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October 13, 2021 6:00 am
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Each October we observe a long-standing tradition here at Focus on the Family called Pastor appreciation month the pastor's work is tiring and we can all come alongside and encourage them as they work in our local churches. Focus on the Family has downloads, videos, and other tools to provide ideas to help you support your pastor and their family stop by focusonthefamily.com/Pastor appreciation to get started.
That's focusonthefamily.com/Pastor appreciation has been broken. I am not a slave of sin and I get to choose to about sex used to be a powerful master God's will master. I get to choose to my stay tuned for a really powerful testimony from Sy Rogers is a man who found Christ, your host is Focus on the Family. President Jim Daly and I'm John: John, for the last 40 years. Pastor Sy Rogers has been a leading voice regarding sexuality and cultural themes in the character of God. Sadly he died in April 2020 from kidney cancer. He was only 63 and we'd like to think his wife Karen for allowing us to use the message were presented today, and next time and as you're about to hear. When he was just six years old side was separated from his father after his mother was killed in a drunk driving accident. He was sent to the Midwest and raised by female relatives where he picked up their mannerisms and vocal patterns and that led to a time. Once I really question his sexuality and even his gender identity and let me tell you Sy was a very dynamic communicator who tells it like it is. He simply riveting he is and because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter were to recommend that if you have children nearby.
You use your earbuds or listen later on download our app here now is Sy Rogers speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of women at a devoted conference sponsored by wave church in Virginia Beach and were picking up while he has some family photos up on the big screen behind him on today's episode of Focus on the Family image I have up there also makes another important point. I look at my grandson. There was a six-year-old and that photo there in the middle panel that little innocent kid six years old. Can I tell you how grateful to God. I am that he has never had to say the things I'm about to say. By the time I was six years old that he has lived a life loved healthy, stable, invested, and while I can't change my history. He exists because God bought from a freedom and a chance to make new history and so by the time I was six I don't even sexually violated by an adult man, a family friend who taught me things God did not want me to know betraying my dad's trust and then my mom's children a car wreck. She went shopping and never came home and then I'm separated from my dad.
The last anchor of validation and security in my life and all of it. By the time I'm six so you can imagine with the foundation like that might not go well and it didn't. And I began to be labeled going up on the buckle of the Bible belt, Melinda drink and start chasing him to think about about where good old boys and I love that Scott bought there was an expectation that I was not living up to about seven. I began to hear the litany that I was a loser as a male of failure in my gender. I'm sure you can imagine. The more colorful rhetoric and I didn't understand at first, but soon I would and in addition to this mistreatment. There was also a wealth of people around you didn't know what to do, even if they were empathetic. Most of my classmates did not mistreat me yet. I'm sure that while they were people there who you know wanted to help her be a pathetic toward like like they didn't know what to say, including the grown-ups, so no one said anything and thus the power of the bully prevailed as the most authoritative voice in my life and so I tried to be one of the guys I was on swim team football team track team.
I was an Eagle Scout. I went hiking in the Rocky Mountains. I had two motorcycles.
I'm a dirt bike riding. I went horseback riding, I volunteered to join the US military and so I could do anything any boy could do, but he didn't resolve my crisis didn't validate me and my great depth of need. And of course I want to become sexually promiscuous by the time it was a teenager because I learned pretty quickly that that love is better than not I was willing to trade off my moral teachings was willing to trade away any sense of dignity in order to find validation through exploitation lot of people do and so I believe in the God of the Bible, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus the Messiah, Redeemer of humanity. I didn't have a problem with his existence. I had a problem with his character dressed up in the skin of others who made me feel like I could never measure up, and in spite of all my efforts to try. I came to the conclusion that got me love other people, but he apparently doesn't love me look at the litany in my life. How can I call that love of a personal, caring God that I heard about the Sunday school.
I didn't have the rest of the story, so we are not surprised that my life spun out and I lived a double life I was in the military and then I went out into the light beyond the military and I was involved in a world that was boundaryless and self-indulgent trading sex for validation.
