The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.

Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Not the righteous, but people who make mistakes.

Not the righteous, but people who went too far in their last relationship.

Not the righteous, but people who haven’t read their Bible since forever.

He came for screw-ups, basket-cases, burn-outs, knuckle-heads, weirdos, the sick, the lame, the miserable. 

For You. Me. Us.

The tragedy is that every time life reminds us that we’re sinners, we feel like maybe we don’t measure up to this Jesus thing.

But Jesus did not come to call the righteous.  He came for sinners.

He came for people who’ve cheated.

He came for people who’ve been too afraid to step out in the first place.

He came for home-wreckers. For people with blood on their hands.  For people with sex on their brain.

He came for addicts, failures, and losers. And even for people who look down on addicts, failures, and losers.

For You. Me. Us.

He came to teach us a new life that isn’t that way.  But he came knowing full well the life we’ve already lived.

Tomorrow, you may fall again.  If not tomorrow, soon.  And when it happens, when you do the unthinkably terrible for the first time, or simply the terribly familiar for the thousandth time, you will be tempted.

Tempted to think that this Jesus thing isn’t for you.  Tempted to think your actions prove you didn’t make the cut.

But in that moment, remember.  Remember that Jesus loves you.  Remember that Jesus wants you.  And, then, remember:

Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

I’ve been there, too.

That moment where you just don’t care about anything.  And you feel terrible.  And everything is crap.

Even though nothing happened, and you were doing pretty good, but now, out of nowhere, you just want to quit and cry and give up and stop.

I’ve been there, too.

You wonder if you’re just a freak - well, you used to wonder, now you’re convinced it’s true.  And you think there’s got to be something wrong with you.  And surely other people don’t feel this way, don’t get like this, don’t have these problems.

I’ve been there, too.

And it feels like maybe if you were a better person, or a better Christian, or holier, or something, you wouldn’t have moments like this.  Problems like these.  You’d just be happy or joyful - or something - but definitely not like this.

I’ve been there, too.  

But because I’ve been there, too, I can tell you a secret: this isn’t the end.  This isn’t the last word in your life.  Or my life.  And we aren’t alone.  The Bible is full of people just like us.  And they’d tell you.

I’ve been there, too.

Moses has been there. And Elijah has been there. And David has been there. And Peter has been there.   And we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  The heroes of the faith who felt discouraged and ashamed and afraid and stupid and like giving up.  Heroes not because they constantly felt joyful.  Not because they didn’t struggle.  But because, in spite of those struggles, they chose to trust God one more time. And so, wherever they were, they took that one next step. And through that, God changed the world.

And here they are. Cheering us on. As we struggle to take that one next step, do that one next thing, face that one next hour.  

And we do that for a reason.  So that, one day - soon - we can be there for a person who is hurting, and questioning, and struggling.  And, in that critical moment, we can tell them.

I’ve been there, too.

It’s Time for Negative Body Image Tyranny to END.

Yeah, this is THE JAM right here.  Check this out!

hbrewer:

It’s taken most of my life for me to even begin to accept and enjoy the body the Lord gave me. Now, I’ve made a lot of headway these last couple of years, and I can tell you firsthand that there is some real, honest-to-goodness peace to be had on the other side of working through this stuff. But it’s taken hard work to see that progress and growth. And I’m not done yet.

I can’t remember a time – growing up, as a teenager, as a 20-something – when I didn’t hate my body. When I wasn’t embarrassed about it. When I didn’t wish I were built differently.

What I do remember is the constant awareness that my body – my level of physical fitness – my eating habits – were not good enough. There was never a hour that went by that I wasn’t aware of how bad my body must look – when I wasn’t thinking about how to ‘conceal’ it (e.g. always having a hoodie to tie around my waist, wearing baggy jeans, etc). And I remember how much worse I always felt when people told me that I just needed to get over it because God made everyone beautiful.

I learned a few things since then about God’s views on my physical self, and what it looks like when you decide to let God call the shots on that part of your life. I promise it’s worth the work.

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Secret Weapons For Your Fight Against Lust – Volume 3!!!

Ok, my friends.  It’s time for another SECRET WEAPON as we figure out how to stand our ground against lust.

Before we get started, here’s what I want you to know: all of us here in Chicago believe in you.  We love you.  We stand with you.  And we know that, day by day, bit by bit, you can walk forward on this thing.

That’s right, I’m talking to *you*.

Ok.  Let’s DO THIS.  It’s time for SECRET WEAPON NUMBER 3!

Finding A New 10 Minute Mood Changer”

The average time spent on a porn website is not even 9 minutes.  (Technically, it’s 8:56.)  Now, forgive me for being a little blunt, but this isn’t a huge surprise.  Those of us who have struggled with porn (that being everyone, everywhere on earth) know how this thing works.  Step 1 is ‘find something on a porn site that gets you all hot and bothered’.  Step 2 is ‘have an orgasm.’  And Step 3 is ‘huh, my interest in this porn website has just dramatically decreased!’

