Tag Archives: Gospel

From Porn to Reborn

 

In 2006, Crissy Outlaw left the porn industry. Now, she helps other women do the same. Crissy speaks out about the harmful effects of pornography. Her story has been featured on platforms, such as, ABC’s Nightline, GQ Magazine, The Huffington Post, CBN, Playboy, and Christianity Today. Recently I had the chance to sit down with Crissy on my new podcast program, The Lucas Miles Show, and discuss the dangers of the porn industry, her journey out of adult entertainment, and how she found Jesus on a film set in LA. (Listen to audio interview here.)

Here are a few things I learned during the interview:

1.)  Stats suggest over 80% of women involved in porn were previously sexually abused.  (In Crissy’s experience helping minister to girls post-porn, she says it’s much higher than that.)

2.)  It’s virtually impossible to leave porn. As we discussed in depth in the interview, Crissy exited porn years ago and is still unable to remove her likeness or image from the internet.  Guarded by bulky and confusing legal agreements, website owners have refused to honor her decision to leave behind her life in adult entertainment and continue to make money off of her to this day.

3.)  Sex Trafficking is defined by involving “coercion” or forcing someone to compromise their own interests.  According to Crissy, coercion is always present in porn and provides a gateway to more insidious forms of sex trafficking.

4.)  There is hope after porn.  I was so impressed by Crissy’s journey back to Jesus, her love that motivates her to help reach other girls like her, and the way in which God’s grace has brought restoration into her life.

To listen to the full interview, or to download past episodes of The Lucas Miles Show featuring other amazing guests, such as DeVon Franklin, Kevin Sorbo, or Lauren Green, click on the image below:

Additionally, Faithwire.com recently featured a story on my podcast with Crissy Outlaw, here is the link:

The Devastating Sin Many Churches are Afraid to Talk About

 

 

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Drifting from the Truth

augustine-truth

Isaiah 5:20 ESV says this, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

In the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes none of the ruler’s servants nor the town’s people wanted to be seen as foolish or unfit by admitting that the Emperor was really naked. Instead, the masses fell victim to a very small minority (2 traveling salesmen with a sinister agenda to deceive the people and profit off of their fear of being wrong). Because no one would speak up, each individual eventually assumed that all were able to perceive his new clothes, except for them, so they unanimously agreed how wonderful he looked – even though none of them could see his suit.

In today’s world the same is true. There is an agenda that exists to reframe truth – politically, biologically, historically, morally, religiously, and ethically – and those behind it are banking on the masses’ unwillingness to speak out and call evil “evil”. They have gone to great lengths to publicly and brutally disparage and demean anyone who would stand up against them and state what the great majority know, but that most are afraid to say.

This week’s headlines showed just a snapshot of this rising agenda and continued distortion of the truth; an anti-Semitic, radical Islamic sympathizer being appointed deputy chair of the DNC, continued attempts at normalizing and desensitizing the public to transgenderism and other sexual distortions, as well as a convicted cannibal’s charges being dropped from murder to only manslaughter. Each of these represent just a small glimpse at how far we’ve drifted from truth as a society and the extent that morality and godliness have been stripped from our definition of truth, identity, and life.

More than ever we need the gospel.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” – 1 Timothy 1:15

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Human Connection: Additional Thoughts 2

Yesterday I mentioned that physical truths often point to God, but they aren’t our soul teacher. Ideally Scripture and the Holy Spirit are the main guides that we have. But it doesn’t mean we can’t learn through other means as well. Scripture even tells us that we can.

When connecting, sometimes as Christians or while at a church service – we’re so afraid to talk about anything outside of Scripture. We feel like we need to talk about the Bible all the time. And we do need to talk about the Bible all the time. Let’s talk about Jesus all the time. Let’s fellowship with Him.

