corrupting here refers to rotten fruit or rancid fish. Filthy talk stinks! Dirty words have the power to soil you—and the rancid odor will linger in your soul.
2. Obscene or crude language is a reflection of your inner character. British preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “Beware of everyone who swears: he who would blaspheme his Maker would make no bones of lying or stealing.” Ephesians 5:4 says filthy talk or crude joking are not “befitting” a Christian (ASV). The NIV translates it this way: “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place.” If a Christian defiantly insists on talking trash, he has revealed deeper flaws and can’t be trusted.
3. Rough language is a sign of an unsurrendered will. The psalmist wrote, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Ps. 141:3, ESV). Mature Christians invite the Holy Spirit to inspect every area of their lives: attitudes, thoughts, grudges and addictions—as well as coarse language. If you insist on holding on to carnal habits, you are quenching the Spirit’s fire. Your spiritual growth will be forever stunted.
The prophet Isaiah recognized that he was “a man of unclean lips” who lived among “a people of unclean lips” (Is. 6:5). After his repentance, an angel touched his lips with the hot coal of God’s holiness. We need this miracle today if we want to speak for God.
God wants to use our mouths as channels of His life and blessing, but we will never be His prophets if we talk like the world. Let God clean up your conversation.
This post is written by J. Lee Grady who is the former editor of Charisma and the director of the Mordecai Project(themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at @leegrady. He is the author of Fearless Daughters of the Bible and other books. For the original post, go to: http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/18379-why-i-don-t-use-the-f-word
Is swearing always inappropriate? Here are a couple of posts on swearing that were previously posted on Ironstrikes: http://www.ironstrikes.com/2/post/2012/07/murdered-love-pod-uses-the-f-word.html
& http://www.ironstrikes.com/2/post/2012/07/dont-christians-j.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
My dad was a minister in a church. My uncles were ministers. My cousin’s a minister. About thirty of my best friends are, or were, ministers.
I was a minister, until I quit seven years ago. Probably forever.
It’s difficult being a minister. In the hard times, I always felt like many of the people in the church didn’t really understand us. Where our hearts were, how we were feeling, what our intentions were, how best to help us help the church. Which often felt dysfunctional. And I spent a lot of my down time thinking about a list of things I wish the church understood.
But while I was in the position, saying them would have sounded only like whining. Or it would have been uncomfortably vulnerable.
Now that I’m seven years removed from ministry, with no chance of returning, I want to offer some of these things to you who attend church regularly, hoping that they might be received in a different, more constructive spirit. I’ve really got nothing invested here any more, except love and respect for my brothers and sisters who do this for a living. And a hope that I can make someone’s life just a little better.
A disclaimer is in order. I ran these by a large handful of ministers this week, and most of them said something akin to ‘Yes, exactly
!’ But there were one or two who responded saying that they’ve had a different, better experience with ministry, and that most of these don’t apply to them. But I think it’s fair to say that about nine out of ten ministers relate strongly to most of what’s here.
It might also be weird that I’ve written them in the first person, as though I’m currently a minister. I’m not. But since I was born and bred and trained for it, and since I did it for so many years, I’m placing myself back into the fold for this post. Most of it comes from my own personal experience anyway.
So here’s what your minister wishes you understood. Give it a read, give it some thought, and give him or her a bigger hug than usual tomorrow morning.1. Our greatest fear is irrelevance.
It’s not losing our jobs, hurting your feelings, or accidentally saying the F word during a sermon. Those fears are there. But they are nothing compared to the nagging fear that what we say and do is making zero
difference in your life. That you are only showing up to church because of habit, or obligation, or mental illness. That we are laying ourselves bare to write and deliver a sermon every week that nobody is hearing. If your pastor has made an actual difference in your life ever
, by word or deed or example or friendship, take some time this week to let him or her know, in as much detail as you can. You cannot imagine how far that will go.2. We are mama’s boys.
