Tag Archives: Accountability

Double Book Review: I’m a Church Member & Closing the Window

churchmemberBook Review:  I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer

The Good:  First off, bravo for the impact of this book, yet it taking only 30-45 minutes to read.  Don’t let the brevity full you, like a featherweight boxer it still packs a punch.  This book contains 6 chapters and 6 ways to become a better church member, each with Biblical backing and strong conviction and practicality.  Rainer does a great job combating what he calls the “country club” philosophy of church membership and promotes a giving, serving, and putting others first membership philosophy.  The opening illustration in each chapter keep the reading fresh and applicable to real life.  If anything, you have to read the “child facing two scenarios” illustration in chapter 6.  Priceless.

The Bad:  The pledge in the back of each chapter may be a little corny.  I get the concept, but could be condensed in the final chapter holding all the truths.

The Grade:  A.  There a great misunderstanding of both the importance of being a member of a church and also the responsibilities associated with church membership.  This books helps solve that mystery.  It is a much needed kick in the pants for those that would rather their backsides not be bothered and heavily cushioned during a church service.  It puts people in motion to properly serve and function in the church body, like Christ, the head of the church, intended.

Book Review:  Closing the Window by Tim Chester

closing-the-windowThe Good:  My fingers may get tired from typing if I listed how important this book is in today’s society, especially for young people.  Here’s a stat for you…93% of teenagers have access to the internet.  Do you know the percentage of teenage boys who have been exposed to internet pornography…93%!  Girls aren’t far behind, with exposure at 62%.  I realize this is under the GOOD column.  Here is the good news, this book provides a solution to the problem.  It offers a five-tier process that breaks through the myths and straw-like answers that often fail, and presents a Biblical, life-transforming model that withstands for the long haul.

What’s great about this book is its approach.  While there are underlying reasons for the use of porn, it goes even deeper than the emotional or personality struggles.  The solution starts and ends with God.  Think about it, you really think someone can defeat porn using filters, accountability, or DVD pass codes.  Come on, those should be used, but the user will find a way around those man-made barricades if he or she so desires.  Removing porn from your life is not about what you are losing or blocking, but what you gain.  Many try to take porn away, but don’t replace it, and then find themselves returning to fill the void.  Let me use a quote from the book to explain:  “What happens if you weigh a life with porn against a life without porn?  Put like that, porn will always win, for it offers excitement, pleasure, thrills…by definition…a lesser life…weighing a life with porn against a life lived for God’s glory.  Porn versus glory, porn versus God, fleeting pleasure versus lasting pleasure, shame versus glory, destruction versus eternal life:  which looks the lesser now?”

The Bad:  The only bad…how this book is not better known (this picture above was only available on google images) & how this book is not required for every man to read.  Let me ask you a question:  Do you or anyone you know ever struggled with porn?  Virtually everyone will answer yes to that question.  Whether you need help, or you are in a position to offer help, you need to consider reading this book.

The Grade:  A+.  Please listen to me when I say this, this is not just a book for someone that is addicted to pornography.  This book will help you in your marriage, it will provide you with a proper view of women, and along the way provide Biblical and life-lasting ways to defeat lust in your life.  I’ve read in multiple articles that this book is the best book on counseling someone who is addicted to pornography.  It did not disappoint.  Read it to get out of your addiction.  Read it to help others with their addiction.  Read it to prevent addiction.  Read it to bring you closer to your spouse (or to your future spouse) and read it to become closer in your relationship with God.

 

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7 Tips to Prevent Sexual Sin & Promote Sexual Purity

Recently I heard a story that sent chills down my spine.  A pastor was sitting next to a man in a plane, who was consistently bowing his head and mouthing words to himself.  When asked for a meal, the gentlemen politely refused and continued to bow his head.  When he looked up again, the pastor couldn’t resist asking “Excuse me, I have to ask.  Are you fasting?”  The man said “Yes I am”.  Oh, thinking they had a similar bond, he said “That’s great, I’m a Christian too and…”  The man interrupted, “Oh, I’m not a Christian.  I’m a Satanist.  I’m on my way to a satanic conference, and we have made a covenant to pray and fast that all evangelical leaders may morally fail”.

Whoa!  I thought, as a pastor, I knew I had a target on my back, but I didn’t realize that people were praying for my failure (albeit prayers that have no power/value).  And, upon hearing that, and other reminders from the Holy Spirit puts on my heart, I knew it was time I take prevention up a notch.

Sexual Sin Prevention

  1. Prayer – A daily (if not hourly) prayer for God’s strength, God’s protection, and God’s wisdom against temptation (Matthew 26:41; I Corinthians 10:13)
  2. Close The Doors – There are enough doors that Satan can walk through, why not try to close all the doors you can (The “tear it out principle” in Mark 9:47).  So that means, if internet is your problem, take it off your phone or don’t access alone.
  3. Three’s Company – Never meet with a woman alone.  Period.

Sexual Purity Promotion

  1. Keep the Line of Communication Open – Have a consistent prayer life was already mentioned.  But also, if you are married, keep constant and consistent communication with your wife when temptation comes, where you are, when something unexpected pops up on your computer screen, etc.  (Prov. 4:23)
  2. Accountability – Listen, accountability groups where you just share how bad you did that week is garbage.  If you are going to have true accountability it needs to have 2 things:  honesty & teeth.  That means if you can lie to your accountability, get a new one.  That means if you can share more than once your failure and there are no consequences, get a new one. (Prov. 27:17; James 5:16)
  3. Be a Man of Action – While all this prevention is well and good…don’t forget about the actions!  The Bible is full of action against temptation – “put on whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11), the “Put On’s” in Colossians 3 (we often focus on what to put off, but don’t forget to put on…which is done by allowing the words of Christ to dwell in you), Submit to God (James 4:7), Walk in the Spirit (James 5:16)…and the list goes on!  You see God wants us to be Men of Action, not someone who sits on the sidelines with a clipboard checking off all we have done to prevent the enemy from scoring.  God wants us to get out there and be the fierce linebacker and crush the enemy from the opening kickoff!
  4. Make a Deposit – Finally, and probably most important.  Don’t forget to feed your soul daily.  Allow God to enrich, empower, and encourage you through His powerful word.  (Hebrews 4:12; Joshua 1:8)

 What has given you success in your purity?  What has caused you the greatest temptation?  Comment and help others prevent sin and promote purity!

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