From the Blog

PORN - The New Four Letter Word in the Church

Ignoring a life threatening problem that you know exists, is tantamount to a slow suicide. Yet, many churches refuse to deal with such a threat.

Sexual sin and pornography are that sickness.

Much like mold that's growing behind a wall, under a floor or in a dark basement corner, are pornography discussions in the church. They are icky and people would rather not hear about it and, want someone else to deal with it, if at all. 

In other words, it's left up to those who are willing, if any, to get their hands dirty, messy and to clean it up. 

Far too often, no one is willing.

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Let's Call It what It is...Sin

Nearly 12 million people in America today fight a sexual addiction, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Pornography is recognized as an addiction in the counseling and psychological community. It has been treated similarly by Alcoholics Anonymous since the late 1970’s.

Addictions are labeled as diseases and disorders by the medical community. I’m not writing this to dispute those labels, but to speak to what my experience and education by said experience has taught me about addiction. And in particular, my (past) addiction to pornography (sexual addiction).

Pornography in and of itself is sin. Therefore, a pornography addiction is sinful. The bible teaches us this in 1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” Galatians 5:19 “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;”

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Getting Your Attention!

 I recently decided to refresh my knowledge on statistics regarding pornography use by children 18 years old and younger. I visited Covenant Eyes' website for the latest information.  I will make one statement that will stagger you as it pertains to how big this problem is.  In 2010 Covenant Eyes released a report on this crisis in our youth today.  The statement is that only 3% of boys and 17% of girls have NOT seen pornography before they turn 18.  It was odd to see the stats turned completely around and somehow it had a bigger impact on me... and I have been looking at these statistics for years.

 

Some of this is because kids do lots of research for school on the Internet and occasionally hit the wrong key.  But it should rock our world that for the most part we are not doing anything to change the way we deal with our children on this issue.  Very few of us know how easy it is for our children access pornography.   We need to take control of this area for our children because even with controls our children will see too much.

 

I was one of those parents who did not see the danger in this area.  Some of that was because of my own issues with pornography.  I didn't want the controls because I knew it would affect my own ability to access the Internet. I was also fooled to think that my children would control themselves and this would not be a problem.

 

Below is the link to the Covenant Eyes stats on under 18 year old usage of pornography on the Internet.  My hope is that you will be shocked by some of the information and begin to take measures to protect your children.

 

click here

 

 

Covenant Eyes I Phone App Review

We at Freedom Begins Here have been waiting a long time for the Covenant Eyes iPhone Application to come out... and it is finally here!

Freedom Begins Here and Covenant Eyes have a long-standing partnership and we've been excited to see what this App would hold when released. (Just a quick "what we do": Freedom Begins Here primarily aids with diagnosis and recovery for sexual addiction and Covenant Eyes deals in accountability and monitoring of internet usage.)

Covenant Eyes has had quite a bit of trouble getting their App launched, but it has officially been approved by Apple as of last week. Here is our review:

Prior to Covenant Eyes, only a few developers had launched similar web-browser monitoring services. The iPhone has built-in disabling options for Safari, YouTube, iTunes and protections for Music, Movies, TV Shows and App downloads (both of which can be password protected).

Covenant Eyes released their App as a web browser, much like Safari, instead of a monitoring system. Apple does not allow monitoring applications to be running in the background of the default iPhone Safari browser.

Covenant Eyes can be found in the App store through a simple search, or under the Utilities Category. Restrictions DO need to be disabled in order to download the App because it is rated 17+ (required because it is an internet browser, and the internet unfortunately contains objectionable content).

Covenant Eyes recommends that you disable your Safari, YouTube and even App store if needed and allow all internet access and usage to pass through the Covenant Eyes App. An accountability partner would set the password protection on your phone and iTunes store to limit your access. Once these restrictions are set, the Covenant Eyes App can be used to login using your usual login and password from your Covenant Eyes account before accessing the internet. Great if you have an account already, but if not, you will need to visit Covenant Eyes to register prior to using the App.

