Fifty Shades of Love…

…because nothing says “I love you” more than a film laced with porn and violence… Happy Valentines Day!

A few months ago, we saw three minutes of porn and violence in the form of a romanticized trailer for an upcoming movie. The movie we actually paid to see was an intense WWII film, based on a true story of courage and unbroken determination. Yet, during most of the movie, I was distracted and disturbed by what I had seen in those three minutes. I wanted to scream. But I didn’t think that would go over too well in the middle of the movie. So I asked God to erase everything about it from my memory.

A few weeks ago, I took my children (whose eyes *see* everything) to a bookstore. My eyes glazed over the cover of this book laced with violence and porn, displayed on a table a few feet from the toy section where children play in this bookstore. I promptly turned it over. I wanted to pull a “Jesus in the temple with the money changers” and flip over the tables, but I held back my disgust and turned a few of the books over instead.

A few nights ago, the world celebrated, applauded and awarded a ‘song of the year’ grammy title to a song about a one. night. stand. I only caught a glimpse of the grammy’s the other night. And for the few moments I watched, while changing channels, this award being given. Sam Smith thanked the ‘man who broke his heart’ for the inspiration to write the song and win the grammy. and My heart broke. We rarely sing of true love anymore. We can not sing of what we do not understand.

If we do not know God’s love, we can not understand, receive, express or give Love. God is Love.

Nothing says “Happy Valentines Day” like a film full of porn and violence. Nothing says “I love you” more than a song about a one night stand.

Seriously?? …Is this what we have reduced LOVE to??

Please do not see this movie. ‘Fifty Shades of Shit’ (which was my original title idea, and my husband suggested I go another direction) Please do not waste your time, your energy or your money. Let’s get one thing straight – this movie is about MONEY. This is not art. This is not sex education. This is not sexual enhancement. This movie was made -and the books were written- purely to make money. Sex and money should never be partners.

My concern and disgust for ‘Fifty Shades…’ goes deeper than the movie or the books. We have a culture of choosing to believe and accept LIES. The lie says, ‘it’s okay to watch this movie, read this romance novel, peek at this magazine, listen to this song about a one night stand, scroll thru some porn…’ The lie says, ‘it’s harmless to invite porn into our marriages.’ The lie says, ‘it’s harmless to flirt, have a fling, have an affair.’ The lie keeps us in denial, ‘making it possible for a “john” to take advantage of a young girl and allow others to abuse her, to view her as his property, to make money off of her used body over and over again.’ The lie whispers to the buyer of the young girl held in bondage, ‘this is okay. there is nothing wrong with this abuse.’ When the TRUTH IS – there are SO MANY THINGS WRONG with this!!!

The TRUTH is we have a choice // don’t hire the prostitute // don’t participate in the cycle of human trafficking // don’t see the movie // look away from the magazine // close the book // turn off the t.v. // stop browsing porn sites // remove yourself from negative sexual conversation // flee from the temptation to flirt, have a fling, have an affair //

The TRUTH is there are many women, children and men in forced into slavery, held in bondage and sexual violence, being used against their will. They do NOT have a choice. WE have a choice. And yet we have the audacity to choose to SEE and applaud this movie and read the stupid books???? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please. no. stop!

We need a ‘Joseph culture‘. We have a choice to flee from sin as Joseph fled from Potiphars wife… even when an opportunity presented itself… even though he probably would not have been ‘caught in the act’. He made a choice to flee. To be faithful to his God. Faithful to God’s Love. Joseph knew the Love of God, so he made the choice to say “No” and flee.

We have a choice to turn away from the images, even when know one else sees. We have a choice to say “No” and stop participating in the abuse. We have a choice to flee from sin and into the Love of Jesus. Wherever you are on the ‘spectrum’ of believing these lies, believing these things are okay… From browsing thru a soft porn magazine to becoming a “buyer” or a “john” caught up in the web of sexual slavery… You have a choice. Wherever you are – His Love is for you. and He is for you. You can choose the Love of Jesus. God is Love and He is for you. He desires to redeem mankind to Himself. To understand who True Love is. Who He is.

Then we will see Freedom Come. We will reject these movies, these books, these porn films, these magazines, the ability to oppress and abuse another human being in bondage. We will reject these lies and know the Truth. He is Jesus.

