From the Blog

Crybaby

About four and a half years ago (13 years after admitting my struggle with pornography), God convicted me of an anger issue I had never addressed. My brother-in-law (the same one who introduced me to Freedom Begins Here) gave me a book called Bo’s Cafe. The main character in the book had anger issues that I could relate to (once again the providence of God at work). However, I couldn’t figure out how I had become so angry because I came from a good, loving home with loving parents that did not have anger issues. Since then I began attending Celebrate Recovery. I started going initially to see if I could help others and possibly start something similar at the place I was volunteering, but I ended up having more of my own issues come to light. So through that, God revealed to me the source of my anger as well as why I was so attracted to porn.

When I was young and growing up, I was a very sensitive child. I was easily moved to tears by insensitive words, not only the ones directed at me but at others as well. I would cry when my younger sister cried from being hurt or punished.

On Christmas Day in 1965, my Dad said or did something that unintentionally hurt my feelings, so I went to my room to cry. As I did I heard someone say “What a crybaby.” From that moment on I was labeled a crybaby, so I vowed to never cry again. With that thought, I shut down, and that precious sensitive spirit died and I became somewhat emotionally detached. There were only two emotions that wouldn’t betray my resolve not to cry—they were laughter and anger. So I became a bit of a class clown and a tease.

I am non-confrontational by nature. I’m like “Casper the Friendly Ghost”—I just want to be friendly. Bullies take advantage of that. So as I grew older I grew tougher, even though I hated confrontation. If someone messed with my sister or my friends or another meek person, I was ready to defend them.

Because I had been crushed by the fickleness of young girls, I became very guarded. I never gave my whole self into a relationship for fear of being hurt. I had been introduced to pornography at a very young age and was smitten. It seemed very safe to me because I could enjoy the fantasy without fear of betrayal. In each of my first two marriages I stayed somewhat aloof for fear of the pain and never fully trusted them with my heart. I wore a mask of self-confidence to hide the fact I was a basket case inside and to disguise my vulnerability. When there was trouble in paradise or I was stressed or depressed I would revert back to porn for a season. Amazingly enough I never purchased porn, but it always miraculously showed up—either at work, or in a dumpster, or even the time somebody dumped about a dozen magazines in the back of my truck while I was in the grocery store.

In 1976 I became an apprentice cement mason, and within two years was promoted to a foreman position. Controlling a crew of rowdy cement masons required me to act like a mean son-of-a- gun ready to kick butt (which was against my Casper the Friendly Ghost nature), so I began drinking a half pint of VO every day on my way home so I could relax to be with my family. Jesus revealed Himself to me in January of 1980, and within a couple of months I started my own owner/operator landscape and concrete business. If all that had not transpired and the Lord had not intervened, I was on my way into alcoholism and drug abuse.

By God revealing to me how I got so messed up, I’ve been able to forgive myself and love myself in spite of all my many flaws, and I’ve experienced the vastness of His grace (where sin abounds grace does much more abound), mercy, and love.

My name is Jeff and on a side note, if you feel led, pray for me to break my dry spell because I haven’t really cried since Christmas day 1965—that’s just over 50 years. Every time I feel I might have a breakthrough, I hear the words “what a crybaby” in my head and it stops. I need to be broken of that pride that still holds me hostage.

Thanks for letting me share.

The Church and Sexual Sin Issues

Most churches make it difficult for there to be transparency when it comes to sexual sins. It's just not socially acceptable in our christian circles. These issues are seldom talked about or addressed. If they are, it's only on rare occasions. If an alter call is given for those struggling with porn or sexual addictions, the alter, in most churches, will remain empty. It is too shameful and too risky.

Why is that? In a world where we are bombarded with sexual images and promiscuity, it really makes no sense.

Just walk through the halls of your local high school. No fear there. Teenagers are talking about it and not even batting an eye. Why isn't the church a comfortable place to address such things? Why do we make it so taboo when it is all around us?

These issues are real and they are destroying families and tearing our nation apart.

Statistics prove that the majority of those addicted to porn are not outside the church any longer, but sitting in our church pews, leading our youth groups, and even preaching from our pulpits. So, why aren't we talking about it? This silence has left us vulnerable and as prime targets for the enemy.


Shouldn't Pastors everywhere be speaking TRUTH about these issues and WARNING the body of Christ about these types of seductions? Not just once a year, but continually? After all, let's be real....what do most men and, yes...even "christian" men, think about? What do most teenagers think about? SEX. And yet, it is the least thing talked about in our churches today.

However, our culture handles it just the opposite. No guessing what the majority boldly proclaims. They make it quite clear. And they are not at all sorry for it or ashamed of it. They bombard us with sexual images and innuendos day in and day out. It's all over the TV, the movies, in the media, on the internet....it is everywhere. They are portraying a twisted, tainted view of sexuality and they have everyone's attention.

The longer the church keeps silent the more causalities there will be in this war against the enemy.
How are our boys and men going to know how to handle this kind of assault if they are not equipped? How will they learn the proper way to view women? How will they learn the truths that will help them avoid the traps that satan sets for them on a daily basis?

No doubt, we are all being taught everyday by the world's standards. Standards which have lost the meaning of virtue and purity all together. What used to be unacceptable is now the norm. Could it be that the church is no longer grieved by the things that grieve the heart of God? The truth is, our hearts are being seared. Yes, we claim to be followers of Christ, but just look at the statistics. Not only is the porn statistics staggering but the divorce rate is as high in the church as those outside the church. Many of those divorces have porn and/or other sexual addictions at the hem.
Why is this? Is the church failing?

