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Trusting God in the Battle for Sexual Purity

Trusting God In The Battle For Sexual Purity a blog by Vince Miller Mens Ministry

Trusting God in the Battle for Sexual Purity

“Feed your faith and starve your doubts." —Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." —Proverbs 3:5-6

Insights Gained From The Battle

What does an addiction to pornography say about a guy’s relationship with our Heavenly Father? Could a man’s sexual compulsions be a sign that he doesn’t trust God? Here are some insights and applications we can glean from my recent interview with Irving Woolf, president and founder of Hopewell Counseling in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Not only has Irv served as a church pastor, but he also has helped thousands of men battle for purity through his ministry “Purity Platoon.”

3 Issue of Unbelief

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Sex and sexual urges are, of course, inventions of God Himself, intended both for purposes of procreation and for mutually pleasurable intimacy between husband and wife. So it’s ironic that some men – maybe even most – have a real unbelief issue regarding the very Mastermind of sex.

Where do we go wrong? What leads us to experience and act on these sexual compulsions that violate the boundaries God outlines for us in His Word? For starters:

  • Men tend to be among the most untrusting creatures on the planet, Irv notes. They don’t trust their wives, they don’t trust their bosses, and in general, they don’t trust God. They’ve been taught to be self-reliant. Low on money? “I can work overtime; I can work two jobs; I can get my wife to work.” Major decisions? “I don’t need anyone else telling me which house to buy, what car to drive, or who to marry. These are my choices to make and mine alone…”
  • Because they don’t trust God, men tend to operate in the realm of unbelief. They say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ – that He died for my sins and rose again and that He’s the Savior of the world. But in the nitty-gritty of life…?”
  • Prayer, then, becomes inconsequential, a waste of time. “Why pray if I can do it all myself?” It’s a big reason men often find it difficult to pray. They might shoot up little “arrow prayers” at the dinner table, but when it comes to the broad needs in their lives – or daunting situations looming on the horizon – they keep it to themselves.

A guy’s belief that he can do it all on his own is convicting evidence of unbelief in God. It’s like a deadly poison seeping into our souls, preventing us from seeing that there’s a power greater than us. Our egos are just too big to accept that there’s a great God who wants to help us.

Reaching the End of the Rope

Boldly, stubbornly marching on toward deeper trouble, men harboring sexual addictions too often fail to acknowledge their need for help before inevitable consequences threaten to devastate their lives. Pride, shame, or fear keep them from seeking any counseling. Then they get caught at home or work on a pornographic website. Or they engage in prostitution and get busted by the law. Or the wife says, “I’m calling a lawyer…”

“An awful lot of men are like that,” Irv says. “They’ve reached the end of the rope, and I’m the last straw that they’re going to grasp for. Their unbelief is the root sin underlying their use of pornography, masturbation, and fantasizing. They’re basically saying, ‘I don’t trust God with my sex life; I don’t trust Him that He will allow me to be as sexual as I want to be. My wife certainly doesn’t want to be as sexual as I want to be. So I think I’m going to find an alternative to that.’ And the devil presents them with a path to false intimacy.”

Learning to Be Intimate with God

So how does a man turn from unbelief to trusting God? How does he renew and nurture an authentic relationship with the Father? Here are four steps to initiate the journey:

  • Understand that it’s not possible to control everything in life – losing a job, struggling financially, fighting an illness, encountering conflicts at home or elsewhere – none of it is subject to any power we possess.
  • Surrender that lack of control to God. Say to Him, “Take over – You’re the one in charge.” Pray hard and pray regularly.
  • Turn to God’s Word for answers. Memorize it. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:9-11). Let Scripture crowd out all our garbage.
  • Get some help! Be held accountable by other brothers in the Lord. And don’t be too proud to seek Christian counseling – this issue is too important to dismiss or put off.

It won’t be easy. Giving up control is hard to do – in any area of life. It’s a sort of synergistic balancing act. Yes, we are responsible for doing our part – to work, earn an income, provide for our families – but all the while we must trust God in every circumstance and submit to His will for our lives. Feeling “out of control” is when we must remind ourselves that God is in control. We are not God. God is God. And He becomes “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

So turn your unbelief into belief. Trust God with the issues you face and the intimacy you need. Turn to Him, trust in Him, and He will set you free.

Vince Miller Speaking All In

Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 16 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.

When People Don’t Like Your Story

Shame a Daily Devotional by Vince Miller at Resolute Mens Bible Studies

What To Do When Believers & Non-Believers Don't Like Your Life Story

Some people don't like their story. Maybe because it's a little dull. Others don't like it because of the tension it raises and the challenge it presents. But what happens when neither likes it?

Some people don't like their story. Some may think their "testimony," as Christians call it, is a little dull. Others don't like it because of the tension it raises and the challenge it presents. My friend Michael is uniquely challenged with his testimony and here's why - he is formerly gay.

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Am I Not Supposed To Talk About It?

Homosexuality is an issue most people do not want to discuss for a variety of reasons. That is unless of course, you agree with their lifestyle or point-of-view. For example, Michael will say his non-believing friends will want him to be "pro-gay," and his believing friends would sooner not listen to what he has to say about being "formerly-gay." Hearing this made me sad for Michael in that we as a human race lack the ability to listen to people and overcome our stereotypes - Christian or not.

Attack On One Side

Michael shared that non-believers have often attacked him at work leveraging policies on political correctness preventing him from sharing his story of how he went from a gay to a straight lifestyle. He is convinced that had the story been reversed his personal story would be well received or protected by these same policies. Years ago he referenced that Nightline did a piece on a conference he spoke at in Franklin, Tennessee. He said that "several of his coworkers back and addressed management of his company and tried to get me fired." Thankfully his management stood with him and said he had the freedom to speak on these matters both in and outside of work and they refused to terminate him for sharing his story.

Attack On The Other?

But he also added that it's not only non-believers who are uncomfortable with his story, but believers. Yep, followers of Christ. They hear his story, and he said "sometimes they don't hesitate to attack" him for his former sin and lifestyle choices. Most Christians with whom he comes in contact with are startled by his former life and often do their best to marginalize and silence him even though he's supposedly one of the family. It seems his story is too much for them to bear and creates a tension to which they don't know how to respond. Since most churches have never dealt with an issue of this kind, assimilating him into the life of the church is challenging and perplexing.

Hmmm, interesting.

As you know most churches tend not to understand sexual sin, therefore quietly shame sins of a sexual nature which makes accommodating men like Michael into the culture of the church apparently challenging. He has even said that when he shares his testimony with other believers, he feels embarrassed because he has to be over-sensitive to how others might respond. He stated that in one instance another believer told him on social media "God, kill yourself," after he shared his testimony about being ex-gay. And he added that he has even been told by pastors and elders to keep silence for fear that someone might be offended.

We're All Looking For Acceptance

We have a lot to do as a church, and as humanity, to listen to people - and genuinely hear their story. While Michael is ex-gay, and his story might make both sides of the isle uneasy, he is not less an of a human being for having this testimony. Michael is a man who is looking for a family, love, acceptance - and found it in God. And we too should genuinely celebrate his story with him and welcome him into the family - as God did.

Michael forgive me and the church for not hearing, accepting, and welcoming you into the body of Christ. We too are sinners saved by the same grace, trying to understand people different from us. So be patient with us as we learn to assimilate and overcome our shortcomings. And more importantly, keep sharing your story till we hear the story of the grace we all need! Be better today.

Vince Miller Founder of ResoluteVince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.

Purity In Our Opposite-Sex Relationships

Purity a blog by Vince Miller of Resolute Mens Ministry

Purity In Our Opposite-Sex Relationships

Why our conduct with women matters today, and God's standard for what men call "locker room talk."

The topic of sexual ethics is getting a lot of press today. Maybe because men are behaving so poorly in their interactions with people, but also because the #MeToo movement is highlighting this. But issues of this nature shouldn't surprise us given the increase and even constant bombardment of sexual themes on radio, television, and the prolific presence of pornography on the web. And it raises the question, in an age of sexual bombardment, "How should a man of God conduct himself sexually with men and women in life?"

God's standard is not a hint.
Consider these words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:3-4. "But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."

The NIV reads this way, "not even a hint," which is the standard for a follower of Christ. We don't need a #MeToo movement, because God has given us the #notevenahint mandate that implies impurity of any kind, including sexual impurity, is just not compatible with God's plan nor our holiness. Sexual expression, while permissible, has appropriate boundaries in the Bible. And while contemporary radio, television, and the web attempt to redefine these boundaries by turning sexual acts, innuendos, and joking into entertainment this does not infer that their limits (or lack of them) are appropriate for conduct among followers of Christ.

Purity is the aim.
"Not a hint," means that our relationships with women are to be pure and respectful as if all women were our relatives, siblings, mother, or grandmother for that matter. We should be protective of women who are made in God's image as if we are relatives to them – never exploitive, condescending, or treat them as objects. In fact, as Christians, we are called to treat all people with honor and respect. And whenever a relationship with a woman, other than our spouse, becomes sensitive, suggestive, sensual, or sexual in talk or touch we should back out, regardless the cost, because it is a violation of God's standard of purity. Case in point: Joseph and Potiphar's wife. While Joseph ran from her sexual advances, which was right, there was a price to pay, which was high. But this cost was not as high as paying the price of integrity, holiness, and purity.

Locker room talk is not acceptable.
Both men and women are capable of vulgar sexual conversation with friends. You have heard both genders engage in hypersexual talk, as have I. Men often write it off as "locker room talk," as if there is a place where such language and conversation is acceptable. We do this because we falsely believe the lie that, "men will be men." But if the standard is that our lives display "not even a hint" of sexual immorality or any impurity, this is not a conversation that we should ever be party to. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, and anywhere we go, and wherever we have a discussion, God is there, and we grieve him when that conversation is impure or immoral. Locker room talk has no place in the life of a Godly man.

The next time you are in a situation where language, attitudes or actions cross a line into impurity remind yourself: Not even a hint.

Vince Miller Founder of ResoluteVince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.

Sexual Addiction and Unbelief

Core Beliefs by Vince Miller of Resolute Mens Bible Studies

Do we just not believe God when we look at porn?

Our fleshly desires are powerful but could they be a sign that we just do not believe or trust in God. In this episode of Man Talk, Vince Miller is joined by Irving Woolf, professional counselor with Hopewell Counseling and founder of Purity Platoon a men’s purity ministry which has helped thousands of men find victory over sexual sin. Today we hear Irv’s strong thoughts on what pornography addiction says about our relationship with God.

PODCAST:

TRANSCRIPT:

Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I’m Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we are looking at the topic of sexual addiction and unbelief.

Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 15 minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because, at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead. So never forget, if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today, at beresolute.org.

We have a number of great tools for men leading men, including a new small group series that we know you would love. Check it all out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s a forward slash, promo. But now, let’s dive in.

Well, I’m excited to introduce to you to my good friend, Irving Woolf, the President and Founder of Hopewell Counseling, based in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Irv has served in church ministry as a Pastor. And founded his own men’s ministry, entitled, “Purity Platoon,” which has helped thousands of men battle for purity in their lives. Today Irv counsels with men on a regular basis. So Irv, welcome to the show.

