Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Think Pornography Isn't That Bad?

In preparing for the next message in our current sermon series, "Kingdom Living - Matthew 5-7," I just finished reading The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community by Patrick Fagan. Wow! It is a very thorough survey of research on the effects of pornography. Be afraid - be very afraid if you think pornography is not that bad. Please read the paper for yourself.

Let the words of the gracious King, Jesus, in Matthew 5 scare us into a desperate reliance on his grace to rescue us from this great evil:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell." Mt. 5:27-30 (ESV)

Some things you can do:
  1. If you are dabbling in pornography get help and run as fast and as far as you can from it. Don't think it is okay - it is very dangerous and destructive.
  2. If you are regularly engaging in pornography get some serious help from your pastor or a qualified counselor - don't delay - it may be too late if you wait.
  3. Assume many if not most of your male friends have struggled with this and need accountability and help from other men who are successfully resisting this danger.
  4. Replace the false and destructive pleasure of illicit sex with the true and lasting pleasure of knowing and enjoying God through Jesus Christ. (read this from John Piper for more help here.)
  5. Support any changes in the regulation of sexually explicit material to keep this horrible stuff quarantined. If we regulate narcotics why should we not regulate pornography?? Take a look at this helpful pamphlet, Dealing with Pornography: A Practical Guide for Protecting Your Family and Your Community from the Family Research Council.
  6. Contact our church if we can help you in any way. See www.KingofGrace.org .

Trying to Deal with S.A.D.?

Do you feel "blue" during the holidays and winter in general? Some of the reason might be S.A.D. Check out this video to learn more.

Are you SAD? from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.

Some additional resources:
  1. The Gospel Primer - Milton Vincent
  2. Depression: The Way Up When You are Down - Ed Welch
  3. When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy - John Piper
  4. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  5. The Minister's Fainting Fits - Charles Spurgeon
HT: The Gospel Coaltion Blog

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Abortion Distortion

"Just two months before the health-care bill’s passage in the House, a Rasmussen poll found that 48 percent of the public didn’t want abortion covered in any government-subsidized health plan, while just 13 percent did.....The idea that a bunch of pro-life rogue wingnuts have hijacked the agenda and thwarted the national will is a convenient, but fanciful, belief." So says Jennifer Senior in her candid article "The Abortion Distortion" in the New Yorker.

Maybe there is more hope for a reasonable and consistent stand on the right-to-life in our country. Maybe we can get past the demonizing rhetoric and have a good and helpful debate that will result in our country enforcing the most foundational right, a right, if eroded, collapses all other rights and eventually undermines government as we have known it.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Rescuing Ambition

My friend Dave Harvey is coming out with another great book. Here is an intro from the Amazon site:

This pioneering book rescues ambition from suspicion by putting it to work for the glory of God.

Ambition has developed a reputation synonymous with the love of earthly honor and fame hunting. As a result, the organ of ambition—the God-implanted drive to improve, produce, develop, and create—is neglected and well on its way to paralysis. For some Christians, dreams are numbed. For others, there are no dreams; life just happens. One thing is certain: ambition needs help.

Dave Harvey is calling for a rescue. He wants to snatch ambition from the heap of failed motivations and put it to work for the glory of God. To understand our ambition, we must understand that we are on a quest for glory. Where we find glory determines the success of our quest. With his transparent humor and conversational tone, Harvey expounds on insights from Scripture and everyday life as he calls readers to reach further and dream bigger for the glory of God.

Go to Amazon here to pre-order.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Purpose of "A Christmas Carol"

Just read a great article on the original context to Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Bottom line, Charles Dickens wrote this classic and touching Christmas story not that we would wax nostalgic about old-fashioned Christmases but that our hearts would be stirred to give generously to the poor and thus "keep Christmas" well.

A question for us to consider: If Scrooge were alive today what sort of reforms would he make to keep Christmas well? How can we keep Christmas in terms of charity for needy folks?

Perhaps part of how we can celebrate Christmas this year is in giving to the needy. Here are someworthy causes to help us keep Christmas:
  1. Somebody Cares New England
  2. Five Talents
  3. Compassion International
  4. Hands & Feet Project
  5. Blood:Water Mission
Merry Christmas!