Apologies to the female pastors, this one’s just about the guys. I’ve read studies that higher than 80 percent of male pastors say they are much closer to their mothers than their fathers. This has a lot of implications, and it explains why we’re more likely to play an instrument than fire a gun, have coffee with a friend than watch a game, read a book than restore an old Mustang. It also means that nobody in the church gets our attention as much as the old ladies, who can make or break our day with a kind word or a disapproving scowl. When you’re dealing with your male pastor, keep in mind that he’s more likely to speak the language of nurture over discipline, collaboration over competition, forgiveness over punishment. These aren’t things he learned in seminary, these are things he learned in diapers.3. S/he sees you when you’re sleeping.
Some people in the pews think there’s a two way mirror between them and the pulpit, that they can see the pastor but the pastor can’t see them. Wrong. We see you yawn, look at your phone, whisper something into your wife’s ear. Sleep. Which is fine. If we’re boring, it’s not your
fault, it’s ours. But just be aware that we see you, and that if
you can manage to at least look like you’re a little
more interested, it might actually feed some energy back to us and give us more zing. Energy goes two ways.4. We think about quitting a lot.
Behind closed doors, most ministers talk about moving on with regularity. The job is hard in a way that people who’ve never done it cannot understand. Not physically, or even mentally. But emotionally it can wreck you. I don’t fully understand why, although I have theories. But just know, when you’re choosing how to interact with her or him, that your pastor is probably hurting and tired and wishing s/he could quit. And that, in most cases, the only thing keeping him or her there is a sense of love and obligation to you. Be gentle, sensitive, and grateful for that.5. We envy people who can be themselves.
We wish we could cuss without it making headlines. We wish we could get drunk at a party, just once
, without it resulting in an elders meeting. We wish we could be enthusiastic about a hobby without people raising their eyebrows about how much time and money we’re spending on it. We wish we could make angry political remarks on Facebook. You know, all the things that you
feel free to do all the time
. You want us to be human, but not too
human. Believe me, we know. And it’s probably for the best that we are charged with setting a good example, it makes sense. But just know, we sometimes envy your freedom to just be yourself.6. We are often spiritually starving.
Probably the most closely guarded secret among pastors is how spiritually empty many of us are. Like a worker at the chocolate factory who no longer likes the taste of chocolate, or the prostitute who gets no pleasure from sex, we deal with spiritual matters so much that they often no longer have much meaning for us. Worship, for us, is a program that must be organized and executed. It’s work. It’s not for
us. It’s for you. And then, when we’re not ‘on,’ often the last thing we want to do is something spiritual. Because it reminds us of work. We can’t read the Bible without thinking of sermon ideas. We can’t pray without thinking of leading prayers. We can’t meet with other church people without talking shop. So we’d rather play golf, or watch TV, or anything else. Which ultimately leaves us empty. Not everyone, not always. But often.7. We are sinful, no different than you.
We don’t just think about sinning. We aren’t just tempted
to sin. We commit
sins. The same kind you do. Believe it. But also understand that this doesn’t make us less qualified to talk to you about sins, but more. If you’ve ever sat in the pew and heard a pastor rambling on about temptations and sin and thought, “Whatever, there’s no way
she understands what I’m dealing with,” think again. It’s very likely that she does, first hand. And that what she’s saying comes from her own life, not just from a book.8. We are lonely, because it’s hard to trust.
Pastors often have trust issues. As well they should. All pastors have heard stories about Reverend So-and-so who confided in someone in his church about his addiction to whatever, only to have that person tell the elders about it, which ultimately got him fired. It happens. We know it does. So every time we interact with you, even if it’s in a prayer group or some very intimate setting, we’re not 100% open. We can’t afford to be. It’s not your fault, it’s not our fault, it’s just a bad system that doesn’t allow pastors to be as human as it should. You can’t fix that, but you can have understanding and compassion for the man or woman who loves and serves you week after week, who counsels you and hears your confessions, and yet often has nowhere to go to get the same healing and relief.9. Ministry is a hard job.
