Celebration Tour! “Live Pure and Free”

Live Pure and Free will be on a Celebration Blog Tour starting September 1st and running through September 14th. Every day a blogger will either post a review of the book, have a spotlight for it, or feature an interview with the author. Oh, that’s me.

Follow the tour and share the link with your friends.

CONTEST !!

Enter for your chance to win A $25 Gift card for PETE’S COFFEE. My all-time favorite coffee started in Berkeley, California.

Here is the link that will be LIVE on Saturday, September 1st:

http://www.celebratelit.com/llivepureandfree/

blog tour logo

 

Warning: Teenage Danger Zone

Schools out!

With summer comes lots of unscheduled time for children. With many parents busy working, there will be occasions when school-age children are on their own or with peers. No parent wants to imagine that their child is looking at pornography, but it does happen. Some researchers say the average age of exposure to pornography begins at age eight. [1] Others say exposure begins by 11 years of age.

Many times the first viewing is accidental. Be aware that a child’s exposure to pornography may trigger some unresolved issues that parents have with pornography or other sexual behaviors, making it more difficult to deal with the child’s pornography viewing.

Five Keys to Successfully Raising Porn-Free Teens

  1. Love on your Kids
    Stay engaged in your teen’s life. Know what they are up to and who they are with when away from the house. If your teen spends a lot of time at a friend’s house, get to know the parents and their house rules. Travis Armstrong, Pastor of Junior High School Students at Grace Church said: “Keep an open dialogue going with your teen.” Spend time with each of your children individually. It will give you both an opportunity to get to know each other, and it makes children feel special. Tim Block, former Grace Church youth pastor, says, “Communication is critical in helping teens realize that this is a winnable war as we depend on God’s indwelling Holy Spirit to enable and strengthen us.” [2] Think seriously before accepting a job promotion that takes you out of town a lot, or worse, has you move the family during these teen years. I learned from hearing the stories of many men with father wounds that their fathers were just not involved during these critical years.
     
  2. Teach them to love God
    Encourage Bible memorization. Make it a fun game. There is great power in having verses memorized.“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

    Host Bible studies in your home, and encourage your teens to be involved in church groups. Go to church as a family on Sunday. “Parents need to set godly examples and model Christ-like behavior when it comes to sexual issues,” says Block. Show the teens that your faith is important to you. Memorize these verses with your teens: Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 4:7-8.

    Why is reading the Bible so important for your teens? It is important because no matter how young in the faith your teens are, the Holy Spirit is at work when they read. The Holy Spirit will cause conviction. Conviction leads to obedience to the Word. When a teen commits to obey the conviction, they are moving towards surrender. Surrender is the willingness to do anything for God. [3] Surrender is giving up our rights and following what God has laid on our hearts. [4]

    Talk to your teens about their faith. Ask them about their personal testimony – not how they became saved – but their lifestyles. What areas need to be changed in order to make them better witnesses? Have them come up with their own “I” statements about what areas need changing. This gives something you can discuss as an accountability item. When you review these together, you are reviewing directions that they gave to themselves. [5] I recommend reading “Protecting Your Teen From Disturbing Behavior.” (See the “Information and Resource” list.)
     

  3. Be open and honest about your failings
    There is a transition that needs to happen from raising little children to raising teens. It is sad that we have to make this transition at such an early age now, even as young as eight. But since our children are facing such harsh realities, we need to be real with them. Realize that you, as a parent, can be a stumbling block to your child’s development into young adulthood. Admit when you are wrong. You have to be real and vulnerable and open. That way, when your teens have issues – and they will – they will know they can talk to you because you are not perfect either. Make it safe to talk. They need to know you’ve had to work through your own struggles with cigarettes, alcohol, and sexual matters.
     
  4. Expect the best from them
    You should always expect the best from your teens. Children tend to live up to, or down to, the expectations that are placed on them. Armstrong says, “We talk to the teens about having a ‘Prevent Defense.’” In order to help them do their best, set boundaries. Boundaries make children feel secure.”Establishing boundaries that are consistent with God’s Word are paramount,” says Block. John Young of Teen Hopeline and ZJAM ministries says, “Unsupervised Internet usage is more dangerous than alcohol in the life of a teen.” [6] Create an environment in which they can succeed.
     
