Staying Together Chapter Nine: Rebuilding After Loss

11 09 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

We sat down to interview Jon and Amy (names have been changed), a couple we have encountered who have a pain-filled story. With their permission, we are about to share with you their loss, brokenness, hope, and redemption.

Jon was sexually molested as a child. In his teen years, he succumbed to pornography and masturbation for comfort and intimacy. It was the beginning of a lifelong pattern of turning to pornography for the relief of pain, anxiety, and fear. He was addicted to the images on the screen. Eventually the addiction became more and more powerful in his life and he began to act out his fantasies. When he had extra cash available, Jon would visit a local prostitute, all the while hiding his dark and tortured secret life from his wife Amy.

One day, Amy received some pornographic pictures on her phone. She called the phone company and asked how that could happen if she never visited such websites. They told her someone most likely used her phone to access pornographic material. She questioned her sons, and then she questioned her husband. No one confessed. She prayed and asked God for wisdom.

She knew her husband had a “past issue” with pornography but had no idea of how current and active it presently was. She pressed in once again with Jon and he denied any involvement. “I felt so horrible,” Jon said, “but lying seemed like my only alternative.” He just couldn’t believe he was at this point; he had been telling himself it would never get out of his control. That thought was now a past hope, not a present truth.

For more of Jon and Amy’s story and the redemption that followed, see chapter nine in Staying Together.

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Is Your Identity For Sale?

13 03 2017

imagesMy wife and I were speaking to 30 plus senior high youth recently. They were passionate, hungry, open, teachable, vulnerable and beautifully smiling back at us as we taught. We spoke about life mission, boundaries, identity, pornography, priorities and praying for a life mate. We were straightforward and honest. They listened intently. As I observed these kids and the pressure they’re under, I thought about their personal introductions to porn, sex, drugs, broken families, raunchy TV and movies and peer pressure. “How do they cope in a world so different from the world I lived in when I was their age?” And then this question came to me, “Will they sell their identity?”images-6

It was a church youth group. They will soon head to college, technical school or enter the work force. How often will they be tempted to throw in the towel and give up on their faith? What college professors will tell them Christianity is for the weak, the brainless and/or the non-thinker? What young girl might attempt to seduce one of these young boys or vice versa? Which ones will sell their identity and which ones will hold onto their Christ-centered identity?

images-8Quickly the answer to the question of how will they cope came: you and I. The adults in their lives will touch them, love them, pray for and with them and visit them when they are off to college. We will text them, email them and even snail mail them to encourage their faith. We will send them books and articles that will help to protect their identity and we will speak life to them. We will tell them they are accepted, of value to us and to God and we will tell them how beautiful they are. We will challenge them to live righteously and hold them accountable to the truths taught to them.

Who are the young people in your life? They need you in their life today so they do not sell their identity tomorrow.

Ten Areas of Concern for Our Generation Brought to Us by Simon Peter

29 08 2016

images-3This blog is from a spiritual father who loves this generation enough to share truth from a man named Peter who walked with Jesus. Please consider Simon Peter’s admonitions below, who we all know was not perfect, but who went on to be one of Jesus’ greatest spokesmen in the New Testament church.

  1. Our language use: Cursing or using crude expletives like the “F***” word and other unwholesome speech is not becoming of a son or daughter of the King. We are not slaves to our culture, but rather we are called to influence our culture with the truth and the way we live our lives, which includes our language. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. I Peter 2: 1-3; 4: 11; II Peter 2: 19-21

2. Unwholesome thoughts: What words and pictures are we thinking? How can we become more wholesome through our spirit speaking to our minds? We are told that we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2: 16), what is Christ’s mind thinking? I have written both [letters]…to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. II Peter 3: 1, 2

3. Drinking too much alcohol and getting too close to inebriation, along with any form of immorality is detestable to God: When you consume alcohol, if you drink, do you know the limit and practice it strictly in order to honor your relationship with Jesus? Too many today are calling it their liberty to get close to sin and/or blatantly sin – wounding themselves and others. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose…drunkenness… I Peter 2: 9; 4: 3

