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Posted by on Apr 27, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Are You Doing Accountability The Wrong Way?

Has someone talked to you about the importance of community recently?

How about the value of vulnerability?

I bet you’ve seen content on both subjects at least once in the last six months.

Interestingly enough – science has shown the percentage of people in this world without ANY confidants (not even one) has doubled in the last 20 years. Somehow, loneliness is on the rise. 

I talk to men regularly who struggle with pornography.

Each of their stories is unique, but one thing remains the same. 

The man has felt or currently feels lonely without fail. 

Then I ask… what have you done about it?

The answer usually includes one of the following:

-They told a trusted leader and never followed up with them

-No one in their friend circle can be trusted with the details of their struggle

-Tried an accountability partner system and it’s not working

All of these experiences can cause a lot of frustration, but I have a particular bone to pick about the accountability partner system that is so commonly preached.

Almost every guy I talk to that is looking to get free of porn has tried a form of accountability at some point.

Here are some examples:

  • A client of mine attended a workshop on freedom from lust and sexual sin. In the end, he was matched up with a stranger to be his accountability partner. They texted back and forth for about three weeks and haven’t communicated since.
  • A university student asked a respected leader in his community to be his accountability partner. The arrangement? He would text him after he watched porn and ask for prayer. The leader would write back, “praying for you!” This lasted for about three months. 
  • A friend created a penalty system. Every time he looked at porn, he had to give a $500 donation to a charitable organization! 

The upsetting part is that accountability is a good thing! When it’s done properly, it can be so helpful. But most of the systems out there are so lackluster that they usually make the problem much worse. 

Here are a few common mistakes that I see a lot of men making when it comes to accountability.

MISTAKE 1: Lack of Relational Equity

I’d love to tell you that you can find a guy who is passionate about you getting free, and he will be the perfect person to hold you accountable. Unfortunately, this never works.

The most effective accountability partners are those with whom you have a trust established—long time friends, siblings, leaders, mentors, pastors, etc. You’re looking for people that you feel safe with, understand how to empathize, and are willing to ask hard questions. 

A good accountability partner should encourage & comfort you while also pushing you to be your absolute best. And this is most accomplished in the confines of a healthy, pre-existing relationship. 

It’s also crucial that this person is free of porn, or very close to. They shouldn’t be watching porn more than once a month. Don’t make the mistake of picking someone who is struggling just as much as you are. The blind leading the blind has never been an effective strategy. 

One quick side note, this is not to discourage groups/communities of people that are collectively pursuing freedom. These communities are a great complement to a reliable accountability partner. 

MISTAKE 2: Reactive Approach

This one sounds so obvious, but it is most commonly overlooked. Being reactionary in general, is futile. I don’t know very many times that I’ve been thankful for a reactionary decision. 

The accountability examples listed above are all reactionary. They are the aftermath. Asking for prayer after a slip. 

Confessing after a lapse.

Accountability, in its purest form, is preventative. If you reach out to your accountability partner after you’ve looked at porn, it’s TOO LATE. You have a confessional partner, not an accountability partner.

Your accountability partner is supposed to help you avoid looking at porn. How can they do that if they only hear from you after a mistake?

I don’t know anyone who got free because their accountability continually prayed for them every time after they slipped. 

The aim is to be proactive, which means that you are nipping things in the bud (temptations, urges, thoughts, emotions, etc.) before they develop into a decision to watch porn. You’ll see what I mean in the next point. 

MISTAKE 3: Only Focus on Behavior

Let me illustrate this with a story. 

When my wife and I were dating, I was having a particularly difficult season. I changed jobs, moved cities, started at a new church, and was making friends all over again. It was stressful for me, and I was weak and vulnerable at times. 

On one particular day, I felt tempted to watch porn for almost the entire day. The day was capped off with our weekly date night… how fun.

There are two things you should know about this point in time. 

One, I had been free from porn for about two years. 

Two, my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I were working hard to protect our physical boundaries at this stage of our relationship. 

Everything was tested. 

My plan was to white-knuckle my way through the evening. I’d muster up enough strength to resist the temptation to cross our boundaries and do everything I could to redirect my thought life away from the attractions.

