Sexual Purity Posts

Better or Best

From: NotUnknown.com by Keith B.

“Lay down what’s good and find what’s best…” – Johnny Diaz, “Breathe”

A Bible study teacher pointed me to Acts 16 to answer this question: should we choose what is good for our lives, or allow God to show us what is best? Paul and Silas had set out on what Paul chose to do – preach in Asia. Key words here are “Paul chose.” In Acts 16:6, “the Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching the Word in Asia at the time.” God had in mind best, not good. When Paul failed to seek His will, God intervened through the Holy Spirit and prevented them from preaching in Asia.

I settled for what I thought best for most of my life. I didn’t view my decisions as settling. In my pride, I thought I knew best. Through my own brokenness, I believed the only person I could trust had to be me. So many others had failed me or didn’t really want to hear me. Or so I thought. Like Paul, I settled for what I believed good and right. That thinking led me to damaging choices. Damaging to myself and everyone around me.

Paul had a plan. He had his own plan. He chose to follow his plan to Asia, where he wanted. God’s plan differed from Paul’s. The Holy Spirit prevented Paul from stopping in Asia and gave him a dream as prodding to move on elsewhere. Paul listened. He paid attention to God’s direction and changed his plan from good to best. When I plan (I said when…because I can’t help myself), I can become convinced what I want is good and proceed. The question I have to ask, to make sure I have the right plan, is if this is a good thing right now.

Paul understood that his plan didn’t fit right now. A door closed. A window shut. I have moved forward with a job, continued in a relationship, decided to speak up in a way that I thought right; all of these happened after the door closed in my face or the opportunity ended. I charged through anyway, believing in my own judgment and discernment. Paul sought out God’s discernment in what to do next. He listened and asked the simple question: is this a good thing to the Lord?

Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia calling out for help. Macedonia didn’t fit in Paul’s original plan. My plan for restoration in my marriage and family after my affair became known involved repentance and amends. Nowhere in my plans did full disclosure show up. God revealed to me over and over the necessity for honesty and transparency as the building blocks for healing. I didn’t want to hear that and slipped back into my old life of lies and sexual sin. After the vision of the man calling from Macedonia, Paul immediately obeyed and set sail for Macedonia. He obeyed, answering the simple question: what is the last thing the Lord convicted me to do?

Paul started teaching and preaching in Macedonia. He had few followers. People denounced him, threw him in prison, beat him. He didn’t immediately recognize the results of his obedience. After I finally obeyed, followed through with full disclosure of my years of deception to my wife, our marriage didn’t magically heal. The first few months meant separate rooms, anger, yelling, threats. I knew I had obeyed God, but I wondered why I even bothered. Paul continued and slowly realized the fruits of God’s direction. He reaffirmed his commitment by asking the question: is my effort backed by the hand of the Lord and bearing fruit of the Spirit?

Laying down what’s good and finding what’s best doesn’t come easy for me. My immediate response seems to skew toward what’s the least painful or difficult or what fits my own view. However, I have chosen to seek what’s best in my life. After walking through my third step, and turning my life and will over to the care of God, I find opportunities to seek His direction in how to daily turn my will over to Him. Thanks to Paul, I have a great example of how to find what’s best.

podcast, Podcasts, Purity Podcast, Sex Addiction Podcast

Castimonia Purity Podcast Episode 51 – Seeing Clear in Sex Addiction Recovery

Episode 51 – Seeing Clearing in Sex Addiction Recovery

Doug discusses how riding a hoverboard can be the same way that we approach life. He also discusses the importance of utilizing tools in our recovery walks. He looks at practical tools that we can use to meditate and focus on what God really wants for our lives.

Email us at puritypodcast@castimonia.org for more information, and remember that you are not walking on this road of recovery alone.

Sexual Purity Posts

Leaving a Legacy

Courtesy of NonUnknown.com by Keith B.

King: “one that holds a preeminent position” – Miriam Webster Dictionary

My grandmother named my father on August 21, 1940. She believed he would leave his mark. She wanted a name that indicated such. She named him King. He didn’t have a normal name, a traditional name. For me and my family, and for most everyone in the memorial service this past Sunday, he did hold a preeminent position in our lives. King. Not a traditional or normal name. Definitely an appropriate name.

King Martel Baker joined this life as the fourth of seven children, son of a traveling salesman and absentee father who died during my father’s teenage years. Most considered his family poor. He could have gone off the rails, strayed, or even followed in his father’s footsteps. He chose a different path. He joined the Air Force, used the GI Bill to become a pharmacist. He decided that his family’s life would be different than his. He had a vision of the legacy he wanted to leave. He spent his 77 years on this earth building that legacy.

