Why So Many Moral Failures?

John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now NY congressman Anthony Weiner is the latest public figure in the news who has fallen due to a moral failure. I don’t know his spiritual situation and would never judge someone else with a superior attitude, but we all ask the question, “What was he thinking?” Did he really think he could behave like this and not be caught, embarrassed or even blackmailed? Since there is no one who is righteous, no not one, we MUST set up a system around us that helps protect us from moral failure.

The old phrase goes, “There, but by the grace of God, go I.” I’m not sure if this line is humbling by saying that we all can fall just like this guy, so don’t think you’re above the temptation, or arrogant, indicating an attitude similar to the Pharisee and the tax collector in (Luke 18:11). It’s hard to check our motivation sometimes.

So, why do these public leaders fall to such stupid decisions?

They Have No Personal Boundaries
Call me legalistic, but I am a freak about personal boundaries, like:

  1. I don’t ride in a car alone with a woman other than with my wife or daughter. I used to share a ride, and it always felt uneasy for me. And never forget, just an accusation can ruin your ministry or reputation.
  2. I will not counsel a woman alone, my office door is open, or I go to the Welcome Center, or the Library with all that glass around us.
  3. I will not share a meal in a restaurant with a woman, just the two of us, under any circumstances, (and don’t justify that lunch by calling it “business”).
  4. I don’t use a computer late at night, or in a non-public place. Men, it just makes sense. Our family computer is in the living room. If your wife or daughter could walk in at any time, makes your commitment to purity much stronger.
  5. I don’t post anything on Facebook or Twitter that I woundn’t want my wife or pastor to see; wait a minute, they CAN read it, along with all the people on my friends list. And don’t think it ends there. Re-postings can keep negative stuff online forever, for my congregation and even future employers to see.

Those are just a few of the examples, but the bottom line is this, you can’t commit adultery with a woman if you are not alone with her. Too many men have sold their marriage, reputation or ministry down the river just to have an orgasm. It’s not worth it men. We’ve got to make tough decisions now and be willing to experience some “inconveniences” for the sake of our family, marriage and the kingdom.

They Think They Can Handle the Temptation
One of the Bible verses that has always sticks out for me on the issue of temptation is 1 Corinthians 10:12. Paul warns us to always be careful because the minute that we think we have a particular sin mastered, we are in danger of that very sin actually becoming our master.

I once read about Gordon MacDonald, pastor and author of Ordering Your Private World. Billy Graham said of one of his books: “It struck me right between the eyes with conviction and I wish that I had read it many years ago.” Another prominent Christian leader described him as “one of the most Godly men I have ever met.” He was the pastor of the largest church in New England and taught at the local seminary.

He became the president of the Intervarsity evangelistic organization, one of the biggest in America. Then it came out around 1987. A sin from a few years previously was exposed, and MacDonald was forced to resign. The sin was adultery. His wife was so shocked she has never trusted him since, and it’s been over ten years.

He was forced to step down as president of Intervarsity. It made most pastors aware of our own spiritual frailty. If this man, with all his much vaunted spiritual discipline, could fall so hard, then no-one was immune from danger, ever. He would never live it down.

Later he said, “The most costly sins I have committed came at a time when I briefly suspended my reverence for God. In such a moment I quietly (and insanely) concluded that God didn’t care and most likely wouldn’t intervene were I to risk the violation of one of His commandments.” Years later, he authored a sequel called, “Rebuilding Your Broken World,” which is confessional and a book of hope for others who have fallen.

They Stop Pursuing Jesus
If these public figures are professing believers, they begin to pursue other things. It is a fact that no one can pursue Jesus and sin at the same time. If someone is trying to get in the pants of a woman who is not his wife, then he cannot claim that his eyes are on Jesus.

This is why the Word of God is essential for anyone who wants to keep a pure heart. Men, we are called to pursue Jesus, and doing so will always lead us away from sin, not towards it.

They Allow Stress to Bring Weakness
When a man experiences a time of intense stress and anxiety he is way more vulnerable to be lured into sin. We’ve got to take the fourth commandment seriously (the one about rest). We’ve got to take care of ourselves emotionally, spiritually and physically, and if we neglect these things, we become an easy target of the enemy.

They Believe They Have the Power to Get Away With it.
It is amazing the arrogance of so many men in power, that they can do something so devastating and sincerely believe that there will be no consequences. Adultery is a big deal, why throw your life away on something so preventable?

They Have No Accountability.
This topic is going to be a kick I will be on for the next few months; just so you will understand and realize where I’m coming from. When there is no accountability, we begin to live secret lives: hiding from our wives, kids, friends and other men. Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). We need each other. How can we move toward more accountable relationships to keep us on track, out of trouble, and living in integrity? Who do you know that needs an intervention or rescue? Do you need help? This can change everything we know about the church.

