what is underneath the addictions?

slides from today > Goliath 16 – Addiction (final)

Jesus’ desire is that you would have life to the full.  If there is any voice saying you’re not going to do it, you can’t accomplish it, things are never going to change – that voice, is not Jesus.  Be certain of that.

It is not God’s plan for you to live with a giant in your life demoralizing you and robbing God’s glory in your life.

Your freedom and God’s glory are intertwined.  These giants must go down.

Addictions – the big ones are there but all of us have some.  Alcohol.  Drugs.  Weed – illegal or not is not the question – is it something I must have to function?  Addicted to money – can’t get enough.  Sex/porn – and that voice that says, “you’re never going to be free of this.”  Stuff/toys – just go and buy something.  It takes my mind off what I don’t want to think about… “retail therapy”.  Accomplishments/awards/promotions – quickly we look to what accomplishment comes next.  Adrenaline – some of us are addicted to the rush.  Pain – some of us seek pain on purpose.  Other people – we’re addicted to hearing from them.

We are the most over-stimulated people in the history of mankind and bored at the same time.  We’re addicted to all manner of things.  We were created dependent on God for God.  We all have a dependent tendency.

The #1 addiction of all (I think) is the Approval of Others.  It really matters what other people think.  Instagram has a “like” box.  Post a picture and wait.  And wait.  You wait to see how many approvals you get.

If Instagram is where you’re getting your approval and it is your addiction … it will kill you.

What is it masking underneath that I don’t want to deal with?

Under the alcohol, drugs, materialism, money, accomplishments, sex, porn and approval of others there is usually something else.  And usually it is a person.  Someone in our world made us feel rejected, inflicted pain on us emotionally, psychologically, physically or relationally and made us feel inadequate, belittled, betrayed or abandoned.

Underneath all these drugs is a fear of failure – “I just can’t cope, and I need something to help me.”  Loneliness is under many of these addictions.  Focusing on why I am addicted to porn or to success or to the need for approval isn’t going to open the doors to break the addiction.  These addictions are symptoms of a deeper problem.  What you are running from is the deeper question.  Go to that root source.  The addictions you run to are medication for a deeper wound.  Healing comes when you face down the deeper wound and deal with it.

Unless I’m willing to look underneath the addictions and figure out what it is in my heart and face up to whatever it is, the giant of addiction is not going to fall in my life.

GO … TO … THE … PAIN.

McManus“Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” James 1:2-4

You will face as many trials as there are colors in the spectrum.  It’d be boring to face the same issue over and over but many of you are.  You just keep repeating the same thing over and over.  You may not have figured this out yet, but you can’t escape a gauntlet you have to go through.  You cannot escape a trial you must go through.  If you keep running from it, you will just keep running back to it.

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controlled burns (addiction 4)

here are the slides from today … Goliath 14 – addiction (2)

We’ve been repeating this same question, “Lord, where am I weak?”  Today, we tweaked it to, “Lord, show me where I am giving the enemy an opening”.

And that’s the thing, these addictions we dance with are openings.  They are an invitation, an open door that your enemy will exploit.  Not “might” … but “will”.  He is crafty, he is cunning, he studies you, knows your weaknesses and he will exploit the openings you give him.  Make no mistake about this.  You’re playing with fire.  Literally.

If you have a family history of alcoholism, you’re playing with fire drinking on a regular basis.  If you know you have an issue with lust/temptation/other women, you are foolish to play around with pornography.  And let me say this for all of us, whether lust is an issue or not, pornography must be a “no go” area for all of us.  A man that says, “I don’t struggle with lust so I can take a peak at porn” is being foolish.  Maybe you didn’t have an issue but when you opened that door to take a peak, you invited the destroyer into your soul.

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My actions, my steps, my decisions in these areas … they are giving Satan dominion over my life.  Rather than giving God dominion over all my life, I am, instead, giving these areas over to my enemy.  I’m inviting him in and just asking for trouble.  He will gladly oblige my foolishness.

