June 29

“Ministry in the Dark” Survey

 ministry in the dark

Fill out the survey below, or go to this link:
http://goo.gl/forms/nEqAo3pCTQ3ASnW03

Please feel free to share this survey with anyone you know in Christian ministry.

 

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June 30

On the Road – What God cares more about

on the road

 

Think of the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. Imagine there are three points in the story – The Father’s house, the pigsty and the road in between the two.
At one point, the son is in the pigsty, far from his father’s house, and at another point he is closer to his father, on the road.
Which of these two is a better place for him to be, do you think?

“On the road” you might say, because the closer you are to the father’s house the better.

Well, it would be understandable to think that, but you must consider this most important question… Which way is the son facing?

You see, at one point of the parable he was on the road, quite close to his father’s house, but he was walking away from the father. Being close to the father was no help to him because his direction was leading him further and further away.

But in that moment in the pigsty, when he came to his senses and turned back to begin his journey back home, he was in a much better position. He had repented. His direction was set and even though he was far from the father’s house, bankrupt, hungry and covered in mud, he was better off than that point on the road when he was facing away from his father.

wrong wayJesus uses this story as an analogy to the moment when someone turns in repentance back to God and he says, “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

There are many stories throughout the gospels where Jesus makes the point that the most important thing to God is not your position (how “good” or “close” you are to God), but your direction (which way you are facing and the direction you are travelling in). He often challenged the outwardly “good” religious leaders of his day about how God was actually more pleased with “bad” people who had turned to God in repentance. He’d say things like, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” (Matthew 21:31-32)

It’s not that God doesn’t care about how godly we are. It’s not that he doesn’t care about whether we lead a sinful or a holy life. It’s just that he cares about our DIRECTION more.

If you didn’t know, I run a little ministry called Elephant Room, where I have the privilege of supporting Christian guys as they journey out of an addiction to porn. The truth that God cares more about the direction they are travelling than exactly how much progress they have made, is a great encouragement to them. They can feel so overwhelmed by their failures and so far from where they know they should be as a Christian. It is important for them to be reminded that every time they repent, all of heaven throws a party! Every little step walking in the right direction is worth it, no matter how far the journey seems and no matter how small the step. God is glorified greatly by us facing the right direction. As King David wrote as he repented over his own sexual sin: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

Back in 2007, I came to learn this great truth on my own road out of an addiction to porn. To express it, I wrote a song called, “The Road”, which has these words in its first verse:

“When I wonder whether I am travelling fast enough I just remember, I am on the road.
Cos speed is not the key to be freed, the priority’s the direction that you go, there on the road.
I might fall and I might stumble, but I am on the road.
And my hope it won’t crumble, if I am on the road.”

 

(3075)

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September 27

Porn – The Elephant in the Room

Porn

Most Christian guys struggle with it.

Many are stuck in it.

Hardly any talk about it.

For countless Christian guys (both married and unmarried) their struggle against pornography is turning into a losing battle.

Believe it or not, porn addiction is the number one sexual issue that the church is facing today. It is destroying marriages, hijacking ministries, and slowly but surely making the majority of guys feel weak in their faith, distant from God and disqualified from useful service.

Porn itself is ridiculously accessible, powerfully addictive and full of lies and illusions about men, women, sex, God and where we can find our identity and ultimate fulfillment.

One of the biggest problems as I see it is that although porn is the “elephant in the room” for most guys – we very rarely talk about it. Even with our close friends or mentors, how we are going in the area of sexual purity outside of marriage, and sexual faithfulness inside marriage, is one taboo that we often steer clear from. It is often too full of shame, regret and confusion and we convince ourselves that we don’t need help or we can do it alone by sheer will power.

We need to develop a culture where we can easily talk about this issue, not because like the rest of society, we don’t think it’s a big sin, but because we have experienced the grace of the gospel, and so that grace can be extended to all those who trust in Jesus. We should have no shame in bringing our sin into the light and when we do we should experience no condemnation from our brothers in Christ, because as Romans 8:1 says, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 

Helping Christian guys who struggle with porn and building a culture of grace in the church is one of my greatest passions.

If you didn’t know I also run a ministry and a website (that needs a lot of work!) called “Elephant Room”.
Check it out here.

I thought I could also put on here links to the talks I gave at a recent “Elephant in the Room” Night.
It includes my own journey with porn, some advice in tackling it in your life and an extensive “Question and Answer” session.

Feel free to download them for your personal use.

