Monday, July 31, 2006

Purity Download: Tip 4

The following is excerpted from Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) and is the fourth of a seven-part series on resisting internet porn.

4. Have an accountability partner that consistently asks about your Internet activity.
Even if you don’t have a history of struggling with Internet porn, you need a friend who regularly asks how you’re doing in this area. Find someone you trust and respect of the same gender who will put the question to you straight—and wait for your answer. Then get a commitment from him or her to put you on the spot regularly.

This tip wins the "no duh" award. Everybody trumpets the importance of accountability. But how do you actually make it work in your life? What has helped you? What mistakes have you made? What needs to change in your relationships to make accountability for online temptation actually helpful? Please feel free to post your thoughts.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Purity Download: Tip 3

The following is excerpted from Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) and is the third of a seven part series on resisting internet porn.

3. Examine your mind-set when browsing and the amount of time spent on-line.
Susan found herself increasingly going online when she was feeling lonely or depressed. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before she got involved in visiting sites that led her into sin. If Internet use has become a mindless entertainment activity, where your brain goes into neutral and your defenses are down, you’re in dangerous territory. You might not be struggling with Internet impurity right now, but there’s a good chance that your behavior and mind-set will lead you there soon. Go on-line with a purpose. And don’t spend tons of time browsing aimlessly. Cutting back so that the time you spend on-line is focused and has a point will significantly cut back on the temptation to slip into the darker corners of the Web.

Feel free to share your thoughts. How do you evaluate the time you spend online? How would you apply this advice or what have you already learned from personal experience about what browsing mind-set leads to great temptation?

Note: the picture is by my assistant Katherine who will be snapping shots of the book in various odd settings to accompany the remaining tips. If you'd like to contribute your own photo of Sex is Not the Problem in an exotic location just email it to us!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Purity Download: Tip 2

The following is excerpted from Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) and is the second of a seven part series on resisting internet porn.

2. Resolve that no technological convenience
is worth sinning against God.

Most people have to use the Internet for school or work. But we should never place the convenience of technology above God’s commands for holiness. If you’ve struggled with Internet porn or impurity of any kind, be willing to take radical action. Maybe that means no Internet access at your home for a season (that's the step my friend Don has taken). Or staying away from chat rooms or specific kinds of surfing, period. It could mean going on-line only when you’re with other people. For a season while my teenage brothers were younger, my dad had only one computer in his house with a web browser, and that computer was in the middle of the living room. But that’s not all…my mom was the only one with the password to get onto it! Inconvenient? Incredibly so! But during that time he was more concerned with protecting himself and my younger brothers than with convenience.

Please feel free to share steps you've taken to limit temptation online. What safeguards do you have in place to weaken the power of lust on the Internet?

Stay tuned for Tip 3...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fighting Internet Porn

Over the next week or two I'll be posting seven tips for fighting internet pornography. This material is taken from Sex is Not the Problem (Lust is) a book I wrote out of my own struggle against lust and the hope and power I've found in the gospel. The book is for both men and women, and if you battle lust (online or otherwise) I hope God will use it to encourage you.

The following is something I wrote to more specifically address the temptations that we face in our internet age. There's nothing necessarily ground breaking here, but I hope these reminders will strengthen your resolve to flee sexual sin online.

Seven Tips for Fighting Internet Porn

The Internet is a wonderful tool. We can use it to work, to study, to play, even to share the gospel with people in other parts of the world. But if you and I aren’t careful it can become a door to great sin and spiritual ruin. Christian men and women, church leaders included, have fallen prey to the temptations of lust on-line. Whether it’s illicit relationships in chat rooms, immoral blog content, or pornographic sites, the invitation to sin is especially dangerous because the internet is so accessible, and what we see and do there is so easily hidden from others. But God sees all our sin. And impurity of any kind will always lead to heartache and regret. Whether or not this is a current area of temptation for you, the following seven tips will equip you to honor God on-line.

1. Identify what’s leading up to lustful indulgence on the Internet.
For most people, sin on-line is preceded by compromise in areas such as their fantasies, television viewing, or reading material. It might seem like sexual sin on-line “comes out of nowhere,” but it’s often something we build up to through disobedience in other areas. Prayerfully consider where you can be fighting the little battles more diligently so you can avoid the big ones.
The next six "tips" will be posted in the coming days. Feel free to post comments on how this specific strategy could help you or how you have already applied it in your own life.

