Porn is rewiring your brain and your body! It’s jacking you up BAD and you probably don’t even realize it. The 7,884th reason you should stop watching it. That and the fact that it cost the blood of an innocent man to pay for every glance taken.
WARNING!! This a totally secular video but if you’re already watching porn nothing in this will offend you.
The song in the video – “Ask Me” by Amy Grant has served as an incredible sense of encouragement and hope to me in my recovery from childhood sexual abuse. I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to it, over and over again, celebrating the hope and freedom Jesus has brought to my life over the past few years. My favorite line in the song is towards the end where it says,
“He’s in the middle of her pain. He’s in the middle of her shame. He’s in the middle…….
Mercy in the middle.”
What it means to me is that our God of mercy brings comfort to us in the midst of our deepest, darkest moments (see II Corinthians 1:3-4). I’ve come to believe and know that God was with me, bringing mercy and comfort to me when I was locked in a closet as a 7 year old enduring the horrors of sexual abuse. He was with me through years I kept it a secret. He was even there with me when I chose to medicate my pain in so many unhealthy ways. He was with me in 2005 when I finally began the process of working through and overcoming the horrors of my past. Every step of the way God has been there with me bringing “mercy in the middle.” And God can do the same thing for you! No matter what you have faced in your past or face in your present, God is there with you bringing you “mercy in the middle.” No matter how painful or shameful your situation may be – YOU ARE NOT ALONE! God is there with you ready and able to lead you out of the darkness. It won’t be easy and it will take a lot of hard work but not near as much work as it takes to live with shame. Trust me, it is so worth it! Freedom is a beautiful thing and you too can live in the freedom God has for you. If you need professional help check out The Heart Matters counseling center. These are the people who led me out of the darkness! I’ll leave you with a prayer I pray daily:
“God send your mercy in the middle to the abused and addicted still suffering alone. Use me to lead them out of the darkness.”
I’m praying for you!
God bless ya – Runks
Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to die on a cross than it is to die to myself. Not to belittle in anyway the brutality Jesus endured for us on the cross but sometimes it seems like it would be a lot easier for me to take up my cross and follow Jesus if somebody would just nail me to it. The sad fact is that I don’t really have a problem taking up my cross, I have a huge problem with laying it down. Denying myself, taking up my cross and following Jesus (Luke 9:23) is way too often traded in for indulging myself, crawling off my cross, and following my own selfish desires. Bottom line, I love Jesus with all my heart and I follow after him as hard as I can but I’m just not very good at it. The key is to not beat myself up for a week when I lay my cross down but confess my sin, climb back up on my cross as quickly as I can, and try again.
I doubt very seriously anybody is going to nail any of us to our crosses any time soon so we’re going to have to get better at getting back in the saddle every time we fall off. For that to happen takes a strength much greater than we have so we must daily not only take up our cross but also learn to live weak by daily recognizing our weakness, choosing to trust in God’s grace, and absolutely depending on God’s strength and not our own. We still have to climb back on but we are not alone, and never without help.
Hang in there!! – Runks
Here is a stupid video about eating turkey, giving thanks, and Tony Romo.
Have fun, I know I did!
Stuff I’m thankful for:
Jesus for loving me enough to die for me and live in me!
More freedom every day from the baggage of the abuse in my past!
A really awesome wife who loves me even though I’m an idiot!
Both my kids love Jesus!
Elli because she is so much fun and always makes me laugh!
Elli, thanks for riding go karts! hahaha
Nick because he loves the things I love!
Dude, thanks for going hunting with me and Wreck’em Tech!!
A godly Mom who has always been such an amazing example of who Jesus is!
Joanna still sorta thinks I’m funny!
God walking with us through the loss of my Dad to cancer 11 years ago!
An awesome Dad that invested his life in me!
Thanks Dad for always taking me with you! Tell Jesus I said what up!
Joanna for believing in me and supporting my ministry completely!
That God still lets me do what I do!
The privilege of pouring my life into teenagers!
I got to go to India this past summer!
Joanna for being everything I could ever need or want!
I get to live in Levelland, Texas!
I’m finally learning to love myself!
Friends that love me and hang out with me!
And Jesus for providing this stuff and these people I have to be thankful for!
