Posts Tagged ‘human trafficking’

One of the many joys in life is seeing how the Lord shows up in our lives, such as through our friends and family but especially through the hearts and acts of strangers.

A little over a month ago, pre-Harvey, a gentlemen from Tennessee contacted the Castimonia ministry after listening to one of our Sexual Purity Podcasts.    He is on the road to recovery and found the podcast useful and a blessing to him.  Then Harvey hit!

As many individuals in the ministry were recovering from Harvey, one Castimonia member in particular let me know that his house completely flooded and unfortunately he did not have flood insurance.  He and his family had to move out and live with his wife’s family until the water went down (which took almost a week) and the first floor of their home was rebuilt.  It is then that I asked the Lord for help.  I wanted to help out this Castimonia member and his family just like I was helped out so many times in my recovery.

The first thing the Lord answered with was to encourage a group of men to go to his house and help him and his wife “Muck Out” his house, removing several feet high of sheet rock, insulation, furniture, and other items.  This all day event turned into such a blessing for the men who were able to perform this work.

Then, the Lord prompted the individual from Tennessee about helping out post-Harvey.  He gathered people from his church for prayer and also sent a package of gift cards donated by him and his church family to our brother in Katy whose home was flooded!  How truly amazing it was to see a stranger multiple states away send a sign of hope to a family in Katy who he has never met.  And what a blessing for a church in Tennessee to gather around their brother in Christ whom they have never seen to bring some joy to this family in Katy.  I am amazed at God’s love and so blessed to have witnessed these acts of kindness.

by Bevill and Associates

Does it seem like the same thing keeps happening to you in all your relationships? Does your heart get repeatedly broken? When you are a love addict, your relationship is almost always the most important thing in your life. When it’s good, it feels really good. But frequently your relationships are unfulfilling, disappointing and maybe even painful.

You might think of yourself as the unluckiest person on the planet. Somehow you keep being attracted to people who appear to be everything you’re looking for at first, but in the end you never seem to get back as much as you give. This isn’t really because of bad luck. You have patterns in your relationships that continually repeat themselves. It’s important for you to recognize your part in these patterns.

Falling in Love Too Fast

Here’s an example. You have recently ended a relationship and are heartbroken. In a very short amount of time, you meet someone else. The encounter may be a random meeting, or it may be that you sought out a new partner through online dating sites or other means. Without allowing yourself time to heal from a breakup, you are immediately looking for a new partner.

Once you meet someone new, you fall head over heels in love. This is your soul mate, you are sure of it. Family and friends urge you not to rush in so fast, but you repeatedly fall deeply in love with people you haven’t known very long, and you get completely carried away with each new relationship.

Missing the Signs of an Inappropriate Partner

There are a lot of reasons why someone you meet may not be right for you. Some are more serious reasons than others. Inappropriate partners usually give off signs that you should pay attention to early on in a dating relationship. He or she may let you know that drinking is the most important thing in life or that he or she has been unable to hold a job for longer than a few months. Your new partner may need someone to lie for him or her or to be bailed out of trouble. Because you are so desperate to be connected, you disregard red flags that should stop you in your tracks.

Your pattern is to miss the subtle hints that your date isn’t mentally healthy or is unavailable to have a committed relationship. The signs are there, and you will recognize them as long as your head is in charge rather than your needy, vulnerable side.

Giving More Than You Get

Your partners are typically self-centered and emotionally unavailable. They may have a problem with alcohol or drugs. They may be married. But you try to win them over anyway.

Your pattern is to give a lot more than you get. You call more often. You may contribute more than your partner on a financial level. You’re quick to be available when your loved one needs you, but you find that when you need someone to be there for you, he or she may not always come  through. You wonder why you can’t seem to get back all the love you are giving.

Hanging On When It’s Not Working

When love causes more pain than joy, most people recognize that it’s time to end the relationship. The pattern of a love addict is to keep hanging on long after others would have given up. You keep hoping that the other person will change and that he or she will be all that you’re looking for. You look for reasons to blame yourself for whatever has gone wrong and you are continually trying different strategies to make the other person love you as much as you love him or her. This is a sign that you probably have a very deep-rooted fear of abandonment. To you, love is like a drug that you can’t live without.

Do you recognize your recurring patterns in your relationships? Once you realize that there are patterns and that you are participating in this self-destructive dance, there is hope that you can heal. You can learn to get past patterns of love addiction by working with a counselor or attending meetings of Co-Dependents Anonymous. Recovery starts with recognition of your patterns.


