Top Ten Truth # 6 – God Still Has a Purpose for Your Life ~ blog
One of the results of becoming addicted to porn and sex is we lose hope. We have allowed the lies we hear to create the false belief that God is finished with us. We had our chance but because of our being such a weak-willed pathetic loser God is finished with us and so we face a future of misery and pain.
Man…that sounds horribly depressing doesn’t it? It would be depressing IF IT WERE TRUE…BUT IT IS NOT TRUE. If you continue to believe it is true, then the devil has won, and you have been neutralized from being used by God. The potential of being used by God in your life, your marriage, your family, your church, and your world will be deeply diminished because you are being controlled by your sinful flesh and losing the battle.
The two years after my train wreck in September 2005 were so dark and painful. I had lived almost my entire life thinking too highly of myself. I was raised in a highly successful family, attended an all-male prep school, and attended a private college graduating debt free in 1975. I attended a top-notch seminary and received an excellent education. I served as an intern in one of the largest churches in our fellowship and got hired by another large church to be the full-time High School Pastor.
Every ministry I served in grew whether I was the youth pastor or senior pastor. I took a big risk in 1989 and became the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of the Arizona Territory. It was a cantankerous church having gone through 33 pastors in 100 years and I was warned not to take it…so I took it and over my 10 years there this geriatric congregation started growing with new families and went from 350 to 850 attenders.
However, my use of porn was also increasing and my effectiveness as a leader diminished along with it. After 8 + years of my becoming more and more addicted to porn and sex, God allowed me to sow what I had been reaping, the truth about my addiction and infidelity was revealed leaving me, my wife, my family, and a congregation devastated.
I realized that I could no longer serve as a pastor or elder ever again. My calling to be a pastor was torched and nothing remained as far as ministry would be concerned…or so I thought. I could not even bear to think about going back into the ministry. My relationship with my wife and family was dangling by a thread. I needed to find a good-paying job, at the age of 52 with only “church” experience in my resume.
I was down and almost out. Depression and anxiety were resting on my chest every morning making the effort to just get out of bed seem like a chore. Would my wife allow me to stay? Would my kids completely reject me? Would we survive financially? Dark and extremely lonely times continued for months.
However, it was in those darkest of times when my depression and pain were causing me to be still, crying out to God daily for the strength to get through the next hour that I learned something very important. My sense of darkness did not keep the Lord from being with me.
We are told He will never leave us or forsake us and I found that in all the destruction of the train wreck He was there with me and as the psalmist said…
I Could Be Still and Know that He is God!!!
Nothing mattered more than me spending those times with Him in the darkness of my basement crying out to Him and listening for His response. Never before had I so realized what it meant to be saved by grace and not my works. It was His love, mercies, and grace that was the foundation of my relationship with God. My works, my skills, my abilities, my education, and my giftedness landed me in this shithole of a place, and I was lying on my face having hit rock bottom with no hope in sight.
Never before did the verse of Romans 8:28 mean more to me;
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good
to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Ever so slowly the Lord began to minister to me again. And it was because I had been crushed by my consequences, I earned for myself that I was ready to stop trying to build my kingdom…and maybe, just maybe I would do something for Him and His glory.
In February of 2009 that opportunity came as the church we were attending allowed me and my accountability partner, Gus, to begin a ministry to men struggling with sexual addictions we called 180. Slowly God allowed me to use my education and experiences to help others but it would require me to tell the truth about myself, learning what one needs to do to have a recovery from sexual brokenness that was biblical and Christ-centered.
God has been so faithful, and I am being used in a ministry that I believe is the biggest problem in the church and in the lives of all Christian men. I do not deserve to be used by God in this ministry. However, He is working the “all things” of my sexual brokenness to minister to thousands of Christians around the world.
God has used the internet and my sinfulness to be encouraging over 2500 people in 67 different countries, 6 days a week with these emails and podcasts. We have started and are currently running 15 Online Support Teams where over 160 men are receiving the help and team support, they need to be growing in their recovery.
And if God can do that in my life…He can do it in yours as well. Regardless of our sinful pasts, He is able to work things to the good of conforming us to the image of Jesus so that our lives can glorify Him and we can be helping ourselves as we are helping others.
Contact me if you want to take the next step in your own recovery by getting the weekly accountability and daily support from a team of other men…which is what we all really need.