Joy to the world, the Lord is come

joytotheworldearthsunrisestars300 years ago, the music sung in churches was pretty much limited to Scripture put to a tune. It bothered the non-conformist Isaac Watts that the people’s singing was dull and emotionless, overlooking the glorious truths of God’s Word and how they should deeply impact the life of each believer.

He griped about it to his father, who said to his son that if he really thought it was wrong, he should do something about it. So Watts set out to re-imagine Scripture as if it were meant to be sung. As he encountered the 98th Psalm, the words on the page jumped out at him. “O sing to the Lord a new song for He has done marvelous things…. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth… Before the Lord, for he is coming to judge [and rule] the earth, with righteousness…” Psalm 98:1a,4a,9a (Amplified Bible).

Watts published the words of Joy to the World, along with other re-imagined Scriptures, in 1719 in a book of “imitation psalms.” It was not associated with Christmas, and if you carefully read the lyrics, they don’t refer to the birth of Jesus as a baby in a lowly manger, but the glorious second coming of Our Savior, when he will defeat the rule of sin, and will reign over the earth in righteousness, as is prophesied in Psalm 98.

Today, we can’t sing the first line of the carol – “Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King” – without envisioning the long-awaited first appearing of the promised Messiah. Though a baby, He would grow to teach about how to have a right relationship with God, then make that possible through His substitutionary death, and His triumphal resurrection. He came to die so we can live.


Though no original manuscript of the tune has ever been found, the music to which we sing Joy to the World is attributed to George Fredrick Handel. If you listen to his magnum opus, Messiah, you can hear strains of Joy to the World in some of the movements like Comfort Ye, Lift Up Your Heads, and Glory to God. I don’t know whether Watts ever heard Handel’s Messiah, but I’m sure he would be pleased that his re-imagining of Psalm 98 would eventually be sung to the glorious, heart-rending tune that it is today.

As we remember the birth of Our Savior this Christmas season, this carol is a great reminder to ourselves that the world, plagued by sin and sorrow, is not our home. Along with all creation, we await the reappearing of our Messiah, who will rule and reign in righteousness over all nations. In a tainted world that doesn’t offer much hope, we can take great comfort in the steadfast hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Ellie and I take great comfort as well, in your faithful prayers, financial support and encouragement, as we share the principles of God’s Word, with couples and families across the nation and around the world. Our desire is to make every home a godly home by sharing biblical blueprints for marriage and family, but ultimately to introduce everyone to the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. We wouldn’t be able to do that without you. Thank you for co-laboring with us!

As you celebrate Christmas this year, we pray your thoughts will be full of the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love.

Gayle and Cindy Owens: All in for marriage and family

This is the first installment of a regular feature where we focus on the incredible people who make up our ministry support team.

In September, 1966, Gayle and Cindy Owens secretly eloped and were married in a civil ceremony before a justice of the peace in Mobile, Alabama. Not the most glorious starts to married life, but the beginning of a journey, nonetheless. A few years and a couple of children later, they each came into a personal relationship with Christ, which changed their lives personally… and ours as well.

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Gayle and Cindy Owens

Last month in Springfield, Missouri, Cindy and Gayle celebrated 50 years of marriage, surrounded by a handful of friends, their 11 children (and their spouses), nearly 3 dozen grandchildren and a handful of great-grands. And us. Gayle and Cindy embody commitment to marriage and family, and to living to serve God and others.

Few of our supporters have known us longer than Gayle and Cindy have. Actually, Cindy and Ellie grew up in the same home, the oldest and youngest of six siblings. Gayle and Cindy came to our wedding back in 1985. And and early in our marriage, they were instrumental modeling for us the things that have helped us live for Christ, in putting Him at the center of our marriage, and in raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Through the years, they have learned a lot of things about marriage and parenting… and they’re still learning.

The important thing, Gayle says of parenting and marriage, is to do everything by the grace of God and the power of His Word. “Psalm 127:1 says ‘Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.’ We find our strength for the task in John 15 and Philippians 4: ‘Apart from me (Jesus), you can do nothing,’ and ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’

“You try to teach your children the same things God’s taught you, and hopefully they catch it,” Gayle said. “God established marriage in the Garden, so it’s the primary relationship of the family. In Ephesians, we learn about the importance of husband loving his wife and a wife submitting to her husband, and when those two things are going well, the marriage is strong.

