Newsletter Archive Home
Blazing Grace Newsletter, January 2007
* Turning a Church in Bondage from Darkness to Light
* More Reading
* The Blazing Grace Radio Show
* The Numbers
* Upcoming Radio Interviews
* Ministry Needs
* Final Words
Turning a Church in Bondage from Darkness to Light
By Mike Genung
"And I said, `Who are You, Lord?' And the Lord said, `I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. `But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’
In the past 90 days, the following has happened:
A young friend of my son’s is watching his parents divorce because his father is not willing to give up sexual sin.
When my wife gave a copy of my book to a neighbor who lives several doors down, she revealed that her full grown son, who is a married father, is losing his marriage and family because of his unwillingness to deal with his struggle with porn addiction.
A dear sister of mine told me she spent Christmas day at work, without family. She lost her marriage a few years back to her husband’s sex addiction.
Recently, I watched as a brother of mine tell me through tears that he’s filing for divorce, his marriage a victim of both his and his wife’s problems with sexual addiction.
Ted Haggard, pastor of a 14,000 member church here in Colorado Springs, resigned his position after his lifelong struggle with homosexual sin was exposed.
Another pastor in a large church in Denver resigned, confessing his own problems with homosexuality.
A few weeks prior, as another pastor was showing his congregation a PowerPoint presentation, a porn image came to the screen. He later resigned, confessing his addiction to pornography.
Another sister in Christ told me this past week that, in spite of her entreaties, her Christian husband sees nothing wrong with his porn habit. She’s quoted him Matthew 5:27-28 where Jesus said "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 lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” but even in the face of God’s word he still refuses to relent.
How can pastors like Ted Haggard, men who have ministered to many others and are undoubtedly surrounded by believers to whom they could turn for help, carry on a lifelong battle with sexual sin without asking for help?
How can so many Christian husbands and fathers, many of who sit in church every Sunday, tell their wives to their face that there’s nothing wrong with masturbating to pornography?
We receive many emails from wives, every week; all too many read like the one from this wife and mother:
I am fighting a battle with this porn addiction that my husband has. My husband seems to think he is doing nothing wrong. He tells me most men do this… and they get bored. I have heard every excuse there is. It has made me feel that I am not good enough, not pretty enough and especially not skinny enough. I have even said if I was to give him a choice and he would have had to choose me or porn, I honestly think it would be the porn. Please tell me how to deal with this for I am so hurt. There are not many days that I don't cry. I have fought this for 13 years and it has just gotten worse. I need to know how to get my husband to understand the hurt I feel and how important it is for him to stop. I have asked him to please not do this while my kids are here. My kids are old enough that they know what is going on... I love my husband with all my heart and I can not imagine my life without him.
Many of God’s people are in bondage, captive to Satan’s lies that “a little porn doesn’t hurt anyone.” Others are chained to their sin with the iron shackles of shame, terrified to ask for help for fear of what will happen when the truth comes out. “You can’t tell anyone about this,” Satan’s minions hiss, and so the sexually broken stay in the shadows, not realizing that they’re playing right into the hands of the prince of evil.
As a result, the lives of men, women and children are shattered; and God’s church isn’t the source of light, truth and peace He wants it to be.
Many don’t understand the depth or intensity of the bondage of sexual sin. In a recent interview on the Blazing Grace radio show, Ted Roberts of Pure Desire, who has ministered to thousands, said it takes an average of two to three years for the average struggler with sexual sin to break free. Ted shared that he walked away from alcoholism, but that it was a daily fight for several years before he broke free from lust.
One wife who lost her husband to his sexual addiction recently posted the following on our forums:
When I read posts on this site from people whose husbands are sex addicts and quit (getting help), I just want to cry. They need to know how serious this is. It's just as serious as alcoholism. If their husband is not in counseling, they are losing the battle. I honestly don't believe my husband wanted to give up his family for this disgusting addiction. But the first to go is the family.
(You can read more like this in our forums.)
If this was a problem that just a few people were struggling with it wouldn’t be as bad, but the statistics show that at least 50% of Christian men at every level of the church, plus many women are struggling with some form of sexual addiction.