Not precisely a bulletproof plan, but a plan nonetheless.

We pulled into the driveway to begin the evening, and all of a sudden, it clicked. 

I had a better option.

I could talk to her about it!

Imagine that. 

So I opened up. I told her that I was feeling the effects of the move. Specifically, I was feeling lonely, and as a result, I felt tempted to watch porn most of the day. I then explained that I was nervous we were going to cross our boundaries, and I didn’t know what to do.

The look on her face said it all: She was thrilled.

The transparency established trust; the communication gave her a new level of understanding, and the choice to be accountable proactively dissipated the temptations almost immediately. 

We had a great date night, and our boundaries were easily kept intact.

I learned something that night.

I’d rather confess a temptation than confess a mistake.

Real accountability focuses on the contributing factors to the behavior, not the behavior itself.

I’ve spoken with a lot of guys lately who are finding it difficult to abstain from porn during the lockdown: more device time, more temptation, and much less accountability. 

I get it, these are trying times, and many of the added stressors are driving men to watch porn. 

If you’re in that camp, I want to encourage you to find someone you can talk to TODAY. Don’t wait until the lockdown lifts. Do it now, get that outlet ASAP.

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Posted by on Apr 20, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

What Are You Running From?

Everybody Has Issues

Some people were taught how to deal with them healthily by addressing them, processing them, and learning from them. However, the vast majority were not taught those valuable lessons. Rather than healing from the heartbreak, you might have been taught to avoid it. Instead of managing your stress, you might run from it.

We all go through things in life, but until we learn to process life’s difficulties, we will find ourselves running from them. I hate stress! I always have and always will. I used to turn to drugs and alcohol to numb out. I didn’t know why I always wanted to drink an entire bottle of wine until I could forget about whatever it was that was stressing me out until I had a conversation with God. He showed me that there was a place of pain in me that I needed to heal. I ran from stress because, as a child, our household was very stressful. There was a lot of anger, yelling, and cursing. There was no grace, no love, and no mercy.

I looked forward to going to school each day because I hated being home. Our home was a place of uncertainty. When things were calm, I anxiously awaited the next outburst. I was never at peace when I was at home. So, as an adult, when moments of high-stress came into my life, I wanted to run from them. God forbid me to feel that stress that once tormented me as a child. However, God does not forbid moments of stress, but He does promise us rest if we seek Him. Immense pressure was a trigger that made me run to drugs and alcohol to avoid the feeling of it.

Your Painful Moments Have Purpose

God began to show me that in those moments of stress, He was preparing me for something much more significant, and instead of running from it, I needed to run to Him. He is the giver of peace; He is the healer. He is our great-counselor. Drugs and alcohol could offer me nothing in comparison to what God could give me. Drugs and alcohol can provide me temporary relief as they mask the pain I am running from, whereas God can heal the pain so that I never have to run from it again.

 

What Are You Running From?

My question for you is, what are you running from? When you spend hours watching pornography to numb out, why do you do that? Just as God spoke to me and reminded me that the things I once ran to could merely mask my pain, but He could heal me of it; I believe He wants you to walk with that same revelation. Porn is a mask, but God is your healer.

Maybe the uncertainties of COVID19 have led you back to porn, or perhaps your marriage isn’t thriving, so you’ve turned to porn to avoid the issues rather than face them head-on. I don’t know what’s been going on in your life that has cut you so deeply that you’ve felt the need to escape, but God does, and He wants to heal you and free you. Doesn’t that sound great?!

I want to encourage you to grow in God. He cares about the condition of your heart because it determines the course of your life. He wants to restore your family, bring peace to your soul, comfort you in your brokenness, and deliver you from both addictions and bad habits.

Every day, I seek God through worship, prayer, and then I read the Bible. Because of COVID19, I have had extra time to read a few self-improvement books as well. My soul is prospering! Not because I numb out, but because I am no longer afraid to face my problems and fears. I don’t let them consume me; I don’t run from them; I seek God and wise counsel. Both of which are important. You need God, and you need wise counsel. Who is on your team?

XXXchurch Can Help!

