The WEB Ministry

G. Mike Clark, L.M.F.T., D.Min.

What is the WEB?
First of all, the WEB has nothing to do with a spider web or Spider Man. WEB begins with an understanding of relationships and its importance to each of us. God made us from the very beginning for relationships , starting with God and Adam, and then Adam and Eve. WEB stands for Watch Each (others) Back. This phrase has crossed over from military usage. For our purpose, this concept in WEB focuses on the husband-wife relationship as they ‘look out for each other’ in their every daily lives.

The last two decades

During the last two decades, multiple ministries have emerged with a focus on men and accountability. Men’s groups promote this concept by meeting together on a weekly basis for accountability, encouragement, prayer, and the availability to call each other throughout the week. However, WEB has a different approach. The proposal of WEB gives hope and direction to couples in their daily lives. It begins with each of them having a teachable heart; a commitment to God and their spouse.

The basic principle of WEB

The principle of WEB is that couples are watching out for each other, protecting the other person as much as they can from being hit by the enemy. Like soldiers, husbands and wives are not to see each other as enemies. Sometimes it can feel that way unintentionally in their marriage. When situations in life occur either of them may feel alone, in the foxhole, vulnerable to ‘being shot’ at from the tree line or by each other.

An example of how it works

Some weeks ago, Fay, my wife, and I walked through one of the local malls. One of the stores we browsed through sold art pieces. While walking through the store Fay gently steered me away from one of the aisles and we exited the store. I asked her, ‘What was that about?’ Her response was, ‘There was something you did not need to see?’ I understood and immediately thanked her for watching out for me. She knew that I did not need to see what was on display. She was watching out for me.

Husbands protect your wife

The same can be true for us husbands watching out for our wife’s back. It may take another form, but the principle is still there. If we are neglecting her needs physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we may leave her open for a vulnerable moment just like my situation at the art store. We men need to realize that it is not just a ‘me’ issue dealing with pornography on the store shelf, on the Internet, or any form of lusting after women. It is an ‘Us’ issue, couples looking out for each other’s back, daily. This takes away the sting when either of them is free to bring up a topic or concern and find resolution. Here both are in agreement, because they are looking out for each other.

The two of ‘Us’

The two of ‘Us’ is the central component of WEB. Accountability related to our marriage is more than just us men being on the alert looking out for what is ahead, bouncing our eyes, filters on the computer. It is both the husband and the wife protecting the other person. Husbands, we are to look out for our wife by protecting her during those vulnerable moments wherever and whenever it may be.

Looking to the future

Again, the ministry of WEB is for both the husband and the wife. To do this, both need to be educated in men’s groups and ladies support groups, and couples workshops. During these workshops/classes, a priority must be put on how to implement these principles in their marriage. Looking to the future, what would marriages possibly look like five, ten, fifteen years from now, if couples began to ‘look out for each other’ using the principle of WEB in their marriages?

Please join us for our next New Life Weekend.

What Makes Recovery Christian?

Lance David

For many Christians the idea of addiction recovery seems a touchy-feely, self-help, unchristian thing. With terminology that includes, “Higher Power,” “sponsor,” and “12 steps” recovery can be unfamiliar and possibly threatening to some Christians. It is certainly possible to do recovery- submitting to the program and to a higher power and experiencing sobriety- without following Christ. But this does not make recovery anymore unchristian than non-Christian couples remaining married until death does them part would make marriage unchristian.

For something to be unchristian it would have to be contrary to the gospel. Even though the terms may seem foreign to some Christians, the key principles of recovery highlight significant realities of that are contained in the gospel.

The first reality is that all of us are a mess. You may hide it or I may be in denial but that will not change the fact that we are both broken. This is the essential entrance exam both for Christians and those in recovery. The context for recovery is realization of the prodigal who knows that he has been fighting with pigs for sustenance. When a person does not view himself as a mess, he is more like the older brother who has all the riches at his disposal but remains aloof and on the outside. Jesus said, “It is not it the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17 NIV). It is tragic that many in the church today do not deeply understand and appropriate this, instead resembling Pharisees rather than repentant sinners. Those truly engaged in recovery, on the other hand, grasp this reality very well.

A second reality of recovery is that I am responsible for this mess. Neither recovery nor the gospel allows a person to wallow in the blame game of victimhood. No matter how a person has been sinned against, he is responsible for his response. Even though others have sinned against me, recovery only begins when I begin to struggle and repent of the character flaws that have developed as a result of my resentments. Jesus captured the essence of this idea with the admonition, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4-5).

A third reality is that the path to healing in recovery must be done with others. Meetings, fellowship, support and sponsors all demonstrate that in recovery healing does not happen alone. Unfortunately, this is an aspect that most of us in the church in the western world have abandoned. Even with small groups, men’s groups, accountability partners, Promise Keepers and other seminars, most men remain terribly isolated from others- especially when it comes to our problems. We have been taught that it is not masculine but weak to be a broken mess. But to be isolated denies the reality that we all have blind spots that can only be exposed to us by other people. Furthermore, relationships provide the context for change in that just as we all get hurt in by unhealthy relationships, healthy ones heal. Sanctification and recovery do not take place without community.

