times square

It all started with a recent visit to Times Square in NYC with my family. We didn’t notice the billboards until the sun went down and the light’s went on. There she was, several stories high towering over us, a naked woman barely covering her chest and selling men’s underwear of course.

Last weekend I was traveling for a speaking engagement. Turning on the television, the first “station” was one of those where you can, “Pay for the latest movie in the comfort of your room.”  Absent-mindedly, I left it there for a second.  That’s when an attractive woman, dressed pretty modestly began to speak. Her words caught me off guard. She said, “For just a small fee you can watch adult entertainment. No spyware. No malware. You can pay in a way that no one has to know.”  In other words,  “Go ahead an watch porn. No one is paying attention.”

This sexually charged culture is in our face all of the time. Media portrays sex as something to be used, discarded and played with. There is no talk of intimacy, or the soul’s involvement in this “physical act.”.  A ChristianNet Poll, Focus on the Family Poll, and research conducted by Christian Counseling today discovered these stats for THE CHURCH:

  • 5 out of every 10 men in the church are struggling with some issue concerning pornography
  • 34% of churchgoing women said they have intentionally visited porn websites online.
  • 54% of pastors admitted to viewing Internet porn in the last year and 30% admitted viewing within the past month.
  • 50% of all Christian men are addicted to pornography.
  • 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography.
  • 60% of women admit to having significant struggles with lust.
  • 47% of families said pornography is a problem in their home.
  • 42% of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s use of pornography made them feel insecure.
  • 41% of surveyed adults admitted they felt less attractive due to their partner’s pornography use.
  • 30% of surveyed adults said their partner’s use of pornography made them feel more like a sexual object.

It’s not just a set of statistics. I know people in full-time, paid ministry whose lives and marriages have been destroyed by porn. We have been told that we must be “perfect” so we close our hotel rooms, and turn on the television.

How do we deal?  If this is what is going on with adults then what do we say to youth?

  • It starts with an honest assessment of our own heart, mind and soul.  We need to be totally aware of the danger of falling into a sexual trap, at any moment.  What are we doing to protect our hearts, eyes and mind against the world that tells us, “If it feels good in the moment, go for it.”

 

  • The discussion in youth group goes FAR beyond purity.  It is talking about the way Satan is always seeking “who he will devour, “ and he will use whatever he can to accomplish this goal-  media, people, insecurity, everything. We have to be supporting the family.

 

  • We need to keep exposing the lies.  I was previewing a CW show about princesses for my teen daughter, because I had heard some things. Sure enough, the first 20 minutes included both a graphic sex and a masturbation scene. Yep, it took place in the 1800’s, and yep, my husband and I felt like we had just watched porn. Just because tradition or the culture says it’s alright, doesn’t make it God’s plan.

It’s time we all remembered that God wants more for us than this excuse for “Sex” that the world portrays. He wants us to be in wonder of the miracle he calls, “Becoming one flesh,” and the promises attached to that.

What are you doing to actively combat this sexually charged world? 

Leneita

@leneitafix

Parenting in this new millennium in the first world culture may be the most different than any other generation that has ever been before. We are in a world of being always on, teens having access to more sinful content than ever, and a culture that says it should be all about you instead of all about your children and family. At the same time, God seems to be less of a focus within the family system than ever before.

Maybe the most frequent questions I have heard as a youth worker from parents at the chapel I serve in is how parents approach technology with their children. This is a whole new world with little to no precedent established from previous parenting models. This unknown territory has initiated fear, concern and doubt in the value added to technology with their children as well as a perceived loss of family communication and values being passed on.

We want to share with you a few tips for parents to have with technology and their children. Take it if it adds value or share with us how you have done it differently down in the comments.

  • Parents Should Look Through Cell Phones
    As a youth worker, I am in the unique position between teenagers want privacy in their lives and parents wanting to protect their children. As a youth worker, we want to support great parenting and yet find ourselves also being empathetic to the teens. Yet, I constantly find myself voicing the support of a parent to have the right and authority to look through their child’s phone. If you set up an understanding with the child before you begin and explain that this is a right to have a phone with the agreement that will be monitored, it becomes less of an invasion of privacy and more about the fact that they are reminded that their phone is a privilege.
  • Pornography Is An Issue For ALL Students
    Parents here me say this and think, sure for all other children it is a problem, but not theirs. Many statistics differ. “But my would never do that!” Some studies say that 100% of children are exposed to pornography if they use the computer more than three hours a week. That would include your child. “But my daughter wouldn’t see have an issue with it.” Unfortunately, the issue of women regularly looking at pornography is sharply rising as is an addiction to it for females. Have this talk, put necessary software on your computer, and do not assume ANYTHING.
  • Do Not Be Afraid of Technology
    Technology can be a scary thing. The two points above are hard conversations and points of sin for many different people, but the nature of technology can be a good thing. To shove off all things technology would also be a negative approach. Instead, know that technology is a tool and if you keep that priority and do not allow it to rule over you, it can help your family. Make fun family videos to post on YouTube, find your favorite time with family to watch a television show, and communicate via text messages, just do so with moderation.
  • Communicate Intent With Actions
    If I could communicate any one thing to parents, it would the fact that they need to communicate their intent with their children more. Sure, not every decision you do with them needs to have a briefing of why you decided what you did, but at the same time, so many arguments and battles that happen could simply be prevented if you had just communicated the love, time, and fear that goes into why you put the different rules down that you did. Will you have to repeat them because teenagers forget? Yes. Does communicating prevent all arguments with children? No. But some of my own parenting models came from when my parent explained why I was limited on television use or needed to call instead of text them.

