Wednesday, May 23, 2007

07 Do - Over

this is my final installment from my series in the family life on God, sex and sexuality. this was part of a class i did for my teens during sunday night live based on a youth specialties curriculum titled "good sex"

Do - Over

Remember the worst sin you every committed with all the guilt and shame that followed? Remember the consequences of that sin? You May still be dealing with them today! Now imagine you have the opportunity to go back and stop yourself from committing that sin. You have the chance to right the wrong you committed. You have the chance to do the good you should have done. We all have sins like this in our lives. Sins that make us nervous that anyone would find out. They are secrets that we have. These secrets hurt us and can hurt others. These secrets make a rift between us and God. We may see no way to make things better.

Amazingly, the LORD has provided a way to make things right. We are given a chance to start over and leave the sin of our past behind. We can not travel back in time and stop the sin, but we no longer need to live as a slave to our dark secrets. How is this possible?

Through the blood of Jesus, true forgiveness and repentance can be found. Jesus paid the price for us to be forgiven. His death on the cross brought us grace and mercy and purchased us back from sin and death. Jesus, our Savior, has done His part. Now it is our turn. Our part is repentance. Repentance has two parts. The first part is confession. We are to confess our sins one to another. We need to tell a trusted brother or sister in Christ our sin secret. Once the secret is in the open the next part is for us to turn our back and walk away from that temptation. We need to identify what the cause of the temptation is and eliminate it from our lives to neutralize its power in our lives. If you are struggling with pornography, install some monitoring software. There is software that will email an accountability partner with a report of any inappropriate websites you visit. If you lust after a classmate in school, ask your teacher if you can change seats or create something you can wear, like a bracelet or ring, to remind you to stop your lustful thoughts. If you and your boyfriend or girlfriend have crossed the line and are sexually active, turn around and come back across the line. Communicate with the other person in the relationship so they know why you need to cool things down. If they reject your desire to have a purer relationship, you should probably break up with them because they aren’t respecting you. If have a “friend with benefits” stop providing the benefits or seeking them out. The other person isn’t really your friend but is using you for sexual favors or you are abusing someone else for sexual favors. If you are the victim or someone else’s sexual sin (through incest or rape) don’t let the damage of that sin create sin in your own life. You didn’t choose what happened to you and you don’t need to be it's slave. This is a fight against sin, sexual sin in our lives. Thank God we don’t fight alone. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us. The Holy Spirit is that part of God that is in all His people that gives us the power to live as His people. Without the Spirit we would not have the courage to say no to sin and live pure and holy lives! Lives that please the LORD.

This may sound pretty simple on paper but it is a difficult path in real life. It is not easy to tell another person about our sin. To admit we were wrong and need to change. It is not easy to change relationships we are in to make them pure and holy. It is not easy to turn away from selfish desires that we have been saying yes too for so long. It is not easy to deal with the pain and consequences we may have caused through our sexual sin. It May not be easy for a long time but in the end it will be worth the reward that we as the children of God have been promised.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


06 Responsibility

Over the last 6 weeks during the Upper Room’s Sunday Night Live we have been talking about sexuality. We are exploring God’s written word to discover how the LORD wants us to live out our sexuality. The first sessions laid the foundation for the ones to come. Two weeks ago we discussed boundaries. When do our actions become sin. Last week building on that we discussed our responsibilities in terms of our sexuality. We looked at the three groups we are responsible to; The LORD, others and ourselves.

Our (teens and adult) sexual responsibilities begin with the LORD. The Ten Commandments begin by telling the Israelites that the LORD is their God and they will have no other gods but the LORD. (Exodus 20.1 - .17) As God’s people today this remains true! Paul, when he writes to the Corinthian church, reminds them (and us today) to honor the LORD with our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6.18 - .20) We were bought with the Blood of the Lamb. We no longer belong to ourselves but we belong to the LORD and can not take what is His and use it as we please. We are to be obedient to the LORD. We sin when we choose to walk away from the LORD and follow the evil desires in our hearts.
We are not only the LORD’s but He is the one who created sex. He created it as a gift to us. He created it to join a man and a woman into something new. (Genesis 2.24) The two individuals become one flesh. They become married people. When we misuse sex or our sexuality we are misusing a wonderful gift from God.