Irv: Thank you, Vince. Nice to be here with you and your smiling face.

Vince: Yeah, this is going to be a lot of fun. Now Irv, most of our listeners may not know you, but I’ve got to tell you – this guy, Irv – he brings a lot of wisdom with him, over many years. Specifically working in the counseling industry today. And clearly, he has worked with men over many years in the church that have struggled with compulsions or addiction through pornography and sexual issues in life. And so Irv, I’m excited to talk with you and have a few conversations with you on this topic.

I know one of the things that you have found as you have talked with men, is that some of these men – or maybe most of them, have a real unbelief issue, alright? An unbelief issue regarding God. Can you help to unpack what you mean by that, so that guys can maybe understand what – where we go wrong as we have these sexual compulsions in life?

Irv: Sure. Well one of the things that strike me is I deal with men, and have dealt with them for over the last 30 years. Is men tend to be among the most untrusting creatures on the planet. They don’t trust – they don’t trust themselves, they don’t trust their wives. They surely don’t trust their boss. And in general, they don’t trust God. And part of the reasoning behind that is – we have been taught to be self-reliant.

Vince: Okay.

Irv: Why do we need God? “Why do we need–? I can do it myself. I can – I don’t need to trust God for my finances. I can work overtime, I can work 2 jobs, I can provide for myself. I can get my wife to work. I can do other things. So I don’t really need to trust God for my finances. I don’t really need to trust God in so many areas of my life decisions. About which house to buy, which car to buy, who to marry. None of those kinds of things do I really need to trust God with. Because I’m the one that’s doing it.”

And so, men generally are pretty untrusting. And because they don’t trust God, they operate in the realm of unbelief. Almost like the guy whose son kept getting thrown into the fire because of epilepsy. And he said to Jesus, “I do believe, but help my unbelief.” And I see that from a lot of men.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: They would say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ. Yes, I believe that he died for my sins and rose again and that he’s the savior of the world. But the nitty-gritty of life, the everyday details–”

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: “I think I trust myself more.”

Vince: That’s really interesting. And – ’cause I think you and I would readily agree on this. I find that I bump into that a lot of guys, especially when they need help, right?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: They believe that they can do it on their own. But that belief that they can do it on their own is actually unbelief in God. Isn’t that interesting?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: And that little spin there, is like a deadly poison to our thinking, our soul, redemption, restoration, reconciliation, healing – and maybe discovering that there is a power greater than us? Is it maybe that we are – our egos are just too big to accept the fact that there’s a great God that wants to help us? What is is it man?

Irv: Well I think it – I think it’s a hindrance, by the way. I think unbelief is a hindrance to prayer. “Why pray if I can do it myself?”

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: “I don’t need God’s help.” And in fact, seems to us like prayer is pretty much a waste of time. It’s why men have a difficult time praying.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: They pray little – little arrow prayers when they’re eating meals.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: Shoot up an arrow prayer and thank him for the food. But when it comes to serious praying about deep needs in their life – lives – or about situations that are upcoming on the horizon. To actually pray, and even fast about those kinds of things – nada.

Vince: That’s super convicting Irv, because – as I hear it – I go, “Well what am I really praying about?” Well, usually it’s the things that feel out of control. But when I’m in control, and I believe I can do it on my own – those things I don’t pray about. And why am I not praying for them, right?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Why am I not praying for those things as well. Just even the little things in life that I actually can control – or I think I can control, right? Or it might be me building up unbelief toward God and might be building up my resistance to him. Rather than bringing them to God, offering them on the sacrifice of his throne, breaking down my will.

Now, I’ve got to ask you this. Because I think this totally relates to it. I wonder if the men that you see in counseling – or the men that you’ve talked to who are addicted to pornography or compulsively addicted to a sexual interaction that’s inappropriate. If they don’t come to you -when it’s too late, most of the time? Do you find that you meet with guys when things have gone far too long, far too long in their life? And then finally they realize they can’t go anywhere else, they finally come to you.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Has that been kind of the pattern?

Irv: And an awful lot of men are like that. They’ve reached the end of the rope, and I’m the last straw that they’re going to grasp for. Or their wife has said, “If you don’t get into counseling, we’re done. I’m contacting an attorney.”

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: And so then – then they wind up coming to me. For an awful lot of men, unbelief is the root sin underlying their use of pornography, masturbation and fantasizing. Because they’re basically saying, “I don’t trust God with my sex life, I don’t trust God that he will allow me to be as sexual as I want to be. My wife certainly doesn’t want to be as sexual as I want to be. So I think I’m going to find an alternative to that.” And the devil presents them with a path to false intimacy.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: And false intimacy, as opposed to true intimacy with my wife – is all about pornography and masturbation and fantasy.

Vince: Right. Therefore, taking control of these issues in our life, right – building up our unbelief. Because we believe we can do it on our own, or handle the handle the situations in our own way–

Irv: Sure.

Vince: We’re actually reinforcing our unbelief in God and the belief that we can handle it on our own. And man, I bet, and – ’cause see, I’ve seen this too. Guys don’t like to hear this particular message. They don’t want to be told that they don’t believe in God. But the reality is – is they have compartmentalized God.

Irv: Yeah, yeah.

Vince: With their sex life, their sex thoughts, their sexual feelings. Maybe it’s been built up with some shame and fear in their life as well.

Irv: Sure.

Vince: And they’re too proud, or too ashamed to ask for help. And that belief is actually reinforcing their unbelief in God. And you’re saying that they only come when they’re pushed to the utter limits. Sometimes by their spouse, sometimes by the compulsion that seems to be driving their life – or, maybe to the point that they get caught on some sort of website by somebody? Or they get busted at work. Or they begin to engage in prostitution, and they get busted by the law, right?

Irv: Yeah, yeah.

Vince: That’s the pattern you’ve seen.

Irv: Yeah, that’s an awful lot of what happens. It is the bottom line. I mean, I have always contended that if a man is engaged in pornography, and sexual fantasizing and masturbation – that he equally has a problem with intimacy with God. His relationship with God is minimal.

Vince: Okay so, now describe that. Because now – what I hear you leaning towards right now as we share is – it’s learning how to be intimate, right?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: It’s an intimacy issue. Let’s move from just sheer belief in self, and unbelief toward God, to how to turn that toward belief in God. And you might – I’m wondering, suggest that we need to relearn how to be intimate with God. If there’s a guy listening today who maybe is struggling with his unbelief, how does he turn that toward belief in God by developing some appropriate, intimate behaviors with God? What would you suggest to that guy?

Irv: Oh there’s a number of things. First of all, it’s beginning to realize, “I can’t control everything in my life. I can’t control whether I’m going to get promoted. I can’t control the kind of finances that are going to come in the door. I can’t control other people. I can’t control my wife. I can’t control my kids. I can’t control much of anything in my life. And I need to surrender that lack of control to God, and say, ‘God, you be the one in control. You are the one in charge because I can’t control it.'” And that’s going to drive me to prayer. It’s going to drive me to ask him – I’ve got to know the word.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: That’s going to drive me into the Bible for answers. And hopefully, it’s going to even drive me to memorize sections of the Bible or verses in the Bible. And hiding them in my heart, because the Bible says in Psalm 119, 9 and 11, “Where, with all shall a young man cleanse his way, by keeping it according to thy word. Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against me, against them.” So if I want to cleanse my life–

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: I’m going to go to the Word. And I’m going to hide the Word in my heart. I’m going to memorize it. And it’s going to begin, over time to crowd out all of the garbage that I’ve ingested.

Vince: That you believed over years, right? That each of us has believed over years. And we’ve built up this resistance. So you’re saying – we’ve got to tear down our resistance to God by subjecting yourself to some humility, some submission–

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Some willingness to listen to God. Rebuilding intimacy by taking in scripture. Understanding and believing in God, and developing maybe a more intimate relationship. And it involves a loss of control.

Irv: Yeah, that’s a hard thing. That’s a very hard thing.

Vince: Oh that is a really hard thing, I think for a lot of guys listening today – for them to move from controlling the issues in their own life, as it regards – whatever. It could be unbelief in any area of life. It doesn’t just have to be sexual compulsions, right?

Irv: Sure.

Vince: It can be any area of unbelief in life. We have to let go of control, unlearn those behavior patterns. That by the way, have been built up over years and years and years and years and years. It isn’t just one area like you said.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Like you said, it’s like trying to control my family, control my finances, control everything. We’ve got to lose those things.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: And develop an intimacy with God, where we trust Him, trust Him more than the things of this world, right?

Irv: Part of the issue with men is – there is a balancing thing. Because obviously, men have to work.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: So I have to work, I have to earn income. I have to provide for my family. Providing is a very godly thing.

Vince: Yes.

Irv: But on the other hand, I have to be able to trust God. So there’s a synergistic balancing act here.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: “Him that will not work, neither shall he eat.” So I know–

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: I want to eat, so I know that work is important. But on the other hand, I’ve got to trust God. I’ve got to trust God with the results.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: I can work, I can do my part. But God’s got to be free to do his part. And I’ve got to leave the results with him. And whichever way it goes, I’ve got to be able to trust him. Especially true when guys are seeking a job for instance.

Vince: Yeah, yeah.

Irv: You put on your resume, and you go for the interviews. And you do your level best. You look good, you smell good.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: And then you go for the interview, and maybe you get a second interview. But you really have to trust God for whether you’re going to get hired. And you can’t have a hissy fit if you don’t.

Vince: Right, right. Exactly.

Irv: Yeah, you basically have to say, “God, you’re in control. I’m not in control.”

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: And I can’t be in control. There are forces outside of me that are controlling whether I get hired or not..

Vince: Yeah. I – as we begin to wrap this up today, Irv – I think your wisdom here, for guys – is– And guys, I hope you’re listening today to Irv. Because I think there’s so much wisdom behind his heart here, his words, the things that he’s thought about for years. Even the way that he’s counseled, men.

And what he’s saying to us today is this – is that – we all don’t believe in God in some area of life. Clearly today, we’re talking about some of our sexual compulsions in life, and the road that we walk down. We spend a lot of our time in life building up our own ego and our own walls, that fight with belief in God.

And our issue – at the core – is unbelief in God. The way that we tear some of that down, is we begin to come to the end of ourselves. We submit to God’s will for our life. It’s going to feel like you’re out of control for a while. It’s going to feel out of control. But out of control is exactly where God is in control. And therein those moments, God becomes our refuge.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength. An ever-present help in trouble. You are not your refuge and strength.” If you were, gentlemen – if you were – there would be no need for Jesus Christ. There’d be no need for God. You are not God. God is God. Let him be God. And he is your refuge and strength.

And so I want to encourage you guys today to fight the beliefs that have built up over years and move toward belief in God. And choose to turn that unbelief into belief, and trust Him with the issues you face, the intimacy you need. And turn to him in every area of life. Whether it be work or family or future or finances – or even sexual intimacy. Turn to Him, and trust in Him, he will provide.

