Stating the Obvious

 

by Noel Bouché

I’m having one of those days.  You know, one of those days when, for whatever reason, your tolerance for pretense, apathy, insincerity, superficiality, ignorance, and indifference is particularly low.  One of those days when you just want to, well, call a pole a pole.

So here goes.

Porn is evil.  It is prostitution, it is sex trafficking, and it exploits, it demeans, it corrodes, it poisons, and it is everywhere.  Including in your home.  Do something about it.

Sex is sacred.  God created it, blessed it, and speaks about it with a holy frankness and candor throughout Scripture.  You should too, and so should your pastor.

Marriage is beautiful.  Honor it, celebrate it, protect it, enjoy it, and fight for it.  Today.  The opportunity to do so will be there if you look for it.

Children and teens are being assaulted.  Pimps and traffickers have access to them 24/7. Especially the pimps and traffickers who moonlight as media executives.  Wake up and lead these beautiful young people to Jesus, who gave everything for them.

There.  Just had to unload that.  No footnotes, no citations, no references.  Thanks for listening.  Peace out.

Noel Bouché serves as Vice President of pureHOPE.  If you would like more straight-forward, no-poles-barred talk in 140 characters or less, you can follow him on Twitter @noelbouche.  

 

Rapper Shares Testimony on Overcoming Porn Addiction

Gospel hip hop artist Jahaziel stumbled upon the perverse world of porn at age six, and was addicted throughout most of his teen years.  This story is one we unfortunately hear all too often, but thanks be to God in Christ Jesus who is an all-powerful Chain-Breaker!  Jahaziel found freedom in the grace of God and through working with United Kingdom’s Safetynet to tell his story, he hopes many more men and women will find that same redemption.  Check out his testimony and the music video below:

Women Struggle With Porn Too

Porn and masturbation.

Two things men are confessing to in droves.  Two things women, are becoming increasingly addicted to, yet keeping quiet about.  Porn is dominating the internet, making record sales in the form of erotic novels, and it’s attacking the minds of Christian women.

Rather than hiding that truth deeper and deeper in the silent darkness of their hearts, Shelley Hitz of Christian Women and Porn is courageously calling scared and ashamed women to walk in the light.  Her new book A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography is a bold confession and expounds on Shelley’s personal battle with pornography and the redemptive and compassionate work of Christ.

In her introduction Shelley writes, “I decided to write this book because I know what if feels like to be caught in the trap of pornography as a Christian woman.  Yes, I have struggled with pornography.  It is not something that I am proud of, and to be honest, it is something that I wish never happened, but God is using this dark season from my past for His good.”

Today she is giving away free copies of the book on Amazon Kindle.  If you or someone you know is struggling, has struggled, or is ministering to women who struggle in this area, then click here to get your free copy!

Women, men, girls, and boys… we do not have to continure to succumb the enemy’s schemes.  He is the accuser of saints, “you’re too dirty to find freedom” he laughs.  “Come into the light, I’ve already paid for your freedom” our Savior whispers.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Strategic Thinking With Josh McDowell and Friends

Yes, that is a chilling video.  Yes, sexual brokenness is a pervasive and painful issue. Yes, there is an attack on our youth just 1 click away.

But yes! There are ministries and individuals rising up, saying “Here am I, Lord” (Isaiah 6:8).

Yesterday some of our most respected ministry partners as well as other organizations from across the nation connected at a Strategic Thinking session hosted by Josh McDowell Ministry.  We discussed the greatest barriers to reaching people with gospel truth as it pertains to sexuality, and how to overcome those obstacles.  Among many practical ideas, there was resolute consensus that to be of any help in this arena, we must constantly receive Help from Christ and make accountability a priority – we need Him and each other (John 15:5, James 5:16).

Highlights from the day included a tangible sense of unity in the body of Christ, the sharing of innumerable resources, and a blanket of prayer from over 20 ministries to One Awesome God.  We are excited for the collaborative efforts sure to stem from yesterday’s event.  Know that this will deepen our well, from which we can draw more wisdom and engagement points to offer you.

Notes From the Road (Purity Is a Struggle Everywhere)

We have had a busy and rewarding past week! Our team has traveled from a school in Ohio, to a church in North Carolina, to a church in Texas, to a country club in California.  We’ve interacted with parents, pastors, church leaders, women, men, 20 year olds to 80 year olds, law enforcement, and business professionals.

At Miami Valley Christian Academy, our Vice President, Noel Bouche and Director of Parenting Ministry, Dan Martin talked about s-e-x with parents and school officials.  They shared Biblical foundations and God’s compelling story and design of sex. Partnering with Covenant Eyes, they helped families put systems in place to navigate the ever-changing world of technology and the internet.

