Millennial Generation- Guest Writer Pastor Ray Schroeder

When I published my blog yesterday about why people leave churches or never come back once they have visited a new church.  I mentioned in there that I would ask my Pastor if he could share his thoughts concerning if someone needs to go to church in order to be saved. I didn’t make it to church last week and his sermon was pretty much based on it. He gave me permission to share his sermon notes.

Thanks Pastor Ray. Pastor Ray is the Senior Pastor at St. George Community Church in St. George, Utah.

FROM A SERMON DELIVERED April 29th, 2018:

If you want to listen to Pastor Rays sermons Click Here...

Spirituality_ReligionHere’s a phrase you hear a lot from the young people or the Millennial Generation—“I’m spiritual but not religious.” What do you think they mean by that—‘spiritual but not religious?’ Well, let me say it in another way. “I love Jesus but not the church.” Maybe you’ve heard that from some. Or they say, “I can worship God wherever I’m at and I love Jesus but I don’t need to come to a church where there’s a bunch of hypocrites who think they’re ‘holier than thou.’” And I always say, ‘Well, there’s always room for one more.”

But the thing is, people say they don’t need the church. Let me tell you something. Here’s what that really means: “I don’t love Jesus.” If you don’t love the church you don’t love Jesus. Now why would I say that? What’s one of the metaphors the Bible uses for the church? –the body of whom?  Christ! We are all members of the body of Christ and members one of another in Christ. And you can’t cut off part of the body, a finger or foot, without hurting the whole body. We are all members, together, of Christ and of one another.

One place where I think Paul the Apostle really got a hold on this in his own life was when he was called Saul and he was on his way to Damascus and he was going there to imprison these people called Christians and while he was on his way a bright light blinded him and he fell to the ground and he heard a voice saying, “Saul! Saul! Why dost thou persecutist me?” And Saul said, “Who are you, Lord?” And the voice said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutist!” And Paul realized that the church, the people he was persecuting, they were Christ’s body on earth now. It’s the same as persecuting Jesus. So that metaphor of the church as the body of Christ became important to him. If you love Christ you love the church, if you hate the church you hate Jesus Christ.

That’s just true. Now, here’s the problem. Have any of you been hurt by someone in the church? I think all of us have at some point. So go to church anyway. Has anyone ever been wronged by someone at church? Yes, so go to church anyway. Has anyone ever felt they’ve had an enemy at church? Now I say this because I’ve had people tell me that they believe that someone was their enemy at church and ‘had it in for them.’ Well, what did Jesus say about your enemy? “Love your enemy!” So go to church anyway.

Because when you cut yourself off from your brothers in Christ you cut yourself off from Christ. And the author of the Gospel of John, by the Holy Spirit, wrote about this in his letter of First John, chapter 4 verse 20, where he writes:—“If someone says , ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God (or Jesus) whom he has not seen?” “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” This is the Word of God!

Can you imagine someone saying, ‘I love the church and I’m going to lay down my life for the church!’ like Peter said about Jesus?  You don’t hear that so much. What do you hear? “I don’t think this is the church for me, I’m going to try that church down the street.” Or they say, “I’ll try the church across town.” Ever heard that? Yeah. But you never hear, “I’m going to give my life for this body that God has brought me to today.” “I love Jesus Christ and I love His church and that’s the way I’m going to show my love for church through Christ because how can I say I love Jesus Christ whom I’ve never seen but I hate the brethren because they’re so picky, or they’re so mean, or they’re so forgetful.” You can’t do that.

Jesus is calling you and me to love Him by loving His church. And we say, ‘Yeah, but Jesus was without sin, and church is full of a bunch of sinners and even some cruel people.” There’s no one perfect in church. But when God looks at the church He sees Jesus Christ. And He sees people who are cleansed from their sin by the blood of Christ. And so He calls us to live a life that continues to grow in our love for Him and if we stumble and fall He’s there to pick us up and help us to start again on that road of love and we show our love for Christ through loving each other even though they do us wrong, they disappoint us, but we love them.

Any of you have children that have disappointed you in different ways?

You still love them, and this is the way Christ loved Peter and I believe this is the way Peter loved Jesus. Peter’s willing to lay down his life for this man who came from heaven to die on a cross.

Jesus looks at His church and says, “You know, I love you and I gave myself for you. I don’t want to spew you out of my mouth like the church at Laodicea that was neither hot nor cold.” “Will you love me?” “Will you love me?” Peter stumbled and fell yet Jesus still loved him. The church stumbles and falls but we are called to love the church, as imperfect as it is, because it is the body of Christ, and Christ gave Himself for her, the church. Amen.

“What Keeps You From Going to Church?”

I was recently having a discussion with a small group of friends on Facebook about going to church and why some have chosen to stop going and what they like about church. I asked those in the discussion if I could share the conversations and that I wouldn’t mention their real names. So, I will use an alias.

 

why-they-leave-blog-postReason 1: Feeling Unwelcomed

One of the members of the group brought up how he arrived at church about 10 minutes late. His wife was struggling with their little baby in the foyer. His wife took the baby to the nursery and then joined him. This was their first time at that particular church. They stopped going to church years ago, but wanted to start going again because they are parents now. They were church shopping.

Since they came in a little late the usher grabbed his shoulder and stopped from entering the sanctuary since they were preparing for prayer, they were told they had to stand there and not enter the sanctuary until the time was right. He felt as if they weren’t welcome and that the people were cold.  He was saying that it was obvious that they weren’t wanted there and never came back. When they read this, I really hope they give my church a secind chance since my church us a very kind and loving place.