A final reality of recovery is that it must include a recognition of and submission to a spiritual reality. Of course, as Christians, we recognize that the only “higher power” is the one true God revealed in the bible. However, the generic language of recovery makes the steps palatable to those who are not convinced of this truth. The twelve steps of recovery reveal a very spiritual agenda. It is one that includes submission, confession, repentance, reconciliation, and deep character change. These demonstrate that an addict’s core problem is a commitment to self and not addiction per se. Only by submitting to the One greater than self can the addict and the run of the mill sinner experience true inner healing.

The essential feature of anyone’s recovery that makes it Christian is the person who is in recovery. Christ did not come to give us principles, a system, a cause, rules or many of the things that we have perverted his message into. Christ came to bring us back into relationship with God. Left to our own ingenuity, we have found so many different ways, including addictions, to run from him. The story of the gospel is the story of God’s recovery of the human race to himself.

For more help on this subject see Every Man’s Battle.

Understanding Same-Sex Attractions

Dr. Mike Rosebush

Perhaps you have heard it said, ‘Counseling the homosexual sinner is no different than how you handle the heterosexual sinner ‘ sin is sin.’ In many ways, this is true ‘ and false.

Engaging in same-gender sexual activity is a sin (Lev 18:22; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9), as is every form of sexual activity — other than with one’s spouse. The homosexual sin is no more wrong or right than the heterosexual sin — and in that regard, there is no difference in the sins. Similarly, the forgiveness of homosexual sins is obtained identically as that of heterosexual sin ‘ through the redemptive work of Christ, and one’s trust in that. No heterosexual sinner was ever ‘saved’ in any way different than anyone who committed a homosexual sin. Additionally, God views the person who struggles with same-sex attractions in the exact same way He views the person struggling with opposite-sex attractions ‘ no greater (or less!) love and regard. Finally, the Godly methods of abstaining from sexual sin (i.e., purity of eyes and mind; confession; reduction of shame) are equally applicable, regardless of what type of sexual desire exists.

So, homosexual addictive behaviors can be treated in just the same way as heterosexual addiction, right? Nope.

Many of the elements are the same: the need to be real and safely disclose; the elimination of personal shame; accountability; ‘bouncing your eyes’; determining your triggers; developing an enjoyable relationship with God; nurturing vibrant relationships; pursuing life-giving activities; improving one’s self-esteem; etc. Can both the same-sex attracted and opposite-sex attracted man gain from attending an ‘Every Man’s Battle‘ workshop? Absolutely! Can both men co-exist in a men’s ministry? Certainly.

Well, then, ‘what’s the diff?’

Sexual identity. The heterosexual man is usually not frightened by his sexual attractions. He views that phenomenon as a ‘given’ ‘ how it (of course!) should be. He does not wonder ‘What’s wrong with me ‘ I keep noticing attractive men?’ He does not become increasingly panicked over the inability to become stimulated by the sight of women (like his buddies are able to do). He does not have to hope that ‘maybe these attractions will just go away ‘ please!’

No, instead, the male who experiences sexual attractions to certain men is guaranteed to be confused, ashamed, fearful, envious, and grief-filled. Men struggling with homosexual desires know that they are odd (since only about 5% of men ever experience such desires). And every man who has ever experienced ongoing same-sex attractions has wished that that were not the case (at least initially). Unlike the heterosexual, the man with same-sex attractions does not know how to ‘label’ himself: gay? ex-gay? homosexual? bisexual? He must actually choose to make meaning of his attractions, whereas the man with opposite-sex attractions automatically knows why he is that way ‘ ‘because that’s how it’s supposed to be’.

Thus, the man struggling with homosexual sins or addiction has two wars to fight:

1) learning to abstain from the sexual sin (and possibly also overcoming a sexual addiction), and
2) figuring out the meaning of his sexuality ‘ and what he plans to do with the reality of his attractions.

Most Christian counselors have opposite-sex attractions, and therefore they provide the only therapy they know how ‘ a ‘stop the sexual sinning’ approach. They set-out to treat only the client’s sexual behaviors, but not his sexual identity issues. These counselors are not negligent out of harmful prejudice. Nonetheless, they still end up doing a disservice to the man struggling with same-sex attractions — if the counselor is not familiar (and skilled!) in dealing with sexual identity issues. The under-informed counselors apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach to helping the client’s homosexuality, assuming that ‘homosexuality is just another form of sexual sin ‘ no different than fornication or adultery’.

Well, now you, too, know the difference.

For help on this subject, please see Every Man’s Battle.