Is Sexual Purity Possible?

Click on the image to learn more about the Conquer Series

Click on the image to learn more about the Conquer Series

Through the Apostle Paul, God defines sexual purity: “It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

The research studies, primarily by the Barna Group and Covenant Eyes, reveal that initial exposure to porn (a form of sexual immorality) begins in childhood and progresses. Access to porn is increasingly easy due to the wide variety of formats now available, such as printed materials, the internet, DVDs, television, and more.

Let’s look at some data to see the scope and effects of porn in society and the church:

  • Over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites. The average visit lasts 6 minutes and 29 seconds.

  • There are around 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn.

  • The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It is also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC.

  • 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home.

  • Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%.

  • Eleven is the average age that a child is first exposed to porn, and 94% of children will see porn by the age of 14.

  • 56% of American divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.

  • 70% of Christian youth pastors report that they have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with pornography in the past 12 months.

  • 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis.

  • Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.

  • 59% of pastors said that married men seek their help for porn use.

  • 33% of women aged 25-and-under search for porn at least once per month.

  • Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn – 87% of Christian women have watched porn.

  • 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. And 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church.

  • Only 7% of pastors say their church has a program to help people struggling with pornography.

So, what has been the church’s response to this problem? Apathy! This is confirmed by the very last statistic. They also prove that pornography causes infidelity in marriage, ultimately divorce!

One Good Solution!

God works through the Conquer Series to help fight the porn epidemic and its consequences. In weekly groups:

  • Explore the strongholds that keep men in bondage

  • Examine the neurochemistry of addiction

  • Discover the weapons and strategies of God

  • Investigate proven strategies to prevent relapse

  • Study practical daily techniques to remain free

Men: If you want to live in victory and freedom, it's yours for the taking. One confidential call, text, or email to Doug is a good first step. Click on the “Contact Us” button shown below. The Conquer Series is offered at the following location on Monday mornings from 9-11 and Tuesdays nights from 6:30 - 8:30.

Christ Church 15849-90th St. NE Otsego, MN 55330

 

Why Discipleship?

Why Discipleship?                                                                                                          1.  Like a lifeguard who protects your life when swimming, discipleship serves to guard one's life from Satan's attacks. Good mentors keep themselves in relationship with other growing Christians. 2.  Its Biblical! It's a command, not an option.                                                                                     3.  It reinforces the truth of God's Word in one's life.                                                                         4.  It offers a safe place to deal with failure.                                                                                 5.  It produces the next generation of Christian leaders.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   If making disciples is imperative, we must understand what discipleship actually means (Matthew 4: 19):                                                                                                                   1.  It is an Invitation to enter into a relationship with Jesus and then to follow (obey) his teachings.   2.  Discipleship is intentionally creating relational environments which allows it to flourish. 3.  Discipleship is spiritually multiplying ourselves in other people’s lives.                                    

Making disciples is a challenge because it requires patience as described from the book of Mark:                                                                                                             1.  Sometimes the disciples struggled to realize who their mentor was (4:35-41).                       2.  They didn’t always understand what Jesus could do (5:30-43).                                                   3.  They failed to learn from previous miracles (feeding 5,000 in 6:41 and 4,000 in 8:1-10).           4.  The disciples had God’s power at their disposal but still failed to exorcise a spirit primarily because they lacked faith and prayer (9:14-29).                                                                             5.  They rebuked people for bringing children to their mentor (10:13-16).                                     6.  One of them betrayed Jesus to death (14:43-46).                                                                    7.  All of the disciples deserted Jesus when He was arrested (14:50).                                         8.  One of them denied being a mentee at all (14:66-72).                                                               9.  Our effectiveness is in direct proportion to our faith (Romans 12:3).

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TDM needs mentors. Please Contact us today!

