Archives For September 2012

Godly Sex #4- Homosexuality

imprrh@gmail.com —  September 20, 2012


Truth in Love

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body” 1 Corinthians 6:18.

Yunel Escobar is a major league player. He got suspended for 3 games for a gay slur he wrote in his eye black. His story gathered national attention, because homosexuality is a very popular subject these days.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8395863/toronto-blue-jays-yunel-escobar-suspended-three-games-gay-slur-eye-black

The world we live in, is polarized about this subject. There are two extremes in this area:

a. Ignore it and think it doesn’t affect “us.” If that doesn’t work, attack and reject the person.

b. Twist scripture to accommodate its practice. If that doesn’t work, attack and reject biblical passages that address homosexuality.

Ed Young in his book PURE SEX lists 6 myths about homosexuality. I will list 3 of them here:

1. 10% of America is homosexual. That doesn’t match up with facts. “The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a gay and lesbian think tank, released a study in April 2011 estimating based on its research that just 1.7 percent of Americans between 18 and 44 identify as gay or lesbian, while another 1.8 percent — predominantly women — identify as bisexual. Far from underestimating the ranks of gay people because of homophobia, these figures included a substantial number of people who remained deeply closeted, such as a quarter of the bisexuals. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of women between 22 and 44 that questioned more than 13,500 respondents between 2006 and 2008 found very similar numbers: Only 1 percent of the women identified themselves as gay, while 4 percent identified as bisexual.”

2. Opposition to the practice of homosexuality is the result of homophobia or hatred. We saw this happen recently in the Chick-Fil- A controversy. Although at times we as christians have done a poor job of rejecting both sin and sinner, it does not change the fact that the Bible does point in a very different direction regarding same sex relationships. Following biblical principles can sometimes be very unpopular. We must be clear on the biblical principles, all of them, which include inviting people to a better way, as well as loving them along the way.

3. Homosexuality is immutable. The truth is that there is freedom and power in Christ from EVERY temptation and sin. Through accountability, repentance, confession, and spiritual disciplines the Holy Spirit can work to change our lives.

Regardless of your personal feelings on the subject, the Bible is clear on homosexuality. (Romans 1:25-27). It’s a sin. Two powerful truths in the Romans passage must be considered.

            a. All sin starts with exchanging God’s truth for a lie (Romans 1:25).

            b. The practice of homosexuality is not the only sin rebuked in this passage (Romans 1:29-31).Therefore it’s important that we do not categorize this sin above others.

Here are three actions you can take as you deal with this sensitive subject in your sphere of influence.

1. Beware of extremes. One extreme is to excuse, rationalize, or accommodate sin. Another is to alienate the sinner because of a sin we find especially grievous. Just as it is wrong to minimize sin, it is equally misguided to make one sin worse than any other.

2. Bestow love. People who struggle with homosexuality come from all races and backgrounds. Many have deep wounds that factor into their reality. Feelings of despair, low self-esteem, and confusion are more common than you think. Some might want them to just “snap out of it,” but it’s never that easy. What we can do, is love. Love does not mean approving of the lifestyle, but demonstrating by words, actions, and attitudes that the love of Christ is real for everyone.

3. Become a prayer warrior. People who have come out from the homosexual lifestyle will tell you that the change is seldom fast, and the journey is seldom short. Since the greatest power comes from above, let’s combine our love with prayer.

What are your thoughts? Share them here…

Dealing with Infidelity

“Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying ‘You gave me the wrong key!”

Anaïs Nin

 

In part #1 we talked about 7 factors in infidelity. Today we want to analyze 3 responses to temptation of infidelity. These are Dangerous Strategies in dealing with temptation. They are:

1. Alienation

2. Compartmentalization

3. Rationalization

 

Let’s take each one individually.