  5. Monitor their behavior
    We will only know if our teens are staying within the boundaries we have set by monitoring their behavior. Accountability is important. Pastor Armstrong reports that teens are embracing the seriousness of the battle going on for their souls. “Teens hold each other accountable and use texting as the means of helping each other.”There are many options for monitoring teen’s behavior. Part of monitoring is checking what they are texting to people. Be aware of the slang and acronyms used in text messages. Find useful links and a short list of texting acronyms in the “Information and Resource” list at the end of this article.

Take on the Challenge
Pray for your teens, for the protection of their hearts and minds. You can’t be with them all the time. What you can do is be proactive. Get them out of the house. Do things with them that they enjoy. Go golfing, shoot hoops, or go camping to help them see there is more to living than their electronic toys. Take summer vacations at the lake, go skiing in winter, and go on retreats and mission trips. The years from age 11 to 18 can be the most challenging and rewarding years of raising your children. Take on the challenge and don’t shy away from it. This is no time to be on auto-pilot.

My views on this topic come from working for nine years with men in the For Men Only sexual integrity group at Grace Church. I have learned by listening to the men’s heartbreaking stories of father wounds, lack of boundaries, and the trouble they got into with sexual matters as teens. My hope in writing this article is that more teens will avoid pornography or other sexual sins. I pray they will have a healthy view of sexuality.

End Notes

1. Rob Jackson, When Children View Pornography, accessed 5/20/15.
2. Tim Block, Family Life Pastor, Mission Viejo Christian Church, Mission Viejo CA.
3. Lee Vuckich and Steve Vandegriff, Protecting Your Teen From Disturbing Behavior, Living Ink Books, 2007, pp 26-27.
4. Ibid., p. 34.
5. Ibid., p. 32.
6. Ibid., p. 44.

Information and Resources

YouTube Tutorial Videos:

Popular Texting Acronyms (partial list)

9: Parent watching
99: Parent gone
1337: Elite or leet or L337
143/459/ILU: I love you
1174: The meeting place, meet at
420: Marijuana
53X: Sex
ADR: Address
AEAP: As early as possible
ALAP: As late as possible
ASL: Age/sex/location
BROKEN: hung over from alcohol
CD9/Code 9: Parents are around
C-P: Sleepy
F2F: Face-to-face
HAK: Hugs and kisses
KOTL: Kiss on the lips
KFY/K4Y: Kiss for you
KPC: Keeping parents clueless
LMIRL: Let’s meet in real life
MOOS: Member of the opposite sex
MOSS: Member of the same sex
MorF: Male or female

Websites:

  • Covenant Eyes: www.covenanteyes.com
    Accountability software products that track a computer’s browsing history and periodically report questionable web activity to a designated accountability partner, such as a parent.
  • Common Sense Media: www.commonsensemedia.org
    Rate, educate, and advocate for kids, families, and schools.
  • Family Online Safety Institute: www.fosi.org
    Making the online world safer for kids and their families through enlightened public policy, industry best practice, and good digital parenting.
  • My Mobile Watchdog: www.mymobilewatchdog.com
    Over 20 parental controls that make it simple to monitor, block, filter, and track what your child is doing with their phone.

Recommended Books:

  • Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan – Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, Zondervan, 2011.
  • Neil T. Anderson and Dave Park, Stomping Out the Darkness: Discover Your True Identity in Christ and Stop Putting Up with the World’s Garbage, Regal Books, 2008.
  • Neil T. Anderson, Victory over the Darkness, Regal Books, 2013. Find more information about Neil Anderson’s ministry at: www.freedominchrist.com. 
  • Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods- The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and The Only Hope That Matters, Penguin Group, 2009.
  • Lee Vuckich and Steve Vandegriff, Protecting Your Teen From Disturbing Behavior, Living Ink Books, 2007.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Benefits of a Good Leader

My choir director, Brian, had an interesting way of approaching a new song. We did not start at the obvious place, like the beginning. “Go to number 5 on page 8,” Brian would say. We’d work on a difficult section of the song at number 5 until we had that down. “Turn to page 12 and we’ll take it from the third measure.” We went to what seemed like, random sections, and worked on parts of the song. Finally, “Let’s take it from the top.” We would turn to page 1 and start the song. The first part of the song was pretty easy, but as we got to the more difficult sections, we had the advantage of having worked on these with a trained guide, our choir director. What we worked on were not random parts, but were difficult sections that needed extra attention. Once we had sung the whole song together, we went back and worked on the difficult parts some more until we could do them confidently.

