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Posted by on Mar 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Why Does It Matter if I’m Addicted?

Hey, it’s Craig here, and the question this week…? Honestly, it kinda hurts.

“Why does it even matter if I’m an addict?”

Questions flood my inbox every week. I’ve seen them all. But this question rattled me more than others. It sounds like defeat. Like the question of a man or woman who has tried to quit, and given up.

Why does it matter? The fact that you’re addicted to something – and I think we would all agree – isn’t healthy. It’s not feeding your soul. It’s not bringing you life.

It’s certainly not doing you any favors in the bedroom. It’s not helping you satisfy your spouse. It’s not transforming your mind. It’s not serving your relationship with God. It’s not boosting your confidence. It’s not helping you see the things that God has uniquely gifted you for.

I think you’re in a situation where you go, “Man, I don’t want to keep living this way… but I’m tired of trying and failing to change…”

So the question, to me, sounds like defeat. Like, “I can’t change it (and so, I won’t be trying any longer).”

Does it matter? Yeah, I think it matters a lot. It matters enough for me to stick with this job for almost 20 years. I know it matters because I know that people matter. I know that whoever you are – asking this question on the other side of a computer screen – you matter. I know you’re asking because you need help. And we are here to help.

I would just challenge you: if you’re that in the dumps – if you’re that defeated – to know that it does matter because you do matter. And the Lord is with you. In and through the despair. He is a God of endless chances. He strength is made perfect in your weakness, and he loves you unto (literal) death.

As for our part, at the end of this month, we’re relaunching My Pilgrimage – the single best resource we’ve ever put out. 

We’ve seen such incredible transformation in people’s lives through this program. They’re willing to talk about it. They’re willing to learn. Willing to lead. They’re willing to be vocal about it saying, “Man, this didn’t just help me find freedom from my porn addiction… this changed my whole life.”

We’re really excited for you to check it out.

 

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • Why does it matter? The fact that you’re addicted to something – and I think we would all agree – isn’t healthy. It’s not feeding your soul. It’s not bringing you life.
  • It’s certainly not doing you any favors in the bedroom. It’s not helping you satisfy your spouse. It’s not transforming your mind. It’s not serving your relationship with God. It’s not boosting your confidence. It’s not helping you see the things that God has uniquely gifted you for.
  • The mind is a powerful thing, and when porn is circling through it, I think it’s detrimental to our relationships with your spouses, how we see women, and how we see sex, in general.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Will Marriage Solve My Porn Use?

Hey, it’s Craig here. The question this week, “Will marriage solve my porn problem?”

Nope. 

I’ve been doing this a long time, and that’s one thing I know for sure. A lot of single people think, “I struggle with porn because I can’t have sex.”

If you’ve been trying to stay a virgin before you’re married or trying to stay sexually pure, marriage will not solve your porn problem. Marriage will just complicate things. If you struggle with porn, you will struggle with porn whether you’re married or not.

Church folks never talk about sex. So for a lot of newlyweds, the red light has been on for so long and now it’s a green light. But just because you can have sex doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

Sex is so much harder than porn because it takes two real people connecting on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level. Porn only requires an Internet connection. 

The porn addiction you’re bring into your marriage is going to affect you and your future spouse in bigger ways than you even know.

So if you’re dating or engaged, be honest with them. Don’t hide it from them because you feel bad about it, they deserve to know.

Quit hiding this. Don’t think porn hasn’t had an effect on you, it has affected you and I think it’s time for you to come out and talk about it and start doing the hard work to be freed from addiction.

At the end of this month, we’re relaunching My Pilgrimage, the single best resource we’ve ever put out. 

I think with My Pilgrimage, we’ve seen such transformation in people’s lives. They’re willing to talk about it. They’re willing to learn, willing to lead a group. They’re willing to be vocal about it saying, “Man, this didn’t just help my porn addict. This changed my whole life.”

We’re really excited for you to check it out.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • Marriage will not solve your porn problem. Marriage will just complicate things.
  • The things that you were playing with in high school aren’t going to play with you as an adult.
  • If you’re trying to be a virgin when you get married or trying to be sexually pure, porn isn’t helping you be sexually pure. Just because you’re not touching another person doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pure.
  • We’ve been lying to ourselves. “I’m doing so good, I’m a virgin. But I bring in a 10-year addiction to porn and everything I’ve ever seen or read about sex is from a porn video.” Now you get married and, good Lord, I can’t imagine what’s in store on your honeymoon.
  • Sex is so much harder than porn because it takes two real people connecting on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level. Porn only requires an Internet connection.
  • On your honeymoon, you might be looking at porn instead of pursuing her because you don’t even know how to pursue her because you’ve been looking at porn so much.