If you’re looking for a community, check out Small Groups Online, and if you need to be more transparent with your accountability, download X3watch. This accountability software will send your online activity reports to the person/s of your choice. Chances are you’re spending more time at home than usual, do something productive for YOU! Sign up for one of our workshops, which are currently 50% off if you enter code: COVID19 at checkout.

Also, don’t hesitate to send us an email! We love you, and we are here for you! Freedom belongs to you, and we believe that’s what XXXchurch believes you’re going to find.

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Posted by on Apr 13, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

3 Ways COVID Cures Porn Addiction

COVID is changing everything. We don’t know how exactly, but it’s clear that things will never be the same. I have to be honest; the scale of this situation feels similar to September 11, 2001. This is a global situation that will have long-term global ramifications.

I am ever the opportunist. I realize that there is a lot of panic and fear, and rightfully so. But those kinds of reactions, to me, are indicators that prime opportunity is lurking. As Winston Churchill famously said, “Don’t waste a good crisis.”

As I’ve given this more thought, I’ve realized that COVID is a great chance to get free of pornography, and probably not for the reasons you think. 

Everyone is tabling the argument that you have more time now, so you should do the things that you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because you were too busy.

I’m all for that. But I don’t find that angle very compelling. 

Others are saying that in the face of so many people losing their health, and even their lives, we should all remember how precious life is, and not take anything for granted.

Again, a great point, but I don’t think that’s going to free anyone of porn addiction.

However, I do believe that there are three major lessons we can take from the COVID-19 outbreak to assist in porn recovery. In the hundreds of men I have worked with over the years, these lessons are woven in every single success story I’ve witnessed.

Read through this carefully, and think about how you could apply each lesson to your own life.

Lesson 1: Your Life Impacts The World

It sounds like a bit of an overstatement, but let’s think about it. 

In November 2019, someone came into contact with a bat in a market in China. One person. Not a mob of people, not even a family. One single human being. That individual contracted a virus and began spreading it, unbeknownst to him at the time. Fast forward just six months later, and the entire world shut down as a result. 

Not just the man’s city. Not even just his country. The whole world. From the west to the far east. Businesses. Stock markets. Schools. Churches. Charities. Community centers. Restaurants. 

Did you catch that? The entire globe has shut down because of one person! 

Let’s take this a step further. 

Imagine if only half of the world agreed to socially distance, isolate, and increase sanitization. The other half continued to live at their normal pace, do their normal activities, and disregard what was happening elsewhere.

“Well, too bad for them!” you might think.

No, too bad for everyone. 

The negligent half of the world would nullify the efforts of the rest of the world. It’s not enough for just a few countries to implement the added regulations. The entire human race has to do their part so that collectively, we can shut this thing down. One bad apple spoils the bunch.

How you live your life affects the rest of the world right now, and that’s just to flatten the curve.

Think about how this applies to a porn recovery context.
The biggest lie you could believe about your struggle with porn is that it only affects you. 

There are the pornstars on the screen.
The website owners who get paid for clicks and traffic.
Your present loved ones who want to experience real intimacy with you.
Your future loved ones.
Your (future) family.
The people who look up to you.
The people who follow you.
Your colleagues/coworkers.
Every single person you know who is of the gender that you’re attracted to.

Need I list more?

These people are all impacted in some shape or form every single time you watch pornography. 

The way you live your life matters. Not just for your own sake, but for the rest of the world. We are all in this thing called life together. Live it as the people of this world depend on it. In many ways, they do.

Lesson 2: Crisis Reveals Character

It is pretty to easy to be a good person when you’re on top of the world. When things are going your way, and God’s favor is clearly upon you, how can you do any wrong? 

The real question is, what kind of person are you amidst a crisis?

How someone handles seasons of blessing and reward indicates a lot about their character and who they are as a person. But it’s only a partial picture. The other part comes into play in the face of difficulty.

A crisis like this global pandemic has a unique way of surfacing our insecurities, fears & areas of mistrust. I’ve experienced some of this myself in this season, and I’ve graciously accepted the challenge to deal with them (I’m an opportunist, remember?). 

