Welcome to the Ignorance Factory!

Leave a comment

“I was surprised when I heard the numbers among black voters, which was f—ing shameful. And, of course, the Mormons. What it comes down to is the churches are not operating like instruments of love. They’re hate machines. They’re ignorance factories.” —actor Sean Penn, commenting on those who supported California’s Proposition 8, a measure that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman [rollingstone.com, 2/6/09]

Our gut reaction to Sean Penn’s comments might be a good indicator of how correct his assessment is of churches and Christians. Was my first reaction one of disgust for his opinion? Did I want to retaliate in some way? Or did I long for him to see and understand Jesus for who He really is? If my reaction is the latter then I am on the right path, the path toward loving those who oppose Christ and His church.

Penn could be considered correct when he says churches are “ignorance factories” if we find it difficult to love him and others like him who slur the Bride of Christ. Ignorance? Of what? Ignorant of the command to love those who oppose us, who hate us, those who deride us and despise us. Any reaction less than love is falling short of Christ’s command. Admittedly, love has many forms and expressions, but it never looks, tastes or feels hateful or demeaning.

Don’t be fooled into thinking Penn is a lone voice. There are many who share his opinion but lack the forum to express it. Instead of a microphone and camera provided by national media, they take to the blogosphere and express themselves there. I personally feel this is part of a growing trend of anti-church attitudes that perceives the church as being an obstacle to growth and progress.

How should the church respond to accusations of “hate machines” and “ignorance factories?” When I read my Bible I feel like the only appropriate response is — one life, mine and yours, lived in obedience and reckless love for every person we come in contact with. Yes, it is slow. It is tedious. The masses won’t respond. But it seems to be the way of faith. Life on life. Day in and day out!

Charlie’s Story

1 Comment

“Charlie” is a man in our church. I encourage you to leave a comment telling “Charlie” how his story impacts you. May God use this story to free many from the trap of sin. If you need help please contact me directly at my CCC email address. We’ll find the help you need.

I am a recovering sex addict. That you might more fully understand the grace and love of our God, I reveal my life to you.

I have been imprisoned for most of my adult life, as you will come to see.

At the age of 3, your dad is essentially “God” in your infantile way of thinking. My dad’s words and actions told me deep down inside that I did not have a right to exist. As a child you cannot process this. You just respond to it in any way you can. I was virtually stripped of any sense of worth from my earliest days. In my case, I set out on what would become a life-long mission to prove I did have worth and I did have a right to exist in the world.

Through childhood and adolescence, I was constantly trying to prove myself to my father. I developed a work ethic. While other kids joined the scouts or a sports team I stayed at home to work and prove I was a ‘man.’ I would never have anything to do with girls because they were not ‘manly.’ I became relationally stunted, shy and withdrawn. All this time I worked with my dad he never missed a chance to strip me of my self-worth.

The problems really began at puberty. I could not have normal relationships with girls. I actually hated any closeness with my own mother for fear it indicated weakness. Yet I still had all the normal feelings and desires for the opposite sex with no acceptable way to express them. Like many teens, I learned everything about sex from all the wrong sources and without a good balance, I began to have a secret life of which I was very ashamed.

It wasn’t until I left home for college that I began to date and develop normal healthy relationships and attitudes. But by that time my secret life was entrenched.

After college I married and started a family. The secret life continued. Eventually our marriage began to fail. I became vulnerable to attractions from outside the marriage. I became an adulterer. Now I had three lives: my failing marriage, my adulteress affair and my secret life. Sex had become an elixir I could not resist and the secret life began to take on new aspects. I had reached a point where every waking moment of my life was consumed with sex. At first I was making up lies. Soon, I was making up lies to cover up the lies. Before I knew it, I was so deep in lies I was losing touch with reality.

Meanwhile, my wife began to attend a new church out of desperation. I could see divorce on the horizon and I wasn’t going to let my child be taken away by some creepy Christian cult. So I began to attend to protect my interests. One day, after about a year of hearing God’s word, the police knocked on my door. I realized what a mess my life was. I accepted Jesus as the Lord and Savior of my life.