It may seem simple to you but it met my needs better than anything or anyone yet and what kind of a commentary is that even confused about gender pursuing gender reassignment almost 2 years and just when you think I'm too deep in the ditch. Just when you think I'm undeserving. That's when God rocked up 40 years ago chatter opened my eyes to a new understanding why am I not a Buddhist, why am I not a Marxist. Why would I buy my flesh and swim against the tide of popular culture and passion in here why it wouldn't for singing songs.
It wasn't for church services. It wasn't for religious rituals.
It wasn't for your moral standards. I could have cared less. But my eyes were open to God in a new way where he was no longer a code of ethics to debate.
He was no longer some philosophical point of view to ponder the chattering classes at University over a cup of coffee. He now became a real live person. Not another option on the spiritual buffet but a real live presence in light of that, how was I going to live my life. He did not come into my life and say stop living like that. He said these words. My son think of it my alone you I put my name on you. I'm not ashamed to you. I'll make you a public relations ambassador who I am my Holy Ghost and you I make you so clean because of Christ. I can put my spirit in this temple. I love you.
I understand you I have compassion for you. I see the whole picture, not just the naughty over here. It's the why do not even happen. I look beyond the sin to see the need, like the old song says my son whatever hijacked your misunderstanding whatever took advantage of you and misdirected you. However, other people labeled you with spun you out and exploited you and made you doubt yourself. I never intended your gender to be a curse and a burden.
I intended it to be a blessing through you to others I have learned to grow beyond the power of my past and listen. Getting married someone with a background like that prove anything anybody can live a double life. We all know people who do. I don't put that image of my family up there to try to convince you I'm not who I used to be. It's just simply the byproduct of growth, but the goal was never that the goal is God. He's the source that's what completes me. My family is a beautiful outworking glorious byproduct that was unanticipated but God is your goal, walk with him so I love to share what took me forward help me walk out freedom in an unlikely place of vulnerability here and in the world, a pressure risk and opportunity out there to go astray.
What kept me that's what I want to share. I also get asked a lot of questions in my years of work. I've learned a lot in years of pastoral service, but I have to practice what I preach and teach two. That's the best I know I said and I love to answer questions through my own experience and one the questions I'm asked the most is if I'm offered freedom in Jesus. And if I'm this new creation. Why am I still struggling with things related to my history, my humanity, my past.
Why am I still struggling sexually because of the fact his books were not all overcoming auto anxiety management or anger management here were not all overcoming some addictive or abusive process with all of us in the room and every human on the earth is a sexual creature and for years Christianity is not done an adequate job addressing this and you would agree that not talking it had made us holier or healthier. But when we talk were not here to lament, charge, criticize, reject, or shame. This is a shame free conversation, so do not be afraid, but we want to paint a picture of God's outstanding advocacy and empathetic understanding of his advocacy and compassion toward us that what is it saying he was he's a high priest is been acquainted with all that we go through tempted in every way, so he knows what were up against. And therefore I can expect to come to his throne of grace. I can even approach it with a confidence that says he knows what I'm dealing with. And I can approach you meant by grace and mercy to help me in my time of need to if there's any other boys here telling you not to run the God I'd say it's not the Holy Ghost so that you may hear him. Let's pray I get underway. Lord take these words as always anoint them with life and power to make it more than some infotainment make it a revelation about who you are in our lives and who you would like to be in taking us forward into freedom much more than maybe we'll imagine I believe you would like to do it in Jesus name and then why is it that we struggle.
I thought on the new creation. Second Corinthians 517 if any man or woman is in Christ, they become a new creation the old light passes away all things become new.
Some church cultures have inferred that what that means is in Christ suddenly like invasion of the body snatchers. It really isn't you anymore.
You are you plus plus you're never going to struggle anymore, but all about that used to be a part of you and the other part of your experience is the more realistic one that says wait a minute I been born again about 10 minutes the blood of Jesus did wash away the guilt, but he hasn't washed away the humanity for the vulnerability. Now what I do about that. In fact, the original Greek grammar and language tensile verb of that verse and second Corinthians 5 verse 17 actually says something more like this in Christ, a transformative process has been initiated and its process will continue transforming you isn't that the way it really is and I want to share with you what my path of transformation.
