It was too good not to steal…

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7 Purity Secrets for People…

People need a decided strategy to reduce the risk. Here are seven secrets to sexual purity that we need to know.

I said goodbye to my virginity when I was eighteen.

How old were you? If you had it to do over again, would you wait? I would. I found out some of the physical consequences of choosing to have sex early, and I was depressed about what I had done. I felt like I’d given something precious away and could never have it back. The people I gave it to have not been a significant part of my life since we slept together.  That’s why I’ve devoted my life to spreading the idea that sex is worthy of something more than a casual hookup. Is that a message you want to share with your daughter? Little sister? A friend you’re trying to mentor? Read on, because the news today is better…and worse…than when you were a teenager and I have seven secrets that will cut the risk in the friend or child you love.

Recent news in the sex culture tells me that a lot of people feel waiting is worthwhile. They are more virgins than ever in college, which means fewer teenagers are having sex. But among college students who aren’t abstaining…well, they’re having a lot of sex. And I do mean a LOT! By the time they leave college men will have an average of 9.7 sexual partners and women will have 7.1. We need a decided strategy to reduce the risk. Here are seven secrets to sexual purity that we all need to know.

1.) Purity is a process.

So many of us mess up. If not by acting out, by the thoughts that we think. And my experience tells me that if someone doesn’t get healing from our sins and victory in our temptations, we’ll give in all the more. We’ll reach out for the help we need if we know we’re not alone and that our battle has not ruined us. We need to remember that we were not born pure and we’re not alone in this process. Psalm 51:5 says, “Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the moment my mother conceived me.” While we may have been born innocent, we were not born pure. Purity is the process of facing down the temptations, healing from the sin, and making right choices. It’s where we’re headed. Not where we’ve begun.

2.) Purity dreams of its future. 

Getting caught on the hook-up culture will trap you into a life of neediness. And being in a dating relationship in high school that’s six months or longer increases sexual temptation, according to the Medical Institute for Sexual Health. Reduce the risk—not by saying “no” to relationships, but by beginning to dream of ONE! Help her dream of a future. Write a list of qualities we are looking for in a husband or a wife. After all, abstinence is not about not having sex; it’s about waiting to have it right with the person God chose for us to spend the rest of our lives with!

3.) Purity is governed by its value.

A person who is confident in their value as a son/daughter of Christ will not have need to find it in a sexual partner or giving themselves over to the hookup culture. But with eating disorders, body image issues, photoshopped beauty lies, and internet porn on the rise, we need a lot of reminding that beauty is found in our hearts and not in the mirror. Take time to celebrate your creation story in Psalm 139 where the Bible records that God knit you together. You are a masterpiece created by God. Understanding that will govern your behavior.

4.) Purity speaks boldly.

Many people lack what social science calls “refusal skills,” that is the ability to say ‘no’ when temptation arises. The book of James says that the tongue is a powerful tool, compared to the rudder of a ship which has the ability to move a great vessel. Teach yourself to use your tongue to direct your life towards purity by practicing refusal skills. Simply take time to write a list of top ten comeback lines. For example, if a guy says “Let’s go somewhere to be alone.” A girl’s comeback line could be, “You DO know that my daddy dusts me for fingerprints, right?” If a girl/woman wears clothes that leave little to the imagination, a good boyfriend/husband would say, “I wonder if that is really the way Eve tempted Adam, it wasn’t an apple, it was an apple bottom.”

Have fun with it and giggle. While you may or may not use these exact statements, writing this list is a powerful internal marking point that gives you permission to say ‘no’ and confidence to do so.

5.) Purity loves its Creator at any cost.

While it’s great to dream about the future, it should never be in expectation that God has to or will provide a spouse. A person’s value does not lie in a partner when their fourteen or forty. Marriage is not the ultimate goal of your life. Being in a love relationship with Christ should be. Ephesians 5:31,32 teaches us that marriage is a picture of the love that Christ has for his bride, the Church. No one paints a picture well unless they have seen and studied the original. We need to see the beauty of a true love relationship with Jesus and be willing to protect that love at any cost. This will shield you from counterfeit loves that are unable to help you paint a picture of the love of Christ.

6.) Purity embraces wise guidance

Parent-child connectedness is considered the greatest risk reducer of teen sexual activity. Add a connected mom and dad to the power of God’s Spirit in them and you have a wonderful recipe for discipleship. Of course, this means you have to talk about sex, and temptation, and sin, and pleasure, and the beauty of the marriage bed. You can do it, mom and dad. And you and your kids need you to talk about it.  If you struggle with chastity, frequent the Sacrament of Confession and get a spiritual advisor, if you can find a good one.

7.) Purity watches burning flames

In one community where the middle school sexual activity rate was nearly 30%, the school system created a mentoring program pairing middle school students with high school and college students who were both sexually abstinent and sober. In just a few years, the sexual activity rate was reduced to 1%. The power of older and wiser friendships is tremendous. The Bible teaches that he who walks with the wise grows wise. Help your kids find and connect to a mentor.  It is such a big deal, that you and your kids need a model of purity, if you are not it, than you need to become it, by the power of the Lord’s mercy and love, through the mentorship of a good spiritual advisor.

