Why Sexual Purity Matters: A Woman’s Perspective

March 23, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

By Dr. Sheri Keffer

Sexual betrayal is devastating. I know because it happened to me. My own story, coupled with the voices of others who’ve experienced the same thing, shows what can happen to our relationships when we’re not diligent to protect our relationship and sex life. But there is another way.

The Impact of Sexual Betrayal

In my book Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal, I share what I learned through research with 100 betrayed partners. My research revealed that 76% showed clinical symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Yet surprisingly, 88% of these same women said they would be willing to stay and work through the difficult process of healing — if the one who betrayed them would stop lying.

Men, this speaks to the incredible resiliency of the woman in your life. Most women are willing to fight for those they love. But it is critical that you understand what your wife needs from you. That’s why I recently asked 6,000 women to share their words and wisdom on the subject of sexual purity.

Most women are willing to fight for those they love. But it is critical that you understand what your spouse needs from you.

Restoration is possible, even after a betrayal. But pay attention to the insights from women [below]. They will help you avoid a disaster in your life, and your spouse will thank you. You see, to her, your sexual purity isn’t just important; it’s priceless.

How You Can Help Your Wife Feel Sexually Honored and Safe

  • Keep your word.
  • Tell me I’m beautiful.
  • Share your passwords.
  • Don’t have private social media accounts.
  • Don’t check out other women, thinking I don’t notice.
  • Take time to notice me, flirt with me, and listen to my needs so that I’ll feel cherished and protected.
  • Don’t look at porn. Honor my body by valuing my heart.
  • Look at me. In the kitchen, in the living room, and at dinner. Hold my hand. Offer a back rub or a foot rub and then let me enjoy it without expecting sex (unless I feel like initiating sex in response, of course☺).
  • Appreciate my “yes” and respect my “no.”
  • Stay present when you’re making love to me. Don’t close your eyes and go elsewhere (to your fantasy or porn library).
  • Take responsibility to rebuild trust when it’s been broken.
  • Be transparent and real in a solid men’s group that’s encouraging each other to love Jesus, their wives, and families.
  • Pray. Stay faithful in your relationship with the Lord.
  • Don’t wait. If you’re struggling with sexual purity, get help.
  • Be an example for our kids. They need to see what a healthy marriage looks like.

Dr. Sheri Keffer is a marriage and family therapist and a regular cohost of the nationally syndicated radio talk show New Life Live! Through her own personal story of recovery, she understands the trauma symptoms often associated with sexual betrayal and what it takes to heal well. She received the 2019 IITAP Outstanding Publication Award for her book, Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal. Sheri also holds a degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Don’t miss Part 1 of this series on sexual purity, written by Dr. Steve Arterburn.

You’ve Got to Run! Practical Advice for Staying Pure in an Impure World

March 20, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

By Stephen Arterburn

Perhaps you can identify with what happened to me. I was raised in a Christian home. We lived next door to my grandfather, whose name I carry. Grandpa and I had a special relationship. For reasons I still don’t understand, my parents allowed me to visit him without being supervised.

It was on one of those visits, at the tender age of 4, that I first encountered pornography.

The World Has Warped How We See Women

On the wall of Grandpa’s office, along with many other photos and drawings of naked women, hung the first Playboy centerfold. It featured Marilyn Monroe and was taken from the first edition of Playboy, published in 1953. That day, when I was only 4, one of the men I loved best taught me that women were merely objects for pleasure.

The women in those pictures were not equal to men. They existed only for our gratification. That is what my grandfather taught me, and that is what the world around me reinforced. It would take me half a lifetime to unlearn those pornographically induced lessons that created superficial connections and painful relationships with women.

God Has Called Us to Better Things

I share this story because no matter where you are on your journey to becoming a mature and godly man, I have most likely been there. I am grateful to have found the way out and to have found the path to becoming a real man of God.

In searching for that path, I have discovered a verse in the Bible that provides a lifetime of wisdom from God and protection from Satan’s lies. If you accept Christ as your Savior, then follow this verse. You will have an extremely good chance of living a life of virtue as a godly man who loves God and others well.

This verse is 2 Timothy 2:22: “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts” (NLT).

Porn Is Only Part of the Problem

If the latest statistics are true, and I believe they are, over 60% of Christian men are struggling with pornography. A Christian man should not look at pornography, of course, but stopping, while a good start, is not enough. This is about more than just pornography. It is about running from anything that stirs up lust or anything that could be said to “energize” lust and desire within you. That includes your best friend’s wife, the female down the hall you try to connect with “un-accidentally” every day, or a movie, or anything else that you would not want your wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, or son to see you watch.

Stopping is a good first step, but it is far from enough. Stopping does not produce virtue in a man. You have to run from inappropriate images and connections and pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. When you pursue those things you are going after the pure gold of character and virtue. Pursuing “fool’s gold,” or the things, that arouse your lust, may look very appealing, but these are things Satan will use to make a total fool out of you.

