Sex

1Oct

9 Resources for Parents: Navigating the Digital Age

I’ve had several conversations with parents over the last few weeks about frustrations, concerns, and questions about how to lead and their love their kids well in the digital age.

These parents are caring, loving, and simply want some help in tackling the ever-changing frontier of cell phones, social media, sexting and pornography. See: You Can’t #EndIt and Keep Porn

As a childless pastor I do not yet have personal experience in this area. But that’s no excuse to punt. Just like it’s no excuse to bypass having these tough conversations with your kids. New studies show that the average age of exposure to pornography is now eleven. ELEVEN. That means if you’re waiting to have these conversations until then you’re too late. But even late is better than never.

Even if I had personal experience as a parent, I have no reason to think it would be particularly helpful. Pastors don’t necessarily make great parents. But I would love to pass along a wealth of practical resources from a source I know well and trust tremendously. These are not my work – but they are the first place I would turn for help if I were in many of the situations you find yourself as a parent of a kid with a cell phone, iPod, etc. etc.

The 9 resources from the link below include:

  • Trend Alerts: ask.fm and the Bang with Friends app (can’t make this stuff up)
  • Parents’ Guides to Internet Pornography, Sexting, & Cyberbullying
  • Primers on Electronic Addiction, Social Networking
  • Family Digital Covenant of Conduct (If you don’t use this exact one, you need to be using something)

Find these resources and much more at the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding’s Digital Kids Initiative.

13Aug

How to Date as a Christian

 1.) Be legit.

If you want to find and date someone who has an authentic relationship with Jesus, you need to have an authentic relationship with Jesus. If you want to date someone who reads Scripture daily, is involved in a local church, and gives of their time and resources sacrificially, you need to be doing those things as well. And you need to be doing them because that’s who you are, not just to garner the attention of someone else.

This truth can also be applied to every area of your life…how you shop, where you eat, who you hang out with, and your general likes and dislikes. Far too often, single people try and be someone they’re not. 

Even if you end up marrying that person you’ll both be unhappy in the long run once the truth about both of you surfaces.

2.) Make a list of what you want in a spouse.

Some people mistakenly think what they’re looking for in a spouse has little to do with what they’re looking for in a person to date. You should never date someone you know you could never marry.

Make the list realistic. Things like specific hair color and hobbies should not make the cut but you also need to make the list challenging. Things like hard work ethic and compassionate should make the list. Set the bar high because someone out there might be setting theirs high as well. Maybe they are currently telling others no because they’re really waiting for someone like you to come along!

3.) Make a list of what you commit to be as a spouse.

This list is much less common but easily more important. Regardless of your age and stage in life, who is it that you are willing to commit to be in a future marriage? Look for people to date who compliment and challenge this list as well.

This list should be at least twice as long as the list of what you want.

4.) Remember your true identity.

Jerry Maguire is a liar. Nobody completes you but Jesus. It’s true, You May Never Get Married. If that never happens [again] for you, is Jesus still enough? The “abundant life” Jesus promises to give to his followers is not exclusively offered to married people! (John 10:10)

So don’t buy into the lie that without a spouse you are somehow a second class citizen, damaged goods, or less loved by God.

5.) Don’t ditch your friends.

Don’t be the one who dates someone and 3 months into their new relationship they’ve all but cut themselves off from their genuine, long-standing friends. Now obviously these friendships change as a relationship moves closer to marriage, as it should. But date in a way that when you break up (has it ever ended any other way?) you’ll still have your friends at your side.

A word for opposite sex friends: As you get closer and close to marriage, a man’s best friend other than his [soon-to-be] wife needs to be a man and a woman’s best friend other than her [soon-to-be] husband needs to be a woman.

6.) Set specific physical boundaries…and don’t break them!

This is a BIG deal. Mistakes happen. But there’s a LOT you can do to prevent yourself from making a bad decision you will regret later.

A note to divorced people: Even though you were previously married, you still need these. You can’t expect your teenage children to follow guidelines you’re not willing to adhere to as well.

This is ultimately a respect issue. Do you respect the person you’re dating enough to honor and protect them from sin? Could you give them away at their wedding day to someone else with no regrets?

Don’t wait to do this! You will never set them in the moment. If people are making fun of your boundaries, it’s probably because you’re on the right track.

When Hayley and I were dating in college, until the day we were married, these were our physical boundaries. We weren’t perfect at them, but we were very successful at maintaining them. These helped our marriage get off to a great start. These are what worked for us but they might be a good starting point for you:

  1. Never lay down together. Not for a nap. Not just to kiss. Not just one time. Keep it vertical, friends!
  2. Never stay the night.
  3. Never touch an area that is covered by an undergarment.
  4. Never be alone in an apartment/house together. What do you need to do in private together that you can’t do at a coffee shop, in a park, with friends, or at a restaurant?
  5. SHARE your boundaries with a very small group (2-3) of older people you trust and ask them to hold you accountable.