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!! – Runks
I’m sitting on an airplane with my 6’6” totem pole body crammed into a regular, no leg room, non-exit row, teeny, tiny airplane seat. I’m sitting next to a guy who is also circus freak tall and we’re both cramped, crunched, and fighting for leg and elbow room like sardines in a tiny can but at least we’re not alone! I don’t think there is anything more encouraging than knowing that whatever you’re facing somebody has either been there or is there right now and feels your pain. I think the most comforting words in the English language are, “Me Too” because those words scream out “YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!” My 94 year old grandmother, Maw-Maw, would put it this way,
“A burden shared is a burden halved and a burden born alone is a burden doubled.”
The problem is not so much finding someone who has been where you are but finding someone with the guts to be real enough to admit it. Sadly this is especially true in the church where often times rather than helping our wounded we shoot them and that has got to stop! I say its time we take off our masks and stop pretending we’ve got it all together. We need to start being real and transparent about who we are and what we’re struggling with so we can make it safe for others to do the same and hopefully all get better together. I’ll go first. To those who have faced the horrors of childhood sexual abuse I say, “ Me Too.” To those who have had their butts kicked by an addiction I say, “ Me Too.” To those who are fighting through the 12 steps trying to get well I say, “Me Too.” To those who have been beat down by the reality of depression I say, “Me Too.” To those who struggle to let Jesus take control I say, “Me Too.” To those who are sick of going to church and pretending everything is fine when its not I say, “Me Too.” To those who have feared that if people really knew you they wouldn’t love you I say, “Me Too” To those who battle insecurity I say, “Me Too.” To those who just want to be loved and accepted, warts and all I say, “Me Too.” To all the broken, hurting, and struggling people I say, “you are not alone. You have never been alone!” Somebody, including Jesus, Heb 4:15, has been where you are and you do not have to suffer alone!!! So let’s take off our masks, get real with each other and with God and start saying “Me too” as loudly and as often as we can!
Me Too – Runks
We live in a society that tells us we need to be independent and self-sufficient, pull ourselves up by our boot-straps (whatever that means??), and do everything in our own strength. It sounds good on the surface but in reality it is so contrary to the way scripture says we are to live our lives.
II Corinthians 12:10 says, “When I am weak then I am strong.” So if we really want to be strong we have to learn to Live Weak. What a radical concept!! Living weak is a paradox that goes against everything the world teaches or believes. Everybody wants to believe that they can Live Strong and handle all their junk on their own but the fact is we can’t. We try and we fail because it can’t be done. In fact, none of us can do anything in our own strength. Compare John 15:5 with Philippians 4:13. John 15:5 says that without Christ we can’t do anything and Philippians 4:13 says with Christ we can do anything! That is the heart of what it means to Live Weak!!! On our own apart from Christ we are absolutely powerless to accomplish anything of any value but by walking daily in absolute dependence upon Jesus we can accomplish anything!! That doesn’t mean, however, that we just sit back, do nothing, and watch Jesus do everything for us. Living Weak means living in a partnership with Jesus where we strive to balance dependency with discipline. You have to have both or you won’t get very far. It’s like the wings on an airplane. Which one is more important? The right one or the left one? BOTH!!! If your plane just has one wing then your going to crash every time! The same thing is true with dependency and discipline. You have to do your part and God has to do His.
Colossians 1:29 says, “I labor, struggling with all His energy, which works so powerfully in me.” What that means is that we labor – we strive to follow Jesus with our whole heart. We daily dig into the Word of God and rub up against Jesus all the while living in absolute dependence upon Jesus to give us the strength to do it.
Living Weak is a radical concept in our world but the fact is it works because when we are weak, then and only then are we strong!