And that’s the show, thanks for listening. As we close today, I want to remind you of a couple of things. First, if you want to connect with Irv, you can do so at Hopewell Counseling. There are links on this podcast if you’d like to connect directly to him.

Also, as we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free dash trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s study guide to go with it.

So, guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode of Man Talk, but please know that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to act on it. So do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time on another edition of Man Talk.

Sexual Addiction and Lust

Accountability Deficit a daily devotional by Vince Miller

Desire can be both good and bad, but it’s the object of that desire and the motivation that makes all the difference.

Our human desires will drive us to lust, but God still wants us to desire him. In this episode of Man Talk, Vince Miller is joined by Irving Woolf, professional counselor with Hopewell Counseling and founder of Purity Platoon a men’s purity ministry which has helped thousands of men find victory over sexual sin. Today we hear Irv’s as he helps us understand fleshly desire and lust and what to do about them.

PODCAST:

TRANSCRIPT:

Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I’m Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re discussing the topic of sexual addiction and lust.

Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 15 minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because, at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead. So never forget, if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today, at beresolute.org.

We have a number of great tools for men leading men, including a new small group series that we know you would love. Check it all out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s a forward slash, promo. Or if you’re looking for more from this podcast, just go to beresolute.org/mantalk. And you’ll find all of our podcasts, feeds, and connections to social media. But now, let’s dive in.

Well, I am very excited to introduce to you, my good friend, Irving Woolf. Who is the President and Founder of Hopewell Counseling, based in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Irv has served in church ministry as a Pastor. And founded his own men’s ministry, entitled, “Purity Platoon,” which has helped thousands of men battle for purity in their lives. Today Irv counsels with men on a regular basis. So Irv, welcome to the show.

Irv: Thanks, Vince. Thanks for having me on, it’s really a privilege.

Vince: Oh, it’s my privilege. And I’m sure it’s a lot of those guys out there that are struggling through sexual compulsions and addictions in their life. That they’re looking for wisdom. I know that, and I know Irv, you’ve learned some things over the years that would greatly help these men. So today, we want to talk about lust.

Last time we talked a little bit about unbelief and our desire to control in our life, and how we have built up beliefs over years and thinking that we can actually handle these issues on our own privately, right? Last time we talked about how we can move that belief from belief in us, to belief in God. And demonstrated – I hope – for guys, how unbelief is prohibiting us from really seeing the spiritual change in our life.

Today I want to talk about lust. And this is a big topic, Irv. Lust is the challenge, right? We live in a world that’s full of lust. Help us to understand, at least have a preliminary understanding of what we’re talking about here. What is lust?

Irv: Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, Jesus talked about it a little bit in Matthew 5. As I recall that, he said, “You’ve heard it said, ‘Thou shall not commit adultery. But I say to every man that lusts after a woman, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'” So it’s a heart issue. Lust is all about the heart. And yeah, eyes are involved in lust. Because we see things, and we want things, and we basically snack on the beauty of women. And we might lust after them. That’s very different than loving them.

Vince: Yeah, how is that different? Because I think that’s an important differentiator. How is lust different from looking at a woman and loving her?

Irv: Yeah, lust is very self-centered. It’s selfish in its motivation. Lust is very much focused on my needs and what I want, and how I want to get satisfied. Love – on the other hand, is very other-centered. It’s all about you, it’s all about your needs. Me meeting your needs. And it’s very sacrificial. Lust is very narcissistic, and tends to be all about me and meeting my needs and building up my image and doing it my way.

And so men will view pornography and want to inflict that on their wives. So they come back to their wife, and they say, “Man, I looked on this website – and this woman did this thing with this man, I want you to do that with me.” And that’s all about me. It’s not about her. She may come away feeling dirty, used, abused. But that’s okay, as long as it’s meeting my needs.

Vince: Yeah, that – you know what? That is an excellent description. Because it helps guys to understand what’s really happening in our mind, right?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Really happening in our heart. And I think you’re – you’re spot on with Jesus. Jesus was always pushing us to really understand our sin at a deeper level, the core of the issue. And I think what I hear you saying is, “Lust has far more to do with the human heart than necessarily just our appendages behaving a certain way.”

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Or us – our eyes bouncing and looking away at something. We don’t even have to look at a woman to lust after a woman, right?

Irv: Yeah, yeah. We can look at images. In fact, we’ve got images stored in our brains. We’ve got like this little – this little corridor with images and pictures and videos on the walls. And we just take a little memory walk. And I’ve had guys in platoons who – they go away to fantasy land for half an hour at a time, and just check out and review all the images that they’ve looked at over the years.

Vince: That is so true. Because lust is so powerfully visual for a man, isn’t it?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Like I can remember the first piece of pornography I ever looked at – still today. Here I am, sat – I’m 46 years old. I remember an image from when I was a teenager, in my mind – isn’t that–?

Irv: Wow, wow.

Vince: It’s powerful, isn’t it?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: And I bet if you asked any guy out there, the power of that image burned on our mind because of how it is glued to our brain sexually, right? How it’s just glued to our brain. Is powerful in how it leads our heart. And I think a lot of guys out there struggle with how to untwist those entangled things that become meshed in their mind and their heart, Irv.

Irv: Yeah. Well in time, those images gradually do fade until after years you can’t remember them anymore. But – again, for most men – there’s something called epinephrine, that’s been secreted in our brains. And epinephrine – the way Doctor Dobson describes it – epinephrine is a trauma released, a chemical hormone in the brain. And what epinephrine does, is – when we see a trauma like somebody going through a windshield or somebody being killed on the battlefield – our brain secretes epinephrine, which coats the brain and stores that image in long-term memory. So here we are, 10 years later, we can still remember that guy going through the windshield.

Vince: Wow.

Irv: And yet, we don’t have any trauma connected with having breakfast a couple of days ago – we can’t even remember what we ate. We don’t remember that we had oatmeal, or we don’t remember those kinds of things. Because epinephrine wasn’t secreted. But pornography has the unique aspect that it shocks us. It creates not only troughs in the brain that we can talk about, but it also secretes epinephrine. Which means the images go into long-term memory.

Vince: Wow.

Irv: Which means you don’t get them out easily.

Vince: Wow.

Irv: So the way you counter that – you can’t get rid of the ruts that those have created, the fissures in the brain. But what you can do is create new ruts, new fissures. So that the neural pathways are changed. And that’s why you memorize scripture.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: That’s why you want to hide the Word in your heart. That’s why you want to read it daily.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: And feast on it.

Vince: Yeah. That’s really good. And that is – you’re helping, I think – guys today, Irv – untangle what has been tangled in their brain, right? We just have this big hairball of issues and problems, right? It’s tangled up in our brain, and they’re a compilation of images and issues. And we have to begin to untangle them. But at the same time, you’re saying, “This is the point of memorizing scripture, gentlemen. Is that we want to build some new ruts that burn into our mind some new behavior patterns.”

Irv: Yes.

Vince: And I believe that lust is both a positive thing and a negative thing. We can desire things that are – have negative outputs in our life. And we can desire things that have positive outputs in our life. Is that true, Irv?

Irv: Yeah, there’s a choice. Nobody’s twisting your arm, nobody’s making you. It’s what – what psychologists call mindfulness.

Vince: Okay.

Irv: Mindfulness is when you think of something, and then you think of what will be the outcome before you do anything? And so you think about something. You think to yourself, “What will happen if I click on this particular website?”

Vince: Right.

Irv: And rather than allowing your feelings to dictate what you will do, you practice mindfulness, and you say, “What will be the outcome?” Because there’s a pretty good likelihood at some point my wife is going to find that website that I just clicked on.

Vince: Right.

Irv: If nothing else, “God will see what I’m doing, and God will know that I clicked on this website.” And the long run is – it’s going to take me to a dry well, with no water in it. And I’m going to wind up being completely famished and dehydrated when I get all done. I won’t have the satisfaction I’m looking for. It’s not going to do one blessed thing for me.

Vince: Yeah, that’s really good. And you’re talking about mindfulness. It’s – essentially, I’m hearing you say – we’ve got to think these things through. We’ve got to think about the outcome on the other side. “I choose to do this, and it fills my life with a bunch of negative ruts that lead to really me trying to control my life, control my intimacy, objectifying women,” all these kinds of things. It leads to all kinds of negative outputs, right? That lead to the fire of hell, basically.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: And we have to allow our mind to go to the place where we think these things all the way through. And often what I’ve told guys, Irv – is the beginning of untangling these things is at that moment that we begin to experience that lust. – we make a decision that we made a long time ago, to choose to do something to change in that moment. To make a choice, empowered by the Holy Spirit of course, right?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: But we start making choices that lead down a new path. So that when we experience that trigger moment, that we may want to do some sort of inappropriate lustful thing in our mind, in our heart, on the computer, with a woman – whatever it might be. That we make an advanced decision to not do that, by doing it – doing something else.

Irv: Sure.

Vince: Right?

Irv: Sure.

Vince: And that’s called mindfulness, right?

Irv: It is mindfulness. I think about Joseph. Remember Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife?

Vince: Oh yeah, sure, yeah.

Irv: And she’s making a play, he’s been rejecting her, rejecting her, rejecting her.

Vince: Right.

Irv: Her husband and the house is pretty clean, nobody’s around, nobody’s there. Nobody will know.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: That’s one of the big things the devil appeals to, is, “No one will know.” And that’s a total lie. In any case, Potiphar’s Wife makes a grab at him. And he runs for his life and leaves her with his robe. And yeah, there are negative consequences, but the sovereignty of God is still in charge, and Joseph winds up being elevated to Pharaoh’s right-hand man. But you have to make a choice. You can’t – like he said, “If I do this – I not only sin against your husband, I sin against God.”

Vince: Right.

Irv: And I won’t do that.

Vince: Yeah, that is remarkable. Because you have to believe – you have to believe that Joseph understood that that moment was going to come, right? That moment was going to come. And then what he did, was he chose to run. And yeah, she grabbed his cloak and used it as evidence against him. But I gotta tell you, I gotta tell you that if we can just make those advance decisions regardless of the consequences, that on the other side of it there’s blessing to come, right?

Irv: Yeah there is.

Vince: Because we choose to live in the character of God. Irv, as we begin to close our show today, I just want to reach for the verse that you remembered – you mentioned earlier, Matthew 5:28. It says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Guys, those are words to remember. it’s not just about the acts that you engage in or the behavior. Or it’s not about getting caught. That isn’t when sin is wrong, right? Sin is not wrong when we get caught.

I think Irv has pointed us to some great words today. That when you look at a woman or anything lustfully, and you objectify that thing for your own selfish purposes, you have taken something godly and something beautiful, and you’ve turned it – you’ve turned yourself into God. Wanting to control that issue, that moment, the thing – and what you’ve done there in your heart is wrong. Hang onto those words, and rebuild them. God is God. You are not. So thanks for being with us again today.

And that’s the show, thanks for listening. As we close today, I want to remind you of a couple of things. First, if you want to connect with Irv, you can do so at Hopewell Counseling. There are links on this podcast if you’d like to connect directly to him.

