Category Archives: Humility

The Courage of a Young Lion

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Watercolor artwork by Dylan Pierce (another one of my young lions!)

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Over the past few years I’ve featured a “lion’s share” segment on my blog, providing a platform for the ‘young lions’ I’ve been privileged to mentor and father spiritually.

Today I share with you, my beloved readers, one of the great young men of his generation. Shawn Buck has been with me in the pride for a bit over a year and will soon be moving on from the den as God has called him away from us. Lord willing, Shawn will be leaving for Cape Town, South Africa for a two-year (or life-long?) commitment with the Ubuntu Football Academy.

I’m honored to serve on Shawn’s board but even more blessed to call him a son of the faith. This dude is as real as they come! In this post, Shawn bravely shares his greatest fight and offers hope in overcoming addiction to pornography. As the guys and I have discussed on numerous occasions, we don’t affix the slang “porn” too often because that has become a designation that makes it a culturally acceptable norm. To call it what it is – pornography – paints it in a more ‘graphic’ light, relegating it to it’s more insidious and self-destructive nature.

Thank you, Shawn, my son, for listening to Wisdom’s call and learning to pass by the “forbidden woman’s” house on the other side (Proverbs 7:4,5). I love you, courageous lion of God.

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When I was 13 years old, I came across pornography for the first time. It led me down a destructive road of getting deeper and deeper into the world of porn, of continuously lusting after girls and after self-gratification. It led to incredible shame, gut-wrenching guilt, and loss of self worth. It destroyed relationships and it built a dependence on something that doesn’t satisfy. It led me to lie constantly to cover my tracks. It consistently brought me into a world I never dreamt I would be a part of.

It changed my life.

Lust and porn is a cruel drug. That isn’t just some saying. It acts the same way as cocaine by releasing large amounts of dopamine into your brain. The fact that it is so easy to get can make it more dangerous than cocaine, because you can keep your brain doped up for hours (fightthenewdrug.org). It truly is one of the most dangerous things on this earth.

Have you ever heard of a healthy marriage where either the husband or wife wishes they would have slept with more people or watched more porn?

No.

Lust and porn are damaging to our future relationships. There will be images you can’t get out of your mind, unfair expectations you will put on your spouse and even damage done to your own confidence.

I pray that people realize just how destructive lust and porn are. This isn’t just some harmless thing that everybody does. One, it is so degrading to women. Women are amazing and deserve to be held up and shown so much more respect than porn. It truly does alter your view of them subconsciously and starts to paint them as objects in your mind. Two, it plays a large role in human trafficking. Chuck Norris actually wrote an incredible article about that here (http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/porns-part-in-sex-trafficking/). And three, it ultimately hurts you by making you think that that’s what it should be like: by bringing down your confidence, and by taking something so beautiful as sex and making it a cheap, non-committal and perverse action between two random people.

I say all of this not to judge you, be pessimistic or throw hatred on you, but to convince some of you that this is not some cute pet to keep around and play with. It is a dangerous destructive lion just waiting to destroy you completely.

I wish so badly that I could sit here today and tell you that it is something that I’m free of and have victory over, but it’s not. I still have a sexual addiction that I struggle with daily. I have seen significant, positive change in my life with this sexual addiction, though, and that is the only reason I am able to open up enough to write this blog and share my story with you.

I want you to know that you aren’t the only one dealing with this. You haven’t gone too far and or done something too awful. You aren’t defined by your addiction and you can see freedom from it. I have tried every cure/fix there is: accountability partners, Internet filters, multi-step programs, books, and everything else under the sun, and can I tell you the only thing that has made a lick of change in my life? Honestly, Jesus.

I know that is going to turn someone off and I hope you continue to read because I’m going to tell you the difference between all of the things I’ve tried and Him.

He knows you’re going to mess up. He doesn’t guarantee that everything will be fixed after 5 easy payments. He understands exactly, let me say again, exactly what you are going through. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t happy you are failing like this, and yet he takes you back anyways. You will never go too far, mess up too much or be too unworthy of his acceptance. He loves you and delights when you realize that you can do nothing but lean on HIM. That’s called dependence, and when you start to depend on something that can truly satisfy instead of the false hope of pornography, that is when you will start to see change.

That is my story. Here it is for the world to see and know about. I hope that one day you can open up about your struggles and share your story with people.

If you don’t know whom you can tell, my email is scbuck27@gmail.com. I would love to listen and help in anyway I can.

Thank you so much for listening to my story!

