In this Issue:
** God Shines through the Cracks
** Musings on Sodom and the Church
** Newsletter Archives
**Mike Genung’s Books
** More Reading
** Final Words
God Shines through the Cracks
By Mike Genung
A couple of years ago, I met a man at a business conference, who revealed he was a Christian. I thought it would be interesting to hear about the experiences of another Christian businessman, and invited him to lunch.
After he shared, he asked about my occupation. I described my business, and then told him I had struggled with sex addiction for 20 years, that God had set me free, and about Blazing Grace.
His jaw dropped. He told me he had been struggling with porn and that his marriage was in pieces because of it. We spent considerable time talking about this, and I offered further help.
If I hadn’t exposed my battle with sexual sin to my friend, he wouldn’t have opened up with what he was going through, and we both would have missed out.
I think this is what the church is supposed to look like—broken men and women getting real with their weaknesses, sins, and failures, and allowing others to come alongside them. The problem is that many of us are still faking it, pretending to be something we’re not. Or we’re more invested in polishing the mask of our reputation than being interested in allowing Christ to shine through our cracks.
In 2006, we did a six month billboard campaign here in Colorado Springs. The billboards read, “Struggling with Porn? You’re not alone, so are half the men in church.”
The response we received was overwhelmingly positive; God used the billboards to nudge men out of hiding and get help, and attendance at our support group grew. The media gave the issue some exposure, which helped get the message out. Not everyone appreciated the billboards. One woman wrote a scathing email, saying that I had “tarnished the church’s reputation in front of the world” and shouldn’t be putting these statistics up in public. I couldn’t help wondering why this was such a hot button for her…
My experience has been that when we’re honest with the messy parts of our lives, it has several benefits:
1. We immediately become someone who is safe and approachable.
When we’re hurting, especially with something as shameful as sexual sin, we need someone who is authentic, and can relate to our failures and battles with the flesh. I can’t relate to someone who claims they’ve got it all together and is constantly running around with a Sunday Smile painted on their face. I need people who know what pain and failure is; when a man shares his hurts and failures it immediately makes him someone I can take a chance with.
2. People are ministered to.
I was able to offer encouragement to my friend only because I took the initiative to expose my failures. If I’d have put the mask on and pretended to be the “Christian who has it all together” I’d have missed out on an opportunity to be a blessing to him. I wouldn’t be writing this newsletter if I hadn’t gone on record with how I train-wrecked two marriages and my own life with my sexual sin. Hiding the cracks in my life blocks the light that God wants to shine through; if there’s no transparency there’s no ministry.
3. Jesus shines through us and is glorified.
When I share how God set me free from the bondage to sexual sin after I’d after I royally screwed my life up, and then tried everything man told me to but came up empty, God is glorified. He shines through the gaping cracks in my life, and He is promoted as the One who sets captives free. His love and care for broken people comes through, and people are encouraged to draw near to Him.
4. We no longer look like a bunch of hypocrites.
The church looks silly to the world when we preach about holiness and then try to cover up our sin and failure. One of the complaints many have about the church is that it’s “full of hypocrites.” We nullify that argument when we freely confess that we struggle and have failed with lust, bitterness, greed, gluttony, pride, and other sins. We enforce the perception that we’re hypocrites when we hide behind the mask of “the good Christian” and pretend “it’s all good”… especially when the truth comes out the hard way.
5. Lives are changed. Show me a church full of broken people who are no longer playing the Christian game, and I’ll show you a lighthouse that shines brightly, one that our culture desperately needs.
The main reasons we refuse to avail ourselves of all of this blessing are pride and fear. We want everyone to hold us in high regard, and we’re afraid, even terrified that they’ll discover the truth.
We hear from hurting wives all the time that they have no one they can talk to in their church about the pain and suffering they’re enduring due to their husband’s sexual sin. We need more wives to step up, confess what they’re going through or have been through, and offer help to other women.
We need more men who have the guts to stand up and share their failures, especially when it comes to sexual sin, and what God is doing in their lives.
We need para-church ministry leaders and missionaries who are willing to stand in front of their team and say “I’ve struggled with porn, overcome it, and chances are high many of you are struggling to. Let’s walk through this together.”
We need pastors with the courage to confess what they’ve been through with lust and what God has done in their lives.
We are keeping ourselves in bondage to sin and blocking the life-flow of God’s grace by covering up our cracks. Let the light shine through; quit covering up your broken parts, and let God work through you.
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. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Musings on Sodom and the Church
By Mike Genung
Let’s say God dropped you in the city of Sodom, one year before it was razed to the ground. He gave you the imperative to set up a church and be salt and light in that place of darkness. You could bring five Christian friends with you to help.
What would you do?
Would there be a sense of urgency?
Now let’s say God places you in a different moment in time with the same imperative, to set up a church. In this culture, all of the moral underpinnings were being systematically destroyed. Gay marriage will soon be legal, as will recreational drugs. Crime is abundant, and tragedies are commonplace. Sexual depravity is everywhere. The government, which is elected by the people, is anti-Christian, and celebrates anything having to do with sin.
Although the church in this country is big, it’s coming apart at the seams. 75% of the youth leave the church by the time they’re 18. Some churches are ordaining gay pastors. The sexual depravity of the culture had infested and corrupted the church; at least 60% of men are addicted to porn, teens are hooked in record numbers, and marriages are falling right and left because of it. The divorce rate is just as high in the church as outside of it. Apathy is rampant. In spite of all this carnage, many churches aren’t talking about these issues in an effective manner. Some of them avoid anything negative entirely, and focus only on the positive subjects. It’s as if they’re living in another world.
What would you do?…
You can read this and previous editions of the Blazing Grace Newsletter online at www.roadtograce.net:
August 2013: How God Brought New Life to My Marriage
July 2013: What Porn is Doing to Us
June 2013: Which One Will You Serve?
May 2013: What Defines You?
April 2013: 15 Principles for Freedom
March 2013: I Believe; Help My Unbelief!
February 2013: Adultery
January 2013: Speak, Lord, Your Servant is Listening
Mike Genung’s Books
The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sexual Addiction is Mike Genung’s book on breaking free from sexual addiction.
Topics covered include:
* Biblical tools for overcoming sexual temptation.
* Healing from shame.
* How to stop a masturbation habit.
* Dealing with the core issues that drive sexual sin.
* Understanding and receiving the love of God in the heart.
* Healing for Wives
* How to restore a marriage that’s been broken by sexual sin and/or adultery.
The Road to Grace is used in support groups, and provides plenty of material for discussion.
100 Days on the Road to Grace; a Devotional for the Sexually Broken, is a new book that just came out last month.
For more information and to purchase, visit http://www.roadtograce.net/
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55 8.9
Blazing Grace’s purpose is to minister to the sexually broken, encourage believers to draw closer to God, and encourage the church to effectively deal with the porn epidemic.
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May God’s grace abound to you.
All material copyright 2013 Mike Genung