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Reason #2- No Room in the Inn

There was a couple that was in the discussion. I wasn’t going to mention this one, but, I do think it should be included. I wasn’t going to include it because this couple actually visited my church. While they were being a part of the discussion, they were sending me a private message on Facebook. They attend another church locally, but they visited our church one Sunday.

This couple was saying that when they attended church there was a full house. They came in a few minutes late and the service already started. When they came in, they were left standing in the foyer. They were thinking about coming back to church, but have decided not to. The reason why is because nobody was willing to go to the overflow area.

Instead of getting help in finding a seat in the sanctuary, they were directed to the overflow room. In that room, the screen is harder to see. Instead of whoever was ushering that week, they were told to go sit i this other room.

Whoever was the usher should have had someone in the pews slide over so they could sit in the main sanctuary. No new comers should have been directed to a room where they would be sitting alone. They didn’t want me to share thier names. But, I think we dropped the ball on this. I invited them to come back and I let them know that this isn’t normal for our church. They told me not to worry about it since it wasn’t my fault. But, I still felt bad since it happened at my church.

Reason #3: Singled Out

This reason is one that I totally can understand and our church use to do this. It has also been one of those things that has stopped me from going to some churches and it makes me cringe.

One of the ladies in the group said that as she was looking for a new church home, she was put on the spot. When I asked her what she meant, she said that during the announcements they had a part in the service where the lay leader (announcer) would ask if there is anyone that is new to the church.  She was saying that when they ask the new comers to stand and introduce themselves. She wasn’t the only new comer that day.

She does what I do when I’m looking for a church and that is google the church to see what they do. I was telling her that if the church that I’m planning on going to does the whole stand if you’re new thing and introduce yourself, then I won’t go. Our church use to do that and I was so glad to see that we no longer do it.  She has decided that she doesn’t need to go to a church or building in order to worship God. She can do that from home.

Reason #4—I’ve been hurt by the Church. 

One of the ladies said that the reason she stopped going to church was because she was hurt by the church. This woman has 3 children and was recently divorced.  She was mentioning how the pain that she has been dealing with was too much to bear. She felt as if she couldn’t handle life anymore. She wanted to end her pain once and for all.

She was in a dark place emotionally and spiritually . She went to her pastor to let him know what she was feeling.  As she was talking to her pastor she described her pain to him. As she was talking to him, she realized that she was being judged. He ran down a list of things that she needed to change in order to please God.

That was the last time she went to church. While she still believed in Jesus, she knew that church wasn’t where she needed to be.

We were all talking about how Satan is the one planting these thoughts in her heart and mind that we are all broken.  There isn’t anyone who will be exempt from the pains of this world. There isn’t a perfect person in the world and that includes pastors and church leaders.

Reason #5 Hypocrites and Judgmental 

This older gentleman was saying that churches are full of hypocrites and I had to agree with him because he is right. He was surprised when I agreed with him.  If someone says that churches don’t have hypocrites they are lying because we are all hypocrites.

Definition of hypocrite

1a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion

2a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

I know for myself, I have said and done things that I shouldn’t have done. I have said one thing and done another. I have many regrets. I have no doubt that we have all done things or said things that are regretful.

I have missed opportunities to show kindness and love to my family members, friends and strangers. There have been many times when I have shown how selfishness and lack of concern. When this gentleman said he no longer attends church because of all the hypocrites within the walls, he was shocked that we all agreed with him.

John 10:10  (NIV) 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Reason #6- Organized Religion:

A short time after we began the conversation about why someone would stop going to church a woman jumped into the conversation.

I live in Utah where the Mormon Church (LDS Church) is the main church. This woman also lives in Utah. I think she said she said she lived in Ceder City which is about 50 miles from me. But, anyhow, she said she stopped going to any church because she decided that any organized church or religion isn’t something she is interested in. She has tried numerous churches and years ago she said she caved in and decided that she needs to stick with the Mormon Church.

I asked her why she decided on that the Mormon Church/ She said that while she didn’t believe everything they taught, it was just easier and they were there to help her when she needed food or help with other things.

After spending years in the Mormon Church she said that she lost faith in organized religion all together.  I don’t think she lost her faith since she referenced a couple of Bible verses. These are the ones she quoted.

  1. John 4:24  (NIV)  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
  2. John 17:17  (NIV)- Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

One of the guys in the group wanted to have her go into more details since they weren’t familiar with the Mormon Church. I was a bit apprehensive on this conversation since I have so many friends that are Mormon (LDS). So, I tried to step back a bit with this conversation, but I personally feel that we all have the responsibility to be honest when it comes to talking to others about Jesus Christ.

The guy wanted more details and he asked her for specifics on why she left the Mormon church. I’m hoping I get the wording right. I did make sure to save the conversation since I wanted to share the correct words. So, this is what she said and I think it also pertains to other churches and not just the Mormon Church.

  • She left the Mormon church because the Bishop and church leaders are focused on themselves and don’t understand what it means to be a Christian, even though they say they are Christian.
  • Someone came up to her and asked her if she understood what the Bible verse John 3:16 meant to her. She then stated that she doesn’t know what the verse said since she was told that the Book of Mormon was all she read and that she doesn’t read the Bible.
  • John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NIV)For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
    She was challenged to read the Book of John in the Bible and she didn’t even know where that was in the Bible. But, she did read it and the Book of Romans.

She told those in our group that she is disillusioned with organized religion because she feels like she has been lied to her entire life. She said that he will stick with watching church on the internet or TV.

