Would Jesus Hang Out with Porn Stars?

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“Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” (Mt. 9:10-11)

Jesus constantly confused those who watched Him in His day. He still confuses those of us who read about Him today.

He did what the majority felt He shouldn’t. And He didn’t do what they thought He should.

Today I read a story about a pastor that is acting like Jesus.

Craig Gross is the founder of XXXChurch.com. They consider themselves, “The number one Christian porn site.” But they aren’t limited to a web presence. They also set up booths at the largest porn conventions in the nation with banners that read, “Jesus loves Porn Stars.” Their goal is to help people break free from porn addiction and to help porn stars break free from the porn industry.

What got my attention today was an article on the ABC news website entitled, “Ron Jeremy and Anti-Porn XXXchurch Pastor, America’s Ultimate Odd Couple.” Under the headline was a photo of the world’s most famous porn star, Ron Jeremy, sitting next to Craig Gross.

The article goes on to tell the story of how these two men have become unlikely friends. The quote I love the most is from a recent phone call when Jeremy was near death:

 ‘Craig, are you free for a couple hours?’ He goes, ‘yeah.’ ‘Are you still close to God?’ He goes, ‘last time I checked.’ ‘Well, I would like you and him to come down to Cedar Sinai Hospital, I’m going through a life-threatening operation,'” Jeremy said.

“There was something different,” Gross said. “He said, ‘Craig, I’m scared, and I don’t want to die.’ And he said, ‘will you pray for me?'”

I’m still processing this story. But there is a lot I like about it.

I like that the Christian never let the sin of the sinner get in the way of building a relationship with the sinner.

I like that the Gospel appears to be believable and real to the sinner and that is only true because they share a relationship that allows the sinner to see and know the Christian — and ultimately, to see and know the Savior.

I like it that the Christian didn’t allow the criticism and fear of other church-goers to stop him from befriending the sinner.

I like that the Christian’s behavior mimics and reflects the behavior of the Savior.

I can’t say it enough — our walk with Christ impacts those who are watching. Too often that impact is discouragement. But in this case that impact is inspiring! Thanks Craig Gross!

Yeah, I think Jesus would have hung out with porn stars.

You can read the whole article here.

PS: I just happened to watch a segment that Nightline did about XXXChurch in 2008. In it they interview Ron Jeremy and Craig Gross together. They challenge Craig about whether he has had an effect on Ron. To which Craig replies, “Not yet.” How cool to see that impact 5 years later. You can see the interview here. The comment I refer to is at the 6:19 mark. 

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Charlie’s Story

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“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

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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.

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