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Mar 4, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Is It True Once an Addict, Always an Addict?

Hey guys, in this month’s White Board video you’re going to hear from David and Seth Taylor.

These guys are the creators of our My Pilgrimage program. In it, Seth and David bypass surface conversations about addictions and setbacks, opting instead to dive straight underneath them in order to discover how our struggles originate in the first place. They focused on what is driving porn use – not just the surface issue – and thus far, their approach has resulted in some of the biggest breakthroughs we’ve seen in this ministry!

So, today, we wanted to give you a sneak peek into the new and updated version of My Pilgrimage … My Pilgrimage 2.0.

In this video, Seth and David talk about the myth of “Once an addict, always an addict,” and share how they were able to find real freedom… and not only from porn addiction. This freedom spread out, holistically, into ever aspect of their lives.

Enjoy, and stay tuned for more about My Pilgrimage 2.0 coming up in the near future.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • I was fed up with spiritual leaders telling me that I was always going to be an addict – no matter what – and that it was just “a part of my suffering” that I must endure for the sake of the cross.
  • I got a point where I finally realized that the understandings I had about Jesus – who he was, what he said and how he approached humanity – had become radically different than the experiences I was having with him.
  • I started to realize that the Spirit is actually real, and that he has the power to heal and transform… It was a journey that blew up everything I thought I knew, and left joy and love in its stead.
  • We were looking to experience God. We did. It’s been an intense, healing journey.
  • Freedom is an individual experience, so freedom becomes a thing that has to be, by definition, relative to you.
  • For me, freedom is an experience. Every day I wake up and I say, “Do I feel free now?”
  • I started asking, “What am I saved from?” Eternity? Damnation? Hell? I’m living my own here, right now, in this addiction that I’m keeping secret.
  • If you believe when Jesus talked about living life more abundantly and you’re not living an abundant life, something you’re doing is not working.
  • Two things are required of you to do this work: curiosity and courage. You need curiosity to ask yourself questions about your belief system, God, your family, and why things are happening. Follow the trail of questions until you get to the root. And courage because along the trail you’ll run into things that are hard and painful. You need the courage to keep going.
  • Be kind to yourself. When you start opening yourself up to change and the pain inside of you, it can be quite difficult. You have to be patient and learn to forgive yourself on this journey.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Why Doesn’t God Just Answer My Prayer and Take Away My Porn Use?

Hey, it’s Craig, and I’m back with another attempt at answering a recent question we received through The Panic Button:

“Why doesn’t God answer my prayer and take away my desire for / addiction to porn? Why doesn’t God do what I’ve asked him to do?”

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve prayed for something and haven’t gotten it. How many times I’ve gotten a “no,” or no response at all. Countless. But you know what? I still believe in the Lord.

We treat God like the Super Lotto. The Bible tells us what we need to do. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be tempted. Jesus was the only person who ever successfully resisted temptation to the point of perfection.

Perfection is a mark that we can’t hit on our own, and only Jesus truly makes us “perfect.” Sure, we can ask God to take away our temptations, but rather than looking to him as a genie, what if we looked at ourselves with the eyes that he has for us?

What if we embraced the reality of our situation, instead? No, I don’t mean diving headfirst into sin… but if God is interested in our transformation, and he promises to finish the work that he has begun in us, then what if we simply acknowledged the fact that we’ve got a journey ahead of us – one that won’t conclude overnight?

We all are walking around with temptations (and a bunch of baggage beneath them) that we haven’t come close to figuring out yet.

We need help from God. But if God answered every prayer the first time, we would never be forced to grow. We would never need to ask for help. We would never reach out to our community or find a small group or support from a close friend. The Lord is interested in our holiness, and in our dependence upon him and the people he has given to be his hands and feet as we take steps toward that end.

Maybe God has put you in exactly the right time and place that he wants you, surrounded by exactly the right people who hold the keys to helping you out of this mess. And maybe there’s something to be said about you wrestling through these temptations. After all, the Christian life – it seems – is defined not so much by our own power, but by that found on our knees in prayer before the Lord. If we didn’t need him, when would he ever find us there?

So, will God answer your prayers?

He already has.