Please share your thoughts. Please freely share this blog. This is much deeper than a movie or a book series. I am praying for us. For freedom from these lies and for Truth to be known, as our stories rage on… In Him, Leslie

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Ducks, Gays and Jesus Speech

Duck_Dynasty_Promo.jpg

I’ve never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty. We don’t even have cable.
I know nothing of Phil Roberts Robertson, except that he is a bearded person on the show.
I wouldn’t recognize him in a crowd of bearded men, women, children or animals..
I also didn’t remember Miley Cyrus was Hannah Montana, so I realize I’m not the best celebrity follower, fan or stalker… although I would *LOVE* to meet Julia Roberts one day…

Now… for the elephant on the web: What is to become of Phil Robertson, freedom of speech for Christians, and the clash with GLBT community? I am not sure of all the answers, but I do have a few ideas…

Phil will survive being suspended from his show. He’s probably sleeping more soundly than many of us. Maybe he will buy A&E, or another station will pick up the show.
He’s a wealthy man, and will continue to make money at Lifeway, Wal-Mart and everywhere else Duck Dynasty products are sold. So… we do not need to concern ourselves with his becoming homeless.
Phil will continue to speak about his convictions. He is still allowed to speak, even though he has been suspended from A&E. He will find other outlets to speak his mind and share his heart.
Is the suspension wrong? Well, my opinion is -Yes- but there are a lot of “wrong” things happening in this world that deserve our attention as much, or more than, the show Duck Dynasty (modern day slavery, for one).
If you are pissed, passionate and posting all over social media about what’s happened to Phil, it’s okay… I just wish we would get as pissed and passionate about stopping PORN and other problems that are infecting our culture and the world wide web.

So, we take sides and blow up on facebook because of what one man has said.
Jesus did the same thing when he walked the earth. 
There was no social media, but Jesus’ words spread.
He was disagreed with left and right – and by the left… and the right.
He turned things upside down with his words, and he was suspended from society.

I read a few articles from different perspectives on what Phil said, then I prayed, read my Bible and started typing.

To me it’s real simple…
1. Jesus is not surprised or offended by anything Phil -or any of us- have said or done.
2. The Gospel will still be preached, even if the Duck Dynasty show goes off the air.
3. We are all sinners in need of the Savior Jesus Christ.
4. Jesus desires us pursue Him than any other person, place or passion.
5. You can still be a Christian and not watch Duck Dynasty. Or have cable television.
6. Your support (or non-support) of Phil will not affect your relationship with Christ.
7. You can stay true to your Biblical convictions and disagree with others for their convictions, regardless of cultures response.
8. You can speak in love and still disagree on homosexuality.
9. You can still eat chicken, love gay people and be a duck dynasty fan. Oh snap – that was sooo 2012.

We are all one sentence away from a remark that goes viral and causes society to respond in outrage or worship. Regardless of what will happen with the rights of the ducks, the gays, or freedom of speech for our society… I will not stop writing, speaking and singing about Christ and His Kingdom. 

Boast in Christ ~ Our freedom of speech might be threatened, challenged or taken away. Like the Disciples, we might be jailed, beaten or killed for preaching Christ. Whether we yell or whisper, His Word will go forth. Jesus is the Word {John 1:1} The Bible and Christian beliefs have been debated for years and it won’t stop with the outcome of the Duck Dynasty debacle.
Pursue Christ ~ If Jesus is our Lord, we must pursue Him. His ways, His heart, His passion. As we pursue, we can trust He will change hearts, transform lives, and renew minds. His Word will go forth.

If Christ is our Savior, our mission is to preach and pursue *His Kingdom*, more than sexuality, family, friendships, favorite foods, sport teams, activities or television shows.

Speak and Pursue His name, His words, His Kingdom Come, more than anything… and to Him be the Glory, forevermore.

*Your thoughts?

Thank you for reading, sharing and following ~ In Him, Leslie

sex and money.