That first year was a turnabout for me. I implemented several godly disciplines to bring my sexual desires under control. I became a servant in the church and it became my family. Our marriage began to heal.

But after a period, when our church went through some difficult events, I became disillusioned with church, but strengthened in my faith, and pretty much out there alone. Slowly, the old ways began to creep back into my life. I was walking a tight wire and I knew it.

One day, I found myself very tempted to act out in the old ways. I cried out to God telling Him I never wanted to go back. I asked him to either kill me or take me out of it some other way. All that night I sweated and prayed. The next day I lay in the ashes at His feet. I had come to accept that the disciplines I had used were of my own strength. There was nothing within this flesh, absolutely nothing I could ever do that would enable me to conquer the lust. I told God only He understood the processes that go on in me and around me. He knew these things I could not sense as they were happening. He knew the chemicals that were being released within my brain knocked out my inhibitions due to outside triggers I wasn’t even aware of. I prayed to Him, “Father, I give up. I give myself over to you completely. Only you know what is going on inside me and nothing in my own knowledge and strength can beat this. So from now on I am putting myself in your hands. I am going to pray a simple prayer – for you to help me in the way you see I that I need, from one moment to the next.”

God began to work immediately. It was a slow process. At first I only resisted temptations for one or two days before a failure. But I noticed that it was not a matter of resisting temptation. Instead, I became immune to temptation. I became acutely aware of physiological sensations and external triggers. When I sensed them I immediately told God and He would take over. Before I knew it, a couple of days became weeks, then months. Then one night as I lay in bed thanking God for His help that day I realized I could not even recall the last time I had slipped back in to lustful actions. Suddenly for the first time since puberty, I realized I was experiencing the freedom Jesus offers us. It was no longer an intellectual thing. It was real.

I’m 64 years old. I spent most of my life since puberty in prison. Not behind walls and bars. But always looking over my shoulder. Always fearful of backsliding, being exposed, destroying my marriage, hurting my wife and family. Repeating that vicious cycle of temptation, helplessly giving in, getting the “cheap fix” then hating myself for my own weakness and for betraying my Lord, asking for forgiveness knowing I would do it again the next day. And the next day would come and with it another shameful cycle.

But that cycle is now over and gone by the grace and love of the one real God. Telling my story is my chance to give glory to God. I am compelled to share with you the wonderful work God had done. My sincere desire is that you would see for yourself that no matter what your sin or trap, there is indeed hope. This is not the kind of hope like “I hope I get a new bike for Christmas” not knowing if you will receive it. Instead, for those who believe in Christ “hope” is a certainty of things to come. So no matter how bad your sin, you can have hope. You can have freedom!

Sexual Addiction Resources

Leave a comment

90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed porn on-line.

33% of adult web sites are visited by women.

For every McDonalds there are 3 adult porn shop.

At 13.3 billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the U.S. are bigger than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined.

If these stats are real to you, if you are trapped in sexual sin and haven’t been able to free yourself, now is the time to seek help. Contact me at my CCC email address. We’ll work to find you the help you need. Look over these resources to see if any of them might address your need. There are so many more than these. Let me know if none of these meet your need.

xxxchurch.com — for those addicted to porn as well as family and friends. Testimonies and resources.

covenanteyes.com — internet software to help protect you from porn.

safefamilies.org — online workshops for safe internet usage for families is only one of the many helpful resources at this site.

blazinggrace.org — a site developed by a recovering sex addict. Stories, tools for recovery. Great page on stats re: the porn industry.

http://epm.org/links/linksList.php? — This list of web sites and ministries is developed by Randy Alcorn. There are hundreds of sites listed ranging from modest clothing options, post-abortion ministries, pro-life ministries to sexual addictions.

Does Satan exist? Find out Thursday PM!

1 Comment

Does Satan Exist debate

The ABC News show, Nightline, will feature a debate on the existence of Satan between Mark Driscoll and Deepak Chopra (among others) this Thursday night at 11:35.

I have heard Driscoll speak in person and like him a lot. He was blunt and honest yet respectful. I have also heard him online when he was speaking at his church and he was blunt! I am really curious to see how he will handle himself on national television at his own church. I am sure he will present a great case for the truth.

