DEC / 11

A publication of On My Own Now Ministries, Inc.
Frustrations OF Finding Fellowship
2014 SEPT
in this issue...
Porn Brain
The Frustrations of Finding Fellowship
No Sequel in the Making
More than Flash and Fizzle
Why Does Psalm 23 Stand Out?
Yo ung C hr i s t i a n Ma n
Aug/Sept 2014, Vol. 5
On My Own Now Ministries, Inc.,
Rob Beames, Editor
Alisha Mattingly
Asstistant Editor
Donna Schillinger
Page Design
Rob Beames, Will Dole, Mark Driscoll,
Sam Harris, Thom Mollohan
Except where noted, content is copy-
right 2014 On My Own Now Ministries.
Articles may be reprinted with credit
to author, Genuine Motivation and
On My Own Now Ministries, Inc. is a
nonproft organization with a 501 (c)
(3) determination. Your donations
aid in our mission to encourage faith,
wise life choices and Christ-likeness in
young adults during their transition to
living on their own.
We welcome submissions of original
or repurposed articles that are
contributed without expectation of
compensation. May God repay you.
Visit us at
in this issue...
he movie “Don Jon” has just been
released on DVD. It’s a story about a
young man frustrated by the effects of
porn in his life. I’m not going to watch the
film, and I don’t recommend anyone else
watch it either, but the story could indicate
a subtle reversal in cultural attitudes when
it comes to sex and the use of porn.
When the movie premiered in the UK, The
Telegraph ran a perceptive article that
addressed the same issues that the film
raises, namely that a porn habit leaves men
unable to relate to real women:
There’s a scene in “Don Jon” . . . in which
[a female] character gently breaks it to
Jon that the sex they had was, well, not
that good. . . . Jon is stunned, mortified,
and finally completely confused by his sex
life. Because, the truth is, he’s not really
enjoying it either. Porn is what he really
loves. . . .
Even among more casual users, porn is
wreaking havoc in the bedroom. Last
year, American GQ’s sex columnist,
Siobhan Rosen, complained about the
“pornified sex” men seemed to expect—
not in a relationship, when trust has
been established, but from the very first
encounter. . . .
“It’s a disconnection from what’s really
in front of you,” says [Joseph] Gordon-
Levitt, who directed, wrote and stars in
the film. “Rather than engaging with a
unique individual and listening to what
the other has to say, right at this moment,
we put people in boxes with labels. We
objectify each other.”
Even sex experts and celebrities are
noting the destructive realities of porn in
relationships, and its complete rewiring
of how individuals—specifically males—
approach sex. A recent GQ article offered
the statistic that “one in five people who
regularly watch porn admitted to feeling
controlled by their own sexual desires,”
an unhealthy position to be in as men are
driven by a desire for sensation rather
than a desire for relation.
Has a porn backlash in mainstream
culture finally begun?
In his book on pornography, Wired for
Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks
the Male Brain, Dr. William Struthers
explains how regular external stimulus
alters one’s neurological makeup, which
is how human beings learn. Consistent
exposure to pornographic images actually
rewires the brain. Like a tire that gets
stuck in a well-worn rut, the brain, in
a sense, can be trained and eventually
subjected to addictive behaviors.
Similarly, psychologist Catherine Steiner-
Adair notes in the Telegraph piece that
porn has become so prevalent in our
culture, it has replaced how young men
learn about and understand sex:
“The boys are very confused about how
to approach girls,” she says. “Their
sexual education is porn. And it’s very
Has a porn backlash
in mainstream culture
finally begun?

misogynistic and violent porn” . . . . The
result is mutual unhappiness, frustration and
[Porn star] Nina Hartley agrees. “Young
people are going to find information
wherever they can get it. . . But watching
porn to learn to have sex is like watching
Vin Diesel movies to learn how to drive. I’m
paid to give this performance.”
As Dr. Struthers writes, “Pornography
teaches its students to focus on the
physiology of sexual sensations and not on
the relationships for which these sensations
are intended.” Ultimately porn defiles
the concept of intimacy and destroys the
original God-glorifying intent for sex. By
consistently pursuing pornography, men
“have unknowingly created a neurological
circuit that imprisons their ability to see
women rightly as created in God’s image,”
Struthers concludes.
“Don Jon” doesn’t promote the whole truth
of God’s design for sex, but it does point
out that even those in the secular media and
entertainment are aware of the dangers
of porn. As porn use has rapidly become a
social norm, even those without spiritual
convictions are beginning to take notice at
just how much damage porn can do.