Reason #7- I don’t need to go to church in order to be saved or to go to Heaven

One of the members of the group responded to this excuse. Which in my opinion isn’t really an excuse. I’m going to ask Pastor Ray if he will write a blog or short devotional on this excuse or comment.

My response to this person and I can’t remember who it was is that I don’t believe that we have to go to church in order to be saved. For myself and I have been having problems going to church for medical reasons. But, I know for myself that when I go, it helps me get through my week. I listen to the sermons online on youtube. But it isn’t the same. Going to church encourages me and fellow-shipping with others feeds my soul. I know for myself when I don’t go to church, there is a void.

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Pastor Ray has been doing sermons out of the Book of John. If you would like to listen to the sermons you can go to my churches website and listen to the Sermons and Bible Studies. You will be encouraged.

Listen to Sermons on St. George Community Churches Website

Listen to Sermons On Youtube

I do not believe we must “go to church” to be “saved”; I do believe that as fallible human beings we need some source of recharging, or encouragement, of community and of guidance. Holy Scripture, homilies that give us perspective and God’s comfort, the fellowship and strengthening that come from the mystical power of community — all these are food for our soul and can be found in a place of worship.

For more information about what you need to do in order to be saved you can read what is written below. This information came from the website Got Question. They have a great deal of information. I provided a link below after the paragraph.

 

(Got Question) How can I be saved? What do I need to do?

Read More
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). God has already done all of the work. All you must do is receive, in faith, the salvation God offers (Ephesians 2:8-9). Fully trust in Jesus alone as the payment for your sins. Believe in Him, and you will not perish (John 3:16). God is offering you salvation as a gift. All you have to do is accept it. Jesus is the way of salvation (John 14:6).

Read More… 

 

 

 

 

 

CARE WITHOUT CARRYING – Boundaries

This is long, but please read it all. If you have ever had a toxic relationship that is causing you pain and suffering, this blog post may help you. It’s OK to say NO to people. Boundaries are a good thing. The only ones who will say boundaries are bad will be those who want you to do everything for them.

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“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11, from The Message) Jesus

I have been having a conversation with a close friend of mine about enabling someone. I guess she figured I would know about this subject since I have had the hardest time saying no to someone. This is going to be a series of blog posts because it will turn into a book otherwise. But mainly because I want to focus on different things without boring everyone.

I’m the kind of person who would do just about anything for someone, even if it meant that I will be doing without. There is a huge misconception when it comes to helping those who are in need. I am a Christian and I strive to be more like Christ. When it comes to helping those in need, I always thought that I should help them. It took me a long time to get to the point where I realized I got it all wrong.

While I was talking about the word “no” to my friend, she felt that she had to say yes to anyone who asks for something. She feels like she is a bad person and a complete failure because she can’t do it all.

About 10 or 5 years ago when my mom was still alive, she would constantly tell me that I have to let my brother or oldest sister because they need the help. With my brother, she used my faith as a manipulating tool. I don’t like even talking about these kinds of things since she is no longer with us and she can’t defend herself.

My mom called me up and told me that I’m a terrible and not a real Christian since I told her that I won’t let my brother live with me. He was hiding out because he got served papers from his ex-wife or the state of California for child support. I didn’t realize at the time why he even needed to find a place to live. My mom didn’t say why. It was my brother who told me after he was here a couple of months. Since she used my faith as a tool to get me to comply and do what she wanted me to do, I began thinking I wasn’t being the person God wanted me to be.

Everyday I was being told that I’m not a good person or a Christian. Even after allowing him to come live with me and my husband. I caved in and the words she embedded into my heart and mind began eating at my world. When you are told every day that you are a terrible Christian and that I had a holier than thou attitude when it came to my brother and other family members, you start believing it.

I think Pastor Ellis Keck was the pastor at my church at the time. At least I think he was. It was such a long time ago. Anyhow. I went over to his house because I was way upset. I had the key to our church and I found myself going there at night and sitting in the darkened sanctuary. I was having a tremendous amount of guilt.

One of the nights, Ellis met me there. I just really needed to talk about this. My brother was living with us for a very short time at this point. Pastor Ellis was about to retire and I was upset over that. Ellis just had something special about him.

Ellis told me that I have the wrong idea when it comes to being Christlike. It isn’t our responsibility to do everything for those in need. He knew that my brother was bad news and so did anyone who met him. Pastor Keck shared a bit about his own relationship with his older sister, whom he had to cut out of his life due to the toxicity of her choices.

I had a different perspective on how I can’t keep trying to help someone who isn’t willing to change. In their opinion they don’t feel as if they need to change. I had a great deal of anger towards my mom because of her willingness to put the needs of my brother over my needs. For some reason she has always felt as if she needed to hide him out, lie to others about what he did and where he was. After Talking to Pastor Keck, I realized that my anger is misdirected. Even though she kept pushing me to talk him in, I allowed her to manipulate me. I could have said no, but I chose to let him stay with us.

Things started catching up with my brother. I didn’t realize what he was doing. I convinced myself that I was saving him. I was being the good Christian because I turned the other cheek more than the 70×7’s.  I was in a state of denial since I thought I was the one who was saving him and protecting him like a big sister should be doing. I was so very wrong on so many levels.

I knew that something was going on when my mom called me out of the blue asking me if I could give my brother some money to get back to Elfrida, AZ. This was the first time I heard about his plans to move back down to where my mom and dad lived. To say I was confused was an understatement. My mom and brother convinced me that he was needed down there to help my dad because my dad had a stroke(that was a lie). I told my mom that I didn’t have any money to get him a bus ticket. So, she paid for the ticket and had him pick it up at the bus station.