I am interested in your opinion of the debate. I’ll be looking for your thoughts late tomorrow night or on Friday. Until then!

My Sunday rant!

3 Comments

I didn’t plan on anything unusual happening in the service on Sunday. I wasn’t looking for an opportunity to make a statement. It just happened.

Somewhere in the middle of my sermon I became aware of several students giggling, laughing and carrying on. At one point I thought I heard the sound of a text message dinging on a cell phone but I can’t be for sure that was actually what I heard. A few minutes later I noticed the distraction still taking place.

Then it happened. Words starting coming from my mouth and I was saying things that weren’t in my message text.

I honestly don’t know all that I said. But I know what I wished I would have said. I wished I had said that our discussion that morning was the most important thing they could be considering — that the Gospel is of utmost significance above and beyond all things. I wished I had said that my deepest longing for each and every one of them was for them to know Jesus and have Him change their life. And that anything keeping them from understanding that has to be thrown aside and forsaken. I wished the words that came from my mouth had in some way communicated all that I wanted for them — all that Jesus wants for them, a rich, full life that has the capacity to handle any adversity, all the hardships; to live without guilt or shame through Him. To live with an eternal purpose!

Instead, I said to be quiet and pay attention. Not a statement that is wrong. It’s a good thing to be quiet and pay attention. But in this case it was an incomplete statement.

My Heart is as hard as the sculpture.

Leave a comment

The Passion façade of Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona. Sculpture designed by Josep Maria Subirachs.

It is curious that people who are filled with horrified indignation whenever a cat kills a sparrow can hear the story of the killing of God told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.
— Dorothy Sayers, quoted by Barbara Brown Taylor in “God in Pain.”

I found this quote and photo on one of the Christianity Today sites. Did you notice the young couple at the foot of the sculpture laughing and chatting in the shadow of the suffering Savior? How often I am like that as well. I too have become calloused to the great sacrifice of Jesus on my behalf.

Review: Bible Study Magazine

Leave a comment

We are fortunate to have several serious bible students at CCC. Rob Quanstrom is just one of them. Rob reads all kinds of stuff and has a great library (I know. I have borrowed from him more than once!). So I go to him for advice on reference works from time to time. He recently forwarded a review of a new resource, Bible Study Magazine. Enjoy his comments on this resource and if you use it let me know! Thanks Rob!!

Bible Study Magazine
published by Logos Bible Software

This is a good time of year to begin afresh; make a resolution to study your Bible!
Here’s a magazine that will provide helpful tips and will teach you how to do it.

Bible Study Magazine is filled with the type of articles that stimulate, provoke, enlighten and encourage you to study God’s word.

It’s not a magazine for those who only wish to confirm what they already know.
It stretches you and expands your horizons.

Each Issue includes:
Bible Study Tips – Simple study methods you may have missed
A Feature Story – Interviews and articles with well known ministry leaders
In the News – Covers the latest news related biblical stories and events
D.I.Y Bible Study – Do-It-Yourself study introducing various resources to use
Not Your Average Bible Study – A week by week programmed book study
On the Cutting Edge – Perspectives on archaeological and historical findings
Greek Word Study Without Greek – A step-by-step introduction to word studies
I Dare You Not to Bore Me – Things you may have missed in common passages
And much more!

The first issue included:
An interview with Josh McDowell (6 pages)
An interview with Dr. Peter Flint concerning the Great Isaiah Scroll (3 pages)
An article about Choosing a Translation by Dan Wallace (4 pages)

And I’m eager awaiting the next issue’s continuing article, “God’s Word Through Multiple Voices: The Case of Sennacherib’s Invasion of Judah” (2 Kings 18-19).
Craig Broyles examines the Assyrian account of Sennacherib’s assault of Hezekiah’s kingdom and compares it to the biblical account.

Although the magazine is published by Logos Bible Systems you don’t need to own a copy of the software.
Aside each article there are small blurbs directing you to additional resources within the Libronix library system.

A One Year Subscription (6 magazines) is only $14.95
See http://www.biblestudymagazine.com/ for ordering information and sample articles.

Rob Quanstrom

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: