But Is Good Advice Enough?

We are not headed into platitudes here. The advice leads you to a doorway…. you stand at that door with your problems and with your guilt, with your failures and with your losses. You stand there, and if you have a flash of revelation you will know how very helpless you are.

But that doorway isn’t the place to stay, and while I am a pragmatic sort, one that thinks the programs and the efforts to apply practical solutions is a place to start…. we all ought to recognize that it is not enough to advocate education and programs and people power.

We can’t do this thing without God

I believe we tend to look at things like porn addiction as an individual problem, and in some ways, that is accurate, but it is also an indictment of something gone wrong corporately. We have to begin to see this, to make any advance.

The wonderful thing about corporate change is that it tackles so many difficulties at one time, the overwhelmingly discouraging thing is “where do we start?”

Well. Where did we start in the first place? What did we come from at the beginning…. and what has brought us to a place of hope? What took some skinny backwoods preacher and gave him keys to unlock the hearts of NYCity street gangs? What gave people power over their drug addictions and their broken homes and broken hearts in the past?

Can the Gospel of Jesus Christ, filling up our lives and hearts still do the same now? Now, after our time in church failed? After our best efforts to “do right”, failed?

oh. I see. you were hoping for something else. Some research, maybe….. some stepped program with guaranteed results…… or what? What are you expecting will solve the problem that has not already been tried? What were you hoping would leave out your efforts to be spiritually growing and contributing with a prayer life and a wellspring of God’s Spirit within? How long will you last in the ministry or the programs without that? How long before your heart breaks and your energy and enthusiasm drains and you have nothing, but the same sorry effort to just exist?

People, …Christian…. we have nothing to offer without God. We keep coming up empty because we want to out-do the world at what…let’s face it…they do better. Because they just have to save face and they don’t promise wholeness or success to broken people. They only are interested in fresh blood and new faces, and usable lives….

But Christ says to the broken and the weary…Come. He offers the drink and the well that satisfies…. and you can be whole. Every program worth its salt offers hope, but not all can come through on the offer. The Church can corporately stop the proliferating weeds of overbusy schedules…because yes, that is a problem…. they can stop filling up with pleasures and worries, and give some ground to growing what they have so loudly advertised: a place where God is present, present to help and to heal.

You want something else? The world has plenty of that… there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of what is available in help that you pay for, in groups that support you, there is nothing wrong with that…. but the Church offers one thing. It offers the things of God.

It’s time we got branded, folks. And it is time to come through, as advertised. And I have belief that God will come through, as promised.

And I know there are going to be plenty that are disapointed at where I went with this, because it isn’t fancy, it doesn’t dig down into the problem, but some things grow and get worse with that kind of exposure…. seeking out all the details of just how bad something is. What is the purpose for you, Christian? To ooo and ahhhh over how bad something is or someone is? To stand before God and declare how glad you are that you are not like that?

Isn’t it simply sufficient to confess corporately “We have a problem, we have not done as we should…. and we all need your help, God….. we desperately need your help”.

The doctrine of depravity… did you want to know what that is? I have outlined it for you, it is a tenet of despair in ourselves and boundless hope in God. None of us is clear from sins, and our brothers weakness and sin is as our own….. but we have hope.

And you have to ask yourself now: Are these just platitudes to me… or is this a message, a message I commit to in belief? Is God there…can God help….willl God help? What is your answer to this, in this problem? And are we willing to be God’s voice, God’s physical hands, God’s corporate compassion? Are we? Then maybe we will prove there is an answer to this thing….

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