I’m not sure if anyone reading post has someone like my brother in their life. My friend that I was talking to was discussing how she has people in her life that uses drugs and will steal them in order to make extra money and to feed her friends habit. She had a habit of keeping these toxic people in her life, even though it is destroying her marriage and her relationship with her family and her children. She has a brother like mine. When I told her how my brother caused an abundance of drama because of his lying and a process called “divide and conquer”.

If you don’t know what that means, it is basically where my brother would keep people separated. He didn’t want them talking to each other or all of the lies would come to a head. I told my friend some of the things my brother did and how my mom covered up things for him. She even kept my dad in the dark. My dad has a great deal of anger towards my mom even though she died because of the things she did for him. I had to really think twice on if I was going to share this or not. I will make sure that certain family members on my Facebook page won’t see this out of respect for my dad. Before my mom died, she and I had some long talks and she apologized. I told her that I love her very much and that is true. She was a new person before she died. She carried so much guilt, but we didn’t focus on that since she was on hospice for cancer.

When my friend asked me how I was able to cope after my brother left and did all the things he did, I told her it wasn’t easy because I still loved him. But, I did have to stop taking phone calls from him. I also have it where he can’t access my Facebook page because I don’t want him hurting anyone else. One of the many reasons why he left town so fast is because his girlfriend was pregnant and in the hospital. He told her that he had a vasectomy and he lied to her and put her life at risk since she was told that if she got pregnant, she could die. He isn’t allowed to view anything on my page because his ex girl friend and her son, my nephew is on my page.

I told my friend that you can’t change a person and do everything for someone unless they want to change. My friend is a basket case because she can’t do it all. I told her I will be doing a blog series on this and hopefully it helps.  She has called me daily or sends me messages about how she just can’t do it anymore. She is frustrated over not being able to do it all. I told her that if she isn’t careful the frustrations she has can easily lead to feelings of guilt because she can’t figure out how to help them in the way she wants.

I asked her if those who are demanding so much of her time have family members who can help them. When she told me that they do have a big circle of family and friends. When I asked her about contacting her friends children, spouse, church family or others that knows her, she said that she was told that her family doesn’t care. They have washed their hands of her friend. My friends friend told her that it would be best to not contact or ask her family for help. That brought up some major red flags. I can’t go into all of the excuses my friend was told as to why she can’t call any of her friends family.

I did go into a lot of detail with my friend over my brother and how it is dangerous to not check things out. I had to really pray and think about what I’m about to share, but I do think it is important to share the dangers and destruction of lies. So, these are some of the things my brother did and my mom hid from me and my family.

  1. His ex-wife is trying to steal all of his money to pay for a child that isn’t his. The truth is that the little boy was abandoned by my brother while he was on machines and my brother left them.
  2. He is cashing in his 401K and will be able to repay everything that my husband and I paid and what he borrowed from us. He was suppose to get close to $100,000 and even produced a forged check to make it look legit.
  3. He told a gentleman about the 401K money and was able to convince him to sell him a truck and even convinced him to give him the title free and clear.
  4. With his girl friend, he said he had a vasectomy, instead she almost died due to blood clots in her lungs and she was basically confined to bed for the entire time. She is also diabetic. Thankfully her son turned out awesome. He knows that I am his aunt.
  5. He also told his ex-girlfriend that he is buying a house in a nice area. He went as far as contact a realtor and had a contract signed. My brother showed her the contract and gave her the date to have her children pulled from school and to enroll them into the new school. She pulled them out of school when the supposedly closing date came closer. He left before that date.  After he left, I actually found the contract that he signed for this house.
  6. She trusted him so much that she let him move in with her since he told her that I was about to loose our house because I didn’t pay all of the bills and our power was being turned off and he can’t afford to keep giving me money. He was worried that my husband would divorce me because I spent all of the bill money on drinking and partying lol.
  7. He also told her that the house we lived in was really his and he allowed us to live there. She didn’t really talk to me about anything since he told her that I didn’t like her and that I was mentally off upstairs. So, we had no one on one talking time.
  8. He also supposedly bought all of the furniture in our house. It wasn’t until he left town that I found out most of this.
  9. Since he was so trustworthy, his ex-girlfriend was fine with him paying the bills for her. She gave him the money she earned at her work. He said he would make sure the rent was paid and the car payment was paid. She ended up getting her car repo’d and was almost evicted from her home.
  10. He told me that she was in the hospital for a mental breakdown and while she was in the hospital, he as living in her apartment. What actually happened is that yes she was in the hospital and she has depression. But, all of the things he did to her and the lies caused her a great deal of anxiety. She even had it where he wasn’t allowed to visit her. I didn’t visit her and I don’t think she wanted me to since she thought I hated her and she didn’t know.
  11. He arranged to buy a brand new Lincoln Navigator and gave them a check that was stolen from my dad. The check was written on a closed account. My mom knew about this and I don’t know if my dad did.
  12. After he left, I went through the room he was staying at and I was so upset when I seen all of the schemes and what he told others about me, my husband, my kids, his ex girlfriend and her kids. A good pastor friend came over to my house and used the term, ‘Satan Encarnant”. That pretty much summed it up. It was heartbreaking though. I still love him, I just can’t have him in my life.
  13. Before he left town, he arranged for the shop where he was working at to have all of the tools and equipment to be taken over to my daughters. Since he couldn’t take it on the bus, he needed to store it somewhere. My mom told me that she will arrange for someone to get it or to see if my son in laws dad would come and get it. My son in law knew something wasn’t right. So, he contacted the guy who owned the shop and found out that all of the stuff that was at my daughters house was stolen. None of it belonged to my brother. My mom was so mad at me because they wanted the equipment. Just one of the items was worth over $10,000.
  14. He also told everyone that my son in law beat my daughter Jessica. That did not go over well at all. My son in law never laid a hand on her. My daughter was shocked and in tears that he would say that and put them in the position like that.