H/T to Karlye – one of our lionesses! – over at flower roots.com. Her layout is way better than mine anyhow. And more pictures.

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God’s Job With Me

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I have a disability. I am not, however, defined by it so I don’t consider myself a disabled person but, rather, a person with a disability. More to the point, my paralysis is what God is using – my platform – to demonstrate the out-raying of of His glory to the broken and hurting world around me.

Regrettably, in 1981, before I was introduced to handicapped status, my life was anything but a bright and shining testimony. Rather than traversing about about as a vessel of honor, I was a shipwreck waiting to happen. Had I stayed that course, you would not be reading this version of my testimony, but God, who is wise and merciful, saw an opportunity and put me in dry dock for some woefully needed reparation.

Before our man Job’s colossal Trial, he was a man of moral honor and of blameless character. Here, he and I part company really fast, with a wide berth between us! Before my own divine appointment, while supposedly preparing for a life of ministry at a Christian school in Tennessee, I opted rather to trip the light fantastic my junior year and explore options more cosmopolitan and earthly. Actually, I was more titillated by the prospect of a season in sin than falling headlong into it for fear of turning permanently away from God. That notion did horrify me. So maybe not the far, far country, but a few zip codes away suited me just fine.

Soon, however, the gravitational pull of Vanity Fair overtook me and I reached inside my soul and eagerly picked out some coins and paid the fare of some of its carnival attractions. The labyrinth of neon-lit avenues soon led me down darker alleyways and the introduction to even more seedy venues. These dens of iniquity were not for those who were merely playing at sin but for those looking to be actively employed by it.

Here I felt less in control. No longer was I picking the rides and selecting booths for momentary pleasure but felt they were somehow choosing me. Thanks be to God, my skin prickled. My gut told me to run for dear life. There opened before me a way of escape and I gladfully took it.

Wending my way outward through the maze of attractions, penitently reversing my travels, the carnies looked less friendly than at first, the places and atmospheres more insidious. Just you try and leave, they threatened.

You are trapped here forever…

The tangle of sideshows kept rearranging themselves, confusing the senses, prompting me to feel less hopeful about leaving. I kept running down promising lanes, expecting to pop out onto main arteries only to run into dead-ends leaving me exasperated and hopeless.

The profane grinding of a carnival organ and its incessant melodies sped up creating even more confusion. Sadistic people with snarkish smiles whirled about me and their faces blurred and morphed into visages macabre and demonic. There, in a grotesque blend of Grimm-worthy music and amusement, in the very nexus of Vanity Fair, I stopped and cried out for a supernatural deliverance from my agonies, to the only One who could. If He would even have me.

Miracle of miracles, not only would He, but He came to me with great tenderness and mercy.

The Call of the Carnival is undeniable but the Rescue of the Redeemer is epic!

It was during this episode of Divine Intervention that a friend placed in my hand a golden gift. This friend was well aware of my forays and foraging in the far country and came alongside me to buttress me as I wobbled on renewed legs. His “gift” was a plastic case, no larger than a paperback book, containing four cassette tapes, each a separate sermon from a pastor out west. The sermons were a four-part series of encouragement for those who were hurting.

The title on the cover read, “Gold In The Making”. I was captured.

My friend told me he had listened to Pastor Swindoll’s sermons over the summer and had also been accosted by the teaching that had seemed so alien to our theology: that God uses and even prescribes suffering for His children, that they might deepen in value and expand in power, being made weak in their trials. In short, we need fire in our life to purify, mold and empower us.

The fire softens us toward God and others.

The fire turns us to God in absolute dependence.

The fire increases the brightness of His glory in us.

Whatever this “fire” was, I knew I wanted it. I needed it. One of the sermons was a gem about Job. In that particular homily, Dr. Swindoll focused on Job’s crowning confession as we near the final stages of the debate with his trio of counselors, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.

“He knows the way that I take and when He has tried me, I will come forth as gold.”*

The insightful pastor offered an unforgettable lesson, zeroing in on one of the primary Hebrew words in the text. He said the word “way” translates the word ‘derek‘ in the original. He explained it means “bent” as in the bent area of an archer’s bow. When an archer crafted his bow, he was well-acquainted with how much force of pull was needed to create the arch without breaking it. With great care and exertion, the craftsman would pull on each end with his foot unyieldingly positioned in its center, applying just the right amount of pressure so as not to completely break the object, but enough so as to achieve for it maximum effectiveness.