Also, as we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free dash trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s study guide to go with it.

So, guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode of Man Talk, but please know that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to act on it. So do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time on another edition of Man Talk.

Sexual Addiction and Idolatry

Sexual Addiction to Pornography and Idolatry Mens Bible Study

Pornographic idolatry and spiritual adultery go hand in hand.

While many of us think lightly of pornography, porn use has substantial spiritual ramifications. In this episode of Man Talk, Vince Miller is joined by Irving Woolf, professional counselor with Hopewell Counseling and founder of Purity Platoon a men’s purity ministry which has helped thousands of men find victory over sexual sin. Today we hear Irv’s thoughts on idolatry and adultery in the Bible.

PODCAST:

TRANSCRIPT:

Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re looking at the topic of sexual addiction and idolatry.

Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 15 minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because, at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead. So never forget, if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today, at beresolute.org.

We have a number of great tools for men leading men, including a new small group series that we know you would love. Check it all out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s a forward slash, promo. Or if you’re looking for more from this podcast, just go to beresolute.org/mantalk. And you’ll find all of our podcasts, feeds, and connections to social media. But now, let’s dive in.

Well, I’m excited to introduce to you today, my good friend, Irv Woolf. He is the President and Founder of Hopewell Counseling, based in Maple Grove, Minnesota. He has also founded his own men’s ministry, entitled, “Purity Platoon,” which has helped thousands of men battle for purity in their lives. Today Irv counsels with men on a regular basis. So Irv, welcome to the show.

Irv: It’s good to be with you, Vince. It’s my delight and joy to be able to talk about these kinds of topics because they’re important.

Vince: Oh man, this stuff is of critical importance. I think guys want to hear us talk about sexual immorality, adultery, lust – all these topics. Because, to be quite honest – we have a hard time talking about this stuff together. And sometimes when we hear people talk about it, without us necessarily being present in the room – it gives us time to process, right?

Irv: Right.

Vince: And I think sometimes guys need to be drawn out by that. So we’re praying for all you guys out there listening today. Irv, I want today to get into adultery and idolatry. I think these are very powerful words throughout the Bible. In fact, the word, “idolatry” is deeply connected to sexual compulsions, believe it or not – throughout the entire Bible. Guys may not be familiar with that. But can you please just give us a brief overview of what is idolatry.

Irv: Yeah. Idolatry is worshiping anything other than the Lord God. And you can worship it in a variety of ways. You can simply worship it with your time and your energy and your thought life. Or you can create something out of silver, gold or wood or stone – and begin to bow down to it, and offer food sacrifices to it and all of that kind of thing.

Vince: That’s – and by the way, I’m– I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I think this is important. Because I think most guys only think about it as the latter. They only think about it as this object that we worship, and they don’t bring it closer to home, right?

Irv: Sure. It’s easy to make an idol out of your work.

Vince: There you go.

Irv: I had one client who worked 108 hours a week.

Vince: Holy smokes.

Irv: Well there’s only 168 in the whole week, but he’s spending 108 focused on his God. And his God was his work. Other people make money and materialism and Mammon their idol. And that’s what they serve, and what they bow down to. For other people, it’s sexuality. And for sex addicts, in particular, they would say sex is their most important need. And they’re focused on it most of the day. In fact, some will spend anywhere from 3 to 6 hours looking at pornography on the computer.

Vince: Wow.

Irv: So they’re occupying huge amounts of time, wasting their lives on this God who won’t ever satisfy them. Never will.

Vince: Okay, so I love that you’re describing it that clearly. Because you’re saying that it has something to do with how we objectify these things, how we turn to them, the compulsions that we have with them. That we can become psychologically, behaviorally, emotionally, spiritually addicted to these things. We may not see it as this wood object that we’re worshiping, but you’re saying – in essence, it really is.

Irv: Yes.

Vince: We are, we’re bowing to the God of our sexuality. Trying to get our needs met there, and then we keep coming up – well, empty-handed – if you can pardon the metaphor there. But we keep coming up empty handed, right? And we’re trying to figure out how to– We may not really see these things as idolatry, but it really is.

Irv: Yes.

Vince: And how does that come and– How does that come between us in a relationship with God, and how does God view this?

Irv: Well you can’t serve 2 Gods. You have to make a choice. And that goes back to the 10 Commandments. You can’t make an image of God, nor can you – in turn, serve anyone other than the Lord God. That’s idolatry, to serve something else. And really what we’ve got is God-substitutes. These are God-substitutes. So I don’t have to believe in God, I’ve got God substitutes that I worship. And it may be – maybe even something as fine as your family. “But my family takes priority and precedence over everything and anyone.”

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: And that becomes – in which, now I’m worshiping my family. There’s an interesting passage in Psalm 135. It says, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold made by human hands. They have mouths, can’t speak. Eyes, but can’t see. Ears, but can’t hear. There’s no breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” You become like the idol that you worship. It’s our God-substitute. And now we are serving it. And it is our God, and we are worshiping it with our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Vince: That is fascinating. When you talk about it this clearly, Irv – this presents a real challenge. Because if you think about it, we’re really serving yourself, and we come up empty handed every single time. And like you say – we have to make a choice. We can either serve God, or we can serve these other things. And in some cases, they are real things that we worship. In this case, we know we’re talking about our human sexuality, or we’re talking about our career or money or all these other things.

And we have turned them into God because we devoted all of who we are – heart, mind, soul, and strength, right? Which is what God demands from us. And you know what’s interesting about this image? Let’s continue with the sexual metaphor throughout the entire Bible. God says that when we give ourselves to these things, not only do we become like them, right? Like you’re saying in Psalm 135

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: But that action is called adultery. Isn’t that interesting?

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: That God refers to it almost in a sexual way. You – my idolizing, you’re engaging in the activity of adultery.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Which we only think about that in relationship to husband and wife and then–

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Committing an act outside of that oneness–

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: But God takes that oneness metaphor, and that separation and that act of separation – calls it adultery–

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: In relationship to this particular situation – idolatry, in any situation, right?

Irv: Yeah. Well, and he says in James 4:4. “He would be a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God.” And then he says that it’s adultery, “You adulteresses.” Don’t you know that friendship in the world is enmity with God? So you can’t have it both ways. You can’t love the world and love God. You can’t love your idol and love God. You have to make a choice. And men oftentimes choose what they can see, hear, taste, smell.

Vince: Right.

Irv: All the 5 senses.

Vince: Right. Okay, so let me throw out something. And I’ve said this, as I’ve spoken at conferences with men – I know you’re going to agree on, agree with it based on what you just said. But I – I have turned to many men that have struggled deeply with this. And I’ve had to look them in the eyes with the deepest love and say to them, “If you continue doing this at the behavior pace that you’re doing it right now, I hate to break you the news, but you don’t love God.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: And guys are almost agasp when I say that to them. But it is the bottom line truth. For us to go out and commit adultery of any kind – sexual, or in this case – with any kind of object. Even something manufactured by our own mind, our heart – we’re committing adultery. Which is to say to God, “I hate you.”

Irv: Yeah. And it’s basically making yourself an enemy of God. Now God’s got to fight you. He’s got to oppose you to get your heart. He wants your heart back. And you have run after an idol.

Vince: Yeah. It’s not – and we don’t want to be enemies, God. That’s a losing battle right there. And the best part about it is God does want us to love him. Like he–

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: He wants us to come to a place, where we come to the end of ourselves. Where He can love us. We can turn to Romans 1, and of course, we can see that God will give us over to ourselves. If we want to sin, he will give us over to our sin. And then our sin will become a judgment unto ourselves.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Right? As Paul has laid out so beautifully throughout the entire book of Romans. If you want to sin and you want to live in sin – well God will give you over to that sin, and then you will live under the law – Galatians 5.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: But if you want freedom, and you want life – you will live by the spirit, and you will fall in love with him. And you’ll become sensitive and conscious to God. And you will not commit adultery of any kind – sexual immorality or even sexual addiction or idolizing pornography – or whatever it is.

Irv: Sure.

Vince: We will cut that off, and we will turn our love toward God. And that is a very hard feat, I think for guys.

Irv: Yeah, I do too. I think for an awful lot of guys, it’s easier to run hard after what I can see and what I can taste and what I can touch and what I can smell and what I can hear. All of those things appeal to our senses, and God – well God is– Yeah, I can’t see him, I can’t taste him, touch him, smell him – maybe he’s not even really there? So that feeds into unbelief. And the idol, I can see.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: I mean – if I work hard, if I work 108 hours a week, I’m probably going to get promoted.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: Somebody’s going to recognize, buy it – for sure, I’m going to make a ton of money.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: And that’s validating to my ego.

Vince: Yeah.

Irv: That makes me feel like I’m really valid, and I’m doing a great job.

Vince: Yeah. And maybe that’s it? Maybe it’s because we’re really struggling, as it says in Galatians 5? Between the war, between the flesh and the spirit and the things that we can see and the things that we cannot see. And of course, it’s easier for us to worship the things that we can see, rather than the things we cannot see. Where God is pleading with us. He’s pleading with us to lean into him, to trust in Him.

I – it makes me think of a couple of verses here, as we begin to close, Irvine. I’m so grateful for your wisdom and for some of the things you’ve shared with these guys. But Isaiah 44, verse 9 says, “All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit.”

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Stop it.

Irv: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Vince: Stop it.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: That’s one of the verses that – this makes me think of Leviticus 19:4 says, “Do not turn to idols or make for yourself any Gods of cast metal. I am the Lord, your God. Their God is pleading with us. Can you hear His voice?”

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: That’s His voice. God says, “Do not turn to idols of any kind.” Now we’re not just talking about metal, we’re talking about anything that we manufacture in our mind. ‘Cause that’s where everything comes from.

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: Just like you said on the last show, it all comes from the desires of our heart, right? All these things that are manufactured in our world come from our heart. They come from our mind. We manufacture them in our mind. And in Psalm 16:4, says, “The sorrows of those who run after another God shall multiply. Their sorrows will multiply.”

Irv: Yeah.

Vince: “Their sadness – their emptiness will multiply. Their drink offerings of blood, I will not pour out or take the name – or take their names on my lips. God will not even bless them, he will have nothing to do with them.” Oh man, these are things we don’t want to do, gentlemen. Turn your love toward God today. Turn it toward God. Worship him only. Do not engage in the idolatry of your heart, where sin begins.

Guys, turn away. Heed Irv’s advice, heed God’s advice. There are not 2 Gods that you can worship. You cannot worship God and Mammon, the things of this world. So, guys, we’ll leave it there with you today. And I pray that if you need a heart change, that you will seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength today. For he is the Lord, your God.

And that’s the show, thanks for listening. As we close today, I want to remind you of a couple of things. First, if you want to connect with Irv, you can do so at Hopewell Counseling. There are links on this podcast if you’d like to connect directly with him.

Also, as we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free dash trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s study guide to go with it.

So, guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode of Man Talk, but please know that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to act on it. So do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time on another edition of Man Talk.