Live Weak – Runks
I had pretty major shoulder surgery back in December and had my arm stuck in a dang sling for 6 weeks! It was horrible! It was my right arm and I’m right handed so I had to do everything with my left hand! And I mean, EVERTHING! Use your imagination. It was absolutely crazy, messy, and gross! I’m a pretty active guy and not very good at being still for extended periods of time so being laid up on a couch for a month about drove me completely insane! Finally after 4 weeks of this I had my first event so I got to get off the couch, jump on a plane, and try to preach with my arm in a sling. If you’ve seen me speak then you can only imagine how crazy tough this was for me. I’m sure it was funny to watch but it drove me nuts! I was speaking at a DiscipleNow for First Baptist Church in Clifton, Texas. While I was there I met a 7th grade guy named Zach. Zach was, how do I put this, I’m terrible at political correctness and have the tact of a freight train so I’m not sure how I’m supposed to describe him so I’ll just put it this way – if he could drive he could park in a handicap parking space. Zach is incredibly small for his age and has no legs but has an absolutely amazing attitude about his situation. He really is an amazing guy and I can’t wait to see what God does with his life! During every service he sat on the floor between the front pews and I almost stepped on him several times. He’s a really cool kid and we had a lot fun joking around about how crazy it would have been if I had really stepped on him.
One night while I was speaking I was telling a story in my normal ridiculously animated manner and I desperately needed both arms to make the story work but I couldn’t do it because of that stupid sling, not to mention it would have hurt like crazy if I had tried! At that point I had had enough and went off on a tirade about how much I hated that stupid sling and not being able to move or use my arm blah, blah blah, etc. etc. etc. And all of sudden, Zach blurted out, “At least you got legs, dude!” And everybody including me erupted in laughter! It was absolutely hilarious! At that point I acknowledged that he was right and I really had NOTHING to complain about. He said it as a joke but it really caught my attention. I realized after he said it and especially after getting to know him that my temporary problem of my arm being in sling was nothing compared to what he has to deal with every day and yet he is so incredibly positive about it. This kid really inspired me and totally changed my attitude about my situation and really, my life in general. The rest of the time I was in a sling and in rehab after that my mantra was: “At least you got legs, Dude!” No matter how bad it was or how much it hurt I kept reminding myself that at least I had legs and have no reason to ever complain about anything. Even now that my shoulder is totally recovered, God continues to use Zach’s words to wake me up every time I start to complain about anything. I hope someday to somehow get close to having the kind of attitude about life that Zach has! He truly was and is an inspiration to me. Maybe he can be the same for you. Next time you get petty and start to complain take a second to remember the words of my buddy Zach: “At least you got legs, Dude!” I promise it will help you settle down and be more realistic about what’s going on.
At Least you got Legs, Dude!
God Bless ya – Runks
Check out this crazy video I made on the way to The Texas Youth Minister’s Conclave about the evils of self-promotion, bad driving, funny word choices, and why I do what I do. Have fun.
God Bless ya – Runks
The air conditioner at my office was out of whack last week and it was hotter than the nether regions of the heavenly realms. Ok, that may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever said but at the very least its better than saying: “H – E – double hockey sticks!” Either way my office was a ding dang oven and I was sweating like, well…. ME at an etiquette seminar. I wasn’t getting much done other than a ton of complaining so I decided to let the twitter/facebook world know how much I was suffering and posted the following: “3rd day with no a/c in my office! I’m cooking like George Foreman in here!” To which I promptly received the following comment from my buddy Seth Hardage who went to India with me last month:
“Good thing you have recently had some experience with no air conditioning!”
Now, I know Seth meant it as a joke but for me it was a slap in the face waking me up to how quickly I have forgotten how good I really have it and how little I really have to complain about compared to the people I met in India. In Case you didn’t know India is the hottest place on planet earth! Its has the humidity of Houston combined with the heat of Arizona and almost nobody has air conditioning. Most of them live in little thatch huts, grow their own food, and do the best they can to take care of the ones they love with hardly any resources. Every single one of them is still there living with that ridiculous heat and lack of resources and here I am with a full belly, my a/c (at home) is set on 72, my kids are safe, and I know where my next 50 meals are coming from and yet I’m still griping. Don’t misunderstand me, I am still deeply effected by my experience in India and in many ways my life will never be the same but it just makes me want to puke to see how quickly I can get sucked back into thinking I have any reason to gripe about petty things when Powan (4 year old railway kid) is still over there alone, hungry, homeless, and hot. So from now on I’m going to do my best to be thankful for what I have, use what I have to help others, and do my best to stop griping! Who’s with me??
God Bless ya – Runks