The Key to Winning the Battle

Pursuing godliness means going after God’s standard, which means not only doing better than you used to or doing really great, but living the life of holiness God has called you and me to live. If you have ever tried living out of and into this standard of holiness, you know it is impossible to do alone. It is a never-ending battle, and winning it takes brothers who will come alongside you as fellow strugglers. You need the companionship of pure-hearted men who are in pursuit of our Lord and in pursuit of fulfilling Christ’s directive to love others well.

This is one of the biggest reasons why Promise Keepers and the opportunity it provides to build relationships with other godly men is so important. My prayer for you is that you will use the wisdom and direction of this powerful verse to cultivate a life of virtue that honors God, yourself and all those who are counting on you to do the right thing.

Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show, New Life Live! He is also a keynote speaker at Promise Keepers’ 2020 men’s conference. A well-known public speaker, Stephen is also a bestselling author of many books, including Every Man’s Battle. Stephen and his family live in Carmel, Indiana, where he serves as teaching pastor of Northview Church. We’re excited that Stephen will be a platform speaker at Promise Keepers’ 2020 Conference. Need help? Call 800-NEWLIFE.

 

Don’t miss Part 2 to this series on sexual purity by Dr. Sheri Keffer.

Should Christians be Anxious about the Coronavirus?

March 17, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

By Todd Wagner

Author’s note: Since this article was originally published, authorities have increased their concern and the author agrees that our vigilance in preventing the spread of COVID-19 should appropriately increase as well. The heightened concern, however, only makes the truths below more important. Respect for others who are more susceptible to illness (including the elderly and immune-deficient) should cause us to operate with prudence and compassionate care, all the while modeling the strength and hope characteristic of those who know Christ (Prov. 24:10). Christ followers should also model compassion for those who choose to respond differently or react more strongly to circumstances and events (Prov. 18:2). Be gracious toward others. Continue to lead and minister in ways that express your God-given gifts. Recognize there is some subjectivity in responding to this crisis, even among those listening to and seeking God’s wisdom. Because Christians are citizens of heaven, filled with the strength and peace of Christ, we should be the best citizens on earth. I pray the principles below will help you do that.


With the increasing coronavirus cases outside of China, many believers across the United States wonder how to respond to the increasing alarm. What would God have us do in the face of a growing international health crisis? Should our churches close their doors for fear of spreading illness? Should I take my kids out of school? Cancel travel plans?

How should we help a panicked world?

Remember What We Know

First, it’s important to be reminded about what we already know. Worry is not our friend, and panic is not our way. Solomon reminds us, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Prov. 24:10). May it never be said that God’s people are governed more by fear than faith.

Corrie ten Boom, along with other faithful from among the nations, led courageously in the face of the Nazi fascism—a different form of deadly virus. And she reminds us, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.”

In times of crisis, the world needs steady people who are strengthened by God’s grace and selfless by God’s power. Worry accomplishes nothing except weakness of heart and head. It’s been said that 90 percent of the things we worry or become panicked about never happen, and the other 10 percent are outside our control.

While we remain on alert against viruses of doctrine or disease, worrying won’t change our circumstances or lower our chance of infection. It won’t help us fight off illness or move us to action. Worrying about COVID-19 (or anything else) will only increase trouble. Rather than worrying and being anxious, Jesus calls us to respond with prayer and faith in him (Matt. 6:33–34Phil. 4:6). We need not worry ultimately because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Cor. 15:55–57).

Remind yourself continually: it takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to peace, the other to panic. Choose wisely.

Love Well and Trust Him

If God calls us to worry about anything, it’s how to love people well. The psalmist encourages us, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” (Ps. 37:3). Peter reminds us to press on in the midst of every evil. Whether persecutions or pandemics, we can trust in the Lord, knowing, “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:17).

Worry is common to man. But God has called us to face troubles and threats with courage, leaning our weight on him.

Throughout history, Christians have often stood out because they were willing to help the sick even during plagues, pandemics, and persecutions. They loved people and weren’t afraid of death because they understood that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). By stepping into the mess of sickness and disease, they were able to demonstrate their faith to a watching world. So, rather than just asking “How do I stay healthy?” perhaps we should be also ask “How can I help the sick?” Let’s be quick to help and slow to hide in basements.

Prayer-infused confidence, compassion, and selflessness should mark how we talk about the coronavirus. Why? Because our Savior put on flesh (John 1:14) and stepped into our sickness, sin, and death. He healed the sick and cared for the hurting. We must do likewise.

We Can Be Careful, Too

None of this means we should be reckless. Neither Christ’s love nor God’s Word encourages careless risks, but both promote obedience. Loving the sick doesn’t mean we intentionally infect ourselves (Prov. 22:3). If infection becomes a legitimate risk (at the moment, the Center for Disease Control says the virus isn’t communally spreading in the United States, and the health risk is low), responding to the coronavirus likely means taking small practical steps like washing our hands and staying home if we’re sick.

Before you think of canceling church services, ask, “How can we care for those at risk?” As others get sick, care for them. Are most of you still healthy? That’s a great reason to gather for thanksgiving and prayer. Seek appropriate medical care as symptoms arise and don’t forsake caring for one another.