If you have a relationship with Jesus, your sin has already been paid for. And because you have a relationship with him, you don’t want to abuse his grace and mercy on the cross. True change happens when what we do flows out of who we are… and you are a son or daughter of Christ. Theologically, you might say that “indicative” (who you are) precedes (comes before) “imperative” (what you are commanded to do). Want an example? Read Romans 6 – the apostle Paul talks all about it in that chapter.

It has to work in that order, otherwise it doesn’t work at all. 

Maybe you’re in the middle of this struggle for a reason. Remember who you are – who Christ has called you – and then, like he did on the cross, and through the strength of his resurrection, work through it. Don’t just ask to be removed from it.

The book of Hebrews has something amazing to say about who God is to us in hard times. Check out Hebrews 4:14-16. It’s amazing. We have a God who understands our struggle, and invites us to receive his grace when we need it most… how many of you would raise your hands if you “need it most” in the face of this kind of temptation?

Maybe there’s something in the middle of this messy stuff that God’s trying to teach you.

 

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • We treat God like the Super Lotto. The Bible tells not only what we need to do, but who we are. That doesn’t doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
  • Perfection is a mark that we can’t hit on our own, and only Jesus truly makes us “perfect.”
  • I think you’ve got to understand that God’s seeing the beginning and the end. He sees the big picture. Maybe he’s taking you through this season for a reason, rather than giving you a shortcut around it. 
  • Look who God has placed in your life. Look who’s there to support you. Look who’s going through the same exact thing, fighting their way through it.
  • The Christian life – it seems – is defined not so much by our own power, but by that found on our knees in prayer before the Lord. If we didn’t need him, when would He ever find us there?
  • Help doesn’t only come in the form of, “Let me remove you from this situation.” It might look more like, “Man, we’re gonna get through this.” And walking through the flames is a lot harder than jumping over them.
  • What’s God trying to teach you through this season? Why are you struggling? Maybe you need to do a new thing. Maybe you need to find a new friend. Maybe you need to find a new community. Maybe this is God’s way of revealing how those changes can be made possible in your life.
  • Seventy percent of our small group leaders are “children” – so to speak – of our small group ministry. They went through the process before they started to lead it, and the process changed them. We are here for you if you need it, and we’ve seen – firsthand – the redemptive fruit of engaging with and leaning into the hard seasons of this life that we live, together.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Feb 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Isn’t Porn Use Just a Bad Habit that He Can Stop Doing if He Wanted?

At x3church, we have a panic button that folks can press when they’re panicking and need answers. People reach out at all hours of the night with a whole range of questions.

Sometimes, the questions keep me up at night. Questions that I can hardly believe.

But most of the time, they are questions we hear all of the time.

Every now and then, I wonder if responding with “we hear this all the time” feels condescending. At the end of the day, though, would you rather go to the doctor and hear that your “issue” is “common and curable,” or that it is “brand new and baffling?”

I’d rather have the generic problem.

This week, one wife asked me a question as common as a cold: “Isn’t porn use just a bad habit that he can stop doing if he wanted to?”

The problem is… she’s trying to solve his problem.

It doesn’t matter how much he loves you, how beautiful you are or what you do in bed. The root of his addiction started well before you entered the picture – it’s not your fault, but neither is it yours to fix. 

Men and women are wired differently. I know that’s not a popular assertion right now, but it’s true. Our brains are wired differently. It’s hard for a wife to understand her husband’s porn habit. She assumes he can just stop if he really wanted to.

Men are overtly visual in their nature. That truth is no excuse, but in light of the reality, ours is a very difficult world to live in. There are temptations all around us.

So, how can you help your husband break his porn habit? 

Your husband likely experiences certain triggers, and the better you are able to understand them, the better you will be able to understand him. The way his brain works. Part of that means cultivating empathy, and the more grace and compassion you are able to have on him in his journey, the better.

I am willing to wager that his honesty will increase in conjunction with your understanding. I think you’ll see his willingness to be held accountable increase alongside his genuine desire to change.

 

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • The root of his addiction started well before you entered the picture – it’s not your fault, but neither is it yours to fix. 
  • The root of his addiction started before you and it’s going on with or without you.
  • You’ve got to take yourself out of the equation because it’s going to help you understand him more if you realize this has nothing to do with you.
  • Without a doubt, your husband should seek to honor you, but approaching this conversation differently will help you better understand what is actually going on inside of him.
  • Maybe you – as a wife – shouldn’t be your husband’s accountability partner, but knowing that he has someone in his corner willing to engage his struggle (and vice versa)… that is certainly a key step in building trust together.
  • As we engage in tough conversations, we have to extend grace, we have to practice compassion and we have to seek to understand one another.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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