This is a good analogy for the journey to purity. Once the Holy Spirit has convicted us, and we listen to the prompting, we can start into the healing process with a group and a leader who has been through the battle and has freedom. As we did in the choir, we work on one issue at a time. Each issue is a challenge. The attraction to sexual immorality is not one issue, it has many component parts. You get to work on these difficult issues with your group. How would it sound if you performed a song and all you sang was the part you practiced on page 8 and 9? You performed it well but it was incomplete. Likewise, once you have worked on some purity issues and think you’ve got it, you will discover there are still some rough spots. You can go back and work on those with your group just as we did in the choir. A rough spot may be getting through the first Christmas holiday season as a pure man. You were doing pretty well from September to mid-December, but realized you are going to need to have a plan for changing circumstances. Accept the process. You have been at this a long time, and it will take time to get free, but you will. You can win in this battle with God’s strength.

1 Timothy 6:11- But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (ESV)

Photo by aleksandr Ovchinnikov on Unsplash

The Nine Longest Days of The Year

Dave Howe.org

For you, this may be the most joyous and fun nine days of the year. Give God the glory for your blessings. But for many, these days are a struggle.

I’m talking about Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.

For many of us these are the nine longest days of the year. For those:

  • from dysfunctional families where the holidays were painful times of chaos
  • whose marriages have crumbled and the holidays have not been full of joy
  • who are approaching their first holiday season as a non-drinker, a non-smoker, or without whatever drug they were addicted to in past years
  • working on their freedom from sexual addiction facing their family of origin who may be the source of much pain that they have been medicating with sex or drugs
  • whose spouse died this year and are facing their first Christmas season alone
  • divorced and facing their first Christmas alone…

View original post 584 more words

“Live Pure and Free- The 90 Day Game Changer”

My new book was released December 1st! “Live Pure and Free” is a 90 day devotional for men on the journey to their sexual purity.

“Live Pure and Free” is available for ordering on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Many wonderful endorsements are arriving. Here is the latest one from Dr. Rob Rienow.

“I spent my teen years trapped in a porn addiction. I wish I had this book. I wish I had let godly men in to my struggle so that they could lead me to Jesus, who alone could lead me to freedom. This 90 day journey is packed with truth from the Bible. The truth will set you free! Dave shares the misery of his struggles, the spiritual battle that men face in this whole realm of sexuality, and specific, practical, concrete, tough, honest steps that men can take, in the power of God, to get porn out of lives. Freedom is possible! Get this book. Grab some other men to join you in this 90 day journey. Don’t wait. The best time to get free is right now.”
 
Dr. Rob Rienow, Visionary Family Ministries, www.VisionaryFam.com

 

 

I’m not worthy!

Remember in Wayne’s World when Garth and Wayne would hear an awesome guitar solo, or meet a recording artist in person? They would get down on their knees and bow up and down hollering, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” We all laughed so hard when we saw them bowing because it looked so silly. It seemed like rock stars were their gods which they worshiped in their church: the basement of Wayne’s parent’s house in Aurora, Illinois.

But isn’t that the way we act sometimes? After we’ve sinned we feel we can’t go to God and ask for forgiveness. We say, “I’m not worthy.” We hide from Him, as if that was even possible. I remember Jake* from one of my purity support groups who was crying at the meeting. He could not understand how God could love him after what he had done. He had a hard time believing what it says in Romans 5:20: “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” God wants a continuous relationship with us. His grace is greater than our sin. When we have sinned, He wants us to come to Him for his forgiveness, strength and love.

There is no need to hide or think that God will not accept us because of sin. He shows his incredible love for us in Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Think about this, Christ died for us while we were still sinners, not after we were without sin.

