Taking off the Mask

Some readers may be interested to follow the Recovery sermon series currently happening at the church I serve as pastor.  We are thrilled to be in connection with Recovery at Cokesbury, and this series which they have helped make is meant to prepare all of us for what’s ahead.

Those of us in recovery know that we need all the help and support we can get.  I pray that these messages bless you and encourage you and challenge you to keep pressing in to Jesus who wants to make you whole.   To learn more about this series check out our webpage HERE and LIKE our Facebook page Recovery at Dayton.

Pastor finds freedom from sexual sin

This past Sunday I kicked off an 8 week Recovery sermon series as a way to prepare our community for the Recovery @ Dayton ministry we intend to launch November 6.   To hear more about all of that you can check our church webpage HERE.

Sunday’s message was titled, “I Don’t Need Recovery” and addressed the reasons we all do, and why Jesus is central to it.    My wife, Amy, and I were blessed beyond measure to be visited during that weekend by Rev. Tim Dilley and his wife, Deb.   Tim and Deb became friends of ours through a time of crisis in their lives when pornography threatened to destroy Tim and everything he held dear.   Today, nearly 6 months later, he is a new man, thanks be to God, and shares his testimony for the first time near the end of this message (it begins around the 31 minute mark).

Here’s the entire message.   I pray it blesses, encourages and challenges you today!

Confession Brings Glory to God

Read this in my devotion time this morning and pray it will bless someone today.

The accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accuses them before our God day and night (Rev. 12:10).

Satan is a murderer and a deceiver; he entices and he attacks.  But today he specializes in accusing.  Heaven recognizes this, and so much every Christian.  Night and day he accuses us, and his charges, which are not unfounded, are directed at our conscience – the very point where we most lack the strength to fight him.  His object is to drive us to think in despair, “I am a hopeless failure!  God can do nothing with me!”  Conscience is a precious thing, but to repeat endlessly “I am no good! I am no good!” is not Christian humility.  To confess our sins is wholesome, but let us never carry confession to the point where our sinfulness looms for us larger than the work of Christ.  The Devil knows no weapon more effective against you and me than the creation of this illusion.  What is the remedy?  Plead guilty to God. Confess to him, “Lord, I am no good!” but then remind yourself of the precious blood, and looking away to his glory, add: “But Lord, I am abiding in Thee!” 

                                                                       ~ Watchman Nee, A Table in the Wilderness

A truth that impacted my life a great deal was the remedy spoken above: Plead guilty to God.  After falling to temptation yet again for so many years I began to believe that confession was no good.   While there is a danger in false confession or being on a confession cycle and we would do well to avoid both of those, we never have to fear coming to God, humbly confessing that we are guilty.  In fact, this brings glory, not horror, to God.  

 

I learned this reading Roy Hession’s books, The Calvary Road and We Would See Jesus.  He taught me that when I run to God immediately after falling (as opposed to my former practice of waiting several days or weeks so as to allow God to “cool off” before I confessed) I bring glory to God because I am declaring that His word about me is true.   I am declaring in my confession that yes, I am am a sinner in need of a Savior, that I am guilty as charged, and that His diagnosis of my condition is confirmed in my behavior and thoughts.    Confession ultimately means agreeing with God about things God already knows about me.  

When I don’t run immediately to God and confess my failings I am essentially saying to God that He is wrong about both my condition and my need, and therefore I cut myself off from the provision He has already provided and the cure He so desires to apply.  

Do not hesitate to run to our Father in Heaven the moment the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin.   You will find there the assurance and the peace you long for and thwart the tactics of the enemy who would love to keep you in denial of your need and feeling ashamed of your plight.   

I love this promise:  

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus… (Acts 3:19-20).

 

 

 

Do you know Who is in you?

Chad:

Some food for the soul.

Originally posted on umc holiness:

My two devotional readings for today, June 25th, from two different books, were of one mind and packed a powerful punch.  It’s one I think every Christian needs to contend with, and when we do not, we are open to all sorts of malpractice in our walk with God and, even worse, live as defeated Christians most of the time.    Here they are:

Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3:16).

A revelation of the indwelling Spirit was the remedy Paul offered the Corinthian Christians for their unholiness.  Their need, like ours today, was to grasp the fact that God himself had taken up his abode in them.  To many of us the Holy Spirit of God is quite unreal.  We regard him as a mere influence – an influence for good, no doubt…

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Two saying which have changed lives

After talking with a friend this morning I was reminded of two sayings – one a statement the other a question – which have changed my life and the lives of others who have been reading this blog for the past 2 years.   I think they deserve repeating, often.

life-change-ahead

They are:

 

1. Jesus didn’t die to make your life better.  He died to make you new.   (2 Cor. 5:17).

2. Is this is a sin too great for Me (God) to deliver you from, or is it a pleasure too great for you to surrender?

Consider these two sayings carefully and their ramifications.

For more on both of these see…

God Wants to Make you New, Not Better

How Would you Answer this Question?

 

 

Obedience

Chad:

In order to be free from the bondage of habitual sin – whether that be addiction to pornography or anything else – one must learn the significance of obedience. It’s the key that makes the difference between a life of defeat and the life of those who are “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37).

Originally posted on umc holiness:

I’m reading Andrew Murray’s excellent book, The Life of Obedience.  This rings true to me:

The one thing God asked of Adam in the Garden was obedience.  The one thing by which a creature can glorify God or enjoy His favor and blessing is obedience.  The single cause of the power of sin in the world and the ruin it has caused is disobedience.  From Adam we have inherited a tendency to willfulness, to selfishness, to disobedience.  The whole curse of sin on us is due to Adam’s disobedience, which we, of course, have also chosen.  By our own choice we become the “children of disobedience.”  Clearly, the one work for which we needed Christ was to remove this disobedience – its curse, its dominion, its evil nature, and all its workings.  Disobedience is the root of all sin and misery. The first objective of His salvation was to…

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Don’t Waste Your Life

This week I had the privilege of attending a memorial service for the clergy and spouses of clergy in our conference who have died in the past year.  As each person’s name was read and a candle was lit, those in the conference hall who were impacted by that person’s life would stand.

Each year I get to witness this powerful event and each time I leave with the same words ringing in my ears and heart:

Don’t waste your life.

I remember how a few years ago I wasted countless hours staring at images on a computer screen, or, if I wasn’t in a place where I could act out on my sin of choice I was wasting countless hours thinking about it.   But for the grace of God I would still be wasting so much time and energy indulging in activities which blessed no one and hurt everyone.

Few, if any, would stand at my memorial service if that cycle of insanity had never been interrupted.

In Paul’s second letter to his protege, Timothy, he writes the following words:

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and suffering… (2 Tim. 3:10-11).

This passage, like the memorial service, reminds me of 2 things.  First, we all have an aim in life.  We are all aiming towards something, so make it a good something.   And second, there are people watching and following that aim.   In the margin of my Bible next to this text I have written the initials of each of my children, reminding me that they are following my lead, along with a prayer to God to help me lead well.

Try this:  If you have children, ask them what your aim in life is.  They are disarmingly honest.   My goal is that each of my children would believe my aim is Jesus, and they would follow me in that pursuit.

When caught up in the selfish pursuits of addiction it is impossible to lead well.  Don’t waste your life!  Live in such a way that when your name is called out and a candle is lit, the whole world will wish to rise up and give praise and thanks to God for a life well lived and an eternity well deserved.

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