It is so easy to make excuses right now. People are using COVID to justify more screen time, disconnecting from people, a lack of motivation, falling out of routine, etc.

COVID is an excellent explanation. It is not an excuse. 

The call to live a life of godly character, excellence, and joy is still active. God has not compromised in His standards during this global pandemic, and neither should we. It is possible that in this season, parts of you are surfacing that you’re not comfortable with. Maybe it’s a temper, or a need to be busy, or feeling worthless without a job. 

Just hear me now: It’s never been a better time to refine your character. Don’t let COVID be an excuse for you. Let it be the catalyst that causes you to dig your heels in, face your shortcomings head-on, and become a better person. 

Lesson 3: Thanksgiving Is A Secret Weapon

The Bible clearly says on multiple occasions that we are to give thanks in ALL things. “All” includes global pandemics. 

Thanksgiving is powerful because it shifts our focus away from what we lack towards what we have. It is hard to be anxious and thankful at the same time. You can be one or the other, but not both. 

Thanksgiving works both as an antidote to anxiety & fear, but also as a preventative measure. 

That means that if you are experiencing anxiety & fear right now, it is an excellent time to give thanks.

It also means that if you are not experiencing anxiety & fear right now, it is an excellent time to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is commonly associated with peace in the Bible (see Colossians 3:15 and Philippians 4:6), and for a good reason. Peace is inevitable when we are thankful. The more we focus on what we have, the more confident we become in God’s faithfulness & His ability to provide. 

In this season, His provision may be as basic as putting food on the table. 

It could be giving you the grace to endure having the kids at home 24/7. 

It could be finding meaningful opportunities to occupy your time.

And dare I say it could be getting free of pornography for good. 

Thanksgiving doesn’t require capital, copious amounts of time, or much energy. It just needs a little intentionality, and it could be the thing that turns things around once and for all. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to learn, grow, and become more of the man God created me to be. There is no reason why you can’t do the same. 

I want to encourage you to do all you can to make the most of this season. Be creative. Think outside the box. And do not let your emotions make decisions for you. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I urge you to take advantage of right now.

Let’s not waste a good crisis.

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Posted by on Apr 6, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Joshua’s Story: From Porn Star to Pastor

Meet Joshua Broome

My name is Joshua Broome, and I have been in over 1,000 pornographic films, won various awards, traveled the world, and grossed over a million dollars. Some may have thought that I had it all, but during this time I was close to taking my life.

Joshua’s Childhood

I grew up in a small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. My mom gave birth to me when she was 16, and even though I lived in the same city as my father, we did not have a relationship as I grew up. My mother and I lived with her parents and siblings until she met a man who swept her off her feet. Unfortunately, that same man physically and mentally abused me under the influence of heavy drugs, which left us broken, poor, and abandoned yet again.

We moved into government housing, and then eventually some nicer apartments. My mom was a fighter, and I am alive today because she instilled in me an attitude of mental fortitude that did not allow me to give up. There was a two-sided coin of that, though, because as resilient as I was, I equally felt inadequate, incapable, and overlooked. My feelings of rejection both scared me and fueled me. It caused me to outwork most people, but it also made it so hard to believe in myself.

My childhood was relatively normal. I had friends; I played sports and eventually went to college. Like a lot of people, I embraced the freedom that came with college. I partied hard, I joined a frat, I hooked up with as many girls as I could, and I worked part-time jobs along the way. But, there was always something inside me that caused me to cheat on girlfriends, leave friends hanging, not show up, and find any way I could to self-destruct any opportunity or relationship I had in my life. Wrong turn after wrong turn somehow aligned with me quitting college, selling my jeep, and finding myself getting off a plane in Los Angeles, California.

Life Took an Unexpected Turn

When arriving in Los Angeles, I stayed in a hotel for the first few days, and then, I found myself buying a wrap at McDonald’s, where my debit card was declined for insufficient funds. Luckily, I found a job working at a restaurant/bar to make enough money to share an apartment with someone I didn’t even know. I was making a decent amount of money there, and then one night, a group of girls asked me if I had ever considered acting. I had done various modeling and acting jobs since I was 15, and I had aspirations of that becoming my career. They were talking about pornographic movies. I had watched porn a lot, and it seemed exciting to be part of that industry.