“Marriage and family is the bedrock of God’s plan for the kingdom. If parents and children pass down the spiritual heritage God gave to them, and their children, it builds into a long-term successful ministry. The first ministry parents have is to their children.”

Cindy is quick to admit that they haven’t had a perfect marriage and haven’t raised perfect children. But then, neither have many of Scripture’s most important families.

“As a parent, we look to the Lord and his dealings with his children in the Bible. Abraham, David, Joseph and Mary are not just stories, but real people who had feelings the same as we do today as we go through the difficult responsibility of parenting. Seeing these historic examples reminds us that God isn’t expecting a perfect result, but just trust and faithfulness. He is so merciful, kind and gracious to remind us that it’s a process for all of us that lasts our lifetime.

“Parents’ are going to fail, and so are children, but it’s a process God’s working through with us. No good parents are trying to frustrate or ruin their children. We just walk in the light that we have. Our confidence is that He will be with us the whole time, he promises to never leave us.”

Well into their third decade of grandparenting, Cindy reminds herself of the importance of living by the Spirit, which produces his fruit, especially joy.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength. If our children constantly see us frustrated, why would they want to have a relationship with Him? Family is like a blank sheet of paper that God has given us. We each put dabs here and there, and hopefully, when we’re finished, what we have is a picture of Christ.”

Gayle and Cindy have supported our work with FamilyLife for over a decade. They know as well as anyone what it is like to raise support while ministering to others; they served nearly 20 years as stateside missionaries with New Tribes Mission, where Gayle tended to the dental needs of other missionaries on furlough from the field. Although they left NTM in 1999, they have continued to make medical and other short-term mission trips, doing work in a dozen different countries.

“We support Scott and Ellie because of their work for the family. They’re part of a ministry that supports something dear to our hearts, which is family. Any work being done to promote strong marriages and developing strong legacies for years to come is vitally important.”

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Gayle and Cindy (middle), along with their 11 children and their families

New Monthly Feature: Meet Our Team

Although Ellie and I have been specifically called to minister to marriages and families through FamilyLife, it’s really more than the two of us; what we do is a total team effort. We couldn’t do what we do without dozens of couples and individuals who stand beside us through regular financial support, prayers and encouragement.

Starting this month, we want to introduce you to some of the people who co-labor with us, whether by giving, praying or cheering us on. Some are new to the team, others have been with us the whole time. For the most part, they’re all ordinary people living ordinary lives, but to us they’re extraordinary. They are singles, newlyweds, parents, empty nesters, grandparents, retirees. They are stay-at-home moms, small business owners, medical professionals, lawyers, teachers, mechanics, law enforcement officers, accountants, and architects. We’ve even been known to have professional athletes, dancers and prison guards, on our team, and several who even run ministries and non-profits of their own, yet still contribute to ours.

The common denominator is that they know that God is at work in our lives, and through the ministry of FamilyLife, and in the lives of the people who we collectively touch. Some of our ministry partners are family, some are friends, and some are almost strangers before the Lord directs them to join our team. Together, we’re providing families the help for today and hope for tomorrow that they so desperately need.

For years, Ellie and I have dreamed of being able to gather the dozens of our ministry partners into a big room, throw a party and let them meet each other and build friendships like the ones we have. Since that’s not likely to happen this side of heaven, this is the next best thing. It will be your chance to meet others who are co-laboring with you, and to let others meet you as well (with your permission, of course!). We hope you enjoy.

If you have suggestions about what you’d like to see in this feature, we’d love to include your ideas. Just contact us.

15 years ago, our world changed

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Jeanne and Dempsey Butler and Ellie and I were among 20 couples invited to Ministry Preview in September 2001. Today we’re the only ones still at FamilyLife headquarters.

This month, the nation and world have been reflecting on the devastating horror of the attacks of 9/11. But for Ellie and me, this September marks another 15th anniversary that was equally life-changing. To remember, we got together for dinner this week with the only other other couple at FamilyLife headquarters who was there to experience it.

It was in September 2001 that Ellie and I were invited to join staff with FamilyLife. And, yes, that life-changing event happened amid the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.During the days afterward all of us were realizing that life as we knew it had forever changed.

Days before, Ellie and I had accepted an invitation by FamilyLife leadership to come to Little Rock  to attend Ministry Preview. This orientation event allows couples who are interested in serving as missionaries with FamilyLife to check out the ministry, and the ministry gets to check out the candidates.