Paul Zunker

Dialogue a blog by Vince Miller

What if pornography was more damaging to men, and women, than we thought it to be?

Get to know Paul Zunker from Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN and Regional Group Leader for Pure Desire Ministries. Hear three compelling podcasts from Paul as he shares his testimony and discusses how pornography leads to compounding issues that objectify women and rewire the male brain.

PODCAST ONE

PODCAST TWO

PODCAST THREE

CONTACT PAUL ZUNKER

REGISTER FOR PURE DESIRE UNIVERSITY

Pure Desire University is a two-day conference designed to equip men, women, and students with an understanding of the factors that create and reinforce addictive sexual behavior and provide tools to help. The following are details of the conference.

  • $99 ($129 after October 22, 2017)
  • November 10-11, 2017 (see full schedule)
  • Friday 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Saturday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Located at Grace Church9301 Eden Prairie Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55347

PURCHASE THE SMALL GROUP HANDBOOK:

A Story Of One Man’s Battle With Sexual Sin

Pure Desire Men Ministry Bible Study Resolute

Pornography always leads to devastation

Rarely do we think through the ramifications of sexual addiction. And pornography, while it may seem innocent, has a devasting impact on careers, finances, children, and marriages. Today on Man Talk, Vince Miller interviews former politician Paul Zunker, a regional group leader for Pure Desire Ministries. Listen as Paul shares how pornography led to a life of compounding sin that has continued to impact him over the last six years.

PODCAST:

PURCHASE THE SMALL GROUP HANDBOOK:

TRASCRIPT:

Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I am Vince Miller, your founder and host. And today we’re in a series on sexual addiction. Today we’re interviewing Paul Zunker.

Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, then thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 15 minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead.

So never forget – if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today. That’s beresolute.org, beresolute.org. We have great tools for men, leading men – including a new small group series that you would love. Check it out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s /promo. Or if you’re looking for more from this podcast, go to beresolute.org/mantalk. And you will find all our podcasts, feeds and connections to social media. But now, let’s dive in.

Well guys, today I’m excited to introduce to you, Paul Zunker. This is a guy that I’m proud to call friend. He comes from many different fields of ministry experience. Today he works with Pure Desire Ministries. And also with Grace Church in Eden Prairie. This is a guy who’s been helping guys to find freedom from sexual addiction. You can find more out about Paul Zunker at paulzunker.org. I hope you’ll visit his website today. Paul, welcome to the show.

Paul: Thanks Vince, glad to be here with you.

Vince: So I – I’m just really excited to have begun a relationship with you, Paul. Because I know that you’ve been through some challenges in your own life, as it regards – sexual compulsion, sexual addiction. And I know that you have felt called to share this story with many other men. And I think men need to hear your story, Paul. And here’s why. Is because – I think men are afraid of really opening up about the struggles that they have personally, right?

And they face these challenges, and there’s so much shame, and there’s so much fear – that they often don’t know where to turn. I’m wondering, can you just give us a brief look at some of the challenges that you’ve faced in your own life with sexual addiction? And just maybe a little of the backstory, so guys can get to know you.

Paul: Yeah, I would love to. As I was sharing with you – I was a music guy for a long time, and that was a direction I was going to go in my life. And God had other plans that he hadn’t quite revealed to me yet. But I think – my story, I don’t – I don’t know if it’s that much different than the stories that a lot of guys have early on in life. And the wrestle with impure thoughts and looking at stuff online or in magazines that they shouldn’t be.

But that’s kinda where my story started, back when the internet kind of first started making a big run and AOL came out. I was a 13 or 14 or so year old boy and looking at pictures and stuff you shouldn’t. But you’re waiting 20 minutes for one line of picture to come across the screen.

Vince: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Paul: And 20 minutes later, you got a picture there. And it sounds kinda funny to talk about it now. But those are the images that are kind of seared and burned into my brain as the first pornographic images that I saw. And they’re fading and lightening up over time. God’s doing a good work in me, in pulling those out. But those really stuck there. And that was the beginning of the journey of becoming addicted to pornography, for me. And going through high school – entering high school. Masturbation comes into it. And you put those 2 things together, and it really becomes kind of the deadly cocktail there, and–

Vince: Yeah. And I like that. I like that you’re saying that it’s a deadly cocktail. Because you’re combining a way you’re thinking with a physical activity.

Paul: Right.

Vince: And most men don’t understand the powerful cocktail or combination of those 2 thoughts and behaviors, right?

Paul: Right.

Vince: They’re very, very powerful.

Paul: And that’s where the addiction comes form. It’s not necessarily just what you’re looking at. It’s what’s happening in your brain as you’re looking at it. And as you introduce masturbation to it – you have different chemicals, the dopamines and things that get released in your brain. And that’s what creates the addiction over time, and physically changes your brain. That you’ve got to do a lot of work to get back from. But we can talk about all the fun neurochemistry stuff later on, but-

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: As it did with a lot of guys – it just ebbed and flowed, and kinda binged and purged over the years – and I’d looked at it quite a bit. And then had quite a bit of time off where I didn’t. And got married and figured, “Well that’ll take care of it.” ‘Cause I’ll have a proper place to express my sexuality within my marriage biblically. And that worked pretty well for a little while. But then – that just doesn’t solve the problem. When you have any kind of addiction, especially a sexual addiction with pornography it’s – you’re using it to medicate over pain and things from the past.

Vince: I – I’ve got to accentuate this. Because it’s so honest, what you just said. Many guys think that if they were dealing with compulsions and addictions before marriage, they think the context of marriage is going to fix it.

Paul: Yeah

Vince: There’s got to be something faulty there about that, right?

Paul: Right.

Vince: And you discovered the fault of it. It’s – it’s basically – you’re putting a Band-Aid on a problem that has already existed, right? You’re really not finding a solution, you’re just finding a new context. And then once you get bored, you turn right back to the same old behavior patterns, right?

Paul: And there’s new things in your marriage that come up – arguments and different hurts there, that drive you into medicating that over as well. So if you haven’t cut off the roots of the pain and the junk in the past, you’re just going to be adding to that, and adding to that. So – and that’s what happened for me. Is I didn’t deal with the roots of some of my pain in the past. There was some sexual abuse when I was a child, from a neighbor. Other things like that, that – they’re big deals. And a lot of times, us – as guys, will just say, “Well that happened 20, 30 years ago. It’s not that big a deal, I’m just not going to deal with it. Fine, I’m fine. It’s not a big deal.”

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: But it really is. And you have to deal with that stuff, and face it and bring it up.

Vince: Yeah. We cannot turn a blind eye to it, is what you’re saying.

Paul: No, no. And ultimately we’ve got to lay it down for the cross. Which is where all of our healing comes from. But we still have to address it. And for me, getting married – I owned my own business for a number of years. I had my own office, and that was kinda my place. My wife and my kids just stay out of there. And for a guy who was addicted to pornography, that’s not really a good thing. When you have your own space that nobody goes into. And my wife didn’t know technology at all, let alone being able to look at a browser history. So at the height of my addiction, Vince – it would just be hours every day that I would be looking at this stuff.

And I always say, one of the reasons I do what I do is to help guys get off of that path while there’s still time. Because like any addiction – eventually, you need more and more and more of your drug, in order to get satisfied. And with sexual sin – especially pornography, that’s where we see a lot of guys spill things over into their real life. Or they’ll have an affair, or they’ll look at illegal pornography online – or something that’s the next level. That gives them the next rush.

And what happened with me, it was about 6 and a half years ago or so – it came out that I touched my step daughter. When she was about 15 or so, that came out. And that was the crux of everything for me. And she told my wife what had happened, and we separated immediately. Which is what she should’ve done. And that began the long process for me, of my recovery. But it began the process of the family imploding too as well. So for me, it was many years of things that were done in secret finally coming to the surface. So I had this sense of, “Oh man, everything I’ve been hiding for years is now out.” The pornography addiction came out. But on the flip side of that, my family was now devastated. So there was 2 different things going on there, but–

Vince: So you, you started to feel a bit better. But everybody around you was devastated?

Paul: Right. And that’s what guys who have their disclosure with their wives – when they get busted the first time, a lot of times they feel like, “Okay, I’m just going to tell her absolutely everything.” And you feel good, ’cause you’ve just told secrets you’ve never told anybody. And you feel like, “Oh man, finally I’m getting it out.” But now she’s had an A-bomb dropped on her, ’cause it’s things that she was – wasn’t expecting at all, so–

Vince: Right.

Paul: When we talk about the healing and the curriculum and the pre-desire curriculum, we can talk about the right way of doing that.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: ‘Cause there is a right way to do disclosure. But when all of my stuff came out – like I said, we separated. And I was the Chairman of the Republican Party in Carver County at the time. So my thing went down the legal road, and my story blew up because I was a political figure. So the stuff that I had did, and the fact that I had a pornography addiction was all over the evening news and in the newspapers – and really, really blew up. And honestly Vince, that was God’s way of dealing with the pride that was in my life. And if that part hadn’t happened, if it wasn’t as public as it was – I don’t know if he would’ve gotten me to the place where he really needed me to get to to be broken before him.

But the long story short, I spent 4 months in jail in Carver County because of that. I’m still on probation because of that as well. And the marriage still is really struggling as a result. God’s done a great work in my kid’s life. I have 2 kids. One is our 18 year old daughter, and 16-year-old son. And then my step-daughter’s 21 now. Really God’s done an amazing thing there. And his – the relationship will never be the same as it was.

Vince: Correct.

Paul: But from time to time, she’ll still call me dad – in between calling me Paul, which is fine. But the fact that she calls me anything.

Vince: Right.

Paul: And that we talk, and that we’re able to go bowling every once in a while. And it’s just a testament to her, but also to what God’s done in her life. And it’s – I hate the components of my story. I always say that I would never – given the chance – would never do the stuff I did again. But I would not change where I’m at right now with where God’s brought me through all of this stuff for anything. ‘Cause I would never be where I’m at, unless God really shook me down like he did.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: And brought me through that valley.

Vince: Yeah, I think guys – Paul – don’t understand how we build up this edifice of pride or hubris in our life. And that we spend a lot of time constructing it. And it’s really behind walls that we hide all this pride. And sometimes it takes an act of God, unfortunately – that is very painful, is very destructive to us and to people around us – to show us the beauty of his grace, love, mercy and forgiveness. Which of course you’ve experienced. But of course – with that, there’s all the ramifications of all those things. And you’ve already addressed this a little bit. But some of it has to do with how we’ve put things together in our heart, in our mind, in our soul, right?

Paul: Right.

Vince: Regarding how we look at life. Maybe even how we medicate or objectify women with pornography, that leads to greater and greater and greater sin. And what I’m hearing you say is, “Hey guys, wake up. Deal with it before it’s too late. There’s a right way to deal with it. It’s going to take years to address it. You’re going to have to undo some old behavior patterns, redo some new ones. And by the way, there’s going to be shrapnel to the people around you.”

Paul: For sure.

