Saturday, April 28, 2007

desire & self-control

this is my 4th in a 7 part series on God, sex and sexuality i am writting for the family life at the church of Christ in falls church

04 desire vs. selfcontrol

Desire is like a coin. It is a coin with a positive and negative side. On the positive side you find healthy desire. Healthy desire generates commitment and propels accomplishment. It is healthy desire that causes us to be unsatisfied with the life we live and strive to live as the LORD desires. On the other side of the coin you find unhealthy desires. Unhealthy desires fuel lust, addiction and destruction! It is our own unhealthy desires that cause us to sin.

The authors of the texts in the Bible have a lot to say about how our evil/unhealthy desires lead us to sin. I feel that the letter written by James puts it best

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." - James 1.13 - .15 (TNIV)

This text shows us the cycle that sin takes in our lives. Sin is started by our own evil desires. When we give into those evil desires it leads to sin. The sin grows and matures and gives birth to death! Sin is serious business.

So what can be done? Two things, first turn your life over to Jesus Christ and let him rule in your life. Let the blood of Jesus wash you clean of your sins. Let the Holy Spirit fill you and give you the strength to overcome your evil desires through self-control. The second thing you can do is to live that self-controlled life. The writings of Paul are full of encouragement to live a self-controlled life that will give glory to the LORD. We are not to live lives guided by our own selfish desires and wants but lives that are controlled.

In our discussions on Sunday Nights dealing with sex and sexuality, the importance of self-control is critical. It is easy for people to allow their sexual desires to control them. It is easy for people to allow a sexual situation to go farther than they intended by not staying in control. We are human beings created in the image of the LORD. We are not animals who have no self-control. God's intent for sex is not simply to make new human beings, but to bring a man and woman together into a union. This union is what we call marriage. Using our self-control to wait until we are married to have sex is what the LORD wants. We also use our self-control to keep our marriages pure by not committing adultery.

It is important to remember that if you have already surrendered to your unhealthy desires and committed sin that the LORD offers us grace and redemption. We have to repent of the sin we have committed and live a self-controlled life through the Holy Spirit.

Friday, April 20, 2007

03 intimacy

03 Intimacy

People seek intimacy. People need intimacy. We are made to live in a community, a community where we can be ourselves and not be judged. We were created to live in relationships, relationships that are mutual and allow us to be vulnerable without fear. We need a place to be real and share our deepest dreams, desires, hopes, fears and thoughts. This is true intimacy. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be hard to find true intimacy and people sometimes settle for whatever they can get. They settle for intimacy lite.

Why do they settle? Intimacy, true relational intimacy, can be hard to find and hard to accomplish. First it takes energy and attention. A close intimate relationship doesn’t happen by accident and you don’t just stumble into them. No they are intentional! You have to devote energy to make this kind of relationship work. You have to pay attention to it and keep it alive through open and honest communication. This all takes time. You have to spend time and energy together. It requires “face time” one on one time in the same actual physical space and not just on the phone or instant messaging someone. (I am a big web 2.0 fan but I know that I will not find true community or intimacy through a social networking sight, on Second Life or in a chat room.) Finally, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. In an intimate relationship each person has to be open and honest and take the risk! You will never know people for who they truly are unless you allow them to see you for who you really are. The masks come off. Time together builds the trust the relationship needs for vulnerability to exist.

Many think this is too much to risk, so they take short cuts. The most used short cut is to use sex as a substitute. Sex is not intimacy. It makes people feel intimate and close but it does not create true openness, honest and vulnerability required for true intimacy. Our society has sexualized intimacy and fed the lie that you can substitute physical intimacy for the real thing.

Our society has perverted the word intimacy by making it mean something that it is not. Intimacy is not a physical act. Intimacy is a relationship where you can be real and vulnerable. It is a relationship that costs each member time, energy and attention to make it work. It is a relationship that opens us up to the biggest risks but it offers the biggest rewards.

My point is this: men and women can have a close intimate relationship without being sexual active. It is normal and healthy for men to have close relationships (not sexual) with other men just as it is normal for women to have these close relationships as well. This is how we were created and what we need. The LORD created us to live in a community or friendship where we can be our true selves. He does not want us to settle for something that might feel good for a moment but is fake.

Monday, April 16, 2007

virgnia tech shootings

just a moment ago i posted that my friend chris is ok. he is a student at virginia tech where the shooting happened earlier today.

bbc new on vt shooting
wtop news on vt shooting
abc news on vt shooting
npr news on vt shooting
npr: blog of the nation on vt shooting

chris is ok

i recieved a text message from chris letting me know that he is ok and so are his friends!

Friday, April 13, 2007

02 sexual identity

here is the second article on the subject of God and sexuality from the sunday evening class i am teaching to the teens here at the church of Christ in falls church.

02 sexual identity

Who we are as sexual beings is not an accident but our sexual
identity is formed over years. Sexual identity is more than just if we are
just gay or straight but it is who we are as sexual beings. How we behave
as men, women, boys and girls. What forms our sexual identity?