Sometimes it’s said as a joke, sometimes it’s said in anger, that ministers don’t work very hard. That it’s a cushy gig. If that were true I doubt I’d know so many ministers who have quit swearing never to return, including myself. The best way I can think to explain why ministry is hard is to compare it to being the parent of a young child. From the outside it might not look like a lot of ‘work,’ but from the inside it’s the most exhausting thing you’ll ever do. Because it’s not just about the amount of things
you do, it’s the total emotional drain of it. It’s worrying all day every day about the people and programs you’re in charge of, being on call and not ever feeling really free to be away, feeling like you live in a fishbowl with hundreds of eyes watching you all the time and never really knowing what they are all thinking of you (unless they complain, which some of them do with regularity). It’s caring for people to the point that you have nothing left for your own family when you get home, yet expecting that they show a certain spiritually-put-together face to the church (because the church expects that). It’s often feeling empty, yet pretending to feel full. It’s presenting yourself and your work to hundreds of people, several times a week, for evaluation, and often getting no feedback except ‘constructive’ criticism. And after all of this, after years of this, it’s looking out at the people in your church and seeing little or no change. Ministry is very hard, albeit perhaps in a different way than your job is hard.10. We are more sensitive than you probably think.
Most ministers I know have one or two people in their congregations who send them stinky emails weekly, and another ten or fifteen who can be counted on to complain about things about once a month. Then of course there are handful of the angels, who hug and love and say encouraging things every week. But guess what. The people who complain are far more thorough and specific and persistent than those who encourage, and they
are the voices that keep us up at night feeling bad about ourselves, wondering if we suck at this. Most ministers have skin that is way thinner than their congregants think it is. We have
to be open and sensitive to you, because it’s you
we are charged with caring for. This means that the things you say to us can reach far deeper inside than they could otherwise. If you need to criticize your minister for something, please just be aware of this. Tread carefully, and with a lot of love and appreciation for her vulnerability. We are not above correction. Nobody is. But please make the extra effort to wrap it in as much care as you can.11. We care about you more than you can imagine.
The best moments of being a pastor for me, by far, were the times the ministers would gather for staff meetings and talk about the week ahead. Did we discuss worship and youth outings and air conditioning and budgets? Sure, for maybe twenty minutes. And then for three hours we’d talk about the people we were serving, what’s going on in their lives, and how we might help them. I always wished the whole church could be in those meetings and just see how much these people care, how much their hearts break for them, how much time and emotional energy they spend wanting to help them. Those meetings are my most sacred memories of church, because those were the moments when I saw men and women who had every reason not to care, to phone it in, to even be resentful. And yet, in spite of all of it, at the end of every day, they still cared, sometimes to the point of tears. You might have no idea how much.
This post was written by Mark Love. You can find the original post here: http://marklovefurniture.com/blog/2013/07/06/eleven-things-you-might-not-understand-about-your-minister/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Jesus said, "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it."
The Pharisees didn’t place a lot of emphasis on saying what they mean. Instead they had developed what one commentator called “evasive swearing”. They divided oaths into two categories. Those they had to keep and those they didn’t necessarily have to keep. The way they divided these oaths depended on whether or not God’s name was involved. If the name of God was used in the oath, then it had to be kept no matter what. However if you managed to give an oath without using God’s name, well then you didn’t necessarily have to keep that oath.
The result of evasive swearing was that if someone swore by God’s name then he would keep that oath without fail. But if they swore by anything else he felt perfectly okay with breaking the oath if he wanted to. As you can imagine this led to people’s word being basically meaningless unless they had sworn in God’s name that they would do something. The way they figured this was that if they had sworn by God’s name then they had made God a partner in their oath and so they were bound to keep it. If they didn’t keep it not only had they broken their word but they had also insulted God. On the other hand if they didn’t use God’s name they didn’t break their word when they changed their minds and God really didn’t care since His name hadn’t been invoked in the oath.
This is the attitude that Jesus is taking to task in this passage. He tells them that they are only pretending to be people of integrity. They want to give the appearance of being truthful and honest people without all the hassle of having to actually be truthful and honest people. One great truth they failed to recognize is that our lives cannot be divided into the secular and the sacred. There is just our life and there is no part of our life that God is not a part of. There is not one standard of truthfulness at church, one with our friends and another at work. There is just one standard and its God’s standard. God’s standard is honesty.
It’s easy for us to look down on the religious leaders for their use of evasive swearing, but if we were to be honest we have our own methods of evasive swearing. Instead of swearing by the temple, we say things like…
“I’ll think about it.”
“I might do that.”
“Let me check to see if I can.”
Or if we really want to sound pious we will say, “I’ll pray about that.”
