What! Pluck Out Your Eye?

big eyes, tarsier

Matthew 5:27-30, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

Did Jesus really mean for us to gouge out our eye? Marco Polo writes of one who did just that. The man was a shoemaker and struggled with thoughts of lust after seeing a young woman’s ankle (he goes on to tell a story of the man praying for a mountain to move, but that’s a story for another time). I’ve read of another man who plucked out his eye, only to be dismayed that he could still lust.

Jesus is making the point that your eternal salvation is extremely valuable. He is telling us to do whatever it takes to secure your future. Jesus is radical sometimes and if we need to get radical to follow him, so bit it. Sometimes we need to get radical to fight our sin. This often is the case with porn. If we need to download a program to block it such as Content Protect, then we do it. If we need to set up an accountability partner to check our web browsing, like X3 by XXXchurch, then we do it. If we need to rid ourselves of the internet and smartphone completely, then we do it. They are not worth our soul.

God has brought me victory through other avenues. I’ve mentioned them in my advise to ones caught in Ashley Madison. I’ll be posting more about them soon. But I urge you, now, Get desperate to rid yourself of lust or anything else coming between you and your God. Pray for his direction. Pray to experience him through the temptations. And commit to do whatever he tells you to do.

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.

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

Why ResetPreacher?

reset-button

ResetPreacher

   Finally, I’m taking the big step of beginning a blog. This will be the first of, I hope, many posts. I pray that the Lord will use my words to further the Kingdom. As you may guess from the name, I started out preaching after my time at Abilene Christian University. And now, after thirty years the Lord has brought me back to full time ministry. I only preached for five years. The reasons I gave to myself and others for quitting at that time were:

I never was comfortable with my time, I always seemed to feel I was neglecting my work or I was neglecting my family.

            I seemed to have little contact with those outside the church I served.

I did not feel my first wife was comfortable “living in a glass house” and dealing with the pressures of being the “preachers wife”.

    Now I admit the real reason, I simply did not have the spiritual strength for the job. You see, the churches I grew up in put great stock in Bible study. And in two colleges I learned a great deal more about how to study the Bible, how to research background, explore related passages and delve into New Testament Greek. These skills were very helpful preparing sermons and teaching classes. I am grateful for them. I am especially grateful for professors and preachers teaching me more about God and about His grace.  But I was taught little about having a personal relationship with God, about prayer.