For the Christian guys who are reading this
and feeling awful and shameful, I need you
to trust that you can put your sin to death
because Jesus died for your sin. Jesus went
to the cross and scorned your shame so
that you can scorn your shame. There is an
entire generation of Christian men who are
standing on the sidelines feeling disqualified
from serving Jesus because they are enslaved
to porn. Fight for purity. When you get
knocked down, get back up. The fruit of the
Spirit includes “self-control” and is possible
for you, my brother.
Mark Driscoll, Porn Again Christian
Mark and Grace Driscoll, Real Marriage:
The truth about sex, friendship, & life
BJ Stockman, 7 negative effects of porn
BJ Stockman, 9 ways to fight the temptation
of pornography
Jake Larson, Porn and the church staff
Reprinted from with
permission from Mars Hill Church.
he Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He
makes me lie down in green pastures, he
leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes
my soul. He guides me along the right paths for
his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod
and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a
table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overfows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the
house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:1-5)
Undoubtedly, Psalm 23 is one of the best
known passages of Scripture. This holds true
for believers and non-believers alike. Why is
that? Before plunging in too far it’s important
to note that David’s style of writing in Psalm 23
is poetry. That may seem obvious because all of
the Psalms are poems, but I mention it because
poetry has a unique ability to speak truth not
only to our heads, but also to our hearts. This
fact, coupled with specifcs of what David says
in the above passage, is why we fnd Psalm 23
so comforting and often turn to it in times of
trouble and hardship.
As we dive into this Psalm, I want to point
out that the ideas in the frst half of the verse
are repeated in different ways in the second
half. In light of that, as we walk through I will
couple these statements together. It is also
Press On

Photo by Tim Pokorny ©2009
interesting to note that in the second half the
pronoun changes from the third person, to the
second person.
The frst verse presents David’s basic premise:
God is his shepherd. Subsequent statements
are built upon this premise Yahweh, the Lord,
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, cares
about David and leads him. More than that,
God not only leads him, but protects him even
in the darkest of times and places. If we read
the account of David’s life, contained mostly in
1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, we see this
reality played out over and over. God protects
David from the lion and the bear. He hands
Goliath over to him. He rescues him countless
times from the hand of Saul. He delivers enemy
after enemy into his hands. The love, kindness
and protection that David fnds in God are not
abstract ideas or occasional fuzzy feelings. It is
the reality upon which David relies to continue
In the second verse, David refects not only
on the fact that God leads, guides, and blesses
him, but also on where and how God does these
things. God takes him to places of refreshment
and peace. He restores David’s soul. This is a
fascinating statement considering David’s life.
Perhaps once he was king he was able to enjoy
physical or mental relaxation; but certainly
not before then. Before he was king, he grew
up as a shepherd boy taking care of his father’s
focks, served a neurotic king and battled a
giant. He led and fed from armies. There is
nothing peaceful or tranquil about David’s
pre-kingship life. Even after he becomes king,
he continues fghting wars, a son who tries to
overthrow him, and various other conficts.
This fact leads us to believe that “He makes
me lie down in green pastures, he leads me
beside quiet waters” has nothing to do with
literal streams or grass. Instead, they are more
about poetic language demonstrating the
peaceful soul that David is able to fnd from the
shepherding of his heavenly Father. He was
given immense physical blessings by God in
his earthly life. And yet the emphasis remained
not on the gifts, but on the giver. God provided.
God vindicated David before his enemies. God
restored his soul.
If David’s assurance that God is his shepherd
is what Psalm 23:1-5 is based on, the truth of
the third verse reminds us that the Shepherd
will never abandon us. His will, when all is
said and done, is for us to dwell in His house
forever. He’s not leading us because we deserve
it or because we earned it. He leads us because
He desires to make His name and His great
love for us known, and this is one of the ways
He chooses to do it. We can fnd peace in
the confdence that God will lead us in “right
Psalm 23 is one of those passages that are
well known. Knowing the verse so well makes
it easy to check out when it is read, but in
doing so we can miss some powerful, peace-
provoking truths.” We are all in desperate
need of our Father’s care, and by meditating
upon the precious promises provided by God
through David’s most famous poem, we can
fnd comfort. For those who trust Him, He
leads us where we need to be, and at the end of
those right paths, He will take us to live with
him forever. There is nothing more comforting
than the thought of living eternally with our
Heavenly Father in His house!