 

The backbone of these seven secrets are God’s word, but I have given them muscle by depending on social science’s agreement with God’s word as I developed the list. They have helped nearly 300,000 young women walk in purity as they learned them and applied them while reading my first book, And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity. We’re celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the book’s debut and we’re celebrating by offering a FREE on-line video curriculum you can use with teens you’re discipling.

 

Sources not linked to in this article:

Donna Freitas published in a book entitled Sex & The Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008)

Sharon Jayson, “More college ‘hookups.’ But more virgins, too.”, USA Today, 3/30/2011. http://yourlife.usatoday.com/sex-relationships/dating/story/2011/03/More-hookups-on-campuses-but-more-virgins-too/45556388/1?csp=hf

This blog was originally titled, “7 Purity Secrets for Teen Girls” by Dannah Gresh…This was posted at the bottom of her article and it was inspiring for me, so I thought I should share it with you too!

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she prayed a prayer devoting her life to serving God with all her heart, all her mind and all her soul. But she forgot to love him well during her teen years. The plan to devote herself to the Lord was derailed by sexual pain. Healing seemed elusive, but when it did come it overflowed from her heart and into the lives around her. First one teen girl. Then a cabin-full. And it was only the beginning of what God would do with a broken heart. Today Dannah is a best-selling author and sought-after speaker.

Revisions done by Jason M. Roebuck:  I was not raised in a Catholic home, but I am thankful to God for bringing me to the church that is helping me work through the issues I have.  Healing and wholeness are possible through the power of the Divine Mercy of Jesus and the consecration to his Blessed Mother, the Most Holy Virgin Mary!

The Origins of Mandatory Private Confession in the Catholic Church

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Jason:

I just love this…Thank you for posting it and let me repost it!

Originally posted on Quartermaster of the Barque:

In the “Stats” for this blog, I can review the search strings typed into engines like Google or Bing that bring visitors here. One such search string recently caught my eye, which surprised me because I’ve never written about the topic before:

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“when did mandatory private confession start in the catholic church?”

When I repeated the search myself, the question was left somewhat unanswered. So, to the person who was looking for an answer to this question, this is for you:

Private Penance is quite old in the Catholic Church; It is an Ancient Practice

Get a copy! Primary documents are cited from this excellent compendium; click the picture of the cover for more information

In 1551, the Council of Trent, in its Doctrine on the Sacrament of Penance, stated that “…Peter, prince of the apostles, recommended penance to sinners who were about to receive baptism with the words: “Repent, and be baptized every…

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It’s not my Dad’s Youth Ministry…

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This is my second paper for Communication Theory class…

 Critical vs. Rhetorical

Jason M. Roebuck

Northwest Christian University

05/25/2015

Abstract

    In this paper, I will look at how I believe the Holy Spirit is leading me to focus more on the Rhetorical Tradition over the Critical Tradition. It is my flesh and the way I was raised that is putting pressure on me to see the benefits of communication from a critical tradition, rather than the one I believe God is calling me to pursue. I will explain the reasons why I believe this rhetorical tradition works best for me, and why the critical tradition is counter-productive when it comes to my work in ministry, even though it is the one that I have been taught most of my life.

    It was about six and a half years ago that I started working for the church as a youth minister and the director of religious education. When I first took the job, I did not know anything about being a youth minister or director of religious education. I read a lot of articles from magazines and textbooks about how to be a good youth minister and I relied on the way things were in the past to lead my decisions of how and what to do in the future. I think the method that I was employing here was critical, because I was trying to identify all of the things that were not working first and then work on not repeating them. I remember identifying some methods that would be effective from day one, but deciding to wait to see what I could glean from just being a part of ministry.

    After about 6 months of treading water to keep my head up, I decided to try to apply some things that God was teaching me through my journaling project to the work that I was doing in ministry. In my opinion, this was when I realized that the rhetorical tradition was more suited for effective communication in ministry, than the critical tradition that I was raised with. I began to organize meetings and group discussion around a specific topic and designed the communication to be used that would best speak to the kids. For the past couple of years, I have tried to pass along this method of application of the rhetorical tradition on to the other teachers at my parish, but it is difficult to get them to commit to the struggle to make it happen effectively.

    The Critical Tradition is what I am comfortable with, because my father raised me with the idea that there was no objective truth, and without questioning everything and not accepting anything as universally true for everyone, you could not be free to live. In the beginning of my ministry experience, I was more willing to accept this idea because it seemed that everyone was comfortable with my speaking this way. I would choose not to be confrontation in most subjects, because it was easier. Too often, I believe children involved in our youth programs were being led to abandon their faith, by being open to all truth, without being given any opinion about the objective truth that is given to the church by God.

    Finally, the Rhetorical Tradition sets me up for ridicule, when I talk about issues that are “not popular”. By the way, it would be awesome if I was just talking about the kids here, but the truth is that most parents have been raised in the church a lot like I was raised outside of the church. This means, that when it comes to a decision that needs to be made about a moral issue, it is easier for them, and most of adult society, to just rely on what the popular culture tells us is ok. As I grow in my faith, I hope that I can continue on the path of developing the rhetorical tradition to use in my work, and use less of the critical tradition. I know that I can be more effective in delivering the message of the gospel, which even Jesus said would make people uncomfortable. “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51 NABRE)

What’s eating you?