Follow the example of those who’ve acted faithfully in the past. In 19th-century England, when thousands were dying of cholera, Charles Spurgeon visited homes to care for people. The church of Jesus in Wuhan China, the virus’s epicenter, is faithfully leading even today.

Finally, as you watch the world react to this crisis—itself a stark reminder of our mortality—don’t neglect to share the hope you have in Jesus (1 Pet. 3:15). Share how he rescued you from the universal epidemic of sin and the penalty of death. Share that your hope is not found in remaining healthy this side of heaven.

We’ll all face death eventually. Thanks to Jesus, we can come to that day with confidence. Like Paul, we can remember that to live is Christ, but to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). We truly have nothing ultimate to fear—not from the coronavirus, the Ebola virus, natural disasters, or anything else.

Press on, friends. Pray for the sick. Walk in God’s strength. Love the brotherhood. Do good to all men. Use your health to serve, not to hide. Jesus is sovereign over it all. And we are immortal until God’s work for us to do is finished.

This article appeared March 3, 2020 on The Gospel Coalition website.

Todd Wagner is senior pastor at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas and is on the Promise Keepers Board of Directors.  He is the author of Come & See: Everything You Ever Wanted in the One Place You Would Never Look (David C. Cook) and hosts a weekly podcast, Real Truth Real Quick, on life, leadership, and the world we live in.


More resources from PK partners and friends regarding COVID-19:

Black Church Worship: A historical and theological interpretation of a people who were pressed, perplexed, and persecuted

February 18, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

I am often asked by white congregants if the church is moving toward unity and oneness in Christ Jesus, and if [my denomination’s] convention (SBTC) has moved positively toward the “Look Like Heaven” emphasis. What is the reason for the emphasis on the black church and black worship in the month of February?

First, black worship is connected with black life and it is characterized by a religious sense inseparable from the suffering that determined it. When black people gather together for worship and praise to God, it is not because they have made a decision about the theological merits of Luther’s 95 Theses or of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Second, black worship has been wrought out of the experience of slavery, lynching, ghettos and police brutality. As my deceased father would preach speaking in terms of our pain, “… we have been ‘buked and scorned” and “talked about–sho’s you borned.” In worship, we try to say something about ourselves other than what has been said about us in society. Through sermons, prayers and songs,  we have transcended societal humiliation and degradation to explore heavenly mysteries about starry crowns, long white robes and gospel shoes on golden streets.

For us, the church has been the citadel of hope–a sanctuary of peace. Whereas the church has been the only place where we could go with tears in our eyes without anyone asking, “What are you crying about?” We preach, shout and sing the songs of Zion according to the rhythm of the pain and the joy of life WITHOUT being subjected to the dehumanizing observations of intellectuals such as sociologists, psychologists and theologians.

In worship we can be who we are as defined by our struggle rather than be defined by modern society. Furthermore, our gathering for worship has been dictated by a historical and theological necessity that is related to the dialectic of oppression, and our attempt to liberate ourselves from it—for which we would have no reason to sing, “How I go over, my soul looks back and wonders how I got over …”

Third, black worship was born in slavery on slave ships and nurtured in the cotton fields of Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia and Mississippi. It was birthed out of the struggle of black slaves seeking to define their humanity according to their anticipated freedom, and not according to slavery. For slaves, there was present the divine dower of “D Lawd,” who was greater than the white structures that enslaved them. When black slaves were tempted to give up in despair, this power (D Lawd) gave them hope that slavery would soon come to an end.

The source which black people used for explaining this power was the Holy Scripture as interpreted by our African heritage and our desire for freedom. Black worship is biblical! One of the most amazing facts of history is that many black slaves could not read, but their hermeneutics was not derived from an intellectual encounter with the text, but from a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Because slaves were able to make a radical epistemological distinction between the gospel of Jesus and the religion of the whites, the slaves came to a different theological conclusion about God. When African slaves heard of the Old Testament story of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, they identified themselves with the Hebrews and their white slaves masters as the Egyptians—and for them no  exegesis could change that. It is this theological certainty that enabled them to sing, “… Oh Mary, don’t you weep, oh Martha don’t you moan, Pharaoh’s army got drownded in the Red Sea; Oh Mary, don’t you weep, oh Martha don’t you moan.”

Therefore, the theme of God as the liberator is found throughout the history of black religion. The theological conviction that the God of the Bible is the liberator of the poor and the downtrodden was and is the mindset of black people even today. For us as black people, God is a mighty God, our heartfixer, our mind regulator. In our worship he is known by the presence of his divine Spirit with us, giving us not only a vision that society must be transformed, but also giving us the power and courage to participate in that transformation.

Finally, black worship is a series of recitals of what God has done to bring his people out of hurt, harm and danger. In black worship, God is that divine miracle who enables his people to survive amid wretched conditions. In black worship, God is holy, personal and all-powerful. Our understanding of that fact is what drives us to sing, shout and preach, “He walks with me and talks with me and tells me that I am his own.” In black worship, God is everything we need in order to triumph over terrible circumstances.