We’ve all done it.  Adam & Eve did it.  They gave the enemy dominion.  But that isn’t final.  As we’ve learned this entire series on Goliath Must Fall, Christ defeated Goliath. The Cross marked the turning point in the story, it marked the death of Satan.  His end is assured yet even though he is on his way to ultimate destruction, he is “dead but still quite deadly”.  He knows the end game.  He knows what Jesus did that resurrection day and so he is raging against humanity to strike as many blows at his ultimate enemy, God.

Scripture warns, “Don’t give the enemy a foothold”.  You have a territory God has entrusted to you.  Don’t invite the enemy in.  Don’t give him a seat at your table.  He’s a destroyer.  These addictions are very serious things – we don’t mean to make light of any of this.  If you struggle with pornography or lust or alcohol, that is real and powerful and it will be a battle to beat it.  But, it can be defeated.  Satan doesn’t have dominion over everything.  Jesus does.  Death holds no sting.  You can claim victory over the power of these addictions in Jesus name.  You can take back your territory, your Promised Land.  You can show the enemy the door and lock it behind him.  In Jesus’ name.

We talked this morning about controlled burns and how critical they are to maintain the health of a forest.  If left unchecked, small weeds in a forest become 30 foot tall briers.  Sweet gum trees pop up and multiply like rabbits.  A dense undergrowth grows.  If left unchecked, a non-managed forest becomes a disaster just waiting to happen.  The undergrowth grows, dead trees fall, the pines start to struggle and the forest is one lightning strike away from a devastating forest fire.  So, you manage the forest via regular “controlled burns”.  You burn out the undergrowth.  Get it out before it becomes a real problem.  Deal with it.  It’s messy.  It’s dirty.  It isn’t pleasant but there is reward on the other side = you get a healthier forest and bigger pines.  Growth comes after the burn.  (COME NEXT WEEK – we’re going to talk about that exact point)

controlled burn

You see the charred ground left behind from the fire.  But that’s healthy.  It promotes healthy growth and it is fuel for the future growth of the pines.

And so, the analogy for us is this … we’ve all got areas in our lives that are small problems today.  They are private things.  Things I believe I have under control.  Little things that “everyone does”“Healthy desires that all red-blooded men have”.  These are things we justify.  Things we rationalize.  And at their base stage, they are relatively harmless – or so they appear.  These things that we cordon off from God and don’t give him access to, they are areas of the forest untended and that’s where a real problem with devastating implications lurk.

Bill Gaddy gave a beautiful testimony to this exact thing this morning.  He had a private area of his life that started small and grew into a situation that erupted into a forest fire with collateral damage way beyond himself.  He begged us to not repeat his mistake – that if you have an area you struggle with, confess it, bring it out into the light, share it with other men you can trust.  Admit you have a problem.  Face it.  Deal with it now before it grows into a disaster.

These giants in our lives, they can go down.  They must fall.  They taunt us and tell us, “you’re never going to beat this, you’ll never be anything more than this addiction.”  That isn’t the case.  Goliath can go down.  You can’t take him down alone.  Only Jesus can but you’ve got to take the first step to surrender your life, give up these “private” areas, and give Jesus dominion over all your life – over your sex life, over your desires, over what you eat and drink and what you watch in entertainment.

Jesus wants to know how much of your life you’re willing to give Him.  He gave it ALL for you.  How much will you give Him?

addictions5

“It” has to go. (addiction must fall 3)

How are you doing with this?  Did you read the last post?  At Manschool when it started getting ramped up a bit, what did you do?  Zone out?  Dismiss it as “I don’t have a problem with this…”

Yes you do.  Sorry for the smack in the face, but … you do.  I do.  We all do.  We love self WAY too much.  Life is all about us.  We picked that up from Adam & Eve.  Thanks for that.

