Say “yes” to a higher freedom

October 28 marks the end of a series on Pure Sex in our Sunday gatherings. The four messages of the series are available from the relaxedchurch.com website. As I mentioned a few weeks ago I have been using Ed Young’s book “Pure Sex” as my primary source for these messages. The book contains far more than I have been able to address in four sessions. And each week there are items I have to leave out, due to time, on the subject I am addressing for the week. The following two pieces are excerpts from the 28th that didn’t make the Sunday message cut.

SAY YES TO A HIGHER FREEDOM

Let me ask you something: If you were a real basketball player, which kind of game would you want to be in? One with no rules and little skill, with everyone doing their own thing? Or one with ground rules and a high degree of skill. If you had any talent at all it would be the one with rules and talent. The other game would do nothing but frustrate you, and your chances of being seriously injured would be high. The disciplined game would give you the chance to make some precise passes, sharpen your ball handling, and learn how to execute the pick and roll. If you were a real player, that’s where you would want to be. The game with no rules would inhibit your freedom to excel, but the disciplined game would give you all the freedom you need to play well.

In just the same way, you can have a higher freedom sexually when you choose to honor the rules of the game. I can guarantee you the person who decides to live inside some very simple, plain, and clear guidelines drawn by God for his or her sexuality will know more freedom than the one who ignores them. “The experience of freedom has to do with being loved and loving,” writes psychiatrist John White. “God designed you because He loved you. His purposes for you are an expression of His love to you. As you respond in love to His commands (about sex or anything else), you are set free—free to be and do what both you and God want. The more completely you are enslaved in love to His blessed will, the freer you will discover yourself to be.”

The truth is, what most think will satisfy—that is, pleasure seeking with no boundaries—will not. What the freedom lover discovers instead is that “living for pleasure is the least pleasurable thing a man can do. If his neighbors don’t kill him in disgust, he will die slowly of boredom and powerlessness.”6 It is what we are afraid will limit us that will really set us free. The truest freedom you or I could experience is the freedom that most closely conforms with our true nature—and our true nature is God-breathed and God-designed. He knows best how we are to function in the universe He made and set into motion. Say yes to a higher freedom by living inside the parameters established by God for your sexuality.

Say “yes” to a higher call

True relational intimacy is achieved by saying yes to a higher call. What is that call? To glorify God rather than to satisfy self. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his younger brother in the faith: “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). Paul’s advice was not just that Timothy run from immorality, but that he run to something better. What did he recommend that Timothy pursue? Righteousness, or rightness in God’s eyes. Faith. Real love. Peace. He also advised him to pursue those things in the company of others who loved and depended on God as he did.

If you make it your aim to pursue righteousness, love, & peace in this life, and if you surround yourself with others who are pursuing those same things out of a real love for God, I can promise you will have fewer struggles with sexual temptation than those who live to please self.

If you are a Christian, you know that your body is the very temple in which God’s Holy Spirit dwells. Your call, then, is to surrender it, along with your will, to the control and authority of Jesus Christ. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

You cannot glorify God in your body by participating in sexual intercourse outside of marriage. If you are unmarried, you glorify God in your body by remaining celibate. If you are married, you glorify God in your body by sexual fidelity to your mate. Either celibacy or fidelity. It’s that simple.

Say yes to a higher call. Determine that you belong to God—you are His possession—and that you will not unite your body with anyone but your marriage partner. Instead of seeking to satisfy your sexual desires, decide to pursue instead the characteristics of righteousness, love, and peace. When you do this, you are embarking on the best possible preparation for achieving relational intimacy. And you will be learning from the very Master of intimacy Himself.

free XXX software

Lets begin a movement of accountability in the Richmond area and beyond. Let’s start a movement that makes us accountable for what we access with our computers. And the great part about this movement is that it is free. I want to invite and challenge you to go to XXXCHURCH.COM or http://xxxchurch.com/gethelp/x3watch.php and download the free X3 Watch software onto your computer.

X3 Watch is accountability software to guard against accessing porn on your computer. In your set-up you provide the email addresses of two people who will get,semi-weekly or monthly, depending on how you set it up, reports of any questionable sites that might be accessed through your computer. I have this software on my computer and my wife and my associate get monthly reports of any questionable sites I might have clicked on. I want to challenge and encouraging everyone to take advantage of this free offer that will enable you to take a major step in your spiritual development.