Will Dole is pursuing a life in ministry and
currently works with South Lake Youth
Ministries in Plummer, Idaho. Visit him at
Genuine Motivation and On My Own Now
Ministries wishes to express our gratitude to
Will for his dedicated service as a columnist
since the inception of this e-zine. We pray
God’s favor on his future endeavors. He will be
Photo by Tim Pokorny ©2009
ith temperatures still riding high on the
thermometer, it’s clear that warm weather
will continue to allow us to enjoy outdoor
activities like grilling. Some might be afraid such
outdoor activities will lead to bodily harm or
damaged property, and that can happen, just as it did
to me a few years ago.
Early one morning, I had pulled the gas grill away
from the house and dutifully cleaned it, preparing it
for use later that day. When the late afternoon rolled
around, I exited my house, carefully balancing a
plate full of meat on one hand and grasping various
grilling utensils in the other. I set out all the necessary
accouterments on a nearby table. It took a good deal
longer than I realized to sort out the food that I was
grilling, but when I fnished, I absentmindedly lit a
long match and began to slide it towards the grill’s
burner. Beyond the grill, I could see my wife come to
the screen door to watch me get started. Just as she
approached the door, the fame of my match reached
a large, concentrated pocket of gas and suddenly a
brilliant fash leapt with a roar from the grill into my
face. The fame fared up and was gone so quickly
that I didn’t even finch. I just stood there blinking,
wondering if what I thought had happened, had
really happened.
More than
Flash and fizzle
My wife cried out and sprang out the door towards
me. “Are you all right?” she asked me anxiously.
I stood there momentarily refecting on how
important it is to start the fre when I frst turn on the
gas, so gas pockets don’t explode in my face.
By God’s grace, my face wasn’t burned and my eyes
were unharmed. I couldn’t even tell that my beard or
eyebrows were singed by my little accident. All the
fash and fare that my wife saw bursting into my face
had no efect and was little more, in the end, than a
light show—I’m immensely thankful, by the way.
But while I am glad that this one occasion did not
result in injury, we should hope for the opposite
when it comes to spiritual renewal among Christians.
There is an unimaginable supply of joy, peace,
and power in the presence of God, and it is ready
to explode in the everyday lives of Christians.
Instead of merely settling for fashes of spiritual
enthusiasm, which don’t even singe the eyebrows
of discouragement and powerlessness, we should
recall that the God who revealed Himself in the
ancient Scriptures, is the same God who is on the
move today. He seeks those who will trust Him in
practical ways in their homes, work places, schools,
and churches.
King Hezekiah, whose story is told in 2 Kings:18-20,
as well as 2 Chronicles29 -32, began his reign during
a time when his entire nation had lost its spiritual
drive, moral bearings and sense of national security.
Yet, he had a heart to follow God. 2 Kings 18:5-7
says, “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel.
There was no one like him among all the kings of
Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast
to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept
the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the
Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever
he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria
and did not serve him.” As a result of Hezekiah’s
commitment to faithfully follow God, the people
found faith and refused to yield to their pride, fear,
worry, selfshness and sin; instead, they embraced
the grace of God Almighty.
Because this wasn’t merely a fash of spiritual fervor
but the true fames of renewal, the faith that they
placed in God’s power to protect them sustained
them through the most terrifying time their country
had yet known: the invasion of the Assyrian Empire.
If their revival had only been a show or a shallow
display of religious afectation, they could not have
stood up to the Assyrian armies surrounding the
capital city’s walls.
But there was a very real and sustaining fuel
supporting Hezekiah and his people: the power
of God. We later read that Hezekiah, “...appointed
military ofcers over the people and assembled
them before him in the square at the city gate and
encouraged them with these words: ‘Be strong and
courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because
of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for
there is a greater power with us than with him. With
him is only the arm of fesh, but with us is the Lord
our God to help us and to fght our battles.’ And the
people gained confdence from what Hezekiah the
king of Judah said” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8).
Because they trusted God’s promises, they faithfully
obeyed God in their personal lives, as well (see 2
Chronicles chapters 29 through 31). That trust
reconsecrated their lives to God, so they were able
to see God perform an amazing rescue for them
by doing as Hezekiah had said He would do. He
fought their battles for them (see 2 Kings 19:35-37
and 2 Chronicles 32:20-22). Because their faith and
obedience led them from what seemed to be certain
doom to a great and glorious victory, the entire
known world saw God at work (see 2 Chronicles
Let us pray that in our generation, God’s people will
hunger for God the way that Hezekiah did; that we’ll
hold fast to the Lord and consecrate our lives anew
to Him, not only for a few days or even a few weeks,
but for eternity. Lastly, let us pray that in our trust, we
will place before God all the problems, worries, and
burdens that are as intimidating as Assyrian legions,
and stand confdent in both His goodness and His
power to deliver and bless us, His people.