Vince: And I’ve got to ask, did you realize the rabbit hole that you had dug for yourself when you started some of these behavior patterns?

Paul: No. I didn’t at all. And when I look back at everything now, I can see multiple times that God tried to use events in my life to get a hold of me. And I just – I either didn’t want to see it, or I was too prideful and said, “It’s fine, it’s pornography.”

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: “It’s not hurting anyone, I’m just looking at stuff from women who are willing to do what they’re doing anyhow.” Which is a complete lie anyway. And that it just wasn’t hurting anybody. And that’s – that – it couldn’t be any further from the truth. Because first of all, there’s a victim on the other side of that computer screen. ‘Cause pornography really is just a– It’s the documentation of sex trafficking. ‘Cause that’s why most of these women get trafficked. Is for pornography – for the production of videos or pictures, and they don’t want to be there.

Vince: Right.

Paul: So there’s a woman that every time I watch something, I’m enabling the abuse of her, by watching it. So there’s a victim there. But then, when everything come out, it’s devastating for your wife. Because she looks at it as – you’re just having another affair.

Vince: Affair.

Paul: Really, and that’s what the Lord tells us. When we look at a woman with lust in our hearts, we’ve already committed adultery with her.

Vince: Adultery.

Paul: So yeah, there were many opportunities God gave me to get off of that path, and I chose not to. And then he used the actions I continued to do, to drop a pretty big hammer on my head.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: And luckily at that point, I decided this was my time to turn. And it was my time that I was actually in jail, ’cause I wasn’t able to see my wife, wasn’t able to see the kids. And it was one night in my jail cell, when I was all by myself – that I finally came to the realization that God’s really all that I need. Even on top of my wife and my family, he’s it. And that was the turning point for me. And I’m still learning every day, even now. 6 years later, and always will be, the rest of my life. But that was my turning point, is when I finally discovered that he’s really all that I need.

Vince: I want to end right there. Because I – I think your story’s incredibly powerful. I know there’s a lot more emotion to it and time and stuff you’re even currently still thinking about and dealing with. And your story’s constantly unfolding, right?

Paul: Right.

Vince: So is mine. But I love – Paul, your heart. And I love the fact that God is awakening a work in you. I love the fact that you’re willing to share it. And I know – you’ve told me this. That you don’t like to share your story. We’re not proud of the bad things that we do.

Paul: Right.

Vince: But there’s somehow that through the cracks in our vessel that God – God’s light can be seen. In our imperfections, God’s hope and glory can be seen. And guys, as you’re listening today – I want to pray that you would just stop it. If you’re using pornography, if you’re engaging in some sort of sexual compulsion, if you’re engaging in adultery or maybe fornication in some way or prostitution. That guys, that you would just choose today to stop it. It is not a small thing to look at pornography on your computer or phone.

It’s – it is a big deal. You’re objectifying women. You are endorsing one of the greatest tools that Satan is using today, to rewire the mind of men. And we need to fight back, is what we need to do. And the way that we can fight back – is by not endorsing, not looking, by turning away, and by fighting these addictions in our life. Because Satan is using it to destroy – I think Paul would say – our families, our careers, the people that we love. And we’re helping to endorse an industry that’s bringing down the kingdom of God.

Gentlemen, this is impacting everybody in the church – from the Pastor down to the Deacon – down to the average guy, who’s attending for the very first time. And we need to stop it. So hear the Clarion call today to work hard and battle hard against this sin. And join us in it, as we decide to live pure lives. Paul, thank you for being with us today.

Paul: You bet ya, it’s my pleasure.

Vince: Well that’s the show. Thanks so much for listening. As we close, I want to remind you of 2 things. First is this. Paul Zunker is hosting a conference with Pure Desire Ministries in Prairie, Minnesota on November 10th and 11th. This is going to be a great conference that will explain to you the evils and the concerns of sexual addiction. And also provide you with resources that might help. Whether it be you or someone you love. If you want to find out more about that conference, go to beresolute.org/paulzunker. Go there today, or you can go directly to Paul Zunker’s website, at paulzunker.org. Either way, you’ll find your way to these resources, and this conference.

Also, if you’re looking for content for your men’s groups, we’ve got excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free-trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s Study Guide to go with it.

So guys, I hope you enjoyed this podcast today of Man Talk. But please know, that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to act on it by doing something today – and getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of Man Talk.

Pornography and Objectifying Woman

Sexual Exposure a daily devotional by Vince Miller of Resolute Mens Bible Studies

Objectified women in the pornography industry are not willing participants

While many never consider the damaging impact of the pornography industry on women, these women are not “willing participants,” they are victims of a culture that imprisons them. Today on Man Talk, Vince Miller interviews former politician Paul Zunker, a regional group leader for Pure Desire Ministries. Listen as Paul shares how he discovered the real story behind women involved in the porn industry and how this changed his perspective forever.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I am Vince Miller, your founder and host. And today we’re in a series on sexual addiction, discussing the topic of objectifying women.

Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, then thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – 15-minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because, at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead.

So never forget – if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today. That’s beresolute.org, beresolute.org. We have great tools for men, leading men – including a new small group series that you would love. Check it out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s /promo. Or if you’re looking for more from this podcast, go to beresolute.org/mantalk. And you will find all our podcasts, feeds and connections to social media. But now, let’s dive in.

Well guys, today I’m excited to introduce to you, Paul Zunker. This is a guy that I’m proud to call friend. He comes from many different fields of ministry experience. Today he works with Pure Desire Ministries. And also with Grace Church in Eden Prairie.This is a guy who’s been helping guys to find freedom from sexual addiction. You can find more out about Paul Zunker at paulzunker.org. I hope you’ll visit his website today. Paul, welcome to the show.

Paul: Thanks for having me Vince, you are the greatest guy on the planet.

Vince: That’s not scripted man, that’s– That’s heartfelt, I know it. Well hey man, I really appreciated last time, hearing a little bit of your testimony. Really what God has been doing in your life, and what he’s continuing to do, what he’s continuing to teach you. Today I want to dive into probably one of the things I think awakened your heart to really the truth about Jesus Christ. And it actually is a shocking realization. God woke you up to what was happening to women on the other side of the computer screen. And you’ve told me that this really was revolutionary to you. It took these women on the other side of pornography, and it made them very real to you. So can you describe to the guys why this was so pivotal to understand women on the other side of the screen?

Paul: Yeah. Because it’s – one of the biggest excuses that guys use is, “I’m not hurting anybody by what I’m watching.” One of my excuses was, “This actually could be something that helps my marriage.” ‘Cause it’s given me an outlook to look at things – or an outlet to look at things that I – they want to, without going outside of the confines of my marriage. So it’s keeping me from having an affair, which was one of my rationalizations, a way–

And as I’m on this side of things now, and hearing testimonies from women who have been in the pornography trade, and have come out. There’s videos out there. There is written statements from them, that I’d encourage guys to try to look for it and read. ‘Cause the first time I heard one, was actually when I was in treatment for this stuff. I had to go through some court ordered treatment.

And one of the things that they read, in one of the sessions – was a letter from a former actress in pornography to guys who watch pornography. And it was at least 3 or 4 pages – fairly lengthy – describing the things that she went through. And in between shoots of the videos, she would go and throw up in the bathroom and take showers – half a dozen showers in one day. ‘Cause she was being forced to be there.
And this particular girl – she had feared for her life, ’cause she was in captivity. And if she were to leave somehow, she was afraid that her pimp would come after her and hurt her. So she’s forced to be there all while you’re watching the video, it looks like they’re loving what they’re doing. So that was a pivotal point for me to realize that – no, most of them don’t. And every time I click on something and look at a picture, or watch a video – I am supporting a woman being held really against her will, doing things she doesn’t want to do. And most of those women have children they’re trying to support. There’s a financial aspect for them being in there. And that’s someone’s mom. So that was a turning point for me and my brain, that I said, “I can’t support it,” just for that reason.

Vince: Right. So we tend to think – and I agree with how you started. It’s – we tend to think nothing of this.

Paul: Right.

Vince: Right? Men think nothing of watching pornography. We just – we want to treat it like it’s art in some strange form or way. But really what we’re talking about, is we’re talking about videos of human beings. They’re not objects, they’re human beings. And they’re real people.

Paul: Someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mom, right?

Vince: Yeah, so turn them into a character in your mind. Like they’re – turn them away from being a character in your mind, and just an actor on the screen – to these are real people, right?

Paul: Right.

Vince: So all of a sudden what happens in your brain is they – they turn from an object for your desire, to a human being that God loves, right?

Paul: Right.

Vince: And wants to rescue. This was a huge awakening for you, and I think it sounds like it caused you to empathize.

Paul: It did, it did
Vince: Yeah.

Paul: And it’s – I look now at – God is not just my father. If I’m married, God is also my father in law. Because my wife is his daughter.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: And that helped me look at women in a different way. That these women that are on these screens, these are His children. He loves them – not any more, not any less than he loves me. And he made them in his image. So watching them and promoting them being in that type of an industry, is just something that I can’t – as a believer, I can’t do. Because I love the Lord. And he’s right there with me, watching what I’m doing. And I can’t be a part of harming one of his children as well.

Vince: Yeah, and you’re making a great point. That I think many men need to hear, and that is this. Is that, when we objectify anybody, any person – really, we are playing the role of God.

Paul: Right.

Vince: And we’re endorsing and feeding that thought, that we are God, we are God, we are God. I can get what I want, when I want it, at the times that I want it, in the privacy of my own closet, I can get it – right? And all of a sudden, you’re saying that – I had to wake up in treatment one day, where someone forced me to really hear one of these stories.

Paul: Right.

Vince: And all of a sudden, I realized, “Wow, I’m supporting that.” And of course, because you’re a believer and you’re a Christian, God started to redeem that mindset by the power of the spirit.

Paul: Amen. Vince: And you put God in the right place again. You aren’t God.

Paul: Right.

Vince: Right? It’s not your job to objectify women. It’s your job to love God’s creation. He’s God, these are His people. He’s loving them, and you need to love them in the same way that he does. And what’s the most loving response? Well the most loving response would be to not endorse their captivity.

Paul: Yeah. Preach it there brother.

Vince: So, but – it takes a lot to rewire that in our minds. We get stuck into these patterns, where we think it’s just okay to do it, and–

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: I’m sure you had plenty of days where you just thought it was okay to do it. And then maybe there’s a point at which you stop thinking about really what’s happening completely. You’re just engaging in it, doing it. And you’re wanting more and more and more and more. And you’ve turned off the ability to empathize.