After my brother left town I met with his ex girlfriend and that’s when we started putting things together. She is an awesome person who loves the Lord and loves her children. I have forgiven my brother, but I will never trust him and he will never be welcomed into my home. I did tell him that if he ever did genuinely change, we can talk about the relationship of brother and sister.

I let my friend know that there is a huge difference between helping someone and caring for them and being the person to do everything for them and carrying the burden for them.  It’s important to learn how to care for someone and not let them put you in a position of causing pain.  I told my friend to never let someone or Satan convince you that if you don’t do all these things for a person or family member that you aren’t loved by God. I learned this lesson by going through things with my brother and other people in my life. I told her if she is having feelings of guilt and being pushed, then pay attention to what’s happening. That isn’t from God.

 

The Affects of Porn- Jennifers Story Continued

This blog post is continued from “Jennifer H story… Thank you for sharing your story with others who may have experienced the affects of pornography .

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THE EFFECTS OF PORN – Jennifer’s Story Continues 

I was married to a porn addict and the effects it had on the family were astounding!  You would think that being LDS would help someone not be an addict to porn but I can tell you that it has nothing to do with the addiction.  Addicts will find a way to feed their addiction any way they can but the biggest way to feed it is being secretive.  They will find an excuse to be alone to feed the addiction.

We were married 27 years and 15 of those years he was looking at porn or finding a way to talk sexual to other women.  Once he started looking at porn the atmosphere in our home changed.  It went from having a good feeling to having a very dark feeling in our home.  I didn’t notice the change as much as others did because I lived in the home all the time but after he moved out I had several people tell me that they could feel a difference in the atmosphere in the home.

Porn feeds on darkness so keeping things dark is what helps feed it but once you add light to it then it goes away.  The changes were not drastic so I didn’t notice them right away–they happened a little at a time.  This reminds me of the story of the frog and a pan of water.  If you put a frog in a pan of boiling water he will jump out right away but if you put the frog in a pan of cold water and turn the heat up slowly he will end up boiling to death because he becomes accustomed to the heat.  This is the way porn works too.

As one looks at it at first they don’t see the damage it is making on them but their brain tells them that they need to see more to feel satisfied or build their self-esteem.  It starts with soft porn and can lead to hardcore porn the more they look at it.  With the harder porn you end up looking at how men dominate women and how they treat them.  If you watch it all the time then you start treating the women around you the way you saw them treated in the images.

It doesn’t matter if you are a religious person or not, porn doesn’t discriminate–it affects everyone.  It does, however, make it so you don’t want anything to do with the people around you or your religion–especially the LDS religion.  LDS standards are higher than other churches and so when one watches porn then they don’t want to live on the higher level that the church teaches.  You lose the desire to be active and the social aspect of going to church too.  Being around people goes out the window and all you want to do is be alone.

This also affects how you treat your spouse and children.  With our oldest 3 children he was more involved in their lives but with our youngest 3 children he didn’t seem to care as much about being involved in their lives.

He started to criticize his in-laws and my side of the family.  He also started to criticize going on family events and this affected our children to the point that they will not go with me to their grandparents home anymore.  Even the thought of having my parents come to visit makes my kids very negative towards them.

Our affection towards each other disappeared completely.  The only thing he ever wanted to do to get out of the house was to go out to eat which in turn made it so that we both gained weight and became obese which affected our health.  I would try and try to get him to go out for a walk or do something else but he always had an excuse to stay home.  With my calling in my church I was gone a lot to scouting events and would purposely stay as long as I could to avoid going home or would wait until I knew he was in bed before going home.

He told me that he had a problem with porn and asked for support as he went through the 12 step program to try to overcome the addiction.  But he never followed all the way through the 12 step program even with my support.  A lot of other women have felt that the addiction is their fault and their spouse would make them feel this way too but I only had a small time where I felt that it was my fault.

Also these women will turn away from God and their church after being betrayed but I didn’t.  I actually turned towards God and asked for his help to overcome my feelings of betrayal.  As I would talk to people and tell them my story I came to realize that we are only in charge of ourselves and the choices we make but we have to also think of who those choices will affect us.  They don’t just affect us– they affect everyone around us especially family.  Once I was able to accept that,  the healing was able to take place a lot quicker than I expected.

I even went to the point of asking for forgiveness from God to help me heal and I did get confirmation from him that I was forgiven.  That is the most important part of the healing process is having God forgive you, then you can forgive yourself a lot easier.  I now can wait for forgiveness from my children and my ex because I know that God has forgiven me.

I also have a Facebook support group where if I feel I need to talk to someone I can go there and they will not judge me or make me feel bad about myself.  I have become friends with several of those women and have talked to them and helped them with their healing.  Once you heal then you are able to help others in the healing process.

One of the ladies I met on my mission recently told me of her husband’s addiction and how it has affected her and her children.  The difference with her situation and mine is that her husband is very controlling and my ex wasn’t that way.  But I am here to help her and it makes me feel good that I can help someone else.

I have considered my situation and realize that mine is probably a lot different from others–especially after reading some of the other stories from women in the support group.  My ex was actually willing to work with me on our divorce papers and not fight me.  In hind sight I also noticed he was preparing me to support myself by telling me to get my own bank account and telling me to put my paychecks in that account instead of our joint account.