We are also responsible to others. When Paul writes to the Thessalonian church, he tells them not to take advantage of each other sexually but to live self-controlled lives. (1 Thessalonians 4.3 - .8) Jesus teaches us not to physically commit adultery and takes it a step further. He teaches us not to commit adultery in our hearts. We are not to view each other as sexual objects to be lusted over. (Matthew 6.27 - .30) No, we are to see each other as human beings created in the image of God and bought with the Blood of the Lamb. The words we use to describe men, women and sexual activities need to be respectful of each others. Using derogatory or demeaning terms for men and women changes them in our minds from human-being to an object. We need to respect the boundaries of others and we need to maintain our sexual boundaries as well to not take advantage of others.

Finally we are responsible to ourselves. Again, we are not our own but we were bought with a price and belong to the LORD and need to live that way. (1 Corinthians 6.18 - .20) We are called to be self-controlled and not to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Paul tells the church in Rome to clothe themselves in Christ and no to fulfill the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13.12 - .14) They are told to put aside the deeds of darkness and to put on the armor of light. One of the ways we do this is to live self controlled lives that bring glory to God. Jesus tells us that we are to control our lust (Matthew 6.27 - .30) and no longer dwell on our sinful sexual desires but control those thoughts and put them aside.
In class, our discussion was much more involved than I have the space for here. We talked about specific ways we can be responsible to ourselves, others and how others can be responsible to us.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

turn off the mobile phone!

this is only the second youtube video i have posted but it was just too good not to share!


here is another installment of my series on sexuality connected with the special series i am doing for the upper room on sunday night's these have all been published in the family life of the church of Christ in falls church


This is the 5th in a 7 part series re-capping the discussions we are having on Sunday nights in the Upper Room about God and sexuality.

I realize this is a "family program" so this morning I am going to strive to stay as PG rated as possible.

A question that many teens struggle with is "How far is to far?" What is the line? When does it move from appropriate displays of affection between a boy and girl friend to it being something that they should not do? What is ok for two single people to do together before it becomes a sin? The answer is both a simple one and complex at the same time.

First the simple answer. Last Sunday night I had a line for progression of "activity" that a boy and girlfriend might engage in. It started with holding hands and ended with sexual intercourse. Along the way you have hugging, massaging, kissing, caressing and so forth. I drew the line at kissing! As you move from kissing along the line, body parts that are normally considered private parts start to be exposed and touched. This touching awakens feelings, desires and hormones that are hard to control. Lust starts to grow and lust is a dangerous sin.

The complex answer to the above question centers around lust. Jesus teaches us that lust is a sin. Lust is not a physical action but a mental activity. It is a desire for something that is not ours. David and Bathsheba give us an excellent example of how lust is dangerous. David while on his roof sees a woman taking a bath. If at that moment he turned and went back into his castle the story would be over and no sin would have been committed. Instead David lingers and allows his lust for Bathsheba to control him. He commits adultery in his heart and then in his bed. His sin started when he lusted after her. He had not held her hand or even spoken to her but he saw her with his eyes. The lust line is different than the physical line. The lust line is something we must control by relying on God's power at work in our lives. It is ok for a guy to think a girl is pretty or a girl to think a guy is cute but if they linger and allow their minds to thing about what it would be like to make out with him or to undress her with his eyes the thoughts have moved to sin.

Why? Why is there even a line? Again two reasons really. First, we are called to live pure and holy lives. Our bodies are not our own but we belong to God because we were bought with the blood of the Lamb. Our bodies are temples to the Holy Spirit. We are not to take our bodies, our temples, or someone else's temple and use it for temporary pleasure. Secondly, it is through relational and sexual intimacy that a man and a woman are united in marriage. The LORD created sex to unite a man and woman. If you are uniting in a temporary relationship with someone you are miss-using a wonderful gift the LORD has given us.

Finally, I know that there are people who are reading this who have crossed the line or are actively crossing the line. I hope this encourages and challenges you to get yourself and your relationship back into a proper relationship with the LORD. He offers us grace, mercy and forgiveness with all our sins, even sexual ones. The LORD, through the Holy Spirit, gives us the power to live pure and holy lives. Even if we allowed our own desires to lead us into sin, He calls us to a new life and to leave our sinful lives behind.

Next week: Responsibilities!