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Above Reproach, Not Unapproachable

Posted by guest on September 12, 2016
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This is a guest post from Katie Persinger, The Summit Church’s Marketing Director. She wrote this a few years ago as part of an ongoing discussion about adultery among pastors, and her insights remain as relevant and wise as ever.

A lot of people ask why it seems common for men of faith to fall to adultery. While I don’t fully know the answer, I believe many pastors and other Christian men are at a higher risk for moral failure because they do not know how to have healthy relationships with women who are not their wives.

With a lack of understanding of how to have healthy relationships, the result is either no relationship at all or an unhealthy one that leads to emotional or physical barriers being crossed. I believe there’s a middle ground to be found.

Paul gives some of the only biblical instruction on platonic relationships to Timothy: “Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).

We are in a family together, which means the “no relationship” model isn’t biblical. It also means that our relationships should be ones that protect the family as a whole. A sibling relationship implies the ability to relate to one another and the ability to joke, laugh, and share on some level.

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When Is It Okay to Divorce?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on August 10, 2016
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Divorce affects a lot of people in our community. Many people in the church have been through it themselves. Some are in the midst of divorce right now. And many people know about divorce from a different angle, growing up with two homes—one for mommy, and one for daddy.

As a pastor, one of the questions I get more than any other is this: “Is it okay to divorce? To remarry? If so, when?” Sadly, many Christians talk about divorce as if it’s the unforgivable sin, the one line in life that once you cross it, you can never really recover from. It’s as if you are wearing a Scarlet D that demonstrates to God and the world that you are a divorcée, and a second class Christian. But that’s a lie.

It’s interesting to think about the current debates surrounding divorce, because the same question I get all the time was alive and well during Jesus’ day. In fact, some of the same answers were given then that are still given today. But Jesus’ gospel-centered answer on divorce was counter-cultural and transformative—both in his day and in ours.

 

“This Sermon Changed My Life”

Posted by guest on July 11, 2016
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A few weeks ago, after we posted my talk, “Preaching Like Jesus to the LGBT Community,” we received the following encouraging note. Brian was gracious and allowed us to share it here—for which we’re thankful, because it’s a powerful testimony of God’s power.

Dear Pastor J.D.,

This sermon changed my life. This is no understatement either. When I first listened to this sermon a little more than a year ago, I was in a place of deep depression and much despair over continuing on with life. I am a man who’s grown up in the church all my life and have silently struggled with SSA (Same Sex Attraction).

About 18 years ago, I finally understood what homosexuality was (I lived a very sheltered life) and connected it with my personal internal turmoil. I knew I was a Christian and follower of Christ, but how could I experience such things? I investigated the Bible and only found the weight of condemnation for what it said regarding my temptations, my attraction to other men. So, with my resolve, good works, and countless “rededicating my life to Christ” prayers, I suffered in silence through my remaining years in high school and my entire college career (even at a Christian college). Even since graduating from college and committing my life to serving at a gospel-centered church in Hollywood, I believed that I was doing all the right things for Jesus, that He would finally take my temptations away, that He would fulfill my dreams, that He would give me a wife and kids.

I looked and acted like a Christian to the whole world. While I don’t doubt my resolve and commitment to the gospel of Christ, I see that my early upbringing in the church had influenced me to grow up and become a good legalist, not a faithful follower of Christ; I was being transformed from the Prodigal Son into the Older Brother. The more I committed my life to Jesus and living a “Christian life” obeying all the rules, the more I was becoming aware of my failures and temptations rather living a Spirit-filled life. I see that I was like Paul in all my self-righteous behavior. But I could never understand why God wasn’t hearing my prayers and pleas for victory and/or deliverance. I was on the verge of completely giving up on life.

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