Paul: For sure, it’s the searing of your conscience. That’s – it’s Biblical where that happens. Where when we’re engaged in sin habitually, and we’re wilfully in that. Our consciousness gets seared over to the prompting and the leading and the Holy Spirit. And he still wants us out, but we’re not in any way, shape or form able to heed his call in our life anymore at all. So that’s where I was for many, many years. And it just – it bombed my marriage. By looking at these things – I would watch pornography for hours, and then go upstairs and crawl into bed next to my wife, like nothing had happened. It just really wrecked it without me really being aware of what was going on. ‘Cause I had a beautiful woman upstairs, who I fell in love with when I was 14, 15 years old.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: And just had so many things come up. And we had arguments, and there were hurts both ways that we both did. But I retreated into looking at pornography, instead of loving my wife the way I should – in a biblical way, and work things out. And in healthy ways.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: So I really damaged her, and I damaged me too in my perception of my wife – in a way that I couldn’t really figure out. ‘Cause I didn’t see that it was happening. So when you talk about that – not even recognizing things, man that really hit me. And it’s just one of those things where now my marriage is – it’s – we’re going through the process of divorce right now, after 6 years of trying to work on things. And doesn’t – didn’t have to be there. And I was so blind to how I was treating her, and really my kids. While I was in the midst of that addiction, I didn’t even see it. And now I can see it clearly.

But man, I hurt her in ways that she just can’t come back from. And there is – you talked about empathy in the last episode. And I have developed a new empathy towards women that are in the sex trafficking trade, because of this. But also for women who are wives going through this stuff. ‘Cause I hurt her man, in ways that – it’s just – I can’t even start to think of how I did. And I see other wives going through the same things. ‘Cause we have – in our groups at Grace, we have wives that come through that – in their own groups, that are just devastated.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: And they don’t know how to deal with it, and how to cope with it – and it wrecks them. And I did that to my wife too as well

Vince: Yeah

Paul: And it’s – that’s a tough part for me to look at right now.

Vince: Well you, I – first off, let me just say this Paul. And I’m not trying to stroke your ego here. But I’m really grateful that you’re really honest with yourself and your laying claim to your sin. Like, “I did this wrong, and I know I did it wrong.” But it takes a while to get there, right?

Paul: It does.

Vince: It takes a while to really get to the place where you can say, “It was my fault. I did this wrong. I touched, and I shouldn’t have done it. I looked, and I shouldn’t have done it. I seared my conscience.” Which I think is a great point. Like – guys, I hope you heard what Paul said about his conscience. Like he allowed his conscience to be seared by his sin, right? We do that. We give permission to our sin. And then when we give permission to our sin, God’s going to let us have our sin.

Paul: Right.

Vince: If that’s what we want. He’s going to even give us over to it, and allow us to turn that into our God. If we want to be God of our life, and we want to keep the Holy Spirit out and the sensitivity to God out – God will say, “Okay, if you want that, I’ll give it. You can have it. You can have that way of life.” But unfortunately, it sears our conscience. And you’re also awakening guys – I believe – to the fact that it isn’t just a private sin. It’s a sin that impacts other people. And it has to awaken the conscience toward our wives again. Not only are we objectifying women, but we, unfortunately, affect everything in our relationship. Our soulful oneness, relationship with our wife, right?

Paul: That’s right.

Vince: This thing that we think is just a private thing, that we can go off and do in the private confines of our office and then go up into our beds at night and think that – oh, we can just hide or conceal that, and it’s okay – is wrong. We’re affecting the oneness of the marriage union and the bed. Because we have now taken our sexual libido, and we’ve fed it off to the computer and to pornography and behaviors there, right?

Paul: Right, right.

Vince: And we have not connected to that – to our wife, and our wife feels lonely by it, and shamed by it. And we’re committing an adulterous relationship, is what we’re doing.

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: It’s called – adultery is what we’re – we’re engaging in adultery. It’s a form of idolatry – a very, very strange form of idolatry. But it’s adultery, and God calls it that in the Bible. And so we have to really– There’s a lot of these dangerous emotional and spiritual threads that are tied to this. That we only see the ramifications after we get caught. Why is that?

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: Like Paul, what advice would you give guys out there today who are entangled in this hairball? Is there a couple of pieces of advice that you would tell them – if they’re entangled in this today, that they need to address right away?

Paul: Yeah, the first thing would be – just stop. But that’s easier said than done, and there’s psychological reasons why that can’t just happen, and just stop. But I think the biggest thing would be – find a brother. Find an accountability partner that you feel safe with, that you trust – and tell them what’s going on. Say, “Hey, I’m looking at pornography.” Or, “Hey, I’ve been having an affair.” Or whatever it happens to be. Get it out. Because where does sin thrive? Sin thrives in the dark, and Satan counts on us keeping this stuff secret.

So I can tell you, as soon as – if something were to happen when I would watch something or whatever, and I was going through my recovery – I would tell one of my accountability partners. And I would almost feel that shame break, as soon as I would tell them. So I guess if there is any bit of advice I would give – first of all – it’s just get it out. Find someone to share it with, shine the light on it. And then walk through the process of accountability, in order to start breaking free. ‘Cause if you do that, if you start working with a partner, or go with a group – but you’re not being honest and getting it out there, you’re not going to find freedom.

Vince: Yeah. And it is possible to experience healing with this, isn’t it?

Paul: Yeah, it is. And God promises us that we can. Confess your sins to one another, so what? So you may be healed. That’s what he tells us in James 5.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: So that’s a promise – that if we do that, there’ll be healing that comes.

Vince: Yeah. And you’ve seen some of the major ramifications of this sin in your life. And so I would encourage guys – and if it’s okay to say this, Paul – don’t walk the route of Paul.

Paul: No.

Vince: Right?

Paul: Please don’t.

Vince: Don’t walk down that route, it’s not that much fun, is it – 6 years later?

Paul: No it is not.

Vince: To have spent time in prison, to spend time away from your family, deal with divorce. None of that stuff is stuff that we want to experience.

Paul: Right.

Vince: And, but we do want the joy of freedom from our sin.

Paul: Amen.

Vince: Right? We want it. And I love that call. First it’s stop Paul – it’s stop what we’re doing, just stop it. And then begin by confessing to a brother. Those are some good first steps for us.

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: Thanks Paul for being with us today.

Paul: Thanks for having me again, Vince.

Vince: Well that’s the show. Thanks so much for listening. As we close, I want to remind you of 2 things. First is this. Paul Zunker is hosting a conference with Pure Desire Ministries in Prairie, Minnesota on November 10th and 11th. This is going to be a great conference that will explain to you the evils and the concerns of sexual addiction. And also provide you with resources that might help. Whether it be you or someone you love. If you want to find out more about that conference, go to beresolute.org/paulzunker. Go there today, or you can go directly to Paul Zunker’s website, at paulzunker.org. Either way, you’ll find your way to these resources, and this conference.

Also, if you’re looking for content for your men’s groups, we’ve got excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free-trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s Study Guide to go with it.

So guys, I hope you enjoyed this podcast today of Man Talk. But please know, that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to act on it by doing something today – and getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of Man Talk.

Pure Desires 7 Pillars To Freedom

Pure Desires Seven Pillars to Freedom

Pure Desire’s 7 Pillars To Freedom

Over the last few years, we have discovered a lot about the brain and addiction, specifically that the combination of events in our mind and body during use of pornography has a tremendous impact on behavior and change. Today on Man Talk, Vince Miller interviews former politician Paul Zunker, a regional group leader for Pure Desire Ministries. Listen as Paul shares about the seven pillars that lead us toward rebuilding our life and mind.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I am Vince Miller, your founder and host. Today we’re in a series on sexual addiction, discussing the topic of the 7 Pillars To freedom.

Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, then thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 15 minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead.

So never forget – if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today. That’s beresolute.org, beresolute.org. We have great tools for men, leading men – including a new small group series that you would love. Check it out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s /promo. Or if you’re looking for more from this podcast, go to beresolute.org/mantalk. And you will find all our podcasts, feeds and connections to social media. But now, let’s dive in.

Well guys, today I’m excited to introduce to you, Paul Zunker. This is a guy that I’m proud to call friend. He comes from many different fields of ministry experience. Today he works with Pure Desire Ministries. And also with Grace Church in Eden Prairie.This is a guy who’s been helping guys to find freedom from sexual addiction. You can find more out about Paul Zunker at paulzunker.org. I hope you’ll visit his website today. Paul, welcome to the show.

Paul: Thanks for having me again, Vince. You’ve got great hair, by the way.

Vince: I know, yeah. I got to tell you – I’ve started cutting it short, ’cause it just keeps getting grayer. I don’t know why, but–

Paul: I’m with you. I’m still in denial.

Vince: Yeah, that’s right, yeah. If you cut it short, it just looks much better, right? So and plus, I don’t have to do anything with it either.

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: Which is great.

Paul: It’s the guys answer right there.

Vince: Yeah, it’s the guys answer to everything.

Paul: So roll out of bed in the morning–

Vince: Just cut it all off.

Paul: You’re good to go.

Vince: Anyhow man, I am so pumped to have you back again. Because I know that you’ve been helping guys out there walk toward freedom from sexual addiction. And I’ve got to tell you, I know Pure Desire, some of your work with Grace Church as well, and some of your – your calling now is to really share the gospel through your own life and some of your own pains of sexual addiction.

And I – I got to tell you, I think some of the best work has really been done in maybe the last 5 to 10 years on this subject. Specifically, as it relates to the addiction of our minds and our behaviors to these patterns. Wow. There’s been a lot of study on this whole neurochemistry thing that happens in the – in our brains, right below my haircut, right? So give the guys just a little bit of an awareness of what is happening when we get addicted to pornography or any sort of sexual addiction. What’s going on in our brains?

Paul: God made us in some pretty amazing ways, right? He tells us in his Word, we’re supposed to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Vince: That’s right.

Paul: And that first and foremost is by being in His word and absorbing that every single day. That’s where that transformation comes from. But I believe that there is work that we have to do when we recover from an addiction, that we have to rewire our brain as well. We talked about it in an earlier episode where there’s different chemicals that are being released in your brain when you’re watching pornography.

But then especially when you include masturbation and things like that in with it, there’s significant amounts of chemicals that are released. And especially dopamine and different endorphins that are there. It physically changes the composition of your brain over years. And it doesn’t take time – a lot of time to do that. But it takes a lot of time to get it back. So if you look at brain scans, and if guys watch the Conquer series that Pure Desire puts out–

Vince: Yeah sure, yeah.

Paul: There’s a – disc 2 is just all about the neurochemistry of an addiction, and it’s just phenomenal stuff. And it’s one of the things that helped me in my recovery, ’cause I was able to see that, “Oh man, there is a legitimate physical reason why I can’t just stop when I want to.” And then on the flip side, when I was in recovery – if I was ever tempted to look at pornography or masturbate – I would think, “Man, if I do – it’s physically making me lose some ground that I have to work to get back. So if you look at some of those brain scans, where we’ll put a heroin addicts brain next to a pornography addicts brain – and they’re very, very similar.

Vince: Wow.

Paul: In areas of, where there’s decreased oxygenation in the brain. Where there’s decreased levels of iron. It’s physically changing the composition of your brain. But the great part in how God made us, is it’s – to use a psychological, physiological term – neuroplasticity. Our brain changes one way, but it has the ability to go back. So we have the ability to work towards being free. And that physically changes our brain back to the way that God designed it to be. So that’s why I always tell guys there’s hope. But it’s – man, it’s a lot of work.

Vince: Yeah.

