For the past few weeks, Journey has been in a series entitled “The Battle Within”. We’re taking six weeks to look into our lives at the stuff we often would rather ignore and pretend aren’t there. As a guide, we’re looking at the seven deadly sins – sins that pretty much everyone struggles with at some time and to some degree or another. So far, we’ve tackled greed (the desire for more stuff that we don’t need), gluttony (the desire to consume more than we need – and it’s not just eating like we may tend to think), and sloth (the avoidance of physical or spiritual work).
Today, was one of the toughest to talk about: Lust.
To help us tackle this less-than-comfortable topic, we brought in a friend of both Pastor Bob and myself – Sara Grivas (Visit her web page: Darkness by Default). Sara helped us hit this topic head on. We used an interview/dialog format for the message and used lots of visual elements on the screen. And yes, we did show some examples of the influences around us – not just porn sites and magazines, but the everyday things that we have become so numb to that we don’t even “see” it anymore. Some of the statistic that she shared just blew me away, too. An hour of music videos contains 93 sexual references and situations per hour! We laid it all out in a frank and open discussion. Going in to this week, we (ok, maybe just me…) we’re a little nervous about how this message would be received by our congregation. Topics like this are never easy to talk about in the church – especially when we do it in a direct and open manner as we did.
After the service, I made a point to try to get a feel from the people who were there. The atmosphere in the auditorium was definitely different than usual, but the response I got from people I talked to was definitely surprising to me. I thought that, knowing our crowd and the culture we have created at Journey, it would be at least received positively, but the response was much better than I had anticipated. The folks who I talked to and overheard talking were expressing what an impact the message had on their lives. Each of them knew someone, if not themselves, who was struggling with this topic. The conversations were positive and open.
At Journey there will be no topic too dark, no problem too hidden that we will not be willing to address it. To cover it up or to deny it’s existence would be to tell people around us that their problem is too big for God or too bad to be forgiven. Let’s keep it real with ourselves and with God – we all screw up, we all fall down – let’s talk about it and help each other through the tough times.
visit the Journey Podcast to listen to this weeks message.