But he wasn’t the only one that prepared me for things to come.  God prepared me for the bad news of his physical adultery.  I knew he had physically cheated on me before he came home and admitted it to me.  This physical cheating was brought on by all the years of looking at porn.  Most people would not consider looking at porn as cheating, but in reality it is.

I was always a happy person but after years of feeling like I wasn’t worth much that disappeared.  My parents and siblings noticed the change but my kids didn’t know anything different until I became the happy person I was before all this happened.  I have had several of my children comment on how much happier I am now that I am on my own and living life the way I want to and doing those things to make me happy.  I took my oldest daughter to an Air Supply concert and on the way home she said, “Mom, I’ve never seen you that way before”.  I was singing and dancing to the music and had not done that before with her.

My determination to become the person I want to be is so much stronger than it has ever been.  I know that despite what I went through for 15 years has made me a stronger person and now I am able to help those that need to become stronger too.  There is help out there and there is a way to get out of the situation you may be in.  Having faith and love for God will help you do that.  God won’t abandon you and if you think he does it’s because you have abandoned him.  Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move forward with his help.  He will be there for you anytime you need him.  It won’t be easy but it will be worth it!

I still have bad days just like everyone does but I know he is there to help me.  On those days I turn to him in prayer and ask for his help.  For my children the only thing I can do now is be a good example for them and be there in case they need someone to talk to.  They have their own personal feelings towards the church and other things but I can’t fix those for them.  I can only be their support and help them when they ask for it.

With the healing process I have been able to tell my ex my feelings and what I expect from him to help me and the kids heal.  Expressing my feelings to my ex took a long time to do, but now it is up to him to make things right with us and not my problem anymore.  He says he is doing the 12 step program again so we will see if he stays with it this time.  I only wish the best for everyone.

Learn more about the effects of porn on these sites…

The Dangers of Pornography – Jennifer’s Story

My very good friend Jennifer has had her life turned upside down because of her husbands addition to porn. This is Jennifer’s Story. Topics like this are difficult to share and I know it has been a long road for her. This is a two-part experience.

My Husband Was Addicted to Porn

My Husband Was Addicted to Porn

My name is Jennifer H and my ex and I were married for 27 years with 6 six children.  Somewhere during that time he started viewing pornography without my knowing.  He was diagnosed with depression and anxiety during this time as well and started taking medication for his mental issues.  One of the side effects of the medication was non-performance so our sex life changed.  I don’t know when exactly he started looking at porn but he did.  He would come to me every now and then and talk to me about it and that he wanted to go through the 12 step program to try to change things–not sure how many times he went through the program yet never made any changes.

I would go to church and the lessons that I had would motivate me to want to do things better in our home but I never had his support.  We stopped having FHE, family scripture study and family prayer.  Any time I asked to do those things he would get mad and tell me that he didn’t like that I was controlling him.

All 6 of our children were baptized and confirmed but as the last boy became old enough for priesthood he was unable to do the ordinance so I had to lean on my family for that.  We stopped talking and the only time we went out was to eat with each other.  It wasn’t really “dating” in my book.  I really didn’t realize how much he was into porn until one day I woke up with him talking on the computer in our bedroom no less to a girl.  I faked sleep for a bit to listen to them and then had to get up.  Once he realized I was awake he got off with her.  He knew he had been caught but yet said nothing to me about it all day or ever.  He’s never apologized to me for that incident or anything else.

I just kept my faith and kept living my life and doing the things that make me happy–my crocheting and my scouting.  He had at this point his own online business doing technical writing for a couple of companies so he was always on the computer.  We moved his computer and desk into another room so he didn’t feel like he lived in our bedroom all the time and at times he would shut the door.  I had no way to know what was going on behind that closed-door but every time I asked for him to get his temple recommend renewed he told me he wasn’t worthy.  He never made an effort to change that.

In September 2014 he made a business trip to Las Vegas and I told myself that I needed to make sure I kept in touch through Skype with him.  At one point I needed to make a trip to the store and as I was driving down the street I had the thought come to me–“What would  you do if Gary came home and told you he cheated on you?”  At first I wasn’t sure what was going on and I just kind of let it go but on the way home I had the same thought come back to me.  I never really answered the question to myself but I just went through the day in my head and realized that my day had gone very good.  When he came home two days later the first thing he told me when he walked through the door was that we needed to talk.  We went into the bedroom and he told me that he had a one night stand.  He got all emotional and apologized and told me that he would move out whenever I was ready for him to do so.  I almost started laughing at him because I had been prepared for this to happen.  I told him that I wanted to work things out.  After he told me he told the kids and then he made an appointment with the bishop to do the same thing.

We went to visit the bishop and the bishop asked me if I was willing to try to work it out and I said yes.  At this point I was still thinking of my children and how this was going to affect them–I hadn’t even thought about myself yet.  I wanted to try and fix things for my kids and the fact that I was taught that eternal families are very important.  It was a couple of months later that he met with the Stake President and we then had a sit down with the kids and talked about church discipline and what could happen to him.  We were expecting the worse and then found out that the Stake President decided to leave the decision up to the Bishop.  I was floored!!  How could this happen?  I thought that for adultery you were either disfellowshipped or excommunicated and not on the ward level but on the stake level.

Following what my father taught me, that you didn’t question what your local authorities decided, I didn’t question the decision.  In January 2015 the Bishop came to the decision to just put him on probation for a year.  During the time he was on probation the Bishop met with him maybe twice.  Again I thought “what?” and again I didn’t question the decision based on the things I was taught by my father.