It is my opinion that we can no longer be silent.
We need to teach and equip with regards to these kinds of issues as boldly and unashamedly as the world portrays them.
We need to take back the values that exemplify the character of Christ.

I want to encourage, and to beg Pastors everywhere to be bold, to speak the real hard truths, and to expose the lies of the enemy.

Being the wife of a former porn addict I realize I am so much more passionate about this then most, but shouldn't we all be?
Not only are we not talking about these issues, but we are not helping those who need it. Instead of finding freedom from such things at the alters of our churches, in community with believers..... those held captive are walking away bound, wounded, and fearful of being exposed.
The truth is, if our alters are empty because men and women are afraid to admit they are struggling, (because many are), then something needs to change. We need to create an environment of freedom where they can be real and transparent. Where else can a man or woman turn who desires help and needs support? They need Jesus. They need the church to be as Christ meant for it to be. A place they can run to, not run away from. Just sayin'. What do you think?

Transparent Ministries & Freedom Begins Here

When we started Freedom Begins Here several years ago, our primary goal was to help men and women who struggled with pornography. After thousands of conversations about this subject, we discovered a much larger issue facing the Christians today. The issue of pornography is just one of many things holding us back from true intimacy with Jesus. We all have struggles--some are just easier to confess and talk about than others. So we began thinking about how to tackle this much larger issue of Christ followers not revealing who they really are.

In late 2010, we created a non-profit called Transparent Ministries. "We" is a group of people, some from Freedom Begins Here and some not, who are passionate about tackling difficult issues and seeing people live authentic lives.

Since porn is one of the most difficult issues facing the Church, Transparent Ministries decided to purchase Freedom Begins Here in October 2011. This gave us the ability to immediately begin supporting people with resources to address the issue of pornography.

One of our main goals is to provide resources that teach churches how to create safe places where people can find help without fear of condemnation.

In short, we want people to be real--real with themselves and real with others.

Vision:
Transparent Ministries wants help people live in total transparency with each other, become free from their most hurtful issues, and deepen their walk with Christ so they can impact the world around them.

Mission:
Our Mission is to provide resources, video content and presentations that help people address real issues that bring about true intimacy with Christ.

Goal:
Transparent Ministries’ goal is to provoke discussion to address issues that the church is not talking about. We want to bring resources together for individuals, pastors, church leaders and counselors.

"Start the Conversation" Discussion Questions

Jacob’s Story: Purity

  • Since God created sex and it is good (within marriage) why do we struggle to talk about it?


  • Why would it be a struggle having sex at an early age?


  • How do choices now affect future relationships?


  • What is purity? What are you told that it is at church? At school?


  • Do you want your parents to sit down and to be honest with you?


  • Why do we have so many misconceptions about sex and why do we avoid discussing it in church? How do we protect ourselves in this sexually saturated society?



Joy’s Story: Self-Image

  • What types of messages does culture send to us?


  • What does it mean to guard you heart?


  • How can relationships be difficult? Are Christians that are relationship more complex?


  • Is physical image the most important feature when you choose a boyfriend or girlfriend, or is it something else to you? What is it?


  • Why do you think God asks for sexual patience?


  • Besides just saying NO, are we being taught in church how to navigate through culture when God says one thing and culture says another?


Jamie’s Story: Talk About It

  • How are we supposed to help people who have struggles?


  • What did you do the first time you saw porn? Does that image remain with you?


  • Did you ever feel you were the odd man out in a conversation around sex? How did it make you feel?


  • Who have you had conversations around sex? Do you have an parent or adult to talk about sexual issues or questions?


  • If so many good people are involved in porn, sex, etc. why is it a touchy subject?


  • Who do you know that you can help that no on else is helping?


Kevin’s Story: Confronting The Issues

  • Do you prefer to confront big issues or to ignore them? Why?


  • Do you think porn and sex is rampant in our culture?


  • Do you believe 12 to 17 year olds are the largest users of Internet porn?


  • How is God view of sex different from our cultures view? What do you think?


  • How can we personally support purity and not come off as judgmental?


JD’s Story: Integrity

  • Discovery of porn on the internet…. how has it affected you?


  • How does porn affect relationships? Have you known someone affect by it?


  • So when we view porn or have sex does it affect other people?


  • What characteristic of Christ do you think that people see in you? What characteristics would you like them to see?


  • What is grace? Are there limits to grace?


Sarah’s Story: Vulnerable Situations

  • What did parents teach you? Baseball, swimming, instrument etc…


  • Have you been in situations that were uncomfortable with the opposite sex? How do we avoid these situations?


  • In you have a sex question, who do you go to?


  • James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed”. Do you do this? Why or why not?


  • What does it mean that God is strong in our weakness? Does God give us more than we can handle?


Jimmy’s Story: Porn

  • Have you ever felt isolated with your struggles?


  • Have you every felt you were not in control of your sin?


  • Confession is good? Yes or No?


  • Has someone walked you through a difficult time? Have you ever been that “one” to anyone?


  • Why is it often harder to do right than to do wrong?


Wes’s Story: Sex

  • Does everyone struggle so why does everyone act perfect?


  • How is pornography addiction different from drugs and drinking? How is it the same?


  • Is purity good or bad … realistic or not?


  • Should we always avoid “awkward”? When should we not?


  • Is it awkward to talk about seex after we get started talking about it?

 

Anne Jackson Interview

Check out this cool interview with Anne Jackson. Talking about transparency, safety, and confession in the church. Wow!!!


http://samsonsociety.podbean.com/2010/01/25/can-girls-get-hooked-on-porn-too/