1. Alienation/Secrecy. The devil loves Lone Rangers and Secret Agents. I have to shake my head when I have conversations about this topic and I hear Christians say: “All I need is Jesus and His power”. Depending on Jesus is paramount, but having an accountability partner increases the chances of saying no to temptation. It’s naive (even dangerous) to think we are good arbiters of our capacity to withstand temptation. In fact, we are poor judges of character, especially when it relates to us. The book Avoiding the Slippery Slope mentions 4 reasons we keep secrets:

a. We want to continue doing what we are doing.

b. We think by hiding it from people we are hiding it from God.

c. Keeping it a secret leads to dualism, and that sometimes is preferred to dealing with the truth.

d. We worry about what people will say about us if they found out.

Interestingly enough, people use the excuse of “if my spouse/church/friend found out that I was tempted, they would think less of me”. What do you think they will say if the affair is consummated? We have to stop lying to ourselves. “When your lover is a liar, you and he have a lot in common; you’re both lying to you!” Susan Forward, When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal

 

2. Compartmentalization. Try saying that word three times, fast! Basically, that is when we believe and act like one area in our life does not have much (if any) relationship with another. That is why you can see people acting saintly in some contexts, while hiding serious sins. Usually compartmentalization starts innocently, with phrases like: “Only this one time”. Why does that happen? Here are three reasons:

a. We have been deceived into thinking that there are “secular” and “spiritual” areas. For a Christian, everything you do is a spiritual experience.

b. We believe that what we do in one area does not affect other areas of our lives. Remember the phrase “we never sin alone” from part #1? Our life is not a chest with several drawers called “occupation”, “sex”, “sports”, “church”. It’s a body, with everything interconnected.

c. We fail to consider the consequences. Do you think King David would have still gone through with the affair with Bathsheba of he knew the painful consequences of his actions?

 

3. Rationalization. This simply means, looking (or making up) excuses for the infidelity. Instead of dealing openly, spiritually, and honestly with temptation, we rationalize behavior with thoughts like these:

a. I deserve this.

b. I’m not getting at home what I should.

c. I’m always taking care of others. Now it’s time to take care of me.

d. I married the wrong person.

As I close, I encourage you to take the following actions:

1. Get an accountability partner.

2. List consequences.

3. Stop making excuses and lying to yourself. Come clean before God.

 

Psalms 32:5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

 

Tomorrow- Homosexuality.

ESPANOL- Mas Alla del Dolor

imprrh@gmail.com —  September 18, 2012
Devocional para Hoy- Atraves del Dolor

“A través del dolor aprendí a confiar en Cristo, ya se confiar en Dios
llegue hasta el fondo del amor.”
Del Delker
 
Hace una semana, un bebe recien nacido llamado Noah murio. Para un pastor hacer un funeral no es facil (oro por el Pastor Harold), especialmente el de un bebe, pero nada comparado al dolor que deben estan pasando sus padres. Aunque Noah no era mi hijo, soy amigo de su papa. Para ellos, es esta reflexion acerca del dolor.
 
1. Dios no ofrece explicaciones al dolor, solo soluciones. Una de las cosas mas dificiles de hacer es contestar la pregunta “porque” a padres que tenian tantas expectativas con su hijo. Diferentes personas tratan de dar explicaciones, como por ejemplo que Dios lo puso a descansar porque queria evitar que mas adelante en su vida no fuera a pasarle algo peor. Las intenciones de estas personas son buenas, pero la realidad es que no sabemos porque suceden. Dios nos provee solucion al problema del dolor. No explicacion. Sabremos porque en el cielo. Pero, desde ya, sabemos que El soluciono el problema del dolor, al mandar a su hijo a morir por nosotros, garantiza que la muerte es temporal, no permanente. La solucion es una mejor opcion, que la explicacion.
 
2. Dios se identifica con el dolor. La biblia llama a Jesus “experimentado en quebrantos”. Jesus llora conmigo. Jesus sufre conmigo. Jesus suspira por mi, como cuando estaba ante la tumbra de Lazaro, porque nos quiere con El, ya. Dios sabe que significa perder un hijo. El diccionario define la palabra experimentado de la siguiente manera:  Que tiene experiencia, conocer algo por la propia práctica.
Ese es Jesus.
 