Ellie and I drove from our home in Mississippi to be part of the largest Ministry Preview class in FamilyLife history. Twenty couples from 17 different states were in Little Rock to hear from ministry leaders about FamilyLife’s mission and vision, as well as the process of raising your own support in order to serve.

Today, of those 20 couples, only two are on staff at FamilyLife headquarters: Dempsey and Jeanne Butler, and us. Some of the 20 either weren’t invited to join staff, or were invited and didn’t feel called. Of the 15 who accepted an invitation, most attended Campus Crusade for Christ’s week-long New Staff Training in Daytona, Florida, and began the long, difficult process of raising their monthly support.

Eventually nine of the couples joined staff at FamilyLife headquarters; the Butlers were the first in early 2003, and we were the last in late 2004. One by one over the years, the other couples have retired or passed away, left to join other ministries, or returned to the regular work world.

As the four of us who remain sat around the dinner table this week, we admitted that there have been many times when we, too, have felt like leaving. There have been frustrations with job fit, poor financial support, and the stress ministry can put on family from time to time. But the four of us agree that God’s call remains strong, and that we’re blessed to be a small part of a ministry that’s making such a big impact in homes across the US and the world.

For those of you who have supported Ellie and me with financial gifts, prayers and encouragement, we can honestly say that we are still here because of you. And, Lord willing, in 2026 on the 25th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we will still be serving Christ here at FamilyLife headquarters and helping change homes, legacies, and the world as we know it.

Coming soon: How the Lord led us to FamilyLife.

Of course your spouse goes free

Marriage is the union of a man and woman as one flesh. So it only makes sense to be able to attend the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway for the price of one, don’t you think?

Through Sept. 19, that’s exactly what you can do: registration for FamilyLife’s marriage getaway is two for the price of one! Any couple who registers in the next three days will get half off the regular rate of $175 per person! Instead, you’ll pay just $175 per couple!

You can attend any one of the 80+ conference locations across the US, anytime from now through this time next year.

Want to know more about the getaway? Check out this short, fun video.

Be thinking of anyone you could invite, regardless of whether they have a great marriage or one that’s just hanging on–this event is perfect for both.  Forward this blog link to them. If you believe you need the getaway but can’t afford it even at 1/2 price, let Ellie and me know. Or if you have any questions, we’d love to help anyway we can.

Serving Christ and Families (including yours),

What exactly is the ‘Content Team?’

contentteamdisplayA lot of the individuals and couples who support our ministry know that we work with FamilyLife to help build godly homes, but they don’t necessarily know what I specifically do to achieve that mission.

But then again, neither do many of my co-laborers at FamilyLife.

Most everyone who works for FamilyLife knows that we have a Web Content Team, but they might have a hard time telling you how we occupy our time. We haven’t exactly been advertising ourselves. Anyone who’s taken a tour of the FamilyLife headquarters in Little Rock can probably remember passing by the state-of-the-art radio studios where we record FamilyLife Today and other broadcasts. Or they recall the vast Live Events area where we coordinate the Weekend to Remember events. Of course they’re impressed by the Global department, where dozens of flags hang from the ceiling, representing some of the 110 countries we serve. Tour-takers probably even could tell about the window display of Barbara Rainey’s Ever Thine Home products that reflect the glory of God and Christ in home décor.

But when guides take their groups by the Content Team area, there’s been nothing there but non-descript cubicles, with little visible activity present (usually because we’re all typing away on our laptops). As of this month, though, rather than the tour guides just talking about what we do, we finally have a display that puts a visual to the descriptions given by the tour guides. Here’s a little rundown of what is featured, and what our team of nine actually does.

ONLINE ARTICLES. Our ministry website, FamilyLife.com, has been around for a couple of decades. In that time, we’ve created about 2,000 articles offering encouragement and equipping in the realms of marriage, parenting, and the Christian walk. Currently we have almost 1,500 of those published on our website, which can be accessed 24/7. Many of those articles are ones we wrote ourselves, while others are edited from other sources. Say we have a guest on our FamilyLife Today radio broadcast who has written a book. Our team looks through the book for a passage we can edit into an article that will meet a need of people coming to our website for help and hope. Maybe it’s about how to improve marital communication or intimacy, or how to parent adolescents, how to love a prodigal child, or how to live out the gospel in the home. If there is a need among readers, we endeavor to anticipate and fill that need with biblical, practical help through the written word via online articles.