Of course there are plenty of times when these are genuine answers and that is fine. In fact, the Bible tells us it’s wise not to be rash in giving our word. But there are just as many times when these are safe, non-committal answers that allow us time to think of good reasons why we can’t do whatever it is that has prompted this answer. It’s our own form of evasive swearing and our form of evasive swearing now is just as wrong as their form of evasive swearing was then.
In Psalm 101 David said, “I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.” What impact do you think it has on our kids when they see us use our own form of evasive swearing? What does it say to them when they see us give non-committal answers so that we can get out of something, or outright lie and then tell them, “Now, don’t you lie to me”? Or even worse, what does it say to them when we have them lie for us by saying something like, “Answer the phone and if it’s for me tell them I’m not here”? Integrity is not integrity unless it’s lived out at home. If we are going to be men and women of integrity we must be honest in our speech. We would all say that we value honesty, but do our actions and attitudes reflect this value?
God wants us to be honest in our speech. God wants us to keep our word. To be a man of integrity we must say what we mean and mean what we say.
This post was written by Rev Ross. For the original post, go to: http://stacyjross.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/say-what-you-mean-and-mean-what-you-say/
BE A MAN.
Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
One of the main things a Pharisee did was make sure he was ceremonially clean. It was very much a central part of their lifestyle. They almost went to absurd lengths to make sure they were ceremonially clean at all times. They went to great pains to make sure that outwardly they were clean, but there was a problem. They completely ignored what they were like on the inside. Outwardly they looked as saintly as can be, but inwardly they were as full of corruption and greed as any sinner.
They were nothing more than whitewashed tombs. Their appearance was beautiful to see, but inwardly they were as unclean as a tomb filled with corpses. Outwardly they looked like they were the pillars of righteousness. But it was just an act. That wasn’t who they were, that was just who they appeared to be.
One of the easiest traps for us to fall into is the trap of appearances. When we fall into this trap we do all that we can to appear righteous. We do all that we can to appear committed to Christ. We do all that we can to appear to be faithful and godly. But when you get below the surface you find that’s all it is, an appearance. It’s not really who we are. It’s just who we appear to be. When you get into the Bible you find that God isn’t as concerned about what we appear to be, as much as He is concerned about what we truly are.
God doesn’t want us to appear to be righteous. He wants us to truly be righteous.
God doesn’t want us to appear to be devoted to Him. He wants us to truly be devoted to Him.
God doesn’t want us to appear to be like Jesus. He wants us to truly be like Jesus.
God didn’t save us to appear to be anything. He saved us so that we could truly be something new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT)
God didn’t save you to appear different. He saved you so that you could genuinely be different. Since this is the case, never settle for appearing different. Never settle for appearing righteous. Never settle for appearing devoted to Christ. Never settle for appearing anything. Appearances are deceiving and appearances are useless. What matters is what we truly are, not what we appear to be. Genuinely be what God saved you to be.
Think about in Psalm 101 where David said, “I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.” What impact do you think it has on our kids when we do all kinds of things to keep up appearances and yet do nothing because of what we truly are?
The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. Proverbs 20:7 (NKJV)
There is great power in integrity to influence our children to truly be what God wants them to be. One of the things I realized early on as a dad and a pastor is that what I am at home will influence my children far greater than anything I say in church.
Day in and day out they will see if I am honest or if I appear honest. Day in and day out they will see if I am only worried about right actions or if I’m also working on right attitudes. Day in and day out they will see if I appear to be a man of God or if I truly am a man of God. And what they see in me will influence what they become. Refuse to fall into the trap of focusing on appearances. To be a man or woman of integrity you must genuinely be who you appear to be.This post was written by Rev Ross. For the original post, go to: http://stacyjross.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/focus-on-being-no-on-appearing/
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
We've spent the last two days discussing how affairs happen and the fallout to having an affair. Today, we will make a few pointers about fighting the temptation to stray from our marriages and families:
1. Build the marriage relationship - Communication is the key here. Staying in touch with each other's feelings, pressures and tensions will keep you focused on where your relationship needs work. Caring enough to meet these mutual needs in your marriage will help make your relationship a meaningful one in which to be involved. This kind of communication takes time. Make time for each other.