But, if we don’t understand how this world works – we’re not going to be able to relate to people. We won’t have opportunity to relate to people. If you’re talking to someone and their feet are pointed toward the door  – then you need to be in tune with that. We need emotional intelligence. If we’re going to take the Gospel – this too good to be true news – it’s got to be real to be true news – we have to know how to connect.

We have to know how to empathize and how we can we project some of those emotions on ourselves – of what that must be like. And can we treat them accordingly. How do we respond to that?

These are all examples of physical, psychological and spiritual connections. And I point this out because these tie together.

Going into part 3 of The Human Connection series, I want to take a look at Proverbs 23:7 using the King James version.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

The principle is as a man thinks in his heart – so is he.

The interesting part here is the word thinks. Thinks, as used in this verse, means a portal or a gate keeper. The thoughts of the heart is the gate –the gate keeper. What you experience in your life.

If you grew up with a charismatic background – there’s a lot of abuse and one of those misnomers starts in “words have the power of life and death”. The fear that has been produced with it is that if we think or say something – everything we say is going to happen.

We turn “break a leg” into some horrid curse. I don’t believe God made this world so volatile. Our words have power –they’re not nuclear. It doesn’t mean you can’t handle them. It doesn’t mean every word is a hand grenade. Idioms are okay. It doesn’t mean live in fear. You should still be careful of your words, but you don’t have to be afraid.

Thoughts often come in that shock us and then we over analyze. Chill out. That’s a thought of your mind –not a thought of your heart. We can’t always control what comes in – what we can control is what we do with it. We take that weird thought that just seems to jump into our brains and choose not to dwell on it and absorb it. We simply discard it, using the power of the Holy Spirit to separate what is worthy of meditating on and what is not.

The Bible says the word of God is capable of separating soul and spirit. It’s capable of separating what the reality or the deepest level of who we are – from the reality of who we are that’s just in our minds.

The thoughts of the heart are the gatekeeper for what you experience in your life.

What you believe on a heart level is what is shaping your life. Not those random thoughts, but what you believe on a heart level.

You might look in the mirror and see yourself in a certain light and think, “I look alright.” But on a consistent level you might believe just the opposite. No one can love me, etc. runs through your head on a loop. But that moment in the mirror – was a moment that contradicts what you really believe about yourself.

On the flip side, you may have positive self esteem, but walk by the mirror and think, “Okay, this is rough.” It doesn’t mean that the random thought is suddenly you speaking ugliness into your life. It just means that it was a fleeting thought. You need to brush your hair.

What I’m interested in seeing is change and life on a heart level. God is a heart God. He speaks a heart language.

Proverbs 17:20

One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper;
    one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.

The greatest deceit you can speak with your tongue is speaking contrary to God’s truth. God says he has made you whole and you’re the righteousness of Him through Christ. Then you contradict that with this lie “I’m a dirty sinner.”

That is deceit. We’re speaking something other than what is true in the Gospel.

This word “perverse” can also be read as “crooked” or “bent”. A prism will bend a light, causing a shift in it.

 

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The Human Connection Part 2, Day 5

Personality

Proverbs 18:23-24

The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.  24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I can’t control how people look at me or what they expect of me. But, if no one is talking to me I have to ask myself if I am speaking with my whole person that I want to have relationship with people. With my expression, my body language – am I conveying that I want friendship? Some people honestly don’t recognize it.

At networking events there are a couple of rules.

  1. You have to have some sort of beverage in your hand at all time.
  2. Make sure you never look like you have no one to talk to. Keep moving.

Sometimes, rather than just wandering aimlessly with a soft drink in our hands, we have to just break the barrier and say, “Hi. My name is…”

We have to ask – am I showing myself friendly? And the reason this is so important is because it’s necessary to spread the Gospel. 

  • You have what someone else wants. 
  • You have what someone else needs.
  • You have a miracle on the inside of you.

As long as you hold back you will never have an opportunity to heal or share. You can’t just stay in your world. If you want influence, if you want to touch people – you have to show yourself friendly.

