by Mike Plewniak
Lust: Is it biology or is it sin? To understand what’s going on inside of us, Josh says we need to begin with God and how He has created us. “We need to reclaim sexual desire as God’s amazing and good gift to us.” Where in the world did these desires come from? I love this paragraph where Josh writes, “One moment you’re a kid and the opposite sex is yucky — boys are gross and girls have cooties. The next day the world turns upside down. Hormones begin to pump, your body transforms, hair starts to show up in weird places, and this pulsing, driving, burning sexual awareness and desire begins flowing through your veins like molten lava.”
It’s good to know that God gives those desires to drive us toward something — this wonderful gift of marriage and sex. It’s good to understand that having a sex drive is not lust. But, lust does hijack our sex drive and want sex outside of the context God has created it for — marriage. This list is very helpful so that we do not feel guilty for having these desires:
– It’s not lust to be attracted to someone
– It’s not lust to have a strong desire to have sex.
– It’s not lust to anticipate and be excited about having sex within marriage.
– It’s not lust to experience sexual temptation
The issue is how we respond to these desires — by faith in a good God or hijacking these desires to serve ourselves and to give into unbelief in God. Invite God into your desires, what you wish for, and invite His Spirit to come help you with self-control, patience, and perseverance. As John Piper defines lust, it is “sexual desire minus honor and holiness.” Let’s be thankful for sexual desire and not be controlled by it, but submit it to the good plan of God. “When we understand that the very nature of lust is rebellion against God, we realize the gravity and the seriousness nature of the sin — and hopefully we’re more motivated than ever to pursue a life of purity.”
So how do we live with these desires and sex drives while remaining pure, holy, and godly. Josh writes, “As Christians, embracing our sexuality looks radically different. We don’t obey every sexual impulse — nor do we deny that we have sexual desires. Instead, we choose both restraint and gratefulness. For us, sexual desire joins every other part of our lives — our appetite for food, our use of money, our friendships, our dreams, our careers, our possessions, our abilities, our families — in bowing before the one true God.”
If you haven’t bought the book yet, it’s worth it!
Filed under: Featured Resource | Tags: book study, Lust, sex is not the problem
by Mike Plewniak
Lust = craving sexually what God has forbidden. Do you battle lust? Probably (definitely) every one of us would say “yes”. In some way or form, there is a daily and probably hourly battle with our thoughts and our desires. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is fully aware of our temptations. Hebrews 4:15 — “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin.” That without sin is important. Because in his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has represented us and has won! He did it without sinning. And now we are credited with his righteousness, his perfect obedience.
Not only did He purchase our forgiveness and righteousness, but He has ransomed us from being slaves to sin, He has given us His Spirit inside of us to live for God, to be free, to enjoy God and true pleasure.
So, let’s battle lust and impurity so that we can enjoy God fully! Thankfully, to help us do this, Josh Harris has written this wonderful little book, Sex is not the problem (lust is).
So, beginning in 2 weeks, we will be reviewing this book chapter by chapter. If you do not have a copy of the book, you can buy one here, or you can pick one up at the CCK bookstore. This little resource is a gift from God, so let’s take this opportunity to use it, to grow, to bring God glory, and to enjoy Him!
by Mike Plewniak
From the Sovereign Grace Blog.
1. Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson. From the prologue to the final paragraph I was captivated by the storyline of this book. Didn’t want the book to end, so I read slower as the book was coming to an end.
2. Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball by George F. Will. The best book I have read on baseball. Read it and you will understand the genius involved in what appears to be a slow and boring game. Read it and impress your friends with your newfound insight.
3. The Greatest Game Ever Played: A True Story by Mark Frost. I think this is the best book about sports I’ve ever read.
4. Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller. I’ve read a lot about WWII but I was ignorant of the air war. This book is simply stunning and unforgettable. There were evenings where I could only read two or three pages of this book because I was so affected by what I read.
5. Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season by Jonathan Eig. The most important event and year in professional baseball. If you love baseball you must get to know Jackie Robinson and the difference he made for the sport and our country.
6. The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL by Mark Bowden. If you love pro football this is really when it all started.
7. Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas by Tom Callahan. Favorite quote from the book: “That’s the thing sports will never get back. Once, the players were one of us. They lived right next door. They don’t anymore.” Learn about arguably the greatest quarterback of all time and a time in professional sports we will never see again.
8. The Terrible Hours: The Greatest Submarine Rescue in History by Peter Maas. Simply terrifying and thrilling.
9. Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics by Jeremy Schaap. As you anticipate the Summer Olympics you must read about Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics.
10. Everything They Had: Sports Writing from David Halberstam. Journalist David Halberstam was killed in a car accident last year. This volume is a superb collection of his best writings.
11. This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War by James M. McPherson. If you are interested in the Civil War this is a fascinating must-read.
12. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War by James M. McPherson. I’ve always wondered why, and thanks to McPherson I now know.
by Mike Plewniak
Last night at VFC, I had the privilege to finish up our “From Blah, Blah, Blah to La, La, La” series by talking about guarding our summers. My main two things to guard were 1) time with God and 2) our friendships. In following up my encouragement to read good books, I thought I would give some recommendations of my favorite books, and I’d love to hear some of yours (I’m always looking for good books).