But wait! You cannot leave out Jesus of black worship! In the black church, Jesus is known for his identification with the poor—and there is NO distinction in essence between God and Jesus. Jesus is our constant companion, the one who walks with his people. He is the oppressed one who experiences the brokenness of humanity.

Now that you have a better insight and meaning of the black church worship experience, my dear beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I invite you for one Sunday in the month of February to go worship with your local SBTC black church and experience our unique heritage of praising our Lord!

This article first appeared in the Southern Baptist Texan. The author, Pastor Donald G. Burgs, Jr., is the president of the SBTC African-American Fellowship and serves as senior pastor of Alief and Tabernacle Baptist Churches.

The State of Masculinity as 2020 Dawns

January 27, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

3X – The number of men aged 25-54 who no longer work has almost tripled since 1950.

68% – The percentage of Christian men who view pornography regularly.

Ages 11-17 – The ages of boys who are reported as being pornography’s greatest users.

1 in 4 – 19.7 million children–more than 1 in 4–live without a father in the home.

79% –The vast majority of suicides–79%–are male.

9 in 10 – 93% of individuals incarcerated – more than 9 in 10 – are men. 85% of them have no father figure.

Our nation is in crisis because men have lost sight of their God-given responsibilities. That’s why we’re building on the past to reignite a new movement of Promise Keepers.

You can help encourage other men to stand strong in the faith. Together, we can change the future.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 ESV

More than ever, America needs a revival of godly men. Our nation faces problems that can only be overcome when men of integrity — promise- keeping men — fulfill their destinies as godly husbands, fathers, and leaders. That’s why we’re calling on men everywhere—all of us—to fall on our faces in repentance for past failures, then boldly rise up and STAND STRONG as the men God intended us to be.

Join us July 31-August 1, 2020, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Just like the iconic Promise Keepers conferences of previous years, we’re going to shake the foundations as we worship together. We’re going to drink deeply from the Word of God. And we’re going to return home as changed men. Through Fire Teams—small groups of men in each church linked by a smartphone app —we’re going to stay connected like never before. Together we will bless our families, strengthen our churches, and transform our communities.

We won’t rest until we’ve brought radical revival to this country. And we need you to join us.

Purchase tickets online.

What Does Satan Want?

January 22, 2020By PK ManagerCulture, News, Values
This article appeared in the Christian Post.

 

 

We cannot become successful followers of Jesus until we understand that we have an enemy who works tirelessly to turn us back to our sinful nature.

Scripture has quite a bit to say about Satan, yet most Christians are ignorant about him. God has written some adamant warnings about our enemy, and we need to heed them carefully. Many Christians are under constant attack by him but have no idea of the battle they’re in. They think their lack of joy, broken relationships, and failures in life originate with them, when in reality their troubles are because they are following the voice of the enemy of their souls but are completely unaware of it.

Satan is a liar and murderer. This part of him comes from his true nature, which, according to the Bible, consists of arrogance, vanity, envy, and selfish ambition. When we act in such a manner, we align ourselves with Satan as enemies of God. This is why the mark of a child of God is humility and absolute surrender to our Lord.

Paul got to the essence of this idea in Philippians 2:3, where he wrote, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.”

What Does Satan Want?

Satan hates God with all of his being. God is perfect and untouchable…but we aren’t. So Satan goes after God’s children – you and me. He gets us to hurt one another and turn our backs on our Father.

Why do we let this happen? Satan is crafty. He disguises his hatred and pretends to be our Father’s friend at first. Once we let him into our lives, we start to hear subtle whispers that appeal to our egos:

  • Why did your Father give your sister that gift instead of you?
  • Look at your brother. He always has to get all the attention. Your brother likes art, and everyone tells him he’s so good at it! I think art is disgusting and offends God, don’t you?
  • Look at your sister studying science. Everyone knows that your God disagrees with science…You should say something about this to your brothers and sisters. She shouldn’t be allowed to come around.

The lies start to get more specific as Satan becomes entrenched in our lives, because hatred can’t really take root without self-loathing.

  • You’re so ugly. Look at how your sister looks down on you.
  • Your brother is smart, and you’re stupid. He thinks he’s better than you.
  • You’ll feel better if you drink this or snort that.

And finally: Why do you go on living? No one likes you anyway. At least if you were dead, they’d appreciate you. They’d feel bad for how they’d treated you.

The Good News

God has already defeated Satan! Sometimes we get this idea, probably from other religions, of an equal duel between good and evil happening in the heavens. This is not the case. Satan was defeated and cast out! The only duel now is for your heart and mine. Satan can’t touch God, so he attacks His children. And he does this by exploiting our sinful nature. He does it by appealing to the pride in each of us.

With the Fall, sin became our nature and four great separations occurred, according to Genesis 3:

  1. People became hostile to one another. Adam blamed Eve.
  2. People became hostile to nature. Nature became cursed and became a source of labor for him.
  3. People became hostile to themselves. Adam felt shame and hid from God.
  4. People became hostile to God. When God asked him what had happened, Adam blamed God, saying, “The woman You gave me did it.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Satan exploits these separations. He seeks to push our flesh in its natural direction, toward hatred of one another, nature, ourselves, and God. As James wrote, “If you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (3:14–15). The Spirit of God unifies and makes peace, while Satan divides. When we create unity among others, even at the expense of our own ambition, when we authentically build others up, and when we serve, we display the Spirit of God. When we gossip, slander, act out of jealousy, and create division, we show that we’re following the voice of Satan, acting as enemies of our Savior and Creator.