Anything else is really position selfishness. Because God has created you to be the conduit of the Gospel. Your life is a missionary base. I’m not talking about the gifts. We all have different gifts. I’m talking about being willing to use your whole body to communicate that God loves you to others. Smile. Show yourself friendly.

Give value to other people.

World leadership says abandon your hopes and dreams to help me achieve mine. Most companies could care less about what you want to do with your life. All they care about is that you show up on time and do your job. Very rarely will your boss ask you what you really want to do with your life – and how can he help you get there?

A good boss will ask those questions and find ways to utilize and leverage those giftings in his employees. He will incorporate them within the company. You might be someone stocking shelves who needs to be groomed for the sales field. Maybe the boss learns that you want to be a standup comedian. He asks if you’ve ever spoken to a group of people or an audience. Your answer is no. So, while he may not be able to kick off your standup comedy routine – he can prepare you by putting you in front of people as you work toward your goals.

The Gospel says, “Tell me your hopes and dreams.”

God helps us realize our dreams while helping him achieve his dream within the body of Christ. And his dream, in reality – is for us to achieve our dreams all together.

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The Human Connection Part 2, Day 3

What does reading body language look like? 

1.The first thing we notice when approaching someone is their body. You see the frame, the person, the physique. What someone is wearing…And we can learn a lot just by what someone is wearing or how they hold themselves. Those clues may not always be 100% accurate, but we use them to make a judgment in deciding if we want to connect or if we want to turn and run the other way.

Body language is important. It’s good to become students of body language. If we want to influence the world around us we need to be aware of how the world operates.

Every part of our bodies communicates. If my feet are directed at you – I’m in tune with you. If my feet are pointed away from you and my hip is shifted toward the door – conversation over. I’m not listening anymore. Anything said after that point is not being heard.

Now these are just generalizations. It can be dangerous to teach this because people often misinterpret small clues. The flip side is that I might have a cramp and needed to shift my weight. So, it’s important to understand how to look at the whole picture. Become a student of getting to know people and how to connect with people without getting bogged down or misled with only one part of the whole.


 

2. Our lips reveal a lot. If someone is hearing information for the first time or – get this – if they’re lying, two totally different things with the same clue; they’re lips will kind of disappear as they’re talking or standing there listening. Police look for it in interrogations.

How does this help us in reading people? We know when someone’s having a bad day. So we take the “How are you doing?” to the next level with the person whose head is down and shoulders slumped. That person mumbles, “I’m fine.”

You know they’re not fine, so you can ask, “No, how are you really doing? Can I pray with you? Is something weighing on you?”

Someone who is aware and connected to people around them is able to distinguish that and see what’s going on. The best thing you can do for someone who’s in a hurry, if you want that relationship to prosper – is not to be the person who continues to talk for another ten minutes while their whole body is leaning toward the door. They won’t want to talk with you again. But, seeing the clues, you can take the opportunity to set up a time, asking when they may have ten minutes later in the day to talk.


3. People cross their arms.

The truth that is capable of setting you free is the truth that will offend you the most.

CrossedArms

We see this a lot when sharing the Gospel or speaking life into a situation in which the listener is not ready or unwilling to hear.  Crossed arms are often indicative of someone who is closing themselves off from what you are saying. The best thing you can do in that situation is to pull back for a moment or simply ask, “Is this something we can discuss? Because I don’t want to force this conversation.”


4. As I touched on during the first part of this series, we also use mirroring. We subconsciously mirror each other. We respond to each other. You cross your legs and a few minutes later I realize I’ve crossed mine. You lean in while talking and soon I’m leaning in too.

If you can learn these things – if you can grasp how we connect with each other in relationship – you can learn how to use your spirit, soul and body in a way to help people who are around you. You can help them receive the Gospel, your love – whatever it is you’re trying to convey at the moment. You’ll know when to back off or press in.