My path of walking forward, and freedom of God provided me by his definition, not my wishful thinking struggle you will.
That's how God made life on earth. It's a refining process. It provides focus toward goal struggled a little shaken struggles to hatch on the very exit circuit in the same way that I mother and baby struggle when the baby is coming down the birth canal, but it's purposeful. My granddaughter learn to walk a year ago. She's to going on. Three.
She's very charming but she began walking you know is a one-year-old and in her effort to walk uprightly. She fell down all the time now. Karen and I living in a multigenerational household with her did not say to her you're falling down, don't you know God's developmental goal for you is that you walk uprightly what a baby blues are it's true that God's developmental goal is a babies learn to walk uprightly. But they're not born doing it.
They have to learn how in the face of constant failure because there's an impulse in them struggle says I have the capacity for more. I want freedom even if I'm down right now I'm in a get there because I am not a slave of sin not been switched on the God and there's a capacity in me to take me onward and upward forward and I'm on a walk in it. And even if I don't know how I fall down to get up and try again because I win the crown if I don't whether I run the race flawlessly is not born again walking uprightly your born again with the capacity to learn how, but in walking uprightly were not doing it so that we can earn God's love you and he loves us. Were not earning righteousness. We can't we borrow Christ's, but we learn how to walk uprightly as responsible stewards of mind and body so as has been said, the power of sin has been broken.
It's true, I am not a slave of sin anymore.
I get to choose, to whom and what I about sex used to be a powerful master God's more powerful master. I get to choose to my bow. The old master may call my name master calls my name. I get to pick what I give allegiance now I'm not the puppet. The power broken the penalty pay. That means I can access God he can access me right now the freedom begins right now but to go forward.
I have to deal with the propensity the vulnerability that yet remains. You don't think you got propensity you get stuck in traffic under the right circumstances and your propensity will show up but even to deal with propensity what we got. We got the high priest Jesus who intercedes we got the Holy Spirit inside to empower and guide.
And then we also got the word of God the logos becomes Rhema way clear for us in God's family. A camaraderie of advocacy around us God with skin on to help us stay the course. Yes, I may have vulnerability, but there are solutions and were going to look at not only the problem but if there is one there is a solution because God is not caught off guard by all. This is not been having saying all know what we gotta do these poor disadvantaged humans. Good luck to you and so if there is a struggle or a problem in your life. Do not let it demoralized.
Do not let it shame you out. Do not let it ever make you think you are disqualified. I want to give you some perspective. So when I came to Jesus. There was a constant companion background music so loud I didn't even have perspective when I came to Jesus just sapped out a way for my consumer convenience that I never had a blip on my radar.
But as that button is growing get some relief and peace, and then suddenly the button of fear would be triggered only now God was in the equation was a beautiful quote by Oswald Chambers, 100 years ago, but it's still true.
Stretching is your calculating without God in the equation and now I'm not a five-year-old victim. Now he's in the equation and I'm beginning to learn of him and so I began to fight his intervention, and then I go around the bend again and I enjoy peace and growth.
But then the button gets triggered again and I feel powerless, but that I have a new mantra from Psalm 56 that when I am afraid I have learned to trust in you all got my rock and my Redeemer. You got my back. You will never let me face anything without your presence with me and you will bring me through. You begin the good work you know how it's all along the way that power of fear lost its power, and if it shows up on the radar. I know how to deal with it instead of dealing with me and to that I not only learned about my humanity, which gives me compassion for yours out of the struggle I have compassion for you and I also have a confidence in God.
So while there may be a lot. I don't know.
I do know that he's been good to me and he is led me forward and I want to paint the picture of what it looked like so here we go. Are you ready you got a problem. You gotta see you gotta identify it, not to shame.
To clarify, yes, so this is why were vulnerable. Number one I got a human nature and its week. What did the Spirit fill Paul say but Paul wrote one third of the New Testament. What did Paul say that thing I should not do.
I to and then the stop I don't. I should ever save me from this aspect of my humanity. Thank you God for Christ. That's it in a nutshell. In other words, if it's true for the body. It's true for the soul to paint this picture I like to get illustrations from science and biology.