You have an addiction problem in your life.  At a minimum, as men, we’re all addicts to some degree to beauty, sex and the lure of Eve.  God gives us desires, yes, that’s true but we’ve twisted those desires to where they’re distorted and instead of being about her and her beauty, it’s all about us.  My needs.  My desires.  My lusts.  My satisfaction.  But for most of us, it goes way beyond that.  There are pockets of weakness in our lives of addiction that are taking a toll on us and all those we love around us.  It can be anger, control, success, money, sex, acceptance, approval of others, physical appearance, toys, pornography, alcohol, drugs … you name it.  Whatever the case may be, you’ve got some form of this rolling around in your life and it’s become a Goliath that taunts you and lies to you, telling you that “you’ll never be anything more than this addiction.”

Pay attention to this.  Read it several times …

“Most have no idea the warfare and seduction Satan wages against leaders and potential leaders.  He is relentless, he is patient.  He studies our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  He stalks our families.  He’s methodical.  Masterful at timing.  And if you’re laughing at this, he is laughing at you.

Leaders that are too sophisticated to reckon with the biblical realities of spiritual warfare will be eaten alive.  No leader gets away with secret sin and duplicity.  It’s always a matter of time.  God doesn’t play favorites.  Christ is serious about His church.  Repent.  Seek help.  Be restored.”

Beth Moore hits the nail on the head.  Maybe she’s talking about our President.  Maybe its a pastor.  Or a Senator.  Perhaps… it is about you and I.  You, my brother, are a leader.  You lead your home.  YOU are responsible for the spiritual leadership of the home.  Not your wife.  Don’t default it to her.  No, it’s on you.

It is time for “it” to stop.  Whatever “it” you have that is weighing you down and tormenting you and lying to you, it’s time for “it” to go.  Time for “it” to go into the fire. God wants to restore you.  He has so, so, so much “MORE” for you.  But you’ve got to be willing to give some things up.  The limiters in your life have to go.  Will it be easy?  No but what did you expect following Jesus?  It will take courage but there is great freedom on the other side.  So, I ask you…

What are you willing to throw in the fire and bury to never go back to again?

fire

What are you willing to give up? (Addiction must fall 2)

The core of all this goes to that question, “Where am I weak?”  Keep pushing into this one question with the Father.  Ask Him repeatedly to show you.

Jesus is in the process of sanctifying us as believers – freeing us from sinful habits and forming us in Christlike affections and virtues.  To sanctify something is to “set it apart for the use intended by its designer”.

How beautiful is that?  Perhaps a better word than “Sanctify” is “Restore”.  Jesus is in the process of restoring you, resurrecting you.

But to be resurrected, some things have to go die and go into the tomb.  The “new you” that walks out, free of those addictions will be able to enjoy new freedoms, take new territories and experience the “MORE” God has to offer.

Presently, there are some “limiters” in your life.  Those habits that keep tripping you up.  You make progress, vow to “never again” and you stumble.  It feels like one step forward, three steps back.  The enemy mocks you in this – Goliath taunts you that “you’ll never be anything more than this addiction”.  Those things limit your growth.  They limit your testimony.

addictions

God has “MORE” for us.  These habits, addictions, lusts, the entertainment we watch … He wants “MORE”.  I must remind myself over and over … the things I tolerate, He won’t tolerateThe things I watch in entertainment, He doesn’t watchThe things I let creep into my life, He won’t let creep into His life.

Let me smack you in the face a bit (because it smacked me hard in my face!) …

addictions2

What are you living for?  That’s well defined by what it is you’re unwilling to give up.  The rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked,“What must I  do?” and Jesus went right at him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.  Then come, follow me.”  Jesus knew that one thing this man was holding onto for dear life.  In essence Jesus is asking him and us – “What are you living for, Me or the money?”  He wants to kill some of these weaknesses us and purify them with fire.  Think of dead limbs down in your backyard.  Jesus wants to clean up the dead material and toss it in the fire.

It’s the same with these addictions.  He is in the process of restoration in us, but we’ve got to be willing participants.

