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Hey Friends!

Several of you informed me that the comments had been disabled on my blog. I have no idea what happened on that, since they were never disabled.

They now seem to be working, so if you would like to post comments, you may now post away!

Merry Christmas!

Peace On Earth? Really?

This is a video that we made for the Advent Season a couple of years ago - it's still relevant. Our world still desperately needs peace. So, how is it that we sing lines like, "Peace on earth, good will toward men" with straight faces? Given the current state of affairs in our world, can you see how people who are not followers of Jesus think we are fairly insane? Think about it for just a quick second - Peace on Earth - Where? Joy to the World - Where? Silent Night - Really? How many silent child births are you familiar with?

If you'd like to hear the sermon from last week that matches this video, follow this link.

In a world filled with chaos and more than it's share of pride, Jesus whispers peace. The world shouts "Pride!" The world shouts, "Image!" The world shouts, "SEX!" The world shouts, "Porn!" The world shouts, "Money!" Jesus whispers, "Peace." The world shouts "Protect yourself! Look out for your self!" Jesus whispers, "Die to your self."

The Gospel is always a paradox. The Gospel is always a conspiracy of grace.
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On Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Other Fun

Well, thanks for praying for me this week! The radio show went very well, once we got on the air. The engineer had some traffic problems getting to the studio that I was in, so it was a tad stressful, but we got hooked up to the studio in Minneapolis with a good 10 seconds to spare.

They have archived the broadcast if you would like to go back and hear it. It is available here.

Several of you have noticed the thread that resulted here as a result of the broadcast. You know, real life has a real way of testing and screwing with your theology. Boasting in weakness so that God can be glorified sounds so good, but then you have to do it, and it's not so easy.

Let me first point out that all of our interpersonal reactions with people can have far greater impact than we can imagine. That's a happy thought as long as that impact is positive, but long lasting negative impact is much harder to deal with. These are the things that can happen when we are in relationships only for what they can do for us.

Active addicts are usually narcissistic people, and sex addicts are some of the worst. It was definitely true for me. You see, addicts only feel loved or significant, when they are involved in their addiction. So, for me, I only felt loved if I was having sex. I had tragically confused sex with love and intimacy.

The sad truth is that I had no real honest relationships in my life because I felt so unlovable. I moved 14 times growing up, so I was always the new kid in town. In efforts to fit in and be accepted, I told a great many lies so that I could construct just the right mask. That became a repetitive pattern in my life, and I also used it for all of my relationships.

I so desperately wanted to be "impressive" but, the flip side was that I felt so unimpressive and insignificant. Add all of that to a porn addiction that started at age 8, and it becomes a pretty corrosive cocktail. Since I believed that love and sex were the same thing, and I felt unlovable, I felt trapped and that I would have to lie in order to get what I thought was love. It's ridiculous when you read it like that, isn't it? It's how I lived.

From lying about who my friends were to playing with concert acts, to playing minor league baseball, to having life threatening illnesses, to you name it. I was a constant liar desperate for acceptance, and sex. The cruel trick in all of that is that I told horrible lies to get women to have sex with me, but then felt so awful because I knew they didn't really have sex with me - they had sex with the mask that I showed them. It was all a lie, and I knew it.

And there's the trap. I felt unlovable and wanted to feel loved so the cycle would start over again. It's so sad, but that's a big part of how my life ran. There was always a mask - an image that I presented to people. Whether it was perfection, or some other equally ridiculous story, it was all a mask. The pressure that came from wearing the mask just created so many other problems in my life. It never solved my problems, it exacerbated them.

It is awful to admit, but again, this is why God is so incredible. That He would forgive me for all of that is so unbelievable, but that is the Gospel.

Occasionally, people from my past will pop up in the strangest ways. I'm always thankful for the opportunity to apologize for what I said, or did, to harm them. In coming days, I'll plan on posting parts of my story here so that those of you that don't know yet can understand.

Lots of you have seen me tell my story with the band that is "Spinal Tapestry." We are planning on professionally filming that sometime very soon. Hopefully, we can post segments of that here.

I did hurt many people because my focus was only on getting what I wanted with no regard to others around me. Unfortunately the addictive relationship dynamic is such that we are attracted to, and attract, codependent enablers. We are like magnets for each other, and that creates trouble in relationship. We are both wearing masks trying to get needs met by other people instead of by the Gospel.

Our needs can only be met in the context of the Gospel. The Gospel says we are deeply loved by God. The Gospel says we are significant because of what Christ did on the cross. The Gospel says that God's love for His children is unconditional. The Gospel says we are adopted, and nothing can be done to change that. The Gospel says that God knows everything about us - and He loves us anyway. He knows the truth about us, and He loves us anyway. It just doesn't get any better than that. He is incredible.

The Gospel says, you don't need to wear a mask because God knows the real you, and He loves the real you because He created you, and you bear Him image. He knows all of your imperfection and sin, and loves you anyway. That is intimacy, and isn't that what we all really want?

And when the Gospel begins to work in our relationships as well, things get really great. My wife knows all of my stuff and loves me anyway. We understand that we are broken and flawed people that are saved by grace. It's a wonderful thing, and it is a freeing thing. Once I told her everything and we both got into recovery, we discovered what true intimacy is, and that is so much better than anything this world can offer. Again, it's the Gospel. It is not just behavior modification - it's a heart transformation.
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