2. The affair process. Read thru again the 12-step affair process. Then read it with your spouse. Come to mutual agreements about how to relate to the opposite sex. The most important idea to remember is that all sin starts in the mind. If we control it there, it cannot grow. Turn your sexual fantasies toward your marriage. Control your thoughts. Pray for good dreams. God will help you manage this sexual dimension in your life.
3. Walk with God together. Be regular in fellowship with Christians. Be regular in worship. Be regular in your devotional life. Pray together as a couple. Go to meetings for men at your church. Men need to have a place where they can discuss openly and honestly with other men about the tensions and problems they encounter in life. Find a place of ministry in your church. Talk to your pastor, let him know your weaknesses and have him pray for you.
4. Count the cost. It helps us to keep our heads in the real world if we think about the consequences of infidelity. Think about how quickly your credibility and Christian witness would be compromised. Don't think temptation will never happen to you. No one is immune. Think about the fact that sin grieves our Lord. Think about how much it would hurt your wife, kids, parents, and in-laws. Even though thinking of the consequences of our sin can help us resist temptation, we are only truly moral in a biblical sense when we refuse to sin primarily out of our love for God.
Our goal in developing moral character is to get to the place where we act faithfully and consistently simply because to do otherwise would bring harm to the person and cause of the God we love.
Only a real and lasting love for God will guard and buttress our fight against the enemy.
This information is taken from TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE
BE A MAN.
When living in Europe, I was on a business trip kilometers away from Karyn, my wife. Several of us went to a restaurant to have a meal. Over time, the group dwindled down to me, a female colleague and two other men. One of the men was dropping hints on the female saying that he wanted to see if her hotel room was bigger than his, to see her dog that she had back in her room, and other "seemingly" innocuous things.
I excused myself for a moment and as I stepped out of the bathroom to head back to the table, the woman was standing there at the door. She told me, "I don't know if you've noticed but "George" is hitting on me. I am really uncomfortable with him doing that. Could you make sure that I am not alone with him?"
She and I had become fairly good friends, we both had similar supervisory positions in the same company and I was kind of mentoring her since she was new to the position. I said to her, "what would you like me to do?" She responded, "when we back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same hotel), could you walk me to my room? That will discourage George and he will get the message I don't want him in my room."
I had no reason to believe that she had designs for me, but being a male with a big ego, I was taken aback for a moment. I had to make a decision. Which is more important at this moment? To respect and honor my female friend's request and risk people thinking I went to her room or choose to not be alone with her and avoid even the appearance of evil?
Do I choose to walk her to her hotel room and risk rumor or do I not so as to avoid any gossip? Do I choose to honor her or protect my reputation? It should be noted that she apparently did not have designs for me, she was wanting me to help send a message to a man who was engaging in sexual innuendo.
So, why the tire? Let me use this tire to illustrate the decision-making model.* Imagine at the center is my desire to please God in all that I do. That is the axle of this model. Now, imagine this tire divided into three parts. Each part representing the three goals of Ironstrikes. All of these goals are admirable and God-honoring. However, I was now faced with my personal integrity or honoring a woman , a choice between two good, yet seemingly conflicting goals.
This tire, separated into three parts, the three goals, is constantly on the move. For the tire to sit still and lay flat on one goal results in an out of balance tire. It will become flat if it doesn't rotate. At times, one goal is hitting the ground, at other times, another goal is in play. So, in following this illustration, no goal has precedence over the other. In making this decision, I had to keep those three goals in mind with full consideration of the axle, pleasing God, as the central basis. Pleasing God is what these goals revolve around.
I told my female friend that I would be glad to walk her back to her hotel room. As we went back to the table to conclude the conversation, I was praying about my decision and asking God for His wisdom. "Lord, did I make the right decision? Is honoring my friend's request more important at this moment than protecting my reputation?" The answer came pretty clearly.
Now, lest you think I'm crazy, no, I didn't hear God's audible voice. I felt a calm, a real peace at this decision and then in my head, God spoke thru my thoughts, in my own voice I heard, "You do what is right and I will protect your reputation."
We dismissed ourselves and I walked her back to her room. It was about a 15-minute walk. We got to the hallway that led to her room and she thanked me and went to her room. I then went to my room and called Karyn letting her know what happened so if she heard any rumors, she would know the truth.