Please note: because of the nature of this subject please use caution in the specifics of what you share. Let's keep all comments "PG" rated. Thanks!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Baptism & The Lord's Supper

I'm studying for a series we're doing at our church next month on the ordinances—baptism and the Lord's Supper. "A Christian ordinance," writes Donald Whitney in his book Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church, "is a ceremony that the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded to be permanently practiced by the church." Last fall our pastoral team gave ourselves to studying this topic and identified some weaknesses (due to our leadership) in our church's practice of the ordinances that need to be addressed. So we're anticipating God's help as we bring clarity and thorough teaching on their importance both in the life of our church and the life of the individual believer.

I'm posting because I'm curious to hear from you about your personal experience of the ordinances and your church's practice. If you have a minute, please post answers to the following questions:
1. When were you baptized in relationship to your conversion and how old were you? What was the spiritual significance of baptism for you in your Christian life? And if you're a believer and you haven't been baptized, why not?

2. How does your church conduct baptisms? How often? What context? How important are they and do many people attend? And what effect do they have on the congregation?

3. How does your church celebrate the Lord's Supper in terms of frequency and how the meal is shared? Do you partake as families? Pass trays? Tear real bread or eat those hard little cracker things?

4. Do you personally prepare for communion and if so what does this involve? And what is the consistant spiritual effect of taking communion? If it's not much don't feel bad about sharing that either.
If you can post answers I will be most grateful. I am actually really curious to hear from you.

One important rule: let's refrain from turning this into a debate over infant baptism. If you're a Presbyterian brother/sister just note that for questions 1 & 2 and we'll all be cool.

Thanks for dropping in.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cost of Discipleship

I just did a post over at the Na blog about the cost of discipleship.

If you stop by the Na site you'll also get to see some incredibly humiliating pictures of me. Funny stuff. In one I seriously look like Curious George. I actually don't mind that since I really liked the movie and listen to the Jack Johnson soundtrack a lot. Hey, if you're short and bald it's better to be compared to Curious George than Gollum (who I have thought I kind of look like).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Interview with Voice

Stop by Justin Taylor's blog Between Two Worlds for the interview he conducted with Curtis Allen (aka Voice) a talented, humble and Christ-centered rapper who is a friend and member of my church. You can learn more about Voice and download his album at his website

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Valley of Vision - Free Song Download

Sovereign Grace is about to release a new worship project based on the classic collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. If you've never heard of this book, go out and get it. Your prayer life will be enriched. Then you'll begin to understand why the idea of an album inspired by these prayers gets me so excited.

Okay, let me stop here and admit that I am totally biased about this project because my wife Shannon sings three songs on it (including the title track). With that little confession out of the way, let me give you all the info you need to learn more...

1. Here's the MAIN PAGE for the project that includes a description and clips of all the songs. There's also a little promotional trailer for the album that features a short interview with Shannon and even a clip of our little girl Emma who went with mom to the studio while she sang.

2. Sovereign Grace is giving away a FREE SONG from the album. It's called The Precious Blood and it's one that Shannon sings.

3. If you want THE BOOK, here's the original version with the cheesy cover. Please understand, all genuine Puritan books have cheesy covers. Accept no substitutes! (But there is a really cool leather bound edition available if you have the extra cash.)
We're going to start teaching several of these songs in our church. I hope you'll be encouraged personally as you listen to these theologically rich, Gospel-centered songs.

Let me know what you think. And all personal bias aside, doesn't my wife have a beautiful voice?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Vacation Brain, Rain and Vodcast

The Harris family has returned from our vacation. What a gift from God. I left the computer at home so there was no email or worry about work. We really had a wonderful, refreshing time together.

I'm still dealing with "vacation brain." The mind is not so sharp.

Yesterday I was supposed to be at Creation East, but the festival was cancelled because of all the rain. Speaking of rain, when it started falling in earnest on Sunday night, my gutters overflowed and rain poured into our basement. This was less than 24 hours after getting home from our vacation. Handling a flood with a mind of mush isn't very good. Fortunately my friends Joe and Andrew were over and helped me bail water from my window wells. It turned out to be a fun memory.

Totally unrelated...if you haven't stopped by the New Attitude site lately, take a look. Right now we're giving away the video of the first session of the conference, a message I gave called Humble Orthodoxy.

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