Men, I want us to make it, so keep your eyes on Jesus. If anyone is struggling in this area and feel like you are about to sin, get help, call me, let’s talk (at least talk to someone).

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Connecting in Prayer

Prayer is often misunderstood. It is more connecting with God than it is a formula for getting answers or even stuff from God. Sometimes we think that God is like a genie waiting to grant our wishes if only we would ask Him. The fact is that the more we get to know God, the more our prayers are changed. We ask differently when we begin to realize the sacrifice of Christ. When we go through the pit with Christ, that experience changes our prayer life. Oswald Chambers once wrote something like, prayer is God’s avenue of change in us. When we pray, God will change our hearts and will often use us to bring about a solution or an answer to our prayers.


Prayer is not a means to an end. In so many ways, it is the end itself. — Beth Moore

Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer. — Elizabeth Elliot

Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer. — Martin Luther

Top 10 Steps to Connecting in Prayer:

  1. Inward – reflect, breath, prepare.
  2. Noise – declutter anxious and distracting thoughts.
  3. Let go – inhale the nearness of God, exhale hindrances.
  4. Hurts – acknowledge and confess your brokenness.
  5. Distractions – focus thought and life upon your Source.
  6. Holy space – be, receive from your heavenly Father.
  7. Outward – freely you have received, freely give.
  8. Self – savor the gift of God that is in you.
  9. Planet – feel the passion the Creator has for His cosmos.
  10. Others – call forth the purposes of God in your relationships.

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Did That Just Happen?

Men, if you’re like me, you catch the news fairly regularly.  Then perhaps you’ve heard about or seen Kanye West’s wildly inappropriate outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards. This is not what you would call a great career move, but I guess the silver lining for Kanye is his honorable mention in the Urban Dictionary for September 17 (be warned that the language on that site is appalling):

Imma let you finish [eye-ma-let-yoo-fin-ish]:

1. Obnoxious way to interrupt someone and steal their moment, while wryly mocking that media train wreck that is Kanye West.

Based on West’s instantly infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video with his insane microphone-stealing shout out to Beyonce.

Bob: Thank you Mr. Brown for having us in to give this sales presentation. We’d like to talk to you today about…

Alfred: Yo, Bob, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but I just got to say our product is one of the best products there is!

I guess West did let Taylor finish…sort of, but the cool part was the moment Beyonce recognized Swift and gave her a chance to have her moment of glory.

Have you ever been completely and rudely interrupted? I’m thinking that most of us can relate, but how about being interrupted during an extremely important moment in your life by someone who obviously doesn’t care about you or your mission at that moment?

Think about it…have you ever stopped to take time to pray, and suddenly your thoughts are bombarded with anxiety or unpleasant memories? Or have you planned your devotional time to read the Bible, and suddenly the phone rings, or you remember something you just have to take care of first? What about sharing the gospel with someone and then other people start cutting into the conversation which distracts this person from hearing the best message on earth?

This is not a coincidence…we have an enemy (Satan, meaning, the adversary) who is completely dedicated to stopping any efforts on your part to connect with God, like through prayer and reading the Bible, and he is literally hell-bent on halting even a single word about Jesus Christ from escaping your lips.

Just check out a few descriptions of this from God’s Word:

    1. Satan, who leads the whole world astray… (Revelation 12:9).
    2. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
    3. We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

      See what I mean? Satan just sits back and waits until you try to take the stage for Jesus Christ, then he jumps in and steals your microphone and your chance to glorify God.

      Oh get this – Satan doesn’t let you finish.

      Here’s the great news though. If you can see an interruption coming, you can usually prevent it or ignore it. When you know that spiritual disturbances are headed your way whenever you try to connect with God or share the gospel of Jesus Christ, you can be more prepared.

      First, recognize the interruption for what it is and take it to God. That way, what Satan meant for evil will actually focus your thoughts more on God! Pray something like: “Father, I know that what’s happening right now is an attempt to keep me from connecting with you. Please help me keep my thoughts and spiritual eyes focused only on You.”

      Second, resist Satan, and you can be sure of this promise: Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you (James 4:7-8).

      Here’s the way The Message version of the Bible puts it: Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.

      Finally, refuse to give up. When you stop praying, you miss out on God’s peace and blessing. When you stop reading the Bible, you lose out on God’s truth and strength. And when you stop sharing the gospel, you trash the opportunity to lead someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

      Bottom line: stay the course, connect with God, read His word, and share your faith. Refuse to be interrupted and never give up. On Judgment Day, God will call you back on stage and you’ll hear the words from Jesus that are more valuable than any earthly praise: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21). Now that is how you should finish.

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