The application itself is a complete web browser, there is no blocking or filtering, merely monitoring. You will still be able to access all websites and Google searches, but everything will be tracked to an accountability partner on your standard report. The App has only a few shortcomings including no auto-fill and some glitches with the keyboard, but it navigates just like Safari for the most part.

All in all, the App isn't an end-all solution for those struggling with internet porn, but it is a HUGE step in the right direction for protection on mobile devices. This App will work great for those serious about accountability and for parents looking to safe-guard their "iKids". Check it out! We highly recommend this App for iPhone users!

Covenant Eyes Breaking Free Blog
Covenant Eyes iPhone App User Guide

Note: Safe Eyes also has an App out there, if you want to pay additional for it, and XXXChurch is about to release their X3Watch browser App as well.

Video Blog: Episode 7 Sexting "What is it and what you can do about it"

Insert Video Blog 7

 

A growing trend among teens: "sexting" or texting nude imagery, videos, photos or messages to friends, classmates, boyfriends and girlfriends.

SEXTING STATISTICS*:

• 20% of all teens say they have sent nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves. That's one in five!

• 39% of all teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages

What can parents do to help their kids avoid this?

Watch to find out.

Also includes an interview with Covenant Eyes' Scott McClurg.

* These statistics are from a recent survey of 1,280 students conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Small Group Pack

We are really excited to offer our newest resource, the Freedom Begins Here Small Group Pack. Many of you have expressed the desire to use the FBH material in your small groups.



The Small Group Pack includes:
• Small Group Guide
• DVD & 5 Devotional Journals
• Covenant Eyes CD (30-day trial) included in every Devotional Journal.

The Small Group Pack shows you how to use the Freedom Begins Here material to create a safe place where your group can be challenged and equipped to guard their hearts, flee temptation and find complete freedom from sexual sin. The 30-Day Devotional Journal easily adapts to 6 weeks of group meetings, the DVD's chapter divisions are easily accessible, and the addition of some simple group dynamics allows this powerful content to be discussed, digested, and activated.

Check it out here:

Small Group Pack Details

YouTube and the Porn Crisis

YouTube is the 3rd most trafficked site on the web, according to Alexa Internet statistics. Everybody is using YouTube. It has revolutionized media communication just as much as the television did back in the 1950’s.

But there is a big difference between broadcast television and the user submitted content on YouTube. The difference is regulation. When TV hit the scene five decades ago, your choices were “I Love Lucy” or “Gunsmoke.” Not exactly TV-MA material, much less XXX. We all know that the FCC has a tight grip on what television networks can and cannot show on network TV. Even though most of us are quick to point out the tolerance of questionable (ok, downright scandalous) content on network TV, it pales in comparison to the increasing selection of sensual videos and pics available at our fingertips on sites like YouTube.

Now don’t get me wrong, as a professional video producer myself, I think the concept and model of YouTube is brilliant. But for those of us (might I say all of us) who have major temptation issues when we see a video titled “lonely girl in bedroom,” the amazing innovation of YouTube also presents a huge stumbling block that begins to reveal why we are facing an epidemic of pornography addiction. And even though YouTube attempts to block actual nudity, porn producers do just about everything to drive you back to their site after clicking on one of their teaser videos.

Understand that I’m not pinning the moral fallout of our society on YouTube! I’m also not blaming them alone for the crisis of pornography and sexual addiction. Just a few minutes of surfing around on sites like MySpace, Flickr, and Friendster can be like running the gauntlet of sexual temptation all while sitting in the comfy secrecy of your bedroom. These sites are full of sultry images and videos just waiting to trip us up. I know I’m not saying anything earth shattering here and you may be wondering where I’m going with this.

I mainly just want to ask a question. Is it safe to assume that all of us struggle with sexual temptation on some level? I’m not just talking about guys here. Girls, you struggle too and that’s normal. If that is a safe assumption, and we know that porn is thrown at us constantly without discretion for age or situation, how can we win the battle and find real freedom from pornography and sexual addiction?

What do I think? I think it starts with ruthless accountability. If you haven't installed accountability software already, do it now! Through our partnership with Covenant Eyes, you can download a free 30-day trial here: Download Covenant Eyes Trial