We get confused because the things of God are not like the things of the world. God’s love for us is not understandable in earthly terms. Our experience says we have to earn God’s favor and be perfect before we approach Him. That’s why it’s good to study Scripture and memorize passages. With God’s Word in our hearts we can act on the Truth about God’s love for us. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11.

It’s stunning that God’s acceptance has nothing to do with our worthiness. We are forgiven because of our faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He will vouch for us before the Heavenly Father. God’s love is outrageously big and not based on some qualifying performance of ours. It’s about who He is, and not what we do.

“We’re not worthy!” Sadly, without faith in Christ, there is no remedy from our dilemma. There is only one way to the Father, and only one way to forgiveness of our sins; Jesus Christ. John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”

Here is some “excellent” news, as Wayne would say. It’s not too late. We can ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and to forgive us of all our sins. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now I want to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know if you relate to this story. Tell me where you are in your purity walk.

Follow me to hear about my latest blogs and to see exciting news on the book release at: http://www.davehowe.org

I have written a daily devotional specifically for men on their purity journey. I am sure you will find it helpful. Watch for it’s release Fall 2017 from Tristan Publishing. http://www.tristanpublishing.com

*Jake is not his real name.

Photo by Ben White. @benwhitephotography. http://www.unplash.com

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.

 

Old McDonald’s and the Heavenly Father

When my grandson was five years old he did something that reminded me of our relationship to our heavenly Father.

He used a piece of scrap paper to draw a crayon stick figure picture of my wife and me, with him in the center with hearts by each of our pictures. He wrote, “I love you” in big letters. It was so sweet. Our refrigerator has become the gallery for his latest artwork so we posted his picture there proudly. One piece of artwork became a lesson about God’s love for us.

We now go to church with him 5 days a week, four days for preschool and Sunday for service. He likes to take “the shortcut” home from church. The shortcut involves going past Old McDonald’s which is what he calls the fast food restaurant know for it’s golden arches.  We have stopped there a couple times after preschool when I was not sure what I would fix him for lunch. This daily childcare routine is new to me!

Sunday, as we took the shortcut past Old McDonald’s, he said he really wanted to go there for lunch. I said, “No” which I generally do, and said we had food at home for lunch. He had been very good in Sunday school and when we came to pick him up he was passing papers out to the other children. The teacher told us that he had been a great help in Sunday school that morning. i am not sure if he felt he had earned that stop or what his motivation was that made it so important to him. It’s hard to know the motivations of ourselves, no less a guy who just turned five.

When we got home he grabbed his crayons and got out a black one. He took his picture off the refrigerator, crossed out the hearts by my wife and I and made a squiggly line through the heart under his picture. Then he crumpled up the picture. He told me that we had “broken his heart” because we would not take him to Old McDonald’s. The squiggly line over his heart indicated his broken heart. I apologized and told him I was sorry that it broke his heart. and I did not mean to hurt his feelings. Soon after, he straightened out the paper and tried to rub off the marks he had made through the hearts with a kitchen towel. The marks did not come out.

Isn’t this the way we are as adults with our God?  My grandson wanted to go to Old McDonald’s and when that was not granted, he saw us as being mean and not loving him and was graphically showing that he did not love us anymore. We do the same thing. We pray to God for something and when it does not come when we want it, or the way we want it, we think that God doesn’t love us or care about out us. We may even go so far to to say he is not listening. We want to give up on God altogether.

As an adult, I know what is in those Old McDonald’s french fries and how they add sugar and precook and all the processing they go through in the making. I know that is not good food for him to be eating too often. He doesn’t know all that. Neither do we know what God knows about what is good for us and what is not good for us. God not granting some things we ask for is actually showing he does love us. Besides, think about it, if God gave us everything we asked for we wouldn’t have the time to use it, or a place to store it.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.- 1 John 2:15 (ESV)

Let’s realize that God, who created the universe, who knows every hair on every head, does care about our needs and loves us. He loves us so much he sent his son, Jesus, to live among us and die a painful death in our place. There is no greater love than this.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.- John 15:13-14 (ESV)

Just as I love my grandson, God loves us. He wants the best for us and we can rest in His love and be grateful for His provision in our lives.