Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll

For 3 weeks we dialogued about these hot topics in our culture. God did amazing things in the lives of our students and we're beginning to hear some of the stories of freedom. God doesn't want us to live under the influence of anything other than His Spirit. Below are three entries from your Jr. High Adult Volunteers who wanted to share their thoughts on the three topics.

By: April Nault

As young adults, sexuality can be a big factor in discovering our self image. In result we are, experimenting, dreaming, looking, and lusting; and I think everyone can identify with at least one of these words.
Which word are you toying with right now?
Is it looking at things you know you shouldn’t?
Is it dreaming of that guy or girl and getting emotionally attached?
Is it experimenting and pushing that invisible “how-far-is-too-far” line?

I don’t think people realize that these action words cause us to create habits.

A habit by definition is: an action or pattern of behavior that is repeated so often that it becomes typical of somebody, although he or she may be unaware of it.

By letting ourselves experiment with others, dream of others, lust for others, look at others, or fantasize about others we create these habits. And we’ll bring these habits into our relationships down the road and eventually our marriages.

Q: If your future spouse knew about your current sexual choices would you continue living that way or make a change?

Looking back, Sean doesn’t like to hear that I kissed other guys or got emotionally attached to someone. It hurts him because everything I have emotionally and sexually should be aimed at him and him alone. Unfortunately I didn’t control myself or open my eyes to see what choices I was making back then and how they would affect us now.

Remember that your sexuality is not all about you – but that the choices you make affect others.

Regardless of what “action word” you are toying with – we can all ask for forgiveness for the choices we are making. No sin is too great, in fact the Bible says that in God’s eyes all sin is equal – at the foot of the cross no one is greater or lesser for the choices they make! Rest assured God redeems everything for those who love him.

By: Jessie German

When I began junior high, it really seemed like drugs were everywhere. Every time I turned on the radio to my favorite stations, watched the popular movies, or talked with the kids at school; drugs were involved and influenced our lives. I actually remember telling my mother once “Everyone smokes weed, everyone does drugs”. Because of the people I surrounded myself with, I truly felt that way. My junior high years started a rough road for me. At the age of fourteen, I was addicted to cigarettes, smoked weed and went out and drank regularly. Pretty quickly, I ended up going down a steep hill right out of my parents’ house and into out-patient rehab (rehab while living at home) by the age of sixteen. There were some key people involved with my recovery, without them and their love of God, and if I didn’t allow them to help me, I truly have no idea where I would be.

After going through out-patient, my real journey began. By God’s redemption I was given a second chance with a new life. Of course, I was not able to understand this right from the beginning, but slowly God began to show me.

One of the most difficult things about recovery is being able to forgive yourself. If you are not able to take that step, it is guaranteed that you will trip, as I did many times. The beautiful part is that each and every time, God will forgive you and make you new.

Romans 3:22-25”This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”If God forgives each and every one of us for our sins, who are we to not forgive ourselves? Just as the verse above says, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are given grace and redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ. No matter our situation, He is the only one faithful. I have found the only way to recover from an addiction is to put your faith in something bigger, and you do not get any bigger than our Lord and Savior.

Romans 6:22-23
”But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

He frees us from our ties and bonds that we tangle ourselves in. In Him you find truth, peace, and wisdom. My life has completely changed since I have fully put my faith in Him. And I have never been happier!

Some questions to think about:
- Is there something in your life that you put your faith in more than God?
- Are there areas of your life that keep you bound?
- Does anyone have any favorite verses of the grace and mercy of God?

By: Duane Cawthon

What’s on your iPod? Does your music choice affect your walk with Christ? Can lyrics really change your perspective? Or are we just a little paranoid and over sensitive about the influence of media on our lives? This Wednesday we began a dialogue on the influence of music in our lives, and how we can begin to make educated choices on what we listen to. It has been said that music calms the savage beast, but can it also create one?

Philippians 4:8 states,
“Finally, my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s virtually impossible to think about any of the things listed in this verse when I’m listening to most popular music. Now, this is not to say that so called secular or non-Christian music is all bad. There are thousands of songs that uplift, motivate, encourage, and comfort the soul that you won’t find on any Christian radio playlist. Artists such as Common, Linkin Park, Green Day, and even Tupac have personally encouraged me! I have also identified with the violence, anger, and confusion of some of these same artists.

What should I do then? Erase my iPod? Destroy my CD’s? Stay permanently tuned to a Christian station? Perhaps…Not! I believe selectivity and wisdom is the key. As followers of Christ it is important to guard our hearts and minds. (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23, 1 Peter 3:8) A maturing believer is responsible to take ownership of his or her mental and spiritual well-being. It is our duty then, to review and inspect what we are injecting in to our minds just like we would be careful about what we put in our bodies. How can we accomplish this? The following are a few suggestions.

A) Download and actually READ song lyrics. Review the nutritional label of your music just like you would the nutritional label on your food if you were on a specific diet.

B) Research the artist’s catalogue and personal outlook or beliefs. Many artists are openly and aggressively in opposition to Christianity. Why support their agenda?

C) Actually listen to the song. Instead of mindlessly going on with the latest trend or star, decide who you like and why.

This brings us to a choice. Do we add the song to our playlist? Fast forward through the negative parts? Buy the edited Wal-Mart version? Or find something else to listen to? I can’t make the decision for you; I can only share what I did. Recently I was listening to a Lil Wayne CD while driving. As I began to actually listen to the lyrics and vibes of the songs he was singing, I began to reflect on how this music had begun to influence my family. It was as if I were listening to someone verbally abuse my daughters and wife and we enjoyed it! My son loved to sing Lil Wayne songs with me when we heard them on the radio. How would this shape his view of women? Of drugs? Of life? I wouldn’t consider myself a prude by any means and initially the humor, beats and stories of the music was fun, if, you mentally muted the language it contained. But I began to realize the impact this could have, even in the short term, and I began to feel nauseated, literally. The constant references to cars, clothes, drugs, sex, violence, and derogatory statements about women turned my stomach. I eventually ejected the disk, broke it in half, threw it away, and turned on some Jack Johnson! The choice is yours. Choose wisely! I have to go and evaluate my iPod now…and delete Limewire, but that’s another story!

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