Because God makes biology like you makes theology and they are material examples that help paint a picture of spiritual truths. Therefore, diabetes is a weakness in my family seat, but human nature makes me weak and weakness in Hebrew language does not mean a character fault if you work harder and pray more and better if you studied harder that you rise above all these weaknesses because if your effort and enlightenment to generate that outcome. Jesus died in vain. In Hebrew language.
The word weakness means disability. You can't fix it, but you can collaborate with Dr. Jesus and management that it doesn't manage you, that you may walk in freedom so diabetes I don't have it, but my family line does so I'm at risk predisposed so I've lived a prediabetic lifestyle for many years and now that I am 200 it's really paid off. And so some he said to me the other day cheese upon a tired so I said thanks I said I'm I'm actually not tie-dye don't have any more collagen but nothing goes back I sleep on my pillow I get a crease on my face and it takes eight hours to massage it anyway.
Weakness means disability and I think of diabetes.
If you have serious diabetes you know what I'm going to say it is not presently curable but it is manageable, but management is tedious. A meal you enjoy without can kill a diabetic and 46 hours so the diabetic has to draw blood before and after every meal every day to ensure they're getting their metabolic balance right then they have to exercise the cardiovascular system and keep the weight off to make sure that they don't have you know compromised cardiovascular system that results in amputation of hands and feet. They have to pay attention to the euro to make sure kidneys filter properly, they have to pay attention to eyesight to make sure retinas are painlessly bleeding and suddenly they go blind have to pay attention, pay attention, pay attention to keep the balance right. But if they do the tedious drill is not futile.
There is a tangible real-world payoff and benefit they manage it. It doesn't manage them.
But no matter how good they are managing. According to the doctor's orders. They will never produce their own insulin, they have to depend on the doctor to give them what management doesn't produce true for your body true for your soul. In my journey.
I was outside of Christ. I did not think about things like that on. I didn't think about the fruit that I produced. I didn't think about any of it in the slot, self-indulgent way I live my life then I come to Christ. Dr. Jesus puts me on a new narrow regimen that it is narrow and it is tedious and I got to exercise my faith that it doesn't atrophy.
I got a pay attention to the fruit that I produce to maintain my balance. I got to pay attention to things on which I feed have to pay attention, pay attention, pay attention, but as I do the paying attention. I began to manage my weakness. Instead of my weakness managing me but no matter how good I am at managing I will never produce my own righteousness and salvation. I got to depend on Dr. Jesus to give me what management does not produce what am I saying I'm saying ladies.
I will never be so holy and healed in this life that I outgrow depending on God as my first foundation synergies the Savior I get dirty makes me clean. I'm the weak one. But here's the strong one and he never says my character is glorified by eliminating all of your weaknesses so your superior human compared to everybody else.
I'll make you invulnerable.
No, instead it's your week. I'm strong and my strength is made.
Completed that in your weakness, not its elimination. So do not hate your weakness God will meet you there. He will meet you there. Secondly, well, it's one thing to have vulnerability on the inside but now we've also got the reality of cultural influences around us. I kinda like fish in the water don't even know they're wet like a boat in strong current. It's one thing to be vulnerable, but we are also swept along by powerful influences. We don't often consciously recognize and so whether that's the family of origin.
What did they teach you about sex. They prepare you for struggle, yearning, burning longing, lusting, did your family teach you that if these bad things happen you raped your touch wrongly and abused that there is healing and recovery, that it's not that which will really define you. What did your family prepare you for the culture that talks explicitly through magazines and television media about sexuality is your voice louder than that of the world because if it isn't the world wins by default, and therefore, you know, I think. Not only do we have a family of origin and I know you default anybody.
None of us are perfect parents notice come from perfect homes, but some homes are more intentional, so I also think the appear culture. You know we organized our society, and educational institutions. The age group and studies have been done about the risk of sexual acting out based on peer group influence, but studies have shown that if the bond between mom and dad is stronger than with peer group that you will generally survive peer group influence that will be anchored in the swirling current. But what happens is, many parents think all my kids don't want to talk to me and my parents never talk to me and Phil just rolled her eyes and so parents advocate instead of becoming more intentional and thus, when we advocate we leave them vulnerable to the only Shepherd they really got and that's the Pied Piper of popular culture we live in a media civilization and by the time your kid turned 16.
