Since the resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened, then
I know how crushing guilt can be, and the question I often get is: How do I move forward by grace?
If you are suffering from moral exhaustion, a start-and-stop faith, a struggle with an unbeatable sin, constant disappointment in yourself, an angry red-faced preacher, or you’re just plain tired, this might be for you.
This is a progression of thoughts and conversations about moving away from a guilt-based prison into a grace-driven journey, and perhaps a small glimpse into the very heart of God Himself.
Here’s the groundwork. Please feel free to skip around.
God’s decision to forgive Peter required the death of his Son; Peter’s decision to forgive those who had offended him would cost him little more than his pride. The same is true for us.
In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another. Forgiveness is the gift that ensures my freedom from a prison of bitterness and resentment.
— Andy Stanley
I know this whole “Holy Spirit lives in you” can be weird, mysterious, New-Age-ish, and more difficult to fathom than O-Chem II.
But if you believe the Gospel — that Jesus the Son of God dropped down into human history as a perfect sinless healing savior born of a virgin, absorbed the wrath you deserve for your sins on a dirty Roman cross, jumped out the grave like shark madness on Shark Week, and flew up to Heaven with a promise to come back with 100 million angels — then you have God’s Spirit living in you. That’s no small thing.
So what does He do? What does this change?
Well you know. Like everything.
“God’s decision to forgive Peter required the death of his Son; Peter’s decision to forgive those who had offended him would cost him little more than his pride. The same is true for us.
In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another. Forgiveness is the gift that ensures my freedom from a prison of bitterness and resentment.”
— Andy Stanley
If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.
— Robert M. McCheyne
“I have one reason why you should walk away from that temptation right now. One reason: God. Is. Better.”
— Francis Chan
Edit: The conclusion is here.
Hello blogger friends!
Just letting you know that Part Five of the Quitting Porn series will be posting on Monday, March 12th. I’m praying that even a few words written there will be helpful in our fight together. It probably won’t be the last post on it and I’ll always take questions.
It hasn’t been easy talking about a fifteen-year addiction but I’m grateful for all your interest. Thanks for the prayers, support, and encouragement.
Here’s the introduction. All the other parts are linked there. After Monday, it will total seven parts. I’m prayerfully considering to make it a book.
God bless you, friends! Let’s fight with God and kick the crap out of Satan, together.
You all are like a second church to me. Love you guys.
In Romans 12:2 we are told to renew our minds, how do we actually do that? Are there certain ways to help us renew our minds? Thanks for the help!
I think the simplest way to answer this is to read the rest of the chapter. Our dear Apostle Paul covers humility, the body of Christ, serving with our calling, love, joy, generosity, evil, justice, and dealing with big poopoo-heads (he calls them the enemy: same thing). Actually, read the whole book of Romans. You might want to wear bulletproof glasses for chapter nine.
The major thought on “mind renewal” in the Eastern culture has been to empty it. The Bible never says this, but exhorts us to think about godly things. Inversely, the Western culture is constantly pushing self-discipline, positive thought, inspiration, psychological adjustments, cognitive therapy, and thought rearrangement, but we all know where that goes, even if Paul didn’t tell us. That’s a futile race of maintenance with no tangible goals.
This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor.
… You know that in the end you are not really giving away anything at all. Instead you are gaining. Yes, you are abandoning everything you have, but you are also gaining more than you could have in any other way. … Why? Because you have found something worth losing everything else for.
This is the picture of Jesus in the gospel. He is something — someone — worth losing everything for. And if we walk away from the Jesus of the gospel, we walk away from eternal riches. The cost of nondiscipleship is profoundly greater for us than the cost of discipleship. For when we abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to the radical invitation of Jesus, we discover the infinite treasure of knowing and experiencing him.
— David Platt
God, you loved me right out of my addictions. You loved me out of my despair. You loved me out of my darkness, conceitedness, misery. You loved me right out of myself.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
— Galatians 2:20
18 — I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
28 — And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
31 — What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
By Mark and Grace Driscoll
Mark Driscoll, the pastor of megachurch Mars Hill of Seattle, and his wife Grace write an honest, detailed, gripping, and at times explicit work on the troubles of marriage. While overly practical and less spiritual than expected, Pastor Mark and his wife have written tough words for the prideful and healing words for the hurting. Most of all they have written truth that no other pastor would dare to venture, which is both the book’s best strength and most glaring weakness.