Over the past few years, we have seen exponential growth in the amount of traffic our articles are receiving. Last month, we had over 1 million unique visitors to our articles alone! That’s a three-fold increase from just three years ago. Today, most of the people who are reading our articles are finding them through Google searches. In decades past, when you had a problem in your marriage or with your children, you would ask a parent, a pastor, or a trusted friend for help. Now people ask Google.

The people who are coming to our articles now are not necessarily looking for biblical content. They’re looking for help and hope for their marriage and family. They may have tried things their own way, and found the path they’ve taken to be empty and without promise. They’re looking for real answers to significant heart-felt needs. We know that the greater need is a personal relationship with God, and to know and experience the life-changing power of Christ.

You might think that with more people coming to our website with no familiarity with FamilyLife, people might bounce right off the page when they realize that our articles are biblically-based. But we’re seeing that readers are staying on each article page as long now as they have been – about five minutes each. Currently we’re trying to do a better job of taking these visitors from the information superhighway and giving them reason to rest on our site, exploring more articles and understandimg more of God’s blueprints for marriage and family.

HELP & HOPE EMAIL. Each Sunday evening, a single email arrives in nearly 400,000 inboxes of couples and individuals who attended a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, donated to FamilyLife, or purchased resources from our online store. We feature three articles that we have recently created or have chosen from among our bank of articles designed to encourage and equip. We try to base the articles on the content featured on that week’s FamilyLife Today radio broadcast or on a topic we’re emphasizing that month. This week it happens to be about how to survive and even rise above in the wake of a marital affair.

Sometimes the article is something our team of writers create ourselves. Other times, it may be based on a broadcast transcript or something we take from a carefully-chosen excerpt of a book written by that week’s radio guest. Our goal is to anticipate the needs of our audience and continue building a collection of articles available well beyond the lifespan of an inbox email.

Within the first 10 days, those articles are read by 15,000-50,000 people, but some may go on to be read by hundreds of thousands over a year’s time. Frequently, readers who are helped by the articles will post them on Facebook, or link them on Twitter, giving them an even broader distribution.

BOOK REVIEWS. There are actually two sides to the Content Team. One focuses on articles, the other on books.

Whenever a guest appears on the radio broadcast we’ve read their book looking for a number of criteria to determine how widely we recommend it to our audience. In some cases, it may not be the best fit for the FamilyLife reader and we may only offer it during the month of the broadcast. In other cases, it fills such a need and is so aligned with our mission of providing biblical principles in a practical light that we make it a staple in our online store.

When we read the book, we note how pointedly biblical it is, as well as how easily these principles can be applied to the reader’s life. We look at how closely aligned the book is with The Family Manifesto, FamilyLife’s biblical statement of beliefs on matters of marriage, family, and personal holiness. We look at how well it matches the mission of FamilyLife, and the specific audience it is aimed at, whether singles, newlyweds, parents of toddlers or teens, empty nesters, or others. We also look at how readable and marketable the book is, which often determines whether it becomes one of our top recommended resources.

If you go to FamilyLife’s online store expecting to find many of the Christian bookstore bestsellers, you may be disappointed. We reject some of the books because they have some questionable doctrinal stances, and others because they really don’t match the interests of our audience, who are looking for help and hope for their marriage, parenting, or Christian walk.

And it’s not just others’ books we review. Anything created by FamilyLife Publishing must pass the evaluation of our team. There have been times when material ready to be sent to the printers had to be held up because of issues with biblical ambiguity or readability. Our goals is to make sure the ministry only offers content that reflects God’s blueprints for marriage and family in a practical and winsome way.

LITTLE TEAM, BIG RESPONSIBILITIES. Of course, there are many more things we do as a team: blogs, writing for printed resources, online devotionals, revising marriage conference manuals, etc. We consider it a privilege and a stewardship that we take seriously. The nine of us are a real team. We enjoy each other, affirm each other, complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and work much better together than individually. A lot of that is due to an excellent manager, Dave Boehi, who has been at FamilyLife longer than most anyone in the ministry, and desires to see lives changed and God exalted more than he desires recognition for himself or our team. That selflessness is also present in the other members: Nick Alsop, Elizabeth Girouard, Mary Larmoyeux, Sabrina McDonald, Eli Perez, Carlos Santiago, Cyndi Warren, and myself.

So even though we now have a display to let people know who we are and the big impact of all that we do, it doesn’t change our focus, which has always been to introduce couples, parents and individuals to the life-changing power of Jesus Christ, so that every home becomes a godly home.