Joshua Becomes a Porn Actor

Next thing I knew, I was signing a contract with the most prominent adult agency, and I was promised endless fame and fortune, which made me feel seen. I have always struggled with acceptance. I was manipulated into believing I was going to fulfill my destiny. I did one film, and then another, and then another.. several years later, I had done over 1,000. I had won performer of the year and even starred on the AVN Awards Show on Showtime. My friends saw that, which led to my uncles, aunts, grandparents, mom, and every person I knew. I went from being proud of the awards I kept on a shelf in my living room to embarrassed realizing what I had done with my life. The shame and guilt rose to a point where I wasn’t numb to what I was doing anymore.

The level of manipulation by agents, directors, and all those around me was suddenly apparent. But, I truly believed that I had ruined my life to the point of no return. So, I continued to say yes to the desires and the need to be accepted. I never was attracted to guys, but they were to me. The idea of doing gay porn and the new level of fame, the money, the praise, and the attention all somehow made logical sense to me. The first time I did the things you would do to make one of these movies left me feeling incredibly ashamed. The additional free time that came with being a big contract star and extra money didn’t lessen the pain. It went on for about six months, and then one day, I found myself praying to a God I vaguely knew to let me die. I was humiliated and had let my family down. I was sure they were embarrassed and wanted nothing to do with me.

Wake Up Call

One day, I walked into a bank to deposit a check, and the clerk said, “Joshua, is there anything else I can do for you?” Because I was typically referred to by my stage name, this was the first time I had heard my real name in months, years actually. I woke up. I saw myself as someone who was broken and needed reality. I needed my mom. She welcomed me with open arms after I gave my apartment and everything but my clothes away to the first person I could find to take over my lease.

Joshua Encounters Jesus

Now I was somewhere else and could forget about all I did. But, it was only a few days until customers at the grocery store I worked at recognized me. I then took a job at a gym, but soon enough, everyone knew my secret. I tried for years to run from my past. I tried so hard to hide and forget, but it kept coming up. I had met a girl that was so pure, so perfect, so exciting, but I just knew, like many people, she would be disgusted with me if she knew. I was ready for rejection, so I told her everything. I told her all my dark secrets and her response…? She asked me if I knew who God was. She didn’t see my past, but she saw my potential. She told me that Jesus died so that I could live a different life.

That was Easter Sunday five years ago. We went to church, and I heard a sermon about a God who loved me despite my failures. He loved me, yes, a filthy sinner, so much that He wrapped Himself in flesh and came to earth to live a perfect life and then die a death that I deserved. He took on my sins and then defeated sin and death when He rose on the third day. Because of this, I have been given a new life! I am a new creation because Christ died for me.

The thing I had longed for was not fame, it was not an earthly father, it was not money, but it was Jesus who filled and restored my broken life. That woman who shared the gospel with me, we have been together ever since. We have endured countless attacks and hurts because of my past, but we’ve had far more victories. We have been married for four years, we have two sons, and I’ve been called into ministry. I have been a pastor for the last year. I’ve led many people out of darkness and have helped them walk into the light. I’ve shown them how to move past their past and live a shame-free life. The freedom that is available through a relationship with Jesus is the thing that led me out of darkness, and into my God-given purpose.

If God Did it For Joshua, He Can Do it For You Too

God is just getting started with my story, and I am excited to see where He takes us next. I have loved being a pastor within a church, but I want to spend my life reaching those who are in disbelief that there is a way out, a better experience, and a new beginning. If God has done it for me, then surely He can do it for you too!

2 Corinthians 5:17 says that the old is gone and the new is here! I pray that my story leads many to move past their failure and step into the life they were made to live. All of this is possible through a relationship with Jesus. As you take your eyes off you and place them on Him, He will teach you how to live the life you were created to live. Why? Because He is your creator. What better way to discover our purpose than to spend time with the one who created us for purpose? Next time you feel shame, remember my story. Remember that if God could give me a second chance at life, then He can do it for you too. You are not a product of your past; you are a product of God’s grace. You can walk in freedom and victory also.

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