The War on Pouting

just-a-guy-pouting-250Pouting, moaning, whining, complaining.

Often considered the weakness of children, it is alive and well in men. Particularly this man.

This weakness would have gone on unaddressed but for an excellent Ask Pastor John called Make War on Pouting. In it, Pastor John challenges us to fight this pathetic childish sin.

What, pouting, a sin?

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent,children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. Phil 2:14,15

Yes, gentlemen, a sin.

Think about what whining says about God. We look to the floor and pout because we think God should have given us a better wife or house or kids or car or job. Far from being content in all circumstances (Phil 4:11), we prefer to pout.

How pathetic is that? Grown men. Sons of the supremely majestic God of the Universe, looking at the floor because someone hurt their feelings or interrupted their video game.

You see, I am experienced pouter. I arrive home and my wife doesn’t greet me at the door. What, after all I’ve worked, no greeting! Not only that, but a child has just had diarrhea in his diaper (this may be a reason for the failed greeting) and another child is potentially going to kill the fish. I clearly deserve better than this. I work hard. God should have given me a more grateful wife, better behaved children, and more resilient fish.

Of course, I don’t think all of those thoughts that explicitly, but I believe them. What I really do is rescue the fish first, then do the minimum necessary to help after that. After all, I was treated poorly. No greeting at the door. Am I considering that my poor wife has been working with the diarrhea/fish assassinating children all day? Could the children’s behavior problems be more related to Dad’s behavior than their own?

Do I love my family like Jesus does? Do I sacrifice my comforts to care for them in this difficult time?

Well, I would, if they treated me better (pouting look).

To be clear, I am not talking about real grief. Jesus cried at times about real suffering including his own. No, this pouting is what we men do with the annoyances of life. It is not the flood, it is the drip.

The fact is, pouting is very unloving. It says that rather than being the one who sacrifices for my family, I am the one who takes what I need from my family and screw them if they don’t pay up with enough gratitude. This is not love.

To love them is to walk in the door and be so full of God’s approval, mercy, kindness, and joy, the I spill that joy into my home. It should drip off of me to redeem a room. I should not be a sucking hole of joy in my home, I should be a God saturated conduit of joy filling my home with it. The opposite of pouting is joy.

Pray for me that I can be that kind of husband and dad.

-Chip

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HIV, The Porn Industry, and the Christian

Cameron Bay at a News Conference Discussing her recent HIV positive test

The porn industry in the Los Angelos area has a problem. There have been four HIV cases in the last two months and this has caused a halt to production in the much of the adult industry in the LA area. This is a big deal because the San Fernando Valley has a one billion dollar porn industry and it is costly to the producers of porn to have their sets shut down.

The story of trouble for LA County porn began in earnest when in 2012 the county voted to require condom use on porn sets. This was decried by the porn industry but in August and September of 2013, four porn actors and actresses were found to be HIV positive. One of those actresses is Cameron Bay (her stage name), who is pictured above. The question I want to ask is, how should the Christian feel about this?

To be clear, Ms. Bay was involving herself in some very risky behavior. HIV infections are rare in the porn industry due to mandatory testing every thirty days, But other STDs are very common. She repeatedly chose to expose herself to STDs and she caught the worst one of all. Not only did she get it, but so did her boyfriend who is also a porn actor.

But one of the big ideas throughout the New Testament is that we do not get what we deserve. She may have been foolish and caught HIV? I am foolish and have earned a place in Hell. The gospel is about how we don’t get what we deserve.

Jesus actually ran into a similar case once.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:3-11

He alone in all of the Universe is in a position to condemn this woman. She was caught and the law is clear. Thank God we have been set free from the law. You and I are toast if we need to uphold the law. Because we are forgiven, we should be gracious to Cameron Bay. Jesus saw no need to condemn her, neither should we.

So that leaves two things left for us to do for Cameron. First, she should have our compassion and not our judgement. We are no better than her and we were forgive. Second, we should hope and pray that she too could be forgiven by Jesus? Wouldn’t it be another wonderful confirmation of the ridiculous grace of God if she were redeemed as well.

Christian, we have no room to be harsh. Don’t wag your head judgmentally at the Cameron Bay’s of the world. Realize that but for the grace of a God, you would be far worse. God has been kind to us. May God be gracious and kind to Cameron Bay.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 9, Puddles of Grace

Grace can come to us in so many ways. Many times, we shake our fist at the sky only to find out later that God was being exceptionally loving to us in that time. We can be short sighted, but God loves us anyway. He knew what he was getting in to when he saved us.

In the song God Moves in Mysterious Ways, William Cowper famously wrote:

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

Today, I hope to show you the smile by exploring all of the Graces of God that he us pouring out for you. He is sometimes stern, but he is not cruel. Walk with me, I hope to give you hope.

Puddles of Grace

The first source of grace is this blog. I think that God has sent me to write this for you so that I can comfort you with the comfort I have received from Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3-5). Not that I speak God’s words, but I believe God has had me write these words and for you to read them. God loved you enough to bring you to this puddle of grace.

The second puddle of grace is the new resources available to you. Covenant Eyes,  recovery groups, and the new openness of the church to discuss these issues, all of these things are new graces of God for you.

Lakes of Grace

You know that sick feeling you have after you look at pornography. That filthiness that clings to your heart. That incessant scream of your conscience that you are defying God. That is God’s grace to you. Not everyone has that. In fact, I think it is rare. The majority of men you talk to about porn will wonder why you think it is a problem. God chose to leave your conscience intact. This is a profound grace to you. You conscience may seem like a cruel enemy, but he is really the servant of a loving God who is not letting you go.

Along with your conscience, consider that hurt look in you wife’s eyes. That pain that you have caused her. That constant reminder that you have failed and wounded the woman you love. That is God’s grace to you. Your foolish heart wants to believe that sin is OK. It wants to just enjoy the pictures and pretend nobody is getting hurt. God is using her to remind you that this is serious business. He won’t let you lie to yourself and pretend it is all OK. He loves you too much for that. This is a lake of grace for you.

There are also those times that God takes you and he beats you until you listen. He will take away you job, your health, your peace, and your joy. He loves you too much to leave you complacent. He will take everything he needs to away until you obey. This, dear brother, it the hand of a loving Father. It hurts now, but it pays off. This is a lake of grace for you.

Oceans of Grace

God wrote you a letter. It’s a big one, but you were in mind when he wrote it. The whole Bible is a letter from God to you. It has grace for the circumstance you are facing. The Bible is an ocean of grace and truth. There are promises there that will hold you strong when your temptation is at its worst. God loved you so much, he place you in a nation where there are more Bibles than people.

Not only did he write you a letter, but he left you with his phone number. God saved you and wants to listen to you. He has an ocean of grace to pour on you at need. Sometimes he gives you only what you need, not more. But even that is him loving you better than you know how to be loved. Trust him.

The Cross. I don’t think in a billion years we will yet understand the magnitude of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He was fully punished for my sins and he gave me his full righteousness. If I were to walk into Heaven, I would smell so much like Jesus that the locals would know I belonged. God loved a couple of screwups like you and I so much that he sent his son to die. Not only to die, but be punished for crimes he didn’t commit. Amazing grace!

So, in all of the pain of the circumstances you are facing. Look hard at the face of God and, if you are careful, you can see his slightly upturned lips. He might look like he’s frowning, but he is really setting you up for oceans of grace.

-Chip