In North Carolina, Dave Brown, our Director of Counseling and Support, spoke at the Band of Brothers men’s conference for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Purity is not automatic for pastors and church leaders.  These courageous saints have to pursue purity like anyone else, with the hope of Christ and leading of the Spirit.  Dave shared with these men some equipment for the battle.

In Texas, we had the privilege to partner with Traffick Stop an initiative to educate, advocate, and engage people on the issues of human trafficking. Tomi Grover, founder of Traffick Stop, and Noel met with East Texas area men and women, pastors, law enforcement, and advocates to discuss the church’s response to the prevalence of sex trafficking, as well as the correlations to pornography, and the normalization of sexual exploitation and objectification.

Finally, Noel finishes our long week of traveling by touching down in Orange County tonight to bring the Word to the workplace!  The marketplace is arguably one of the most dangerous places for a man or woman of God on a pilgrimage of purity.  Business can take us miles away from home where secrets can creep and thrive, work can make us tired and susceptible to temptation, the office is often a cesspool of the secular and over-sexualized.  Men and women attending the Christian Leadership Business Forum will be strengthened in their resolve to pursue purity even during the nine to five daily grind.

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind, but a valuable thing we are reminded of this week: Folks, purity is a struggle everywhere — whether in Ohio or California, in school or in the office.  Be encouraged, you are not the only one battling.  You are not the only one with questions.  You are not the only one to act out in doubt that God’s design is actually best.  You are not the only one who has been hurt.  Our God sees.  And He is touching hearts and lives, healing wounds, redeeming impurities, setting His people on a trajectory of freedom and justice.  It has been truly humbling to be a part of His reach these past few days.  May His truth ripple out and multiply fruit in many lives– maybe even yours!

Let us know how we can encourage you! And hey, knowing that we’ll go just about anywhere, let us know if your church, or school, or fill-in-the-blank could use some of our resources and teachings at your next event.

He Has Given Me New Eyes

by Maria Marballi

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” Isaiah 42: 3-4

Merely a few months ago, this text would have been placed in the “very powerful, but very irrelevant” folder of my mental filing cabinet.  That’s great that God’s plan involves justice, but how many people are really relying on it to survive?

Approximately 27 million.

Fast-forward to the first week of the pureJUSTICE internship when I couldn’t get through the day without holding steadfast to the promises in Isaiah 42.  My sheltered mind knew little of the evils of modern-day slavery, and now my eyes and ears have been opened to more of the injustices that people experience in one day than I have yet in my almost twenty years of life.

I had become desensitized to the reality of such devastation that I couldn’t feel the power of God’s Word in passages such as these.  I couldn’t feel the anticipation, the confidence, or the conviction.  I didn’t feel the pressing need for justice to prevail from the hand of God.

Now, however, my heart rejoices over Scripture in new ways.  With a fresh lens I can delve into the Word and experience the insight that was intended to be experienced.  This internship is teaching me how to not only read Scripture, but how to feel the power and majesty of God’s sovereignty through the eyes of the oppressed.  After having statistics, documentaries, and testimonies impressed upon my mind, I can experience Scripture from a new vantage point.  I think often upon the plagued and beset; I imagine the trafficked prostitute hanging on every promise written by God: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Continue reading

Benediction: Jude 1

by Maria Marballi and Aszia Walker

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25

Stumbling interferes with the sanctification of our hearts.

It is the darkness that causes us to fall, but Christ keeps us from such, and we cannot forget to whom we send our prayers; He will turn darkness to light, He will keep us from stumbling.

When our child’s Internet misuse appears a despairing cycle, we bow our heads in prayer; He is able.

When the eye lusts and addictions to impurity take hold of the mind and body, we bow our heads in prayer; He will keep us from stumbling.

When we feel like there is no escape from a sinful cycle, we bow our heads in prayer; He can make us stand.

Yet we are quick to become disheartened and overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and hopelessness when bombarded by the images and attitudes of our sexualized culture, and paralyzed by the unholy desire to fix our own problems…or worse, hide them in secrecy.

Surely the Word of God sings a new song.  If we take a moment to consider the power and majesty of the God we serve, we must also acknowledge His awe-inspiring ability and will to protect our hearts and minds from evil.  He can make us blameless.

He desires contrition and the renewal of our hearts in purity, and when we pray for Him to heal and protect, He responds with an overwhelming “Yes.”

Depression and discouragement can spin into an endless cycle of sin, but through the love and faithfulness of Christ Jesus, He fills us with the joy that is our strength.

Question: What verses sustain you during times of trial or temptation?  Click here to comment

Maria Marballi is a sophomore at The Ohio State University.  Aszia Walker is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University and the Kanakuk Institute in Branson, MO.  They are both serving as 2012 pureJUSTICE interns.