Trapped, part 2

Is There A Way Out?
Is There A Way Out?

Growing up, we always vacationed in Colorado. Other members of my mom’s family would join us. We all adored the mountains. We would hike, fish, play cards and visit while enjoying the amazing views. At six, I began to collect rocks and minerals, a hobby I enjoyed into manhood. The beauty of crystals particularly captured me – the way they refracted and reflected light.

We moved to Colorado Springs when I was 13. We didn’t live very close to my cousins or my new friends from church. I felt very lonely much of the time. I was missing Abilene and Danny, my best friend. Occasionally, I did something with my brother. Most of my free time I found ways to entertain myself: shooting a bow and arrows, hitting a tether ball back and forth on a pole, throwing darts and knives. I eventually became fairly proficient with one knife, using the 2” side of a 2 x 4 for a target (which is actually 1 3/4″). Sometime during this activity, I remembered the pictures Danny and I found and began to “dumpster dive”. At fifteen I hit pay dirt and found a couple of Playboy magazines. I was now hooked on professional pornography, keeping them this time for “my own little secret”.

From my analysis, I see our emotions are often mixed in with our fleshly desires. The emotional connection gives them more power and importance. Have you seen times where this was obvious? Reflect on your own emotions and how they add to you own “traps”.

Posted in Colorado, Growing up, Lust, My Story, Rock collecting, Sin, vacation |

Trapped!

A special evening from my tenth year still remains clear in my memory. It was one of the nights of a “gospel meeting” at Highland Church of Christ, my home church. I responded to the invitation, was baptized and gave my life to Jesus. This was to influence me the rest of my life. Bear-Trap-Accessories-strangeline.net

Some time later that year, another event occurred which would affect the rest of my life as well. My best friend Danny and I were exploring the alley, as we often did. We walked past a trash can and noticed some Polaroid pictures had fallen out when it was emptied. They were of a half naked woman. It was our first time to see a woman’s breasts. Even at ten, we instinctively knew this was not something we should take home to show our moms. So we stashed them away. They were our little secret. It felt like a kind of passage into being more grown up, a new freedom. But it was actually a kind of slavery – a trap that would ensnare me for the next thirty- eight years.

I’m sure Eve felt like that. That she was gaining a new freedom as she picked the fruit of good and evil. She was excited enough to share it with Adam. But actually it meant slavery and death for them and all their unborn children.

What I received that day in the alley was a duality of heart. I wanted to serve the Lord, to follow him. But I also wanted to think about and have the objects of my desire.

It might not be lust that ensnares you. It might be anger, gossip or pride. It might be anxiety, greed or foul language. It might be over-eating, lying or a lack of forgiveness. What has you trapped?

Message To Those Caught In Ashley Madison from a former adulterer, Part 2

Ashley

I wasn’t buying the magazine anymore or even picking them in the store and rarely messed up on the computer. And yet it was not enough, I still lusted in stores, on the street and in the gym. I tried a new technique, “bouncing my eyes” but its effect was pretty limited, at least for me.

Then it dawned on me. I did not need more knowledge, I needed more of God. I needed to experience him! I knew a lot about God, but did I really know Him? My deepest desire became to experience eternal life, to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (John 17:3).

Real victory came when I learned how to pray through the times of struggle. My greatest temptation, at this point was at the gym. I began to pray when I arrived in the parking lot. I asked to experience him through the temptation to lust, to know him here. Soon, I found praying about God’s holiness and His strength was far more effective than praying about my weakness. Then, the song “The Name Of The Lord Is A Strong Tower” came to mind, from Proverbs 18:10. When lust reared, I visualized running to the strong tower of His name.

   Associations began coming throughout the workout. Drinking water reminded me of the living water that wells up inside of me. My joints ached, “Oh, balm of Gilead, lubricate my joints”. Every few days, the Lord impressed me with another connection to Him in what I was doing. How exciting this was! I was learning to pray continually in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18). The Spirit was leading me, telling me what to pray.

Now it is time to get to work on your relationship with God. Begin praying through your times of struggle. Maybe you haven’t completed the recommendations I gave at the end of part 1. Ask God what you need to accomplish them. Have focus on him, not just your problem. He will guide what you need.

Message To Those Caught In Ashley Madison from a former adulterer

AshleyI’m sure so many in churches today were reeling from shock in the aftermath of scandal and your involvement in it. You may have resigned as Pastor, minister, and other church leader or are expected to after the list came out and someone realized you were on it. Or you may be waiting for that hammer to drop. Undoubtedly some of you are too embarrassed to attend and vowed never to return.  If you haven’t read my previous post on the appropriate reaction for the church, please do so.