 

sex. and money.

i can’t seem to get these two things off my mind.

i’m obsessed with sex and money…

how they are interlocked interconnected intertwined.

their union haunts me. burdens me. motivates me.

distorted destructive detrimental.

sex and money united together destroys lives.

why?
 
money {+} human trafficking. slavery. strip clubs. brothels. sex boxes. prostitution. peep shows. porn. magazines. romance novels. shades of grey… {=} destruction.
 
sex {within these terms} needs money to thrive. 
they keep funding and feeding each other.
it’s a disturbing cycle where one perpetuates the other.
sex and money were never meant to have intercourse with each other.
sex and money were never meant to become ONE.
never never never never…
but sex and money have taken a romp in the sack together and made a bunch of porn babies.

it’s an epidemic. the desire which gives into the money exchanged for the demand of sex.

which came first? 
the chicken or the egg? 
the pole dancer or the person paying for the dance?
the prostitute or the person paying for the sex?
the sex box or the person driving thru?
the magazine, the romance novel, the shades of grey… or the person reading it?
the trafficked person or the people who ‘own them’?

God created sex. Sin entered in. Sex and money were united. An epidemic was born.

sex and money are good separately.
sex within marriage is good.
money within proper boundaries of spending and saving is good.
sex and money together are distorted. they should never. go. together. ever. ever. ever.

seriously.

i pray our eyes will be opened to one of the most damaging unions {sex and money} facing our world today.

this epidemic is not hopeless.

Jesus was born. Jesus rescues. Jesus redeems. Jesus restores. Jesus renews. 

i pray we will do something. change something. say ‘no’. look away. it starts with our choices…

the soft porn also known as magazines… they line every bookstore shelf, welcome you into every grocery store aisle, and cover your door step with every subscription.
the t.v. shows and movies lined with subtle innuendos, coarse words and full on nudity.
the shades of grey in books filling minds with fantasy romance and descriptive sex scenes.
what may seem harmless leads to a disconnection from reality. 
what may seem harmless leads us to lies, believing sex and money can be intertwined.  

what sin has joined together only God can separate. 
no more money in exchange for a magazine.
no more money in exchange for a porn video.
no more money in exchange for a lap dance.
no more money in exchange for a life.

yes. we are suffering from the messy union of sex and money.
what are we going to do about it???
the change needs to happen carefully and with respect. 
what are you doing?
what are you being called to say ‘no’ to?
what are you being led to look away from?
we have a choice to not be controlled by unhealthy sexual desires. 
call out sin for sin. lust for lust. fantasy for fantasy. porn for porn. prostitution for prostitution. 

the union of sex and money is a complicated relationship. the only answer is Jesus redeeming this epidemic. the light will expose the dark.
human trafficking, prostitution, pornography… their deep roots need to be uncovered to be understood.
– we need to start somewhere –
we can all do something to help ourselves and help influence others away from being caught in the intercourse of sex and money.

there is so much more to say on this subject… i’m just getting this conversation started… it is only half written… until then, please share, comment and join this blog community.

In Him, Leslie

 

The Chicken vs. Sexuality War

Unless you are worm living in the dirt under a rock or you are too enthralled with The Olympics to pay attention to anything else, you’ve probably heard of or read about the recent “support that chicken place vs. the rights to our sexuality” debate.

As much as I’d love to list my own wonderful opinions on either side of the matter…
I’m going to engage in the story by sharing my own hearts cry

My love for Jesus, for chicken and for all people.

Jesus wants all of us. He desires a relationship with every person on this earth.

Jesus wants every part of us.  He wants every part of our whole being ~ body, mind and soul ~ from our sexuality to the food we put in our mouths, whether it be chicken from a certain restaurant or not.

Jesus wants every part of us fully surrendered unto Him. Any part that we don’t fully surrender to Jesus – whether it be what we eat, our sexuality or anything else – can become an idol. Idols are anything we Worship, or have excessive devotion to, within a society or culture. Our golden calf. Our cross to bear. Our favorite American Idol. Our modus operandi. Our ______ (you fill in the blank).

Culture wars and cultural norms can easily become idols.

It used to be a cultural norm to own slaves. It used to be a cultural norm for only men to vote. It used to be a cultural norm to smoke anywhere. It used to be a cultural norm for everyone to wear bell bottoms. It used to be a cultural norm for everyone to use an entire can of hairspray on their bangs in one day… or at least that’s what I was doing in the 7th grade…

The chicken vs. sexuality war raging now is a Culture War fighting for New Cultural Norms. Jesus is not surprised by any of this. Idols have been around since day #1. To America and beyond: we have a lot of idols, that are of a sexual nature and beyond.  And throughout the years of history, some of our idols have changed and some have stayed the same. Humor me and read 2 Timothy 3:1-7.  Sound familiar?

