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.  

 

Who Is This Jesus?

by Rick Schatz

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

The identity of Jesus is the question of the ages.  Every individual must answer the question about the identity of Christ.

Just consider the message we find in Matthew 16 and the impact that the identity of Jesus had on His disciples.  These men had followed Christ for three years, and Jesus made them squarely face the question of His identity.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the Living God.

As they recognized this truth, the life of every disciple was turned upside down.  Their faith grew until they became fully convinced that Jesus was who He said He was.  Their faith led them to share the good news of the gospel with an unbelieving world.  They spoke with clarity and boldness and were willing to give their lives to share the good news about Jesus as Lord and King.

For every believer and servant of Christ, He is not only Savior but also Lord of everyday living.  We’re called to live righteously, and many of us are blessed with the opportunity to be husbands and fathers.  We’re called to serve our families and to love our wives as Christ loved the Church.  Coming to know Jesus as Christ changes everything.  It brings joy, peace, and hope in this life and salvation for the next.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

So, who do you say He is?  How have you been changed by Him?

This devotion appears in On The Road: Meditations for Men Who Travel, a collection of inspiring and encouraging writings from dozens of Christian leaders and businessmen.  Click here to order a copy from Beacon Hill Press.

Sex Sells… Everything

by Aszia Walker

Obsession is defined as “uncontrollable persistence of an idea.”

How many things can we advertise using sex?

Booze, clothing, cosmetics.

Okay, those kind of make sense…

But what about having a sexy car? Sexy internet browser? Sexy book reading tablet? Sexy hamburgers? Deodorant? Shampoo?

Yep. I think it is safe to say we are a culture obsessed and preoccupied with sex.

That’s why I’m more and more grateful every day for God’s Word and the work He’s doing through pureHOPE.  The LORD God created us for more than counterfeit sex.  He created us for more than panting after cheap marketing schemes.

God has created us to live lives of purity, justice, and hope.  He has not left us without a way out of the inundating torrent of sexual temptation.

When it feels like you are swimming upstream against society, when every click of the remote leads to increasing frustration, know that someone is here for you.

Find support to equip you in your battle for holiness here.

“If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” (I Corinthians 10:12-14)

Question: So, what is the most absurd way you’ve seen sex used to market a product? Click here to comment

Aszia Walker is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University and the Kanakuk Institute. She is currently serving as a 2012 pureJUSTICE intern.

A Parenting Lesson From Jesus

by Dan Martin

 

“Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14: 29-32 (NIV 1984)

Notice how Jesus uses the opportunity as a “teachable moment” in Peter’s life. When Peter was afraid and beginning to sink, Jesus reaches out his hand to save him, yet allows him to feel the weight of his doubt as he begins to fall. He then pulls him up and into the boat and says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” What I love about the example is that Jesus teaches us a great lesson about parenting; while our children are experiencing struggles and failures, that can be a great time to speak truth into their lives. Jesus could have saved Peter, pulled him into the boat, dried him off and helped him get warm. Instead, Peter was extremely “teachable” when he was reaching for help, and the timing of Jesus’ words are a great example to us as He demonstrates His love, authority and faithfulness. His presence remained despite Peter’s skepticism; He loved over the disbelief, yet ultimately drew Peter closer to Himself through His timely teaching.

We too, shouldn’t solely protect our kids from harm and destructive behavior. We need to equip them with the truth and the skills they will need in life to navigate the waters successfully. Teachable moments happen every day, and we need to look for opportune times to speak into those moments, while they are happening.

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)

Dan Martin directs pureHOPE’s parenting ministry. He and his wife are the parents of three teenagers. You can contact him directly at dmartin@purehope.net or follow him on Twitter.


Your Child’s Two Greatest Needs

By Dan Martin

I have heard several variations on the topic of our kids’ greatest emotional needs.  As I read, ponder, and experience the needs of my own kids, I have come to the conclusion that all of their basic emotional requisites can be summed up in two primary needs: to be fully known, and to be fully loved.

To be fully known: Going back to the Garden, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed” (Genesis 2:25).  God knew them completely and they knew one another completely before…until sin entered the picture.  Once they chose to disobey God, immediately they recognized that they were naked and began feeling the need to cover up, to withhold, to hide their true selves.  They no longer fully trusted God or one another.  God designed us to be fully known, by Him and by those closest to us.  Sin has led us to feel ashamed and to put on masks to cover up who we really are.  Fully knowing our kids means that we know them intimately, and we understand them in a way that the rest of the world does not; in doing so, we invite them to live authentically and openly with us, despite the pull of the sin nature to hide.  It also means we do the hard work of getting to know their joys and desires, as well as their fears, insecurities, and struggles.  This develops within them a sense of confidence and assurance that God has created them divinely and uniquely as individuals with gifts to be used in His service fulfilling roles that only they can accomplish.

To be fully loved: Only God is capable of truly loving fully and unconditionally.  But we are called to abide in that love (John 15:9), and as parents, we are charged with loving our children no matter what they do or what has happened to them.  This type of unconditional love requires one to let go of selfishness and a desire to command complete control over our kids.  Our kids have free will just as Adam and Eve had free will and chose to disobey God.  God never withdrew His love for them; in fact, His love would have to be demonstrated even more profoundly as a result of their disobedience.  He offered His Son, Jesus Christ, as an atonement for their sin and ours.  Our kids will make mistakes, and there will be (and must be) consequences, but we are to love them with the love of Christ, who endured pain, disappointment, and disgrace to love us (Hebrews 12:2).

Ultimately, these two needs are essential for all of us and were instilled in us by God.  We were created by God for the very purpose of relationship with Him, fully known by Him and fully loved by Him.  Fully knowing our kids means getting inside their world and understanding who they are in a way that no one else does.  Fully loving them means doing so in a way that reflects God’s unconditional and eternal love for us (Jeremiah 31:3).

Dan Martin directs pureHOPE’s parenting ministry.  He and his wife are the parents of three teenagers.  You can contact him directly at dmartin@purehope.net or follow him on Twitter @danmar34.

How to Pray for Purity

by David Schrock, M.Div.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Paul says that we are to be constantly in prayer: “Pray without ceasing . . . for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  Earlier in his same letter to the faithful Thessalonian church, he states, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (4:3).  In those two statements, you have a clear declaration of God’s will for our lives: that we prayerfully strive for the holiness of Jesus.

There can be no mistaking the will of God about prayer and purity, but perhaps we forget these basic truths, or perhaps we in our sinfulness do not know how to approach a holy God about our sexual purity.  And it is probably the case that few of us have heard such prayers in our churches.  So how do we learn to pray for purity?

Recently, I was reading through Scotty Smith’s prayer book, Everyday Prayers, and I came across a model prayer by Pastor Smith based on 1 Corinthians 6:14-18.  It is a prayer that meditates on the “brokenness and beauty of human sexuality.”  Take a listen: Continue reading

He Is Risen!

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Romans 8:34

…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  1 Corinthians 15:3-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:3-5