Does your body language communicate what you’re trying to say to a person? Do you look like you are having a bad day? People may continue to ask you if you are having a bad day and you continue to say no. Ask yourself what it is about you that is conveying something is wrong. Remember to smile. Hold your head up.

People often say they want to develop relationships, but they walk around with sunglasses, their ear buds in, looking at their cell phones. They’re unapproachable. They’re closed off. Put those things down. People read those body clues and back off. Be approachable and people will be more open to relationships and to hearing the Gospel.

Tomorrow I will expand on the different tools we can use to connect with people.

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The Human Connection Part 2, Day 2

 When we talk about making contact, we’re talking about two things:

1. Making contact with one another.

2. Making contact with God.

A lot of the principles I’m going to share are just basic ways we can relate to each other. If you’re one of those people who over-spiritualizes everything and wants to say a study of connecting with one another is humanistic – so you’re not going to listen to this unless every point is backed by scripture and verse – I’m going to guess that people aren’t listening to you.

I believe the principles I’m going to share are backed by scripture as a whole, but as I mentioned earlier, this is a journey I am on to learn more about God and his work in us and I invite you to learn with me.

The Gospel is entrusted to us to take to this world. I believe we’ve become so out of touch or out of harmony with each other that we don’t even know when someone is ready to receive what we have to say or not. We fail to recognize when we’re running over somebody – when we’re just plowing over them emotionally with our words or if they’re ready to receive something from us. We go out there and call something persecution when we’re really just coming across as a jerk.

People use prophecy to beat others up and to manipulate. People use evangelism to condemn. And we’ve been so out of touch that we’ve lost our emotional intelligence. What that means is – can you read someone while you’re having a conversation with them and can you then steer how you relate to them to meet the needs they have at that moment?

 Paul said he became all things to all people.

 But we take this mentality that, “Well, this is how we say it at our church and if you don’t like it I’m not going to speak to you.”

What we really say is, “They just weren’t ready to receive.” When, actually – you just weren’t ready to give. 

There are a couple of choices we have. I believe we should move every obstacle possible for people to receive the kingdom of God. Yet, we make it so much more difficult than it has to be.

Let’s talk about why we connect. We connect because God is a connecting God. It goes back to the Trinity. God connects himself, intertwining himself. He’s three parts of who he is – all working in unison.

In Genesis 1 God says, “Let us make man in our image.”

Who is “us”? The Trinity.

He’s having a conversation between the three parts that are him. He created himself as one in this relationship – like a marriage union in the form of the Trinity. He’s made us in the same way – body, soul and spirit. Just like the three parts of the Trinity.

And he wants us to act as the body of Christ. We lost something in the Garden – that sixth sense, if you will. But God is a God of restoration. We threw it away again at the Tower of Babel – working together for evil. So God separated our language. I wonder if we had been working together for good, if God would have put that separation in place?

As Christians our spirits speak heavenly things that we can’t understand, but that allows us to connect with one another on a deeper level than our earthly language allows; Body, soul and spirit.

So, how do we connect with each other? If you want to learn for your marriage, your business – or any other area in your life – this is for you.

There’s nothing worse than speaking with someone who has no emotional intelligence. What your face reveals or your body language is saying. You take a step backward to get away from someone and to put distance between you and that person and they take two steps forward to get closer to you. They just don’t know how to read the signals. 

How do we break free of that? How do we make sure we are not that way? That’s one of the things we will cover in this series.

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Week 16 Devotional: Spirit Without Limit

“For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.”  -John 3:34 

Did you know that you have the same Spirit in you that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, that empowered Paul to preach the gospel all over the known world, and that allowed the disciples to perform miraculous signs and wonders as the demonstrated message of Christ?  I hear so many pastors today talking about the Spirit of Elijah or needing a double portion of God’s Spirit.  Perhaps teaching like this has caused you to doubt your ability or power in Christ.  Maybe it has caused you to feel like a second rate Christian. The bible teaches that God gives His Spirit without limit.  This means that you right now, have an endless supply of the life and power of God on the inside of you.  There is absolutely nothing that you are lacking. Who needs a double portion of Elijah, when you have an endless portion of Jesus Christ?  Be bold in your faith and in your proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You have what people are looking for and you are carrying around in your hands someone’s miracle.  Don’t hesitate, for God is with you!