Why We Exist

FamilyLife just celebrated its 40th anniversary last month. At the anniversary celebration, we staff members had the opportunity to remind ourselves why we do what we do, and why the ministry has been so greatly used by God in the lives of countless families.

We all need help. There’s not a person out there who’s not struggling in some way with something. Marriages and families face significant challenges on almost a daily basis, both internal and external. But in today’s culture that values personal fulfillment over eternal truth, it’s increasingly hard to find clear answers and clear direction for the issues facing the typical family. The good news, though, is that as people experience failure in their relationships, they’re more likely to listen to someone who has lasting answers to the eternal questions about the things that matter most.

Here’s a new video we’ve just released that explains our purpose in the light of the world’s need.

Our mission at FamilyLife is “to effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world, one home at a time.” We exist to help individuals, couples and parents understand God’s design for marriage and family, to apply these principles to their lives, to experience the life-changing power of Christ, and then be able to share these timeless truths with family and friends.

The help and hope that FamilyLife offers is not just the work of a few hundred people  at the ministry headquarters in Little Rock. It’s as much the effort of countless thousands of volunteers who help put on live conferences, host video conferences, or do small group studies in their communities. And it’s people like you who support us financially, through consistent prayers and ongoing encouragement. We cannot do what we do without you. Together we are impacting families, who will in turn impact the world… one home at a time.

Thank you!

 

 

Finding common ground on desire

The following is a post Scott created for a blog the Content Team is developing to follow issues of marriage and family within the culture. The Life & Truth blog is just in the test phase, so this is the only place you’ll be able to read this post. Hopefully we will be able to launch the blog by year’s end.

Husbands, you may be underestimating your wife’s sexual desire.

And wives, you may need to give better clues.

Those are a couple of the revelations from new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  A Canadian study involved more than 200 couples in long-term relationships. The couples kept individual diaries for three weeks, reporting their own sexual desire for the day, predicted the desire in their spouse, and graded their own satisfaction with the relationship.

Generally, husbands weren’t especially good at being able to tell when their wives were sexually interested. Often, if a husband indicated interest that wasn’t immediately reinforced by the wife, he might back off, interpreting it as a lack of interest on her part. Interestingly, many of those times were the same days she reported her interest a high!

Part of the reason for that may be that a woman feels desirable when she knows she’s desired. Although she may not respond to her husband’s advances, it does create in her a feeling that the relationship is good, increasing her desire. All of it is wired together.

sexual desireUnlike men in the study, who weren’t that good at assessing a woman’s desire, wives seemed to be pretty good at predicting their husbands’ sexual interest. That’s pretty easy, given that men’s desire is as easily turned on as a light switch.

But when it comes to initiating, many women in the study said they felt uncomfortable with the idea, or unaware of how to do it. They also reported that the fear of being rejected was a reason for not trying. Of course, given the complex nature of women, that couldn’t be the whole story. Women also reported that they often don’t know what they want sexually, or don’t want to be perceived as having the higher sex drive, or don’t hurt her husband’s ego if he isn’t in the mood when she is.

So given the divergent natures and personalities between a husband and wife, how does a couple find a happy medium when it comes to sex?

Ongoing communication.

Often, the heat of the moment (or when one is hot and one is not) is not always the best time to talk about sexual expectations and desires. But it can be. If a wife is approached by her husband when she’s not in the mood, she can acknowledge his desire for intimacy, her desire for him generally, and she can give him assurance that she will actively look for a time they can come together. As much as it might seem like it, scheduling a day or time to be physically intimate is not unromantic. In fact, the anticipation can actually enhance the experience and may often be what a woman needs to clear her mind of all the other things on her schedule to focus on her time with her husband.

But there may be another way to handle those times when one spouse is interested and the other (particularly the wife) is not.

Just go ahead and do it.

Another study found that couples who are motivated to meet their spouse’s sexual needs even when they’re not in the mood themselves are better able to sustain a healthy intimate marriage relationship over the years. When your spouse knows you’re putting their interests above your own, it breaks down barriers and makes them more likely to show the same grace to you.

There’s also a biological element to it. Physical touch and intimacy, especially when it results in orgasm, releases hormones that stimulate the brain to create an emotional bond between a couple. The different hormonal makeup of a husband and a wife converge in sexual intimacy – a man’s physical desire will drive him toward emotional connection, and a woman’s emotional desire will drive her toward the physical. Both spouses deeply desire both types of connections, but one drive is generally stronger in men and the other in women. Sexual intimacy is the meeting place.