You may feel the trouble at home even more keenly than at church. It may seem completely hopeless to repair.

I want to convey to you that even though things are very hard right now, there is hope. A great light shines at the end of this tunnel. With those who love God, we are promised he will make good out of all things (Rom 8:28) – even our greatest sins. I know he has mine. And now that some light has been shed in the darkness, there is a much better atmosphere for real change.

Believe me, I know it’s hard. I struggled with an addiction to Playboys for more than thirty years. Though I admit, there was much more giving in than struggle. It was my dirty little secret. I was looking at those magazines even at ACU, where I majored in Bible and minored in N.T. Greek and continued both in graduate school. At 19, I got married, sure that this struggle would end, yet it continued. It continued in full time ministry. Oh, I felt terribly conflicted and wearied of the constant cycles of indulgence, confession and repentance – only to feel helpless to start the cycle all over again in a few weeks or months. I got out of full time ministry but continued being very involved with churches…and the cycles continued. It was like the most extreme roller coaster, one I could never get off of.

I eventually found myself in a place I never dreamed I would be – having had an affair, filed for divorce, and remarried. Pornography didn’t cause this destruction alone, but it certainly contributed. With the new marriage, at first pornography was out of sight, out of mind. But with short separations, I found myself getting back in the Playboys, again!

This time as I threw the magazines out, I got truly desperate. In tears, I literally begged God for help. There was little point in my trying without something miraculous. Read the association of desperation in Luke 11 with asking, seeking, and knocking. I don’t believe the Lord was being petty, withholding real victory ‘till I begged hard enough. He merely was waiting for me to be in a place of full cooperation, ready to receive his amazing gift of victory. Perhaps you are there now.

Plus, I vowed to do anything God wanted me to, whatever it takes. Because of this He shone more light on my secret life. I spoke out publically at men’s retreats and Bible studies and privately with two men who shared my struggle, getting real. We met weekly for a spiritual review. God called me to get honest and admit my sin, the extent its hold had on me and the damage it had done in my life. I urged men (and myself) to get serious with God about sin. I prayed for them and with them and received support, encouragement and prayers in return.

I became thirsty for God though his word. I wasn’t in college anymore but I was studying many hours – almost exclusively, for half a year – on sin, the enemy, the world and especially on victory and the armor of God. Incrementally, a good amount of victory came after the desperation. I wasn’t buying the magazine anymore or even picking them in the store and rarely messed up on the computer. And yet it was not enough, Kent.

So, Caught, it’s the perfect time to get started in your recovery. 1. Begin by confessing to God – admit it all. Ask for forgiveness and his help. Tell God you will do what you need to do. 2. Pick someone you trust and share about it. 3. Get rid of any inappropriate relationship(s) and porn, start with committing to it for today.

How Should We React To Ashley Madison?

Ashley

How Should We React To Ashley Madison?

August 29, 2015 I just read “My Pastor Is On The Ashley Madison List”, Ed Stetzers most recent response in Christianity Today to news that has the Christian world reeling. According to the article, likely hundreds of Pastors and Ministers will be resigning this week after being outed on the list of customers for a spousal cheating website. Ed does not mention other church leaders or members but the numbers are likely to be staggering. I suspect very large numbers of churches will be reeling from the scandal tomorrow. I would like to address the church first and then the ones involved. These posts will be longer than most, so I pray you will hang with me.

First of all, church, realize this is not just a failure of a bunch of individuals. It is a failure of us all. Have we really done everything we can to “see to it that no one is sexually immoral” (Heb. 12:15-16)? The wording here is in the strongest form of command, to all of the readers, It is the duty of every Christian. Admit we have failed our brothers and sisters caught here in sin.

Secondly, realize we are all guilty. Maybe not of adultery, but of gossip, lust, wrath, lying, complaint, pride or one (likely more) of a host of other sins. Remember Jesus’ words “Let the one without sin throw the first stone.” But also remember his last words to the adulterer after telling her he did not condemn her, “Go and sin no more”. It is our responsibility to help them to find victory over their sin. Take note of Gal. 6:1,2, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill tthe law of Christ.” Restoration is bringing them to a good state before God and the local body of Christ and it is our burden.