So, what is it men?  What is it in your life that needs to go?  Is it the porn?  Do you need to cut the cable on TV?  Is it booze?  You may not be addicted but what is it bringing you?  Does it bring life?  Is Jesus in that?  Does He want “MORE” from you than a nightly glass of booze? 

Is it your incessant need for approval from others?  Is it an obsession with lust/sex?  Success/money?  The need to be in control or the one always talking or the one who is always right?  What is it that needs to be tossed in the fire?  Is anything fair game?  He gave it ALL for you.  What are you willing to give up for Him?

fire

So much more to come…

Addiction must fall (1)

Whatever you past may have been, God has a better future in mind for you.  But before you can reach for it, you must forgive the people who’ve hurt you, forgive yourself and let it go.  You may feel ashamed of your past mistakes, unsure if you can really take personal responsibility and move forward.  You can.  You are able, through Christ.

The first step is raising your hand and admitting you’ve got a problem.  There is such power in dropping the pose of “I’ve got it all under control” and admitting you need some help.  In your weakness, you will find strength.  It is time to “Forget those things which are behind … to reach forward to those things that are ahead.” (Phil 3:13)

I don’t have to beat this.  Jesus can.

Perhaps the greatest giant of all we face is addiction.  It doesn’t just steal away my life but the lives of those closest to me.  Everyone of us has an addiction story where it eventually snuffed the life out of people, relationships, families, businesses and dreams.

If we’re all honest, we’re all addicted to something – alcohol, success, adrenaline, pain, porn – that thing we can’t live without or the thing we fear we can’t manage life without.  It could be a person.  It could be money/possessions or control.  Porn is a giant of addiction pouring its way into so many lives right now.

What is it that causes me to want the bottle?  The pills?  The success or adrenaline?  What is it that causes me to run to the porn for relief?  What is it that drives me to think, “I need to go there”?

Underneath all of it – is this fear of being exposed.  When we are exposed, we tend to want to cover up our weaknesses.  Oftentimes, it leads into an addiction that can be a short-term cover for the exposed heart that we don’t want the world to see.

Adam & Eve sinned, ran from God and hid.  It’s the natural human default to our sin and weakness.  When I feel weak, I don’t want to step into the light.  When I fail, I don’t want to step into the light nor do I want to do that when I feel the most vulnerable.  None of us want to say, “I need help” – or – “I am feeling very vulnerable right now” – or – “I feel rejected” – or – “I feel emptiness” – or – “I feel a great level of boredom”.

None of us naturally want to say, “help me through this”.  No, typically, we retreat from the light and drift into the shadows to find something to cover up our vulnerable heart to bring us comfort.

Vulnerablenone of us wants to feel it.  Whenever it comes, I quickly look for some way to cope.  Many of us choose a short-term fix which ultimately leads to more vulnerability because I am dependent on the comfort.

Addiction makes you even more vulnerable.  It is a cycle that drives you further into dependency, further into isolation and further into addiction.  Freedom comes when you do the opposite of what your flesh desires.  Freedom comes when you admit you’re weak and you raise your hand to ask for help.

more to come…

What a great Friday night!

We had about 80 men and women at the dinner Friday night.  The food was great as was the music.  The Spirit was present and I think our women got a great idea of what Manschool is all about.

Here are the slides … M&W january 2018

And here is the video of John Eldredge’s talk on the Hope of the coming Kingdom… 

And the two short videos …

This fallen world can really beat you up.  We battle enemies on multiple fronts and your heart is under constant assault.  Social media doesn’t help.  In fact, more and more studies are coming out about the devastating impact of social media on self-worth, the fear of missing out and depression.

Indeed, it is easy to lose heart.  In fact, I believe you will lose heart … unless … you radically place your hope upon the Cross and the restoration of all things through Jesus.  You’re not going to find peace in “stuff”.  New cars, new clothes, new TV’s, expensive vacations and fine wines will not restore you.  They are symptoms of a wounded heart looking for home.  As you chase these things, you are trying to medicate a deeper pain.  For some people, they never get out of this cycle as their life becomes one new toy after another, only digging the hole in their soul deeper and deeper.