4. God desires all to be saved: Our silence with so-called ‘acts of justice’ only, does not always give voice to simply, boldly and unashamedly sharing the gospel. Always be prepared to give an answer to every one who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. II Peter 3: 9; I Peter 2: 11, 12; I Peter 3: 15

images-45. Commitment to a local church, to relationships, to accountability and to discipleship is vital for our generation: Maybe you feel like you do not need the church, but does that church (people) need you? It is not just commitment to a building or a place, it is commitment to God’s children, your family. Love the brotherhood of believers… I Peter 2: 13, 17; I Peter 4: 9, 10

6. Pornography is a direct connection to human trafficking and a picture of the depravity of mankind’s fallen nature: The present generation is passionate about fighting human trafficking, while at the same time being the largest consumers of pornography. This seems a blatant cognitive dissonance and youthful arrogance. …They themselves are slaves of depravity – for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. I Peter 2: 16; II Peter 2: 19

7. Pursuing holiness and sanctification rather than allowing ourselves to be as close to the world as possible: We are to taste not, touch not and handle not so that we might remain pure before our God (Colossians 2: 21). Holiness is His desire for us and only through Him can we be holy. But just as he who called you in holy, so be holy in all you do. I Peter 1: 13-15; 2: 9; II Peter 1: 4-9; 2: 20; 3: 14

8. Hell is a very real place: Hell is as present as heaven. It was not made for you and I, but those who reject Christ to the end will find themselves in this place. It is the Father’s will that none would perish, but rather that all would be saved (John 3: 17). For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell… II Peter 2: 4-9

9. Honoring our elders: We need to honor (rather than belittle, put down or ridicule even if we do not agree) those who went before us; those who have fought the good fight and who paid a price to bring the truth of the gospel to our generation. You do not need to always agree, but you do need to honor as they are our spiritual fathers and mothers. Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. I Peter 5: 5; II Peter 3: 2

10.False prophets: There are those who do not tell the truth or the whole gospel, but rather a perversion of the truth and it is bringing confusion to the church. Doctrine is as old as the book of Acts and it was the apostles who, through following Jesus on the earth, brought these truths to us (Acts 2: 42). Be careful of the doctrines of men and search your Bible.  But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. II Peter 2: 1-3

Pornography Almost Sent Him to Jail

30 03 2015

“My sexual lust was fueled by my viewing pornography,” a friend once confessed to me. That statement provoked more questioning on my part and it’s an interesting, sad and revealing story. He described his pornography habit as helping to create a fantasy world in which he lived in, within his mind anyway.   His conscious and subconscious thoughts would affect his reality on a daily basis. He shared, “Porn provided a subconscious trigger that can lead to far worse situations.” One day he found himself in one of those “situations” and he followed through with a “far worse” fulfillment of his fantasy world.

images-2That one single decision to act upon his fantasy almost landed him in jail as he ended up committing a sexual crime.   Today my friend confesses to me that pornography actually changed his reality, “It changed how I viewed my wife, my co-workers and almost everyone I interacted with on a regular basis; it was such a dishonoring view.” Regular intake of pornography will keep you from relating to the opposite sex in a healthy way. It will distort your reality and it will eventually effect your actions. I love how the writer of Psalm 119 expressed it, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you…Turn my eyes away from worthless things…”

Pornography, a Road to Self-destruction

23 03 2015

images-7A number of years ago I conversed with a man who was $32,000.00 in credit card debt. When I asked him what he had purchased as a young single in order to find himself at that level of debt he replied, “Pornography.” I was stunned. Tens of thousands of dollars spent on an addiction and nothing to show for it besides remorse, regret and shame. Proverbs chapters 5-7 speaks so plainly of the adulterous woman and the man who goes astray with her, however consider the following verses in the light of viewing pornography:

With persuasive words she led him astray: she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping onto a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

images-2“Many are the victims she has brought down…”  Could those verses be an apt description of a pornography addiction? Under the Law of the Old Covenant, the result of one caught in adultery was death. However under the New Covenant, Jesus was stricter than the Law of Moses. He said that if we look at someone with lust in our heart, we are committing the act of adultery. What if we are held captive by images on a screen…?

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