So what do you think? Did I make the right decision? You may be thinking, "Dale sure made a big deal out of nothing." Maybe I did, maybe not. However, I learned how little things can become big things. I'm hoping that my example encourages you to be sensitive to God's leading in your life.
* I am indebted to my parents who devised this decision-making model. I have altered it here to fit this illustration.
BE A MAN.
We were visiting Amsterdam, exploring shops and the canals. At one shop on the canal there were the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen. It was a wonderful day. Everything was perfect. We were walking hand-in-hand enjoying Amsterdam. Kinda like two kids at a zoo. Excitement. Fun. Happiness.
The next thing I know, Karyn says, "don't look right." So, I put my right hand up to block my view. Then she said, "don't look left." So, I put up my left hand to block my view. So, now, I am walking down this street on this beautiful day looking like a horse with blinders. I said, "what's going on?" Karyn said, "we've stumbled into the Red Light District." I dropped my hands and looked around and yep, she was right. There were some windows with scantily clad women beckoning us to come in. We promptly turned around and left that street.
You ask, "how in the world didn't you know that you were entering the most famous Red Light District in the world?" Well, it was still bright out, even though we didn't realize the sun was starting to descend. If it had been dark, we would have seen the red lights warning us that we had wandered into "adult" territory.
So, what does this story tell us about temptation?
Well, I was certainly glad that I had my wife with me. She saw things up ahead that I hadn't noticed. She loves me and wants to protect our marriage. So, if you are doing something new, something you have never done before, it would be good to not be alone. Because you never know what is on that street.
The person you take with you needs to be committed to holiness and purity. S/he needs to be able to stop you when you start to go somewhere you shouldn't be going. Because you never know what is on that street.
Temptation sneaks up on you when you least suspect. We were having a great time. Exploring Amsterdam, enjoying the sunshine and building memories. Then, boom! There it is. Right in front of you. Sometimes, we are lulled into complacency or feeling really good and then we are blindsided. Temptation can come from anywhere. You know why?
Because you never know what is on that street.
BE A MAN.
A Florida Atlantic University student said he was punished after he refused a professor’s directive to stomp on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” written on it. The university, meanwhile, is defending the assignment as a lesson in debate.
“I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” student Ryan Rotela told television station WPEC. “I truly see this as I’m being punished.”
Rotela, who is a devout Mormon, said the instructor in his Intercultural Communications class told the students to write the name “Jesus” on a sheet of paper. Then, they were told to put the paper on the floor.
“He had us all stand up and he said ‘Stomp on it,’” Rotela said. “I picked up the paper from the floor and put it right back on the table.
The young college student told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment was insulting and offensive.
“I said to the professor, ‘With all due respect to your authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do was appropriate,’” Rotela said. ‘I believe it was unprofessional and I was deeply offended by what you told me to do.’”
Rotela took his concerns to Poole’s supervisor – where he was promptly suspended from the class.
Poole did not return calls seeking comment.
According to his university profile, he has a PhD from Howard University and is authoring a book titled, “Obamamania: The Rise of a Mythical Hero.”
A university spokesperson told they could not comment about Rotela’s case due to student privacy laws.
However, the university is defending the instructor’s assignment to stomp on the name of Jesus.
“As with any academic lesson, the exercise was meant to encourage students to view issues from many perspectives, in direct relation with the course objectives,” said Noemi Marin, the university’s director of the school of communication and multimedia studies.
“While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate,” Marin added.
The lesson on bashing the name of Christ is included in a textbook titled, “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.”
Fox News obtained a synopsis of the lesson that got Rotela in trouble.
“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper,” the lesson reads. “Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”
Paul Kengor, the executive director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, told Fox News he’s not surprised by the classroom lesson.
“These are the new secular disciples of ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ – empty buzzwords that make liberals and progressives feel good while they often refuse to tolerate and sometimes even assault traditional Christian and conservative beliefs,” Kengor said.
Kengor said classes like the one at Florida Atlantic University demonstrate the contempt many public institutions hold for people of faith.
“It also reflects the rising confidence and aggression of the new secularists and atheists, especially at our sick and surreal modern universities,” he said.
The university did not explain why students were only instructed to write the name of Jesus – and not the name of Mohammed or another religious figure.