Sadly, we are all too often our own worst enemy.
One man recently posted the following in our forums:
I'm doing a class about porn addiction for men in nine different congregations of our church. I'm in a significant local lay leadership position (which I asked to step down from, given my "recovering porn addict" status, but was asked to stay). I am aching to let these men know that "I know that close to half of you are addicted; I've been there, and there's hope". However my lay leader says not to say anything, since it would be an embarrassment for the church. Same for the addiction recovery support group that I'm starting up for church members in our city.
Another said in response:
I am saddened by the approach your lay leader is taking. But it is all too common. I too tried to get my pastor to address this issue and hit a stone wall. I was talking to a good friend about this last night. After I had given him the statistics on sexual sin in the church I asked how many sermons he's heard in the last 10 years on the subject. His answer; none! I know our pastor has talked about sexual purity, but taking an honest look at the men and women in the church and calling them out has never happened.
When I told him the statistics, all I heard was silence. I don't think he believed me. I am going to take one more run at this with him, and then I will probably just start something on my own.
My experience has been that our concern for our reputation is often one of the primary reasons the church at large has yet to effectively step up and take a hard look at addressing the porn epidemic. Embarrassment of talking about the topic of sex is another, but if we’re really honest I think we’ll have to admit that this is often fueled by concern over what other people think. Since God devoted a big chunk of the Song of Solomon to graphically describing a sex act between husband and wife, we should have no fear of boldly discussing the same.
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
Every man, woman and child is precious in God’s eyes; these are His marriages and families. What grieves me is that many lives would be saved from shipwreck if we were only willing to speak out with boldness and clarity about the issue, and take effective action.
As God sent Paul to turn His people from darkness to light, so should we. Here’s what leading our hurting ones to the light looks like:
Face the truth.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5
Saying that 50% of Christian men have a porn problem sounds surreal; hard to believe. We don’t want the numbers to be this high, because if they are then the church is in big trouble. We know from history that when a nation’s church becomes corrupt, a moral, economic or even military collapse is not far behind.
The truth is that the numbers are that high (if not higher), and we are in trouble.
(Click here for more information, including the results of a survey on porn of the church I attended in 2004.)
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
Speak the truth in love.
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices…
The truth that so many are struggling with sexual sin in the church should be proclaimed on a Sunday morning before the entire congregation. Why? Because we dare not miss a single soul with our message of hope; many are dying in shame and/or pain; craving answers, comfort and encouragement. Some have hard hearts and are spitting on their marriages, and need to hear the convicting power of the truth. Leading our people from darkness into light means we’re willing to face the hard truths and be bold in pointing our people to God’s light. We no longer pretend to be something we’re not; instead, we confess what we are as a body: broken, hurting, and in need of God’s grace, peace and healing.
Give them a safe place to go.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Breaking free from the bondage of sexual sin is a long, often bloody process; Sunday sermons are the beginning of the battle; the doorway to hope, not the end. Those who struggle need a safe place where they can break out of isolation, expose what’s going on in their heart, and find healing through the power of God’s grace— and the freedom from shame that comes from the acceptance and love of others who support and encourage them in spite of their ugliest sins.
A Strength in Numbers group will provide your people with a safe place where they can move from darkness to light and find such grace.
Go here for more information.
Pray, surrender, and follow.
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me
Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.
You can expect to come up against opposition if you want to encourage the church to take a hard look at itself and deal effectively with sexual sin. Satan has many strongholds in the church: silence, fear, concern for reputation, pride, the love of pleasure, love for the world, lack of knowledge of God’s word, lack of surrender to God, and love for comfort and the status quo. You will more than likely come up against at least a few of these in the battle to lead the hurting from darkness to light.
This battle must be fought with God’s power and anointing, not man’s, which means ongoing prayer is a must. Enlist as many people as possible to pray with you for God’s leading, power, protection and guidance.
Blazing Grace could not survive without the prayers of God’s people; I’ve had more issues with spiritual attack in the past two years than in my entire 44 years of existence. Leading the broken to the light happens when God’s people pray, surrender the control of their ministry and lives to Him, and then allow Him to work in His power, ways, timing and methods through them.