Now, if you talk to people about why they look at porn, what you’ll find out is that many – and sometimes most – of the reasons have little or nothing to do with sex.  Folks look at porn because they’re stressed out, because they’re bored, because they’re lonely…and they want something to make them feel better.  That makes sense.  And, of course, as you probably know, orgasms influence your brain chemistry, so, in a literal sense, the process is making you feel better.

With that in mind, let’s do a thought-experiment.  Pretend with me that you’d never heard of porn.  And I tell you, there’s a thing that, in about 10 minutes, will help you to feel better, whether you’re bored or stressed or lonely or tired.

If you’re like me, you’d say, “That sounds great!  Tell me more!”  And that would be the right response – who doesn’t want to have something they can do in 10 minutes to help them feel better?

The good news is this: porn is not the only thing that can help you feel better in 10 minutes.

Here’s just a quick list of things you can do in 10 minutes that will pretty much always help you to mentally relax and feel better:

  • Get up, walk out the door, and grab a cup of coffee
  • Put on some music real loud and bust out your best dance moves
  • Get out your guitar and sing some of your favorite worship tunes
  • Put on your shoes and go for a quick run
  • Write an email to a friend and tell them how much you appreciate them 

Any of these things can be done in about 10 minutes, and you’ll feel better at the end of all of them.  Whether you’re lonely, bored, stressed – this stuff will help.  Sure, none of these things is a cure for stress or loneliness, but that’s not the point.

The point is that we all need 10-Minute-Mood-Changers in our lives.  (Porn just happens to not be a good one.)  We all need little things we can do to help us relax and get out of a funky headspace. And I bet that you can build on this list.  I bet you can come up with even better 10-Minute-Mood-Changers, and ones that would work really well for you and your situation.

Here’s a bonus secret weapon.  Keep a list, on your phone, of your favorite mood changers.  And when you start to feel lonely or tired or whatever – something that’s gonna try and tempt you to turn to lust – open up that list.  Cause you know these are all things that will help.  Then, pick one, and go do it.

At the end of that ten minutes, I bet you two things.  First, you’ll feel better – you won’t be as tired or stressed or bored as you were 10 minutes ago.  And, second, because you’re feeling better, your desire to look at something lustful has gone down quite a little bit.

You can do it.  You can find things that will help you change your mood in 10 minutes, and that will help you stand firm against lust.

We love you.  Keep your head up.

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Secret Weapons for Your Fight Against Lust – Vol. 2!!!

This is post number 2 in our new series of SECRET WEAPONS to help in your fight against lust.  You ready to ROCK THIS THING??

Before anything else, remember this: You can do it.  You can move forward on this, a piece at a time, and that’s just right.  Nobody’s expecting you to be perfect.  In point of fact, that’s why we need Jesus.  We all struggle with this arena, we all feel tempted, and you’re not alone. 

So, the goal is improvement.  And you can do it.  We believe in you.

With that in mind, here’s SECRET WEAPON NO. 2!

Always Know What Day It Is”

Here in Chicago, we work with a lot of folks coming out of drug addiction.  And for folks in addiction recovery, the most tempting day of the week is…payday.

Think about it: on payday, you’re walking around with a pocket full of money, and so your odds of giving in to temptation go way up, ‘cause it’s so much easier to do.

There’s a similar phenomenon with porn.  Porn sites see more traffic on Monday than any other day of the week. 

Now, that could be because people are bored at the beginning of their week.  And, plenty of people don’t have anything going on during Monday evening, so maybe it’s the free-time.  But, either way, your average person is more likely to look at porn on Monday than any other day of the week.

So, what does that mean for you?  You probably have a most-tempting-day, too.  It may not be Monday, but I bet you have one.  If you think back over the last few weeks, I bet there’s a day each week where you’re more likely to get tripped up by temptation.

Take a second and think about it – and don’t waste any time feeling ashamed.  Just think back and see if there’s a day that sticks out as particularly tempting.

If you found that you have a particular day out of the week where the temptation is strongest, then the next step is to make sure that, as much as possible, you keep that day busy and filled with a lot of good fellowship.

So, say your day is Monday.  Maybe you’re done with school or work around 4, and you just have a big stretch of time before you, and that creates a lot of temptation.  The answer is to fill that time.  Make a tradition to go to dinner with your friends every Monday night.  Make Monday afternoon your bookstore time where you go and find some cool new book or album to check out.  Maybe set-up a little prayer meeting with some buddies late on Monday night.

Either way, if you find the day that you’re most likely to be tempted, and structure it to reduce that temptation, you’ll have just taken a great big step forward in your fight against lust.

You can do it.  We believe in you.

New Series: Secret Weapons for your Fight Against Lust!