One factor that forms our sexual identity is our physical
form. This is the body we have. Our hair color, our eye color, our
height, our weight these are factors we can not control but that we are born
with. If one is blind or has a physical handicap either from birth or
later in life due to an accident or illness. We inherit some of these from
our parents and some of them are changes that take place later in life.
Depending on your physical form will help shape how you see yourself as a sexual

Next there are our experiences, things that have happened to
us or that we have done in our past or present. Rape or sexual molestation
have a big impact on people sexuality. A prolonged illness. A teen
or young adult who has had a bad break up or was in an abusive
relationship. Consentual sexual activity in the past or that is on
going. This experience factor is one which we have a little more control

Then there is our families. Boys look to their father
as models of what it means to be a man. Boys look to their mothers to see
what to expect a woman or girl to be like. Girls look to their mothers as
models too. They also look to their fathers to discover what to expect
from men or boys. An absent parent either physically or emotionally absent
can be damaging. Unfortunately many time people have to unlearn what they
learned about sexuality from their families.

Our culture is another influence. We live in a culture
with a broken idea of sexual identity. Our culture is saturated with
sexual messages. Girls are seen as sex objects more and more in-spite of
the feminist movement. Our culture labels sensitive and caring boy as gay
or not manly. Boy grow up with an image of a man as someone who is tuff,
chiseled, gets the girls and is self reliant. Girls and boys are faced
with “perfect” men and women on billboards, movies, tv and the internet.
These “perfect” people are all illusions. There is no way we or our young
people can live up the illusions our culture presents.

The final and most important factor in forming our sexual
identity is the LORD! HE is the creator of men and women. He created
sex. He created sexuality and our sexuality is a gift from Him. He
also gives us the power to over come the brokenness of the other factors that
form our sexuality! He redeems us from our sinful nature that pulls us
away from the beautiful sexual identity the LORD has for us!

The teens and students in the Upper Room are at a stage where
their sexual identity is still forming they are in the process of becoming what
they will be! The choices they make now may not affect them right away but
will down the road! That is why this class is so important. This is
why parents talking to their teens about sex and modeling a healthy sexual
identity is so very important. They need to know they can make good
choices now that will help them form a healthy sexual identity in the future.

Monday, April 09, 2007

01 sex talk

here is the first in my series of articles i wrote for our family life at the church of Christ in falls church that i am posting here for you all to enjoy

01 sex talk
Our culture is filled with sexual messages. These messages come from our parents and our friends. These messages come from the movies we see, tv shows we watch and the magazines we read. Messages are sent from schools and the church. Some of these messages are positive and some are negative. Unfortunately many of the messages I see tend to be on the negative side.
For example, many popular tv shows portray causal sexual activity among friends and coworkers as something normal. It is shown as something to be expected. It is something that is harmless and doesn’t hurt anyone at all. This is a lie! Casual sex outside marriage is harmful. People’s feelings are hurt and expectations are not lived up too. If it involves a boss and employee, all kinds of problems can happen. Usually a tv show uses this for humor or glosses over the reality of an office affair.
Another negative message I see comes from the school system. Instead of treating teens and students like human beings with self-control and feelings, they are treated like animals who have no self control. They are given the mechanics of sex but not the truth. With this mechanical knowledge they are simply told to be careful because they could get a disease or pregnant. (On a side note it is tragic that pregnancy is equated to an disease.) The truth is we, are not animals who have no self-control but we are humans created in the image of the LORD. It is one thing to know the mechanics of sex but it is a different story to know the spiritual and psychological ramifications of sexual activity.
A final negative message comes from an unexpected place: the Church. Now I am not talking about the Church of Christ in Falls Church specifically, but the Church in general. For too long, this has been a subject we have neglected to discuss openly and honestly or it has been a topic we answered simplistically. The simplistic answer is “Don’t have sex until you are married or you’ll burn!”
In the Upper Room’s Sunday Night Live, we are discussing the topic of sex and sexuality openly and honestly. We are discussing the fact that the LORD created sex. He created it not just for procreation, but to bring a man and a woman into a wondrous and mysterious union. We call this union marriage. It is for marriage and in marriage that the LORD created sex to take place. Sexual activity outside of this context is not what he planned. It is a sin. We are called to live sexually pure lives not because of some disease we may contract, or because of some psychological damage we may face, but because we are the LORD’s people, striving to live the life he has called us to. If you have strayed from this path, the good news is you can find forgiveness, grace and renewal.
This is part of the positive message about sex and sexuality we are communicating in the Upper Room’s Sunday Night Live during our 7 week series on sex and sexuality we started last Sunday night.


in my sunday night class i am teaching about God and sexuality. i am using some curriculum designed by youth specialties that i highly recommend but as usual adapt it to your group. the name of the series is "good sex"

i am also writting a series of articles in the our bulleting (the family life) i am also going to post the articles here during the next 5 weeks or so.