Paul: And it’s the hardest thing they’ll ever have to do. Because you’re just craving it. And I think pornography is one of the hardest addictions to break. Because unlike a chemical addiction, where you need to go out and get your vice – our vice is right here in our brain. Anytime we want to retreat into old memories or see old pictures or images, it’s right there in our brain. And we really have to fight to say pure there. But guys can do it. But it’s – again – it’s plugging into groups, it’s being accountable, and actually doing the work we need to do to move forward and not backward.

Vince: Yeah so I know at Pure Desire, you talk about some steps to freedom that lead to this, right?

Paul: Right.

Vince: Because if you’re saying that the elasticity of the brain can be kind of rewired or reshaped or let’s add to it a spiritual component. That – by the power of the spirit, we can defeat anything, right? Like if we can become less calloused in our life – in our behaviors, our mindset, our heart, our soul – and more sensitive to the spirit. Really the spirit empowers us to be able to do anything as a Christian man.

Paul: That’s right.

Vince: So lead us through some of these steps to freedom, as you guys call it.

Paul: And I was one of those guys that just thought that “Okay, if my heart’s in the right spot, and I ask God, ‘Give me freedom from this,’ he’s going to stretch his finger out and touch the top of my head, and I’ll be fine.

Vince: Boom, yeah, right.

Paul: But He – God also calls us to do the heavy lifting as well.

Vince: That’s right.

Paul: To do work.

Vince: Well we did the heavy lifting to get into it.

Paul: We sure did. The same thing – if we’re looking for a job, or we’re stressed financially. He calls us to make right decisions first, and then he blesses those, right? So the Pure Desire curriculum is what I went through to find my freedom. When I started going for my groups at Grace Church.

And I really love how Doctor Ted Roberts – who’s the founder of Pure Desire, put this together. He trained under Doctor Patrick 07:11 Kearns, who was kind of the father of – even coining the phrase, “sexual addiction.” Came at it from a secular angle. So Doctor Ted trained under him and said, “Can I take your material and put kind of a church bend to it? ‘Cause we realized, the church looks at sexual addiction, and they say, “You just need to pray more, read your Bible more, and you’re going to get free. So you’re not – you must not be doing that right.”

Vince: Right.

Paul: And then there’s–

Vince: And there’s some components to like filling your mind with the Bible on a daily basis, right?

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: But there’s some behaviors that need to take place too.

Paul: For sure. And the psychological world focuses just on that. And they do not incorporate God’s Word and the truth into it at all. So Doctor Ted really took those 2 and married them together. And we start by looking at the culture of grace, and how is God’s grace important when we’re looking at an addiction? Because it’s – I didn’t feel God’s grace at all. I felt I was just buried under 6 tons of rock, and there was no way that I could get out.

Vince: There’s a lot of shame, right?

Paul: Oh there’s a ton of it. And that’s what Satan uses to keep you down. But through the entire curriculum, it’s incorporating biblical principles into why we’re doing some of the psychological stuff that we’re doing. So if you look at – The 7 Pillars of Freedom is our series that the guys go through – that’s 40 weeks, give or take. So it’s pretty heavy. But there’s a lot of work to do. And we start by looking at you breaking denial. ‘Cause we become experts at lying to ourselves, in order to stay in this type of behavior. So we address that a lot.

And then we look at understanding the nature of a sexual addiction. And like I said earlier, that’s really what did it for me. By saying, “Man, there’s stuff that happened in my brain that I need to fix. That I have the opportunity to fix.” So we spend an entire pillar looking at secrecy and isolation, and like you just said – shame. And how all those play into keeping us in bondage, into that addiction.

And then we look – the next pillar after that, pillar 3 is surrendering to the process. ‘Cause we can understand what’s going on. But as guys, it takes a lot to actually throw our hands up and go, “Okay, I’m surrendering.” Your will God, not mine. And that takes a long time to do man, ’cause we got in this spot because it’s been my will, God – not yours.

Vince: Right.

Paul: And it’s – that takes a long time to do that. Learning how to love and accept and forgive ourselves is a key component to that. And then pillar 4 is limiting damage. And that’s when we really start digging into looking at things in our past. We have guys identify the 10 most painful experiences in their life. And it’s very difficult for them to do. But once they do, that’s what – is the root of what they’re trying to medicate over. And that’s the first time – a lot of these guys, they’re just in tears when they do this. Because they haven’t thought of these things for decades. And now they’re in the light again. And that’s really where the healing starts.

And then we move into – pillar 5 and 6 is establishing sobriety. Where we start figuring out what our triggers are, what our – things that start driving us down the road are, and learn how to avoid those things. Learning to put tools together and work with accountability partners. ‘Cause guys, we got to do it alone. We’ve got to go it alone. We’re not used to working with brothers side by side. So we learn that.

And then pillar 7 is – now that we’ve found freedom, how do we stay there. Because when tough stuff comes up in our life or our marriage or our jobs, we’re used to retreating into this junk over here, right? So what do we go to that’s healthy? And then that’s the pillar too, where if we haven’t had the disclosure with our wives and our families – that’s where we start to learn how do we do that in a healthy way? Because that’s true – our wives need to understand at some point what’s been going on. So there’s honesty there as well. So those are the 7 Pillars in a real quick nutshell. But man, that’s – it’s a lot of work in each one of those.

Vince: It sounds like it, and it sounds like it’s a good thing that it’s 40 weeks of curriculum. Because all of that is really heavy lifting. I mean I listen – I listen back to that, and I go, “Man, that forgiveness of self-pillar is probably a hard one.” And then the pain, telling painful stories of the past that we’re medicating all this stuff over. Like maybe we feel lonely or unloved or– Maybe there is a sexual crime–?

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: Committed against us as a kid. And we’re hiding behind some of those things. We don’t feel whole and healthy. Yeah, all those lessons, I can see them drawing out men in very powerful ways. In ways maybe we just don’t want to even deal with or feel like dealing with.

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: But like you have taught me, Paul – if we don’t address some of these things pretty soon, right? There’s all kinds of additional ramifications.

Paul: You’ll deal with it at one point or the other.

Vince: Yeah, yeah.

Paul: It’s just a matter of how is that going to happen.

Vince: How and when, right exactly.

Paul: Yeah, yeah.

Vince: So I know that you’ve led many men through this curriculum. How have you seen lives changed from this? Have you seen guys break free from addiction, and what does that look like as guys are doing that?

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: Is it messy, is it easy, is it hard?

Paul: No it’s not. It’s not easy at all. It’s the hardest thing that they’ll ever have to do. And the guys that I see finding freedom are the ones that are coming into it committed to changing their lives, regardless of what the cost is. So if their marriage is imploding – if maybe they got busted at work on a computer, and they’re losing their job – obviously those things are big deals for them. But if they are looking through that, and saying, “I need to get free for me, first and foremost.” That’s when we see guys really be able to go through this and find true freedom.

Because they understand, “If I fix me first, that ultimately will make me a better husband and a better dad and a better employee. If I’m focused on saving my marriage, saving my marriage, saving my marriage – I’m not focused on me, right? And I’m not going to experience all the truths that God wants to work in my life, when I’m focused on someone else other than me.” So man, I see great freedom from these guys.

But another key to is when the wife plugs into a Betrayal and Beyond group. Which is designed specifically for the wives who are going through this – this trauma of figuring out the secret lives their husbands have been living. And there’s hope for these wives too, man. They think that they’re the only ones feeling this. But then they plug into a group where there’s other women going through it. But it’s led by women who have been through it, and have found freedom on the other side, and their marriages are intact. When the wife starts working at it too, man there are great things that God does in that marriage.

Vince: Yeah, I – I am so grateful for the calling that you’re filling on your life these days, Paul. Because we need men like you fighting for men that are out there, right? Like, guys – I don’t know where you’re at with any kind of sexual perversion, or compulsion or addiction. I don’t care what you call it. But if you have something that you’re challenged with currently in your life – stop hiding. That is the first step. You have to stop fighting.

Gentlemen, we make plans in all parts of our life. But I’ve got to tell you, the one place that we rarely make plans – that yet we call the most important part of our life, is our spiritual life. You cannot leave this sin undealt with. It will find you out, other people will find out about it – and then it will take you down. Stop it. Stop living under this addiction. If you’re living under it right now, stop playing around with it. If you’re playing around with it, or tinkering with it. Young men out there, stop it. Turn it off. Protect your devices. Share with another guy.

And for – by all means, maybe find your way to a Pure Desire group. I mean this organization has a great curriculum. Paul Zunker’s a great man of God. He’d love to connect with you by phone. Maybe lead you toward a group in your area. They meet all over the US. Guys, stop it. Don’t continue to make friends with pornography and sexual addiction. Because it will find you out. And yes, it’s going to be a hard path, like Paul said. But you know what? It’s worth it. Push through it. You have a story to tell, you have a better life ahead of you. God wants to forgive you and redeem you. And yes, I’m glad that first lesson Paul, is about grace. It’s about grace.

Paul: Yeah.

Vince: Because gentlemen, if you’re living with it right now – God has got enough grace to cover over all your resent and shame, and he wants you to live in freedom. So guys, we’re going to leave it there today. And we’re thankful that you could join us. And we pray – Paul, for your ministry and the work that you’re doing.

Vince: Well that’s the show. Thanks so much for listening. As we close, I want to remind you of 2 things. First is this. Paul Zunker is hosting a conference with Pure Desire Ministries in Prairie, Minnesota on November 10th and 11th. This is going to be a great conference that will explain to you the evils and the concerns of sexual addiction. And also provide you with resources that might help. Whether it be you or someone you love. If you want to find out more about that conference, go to beresolute.org/paulzunker. Go there today, or you can go directly to Paul Zunker’s website, at paulzunker.org. Either way, you’ll find your way to these resources, and this conference.

Also, if you’re looking for content for your men’s groups, we’ve got excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free-trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s Study Guide to go with it.

So guys, I hope you enjoyed this podcast today of Man Talk. But please know, that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to act on it by doing something today – and getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of Man Talk.

A Testimony To Sexual Freedom

Man Reading The Mens Daily Devotional from Resolute

Hear one man’s testimony to the evils of religiosity and the discovery of true freedom in Christ.

Many men “pretend” to be Christians and thus miss out on the splendor of the Christian life. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Nate Larkin, president and founder of Samson Society who provides counsel and community for men struggling with addiction in their life. Today hear Nate’s personal story about his recovery from sexual addiction as a self-proclaimed Christian, Pastor’s kid, and Senior Pastor who left the pastorate after years of addiction.

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From Brokenness To Brotherhood

The Blessing of Brokenness a daily devotional by Vince Miller at Resolute Mens Bible Studies

Often male pattern brokenness runs deeper than just behavior modification, what we need are not better tactics but better relationships.

Men must get in touch with their brokenness to be useful for the kingdom. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Nate Larkin, president and founder of Samson Society who provides counsel and community for men struggling with addiction in their life. Today hear Nate’s brokenness and his diagnosis for men who want to grow through and in spite of their weakness.

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