What does Satan want? He wants to hurt God by separating Him from His children and by separating His children from one another.

How Can We Tell When Satan Is at Work?

Satan can perform miracles and cause people to do so (2 Thessalonians 2:9–10; Revelation 13:13–14). Many Christians have been led astray by false teachers who have performed great signs. How do we tell the difference?

  • When the Spirit of God is at work, all the glory goes to Jesus. When Satan is at work, the glory goes to people.
  • The Spirit of God always brings peace. Satan always brings stress and anxiousness.
  • The Spirit of God always brings unity and equality. Satan seeks to divide and elevate some people over others.
  • The Spirit of God always brings clarity. Satan brings complication and confusion. “How can we really understand what truth is?” ask his servants. It’s the same lie he told Eve at the beginning. “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1). Yes, He did.

When the church is divided, the cause is often false leaders in the church who, out of ignorance, laziness, or greed, complicate the gospel, adding some form of works, tradition, or hierarchy. This allows one group of people to elevate themselves over another, selling out the free gospel of Jesus and controlling others. Jesus is not unaware of their schemes.

Believers who are walking in obedience to God’s Word have nothing to fear because they are protected by Christ. “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves” (Colossians 1:13). However, when we knowingly commit sin, we open ourselves up to Satan’s deception.

We must exercise patience with those who are not walking with Christ, because their minds are blinded. “Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25–26).

To those who have the truth, the arguments of unbelievers are senseless, but we mustn’t condemn them or curse them but pray for them. Only prayer and patience will unlock the minds of unbelievers so they can see the truth.

How Do We Fight Him?

As we will see time and again, Scripture calls us to be in a fight. The first call is to fight against Satan.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. (Ephesians 6:11–13)

Satan is a liar. His power comes through appealing to our pride and our flesh. If we’re surrendered to God, Satan has no hold on us because our lives will be shielded by the armor of God. We want to know who he is and what his schemes are so that we can recognize when he is deceiving us or others. We too often engage the lie rather than the liar.

Life according to the flesh, which is under perpetual harassment by Satan and his lies, always brings pride, discord, and division. Life according to the Spirit always brings humility, peace, and unity. Satan uses the same tactics he did thousands of years ago because they have always worked. He moves among us, appealing to our pride. These are still his main temptations to God’s people.

Now we see the immense responsibility that God has given to each of us. We must humble ourselves so that we can fight. Once we know what is wrong with us and who our enemy is, we are ready to become the people God has called us to be. 

Ken Harrison is CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers. Today, Promise Keepers is calling men back to bold servant leadership as change makers for their families, churches and communities. Harrison is also CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that oversees donations of millions of dollars a month to build God’s kingdom. After starting his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central, he spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate. Married and the father of three, Harrison has a new book, “The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man.”

What Exactly is Humility?

January 9, 2020By Ken HarrisonCulture, News, Rise of the Servant Kings, Values
This article appeared in the Christian Post.

Humility is clear eyesight. It is the ability to see things as they really are. A successful follower of Christ is humble. He places the needs of those in his care above his own. He doesn’t get his identity from what he has accomplished. He gets it from God.

Our flesh and our old nature see through a lens of self. We perceive things based on how they affect us. Pride distorts how we see the world. It causes our identity to be based on our accomplishments or lack thereof.

The thicker our lens of self — our pride — the less we see things as God sees them, which is how they really are. This is evident in the musings of a crazy person. As G. K. Chesterton described in Orthodoxy, a madman looks at himself as the center of all things. If he were to recognize that no one actually is focused on him, he would be infinitely happier because his world would suddenly become infinitely bigger. 

Pride shrinks the universe to a tiny world in which we are the god. As we die to self, we are able to see the world more clearly, as larger and more wonderful than we can comprehend. Pride is a miserable state because we don’t really inflate ourselves or our value. Instead, we shrink the universe to meet our limited imaginations.

Because we are fallen and therefore see things through our pride, we have difficulty judging ourselves properly. The more wicked people are, the higher their opinion of themselves tends to be. In order to properly judge ourselves, we must look at things from outside our own perspective. The way we react to things tells us where we are in our walk with Christ.

The insignificant things of daily life are the things that show us who we are. They show what spirit possesses us. It is our most unguarded moments that show us whether we walk in the Spirit or in the flesh. How do you react when you’re tired, hungry, cold, irritated, or stressed? Here we see what Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much” (Luke 16:10).

People often mistake confidence for pride. Actually, the most confident people are usually the humblest, such as the great saints Abraham, David, Joseph, Paul, and Apollos. The Bible calls Moses, who led an entire nation out of slavery, the humblest man on earth (Numbers 12:3).

Let’s look at some aspects of a humble person. Search your heart. Do these characteristics look like you?