Dr. Swindoll imagined for the listener what the bow might say about the process if it could feel. Perhaps it would question why such merciless mistreatment! But, carrying the parable further along, he explained it is not the archer’s desire to destroy his instrument as that would defeat its purpose, but to fashion it according to his own need.

The point is well struck when we yield to the truth that God applies trials in just the same way for His own instruments of righteousness, always stretching us beyond our own natural ability to learn His super-ability in us. All of this, we realize, is for His own purpose and pleasure, but also our value and effectiveness.

As I listened with heart swelling and eyes blurred by the onslaught of emotion, I decided then and there I wanted my life to hit the mark, whatever it cost me, and utterly for His own glory. Forever and ever, amen.

And so, that’s how I initially became a marked man. My story doesn’t begin at the Ingle’s Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois on the third of September, nineteen hundred and sixty. I like to think it began on the floor of my college dorm room about the time I was introduced to Job, sometime just before midnight in late September, twenty-one years later. I may as well have been a figment prior to that night, artificial and existentially challenged. Trueness didn’t find its way into my empty shell until I laid myself, body, spirit and soul, as a sacrifice to the Lord on an altar of industrial-grade carpet while my roommates slept the sleep of dreaming freshmen.

From my perspective, however, the sacrifice was an embarrassment. I seemed like an inferior lamb, a blind goat, a lame offering in the scheme of things. Would my heart’s Governor accept me on His table?** I carried the stink of sin, the scent of a far country, my carcass pitted with decay from the inside out.

Even so, the Holy One received me, warts, leprosy and all, lock, stock and barrel, though befouled and obscene, because He knows His fire will consume all my worst and produce His artistic best, transforming my drudge and dross into pure gold.

That’s God’s job and He takes His work very seriously. It’s my job to let Him.

From Job’s apogeic confession, I inherited three gleaming truths that still flank and support me as I accept life with a serious disability.

1. God Knows Where I Am

2. God Knows What I Can Become

3. God Knows What He’s Doing To Bring Me Into Fullness

Beneath the thick viscous sludge of dross that clung (and yet clings!) to me, the Divine Assayer saw a vault of priceless gold and made it His perfect plan to get to it. To that end, I made it my constant plea to call upon my Sovereign to administer His Fire to do its necessary work in me, of bringing out a fully transparent sheen, the out-raying of Christ, and making my life a glory to my God and an encouragement to His people.

One thing about ashes, they are visible reminders of a former existence, so when scripture says Job “sat down among the ashes”***, it could also point to a deeper reality that they were a graphic eulogy over his former days, that a new era was commencing, taking him from good enough**** to better, from great to greater, from former glory to grander glory, from fear to faith, from bronze to gold.

“Gold, God,” I sobbed, face buried in the threadbare carpet. “I want to be gold!”

Then: a holy, pregnant pause. “Take my life, take my legs…whatever it takes…”

My prayer ended. I’d said enough, it turns out.

The benediction over my funeral pyre that night, some thirty-two years ago as I rose on Amen legs, could only be heard in the Unseen Realm, sufficing as a Divine Directive, passing from Throne to the powers that waited:

“The kindling and the sacrifice are ready. Start the fire.”

A hasting to do the Father’s will, and these words followed His fiery cohort out of the Heavenly Temple:

“Quickly, now. There’s gold…”

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*Job 23:10
**Malachi 1:8
***Job 2:8
****Job 1:1

Counterfeit Grace

Just felt I should share what I posted on Twitter today.

It needs to be said.

@Pasturescott: Be wary of those who are all about grace and not accountability. They haven’t received a revelation of God’s brand, only a cheap knock-off.

This addresses one of the more subtle deceptions snaking through the church in these last days. Shamefully, multitudes are drinking the purple kool-aid because it goes down smoothly and appeals to old Adam’s proclivities.

If we believers are not still accountable to God, then we’re right back in the Garden, fruit in hand, feeling good about ourselves and our chances.

Hashtag: “God have mercy!”

This has happened because, for generations now, the Gospel has been tampered with, tweaked, muddied and dumbed down. It’s been reduced to a formulaic cover-all prayer and a me-centered narrative rather than a lifelong grace-empowered surrender that forsakes all – even our own self – but Jesus.

On a related note, when I fail to forsake my own way and know that I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, I take to heart the blessed truth of 1 John 1:9 – which is graciously for me! – and repent to Him, find mercy even for my egregious oversights, and fall ever more deeply in love with God who saves, keeps and covers me. And changes me. With genuine grace.

Now I can get into and embrace that brand of grace!

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