“Gee, I wonder if the instructor would dare do this with the name of Mohammed,” Kengor wondered.
Rotela said the idea of stomping on the name of Jesus was beyond his comprehension.
“Any time you stomp on something it shows you believe that it has no value,” he told the television station. “If you were to stomp on the word Jesus – it says the word has no value.”This post was written by Todd Starnes. For the original article, go to: http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/professor-makes-students-stomp-on-jesus.htmlIt appears that the school has since issued an apology. For the apology, go to: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/27/17485007-florida-school-apologizes-after-students-stomp-on-jesus?lite
The story continues: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/04/stomping-on-jesus-and-hasty-conclusions.html
A common problem that men have is how to handle it when a coworker has pornography at work. This is a very touchy issue.
What do you do when men are gathered around on the work site looking at pictures of naked women?
If a guy doesn't participate, he is "hen-pecked" or "gay" or.... The name calling starts and the accusations fly if a guy isn't "one of the guys." He's not a "team player." What's a man to do in these situations? After all, he has a reputation to protect.
Reputation is the key word in this story. Reputation is the answer. Jesus took His reputation and laid it all on the line for us so that we could have strength in times like this. Jesus could have been satisfied to leave things the way they were and stayed in heaven. However, He put aside His reputation, His Deity, to become like us. He risked, knowing that His Father would take care of His reputation.
Like yesterday's post, honesty is needed. Asking God for strength to be vulnerable and transparent is how you handle porn at work. Have the gumption to step up and tell your coworkers why looking at porn is not healthy. Let them know that there is much more to a woman than just what she does to make a man feel sexual.
You know what will happen if you take this step? Like Jesus, you may be crucified. I don't mean that these guys will string you up and kill you but they will belittle you. They will tell you that you are not a real man. They will tease you because they want you to participate in their sinfulness.
You know what else will happen? There will always be at least one guy who agrees with you. He may not publicly, but he will at least come to you privately or at least not join in when the teasing starts.
If you stick to your integrity and respect women, you will make a statement. You will only have to say it once. Your statement will have an impact. If you never participate with them in objectifying women from that point on, God's Holy Spirit will work on these men. They will watch you. So, if you have integrity in everything you do at work, they will see it and they will change.
Your reputation? Don't worry about it. God will protect your reputation if you are doing what He wants. A real man respects and honors women. A real man stands up for what is right, even if it means standing alone.
BE A MAN.
What do you do when you are placed in a situation where you feel trapped?
I knew a guy who, like many men, had a desire to look at scantily clad, attractive women. He used to be an avid fan of Playboy magazine but as he grew in his personal relationship with Christ, he came to respect women more and was able to not spend his time obsessing about women as sex objects.
He had a good childhood friend that lived cross-country and his friend invited him to spend a week with him. His friend had a small one-bedroom apartment with a very small spare room where his friend kept his book collection. This man was to sleep in this small spare room during his visit. As he was laying there, on the couch in this small room, he started to observe the books and magazines that were in this collection. Some books were classics, some contemporary spy thrillers, and some books about military history.
Next, his eyes glanced at the magazine collection. What he didn't know about his friend is that his friend collected Playboy magazines. He had almost every issue over the previous 10 years. They were catalogued and displayed quite prominently. As he lay there trying to sleep, his mind kept wandering back to the Playboy collection that was within his reach. His mind thought back to the images that were in his mind from his previous experience with Playboy. His heart was pounding in his ears and his mind said, "it's OK to look at them. You won't be here but just a few nights. It's not like they belong to you."
What would you do? Your character determines how you will handle this situation. Your true character shows when no one is looking.
How do you handle this? God promises a way of escape. What is the answer?
Honesty. God's strength to be vulnerable and transparent.
Fortunately, this man did the right thing. He woke his friend up and they had a conversation about Playboy. Even though his friend didn't think it was a big deal to look at Playboy, his friend took the magazines out of the room and put them in his own bedroom.
This man kept his integrity. He stayed away from sinful behavior.
Is his friend still collecting Playboy magazines? I dunno.
But his friend now knows that not all men think that looking at porn is acceptable. Maybe nobody ever told him that before...
BE A MAN.