Jesus calls us into the Worship of Himself more than anything. He is more important than our sexuality or what/where we eat.  Worship of Jesus moves us from places of brokenness and bondage and brings us into Freedom. True freedom, for every part of us ~ body, mind and soul ~ can only be found by abiding in Jesus (John 8:31-36).

We shouldn’t get our panties in a wad to defend our sexual rights or what and where we eat… Culture wars are typically dripping with offense, unforgiveness, hurt, bitterness and hate. If we are drowning ourselves and our focus on the culture wars, we won’t be prepared for the spiritual battle that is raging. Ephesians 6:10-20. We must speak in truth and in love, without compromise.  The war we should be fighting is for what and for whom we Worship.


The Worship of Jesus will change, transform, justify and renew us. Titus 3:1-11.  

Let us fully surrender every part of our lives ~ body, mind and soul ~ to Him and keep our focus on Him.  Let us not boast in our sexuality or where we eat chicken.  Let us boast in the Worship of Jesus, knowing His Love and His Glory!

A Musical Marriage

Last Saturday P.A. and I had the opportunity to lead worship together for a marriage conference at another church.  To prepare, we prayed and picked out our songs.  We planned the details of our set list and practiced the songs.  Then, we played worship for the marriage conference.

We have a musical marriage.

We love music.  We love listening to music.  We love dancing to music.  We love talking about new music.  We love playing and making music together, but don’t always have an opportunity to do so.  When we do have an opportunity, we love it!  and we think we sound pretty good together… but our musical marriage didn’t just happen overnight…

Making beautiful music takes time.  

If only our marriage would have been as *musical* all along… some of the music we have made has sounded more like a cheesy pop song, rather than a symphony.  Yes people, if you haven’t figured it out by now, this blog is not just about our gifts and good times with music.  I’m writing about more than music here.  You can see the metaphor, right?  If not, I will spell it out for you:

Sex.  Intimacy.  Making Love.  Makin’ Whoopie.

You name it, call it whatever you want.

I’m going to refer to it as makin’ music.  Insert *blushing* here.

uh-oh…  no worries, though.

This is all for God’s Glory.  After all, He is the creator of makin’ music, right? Last I checked, that was the case. (Gen. 2:25)  God designed and desires for our marriages to reflect Him.  He wants all marriages to be playing from the same chord chart, in the same key, makin’ records of beautiful music.  No matter what your view or personal experience is or has been, God wants to Redeem, Restore and Renew makin’ music for everyone.  He knows satan wants to destroy marriages and makin’ music is a prime target on which to launch the attack.  God wants to take back the lies, the darkness, the trash, the comparisons, the injustice, the abuse ~ everything.  He wants to bring the sin into the LIGHT and make ALL things new.

When P.A. and I became friends and started dating, we were open about everything from the beginning.  And… We anticipated that our wedding night music would be wonderful. Award Worthy. Right? 

Wrong.   

We are still learning, growing and figuring out how to make the best music together.  Thankfully, we didn’t scratch makin’ music all together.  After all, the record was and still is only half-written…  And we have our whole lives to practice.  And heck, we have 3 wee babs, so we’re makin’ some music… Right? Yep.  It’s true.  Just like leading worship for the marriage conference, for us to be makin’ the best music, we need to pray, prepare, plan, practice and pick the best times to play music.  Whew. That list sounds like a lot of work.  Yes.  Makin’ beautiful music takes time.  And it’s worth it.

Some days we focus more on the music, some days we are on different pages, and some days we get too busy or tired to make any music at all.

Trusting in God is our foundation.  We trust Him to Conduct the symphony of our lives.  We also trust each other.  We have made musical mistakes.  We know we will mess up again.  But. We. Trust.  It’s been an interesting musical journey.  We have disappointed ourselves and each other. We have blamed ourselves and each other.  We have sinned against God and each other.  We have forgiven.

Our hope and prayer is that wherever you are on your musical journey, you and your mate will allow God to Redeem, Restore and Renew every part of your lives, right down to the music you make. Let Him bring the Darkness into the Light. Replace the Fear with Trust.  And turn the Sorrow into Joy.

…and let your marriages make beautiful music.