Here’s an even bolder step. I would also like to develop a running list of those who are courageous enough to download the software and then contact me at steve@relaxedchurch.com and let me know that you have done so. I want to say, “These are the people who have taken the step to guard their computer use with accountability.” Come on, take the plunge. Don’t be a wuss. Show some conviction and courage. You will be glad you did.

pod-casting available

in case you didn’t notice we have added a new feature to our website this week. it is the ability to listen to messages from your computer or download them to your personal listening device. from our home page click on the Pure Sex” message series in the lower right corner. it will take you to the listening link. at the current time it directs you to the current series we are in. in the future it will offer a directory of all messages as they are added.

please use this feature to direct people you know to subjects you believe they need to hear about. many of them would not attend one of our gatherings, but they certainly would listen to a message on a subject that is relevant to their life.

just begin by telling them that we are talking about sex in church at the current time and they can access it with a few simple clicks on their computer. who would resist that invitation?

this is an excellent way to exponentially spread The Word. you are the key. spread the word about pod-casting on relaxedchurch.com

Pure Sex and society

This Sunday (October 7) I began to address some issues related to Sex in our Sunday gatherings. Each week I will include here on my blog information, that relates to the Sunday message, that I am not able to cover on Sunday morning. Please forgive me if I might be a little too “bold” in what I have to say than what you are comfortable with. But my observation is that everyone seems to be talking about sex except the church. If God is the designer of sex and His instruction on it is of greatest importance, why don’t we discuss it?

Ed Young writes, “Far from being an isolated act with the significance of a sneeze, sex is one of the most intimate, life-altering, profound, and deeply spiritual experiences available to man. It is the most natural high our bodies can experience. Sex is a strong, strong force, and what we choose to do with it affects not only our own lives, but other lives as well. In fact, our collective view of sex can predict the fate of our very society.

Scholar D. Unwin wrote years ago in Sex and Culture, ‘In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence.’ In other words, societies that place no value on premarital chastity and marital fidelity simply do not thrive. Unwin studied hundreds of years of history and concluded that the health and longevity of nations directly corresponded to the value placed on sexual purity. Societies whose sexual mores were strong prevailed. Those whose sexual mores were weak no longer exist. Could this be what ancient Israel’s King Solomon meant when he spoke of the “total ruin” which awaited those who disregarded God’s commands in this area (Proverbs 5:14)?

Imagine! Ancient history and modern surveys confirm what God has always said: that sex is a multifaceted gift of deep importance, and that chastity or lifelong marriage is the safest, surest, and richest setting for its expression. That’s pure sex—and it is no contradiction in terms. Pure, undefiled, undiluted sex is what God intended for us from the very beginning. If we make “safe sex” our highest aim, we will fall far short of the awesome sexual experience God has in mind for us as His children. He desires much more than that for you and me.”

I would recommend to you “Pure Sex” by Ed Young. Other than the Bible, it is the primary source of my information for our discussion of pure sex. If you would be interested in the entire Sunday messages contact me at steve@relaxedchurch.com.

Questions for married couples

Guilt often accompanies sexual activity, sometimes justifiable, other times not. “It would be easier if God gave us a more detailed list of practices that are forbidden, but He did not. His Word reads more like a love story than a how-not-to manual, a fact for which I am deeply grateful. There is a wide world of sexual expression available to every husband and wife. How can they know what practices are right for their marriage? The following questions are designed to help them discern for themselves what should or should not be a part of their lovemaking:
• Does this particular activity increase our oneness and intimacy?
• Is this activity agreed-upon and mutually pleasing?
• Is this a practice we would like for our children to engage in one day when they marry?
• Can we enjoy this with a clear conscience before God?
• Is this practice safe, medically, emotionally, and physically?
If a husband and wife can answer yes to these questions in the gray areas of sexual expression, they can feel confident that their actions are acceptable and right—both in the sight of God and in the context of their unique marital relationship.”
Again, as I said in my last blog entry, check out the book “Pure Sex” by Ed Young and get the bigger picture. They are available through NVCC for $19.00. To place your order email me at steve@relaxedchurch.com.

only god could do it

pict0048.JPG3b2569f21.jpgpict0053.JPGpict0051.JPG31155e75.jpg9e3de091.jpg3b2569f2.jpgthis is an almost too good to believe story. in late may of this year sharon (my wife) and i traveled to cincinnati oh. to be with our son and daughter-in-law when they met with a team of specialists at cincinnati children’s hospital, the second best children’s hospital in the country. at least that is the story floating around the hospitals. timothy and daphane, our son and daughter-in-law, had experienced some difficulties with the baby she was expecting.

as we listened to the specialists the news was the worst possible thing we could hear. she had encepholosis where part of her brain was forming outside the cranial area. their conclusion was grim. it would be iffy if she carried full term. if she did and then delivered the baby would most likely be delivered dead or die soon thereafter. it was the most difficult meeting i think i have ever been it. we were all crushed.

many people had been praying for timothy, daphane and the baby. many more joined in after that news. there were literally thousands praying for them and the baby.

on september 14, daphane was induced and delivered a 6 pound 6 ounce baby girl named audrey. sure, she had the encepholosis as the doctors had warned, but that is as far as it goes. all her vitals were normal and from the beginning she has done everything the doctors said she would never do. on monday the 17th she underwent brain surgery to remove the non-functioning part of her brain and tuck in the rest and close up her scalp. on friday the 21st she came home from the hospital and is progressing and growing like a normal baby.

the doctors have informed them that there will certainly be delays that emerge as she grows and develops. but who knows, the doctors have been wrong so far, they certainly could be again. pray that these delays never materialize and that the existing part of here brain will compensate and take over for the removed part.

i just happened to have a few pics of audrey. you will find them attached.

god is good.