Due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, we have decided to extend Early Bird registration until October 1st!  Please register ASAP.

Here is some information on the retreat.  I pray that the Lord uses this retreat to help men in their sexual purity journey.  The link to register for the retreat will be available later this Summer.

Friday, November 3rd – Sunday, November 5th

Castimonia’s Paratus Retreat is a retreat for any man who struggles with any type of sexual purity.  Paratus is Latin for equipped.

If you are wondering about whether to attend this retreat, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you fully equipped for the spiritual battle that is raging around us right now?
  • Are you a man who strives for biblical sexual purity?
  • Are you a man who struggles with maintaining that sexual purity?
  • Do you want a circle of brothers helping you in your sexual purity journey?

Join us for a weekend dedicated to equipping adult men of all ages, all walks of life, and various levels of struggle with the tools necessary to wage this spiritual battle and emerge on the other side as the sexually pure men that God intended us to be.

At the retreat, we will discuss strategies for equipping ourselves with tactics necessary for battling the enemy. We will discover the true meaning of brotherhood and fellowship. The leaders of the retreat will set the example of vulnerability and accountability. We hope to pave the way for all men to be fully equipped to wage war against Satan’s tempting assaults and emerge VICTORIOUS.

Early Bird Registration up until September 15 October 1st – $175

Regular Registration after September 15 October 1st – November 1st – $200

… and this is a GREAT thing!  THIS is what church should be but many are too concerned with production value and broadcasting of the services and fail to be “real” when it comes to spreading the Gospel, the dirty, beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ and His power of redemption.  It “falls short” because it is not trying to live up to the production standards of some of the churches in the area who pride themselves on “entertainment” rather than spreading the message of God’s love and our redemption.

Come worship God with other broken individuals

Those of us in recovery will sometimes walk into our church service thinking that others are looking at us with downcast eyes; Pharisees? This is especially true early on in recovery when we have just been “found out” or rumors spread of our marital or personal problems.  We fear that these “normal” people are without addictions or compulsions and look down upon us that struggle with these issues.  We feel that the people in this room have never committed adultery, been black-out drunk, or used illegal drugs.  We fear that these people have never sinned; at least not like us.  This, of course, is not the case at a Prodigals service.  Those that attend this service are all broken, are all sinners, and are all loved by God.  This is because we are not blind to the fact that we are sinful and selfish people. For most of us attending this service, the 12 Steps have taught us this about ourselves; we are no longer blind.  Performing a deep and thorough inventory of who we really are has enlightened us of our character and leaves us with no choice but to turn to Jesus and His power to set us free.

The message at Prodigals is largely Recovery-based

The setting is fantastic, intimate and inviting.  The worship music is tailored to resonate with addicts and the broken.  It cuts to the core of our want and need for redemption and our cry out to the Lord to heal us from our affliction; to free us from our self-imposed bondage.  Freedom.  Along with the praise and worship music, a testimony is given in this service which adds to the welcoming environment needed by those of us in recovery.  We feel like we are not alone after hearing a testimony to which we can relate.  The short but effective sermon is one that we can also relate to.  It typically includes recovery-related themes with recovery-related language.  It also is raw, unblemished, and truthful.  They are not afraid to share of their brokenness or of their addiction.  They are not afraid to speak truth to those of us who are listening.  And they rejoice at having been restored from a life of addiction and compulsion to where the Lord can now use them for His good purpose.

If you are in any recovery program and feel like you don’t “fit in” at your church, I encourage you to visit the Prodigals service and see for yourself how powerful the experience can be worshiping the Lord with other recovery individuals.  Even if you are comfortable at your own church like I am, visit the Prodigals and experience a different side of praise and worship and the Word of God with your fellow recovering members.  Experience hope! It is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Prodigals information is written below:

Location: Loft Worship, Student Building of The Fellowship
Date: Every Saturday Evening
Time: 5:30PM

I was sent the trailer for this movie by a friend of mine and thought I would share with the rest of you about this movie event.  The Heart of Man is a story of redemption from our brokenness and it openly discusses sexual purity issues.  

One night only – September 14th


The Heart of Man” is a story inviting the sons and daughters of God to leave behind our broken, moralistic and religious way of thinking and relating to God and to others. Once we begin to know who God is (and as a result who we are), we have something to invite the world into. Freedom from performance. Freedom from managing our behavior so we appear acceptable to God. Freedom from our addictions, compulsive behaviors, secrecy and double lives. This film tears the veil of confusion over the church’s current identity crisis and enables it to invite the rest of the world to the banquet God is throwing all of us.