So the bottom line of all the research is that communication is the key to a healthy intimate relationship between husband and wife. So talk together honestly about your desires and expectations, and find a way to come together in oneness, whether it’s in the bed or out of it.

How may we pray for you?

WWDOP16sTuesday, April 26 is Worldwide Day of Prayer for Campus Crusade for Christ, when staff from FamilyLife and the dozens of other ministries gather to thank God for His blessings and to ask His continued favor, guidance and wisdom. 

As a partner with us in ministry, you are a valuable part of this mission to effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world one home at a time. And so we want to pray for you as we pray for the other aspects of our worldwide ministry.

Be assured that your requests are private – the only One we will share them with is “Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

Set Free Global Summit

It was the first of its kind. Christians and organizational leaders from 19 different countries, representing 350 different churches, ministries and non-profits. All gathered in Greensboro, North Carolina for the Set Free Global Summit to discuss the growing issue of pornography and sexual exploitation and what the church can do to help.

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Josh McDowell, campus apologist, and crusader against the sexual exploitation of teens.

The lineup included some of the most respected spokespeople on the topic: Josh McDowell and Covenant Eyes were the major sponsors; Barna Research released a massive study on the problem; researchers and social science professionals like Dr. William Struthers, Dr. Mary Ann Layden, Dr. Judith Reisman, Pat Trumann and Donna Rice Hughes–names that might not mean much to the average person, but who have been staying atop the issue for decades.

I was there on a bit of a fact-finding and partnership mission. Although FamilyLife has addressed issues around marriage, family and sexuality for four decades, pornography is not an area where we have placed a lot of focus. But because of the changing times and the cumulative effects on our culture and its families, we’re needing to speak up in a much more direct and redemptive way. My goal was to find others at the conference who could help us create online content that will speak to parents, to husbands, to young women about the growing public health crisis, to give them an understanding of the seriousness of the problem, ways to protect themselves and their families from its effects, and to let them know that there’s hope and restoration if they have been farther down that road than they wanted to go.

David Kinnaman shared details of the Barna research commissioned by Josh McDowell ministries. Here are some of the shocking findings found in The Porn Phenomenon:

  • Only 1 in 3 teens and young adults believe that viewing porn is wrong. As a group, they even consider it less immoral than not recycling, overeating or being judgmental.
  • Teens and young adults are more likely than older adults to consider full nudity and arousing images as porn, BUT far less likely to consider sexting as such.
  • 62% if teens & young adults have received a nude image via text, email, social media, or app. 40% have sent one.
  • Among practicing Christians, 2-in-5 males and 1-in-8 females regularly use porn.
  • Women are more likely than men to actively seek out porn out of curiosity, to get tips, or to please a partner, and men are more willing, just for fun.
  • 1 in 5 youth pastors and 1 in 7 senior pastors use porn.
  • Far more people, including practicing Christians, say that porn has positively, not negatively, affected their lives.
  • Only 21% of teens and young adults say there is someone in their life helping them avoid porn.
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Jessica Harris ministers to women addicted to porn, like she was.

The conference wasn’t all research and statistics. In fact, several of the speakers were men and women who had become the victims of porn. Either they chose it for themselves and suffered the consequences in their personal lives and in their family, or they were the victims, and suffered a similar fate. Most of the speakers capped their message of personal pain with an even greater promise of hope through an identity in Christ.

Because of the ready electronic availability of porn and the cultural acceptance of it, the problem has escalated exponentially in recent years. But with that cultural acceptance has come serious consequences, but also a silver lining in this dark cloud looming over us. Now, more people than ever are now ready to admit that porn and other forms of sexual exploitation are a huge problem that needs to be dealt with through whatever means necessary: governmental, business, church, community. And one of the bright spots is that the Church is beginning to talk openly about the fact that Christians have been as vulnerable to porn’s allure and it’s damage as anyone else.

I was asked to provide a report to FamilyLife president Dennis Rainey, in which I made recommendations for how we can minister, both to our worldwide audience, and to our own staff and their families. And now, I’m in the process of sorting through all the valuable information and resources I discovered at the conference and working to help create several online articles and hopefully a broadcast or two. I’ll let you know more when those resources are available.

 

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