What other parenting tips on technology would you add to this list?

Jeremy Smith is a youth worker at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Masters of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years — check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.



Weekend Teaching Series: XXX (series finale, week 2 of 2)
Sermon in a Sentence: How to be a good neighbor.

Service Length: 84 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend Craig Gross, founder of XXXChurch, spoke to our high school students in all 4 weekend services. Last week he hit the topic of pronography strong, this week he took the series on the next step – how to I share my freedom and faith in Christ with my friends. His main passage was the Good Samaritan and told stories of how he has seen God work in his life and ministry. Really powerful!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played Facebook Hack, which was a total riot. If you’re not familiar with it yet, steal this idea now (hit the link for the full scoop and graphics). Basically, we use an iPad and the contestant logs in and then gives control of their Facebook to the host. The host asks questions, and if the contenstant gets it wrong the host can unfriend whoever or post whatever they want. Hilarious! As an added bonus as the game was coming to a close, the contestant at one of the services took out a piece of paper and had written a poem to his girlfriend and asked her to prom with him. It made for a super memorable ending!

Music Playlist: We Could Change the World, Our God, Love Came Down, All I Am, To the Ends of the Earth,

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was definitely the message and having Craig here to speak. I also loved having my friend Chris Wohlers back in HSM this weekend as a guest host to Facebook Hack. Chris was on the high school team last year but took a great opportunity with our adult service video team.

Up next: Workshop Weekend (1-off)

Weekend Teaching Series: XXX (series premiere, week 1 of 2)
Sermon in a Sentence:
How to escape the clutches of pornography.

Service Length: 70 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend Craig Gross, founder of XXXChurch, spoke to our high school students in all 4 weekend services. He is a gifted and passionate speaker and this subject is fully in his wheelhouse. I was so happy to have him there to take this topic head on. It was

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we went for content over anything else – the guys made a creative stage design and we asked a couple of very direct polleverywhere cell phone questions about porn etc. Really strong weekend!

Music Playlist: We Are the Free, Our God, Savior of the World

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was … that I was gone this weekend! I got a chance to escape for a weekend away with the family. We did it up simple, just a quick 2-night hotel stay in the area with no phones, computers, worries. Just the pool, great meals and time with the kids. Super fun!

Up next: XXX (series finale, week 2 of 2)



I really like learning things, but NOT learning them the hard way and this is something that I have learned the hard way through my own actions and from the challenges it has brought up with some of our students. We have all been there, preaching to our students about something we are passionate about, something we know that many students are struggling with, you’re feeling it and take it off script and then…. It happens……

You throw down a absolute / blanket statement. You might not have noticed it happened, it might have been a throw away comment but the students heard it and they are thinking about it, reflecting on it and deciding if its true.

This is such a dangerous move; even if by accident, because when we say it, our students are going to assume its true and may act accordingly. A great example is a student named Mike that was in my small group for several years. He was solid, growing in his faith, making great choices, loving Jesus and didn’t struggle with much. We took our youth group to a local youth conference and the main session speaker came out with this uppercut:

“ I know that ALL of you guys are struggling with looking at pornography”

Fact: Mike had never been tempted by pornography in his life……. Until he heard that everyone was.

I have made absolute statements about guys and their intentions in dating that were hurtful, and I owned the comment, apologized the next week and wished I had never done it. But it was not fair to the guys and not fair to the girls who trusted that I was telling them the truth, the guys had ill intentions. I know of at least one student who has not come back since that night and that hurts

Absolute statements are rarely true, often hurtful and always dangerous and not worth it. Be careful, your flippant comment can have devastating consequences for the spiritual journey of a student who is trusting that the information you are bringing is true. Don’t learn the hard way like I have.

GS  (Twitter)

You have a porn problem in your youth group whether you know it or not. High school, junior high, college–it’s present at every age. No longer do students have to go looking for porn, because in today’s age, porn comes looking for them. It might not be an easy topic for most students to talk about, and you may need to find a different way to communicate with students in your group, but it’s a topic that needs to be discussed.

Over the past couple months, we have both taken a week to meet with our junior high and high school small groups to discuss God’s view of porn, how to avoid and battle the temptation, and open the door to conversation. Here are some things we did right, and also some things that we learned from:



XXXChurch.com and X3Watch

Josh Griffin —  January 10, 2012 — 1 Comment

Yesterday’s poll on youth workers and pornography raised a few eyebrows to say the least … without a doubt there is a problem here. First step: get help from XXXChurch.com with their fantastic X3Watch software. Do it now.

JG

I realize that this poll is a little jarring to be hit with on a Monday morning … but I would love your anonymous honesty. Youth workers – are you looking at porn?

JG