How You Can Help

Steve Arterburn

Anyone who investigates the extent and effects of pornography in our country is tempted to conclude: ‘The problem’s too big to be beaten.’ Or perhaps: ‘What could I possibly do to make a difference in something so overblown?’ Folks, don’t succumb to these temptations. You can make a difference! In fact, if you love Jesus Christ; if you love your children; if you love your neighbor; then being passive and accepting defeat just isn’t an option.

 

God is holy. All forms of evil’pornography included’contradict God’s character. Therefore, God doesn’t’and can’t’compromise with it, or be reconciled to it. Make no mistake: God hates all forms of wickedness. So if you belong to Him, you must ask yourself: ‘Can I dare be indifferent to what my Lord hates and opposes?’ Clearly, you cannot.

In a Christianity Today editorial, I read four ways you can stem the rising tide of pornograpy:

1)      Teach sex education at home and in church-sponsored programs. 

2)      Speak out against pornography, whether to PTA groups or to family stores selling pornographic materials.

3)      Support those who are waging a battle against porn through petitions, letters, and boycotts.

4)      Support and encourage any forums that will help people distinguish between opposition to pornography and the limitations to free speech.

And in all these things, pray. Pray that God will strengthen your hands and your heart for His service, and that, through His power, your efforts will bear fruit.

You’re Back!

Steve Arterburn

The story of the prodigal son is intriguing because it mirror’s God the Father’s view of you. Like the father in the story, His eyes are always fixed on the crest of the hill, longing to see you coming over the horizon on your way home.

God isn’t the slightest bit preoccupied with whether or not you’re worthy to return to Him. He knows you’re not. Personal worth isn’t the issue at hand. The prodigal son worried about this too. He was certain that his sinful lifestyle had disqualified him’had made him unworthy of being considered his father’s son.

But the father quickly brushed all that aside. ‘What’s this talk about worthiness? You’re back! That’s what matters!’ Their relationship was restored instantly. No paybacks. No shame. No looking back.

Why? What’s Jesus’ point in telling the story? On what basis can the son return? Be careful. Ripping this story from its biblical context distorts its meaning and defuses its power.

Jesus’ point is we’re all prodigal sons. We’ve all taken from our heavenly Father’s generosity, snubbed our noses at Him, and went off to abuse His gifts’using them to cover ourselves in the pig muck of sin!

We can return to Him because we’ve been sought and found by Jesus Christ. His cross has removed everything that separated us from God the Father. So if you’re in the far country, don’t be foolish! Return to the Father through Jesus Christ today. 

New Career Directions

Steve Arterburn

If you’re a man feeling disappointed with you career accomplishments, you should prayerfully and carefully consider the reasons. God’s image isn’t best reflected in a man tarnished by frustration and discontentment. Some reasons for disappointment could be carnal, like the desire to be rich’to boost one’s ego or status. If that’s the case, a Christ-centered value system will relieve some of your disappointment.

Yet other disappointments could be both legitimate and addressable. Many men enter careers for the wrong reasons. Their parents may have adversely influenced them. They may have begun a career because they didn’t know what else to pursue. They may have lacked financial opportunity to get the training necessary for the career they really desired. Or they may simply have had a ‘eureka!’ experience at mid-life and discovered a calling previously unknown to them. In such cases, a career change, if possible, could be a completely legitimate pursuit.

Some disappointments can be resolved by adjusting expectations that were unreasonable or illegitimate all along. However, lowering the bar on a legitimate expectation isn’t a path to fulfillment. Far better to put steps in motion to achieve what’ll bring fulfillment than work another two or three decades in disappointment.

The challenge is making changes at mid-life. If you’re able to switch careers or make adjustments, great. If you’re constrained by obligations you can’t move, the process will be longer. It’ll require patience and creativity. But escaping disappointment and fulfilling your calling will make it worthwhile.