The film features emotional interviews with real people going through their mess and subsequent healing, and includes expert witnesses of such men as William Paul Young, author of the NY Times best-selling novel “The Shack”, Dan Allender, Ph.D, author of “The Wounded Heart” and Spoken Word Artist Jackie Hill Perry. All of that is interwoven with a production-rich “prodigal son” narrative story shot in Hawaii.

Ephesians 5:21 – ““Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.””

Whenever I (Dr. Townsend) talk about a wife setting boundaries in marriage, someone asks about the biblical idea of submission. What follows is not a full treatise on submission, but some general issues you should keep in mind.

First, both husbands and wives are supposed to practice submission, not just wives. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (see Ephesians 5:21). Submission is always the free choice of one party to another. Wives choose to submit to their husbands, and husbands choose to submit to their wives.

Christ’s relationship with the church is a picture of how a husband and wife should relate: “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (see Ephesians 5:24–27).

Whenever submission issues are raised, the first question that needs to be asked is: what is the nature of the marital relationship? Is the husband’s relationship with his wife similar to Christ’s relationship with the church? Does she have free choice, or is she a slave “under the law”? Many marital problems arise when a husband tries to keep his wife “under the law,” and she feels all the emotions the Bible promises the law will bring: wrath, guilt, insecurity, and alienation (see Romans 4:15; Galatians 5:4).

Freedom is one issue that needs to be examined; grace is another. Is the husband’s relationship with his wife full of grace and unconditional love? Is she in a position of “no condemnation” as the church is (see Romans 8:1), or does her husband fail to “wash her” of all guilt? Usually husbands who quote Ephesians 5 turn their wives into slaves and condemn them for not submitting. If she incurs wrath or condemnation for not submitting, she and her husband do not have a grace-filled Christian marriage; they have a marriage “under the law.”

Often, the husband is trying to get his wife to do something that either is hurtful or takes away her will. Both of these actions are sins against himself. “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church” (see Ephesians 5:28–29).

Given this, the idea of slave-like submission is impossible to hold. Christ never takes away our will or asks us to do something hurtful. He never pushes us past our limits. He never uses us as objects. Christ “gave himself up” for us. He takes care of us as he would his own body.

I have never seen a “submission problem” that did not have a controlling husband at its root. When the wife begins to set clear boundaries in marriage, the lack of Christlikeness in a controlling husband becomes evident because the wife is no longer enabling his immature behavior. She is confronting the truth and setting biblical limits on hurtful behavior. Often, when the wife sets boundaries, the husband begins to grow up.

This devotional is drawn from Boundaries in Marriage, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud.

Is your spouse “catching up” with an old high school friend on Social Media or chat, and you feel uncomfortable… but you can’t put a finger on WHY?  That’s because right now their texts may be just two old friends talking about the past, but if it continues here’s what they’ll start talking about:

Their lives since they parted
Their relationships since they parted
Their families
Their spouses
You (the spouse)
How you’re an excellent parent
How you’re a great spouse
How you’re a wonderful person
Your job
How your job keeps you busy
How your job keeps you away
How they sometimes feel a little lonely when you’re away
How they sometimes feel a little overburdened at home
How they sometimes feel a little taken for granted
How they feel that you don’t ALWAYS listen
How they feel that you don’t ALWAYS understand her
How they feel that sometimes you’re just “not there” for them
How, okay… you’re not ALWAYS such a wonderful person
How they loved hearing from their old friend again
How they look forward to their old friend’s texts/calls/e-mails now
How they feel young again
How they feel appreciated again
How they feel attractive again
How it’s so nice to have someone who just LISTENS again
How it’s been so, so long since someone made then feel that way
How their eyes have now been opened
How they now realize what they truly want and need
How they now realizes that their spouse could NEVER give them that
How insensitive their spouse can be some times
How their spouse can be a real jerk sometimes
How they wonder what it would be like if the two of you would have stayed together “back in the day”
How they now realize that they never really loved their spouse
How they now realize that they really loved their old friend all along
How they ever could have fallen for a jerk like their spouse
How their spouse is the biggest a++hole they’ve ever known
How their spouse is standing in the way of true happiness
How their spouse ruined their life
How they made a big mistake marrying their spouse
How they made an even bigger mistake letting the old friend go
How now they see that they were really meant to be with the old friend
How they desperately have to get away from their spouse
How they’re definitely going to leave their spouse
How they’re talking to divorce lawyers
How they’re going to live happily ever after…

(original author, unknown)