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Week 12 Devotional: Seeing Christ

I said, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me.” (Daniel 4:9)

The book of Colossians tells us that the mystery of the Gospel is “Christ in us, the hope of glory!”  This is what Nebuchadnezzar saw when he looked at Daniel – the power and person of God Himself resting on Daniel (and this even before Christ had been raised from the dead!) 

One time I was in Indianapolis at Circle Center Mall downtown and I passed a young man about my same age on an escalator.  As we passed by each other he just stared at me, so much so that I thought he must be pretty strange.  A minute or so later, after I had gotten off of the lift, I felt a tap on my shoulder – and there was this guy!  He explained to me that he was Buddhist monk and he began telling me about his mission to raise money for their monastery.  After he finished speaking, I looked him straight in the eyes and said, “You didn’t run down that escalator to ask me for money.  Why are you here talking with me?”  I’ll never forget his words.  He said, “When we passed each other, I saw the Spirit of God inside of you and I had to come speak with you to find out who you are.”  When you look in the mirror today, you might not see Christ in you, but make no doubt about it, this world can see Him! 

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Week 7 Devotional: God’s Faithfulness

“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.  So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”  (Isaiah 54:9-10)

When it rains, do you worry about the earth flooding?  Sure your basement might flood or your street might flood, but who of us is concerned that the whole earth is going to flood?  As a believer, we know that God has given us His word that He would NEVER again flood the earth.  Now that promise, as we know, wasn’t dependent upon Noah’s faithfulness, but rather on God’s faithfulness.  In the same way, God speaks through Isaiah, that (because of Christ) God will never be angry with us or rebuke us again!  That is powerful!  And what is so amazing is that, just like the covenant to Noah, this promise isn’t dependent upon our works or performance, but rather on God’s faithfulness.  Many of us miss this though.

I meet so many Christians that are constantly concerned with whether or not God is pleased with their behavior.  Ultimately their fear is that God is mad at them!  But this passage says, that when you are in Christ, God would have to go out of his way to break His word in order to get mad at you!  God isn’t anymore mad at you, than He is with Jesus.  This shouldn’t give us a license for sin, but rather should draw us even closer to God’s love for us.  Stop being so concerned with whether or not you are pleasing God, and instead, fully embrace the God that has made YOU pleasing in Christ!

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Week 6 Devotional: Preaching His grace

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)

Paul was a man on a mission and his mission was very clear – to preach the Gospel of God’s grace.  The message of grace was so important to Paul, that in comparison to it, he said his life meant nothing to him.  I think a verse like this should cause all of us to wake up and take note.  This isn’t a passing statement or a fleeting thought.  For Paul, the gospel, by nature, was found in the message of God’s love and grace. 

When I was younger, I thought preaching was the most important thing.  I did it every chance I got.  I even preached and evangelized on street corners and at city fairs in front of hundreds of people I had never met.  For me, what mattered at the time is that I was testifying, but honestly, I gave little thought about what I was testifying regarding.  You see, God’s call on our lives isn’t just to preach, but rather to preach the gospel of His grace.  Preaching by itself isn’t enough.  I can testify all day long against sin, or about the Ten Commandments, but that won’t bless anyone but my own ego.  Instead, if we are known for preaching something, let it be the message of God’s grace and unconditional love and forgiveness.  The world knows that they are fallen, but what they are confused about is where or not God loves them enough to redeem them.  Thankfully the answer is ABSOLUTELY HE DOES!

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