They bought a lesson from the age of 4 to 16 to 11,000 hours of television. Television that does not tell Thelma and music or four more hours a day and social media. They have not had 11,000 hours, a meaningful dialogue God Almighty. They have 11,000 hours of reading the Bible are going to church. They have an 11,000 hours of talking to mom and dad about the issues that really matter in shaping our lives that they've had since the age of four. The Pied Piper of popular culture on average four hours a day, tell them what's hot wants. Not now.
They comply or they will not be validated and for impressionable kids. They are driven by that voice.
So when studies of young adult Christians who go to church twice a week reveals their having sex. At the same rate as the pagans. It tells me who they're listening to for their guidance and wisdom in boundary setting and sexual activity. They're not bad. They've been misled and thank God we got a shepherd who leads us back on the path to the good stuff and therefore we've got to learn to discern his voice above the fray because there is a freight there are many voices coming out as his voice is the loudest, most influential, most present, sending kids to church a couple of times a week. Sounds good, but for 90 minutes a pop compared to four hours a day. It's basically like filling a wishful pebble at a cultural tsunami master Sy Rogers. Today's episode of Focus on the Family.
This is a fascinating presentation will hear the balance of it next time and I'm looking forward to that. I really appreciated size and put on popular culture, but I want to reflect back on the earlier part of his message. As we close, obviously, so I was traumatized by the early sexual abuse. His mother's death and being separated from his father in only six years old when he was sent off to live with female relatives. That is a lot to handle and that trauma impacted side for a large portion of his life, and it's important to note that trauma does not heal itself. You can stuff it down, but those wounds will be reflected in your self-image and how you relate to others until you deal with it.
So if size testimony brought up some difficult memories for you. Please give us a call. We have a team of caring Christian counselors who are here to meet your needs. It's a service that we've provided here Focus on the Family for over 40 years. There's no obligation at all. This is a free one time consultation and is made possible by our donors. And so, call 800 the letter a in the word family and just ask for call back from one of the counselors again that number 800-232-6459 and let me point out that our counseling team responds to about 2000 requests every month. That's a lot of hurting people.
In fact, let me give you some examples of the topics they've handled recently, mom call because her son has anger issues and threatened to kill her. Another mom called about her daughters who are severely depressed. One is in rehab for alcohol abuse and the others suicidal. A pastor called for help overcoming an addiction to pornography. So if you have an issue big or small, please call us and I'd encourage everyone to pray for the work of those counselors and if you can consider making a monthly pledge to Focus on the Family to support their efforts and all of our efforts. Any amount would be greatly appreciated. On that monthly basis then when you make a pledge.
I'd like to send you a CD of this two day presentation from Sy Rogers as our way of saying thank you and if you can't make a monthly commitment. Right now we understand we can send that CD out to you for a one-time donation of any amount. Join us as we help families around the world thrive in healthy relationships and most importantly, in Christ you donate and request your CD when you call 880 family 800-3264 59 or follow the link in the episode's and if you enjoyed today's presentation. Please tell a friend to tune in next time were to hear more from Sy Rogers and you don't have to be a Christian or a rocket scientist to recognize that mismanaged sexuality brings terrible consequences. All 50 years ago, the sexual revolution brought us all a lot of casual sex, but it also brought a lot of sexual casualties on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for this Focus on the Family podcast. Please take a moment to give us a rating make some comments force that always is helpful and helps others find a gas and then share this episode with different on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for joining us for this Focus on the Family podcast on John Fuller inviting you back once more help you and your family thrive in Christ, I'm here asking people how they could both give and get to know. Maybe. Love you both give and get love through body. It's also possible with a charitable gift annuity you get a secure source of fixed income and a charitable tax to decks and class giving a charitable gift annuity to Focus on the Family help families thrive for generations to come. Find out more good a focus and giving.com that's focus planned giving.com