He left a legacy of faith. Dad required us to attend church when we lived in his home. Church attendance didn’t define his faith. He set an example through reading his Bible, serving his church, but mostly in his selflessness. He refused to put himself before God or us. While enduring the degradation of his health due to muscular dystrophy, he refused to complain or seek attention or pity. He sought to minister to others. Even though he could no longer physically participate in the medical mission trips he so loved, he still helped by organizing the supplies and finding donations of vitamins and other medications.

He left a legacy of family. Before he left this world on January 12, 2018 at 3:20 a.m., he waited until all four of his children had gotten to his side. Family meant so much to him, even in death. He held on until he knew all arrived. As adults, my siblings and I have differences. We bicker and argue and hold grudges. Dad didn’t care. He willed us together. At his funeral, he made sure all of our cousins and their families attended through the relationships he kept with them. Even when we as their cousins lost touch, he wouldn’t.

He left a legacy of love. When a member of the Sadducees challenged Jesus to name the greatest commandment, He named loving God and loving others as yourself as the greatest command. King Baker made that his life’s work. In 2005, King’s home church called a new pastor. He gave the message at my dad’s funeral this past Sunday.

“When I first met King Baker, he told me that he loved me. I didn’t know how to respond. I knew my own father loved me. But I didn’t come from a family or tradition where men told each other that. The next few times I met King, every time I saw him, he told me he loved me. It wasn’t long before I realized something: he really does love me and care about me. Because of that, he changed me. I learned from him not to go through life without telling the people around me how I feel about them, that I really do love them. Without King Baker, I never would have done that. He lived out the love of Christ. I bear witness to that,” he said.

Every day I spoke to my father, he made sure to tell me he loved me. He hugged and kissed me. He did all of us. I never had to wonder. For a lot of my life, I tried not to be like my father. Today I pray that I can live like he did. Loving God, loving others as myself. Like King Baker. Thank you, Daddy. I miss you so much.

Sexual Purity Posts

Prodigal – What’s your New Year’s resolution?

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New Year’s Resolutions – What is yours??
Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. – Genesis 5:24

Wow. 2018 is here. I don’t know about you, but I am NOT ready. Preparing for new years for me usually meant strategic planning, goal setting, looking for what is to come. Depending on myself.

My son brought up a great point this week. We were talking about walking with Christ and what that means. He asked me to think about what happens when you walk “with” someone. I didn’t get it. He demonstrated and had me walk next to him.

“So what do you notice,” he asked?

“Ah…our strides match up.”

“Exactly. When you walk with someone, you walk like they do. You take your direction from them. You mirror them,” he said.

Enoch did that. He walked in close fellowship with God. That’s how I want to start my 2018. Walking with God.

Coming This Week:

  • Charlie brings his testimony of recovery.
  • Sean has his New Year’s resolution. He brings a message on how to prepare for 2018.
  • Also, expect impactful worship songs, a time of celebration and sharing of our milestones, and a testimony of spiritual awakening.

When: Every Saturday at 5:30 pm

Location: The Fellowship (in the Loft), 22765 Westheimer Pkwy, Katy, TX 77450

Childcare is available. Pre-notification is not necessary but is requested. For more information about childcare, email us info@theprodigals.org.

Don’t forget to stop in at Kosmos Coffee Shop at the Fellowship before and after service. They are open just for us!

Come home, prodigals!

Sexual Purity Posts

God’s Timing

NotUnknown.com by Keith B

“Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus. Then three years later I went to Jerusalem…” – Galatians 1:17-18a

I learn the best theology in recovery meetings. Something about sitting in a circle and sharing my soul leads to receiving God’s truths in a profound way. I communicate with God primarily through Bible study with others and through writing. He also allows me to communicate with Him in circles. Intimate discussions with other men in those meetings allow me to directly witness His work in my life and the lives of others.

A brother shared something about Paul that I didn’t know. More accurately, I never bothered to investigate. In Galatians, Paul reviewed the beginning of his ministry. He reminded everyone that his ministry didn’t begin instantaneously. He spent three years in Arabia, allowing God to make him ready for the work God had for him. It was another thirteen (more or less) years before Paul made his first missionary journey.

God’s revelation to Paul on the road to Damascus was life changing. That experience began his ministry and reshaped the church and the spread of the Gospel message. Paul didn’t instantly began spreading the Gospel all over the known world. He allowed God to prepare him for the work to come.