With that said, I wanted to start by recommending some fun books. I try to read a couple of different books at a time to keep my appetite for reading strong. Boring books don’t encourage me to read. Usually, if I keep a fun book (like the following) going, I read more across the board. So, here are a few fun books for the summer:
From start to finish, this book had me. I stayed up until 1 a.m. reading the conclusion. And after I read it, I had to wake-up my wife to read it to her. A great true story of perseverance, leadership, and exploration. A manspeak must read!
The book that started the movement for Adams to get a major memorial in DC. An incredible man in the history of the USA, and someone who you will love learning about. Again, the ending is wonderful and true. His relationship (and differences) with Thomas Jefferson kept me reading other books about the two of them. HBO just did a series based on this book that is coming to DVD on June 10th. Your goal: read the book before you watch the series.
My historical hero. This is the first biography that I read on Spurgeon. From this, I started reading his books, sermons, sermon notes, autobiography, etc…. I love CJ’s encouragement to find great Christian men of history and to master their works. After 8 years of reading spurgeon, I’ve realized that I cannot master him or read all of his works. But what a great man to learn from and this is a great introduction to him.
Subtitle: The Month that Saved America. Another book that shows how the decisions of leaders have massive implications. Lincoln and Lee are both highlighted as men who had to make decisions that would be highly unpopular, but ultimately necessary for the good of others. This book keeps you moving too. It’s hard to stop one chapter without starting the next.
by Mike Plewniak
I just returned from last week’s Together for the Gospel conference. What a week. What great messages. How encouraging to see 5000+ (mostly pastors) joining together to worship and hear God’s word proclaimed. People keep asking me about a highlight, and I honestly cannot pick just one. From MacArthur’s to Piper’s message (both great), to CJ’s closing message to pastors (great), to hanging out with the guys I’m privileged to serve with (great), to seeing friends from Pastor’s College and other churches (great), and eating great food (great).
So, if you are interested in a taste of what T4G was all about, let me recommend a couple of resources:
– you can listen to and download all the messages.
– live blog of the conference
– a list of the free books we received
– photos of the conference
– the songs we sang together
– what people are saying
by Mike Plewniak
When we started manspeak, I began a book study on Thomas Watson’s “The Godly Man’s Picture”. I highly recommend this book (you can buy it here) and think the content is wonderful for men. It’s fits perfect with our goal for manspeak — mature masculinity. If you weren’t around when we did this, here are the chapters we reviewed:
- Study 1 — foundation of godliness
- Study 2 — defining godliness
- Study 3 — a godly man is a man of knowledge
- Study 4 — faith, love, and worship
- Study 5 — a servant of God, not men
- Study 6 — a godly man prizes Christ
- Study 7 — a godly man is a weeper
Study 8 — a godly man has the Spirit of God
- Study 9 — a godly man is a humble man
- Study 10 — a godly man is a praying man
I was considering starting back where we left off and wanted your input? What do you think? Do you want to pick it back up? Will it benefit you?Here is a quote from CS Lewis about reading old books that re-envisioned me:
“There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with modern books…. This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology…. Now this seems topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advice him to read the old…. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read on old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones…. We all…need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books…. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century lies where we have never suspected it…. None of us can fully escape the blindness…. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can only be done by reading old books.“
Anybody want to return to the clean sea breeze of masculinity that Watson paints in this book?
Filed under: Featured Resource
by Travis Maples
I categorized this post under “Featured Resource”. At first I wasn’t sure how to list it but the more I thought about it, I realized it fits well. Though it’s not something you can go pick up and read, it’s something you experience. It’s something you’re apart of–it’s the local church. It’s a pillar of truth as well as a resource of care and compassion. A resource that God uses to care for his people and advance his kingdom in this world. I am attaching an email my care group leader sent out to the rest of my small group in response to some difficulty my wife has been experiencing with her pregnancy. She has had to be on bed rest the past few days and has to continue for the next two weeks until her next appointment. This was an email intended for my caregroup, he had no clue I was going to post it. I just want to point to the wisdom and goodness of God in the fellowship and community of believers.
Most of you probably know this by now, but I want to make sure
everybody knows: Amy has been in the hospital this past week for
contractions and is now on bedrest until her next appointment, which
is two weeks away. Her doctor will then determine whether she needs
to be on bedrest for the rest of her pregnancy. Let’s be in prayer
for Amy, the baby, Travis, and Sadie. Let’s also put ourselves at
their disposal and look for ways to serve them. Like it says in
Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.” We’re their care group. Let’s
take care of them.
Much Love and Respect,
So Matt and his wife Christy organized meals and put together a schedule of times for people to come over and babysit Sadie so Amy could rest during the day. I mean it’s Acts 2 up in here. Acts 2:42-47 is a great little picture of what early fellowship looked like among believers. Flash forward 2000 years and it’s still going on in the local church. I can’t help but think this is the way it’s supposed to look when all the pistons are pounding. Folks are laying their lives down for Amy and I. You’re left with this awestruck feeling like “wow this church thing works”. It’s beautiful really, when you step back and look at it. Christ laid down his life for us and now we in turn by his grace lay our lives down for each other that the world might know him.