Mentoring Insights

The Importance of a Mentor                             

  • The mentor's goal is to teach out of her strengths while working on her weaknesses. As a result, growth occurs. That’s one reason to partner with a mentor. She can point out a mentee's weaknesses, challenging her to admit struggles, providing direction to resolve these issues, rejoicing with her when victory occurs, and showing love even when failure occurs. Everybody benefits when this ever-growing mentor continues to help move her mentee forward.          
  • A mentee doesn't need to be told what to do as much as how to do it. She needs equipping (Ephesians 4:12-16).
  • Beyond encouraging, a mentor teaches Christian disciplines and life skills. Encouragement without equipping might lead to restored hope, but seldom does it produce life transformation (becoming like Jesus) – the ultimate goal of mentoring.
  • Becoming like Jesus is defined as the process of sanctification or “a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Jesus in our actual lives.” Letting go of sin and becoming more like Jesus are two elements of this transformation.  
  • The best evidence of one's faith is best seen in his day-to-day living (James 2:17). 
  • A mentor doesn't always have to be older than his mentee. Investing in the lives of others requires only that he be at least one step ahead in some area in order to spiritually multiply it into the mentee's life. Whatever one's age, life experience, and/or Christian growth, each can be an effective tool for the mentor.
  • Contact us to help with your next step!                 

TDM Needs Mentors: Click The Video to Learn More!

Disciples Who Make Disciples

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“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (I Corinthians 3:6-7).

Apollos and Paul were disciples who made disciples. Paul planted the spiritual seed and then Apollos watered it. Each of them had a specific role in the discipleship process. Each emulated Jesus in their thoughts, words, and actions leaving the results to God. The disciples they made also emulated these same characteristics. Jesus promised, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12).

The critical aspect of discipleship is passing on what you learned to other people who have not been discipled. Paul charged Timothy with that very task. It is described in II Timothy 2:2, “and the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” This is called the spiritual multiplication of disciples as illustrated below:

Photo by cienpies/iStock / Getty Images

On the other hand, spiritual addition is the result of a Christian who is saved by Jesus, but who has not been discipled, or has been discipled but has not discipled another person.  Spiritual addition is not what Jesus meant when he said to "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The word "disciples" is plural, not singular.

Spiritual addition limits the amount of people who could be discipled and the biblical influence that is critically needed in our culture. Through the power of God's Holy Spirit, this influence helps to address our current cultural problems such as abortion, civil unrest, divorce, and financial struggles, just to name a few. Twelve Disciples Ministries (TDM) offers biblical discipleship in order to help create better relationships, providing the biblical answers to the needs of our culture. You can learn more about TDM by clicking on the button shown below. I, Doug Wood, would enjoy hearing from you, especially if discipleship has not been established in your life and/or church. Just send me an email through TDM's website located in the "Contact Us" tab. I can help you get started!

The following quote by Ken Adams of Impact Ministries helps to put spiritual multiplication further into perspective. He said, “Jesus took pre-Christians and turned them into reproducing Christians. He won them. He built them. He sent them. This is the exact process Jesus used to multiply disciples and it is to be the same process we use today. Jesus never intended for us to make disciples by addition – only by multiplication.”

Taking Next Steps: Spiritual Parent

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I indicated in my last blog that if you and/or your church do not exhibit at least the first three of the following traits, it usually indicates the need for discipleship. I will now describe a spiritual parent.  

  • Sharing: Nurturing spiritual infants
  • Connecting: Guiding spiritual children
  • Ministering: Training spiritual young adults
  • Discipling: Releasing spiritual parents

    Here is a biblical definition of a spiritual parent or discipler, "Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

    • "Come, follow me" is the invitation. 
    • "I will make you" is the transformation of one's mind into the likeness of Jesus  (Romans 12:2). 
    • "Fishers of men" is the Great Commission, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19-20). 

    It is critical that we use a unified definition of a spiritual parent so the church does not become divided in its understanding and application of discipleship! 
                                                                                                                                                                               The following words best describe the fourth stage of a disciple's life:

    • Intentionally reproducing disciples: Discipleship doesn't happen by chance. Rather, it is intentionally established by a spiritual parent who is released to disciple people who in turn will disciple other people.
    • Creating relational environments: A spiritual parent intentionally creates a relational environment which is most conducive for discipleship. This environment includes friendly people who are transparent with one another, showing care and compassion beyond the meetings, and contacting those people who are absent. 
    • Utilizing a reproducible process: A spiritual parent uses a well thought out strategy in which to disciple a person from a spiritual infant into a spiritual parent; someone who will reproduce the process in the lives of other people. TDM uses the reproducible process closely mirroring Jesus' method. The result is changing the lives of many people!