Most of my life, I couldn’t understand why God didn’t instantly heal me from the sex and relationship addictions dominating my life. Why couldn’t I touch His robe or dip into the river or experience a “Damascus road” transformation? I believed that was the only healing God did…instant healing.

Paul’s story reminded me again of my lack of understanding of how God works. He can heal instantly. He chooses in me to prepare in His time, not mine. Paul learned something I am learning now. He learned to operate on God’s timing and urging, not his own.

Paul could have sought out Peter and James and the other disciples and leaders of the church at the time to jump start what he believed God had for him. He didn’t do that. He spent three years in Arabia. He didn’t consult others for direction. He first looked to God’s instruction and guidance. He trusted God to lead him.

I identify strategic planning as one of my greatest strengths. Throughout most of my adult life, I haven’t felt at ease unless I have a long term plan and am taking action to reach some goal or another. My goals. Not God’s. Mine. To be rigorously honest, I didn’t feel at ease. I felt uneasy and believed that was because I hadn’t reached my goal yet.

God has revealed to me my uneasiness didn’t come from a lack of achievement of personal goals. It came from seeking my own goals. My plan. Not His. Mine. Paul reminded me to follow God’s plan in God’s timing to achieve God’s goals for my life. My ministry. My ministry springs from His plan and in His timing.

Recognizing my life depends solely on His direction results in something I haven’t ever known before. I experience peace. I am not comfortable with peace yet. I am learning peace in His timing.

Sexual Purity Posts

Cedric is preaching at Prodigal on Saturday 12/9

Coming This Week at the Prodigal:

  • Cedric our Castimonia brother explores a message of what it means to be broken…and loved.
  • Also, impactful worship songs, a time of celebration and sharing of our milestones, and a testimony of spiritual awakening.

When: Every Saturday at 5:30 pm

Location: The Fellowship (in the Loft), 22765 Westheimer Pkwy, Katy, TX 77450

Childcare is available. Pre-notification is not necessary but is requested. For more information about childcare, email us info@theprodigals.org.

Don’t forget to stop in at Kosmos Coffee Shop at the Fellowship before and after service. They are open just for us!

Come home, prodigals!

Sexual Purity Posts

Unclean

 UncleanNotUnknown.com – Keith B.

Unclean. Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines unclean  as “dirty, filthy, morally or spiritually impure.” How did I get that way? Of course, original sin led to that break with God and true moral and spiritual impurity. But really, what happened with me in particular?

So, what is “clean”? I believe I mentioned that God is Holy. Yeah, I know, big surprise. Because of that original sin of Adam and Eve, we can’t ever meet His standard of holiness while here on earth in our brokenness and in a broken world. So why does holiness even matter?

Leviticus 19 – 21 defines holiness, cleanliness and why they are important. Someone challenged me last week when I wrote about the necessity of seeking a life of holiness to pursue a relationship with God. I was rightly challenged that holiness is not a requirement for salvation or being seen as redeemed by God, which is true. So why pursue holiness? Well, two real reasons. One, living by holy standards gives glory to the Lord, honoring Him in our lives by seeking His standard of living. Two, living by holy standards keeps us from unhealthiness, disease, abuse, and darkness. Stark, huh?

God is Holy. He is the Holy One. He decides what is holy and what isn’t. He is picky, like I mentioned previously. He defines what is clean and what is unclean. Sexual holiness means living by God’s holy standards. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explained the importance of practicing sexual holiness and honoring God’s creation of our bodies. He stated our bodies are part of Christ and defiling our bodies through sexual immorality defiles the holiness of God. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul goes further by defining sexual holiness as existing in the context of marriage between man and woman. Paul made clear that sexual holiness means avoiding any sexual immorality. All sexual sin including adultery, prostitution, homosexuality – all run counter to God’s call to holiness.

How do we become unclean? Many don’t know any better, don’t know God’s expectations for living a holy life. Some of us have a desperate need that we try to fill with something other than God. We may listen to our culture which allows for and even encourages sexual practices that don’t fit God’s definition of holiness. Whatever path we follow, all of us need a Holy Savior.

Our culture and society label those who express support for sexual holiness as intolerant or ignorant or unenlightened. So how do we live in this society, balancing the pursuit of holiness with the love of Christ for all people? I turn to John 1:17 again and again to the only man who successfully navigated being in the culture but not of the world. Jesus came in grace and truth. We pursue His model of living. Revelation 4:8 reminds me “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” 1 John 4:8 says “anyone who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”

God calls me as a follower of Christ to pursue His Holiness and to show His love. Grace and truth. Sexual holiness exists as His truth. Telling my story of redemption and restoration allows me to share a message and example of His grace. Grace and truth. He calls me to both.