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Monday, June 30, 2008

Overcoming Sexual Temptation

I had the privilege of being interviewed by Jesse Lee Peterson this morning about Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity (SSW). Those of you who haven’t heard of Peterson, ( he is a fearless straight shooting brother. He has appeared on “Hannity and Colmes” (Fox News show) where he often argues from the conservative side of issues affecting the African-American community. His passion is to help African American men accept responsibility for their lives, their families, and their community. We had a great interview. He highly recommended SSW to his listeners. He concluded the interview by asking me to offer biblical advice that would help men to gain victory over sexual temptation. So I thought I would give some of the advice that I shared from SSW here on my blog.

1st Get Honest
You’ll never stop committing a sin that you don’t call sin. Our hearts are so deceitful that if we allow ourselves to call what God calls sin a weakness, a disease, or anything else other than sin, then we will not fight against our moral failure radically enough to defeat it. The first step to defeating any sin is to confess it (agree with the Bible’s assessment of that action or attitude). Sins must be confessed to God (Psalm 32:5) and to anyone you have sinned against (James 5:16). The Bible promises that for someone who genuinely repents and confesses his sin, God will graciously forgive (1 John 1:9). To gain God’s forgiveness is to receive a priceless gift, which you could never earn on your own. God removes the guilt of sin and makes you whole again (Psalm 51:1-3, 7-9). That is a wonderful promise, and the good news is that it is real, and it gives attainable hope to all who desire victory over sin.

2nd Get Help
Confessing your sin has to be followed by seeking Christ for help to gain the power you need to live a holy life. Living holy isn’t hard. It is impossible!—that is, without Christ. On your own, you could never defeat sin, but with Jesus the Bible promises that spiritually speaking, you can do all things—all the things God commands (Phil 4:13). And God commands you to abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4). Your victory depends upon answering the question “how do you gain Jesus’ help?” The answer is you must seek it by prayer. Obey the wise instruction from His Word. Stay close to Him by spending time with other believers who are living in obedience to Christ and avoid those who don’t (1 Cor. 15:33 teaches “bad company corrupts good morals”). If you earnestly do these things, the Bible promises that you will grow to become more and more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18), and Jesus lived a perfectly pure life (1 John 3:1-3).

3rd Get Radical
At the end of the day, you will either love Christ enough to obey Him, or you won’t. And according to Jesus, no one truly loves Him who won’t obey Him (John 14:15; Luke 6:46). Loving Jesus is hard, but it’s a good hard because it alone satisfies our soul’s thirst. Nothing is better than loving God. In fact, the Bible calls loving God the greatest commandment (Matt 22:37-38). So on the one hand, God calls us to love Him with everything we have and to love Him more than every thing else even our own lives. And then there is sin enticing us to love ourselves more than anyone and everything else. Everyone loves. The only difference is the object of our love—God or self-centered sin. Sin, therefore, is then the greatest hindrance to enjoying the love of God which brings true peace and satisfying joy. Hence sin is your greatest enemy (1 John 2:15), and it must be radically opposed. Sin must be put to death (Col 3:5), because if you don’t kill it, it will kill you (Rom 6:23). There is no other option.

I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with Jesse Lee Peterson today. We discussed a number of ways to overcome the challenge of sexual temptation. I have only presented a portion of the Bible’s admonition to overcome sexual temptation. However, I hope what I have shared encourages you to cultivate a passionate love for God, a stirring hatred of sin, and a conviction to learn more of what the Bible says about winning the war against sexual sins.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

There is Power in Unity

Here I am, an African-American urban preacher, at a predominately white, rural Bible convention, doing a workshop about overcoming sexual temptation from a book co-authored by 7 African-American Christian leaders. My message could not have been more warmly received. Why is that? Because the Truth is color-blind, and Jesus only has one church, and His Word saves and sanctifies all of God’s children.

I just returned to Los Angeles from Eugene, Oregon and the IFCA International Annual Convention. I try to attend the conventions as often as I can. This year, my good friend Executive Director, Dr. Les Lofquist, invited me do a workshop on my book. The plenary speaker was Dr. Alex Montoya, one of the world’s foremost visionary church planting pastors who serves the Lord in East LA. Listen to one of his sermons about church planting at the conference:

We heard reports of the work the Lord is doing through IFCA chaplains in Iraq. The Lord enabled me to network with the chaplains to see if God would open up doors to use Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity, in the military theater to help our soldiers win their battles against sexual temptation. The Lord led me to missionaries who labor in Uganda, Kenya, and the Congo. We are exploring the possibility of the co-authors making a trip and to hold purity conferences to help our brothers in Africa.

God is working all over the world. We were blessed to also hear how God is using a Korean pastor in the Cal Berkley area to plant churches in Taiwan. We heard from believers laboring in Belarus, Brazil, and India. It is amazing what the church can do when we don’t emphasize the differences in our color and instead labor together for Christ on the basis of the cross. As Les Lofquist reminded me at the conference, Jesus said, “He would build His church” not my church and that He would build it and not me. Jesus is Lord of all in all places, and by faith He wants all believers to be involved in reaching the lost all over the world. May God bless the IFCA’s vision to plant 100 new churches throughout the US by 2020. I am humbled and grateful for the small part I played in encouraging the saints at this convention, and I am proud to be a co-laboring IFCA member with like-minded believers glorifying Christ all over the world.

Grace and peace

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My First Post

Here I sit, in my little space in the world, reaching out to folks in the city who love the truth and stand on the truth. In a world full of compromise there are some who don't. By God's grace may this become a forum where the truth we need to hear in the city is heralded and heeded. I pray that God will use this humble attempt to exalt His Name by proclaiming His Word to strengthen and encourage urban Americans to stand firm against an avalanche of error.