Perhaps as you read this, God is nudging you.  It’s time for brokenness.  It’s time to give up the chase of that elusive peace you think you’re going to find in this fallen world and, instead, turn to the Cross.  Only Jesus can heal you pain and my friend, your pain is very, very real.  You do not live in Eden any more.  You’ve made some mistakes in your life and other, fallen, broken people have sinned against you inflicting deep hurt against your heart.  These are real and consequential and your actions to deal with them, has led to even more pain.  It’s a vicious cycle which is precisely what the enemy wants for your life.

The most radical thing you can do right now is give up that old, dead-end life and surrender to your brokenness.  Go to the pain.  Feel it.  Experience it.  Share it with people you trust.  Let the tears come.  And then, invite Jesus into the pain.  Ask Him what He is wanting to say to you.  Ask Him what He thinks of you as a son or daughter.  Commit to giving up all those old “lovers”.  They didn’t work anyway.  Today is the day that you can turn a new, glorious page and do a 180 degree turn.  You’ve been walking (or running) away from Jesus a long time but if you will stop, surrender and invite Him into your soul as your Savior and if you will truly “give up the keys” of your life, as you turn around even though you may have been running for 40+ years, He will be right there behind you ready to embrace you.

Watch these videos.  Let the great and only True hope – the Hope of the Coming Kingdom – wash over your soul.  Glory to God!

PS – here is the Jimmy Evans talk on Exposing the Roaring Lion…

and here is the Todd White talk…

Manschool is coming …

It can’t get here soon enough but Manschool will resume on Wednesday, September 20th at 6am.  We were going to start the week before but that is the Church’s CALL TO AWAKEN and I want to encourage all of us to attend that call.  The last two have been exceptional and I can think of no better way to start Manschool than to have a bunch of men hear this Call to Awaken.

Awaken is exactly what this fall’s Manschool will be all about.  There is so much more for us to experience in our walk with God but we live in a world at war and the grind of daily life, the assault from the enemy and the pain/shame of our own past keep us from fully experiencing the abundant life Jesus came to give us.

We will be going through Louie Giglio’s book and video series “Goliath must fall”.  We’re going to spend a lot of time talking through fear and dealing with it.  The Goliath of fear you face must fall.  It’s holding you back from authentic life in Christ. And there are other Goliath’s as well – there is rejection and comfort and anger and addiction. All of these must fall.  Whatever your Giant is … and we all have them … we’re going to go after it hard this fall to slay that beast and set you free.

So to the 50-60-70 men that regularly attend Manschool, God bless you.  What a special Tribe we have.  Something truly remarkable is happening in our midst.  Men are being set free and finding freedom and new life they never thought they could experience. We’re also developing “community” in a real and powerful way.

My challenge to over the next month is two-fold – First, be in prayer for this time and please commit to coming!  And second, it is a call, a challenge to “EACH ONE, REACH ONE”.  We all have one man we KNOW needs to be coming to Manschool.  Your goal is to go find that man and convince him to give it a try.  The most powerful way to get a man involved is to personally invite him … “I want you to try this.  It’s amazing what goes on, I’ve seen it first hand and I never want to miss it”.  That has power.

To the other men that read this blog and rely upon the material here, my challenge to you is this, “IF NOT NOW, WHEN?”  You’ve put this off.  Maybe you’ve tried it once and didn’t get anything out of it.  Come back.  Try again.  Invest in it.  Don’t consume it.  Invest in it by committing to it.  I promise you, you will not regret it.  Your wife wants you doing this.  You know you need to be in close community with other God-seeking men.  You know how hard it is for you to battle life alone.  You know you need authentic. Manschool is many things but I will assure you, it is authentic.  It’s a no BS, shoot straight, go right after it gathering of like minded men.

More to come.  I have a strong feeling that this fall, we’re going to see God do some amazing happens in our Tribe.

til then … Live Outward