Mark Driscoll spells controversy because of his unequivocal expression, uncompromising views, and his colorful use of language. He makes fart noises in his sermons, got busted over preaching on oral sex (essentially telling Christian women to use it as a lure for their unbelieving husbands), was publicly lambasted by John MacArthur (one of the five Big Johns, including Piper, Calvin, the Baptist, and the Apostle — so you know it’s serious), and is called a chauvinist by both lesbian atheists and evangelicals. We get it: he’s the vulgar, brash, older brother that puts you in a greasy headlock and gives you purple nurples.
But there’s no doubt the man preaches the Gospel, proclaims sound doctrine, and has a brilliant mind for practical theology. Regardless of tactics, he has once again written a clear-headed, straightforward work on marriage that is so unlike any Christian fare it’s bound to grab your attention, fart noises and all. One thing is most obvious in his writing: Pastor Mark is a pastor and loves people. He does the dirty task of writing what no one else will say, and while it may feel gratuitous, it’s true that no one else will say it. So he takes on the thankless duty of speaking to reality about as real as you can get.
A sermon series through one of my favorite books, Daniel!
It’s now completely posted with Part Five!
Daniel 1. Choosing God when it’s tough. 1 of 5. “The Gateway Drug Theory, the But Vs. So-Then Christian, what Lecrae said about Jesus the Rebel, and lessons from Angels In The Outfield.” August 19th, 2011.
Daniel 2. God’s working hand as we work through Him. 2 of 5. “How to properly spot the bench press, The Unreasonable Demands, when to Act and when to Ask God, and the Greatest Intervention.” August 29th, 2011
Daniel 3. Faith in the fire. 3 of 5. “When the Real You comes screaming out of your civilized mask, the toys versus the fire in Toy Story 3, and having an Even-If Faith because we have an Even-If God.” Sept. 2nd, 2011
Daniel 4-5. Losing control is a good thing. 4 of 5. “The Messy Unnecessary Argument, turning into a cow when you’re having a cow, and the future version of yourself warning you today.” September 16th, 2011.
Daniel 6. What to do with opposition. 5 of 5. “When to roll hard against some clowns, the story of Jesus found in Daniel, the crazy lady screaming at prayer group, and how God flexes His fruits in opposition.” January 13th, 2012
Moralism beats this drum: If I improve, then I’ll be accepted — by God, by others, even by myself. But the gospel says something radically different. The gospel announces that everyone ‘in Christ’ is already accepted by God because of Jesus’s work for them. Therefore, no improvement, good behavior, or performance is necessary in order to experience the deep acceptance we long for and in fact strive for on a daily basis.
— Tullian Tchividjian
Because of Christ’s finished work,Christians already possess the approval, the love, the security, the freedom, the meaning, the purpose, the protection, the new beginning, the cleansing, the forgiveness, the righteousness, and the rescue we intensely long for and, in fact, look for in a thousand things smaller than Jesus every day — things transient, things incapable of delivering the goods.The gospel is the only thing big enough to satisfy our deepest, eternal longings — both now and forever.
— Tullian Tchividjian
by Mark Driscoll
With ribald humor and stark seriousness, the hugely popular Pastor Mark Driscoll develops Jesus into a fully three-dimensional human being -slash- third person of God. The Gospel accounts will be enough for most, but Vintage Jesus is for the iPod/digital/Youtube generation. As Driscoll states in the opening dedication, This book is dedicated anyone who takes Jesus seriously, but not themselves. Full of fart jokes, fratboy humor, juvenile asides, personal testimony, and just enough heavy insight, Driscoll succeeds at painting a sound theological portrait of Jesus while poking fun at our often skewed view of him.
Driscoll’s work maintains a tight mix of pop culture, commentary, theology, and dire urgency to captivate even the most wandering reader. By pulling from every worldly view of Jesus, both right and wrong, while cutting to the hearts of us sinful readers, Driscoll destroys a familiar comfort that many of us have about the Messiah. Many see him as an Anglo-Saxon, halo-covered, mild and meek monk, or just as wrongly, a dangerous rebel who broke all the rules and amassed political power. But more than that, we feel reading into Jesus is boring. As much as we hate to admit, sometimes gleaning a picture of God through the Gospels is very hard work. For a lazy society bombarded by attractive presentations and fast media, we do need some help to trigger excitement. This book does exactly that: gets us enthused to pick up our Bibles and read Jesus in a fresh new light.