■ No longer compares himself with others.

■ Seeks no recognition for self.

■ Sees every person equally as a child of God and honors him or her as such.

■ Enjoys hearing others praised, even if he is forgotten.

■ Forgives.

■ Lives a life marked by patience.

■ Relationships are known for peace and unity.

■ Constantly encourages others.

We see humility as a virtue, but it is really the symptom of something else — the Holy Spirit reigning in a person as self has become less. The holiest is always the humblest.

Pride doesn’t always show up as arrogance. It can appear as self-loathing, shyness, obsession with guilt, or anger. This is because pride always comes from a focus on self.

I once confronted a Christian who was living in sin, and he yelled at me, “Don’t you think I feel bad about it?” I asked him what his feelings had to do with anything. Pride thinks that feeling guilty is some sort of penance. Guilt without repentance disregards those whom your sin has hurt. It is just a continued focus on self, simply flipping from arrogance to self-loathing. It’s all self.

Humility grows as our Lord is revealed to us. As we come to know the Savior and look up into His face, we become more aware of our own depravity. Not in a self-deprecating way, but with the gratitude of a child who realizes that he is completely dependent on God and that God loves him and has promised to never leave or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5).

Ken Harrison is CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers. Today, Promise Keepers is calling men back to bold servant leadership as change makers for their families, churches and communities. Harrison is also CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that oversees donations of millions of dollars a month to build God’s kingdom. After starting his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central, he spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate. Married and the father of three, Harrison has a new book, “The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man.”

PK in the News: Mass shooting at California school renews gun discussion

November 19, 2019By PK ManagerCulture, News
This article appeared in Baptist Press.

As the U.S. deals with its latest mass shooting, with at least two killed and four others injured Thursday (Nov. 14) at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., evangelism and gun control are cited to Baptist Press as possible remedies to stem the tide of violence.

Police and other emergency personnel responded Thursday (Nov. 14) when a 16-year-old student killed two fellow students and shot four others, including himself, at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif.

A 16-year-old Asian male Saugus High School student described as the suspected shooter was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound less than three hours after he is believed to have opened fire at the high school of about 2,500 students. One student was treated and released, and two others remain hospitalized.

In the hours following the shooting, many students were sheltered at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, a non-Southern Baptist congregation that hosted a night of prayer Thursday.

Baptist Press interviewed Southern Baptist evangelist Greg Laurie, whose 29th annual Southern California Harvest Crusade in August marked the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history. BP talked with Promise Keepers Chairman and CEO Ken Harrison, a former police officer who leads the evangelistic and discipleship outreach to men, and retired pastor Al Meredith, who was senior pastor at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1999 when a gunman killed seven and injured seven others before killing himself.

Laurie, in his 2019 Southern California Harvest Crusade, reported more than 8,000 professions of faith, 65 percent of them from Millennials, he said.

“I believe that the ultimate answer to so many of our problems in the culture today, from acts of violence against others to even acts of violence against yourself,” he told BP, “is the Gospel. But we have to understand what the Gospel is.

“The Gospel obviously means Good News; the bad news is we’re sinners,” Laurie said. “The bad news is we’re separated from God; the bad news is we’re broken. The Good News is Jesus died to forgive us of our sin, and rose from the dead. And if we turn from our sin, put our faith in Him and follow Him, then He’ll change us.

“But that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing something horrible,” he said. “So it’s not just believing Jesus; it’s following Jesus. And it’s living by what His Word says.”

God is working among youth, Laurie said, “but we need to redouble our efforts to proclaim the Gospel.”

The motive of the suspect in Thursday’s shooting has not been revealed, but the shooting did occur on his birthday. He was taken into custody while hiding at the school with a .45 caliber semi-automatic weapon, authorities said.

“I’m sorry, it’s just not enough to say you know, ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,'” Meredith told BP. “Why is our death rate so much higher? Why do we have mass shootings that have become common place, they don’t even register on our emotional radar? And other countries like Scandinavia, and Germany and France and Great Britain, they shake their heads in amazement at why we allow these things to happen.”

Days and weeks before BP’s interviews, two young men had killed 34 people in one weekend in August in the U.S. In El Paso, Texas, a 21-year-old man had killed 22 people and left 26 others injured at a Walmart, and a 24-year old male gunman had killed nine in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio. The previous weekend, a 19-year-old male was identified as the shooter after three were shot dead at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., about 300 miles north of Thursday’s school shooting.

“Hope is two-fold,” Meredith told BP, as tragedies make more common the term “domestic terrorism.” His views are his own, Meredith said, and not those of the church that in September marked the 20th anniversary of the 1999 shooting there.

“One, only God can change dead hearts into living hearts. Only God can transform evil characters into God-honoring people,” Meredith told BP. “In one sense, all these mass killings are an issue of the human heart. And it’s a sign of our failure as evangelicals to win the world to Christ.

“The other level,” Meredith said, “is it seems as though our problems are systemic in our society.”