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Gift: Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love. Piety is the gift whereby, at the Holy Spirit’s instigation, we pay worship and duty to God as our Father, Aquinas writes.

Reading: Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit. (1 Cor 12:3b-7)

Observation: As I prayed after receiving Holy Communion, I heard the words in my heart that said he is not being eaten at this Mass, but he is consuming all of his people that just received him in the form of bread in the Eucharist. So, the title says, “What’s eating you?” says that if you are struggling with something that you can’t shake…Come to the table of Christ and he will consume it when you eat his body and drink his blood in the Eucharist.

Personification: Patience. It is my hope that I can display the fruit of patience with everyone that comes into my life today, especially my family. As God is patient with me through my struggles, I need to be patient with others, and I need to be patient with myself.

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit and lead my life and all of my actions today…Amen!

Your church is on fire…

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Your job today is to attend your church services and fan the flames…http://bible.us/luk12.49.nabre “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! If your church were on fire physically, your job to help in the effort to extinguish the flames before it devastated your church building. If your church is on fire spiritually, your job is to get some fire and set the world on fire with the flame of the Holy Spirit…Just do it!

http://m.godtube.com/watch/?v=7GLGPWNX

Ascension to Pentecost…

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7_-_fra_angelico_-_triptique_du_jugement_dernierAs I read the end of the gospel reading this morning for the second time this morning, I realized that what Chris Stefanik had tweeted earlier was not right.  He had tweeted the last verse of the gospel as if Jesus was saying it now.

“In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” – Jesus

— Chris Stefanick (@ChrisStefanick) May 18, 2015

I thought if Jesus was saying it now, it would sound like this:

“In the world you will still be persecuted and ridiculed for being a Christian, but be courageous because I have already made the world new with my Ascension.”  – Jesus

Am I living in the new world or do I let others drag me down into the pit of the old world with them?  I will choose to live in the new world that is being created through the power of the Holy Spirit that we will remember at Mass this Sunday was given to us on Pentecost Sunday, almost 2000 years ago.

The Great High Priest…

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Great High PriestThe Great High Priest – Hebrews 4:14

Jason Roebuck

Northwest Christian University

May 8, 2015

Abstract

My objective of this essay is to explain that God would have made arrangements for us to continue to receive his grace after his Ascension into Heaven.  Also, the fact that Jesus was offered as a reparation for our sins once for all, does not mean that we would not choose to be disobedient on occasion, even after our conversion.  This is my attempt at explaining the systems that God has given us through his church to continue his mission of forgiving us for our sins, as well as our need to hear the words of forgiveness.

(This essay was an assignment for a Biblical Themes of the New Testament class, but it was also a response to a video that I will show at the end of the post.  My hope is that this is the start of a conversation, rather than this be the last word on the subject.)

In my understanding of Jesus, the compassionate high priest, we see the author of Hebrews explaining that Jesus is the leader of new breed of priest that no longer exists only in a designated place that only a few people are chosen to be able to visit.  “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.”  (Hebrews 4:14  NABRE)  We need only hold fast to our confession, or remember to focus on him rather than our own selfishness, and we can have access to God through the intercession of his Son in our lives.

Earlier in the same chapter, we see the author of Hebrews saying that even though Jewish people had access to God through the person of the high priest in the Old Testament, they would not receive the good news because of their disobedience.  Jesus Christ died to make reparation for our sins, so he has given us access to his grace through his suffering and death on the cross.  I submit that sometimes, through our disobedience it is difficult to see clearly a path to reconciliation, so the church has given us an opportunity to go to a priest to hear words of reconciliation.  For those times that we have not been so disobedient that we are not separated from God, we are given the gift of grace through the communion that Jesus offered to us before his death.

James says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”  (James 4:15  NABRE)  He not only knows our weaknesses through what he experienced, but also through his hand in creation, he knows our ability to be forgiven and act accordingly.  He has given us a vehicle to hear the words that bring about this forgiveness through the experience of the Eucharistic liturgy at Mass, as well as the words of absolution that we hear in the confessional.  The prayer that we say at the end of confession is a great prayer to sow the seeds of repentance in my life.  Here are the words that we say:  O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all of my sins, because of your just punishments but most of all because you, my God, are all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin.  Amen

Since I am a convert, I was not raised with an understanding of what a relationship with God is supposed to look like.  It is a great help to me to know that when I make a mistake and decide to follow my will instead of God’s will in my life, I can hear the words of the priest telling me that he wants my whole life.  Since the priest is a sinner, like me, I can believe that he is giving me what I need to grow in my faith life, and not just hear his words and go back to my sin.  There are many other parts of the confessional that help me spiritually, but I feel like this is enough for now.

(By the way, this was one of my first two classes in my degree completion program at NWCU, and I loved it…Thanks be to God for giving me a great professor that challenged me to think more critically about what I believe and why I believe it!)

References

The New American Bible, Revised Edition (March 9th, 2011)