    The results of discipleship include an inner peace of living a lifestyle that:

    • God is there as Abba Father, when you need fathering. 
    • He is there as the answer when your uncertain and have questions. 
    • He is there as defender and deliverer when you feel attacked. 
    • He is there as a faithful friend when you feel alone. 

    Coming Up
    In my next blog entry I will continue describing what the life of a disciple looks like from Jesus' perspective. 

    Taken from Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Copyright © 2010 by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

    Taking Next Steps: Spiritual Young Adult

    Discipleship Coming Together

    Understanding the stages of spiritual growth is critical to your development as a disciple. Today's focus is on the spiritual young adult. 

    • Sharing: Nurturing spiritual infants
    • Connecting: Guiding spiritual children
    • Ministering: Training spiritual young adults
    • Discipling: Releasing spiritual parents

    The following words from Romans 12:10-13 best describe the third stage of a disciple's life:

    • "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 
    • Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 
    • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
    • Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." 

    The following words also describe the mindset of the spiritual young adult, "Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25). A spiritual young adult is learning to transition the focus from herself to become more focused on God and other people. 

    In a discipling (mentoring) relationship, one person leads and another follows. Somebody must be in front, even if just slightly. Only when we’re growing can we guide others toward growth. Spiritual young adults are learning what this means in their lives. They are just beginning to understand their future mentoring role as a spiritual parent. 

    Contact Doug at TDM if you and/or your church are not experiencing any one of the stages of discipleship.


    Coming Up

    My next blog will describe a spiritual parent from a biblical perspective. Here is an appetizer, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” Matthew 28:19-20. 

    Taken from Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Copyright © 2010 by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

    Taking Next Steps: Spiritual Child

    I indicated in my last blog post that if you and/or your church do not exhibit at least the first three of the following traits, it usually indicates the need for discipleship. Today I will describe a spiritual child.

    • Sharing: Nurturing spiritual infants
    • Connecting: Guiding spiritual children

    • Ministering: Training spiritual young adults
    • Discipling: Releasing spiritual parents

    The following words best describe the second stage of a disciple's life:

    • Self-Centeredness: This disciple is often more concerned about his own needs than the needs of others. He is usually lacking a strong connection with God, a small group, and purpose.  
    • Idealism: Due to inexperience, this disciple tends to be black-and-white in her thinking. For example, she may think that the only book a disciple can read is the Bible or that the only allowable music is Christian.   
    • Over or under confident: This disciple swings back and forth from an attitude of pride to one of defeat. He may say things like, "I don't need to attend church; God is all I need" or "My small group is not taking care of my needs like it should." 

    Here again is the biblical description of a spiritual child, "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil"    Hebrews 5:12-14. 

    Do you, a friend, and/or your church need discipleship? Contact TDM to learn more!

    Coming Up
    In my next blog post I will further describe a spiritual young adult from a biblical perspective. Here is an appetizer for now, "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."  Romans 12:10-13.

    Taken from Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Copyright © 2010 by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

    Taking Next Steps: Spiritual Infant

    If you and/or your church do not exhibit at least the first three of the following traits, it usually indicates the need for discipleship:

    • SHARING: NUTURING SPIRITUAL INFANTS
    • Connecting: Guiding spiritual children
    • Ministering: Training spiritual young adults
    • Discipling: Releasing spiritual parents

    What is a spiritual infant? The following words best describe the first stage of a disciple's life:

    • Ignorance: This is a disciple who lacks sufficient knowledge of the Bible. He or she does not know what he or she does not know regarding biblical beliefs. This disciple is unaware of the steps towards ultimately becoming a spiritual parent. 
    • Confusion: A spiritual infant struggles with sin, unable to overcome temptations. He or she does not know how to replace old, familiar habits with those of a more mature disciple. 
    • Dependence: Similar to an infant who is totally dependent on one's parents for meeting his or her needs, a spiritual infant is dependent on someone else rather than the Holy Spirit for spiritual growth.

    Here is Paul's description of a spiritual infant, "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?" (I Corinthians 3:1-5).

    Do you, a friend, and/or your church need discipleship? Contact TDM to learn more!

    Coming Up
    In my next blog post I will describe a spiritual child from a biblical perspective. Here is an appetizer from Hebrews 5:12-14, "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

    Taken from Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Copyright © 2010 by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.