3. El dolor nos recuerda donde estamos, y para donde vamos. Nuestra vida esta compuesta de rutinas. Nos levantamos, nos acostamos, trabajamos, jugamos. Nos casamos, nos mudamos. De repente, la rutina, la costumbre, y los planes son interrumpidos por un funeral, y el dolor que sentimos es solo un recuerdo que este pais, esta casa, y esta vida no es permanente. Lloramos, pero lloramos con esperanza. Sufrimos, pero sufrimos con esperanza. Hay algo mejor. !Tiene que!
 
Hoy, quieres unirte a mi, y orar por esta familia? Gracias Jesus, por la solucion al problema del dolor.
 

Sex- god or gift

imprrh@gmail.com —  September 18, 2012
Sex: god or gift
I was recently talking to a friend and he was sharing with me how difficult it was for him to stop watching porn. He shared with me his battle with lust and how he feels helpless and slaved by this sin. What struck me was what he said later. He said: Why did God give us sex if he knew it was going to be so difficult?
As one reads the Old Testament, one can’t overlook the fact that many of the great heroes of the faith struggled with this issue: Lot, Abraham, Samson, Abraham and others. They all fell pray to the same issue. How about those Canaanites? They went as far as exchanging the Creator God for sex. They made a god out of sex. We read about the Asherah poles, which was directly related to the cult of the fertility gods. They even built temples as sacred places to worship it. Sex. They went as far as hiring priests, well temple prostitutes who were to offer their sexual services as an act of worship.
You would think that the madness would end in the new Testament era. Well, it didn’t. The religion of Corinth had gods of Egypt, Rome and Greece. The temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stood atop the Acrocorinth and housed 1000 cultic/temple prostitutes. (http://www.godrules.net/articles/1cor6.htm)
Moving on to the 21st Century and the story hasn’t changed.
-Men admitting to accessing pornography at work-20%
U.S. adults who regularly visit Internet pornography websites-40 million
Christians who said pornography is a major problem in the home-47%
Breakdown of male/female visitors to pornography sites is 72% male & 28% female
Internet Pornography Sales-$4.9 billion
Pornographic websites-4.2 million (12% of total websites)
Pornographic pages-420 million
Over $3k a second is spent on porn worldwide.
72% of porn viewers are men.
260 new porn sites go online daily. Internet users who view porn-42.7% 89% of porn is created in the U.S.
What was meant to be a gift has become a god. The worship of the body. The worship of sex. The worship of pleasure. The devil has told lies from the beginning and he hasn’t stopped. He keeps deceiving and hurting.
Now fast forward to your life. Are you struggling in this area? What can you do to get out?
1. Confess
Go before God and confess your struggles through prayer. Don’t be afraid, God is on your side, acknowledge that you can’t handle it anymore-you need God.
 
 
 
2. Find accountability.
 
Find someone godly and share your struggles: a close friend, pastor or family member. God has placed people around you that will walk with you as you move toward freedom. Download a free accountability software. You can find one here: www.x3watch.com. Find a support group in you area.
3. Get rid of it
Throw it away. Delete it all. If you need to cancel your cable or internet altogether, use your computer in front of your spouse and avoid using it at night. It will ruin your marriage, it will make you sick. It is eating you alive. Get on you knees, find help, get healthy today.
For more help go to: www.xxxchurch.com
 