During the year 2015 I still struggled with how things were going in my home–or not going.  We still weren’t having FHE, family scripture study or family prayer unless I asked for it.  I was not getting anywhere as there was too much tension in the home.  I would make it a point to go home after a scouting activity when I knew he was already in bed.  The Bishop had us going to a marriage counselor and I thought ok I hope things change.  The day he admitted to the counselor that he had a problem with porn I expected the counselor to turn to me and ask me “how does that make you feel?” but I got nothing.  No one cared how I felt about all this.  I finished out our sessions but still felt no one cared about my feelings.  I was like a fly on the wall at those sessions.

At one point the Bishop sat us down and told us he wanted us to work on our relationship by holding hands, dating, etc.  I was concerned about my daughter and her attitude about Young Women’s so I started attending with her.  One Sunday as we were walking into church one of us took the others’ hand, however, once we got to the outside door he dropped my hand to open the door and after we were inside I took his hand again and he made this comment to me “What you trying to do prove to the Bishop we are holding hands?”  I thought to myself, “He’s not going to change.”  During YW that day the lesson was on the good and bad things we have in our lives and what to do about them.  One of the bad items listed was Abusive Relationships and the solution was to get out of it.  It was like someone had slapped me in the head and saying “duh” to me.  I went home and talked to my mom and a couple of friends about what I was feeling and during this time I had been praying for an answer as to what to do for my family.  After all of this I came to the conclusion that the best thing for my family was to move on and if that included a divorce then I needed to do that.  I struggled with that decision because of what we are taught in the church but I also decided that in order to make things better in my home it was a necessary move.  So on November 28, 2015 I asked my ex to move out and told him that I wanted a divorce.  He wasn’t happy with that decision and at first decided to get back at me by taking the only car we had and left the house.  I prayed at that point and asked my HF to let my ex know that this was the right thing to keep our family together.  Two days later he returned my car and agreed to the divorce.  We were divorced on January 25, 2016.

I still get emotional telling my story to people because it makes me sad that my children had to go through all this because my ex felt that porn was more important than his family.  During all this my doctor had told me that in order to reverse my type 2 diabetes was to lose weight and change my diet so I got serious and in one year I lost 65 pounds, got my blood sugar under control and changed my eating habits.  I still have faith that someday my family will come back to the church and that we will be together forever but it does get challenged too.

Before the divorce was final I met with my Bishop and he told me that he wasn’t going to try to change my mind because he knew I had already decided what I was going to do yet he proceeded to do just that adding “I’m scared for your eternal salvation.”  Why would he say that just about me and not about my ex?

I don’t believe that my Bishop knew how to handle this situation and I believe that they need more training when it comes to helping families that have been affected by pornography or anything else that is so damaging to the family unit.  I don’t feel that the decision the Bishop and Stake President made was the right decision for either my family or my ex because it did not repair the damage that was done but made it worse and it destroyed our family.  Even to this day I feel like my Bishop does not treat me like a member of the ward and that he feels that I destroyed my family.  I feel that the decision was a slap on the wrist and that it was a NO BIG DEAL to the Bishop and my ex.  I feel that the Bishop treated me like I was the bad guy in this situation when I should have been treated as the victim.  I still support my local authorities but I still have feelings about how this situation was handled and that it needs more attention for the sake of others that go through the same thing.

Continue reading about Jennifer and the effects of pornography. Click Here for the Effects of Pornography Blog Post…

 

 

Lessons Learned by Giving Up Social Media for Lent…

I gave up Facebook for Lent. I chose to do this because I needed to make room for better things and most of all for God.

This is the first year that I have given up lent and have made it the whole 40 days. I have had so many people ask me why I’m doing Lent since I’m not Catholic. A couple of my friends at church thought that Christians shouldn’t observe Lent since it is a Catholic observance.  One of the reasons I did this year is because I felt that God wanted me to  devote more time to Him.  Facebook was consuming my time and I didn’t realize how much time until I did Lent.

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I scoured through Amazon to find Bible studies and I bought some and I’m getting ready to start one called,”When God doesn’t fix it… Learning to Walk in God’s Plans Instead of Our Own.” I came across this one by Laura Story and I have no doubt that God has something to teach me. I’m really good at doing things my way. If it doesn’t work out the way I think it should, I can come up with all kinds of reasons or excuses about why it didn’t work out. I’m pretty sure that the main reasons why is because I’m a big time control freak.

As I prepared for Lent and taking time away from social media, I didn’t know what God was telling me to do. I had to trust Him fully and see what God’s plans were. I was in deed of a major detour that would direct me away from Facebook.

One of the things about Lent and one of the main reasons I felt I needed to give up something that was interfering with my own relationship with Christ.  I don’t know why I used Lent as a reason for giving up social media for 40 days, since I needed to have a period of reflection, repentance and to get back on tract with my prayer life and studying the Word of God.

This was the perfect opportunity to re-align my life and focus on God. We are supposed to sacrifice whatever it is that distracts ourselves from God and distracts me from my own selfish desires of the heart.  My objective was to seek to live a more faithful life and get closer to Jesus Christ.

I knew I needed to have a period of reflection, repentance and to get back on tract with my prayer life and studying the Word of God. This was the perfect opportunity to re-align my life and focus on God. We are supposed to sacrifice whatever it is that distracts ourselves from God and distracts me from my own selfish desires of the heart.  My objective was to seek to live a more faithful life and get closer to Jesus Christ.