One of the best things that happened to me during this time of our life was a good friend of mine asked me to text him every night when I was on my way home from hanging out with Hayley. I texted him up until the day we married and I will always be thankful for him. Accountability is not a bad word and nobody is too good for it!

Questions for feedback: What would you add to the list? What tip(s) do you disagree with?

28Feb

You Can’t #EndIt & Keep Porn

Today is Shine a Light on Slavery Day, a national campaign by the End It Movement. Their goal is stated simply:

“Join us and other Freedom Fighters from around the world as we SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY. Draw a RED X on your hand. Tell your world that slavery still exists and YOU WON’T STAND FOR IT. Just use your influence any way you can to help us carry the message of FREEDOM.” – http://enditmovement.com/

I’m really thankful for the work of the men and women at the End It Movement. We live in a time when it seems more popular to criticize those who are working to bring about real change instead of actually doing something to create the necessary change. While one could easily point out the flaws of a campaign based almost solely on awareness, the End It Movement has educated thousands of people on the horrors of sex trafficking, especially young people.

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When teenagers, college students, and adults alike hear that there are 27 million men, women, and children trapped in modern-day slavery, something begins to stir within them to seek out change.   Many have tried to explain away sex-trafficking as a lesser problem but several United Nations-sanctioned studies and sociologists all over the world keep coming up with estimates around 27 million people. Last year alone, red X’s were drawn and tweeted out to the world by US Senators, NBA/NFL/NHL/MLB players, Grammy-winning musicians, and world-renown pastors.

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While the End It Movement is great, specifically because of its high impact on younger generations, it’s also foolish. It’s not intrinsically foolish, only functionally foolish, and it’s not their fault. Their failure to succeed is tragic because…

The connection between pornography and sex trafficking  has been explored in depth by many people smarter than me. All the findings are conclusive and align with a simple supply-demand formula.

There is an enormous demand for pornography, specifically in our country.

Porn Usage Facts:

  • Porn sites get more visitors every month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter…combined.
  • 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to Internet pornography before the age of 18.
  • The average age of first exposure to Internet pornography is 11.
  • The 12-17 year-old age-group is the largest consumer of Internet pornography.

These stats clearly display that our nation is infatuated with porn. Demand has never been higher and porn (supply) has never been more accessible.

Pornography has become easier to produce and demand has risen to unheard of levels. The bad news – sex traffickers have gotten in on the action. They’ve realized that the more porn they produce, the more porn will be consumed and thus, the more money they make.

Sex traffickers are now targeting and exploiting young women for the explicit purpose of forcing them to produce pornography. So the next time you want to log on to that website or click on that seemingly harmless picture, remember that. Remember that that girl might not be enjoying what’s happening to her, and that what’s happening is nothing less than rape on tape, not consensual sex between two partners. One husband even sold his own wife into sex slavery where she was forced to produce pornographic videos.

The connection between porn usage and sex slavery is clear. Now, it’s time to really #EndIt.

You see, the two are far too closely intertwined. So, if you put a Red “X” on your hand today, I’m cheering you on! Now it’s time to be consistent. No more porn. End THAT too. It’s the only way to #EndIt at all.

Are you trapped in the cycle of porn? Are you a parent and need resources to talk to your kids about porn? If they’re 11, they’ve most likely already been exposed to porn but it’s never too late!Get started early! Check out the resources below and share this post with friends.

Related Articles:

  1. Even GQ Knows Porn is Bad
  2. Snapchat: Child Porn & Sex Predators
  3. 9 Resources for Parents: Navigating the Digital Age
  4. Who Has Better Sex?

Online Porn Resources

  • Covenant Eyes – A great website filtering system that monitors all aspects of Internet usage including mobile devices and emails a content report to an accountability partner every week.
  • XXX Church – A great website for porn recovery. It’s chock-full of resources and also offers a website-filtering/monitoring system that includes mobile devices as well.
  • Fight the New Drug Started on a college campus, Fight the New Drug is an organization of college students with absolutely zero political or religious allegiances. They present the proven, unbiased, scientific facts on how porn harms our brains, our relationships, and our society.
  • Free iPhone Porn Filter
  • A Parents’ Primer on Internet Pornography

 

Helpful Books

 

Ultimately, the Gospel is what sets porn addicts and all sinners, including you and me, free. For more on the power of the Gospel, watch the video below.

 

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