Harold Altamirano
503-501-6113
Love.-Live.-Lead

Este devocional esta basado en Marcos 1
Jesus llama a personas que tienen las siguientes caracteristicas:
1. El llama a personas que ya estan haciendo algo. 1:16 “Cierto día, mientras Jesús caminaba por la orilla del mar de Galilea, vio a Simón y a su hermano Andrés que echaban la red al agua, porque vivían de la pesca. 17 Jesús los llamó: «Vengan, síganme, ¡y yo les enseñaré cómo pescar personas!».  Lo que esta matando la iglesia hoy en dia no es la mundanalidad, sino la falta de actividad. La Biblia tiene algunos pasajes bastante fuertes en contra de la “vagancia”. El mensaje de Jesus fue claro seleccionar sus discipulos: La gente activa sobresale.
2. El llama a personas diferentes que El- 1:19 “Un poco más adelante por la orilla, Jesús vio a Santiago y a Juan, hijos de Zebedeo, en una barca, reparando las redes. 20 Los llamó de inmediato ” Jesus no se rodeo de carpinteros de nazareth. Despues de orar, selecciono a personas diferentes a El. Fue intencional en conectar con otros que no eran iguales, en temperamento, experiencias o estatus social.
3. El llama a personas que estan dispuestas a mudarse. 1:38 “Jesús les respondió:
—Debemos seguir adelante e ir a otras ciudades, y en ellas también predicaré porque para eso he venido.” Cuando Dios te llama, muchas veces te pide que te muevas. ?Porque? El quiere que tu conexion primaria sea a El, no a las personas y lugares con las que creciste. Muchas veces eso implica dejar atras lo conocido. A veces el cambio es temporal. La mayoria de veces es permanente. (ver- Abraham, Daniel, Ester, Jose, etc) 
Conclusion- Activate. Valora la diversidad. Esta abierto a la posibilidad de cambio.

Godly Sex

Six Factors

“Love is cursed by monogamy…”

Kanye West, No church in the wild

“I enjoy sex as much as Joe Namath, only I do it with one girl.”                                                           

Roger Staubach (best quarterback ever. Period)

Sex sells. News about sex sells. News about leaders’ sexuality sells even more. Jimmy Swaggart. Bill Clinton.  Eddie Long. While everyone, regardless of position, is tempted, leaders that fall negatively impact the cause of Christ to a greater degree. If you are a leader, you have a big target on your back. Let’s look at six factors that contribute to the decision to go outside God’s ideal for our sexuality.

 

Six factors:

1.  Selfish. “I did not think about consequences” is a common response of unfaithful leaders. We are by nature selfish. We tend to look out for our best interests. Even people with low self- esteem, when they look at a group picture that includes them, who do you think they look for first? Sometimes, even when we present the topic of sexuality in churches, we present the benefits of celibacy only, which can be selfish in itself. As Chuck Colson says, “we never sin alone”. It always affects others.

2.  Fantasies. They are stronger than you think. It’s a slippery slope. While not every fantasy results in infidelity, you would be hard pressed to find infidelity that was not preceded by fantasy. One of my favorite Martin Luther quotes was “You can’t avoid birds flying over your head, but you can avoid them making a nest in it”. I say go a step further. Shoot ‘em birds. Even if they can’t make a nest, they can still poop on you, and that’s never fun!

3.  Bored/lack of clear purpose. King David is the most prominent biblical example. Many leaders deal with the following reality: Periods of high stress and busyness, followed by periods of doing NOTHING. It’s no surprise to know that the day that people watch more porn is on Sunday. Many Christians, go to church, and then go home and watch porn. I often tell leaders to avoid both ditches that leave you muddy and stranded:

                *Too much work.

                *Too little work.

Read an article on porn addiction here:

4.  Risk taking. Many leaders are type A personalities. They thrive under pressure and enjoy challenges. When life is lived searching for the next thrill, it can lead to places you don’t want to go. Another issue in this same area, is the adulation and admiration leaders get when performing well at their job. A CEO, an owner of a company, a teacher, a clergy person, are usually good at what they do. That elicits admiration from followers, employees, members, that admire the “persona,” but not the person. Remember, contentment is not a destination.