Never forget that we are broken clay pots in need of His power, wisdom and love. Where those in ministry blow it is when they try to charge the hill alone in their own strength. Pride is a poisonous viper that snaps at the heals of all who would go into ministry, and the antidote is to live in the truth of our brokenness and stay dependant on the power of the Living God to accomplish His purposes.
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…
Then he said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ' Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
We know that God’s heart is to lead every man, woman and child from darkness to light. Living in bondage to sexual sin is living in darkness, and His heart is that His people be set free from this terrible plague that is shredding so many families.
My prayer is that He would send many of you to reap the ripe harvest of healing and restoration that lies in our midst.
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
On dealing with porn/sex addiction in the church:
How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?
How Your Church Can Take on the Porn Epidemic
Getting to the Roots of the Porn Epidemic
How Your Church Can Help Those Who Struggle with Porn or Sex Addiction
On getting help for porn/sex addiction:
It’s Just a Little Porn; I’m no Sex Addict
Sexual Sobriety isn’t Enough
Winning the War in the Mind
The Blazing Grace Radio Show…
…Is on vacation for the month of January, and undergoing a few changes. We’ll update you on these changes next month.
You can download mp3’s of the broadcasts without cost at the radio page, or listen to them in streaming audio at Oneplace.com.
The broadcasts are available as a podcast through Itunes. If you have the Itunes software, the shows are listed under “Religion and Spirituality/Christianity.”
13,588: The number of hardcore adult videos released in 2005.
45 million: The approximate number of unique visitors to adult websites in April 2005.
55%: Percentage of Porn movie rentals vs. non-porn movies in hotels in 2005.
4.28 billion: Revenues in the U.S. in 2005 of adult movie sales and video rentals.
12.6 billion: Estimated total sex entertainment industry revenues in the U.S. in 2005. This includes movie rentals and sales, magazine sales, cable, internet, exotic dance clubs, novelties, and hotel porn sales.
Sources: AVN “State of the Adult Industry,” CBSnews.com, Forbes, NY Times, Juniper Research.
Upcoming Radio Interviews
I will be a guest on the following radio shows to discuss the problem of sexual sin in the church:
* Wednesday, January 17 at 7:35 am Central time: The Morning with Randy Show on KBJS 90.3 FM in Jacksonville, TX.
* Monday, January 29 at 1:30 pm Pacific time: Living Christian with Michelle Mendoza on KCIS Radio, Seattle, WA.
* Tuesday, January 30 at 8:00 pm Central time: Quest for Character show on KJSL AM630 in MO.
* Tuesday - February 6 at 6:00 am Central time: FamilyNet Radio - "Mornings with Scott & Lorri" on Sirius Radio Channel 159
I appreciate your prayers for wisdom, boldness and grace, as these are live shows, some of which may have call-ins. Please pray that the Lord would be glorified, that His churches would be encouraged and challenged to speak out clearly about the problem of sexual sin in the church, and that the sexually broken would reach out for help. Realizing that silence about this issue is one of Satan’s greatest weapons, please also pray for protection for technical and any other issues that might keep these interviews from happening.
We are in need of:
1. Women to join our national prayer team. We have a group of ladies who pray for the ministry together by phone conference call once a week. Please email us if you are interested in joining them.
2. Women to join our local prayer team here in Colorado Springs. If you live in the city and would be interested in participating, please email us.
3. Your prayers, whether you join the prayer team or not. No ministry in this arena will survive long without the prayers of God’s people to protect and use it mightily.
4. Women who are willing to serve by emailing other wives for support. Please email us if you’re interested in helping out.
5. Financial support. God is opening more doors for the Blazing Grace ministry. We are working on setting up a team and website in Germany, plus support is needed for the radio show, website, billboard, and other costs to promote the message to men and women in the territory God is giving us.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Blazing Grace is a 501c3 non-profit corporation whose purpose is to minister to the sexually broken and equip the church to effectively deal with the porn epidemic.
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I enjoy reading your feedback.
May God’s grace abound to you.
All material copyright 2007 Mike Genung