Next, build in some accountability for them. I met with an elder weekly after my affair and greatly appreciated his help and encouragement. If pornography is involved (highly likely) offer to have someone knowledgeable enough go through their computer and printed material with them and get rid of it. Suggest they Install covenant eyes or similar program on their computer and make their spouse and someone spiritual as accountability partners. Also work out the circumstances they are allowed back in the pulpit. But with how you go about these, keep in mind this: “Will I really want to pray the Lord’s prayer with it’s “forgive me as I forgive others” after this?

Lastly, realize, undoubtedly the enemy of our souls has been at work here. The world will point and say “See, I knew those Christians were a bunch of hypocrites.” But they may take notice if our response is filled with love, understanding and real help. Use the last component of the armor of God in Ephesians 6, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” This must be one of the greater times for this need. Kent

ReMadePreacher

Some you are probably thinking “What! What happened to ReSetpreacher? I’ve changed the name for two reasons. First, I’ve been rewriting some of the first of my book and thinking about what is being done in my life. Yes, my life feels reset. I am back to full time ministry. But frankly if a new start is all that’s happened, I’ll just mess it up again. What is happening to me is much more than that. I am being remade. God is changing me in so many ways.
Second reason for the name change: I’ve been looking back over my writing, particularly my story and realize an error. I’ve gone through chronologically as I have in my book. I now believe I need to get to the hope my life has brought much sooner, to “the good stuff”. So I’ll be taking down some of the posts and bringing them back later interspersed among posts about victory, relationship with God and my brothers and the Almighty’s amazing nature. I hope to add many readers now as well.

Kent in a panama

What Happened at www.resetpreacher.com?

If you are wondering what happened to the posts on my story, I have removed them for the time being due to a publishing agreement. Don’t get too excited yet, I’m entering the book in a contest. If disappointed, comment and I’ll consider including you in my pre-editing group. Thanks for understanding

Visit to Hawaii, Part 2

North shore, Kauai

   This picture was taken of the North Shore of Kauai from Captain Andy’s tour boat. The weather was very cooperative, so we traveled farther up the coast than typical. Saw the sights and even had an introduction to snorkeling.

   While in Lihue we met Bruce Baumgartner, pastor of Calvary Chapel there. We enjoyed his story, how God led him to ministry and Kauai. We also were fascinated with his telling of knowing Bethany Hamilton and the making of the movie of her story Soul Surfer. It is the inspirational telling of Bethany being attacked by a shark and losing her arm while surfing. Her faith sustained her and amazingly she is back to being a professional surfer. She also now travels the country to tell her story. She believes that God allowed this to further His kingdom. Be sure and watch the documentary if you watch the movie. I also spent an hour introducing him to Spiritual Battle Plan and hope to work with him to bring it there.

Visit to Hawaii!

Banyan Tree, Allerton Gardens

I apologize for taking so long to blog. I just could not seem to get back into writing after our trip to Hawaii. Yes, we went to Hawaii! Linda learned that we could use our home leave there for a real vacation this year. It is cheaper for the Army to send us there from Korea than to the rest of the country. And for some reason she would rather do that than go to Dallas. Ha! We had a wonderful time.

We especially enjoyed the island of Kauai. For those of you planning a trip to Hawaii, I highly recommend you get off of Oahu and see this island.  The botanical gardens there are amazing! We saw scenery and sat on a giant Banyan tree that was featured in Jurassic Park. Beautiful flowers are everywhere on the island but the plant life in Allerton Gardens is something else!

Man Of Steel, part 2

image

Before going to see Man Of Steel, I saw the trailer which begins with a scene from Krypton. Superman’s Mother, Lana says “He will be an outcast, they will kill him.” His father, Jor el (played by Russell Crowe) says “How? To them, he will be a god!”

Upon seeing this trailer I was offended. I was under the impression that the originators of the superman comic had patterned him after Jesus Christ. This impression came from some unknown source in the past and was reinforced by picking up and taking a cursory look at The Gospel According to the World’s Greatest Superhero By Stephen Skelton. Preparing for this blog , I looked a little closer. Skelton points out that the first originators of the comic book were Jewish. But he also found there are many contributors to the Superman story and discovered “that some of the storytellers in the Superman canon have deliberately worked to infuse the narrative with their religious, even Christic, intentions”. You can read more excerpts from the book here: https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/inspirationalteaching/superman_messianic.aspx

In spite of the offending line, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It displays copious amounts of courage, self-sacrifice, tenacity and deep care for others. It easily passed my analyzing whether some thing is worthwhile of my attention (more about this next time), Kent

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