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. registered 3.85 deaths by guns per 100,000 people in 2016, compared to rates ranging from 0.12 per 100,000 in Germany and 0.03 per 100,000 in Singapore. The numbers, released in 2017, do not include deaths from armed conflicts, accidents or self-harm, the institute said.

“And that should tell us,” Meredith told BP, “there’s something wrong with the system (in the U.S.)…. Something must be done to change the system, both in the area of some semblance of restriction on the availability of automatic weapons. And the other issue is mental health, and somehow do a better job of caring for and bringing healing and normalcy to people that are emotionally disturbed.”

At the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2018 annual meeting in Dallas, messengers passed a resolution “On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings” addressing many of these issues. Read it here.

Harrison, whose Promise Keepers ministry focuses on evangelism and discipleship, sees the answer more in evangelism and discipleship than in gun control. “When you look at mass shootings, they’re … mostly young men who, they don’t know that Jesus loves them,” Harrison said. “They don’t know that they can be forgiven for their sin. They don’t know where to turn for answers.

“The number one thing the church needs to do is let these young people know about the grace and love of Jesus Christ,” Harrison said. “But more practically … one of the biggest problems that these young men have, is they don’t have dads in the home. They don’t have positive male influences, and they’re filled with anger. I was able to see the effects of that when I was a policeman in South Central Los Angeles in the Watts-Compton area.” There, he said, where 95 percent of the population was law abiding, the influence of gang violence was prominent and left people in fear.

Problems were exacerbated by fatherlessness and a lack of Gospel evangelism, he said, adding that a father in the home doesn’t necessarily equal a stable environment.

“We as Christians, we have got to be active in sharing our faith,” Harrison said, encouraging Christians to seek opportunities to share the Gospel with people they encounter in daily life. “Just say, if there’s one thing I can pray for you today what would it be? Unbelievable where that goes.” In his experience, people rarely refuse to talk and such conversations most often lead to salvation experiences, he told BP.

The suspect’s father died two years ago, according to ABC7.com.

Why We All Need a Band of Brothers

August 17, 2019By Vance DayCulture, Uncategorized

As America commemorates the 75th anniversary of D-Day this year, Promise Keepers’ COO Vance Day tells about his personal connection to one of the “Band of Brothers” who stormed the beach in Normandy.

As the green light suddenly glowed, a young second lieutenant shuffled up to the door of the C-47 and leapt out into the darkness. Other troopers tumbled out behind him. Parachutes unfurled and clapped open.  

The young, green pilots flying the C-47s sped up and took evasive action to avoid the barrage of German flak and machine gun tracers filling the air. As a result, the U.S. paratroopers were jumping way too low and at too high a speed.  

The force of the propeller blast was so great that the chin strap on Lieutenant Buck Compton’s helmet snapped. The rope on his leg bag also broke, and he lost all his equipment. As he landed in a Normandy field in the early hours of the Allied invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944, Lt. Buck Compton had only a jump knife as a weapon and was miles from his assigned landing zone. 

By day’s end, Lt. Compton — one of 12 green American paratroopers — would help defeat an estimated 70 dug-in veteran German paratroopers. The team would also assist in destroying four 105 mm cannons at Brecourt Manor in Normandy, which were firing on the American infantry landing on Utah Beach. For his bravery and leadership under fire that day, Lt. Compton was awarded the Silver Star. 

I met Buck in 2000 as a result of producing a documentary on that battle. I interviewed Buck and found him as down to earth as any hero I had ever met. He became a personal friend. Eight years later, sitting at my kitchen counter, Buck came to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ and entered the last stage of his life a believer.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynn D. “Buck” Compton grew up playing sports and dreamed of being a major league baseball catcher. In 1939, he attended UCLA and earned a starting position on the varsity football squad and played in the 1943 Rose Bowl game. However, baseball was his first love. He played catcher for UCLA and assisted the team to several winning seasons. Of course, having Jackie Robinson as a teammate helped.

When World War II broke out, Buck was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment as assistant platoon leader in the 2nd Platoon, E Company. He was young, in an elite outfit, and was about to partake in the largest military invasion in modern history.

One of the men in Lt. Compton’s platoon was an Oregonian named Don Malarkey. “He is one of the greatest guys I’ve ever known,” said Don Malarkey of Compton. Their friendship spanned years and provided great memories. Don was one of the 12 who attacked the German artillery at Brecourt Manor with Lt. Compton, winning the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters.  

The two fought together in Holland until Buck took a German round in the buttocks. Don led the effort to drag Buck to the back of a tank and off the battlefield. Buck rejoined the Company just before the Battle of the Bulge, when Hitler made a last great attempt to forestall the Allied advance by launching a surprise attack through the Ardennes forest at a weak point in the American lines.

The Germans had to take Bastogne, a Belgian city that controlled the road network in and throughout the Ardennes region. On December 16, 1944, the German army rolled over the American frontline units causing horrific casualties. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower had only two divisions in reserve that he could possibly throw into the fray in hopes of blunting the German advance long enough for other units to be moved to the battle from other sectors.  