For years, I always thought of Lent as a way of sacrificing something. I didn’t know many who did anything for Lent. Many friends of mine from church couldn’t understand why I observed Lent this year since for the most part it is Catholics. Giving up social media wasn’t a sacrifice for me since I would get flustered over a lot of it. Mainly because of the political stuff and the faith-based arguments.

I couldn’t 100 percent walk away from Facebook since I still had to do things for my church on there. I didn’t realize how much time I wasted when it came to watching those cure viral videos about puppies and kittens. Then the whole scrolling though messages from others that had to do with their political and religious views.

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One of the most important things I learned during this 40 day hiatus from Facebook is that social media is “TOXIC”.  I don’t spend time on Twitter or Instagram, so my break was from Facebook.

If I had one word to describe what I think about social media, I would say it is “toxic”. When I went directly to my Facebook page instead of my churches, it was kind of depressing. The reason I say that is because of the negativity.  The Facebook statuses was filled with political/faith-based arguments, complaints about how horrible this person or that person is, and people who share cute pictures(meme’s) or viral videos.

For the most part, many of the messages were political and fake images, fake news and fake pages. I hate the term, “Fake News”.  When I hear people say that or I hear it on the news, I hit mute. It isn’t just the news that is spreading fake news, it is people in general. People will share fake pictures that have been photoshopped, lies, fake websites and all kinds of things before making sure it is true. I have shared things before making sure it is true and when I find out it is a lie, I delete it or post the accurate story. People don’t care if it is true or not. I will be posting a blog with a number of fake stories and photoshopped images.

It takes less than five minutes to research a story and find out it is garbage. But, they don’t care because it is funny to them. I have one friend who only watches Fox News. I also have friends who watch either local news, CNN, MSNBC and whatever else. In my opinion, when a person uses only one source for the news, they are getting just one side. Then there are those who has this idea that everything you read or hear on the internet is the truth. I haven’t missed any of this on social media.

Before I stepped away from Facebook, the pictures that are posted below were all over Facebook and I come back yesterday and they are still being passed around.  Then the hatred that is going on with the students from Parkland Florida is horrible. I just want to hit people over the head with a hammer when it comes to common sense. I’m sure I will have some friends and even those who I go to church with who will gasp when I tell them that I don’t believe the spins coming from any of the news station. If people can learn how to post a comment on Facebook, they have the ability to look and see if is story or a picture is true.

When I checked out the stuff on my Facebook page last night it made me sick. It was like a soap opera. It doesn’t matter how long you are away, the same thing goes on. I plan on spending less time on Facebook because of the nastiness out there, I will have to still do things for my church since we need to reach out to the world.

I told myself a number of years ago that I wouldn’t unfriend someone because they voted differently than I did or because they didn’t share the same faith. I still stand by that, but I will unfriend family and friends if all they can do is spill hatred and lies. Nothing can be accomplished by these kinds of things.

One of the biggest things that I learned during Lent is that I’m not out to please the world. My faith and personal relationship with Christ is the only thing I am concerned about. It’s a waste of time arguing with people about politics and faith. I will continue to share my faith with others, but I’m not going to get into a tit for tat kind of mentality.

 

 

Were You There?

Pages-from-The_Parables_of_Safed_the_Sage

With Easter coming up, I can’t help but think about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the lamb of God.  Have you ever heard the song “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”  

Here is a little history on this song. 

An African-American spiritual that probably predates the Civil War, “Were You There” was first published in William Barton’s Old Plantation Hymns (1899). The spiritual’s earlier roots include a white spiritual known in Tennessee as “Have you heard how they crucified my Lord?” Additional stanzas are available from oral and written tradition:

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?

Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?

As I prepare my heart for Easter Sunday I can’t help but feel a humble and undeserving. I was talking to my friend Jennifer Harris about the movie, “Passion of the Christ.” It is the one staring Mel Gibson. When I went to see the movie, I was prepared, or I thought I was. I heard about the 11 minutes where Christ was beaten with a cat of nine tales. I was prepared for a number of scenes. However, there is one that I wasn’t prepared for. I tried watching the movie again and I had a meltdown all over again.

Mary at crossThat scene was after Christ was taken down from the cross. He was being cradled in the arms of His earthly mom Mary. As she cradles Him, she holds his limp body and stares towards the audience. She didn’t say a word, but it was as if her eyes pierced my soul.

I don’t know if others felt the way I did. But, without words she stared off and said that it is because of me that her Son had to die. He didn’t do anything to deserve death. He never sinned and yet He was killed as if he committed the worst unpardonable sins. It was if I was the one holding the hammer in my hands and driving the nails into His hands.

There is another song about the Crucifixion of Christ. The song is called “The Hammer”. The first time I heard it and watched the video, it immediately brought tears to my eyes. I felt as if I was there with the hammer in my hand. Every time I struck the nail it was as if my sins was the hammer and I kept hitting the nails over and over as tears stream down my face.

Listen to Ray Boltz singing “The Alter/The Hammer/Feel the Nails

Ray Boltz singing “The Alter/The Hammer/Feel the Nails

I was in the crowd
The day that Jesus died
And as He hung upon the cross
His mother cried

I saw the crown of thorns He wore
The stripes upon His back
The water and the blood ran out
And then the sky turned black

My mind was filled with anger
My heart was filled with shame
This man brought only healing
Who could bring Him pain

Why does it seem the strong
Always victimize the weak?
And suddenly I found myself
Standing to my feet

 

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1 Peter 1: 18-21 –  For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.  Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

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He is the Lamb of God. So at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptizer’s words invite us to “Look!” and see the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” All that is required of us is to open our hearts, listen and keep watching, then we will see the Lamb.