If you wish to use them for ministry purposes or to publish any quote from any of the material, please contact me first at: simon@elephantroom.info

TALK ONE: The Elephant and My Story.  (7MB,  45 minutes)

TALK TWO: The Five A’s of Battling Pornography.  (6.6MB,  49 minutes)

TALK THREE: Question & Answer Time.  (4.4 MB,  36 minutes)

(3525)

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May 31

Just One Area

Pedophilia
Rape
Sexual assault
STDs
The sex slave trade
Prostitution
Unwanted children out of wedlock
Pornography addiction
Child pornography
Adultery in marriage
Cheating in relationships
Divorces that result from these things

and all the pain, shame, heartache, brokenness, destruction, isolation, family breakdown, depression, confusion, disease, slavery, emptiness and loss that comes from these things…

could all be avoided. Not by STD testing and prevention methods only…

but if humanity obeyed God in one area of life…

sex

God’s way is laughed at and ridiculed as old fashioned, outdated and irrelevant.

But it is his gift to us for our good.

  (1486)

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February 24

The Pain or The Wound – A Poem

20120527-170039.jpg

The Pain or The Wound

One day my heart was wounded
And the pain was deep and strong.
It’s ache was like a bag of bricks
I couldn’t carry long.

I had two paths to treat the wound.
Two sources of advice.
The first one’s name was Lucifer.
The other’s name was Christ.

The first one gave me bandages
To bind the wound up tight
He told me, “Don’t expose the wound
To water, air or light.”

“Put all your focus on the pain
That’s what we need to heal.
You’ll soon forget your wounded heart
If there’s no pain to feel.”

So he subscribed me pain-killers
And drugs of every kind
Some to escape, some to excite,
And some to dull my mind.

He promised he would kill the pain.
He promised sweet relief.
His promises so promising
They almost begged belief.

But one thing he neglected
In his attractive invitation
Was to tell me of the side-effects
Of all his medication.

See, I have taken his advice
Many times in the past.
I’ve found his pain-killers to work.
They’re cheap and very fast.

But they’re also quite temporary
And with returning pain
Comes deeper wounds, and stronger aches
And isolating shame.

And so this time I think I’ll pass.
I’ll try different advice.
And so I took my wounded heart
And offered it to Christ.

He said although he knew the pain
Was deep and strong and real,
It would not go away until
The wound itself was healed.

And so he started to unwrap
The wound that was bound tight.
He said, “We must expose the wound
To water, air and light.”

He said, “This will be painful
But it is the only way.
I’ll be as gentle as I can.
We’ll take it day by day.”

“I’ll comfort you through every step
I’ll never leave your side
And very slowly I’ll unwrap
Your fear and shame and pride.

Until we reach your wounded heart
Until it is laid bare
The pain will still be present
But the healing will start there.

And in the wound I’ll shine my light
To show what was unseen
And there I’ll pour living water
So pure and fresh and clean.

And with my love and grace and truth
Your heart I will restore
And you will find more freedom
Than you ever had before.

And so Christ is the one I choose
His path is hard but real
Into his hands I place my heart
For only he can heal.

by Simon Camilleri 16/9/07

(1883)

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February 23

Idea for Book to Battle Porn

For those that don’t know, one of my passions and areas of calling is to help guys who are struggling with pornography.

For a few years, I’ve been think through how to help guys in the journey and what we all really need to live in freedom, integrity and purity in this area.

I came up with a basic overview today, that I may develop into a book, or a series of studies or even a talk or presentation that I could do at churches.

It is broken up into various sections, each based on questions.

This is the flow of it so far:

The WHAT, WHY, WHO, HOW & WHEN
in The Battle Against Porn

WHAT (exploring the nature and lies of pornography)
What is porn?
What it isn’t.

WHY (exploring the reasons behind the struggle, why it is sinful and how God has so much better for us)
Why do we look at it?
Why can’t we stop?
Why must we stop?
Why bother?

WHO (exploring all the players in the struggle and seeing them through God’s eyes)
Who is God?
Who are you?
Who are they?
Who is the Enemy?

HOW (exploring the practical steps we must take to walk in freedom and purity in this area)
How do I protect myself?
How do I fight?
How do I get back up after falling?
How do I change?

WHEN (exploring the fact that it’s never too early and it’s never, ever too late)
When do I start?


I may try writing each one of these as separate posts on this blog, or maybe just develop it privately to be given as studies for people to work though. If each question was one study then that’d be a collection of around 15 studies, which may be a bit long, but I don’t see which parts of it I can really kick out. They’re all so vital.

If you’d like more resources in your own struggle with porn, check out my other website that still needs a lot more work: http://www.elephantroom.info/

Feel free to contact me about this issue, or talk to me if you’re interested in getting the studies as I produce them, or even having me give a talk to your church men’s group.

Email: simon@elephantroom.info

Mobile: 0425 851 540 (1292)

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