A lot of folks who read this blog are struggling with lust.  (There’s no shame – we’ve all been there.  Seriously.  All of us.)

That struggle can get discouraging because, at a certain point, it feels we’re just falling over and over again, with no improvement in sight.

If that’s where you’re at, I’m sorry.  All of us here in Chicago love you, and we believe in you, and we’re praying for you.

And, we want to help.  So, today, we’re kicking off a new series on SECRET WEAPONS to use in your fight against lust.

But here’s the important part – in the spirit of spy movies everywhere, these secret weapons come FROM BEHIND ENEMY LINES!!!

See, one of the largest porn sites in the world regularly publishes a bunch of data about when, where, and how often people access their webpage.  (You don’t have to see anything naughty to get the data – folks like Gizmodo write it up.)

And that data gives us some really key strategies for combating lust more effectively.

Here’s today’s SECRET WEAPON!

“Anything You’re Excited About Will Help Keep You Away From Porn”

Ok.  This will sound obvious the moment I say it, but bear with me.  Anything you’re excited about and putting your attention and focus on will keep you from looking at porn.  I’ll explain.

Have a TV show you’re excited about?  You aren’t watching porn while you’re watching Dr. Who.

Your team made the playoffs and the big game is tonight?  You aren’t watching porn while you’re watching LeBron and the Heat get after it.

Celebrating the Holidays with family or friends? If you’re unwrapping gifts then you’re not…well, you get where this is going.

Check this out – porn usage goes down by about 30% on Christmas Day.  It goes down by about 30% during major sporting events.  Heck, important TV shows (say, the finale of The Walking Dead) can knock down porn traffic by 10%.

What does this mean for you?  One SECRET WEAPON in your struggle against lust is to develop hobbies and interests and a social life - things you’re excited about – and make sure that those are peppered throughout your week.  Because, when you’re busy watching Sherlock with your friends and cutting up and having fun and getting some good fellowship going, not only are you not looking at anything naughty, you’re actually getting built up and getting strength for those moments when you don’t have something fun going on.

So take some time this week to think about the hobbies and events and get-togethers you’re gonna make sure are in your life to give you some breathing room as the Lord helps you get stronger at dealing with lust.

We love you.  Keep your head up.

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BridgeBox Presents: Lee Younger - Lee Younger - I Am Yours
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leeyounger:

A Brand New Worship Song For Folks Who Need To Remember Who They Are And Whose They Are Today:

Some very dear friends helped me play and sing this simple new worship song that gets to the heart of why so many of us are wandering around feeling aimless: we’ve forgotten where real life comes from. We find the most purpose, the most meaning and the most life when we are following Jesus. He made us, He bought us, we are His. He is our true source of life. 

This song (along with a whole ton of other awesomeness) arrived today in the email inbox of everyone who subscribes to my new digital, media magazine called BridgeBox::LeeYounger. To find out how to support our ministry and get the goods like this new song, go to: missionusa.com/bbly (I’ll give you a free download just for checking it out)

This is an absolutely beautiful worship song.  Take a second and check it out.

A Sign Upon Your Hands - Psalm 27:10 (BRIDGEBOX EXCLUSIVE)
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FINAL TRACK FOR METAL-MONTH, AND A HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

Alright, first of all, here - one final time - is the sonic fury of Chicago metal outfit A Sign Upon Your Hands with an auditory assault based on Psalm 27:10.

Next…A. Super. Huge. Major. Announcement.

Coming this Friday, November 1st, 2013, a special episode of The Bridge Podcast!!

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That’s right, a LOUD MUSIC WORSHIP PODCAST.

Be sure to tell your friends.  If you guys like it and let us know, we just might launch a whole new worship podcast, with loud rock and metal all about Jesus - EVERY SINGLE WEEK.  So don’t be shy.  Let us know if you dig this special episode.  Show it to your friends.  Give it a listen (or two).  And get ready to ROCK.

The DEBUT MUSIC VIDEO from BridgeBox-Exclusive Metal Legend A Sign Upon Your Hands!!!

You’ve blown out your ear drums, sure. Now, prepare to scorch your eyeballs.  The sonic fury that is A Sign Upon Your Hands debuts their brand new music video for the words of Psalm 46:10.

If you ever feel beaten down by the people in your life, by pressure and expectation and worry, this music video is for you.

Get more amazing metal in your life by signing up for BridgeBox:

http://missionusa.com/bridgebox/

BridgeBox-Exclusive Extreme Jesus Metal here on Tumblr every Monday in October.
Get more exclusive, blistering Jesus metal by signing up for BridgeBox:
http://missionusa.com/bridgebox/

BridgeBox-Exclusive Extreme Jesus Metal here on Tumblr every Monday in October.

Get more exclusive, blistering Jesus metal by signing up for BridgeBox:

http://missionusa.com/bridgebox/