The 101st Airborne Division was being rested and refitted in Mourmelon, France, after fighting a grueling 78 days in the muck and mud of Holland. Lt. Compton, Sgt. Malarkey, and the rest of E Company had turned in their equipment and ammunition and were waiting a total refitting of combat gear and winter clothing when the German divisions hit the American lines. Despite their depleted number and the lack of sufficient equipment and supplies, Eisenhower deployed the 101st to Bastogne and gave orders that the city had to be held at all costs.  

Buck Compton and Don Malarkey were trucked in an overnight express to Bastogne and dumped out west of the city in their summer issue clothing, with essentially no ammunition and in weather that would soon dip below zero. Malarkey recalls Buck asking, “Do you have any ammo for that carbine?” Don, like many of the other men in this unit, didn’t. Buck returned with a clip and handed it to Don, saying, “Here, this may come in handy.” Off they went to stop the Germans who outnumbered the 101st (15 to 1, by some estimates), outgunned the Americans, and were rolling toward them with tanks.

Lt. Compton did not recall the siege of Bastogne with any great fondness. “We were outnumbered, surrounded, and without proper equipment. We lost a lot of men — good men.” He and his platoon endured the rain of fire dropped on them during the nine days they were surrounded. He saw his men killed, and two of his closest friends each lost a leg. After the 101st was resupplied by air and the siege was broken, Buck got trench foot and was shipped to the rear. 

Author Stephen E. Ambrose recounts the remainder of E Company’s service in his book Band of Brothers, which was later made into an epic miniseries released in 2001 by HBO. The miniseries features both Buck Compton (Neal McDonough) and Don Malarkey (Scott Grimes) as central figures in E Company. 

After his recovery, Lt. Compton was put in charge of all Army athletic events in the European Theater. His service days ended with an office in Paris before being discharged stateside as a First Lieutenant.

Buck did not consider himself a war hero when he returned home. “I did my duty and came home — that was it.” After the war, Buck finished his degree at UCLA, worked as a detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, and then passed the California Bar Exam. Eventually Buck became a prosecutor for Los Angeles County. One of his last convictions was that of Sirhan Sirhan for the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy.

In 1970, Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Buck to the California Court of Appeals for the Second Judicial District. Judge Compton served on the bench until his retirement in 1990. He moved to Mt. Vernon, Washington, to be near his two daughters and their families and provided weekly policy and political commentary on local radio. “I’ve lived a full life and have no regrets. I’m just glad to be around,” he often said.

Personally, I owe Buck a great deal. He was a mentor, a friend, and a colleague. It was Buck who encouraged me to place my name into consideration for appointment as a Circuit Court judge. He believed in me and supported me; we traveled together for 10 years all through North America and Europe, even lecturing on leadership and history at the White House and before members of Congress. 

Buck was thrilled when the Governor appointed me to the bench. He traveled to Oregon and spoke at my investiture (the public robing ceremony) as a judge. I didn’t know what Buck would say about me, but I was floored when he told the audience that he wanted to be like me. I was flabbergasted. Here was my hero, saying he wanted to be like me?

As I’ve pondered that moment, I’ve come to realize that all of us need brothers who will come alongside us and encourage us, strengthen us, and hold us accountable. I thought I was the main one who benefited from my relationship with Buck, but apparently there were traits in me that helped him be a better man as well.

That’s a big part of what Promise Keepers is all about. Through our upcoming stadium event July 31–August 1, 2020, we want you to see there’s an army of guys like you who want to be the men God intends them to be. But we also want to help you connect locally to a small band of brothers who make you stronger in ways you may have never considered — like Buck did for me.

Four months after speaking at my investiture, Buck passed away. He was 91. I still miss him greatly. We all owe a great debt to Buck and to each of those who have served our country. Many never came back. Please take time to remember those who have served — in whatever conflict — during this 75th-Anniversary season of D-Day. If you’re able, reach out and say thank you. Without brave soldiers who step up to defend the republic, we would not have the legacy we possess to pass on to the next generation.

This story originally appeared in the Promise Keepers newsletter. For more content like this, sign up here for the Promise Keepers newsletter.

Does My Work Matter?

August 9, 2019By Vance DayCulture, PK Men's Study Bible

Many of us spend quiet lives in a cubicle or in front of a machine where no one notices our work unless we mess up. If we don’t show up for work, someone else takes the pile off our desk or bench and life goes on. So how significant is what I do with those 40-plus hours of my week?

Psalm 90 was written by Moses during Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness. It is a plea for God to give meaning to otherwise meaningless lives. Think through the structure of this poem, and its impact hits like a sledge hammer. God is eternal; man is temporary. Apart from God, humans have no hope of significance. So Moses prayed for wisdom and for God’s compassion on man’s condition. The request of Moses’ prayer was that God would let man understand God’s workings, and then incorporate human work into the grand, eternal plan.

Moses recognized that God’s involvement in a man’s life is his only hope of real significance. Meditate on verses 1-11 and then carefully read verses 12-17 as your own prayer. As you go to work, offer up your activity to God as part of his eternal work through you.

Scripture Reference: Psalms 90:1-17

Promise #1 HONOR
A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Excerpted from the Promise Keeper’s Men’s Study Bible.