Monday, December 21, 2015

Church Dropouts

One of my favorite pastors was teaching a lesson a few weeks back, and made reference to Church Dropouts and I allowed the Lord to speak to me about this very thing. You know there are High School Dropouts and College Dropouts, but we never really give thought to Church Dropouts. Allow me a moment to explain how Church Dropouts occur.

When I think about how high school dropouts occurs, there are two sides. There is the side of the school (and the people within it), and then there’s the person who dropped out. Both side have to bear responsibility for the person who dropped out. The same holds true to those who drop out of church (religion) altogether.  Now, I want to focus on the side of the church and the people within it more than the person who dropped out of church.

You might be asking why am I addressing this? If we are claiming to be the church that represents Christ, we have to own up to our own failures, and repent. And that’s not a bad thing. If anything, it’s showing humility on our part, which is actually worship to Christ. I have been in church for quite some time and it’s amazing as to why we act puzzled, or angry as to why people have left (and then point the finger at them as to why they left). Sure, they make the final decision to leave, but at the same time, we have to look at our hands to ensure that we don’t have their blood on them. And sad to say, we have a lot of blood. So, let’s talk about this.

How have we caused church dropouts around us? Pride and ego are the biggest two culprits.  How do they manifest themselves?
You go to that church? Our pastor can preach!
We had church over here!
Get over your issue (you should never have issues)!
I’m so holy than you that I can point out your flaws!
It’s your fault as to why you’re struggling!
It’s your lack of faith as to why you’re in the shape you’re in!
We care for our own (clique) and the rest of the people around me can go to hell!
I hear from God and I’m the only one who hears from Him.
Men are to dominate their women, and the women have no voice!

Those are just some examples, and I’m sure you can think of others as to why others either condemned or they feel they will never measure up to God. The beauty of God is that He loves us, even with our flaws.

I want to real quickly focus on one sentence I typed up there because I want to say something to that: “We care for our own (clique) and the rest of the people around me can go to hell!” This is one that I’ve seen that has caused many casualties in the church (and they eventually dropout). I don’t know about you, I can’t sit around and watch people go to hell.  Intercession is so necessary (and just because you go to intercessory prayer, doesn’t make you an intercessory prayer warrior). And now this takes me to my next point.

How do we stop the church dropout epidemic? Deny yourself (I heard one pastor say “Kill yourself – the flesh, that is), and humble yourself. In fact, Jesus said that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In fact, Paul talked in Philippians 2 about the importance of being like-minded. Sadly, in the church, we care more about legalism, and our personal agendas than we do what God is requiring of us. To love and coming together on one accord. Jesus talked extensively about sacrificing for the glory of God. But as a result, we have many casualties, and we curse the very ones who are wounded. Maybe we need to read Luke 15 and get out of our comfort box (go after the lost sheep, lost coin and the son that’s lost).

Let’s go after perfection in Christ.


The MayneMan

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Why The MayneMan Took A Vow of Abstinence

Before I begin, I want to share a thought: If everyone can come out of the closet, why can't those who vowed abstinence come out of the closet? It's not a bad thing at all; in fact, it's a God thing! Come on somebody! Now let's talk about why the MayneMan took a vow of abstinence until he's married.

This past Monday morning, I had a dream about my vow to God (at the age of 18) of abstinence until marriage. In the dream, I must have been frustrated with remaining abstinence, and I decided to give up my vow. After it was all done, there was a guilty conscious hanging over my head. When I woke up from the dream, I was a bit startled, but at the same time, I was very thankful that it did not happen in real life. Just to let you all know I’ve been abstinent ever since November of 1986 to present day. So I’ve been abstinent for 29 years. I give all praise to God. But allow me to share with you the entire story behind my decision. I hope this will make you laugh, cry, smile and give praise to God as a result.

If you’re familiar with my story (whether it be me sharing with you all in person, via my novel Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid, via my YouTube interviews, etc.), you’ll find that my life was/is not picture perfect. It’s my prayer that this encourages someone. At the age of 10, my uncle violated me and then a year later, a female relative violated me. All of the violations stop at the very end of October of 1986 (I was 12 at the time). As I look at the school year of 1986-1987 (I was in the 7th grade), I was a hot mess. I tried to get next to my girlfriend at that particular time (thank God that didn’t happen), and then I tried to ask one girl to have relations with me (knowing in my mind that my uncle had relations with her as well). Again, thank God that didn’t happen as well. Later in my 7th grade year, one girl in class came up behind me by the pencil sharpener to say that the reason why your collarbones stick out is because you have AIDS. Now I had heard of AIDS before then, but didn’t understand the meaning behind it. Later that night, I asked my father a simple question, “What’s AIDS?” Let’s just say that I got an earful that night. It was very insightful, but also frightening because my parents didn’t know the full story of the violations. 

If you read my novel DDBS, you may remember this scene:

August 15th, 1987:
Later today, I pulled out my condom from my wallet. I bought it, because my friends had one in their wallets. I decided to experiment with it, and then realized that I will never use it, considering no girl will ever date me because of my uncle, and that I’m too dumb to know how to put it on. And there is NO WAY I am asking for help. I think those contracepty things will be a problem in the future, because of all of those lubricants that are on them.

This is actually a real-life scene in my life (around that time in 1987). I still believe that God was doing something with me at that time in my life, even at the age of 13.
Now let’s fast forward to 1991, when I was 17. I had just come out of a year of depression, but I was working at the library as a summer job. As I was shelving books, I stumbled across a TEV Bible (Today’s English Version) – also known as the Good News Bible. I checked it out and started reading Proverbs. That book gave me a reason to live, and then I would buy a Bible for myself.

A couple weeks before graduating high school (I had turned 18 a few weeks back), I was in Munich Germany with my track team as we were there for the Central European Championship. I brought that checked out Bible with me, and one of brothers on the team had an NIV Student Bible. I was scanning through Proverbs out of his NIV Student Bible and I stumbled across a note within Proverbs talking about “Whom Should You Marry.” This note would forever change my life (it was written by Philip Yancey & Tim Stafford).

Whom Should You Marry? (A good partner can make or break your life)

Proverbs 21:9 – Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Excerpt from the note: Not that Proverbs ignores the physical side of love. It urges marriage partners to rejoice in their love, to be captivated by it (5:18-19). It warns young people against sexual sin precisely because this wastes sexuality on unsatisfying, unloving relationships. Sex ought to be saved for the long-lasting, productive joy of marriage.

Proverbs on sexual sin: 2:16-19; 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:6-27; 23:26-28
Proverbs on marriage: 5:15-19; 12:4; 14:1; 18:22; 19:13-14; 21:9, 19; 27:15-16; 31:10-31.

It was that last sentence in the excerpt above where I made my vow to God to remain abstinent until marriage. Praise God that He’s allowed me to keep this vow to this day.

During of course of living, I have shared my story of abstinence with people, and I am always amazed at some of the responses I’ve received. Here are some that I received (mostly from women):
Don’t you feel you’re missing out?
I don’t know if I could do that!
Are you a homosexual?

My simple response is this: I’m not a homosexual, but at the same time, I know that I am not just dealing with this woman. I also have to know that she is created in the image of God and for me to defraud her, is really hurting God and my testimony before Him.

I pray that my story has encouraged you knowing that there are people out there who have taken a vow of abstinence despite the past (and for a man like me to take a vow at such a young age is probably unheard of). Anyhow, all glory goes to God.


The Mayne Man