Feb 062013

Over at Ligonier.org, Joey Pipa reaches back to Puritan John Flavel to give some advice on dealin g with lust.  Below are the seven points from Flavel, but go read the whole thing for Pipa’s biblical explanation about lust.

We also need to develop habits that will help guard the heart. In the booklet Impure Lust, John Flavel gave seven directions for dealing with lust:

1. Beg of God a clean heart, renewed and sanctified by saving grace. We must always begin with the heart, for it is the fountain of all else (Matt. 15:19), and God promises to answer our prayers as we pray according to His will (John 14:13–14). We must seek the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.

2. Walk in the fear of God all the day long, and in the sense of his omniscient eye that is ever upon you. How often our behavior is dictated by who is watching. We forget that He sees all.

3. Avoid lewd company, and the society of unclean persons; they are panderers for lust. Evil company corrupts good manners. Remember that this direction not only includes our personal contacts but those we encounter through movies, music, books, magazines, and computers.

4. Exercise yourself in your calling diligently; it will be an excellent means of preventing this sin. You have heard the adage, “Idleness is the Devil’s workshop.”

5. Put a restraint upon your appetite: feed not to excess. This direction does not mean that we may not enjoy God’s good gifts of food and drink, and the pleasure of feasting with friends, but it is a sober reminder that if we pander to our physical appetites in one area, we will be more prone to fall in other areas.

6. Choose a spouse and delight in the one you have chosen. One of the liberating insights of the Reformation is that within marriage, sex is for pleasure and is a God-given protection against unlawful lusts.

7. Take heed of running on in a course of sin, especially superstition and idolatry: in which cases, and as a punishment of which evils God often gives up men to these vile affections (Rom. 1:25–26). Sin inevitably breeds sin.

Dec 132012

This quote from a John Piper interview prompts me that we also need to be thinking about and applying counter-stereotype filters to those who deal with same-sex attraction.  I.e. not all are militant political activists, etc., etc.  We need to see people as people and not as issues or sin patterns.

Piper is answering a question on preaching, but the principle applies in any personal ministry, friendship, and/or relationship setting.

What are some things in ministry that you had to learn the hard way?

John Piper: Don’t assume that all fat people are gluttons. And don’t use the word fat. There is a principle here. Learn from logic and experience not to associate things—especially in preaching—that don’t necessarily go together. Another way to say it is: be hyper-vigilant to avoid and explode stereotypes. Not all single women want to be married. Not all boys like football. Not all homemakers like to cook. Not all messy people are lazy. And not all the obese are gluttons. There are glands and diabetes and a dozen conditions you never heard of that may account for things. Put your sermon through the counter-stereotype sieve.


Nov 242012

…discovered a trend in many of the theologically conservative churches to develop “parallel Christian cultures — homogenous ghettos that tend  to avoid thoughtful engagement with the ‘world of liberal of secular America.’”  In Herron’s opinion, this contributes to the university community’s skepticism of the evangelical church.

from Dan Herron in Gospel Blooms in the University City, byFaith Q3.12 No. 37.  Herron is planting a church in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University.

May 312012

Mary Kassien’s “review” (in quotes because she wisely does not read the book before giving her feedback) of EL James’ recent best-seller trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey is worth your reading.  People you know will either have read it, be reading it, or are considering reading it.  It is becoming that popular.

 “Fifty Shades of Grey,” an erotic novel by a…British author based on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series….the three books of the series, Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, claimed the top three spots in USA Today’s Best-Selling Books list. Sales have topped 10 million. [in the first six weeks ~ed.] The series is so popular that last month, author E. L. James was listed as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World“.

Kassien’s entire analysis is worth your time (and helpfully brief) as you consider how to interact with the content and with those who are imbibing the content.  Here are her seven headings:

1. It violates God’s design for sex

2. It violates the biblical concept of authority

3. It violates the biblical concept of submission

4. It encourages the sin of sensuality

5. It promotes sexual perversion

6. It glamorizes pathological relationships

7. You won’t get it out of your head

She concludes:

So girls, have some respect for the Lord, and for yourselves. Exercise some discernment, and don’t read this book!

In my opinion, the choice whether or not to read Fifty Shades of Grey is pretty black and white.

May 302012

The new ebook The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It is a secular argument by psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan that “an addiction to video games and online porn have created a generation of shy, socially awkward, emotionally removed, and risk-adverse young men who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school, and employment.”

Russell Moore explores this at the Desiring God blog, Fake Love, Fake War, while Justin Taylor gives a good bullet point summary of Moore’s post.  Here are a few select quotes from Taylor’s summary:

  • Pornography promises orgasm without intimacy.
  • Video warfare promises adrenaline without danger.
  • Satan isn’t a creator but a plagiarist. His power is parasitic, latching on to good impulses and directing them toward his own purpose.
  • The sexual union pictures the cosmic mystery of the union of Christ and his church.
  • The porn addict becomes a lecherous loser, with one-flesh union supplanted by masturbatory isolation.