5.  Social media. Infidelity used to be a male problem, more than a woman’s. That is changing.

Ian Kerner, a sex counselor writes: “Another big factor in the rise in female infidelity is the Internet. Sexual infidelity often starts with emotional infidelity, and digital technologies offer an abundance of opportunity for emotional (and thrilling) connections: The return of an ex, a workplace flirtation, a Facebook friendship that becomes more than “just friends.” Women are extremely susceptible to “emotional infidelity,” which starts as friendship, often with colleagues or seemingly harmless online relationships, and slowly progresses to something more. A gradual blurring of the lines between friendship and deeper intimacy draws even happily partnered people into relationships they never saw coming.” http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/07/female-infidelity-its-different-from-the-guys/

6.  Pride and low self-esteem. The combination is explosive. Many leaders have unresolved issues from the past that affect the way they see themselves, almost craving affection and attention. These two elements put together, can derail the best leader. In conversations with leaders I hear comments like:

                *That will never happen to me.

                *I don’t need to tell anyone but Jesus when I am tempted

                *I don’t know how that person could do that

We are by nature sinful, broken, and less than ideal. Recognizing your weakness and surrounding yourself with an accountability partner goes a long way.

Here is one of the most practical books I have read on this subject:

Avoiding the Slippery Slope to Moral Failure

“Sex education may be a good idea in the schools, but I don’t believe the kids should be given homework” Bill Cosby

 

Devotional for today- What do people say about you?
Mark 3

Jesus was called many things. Some good. Some not so good. If you do anything significant in your life, be ready to be in people’s mouths. If you don’t want that to happen, stay mediocre. Nobody speaks about them.
1. Demons called him “Son of God”: 3:11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” It is interesting that demons had a clearer understanding of who Jesus was than pharisees, and his own family. They hated him, but knew who he was. They what was up. That happens today. The devil may not like you, but, does he know who do you belong to?


2.His family called him “crazy”: 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The family of Jesus was an interesting bunch. They were not convinced he was who he said he was. On a couple of occasions they even tried to intervene and take him away. Jesus was respectful towards his family, but did not let their comments dissuade Him from his mission.

3. His opposition (pharisees) called him “possessed”: 3:22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” That was classic Pharisee Behavior 101. They tried to trick him, convince him, spread rumors about him, bad mouth him, but all that did was make the crowd that followed Jesus LARGER. Criticism blinds people to the facts. Sad.

Conclusion- people will call you many things. May they call you “sons and daughters of God”.

Comments or suggestions- how has criticism made you stronger? How has it hurt you?

Devocional para Hoy- El Lider Que la Gente Sigue

Marcos 2

Dondequiera que Jesus iba, la gente lo seguia. Hay tres caracteristicas que me gustan de Jesus y quiero imitar.
1. Jesus valoraba innovacion. 1:3 llegaron cuatro hombres cargando a un paralítico en una camilla. 4 Como no podían llevarlo hasta Jesús debido a la multitud, abrieron un agujero en el techo, encima de donde estaba Jesús. Luego bajaron al hombre en la camilla, justo delante de Jesús. 5 Al ver la fe de ellos, Jesús le dijo al paralítico: «Hijo mío, tus pecados son perdonados». Destruccion de propiedad. Interrupcion de un servicio religioso. Pedido incoveniente. Metodo questionable. En vez de reganar, los affirmo. Afirmas la innovacion en tu circulo de influencia?

2. Jesus valoraba relaciones. 1:15 Más tarde, Leví invitó a Jesús y a sus discípulos a una cena en su casa, junto con muchos cobradores de impuestos y otros pecadores de mala fama. (Había mucha de esa clase de gente entre

los seguidores de Jesús). Jesus sacaba tiempo para sentarse a comer. No era todo predicacion, viajes, sanidades. No era solamente importante crecer en numero, tambien era importante crecer en relaciones.

3. Jesus valoraba gracia. 1:27 27 »El sábado se hizo para el hombre, y no el hombre para el sábado —añadió—. 28 Así que el Hijo del hombre es Señor incluso del sábado. Gracia al perdonar al paralitico. Gracia al comer con pecadores. Gracia al hablar de las disciplinas espirituales. Gracia en su observancia del sabado. La gracia siempre tendra sus criticos, pero eso no cambio a Jesus. El valoraba la gracia, porque es lo que transforma a las personas.

Conclusion- Esta semana, se como Jesus. Valora innovacion, relaciones, gracia.

Comments or suggestions? Write them here.