After all, “with us is the Lord our God to help us and
to fght our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:8).
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered
in southern Ohio for more than 18 years. He is
the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson
Harvest and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs
at Pastor Thom leads
Pathway Community Church and may be reached
for comments or questions by email at pastorthom@
ollywood constantly cranks out movies with
revenge as their theme. In these movies, it’s
often called redemption, which doesn’t sound
as dark as calling it personal retaliation, but that’s
what it usually is. Most of the violence we end
up watching has more to do with vengeance than
redemption. Yet, in the end we are left unfulflled,
with a desperate sense of longing for that feeling
of fnality that continues to elude us. Even though
it appears that all evil is utterly destroyed, there is
always one enemy who survives to strike back in
a sequel. Even after all the explosions have died
down and the debris from the battle has fnally
settled, we rarely get the sense that the hero’s
deliverance is complete. Our thirst for eternal
redemption is hardly ever quenched.
Why? Outside of keeping the movie-making,
money machine well-oiled, there are a couple of
reasons springing out of the souls of mankind
that may explain why we continue to long for our
As fnite creatures, we can barely grasp the
concept of anything eternal or absolute, yet we
tend to deny our need to be rescued by anyone.
The fact that we are so attracted to fctional
heroes, who are not only able to save themselves
from any conceivable doom, but can also liberate
the helpless from unfair oppression, proves the
existence of a dichotomy inside of us. We believe
that in the right circumstances we could be “that
guy,” while at the same time acknowledging that
we are likely not able to save even ourselves from
the relatively safe environment in which we live.
Fortunately, it is not ultimately in our hands.
In a letter to newly converted Christians, we read,
“But when Christ came as high priest of the good
things that are now already here, he went through
the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is
not made with human hands, that is to say, is not
a part of this creation. He did not enter by means
of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered
the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood,
thus obtaining eternal redemption” (Hebrews
9:11, 12).
After a summer of blockbuster movies featuring
heroes who can breach the security of the most
fortifed stronghold, some may easily be able
to visualize Christ entering an out of this world t
Coyau / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
fortress built through unconventional means, by
His own merit and unique abilities, only to emerge
with redemption of us all. For some of us, a serious
desire for salvation may evade us.
It might be helpful to look closer at the redemption
offered by God. While it is certainly about saving
people who are not able to save themselves, there is
another aspect to Christ’s redemption of His people
as their high priest. Though we don’t often use the
word “redemption” outside of the Bible, or certain
science fction thrillers, the word “redeem” does
have a common meaning to us.
Most of us have taken a worthless piece of paper
like a coupon, cashback bonuses, sky miles,
or stocks and redeemed them for something
of great value. So, in a way, our lives are like
free sandwiches which Christ received with the
purchase of a sandwich of equal or greater value.
In a sense, we are like the gift card Christ got by
redeeming His cashback bonus points. We are
that free trip to a tropical vacation spot earned by
paying for enough trips with the same credit card...
okay, not really. We were hardly able to present a
piece of paper in exchange for our souls. In fact, we
had nothing to offer in exchange, and no amount
of effort could redeem anything of value to us.
Instead, the priceless sacrifce of Jesus Christ was
redeemed for the worthless, not the other way
around. How praiseworthy is that?
Our spiritual redemption is ludicrous. It would be
like earning enough cashback points to redeem
for a brand new Porsche, but instead we exchange
them for a smashed up ten-speed bike with no
wheels. When Christ died for us, fawless perfection
was exchanged for damaged goods. It would be like
exchanging Bill Gates’ net worth for the contents
of my nine-year-old’s piggy bank. Christ replaced
the vengeance meant for us, which God was justly
due, for His explicit kindness toward us and His
unquenchable mercy. Bogged down by our sin,
incapable of saving ourselves, our adversity to
God and propensity to snub our noses at the only
completely good presence in the world, we held no
value to anyone. But all of this changed for all time,
as God, “made us alive with Christ even when we
were dead in transgressions” (Ephesians 2:5).
Jesus is not only the high priest of our past, but of
our present, as well. He not only redeemed our evil
past, flled with sin, but He is the “high priest of the
good things that are now already here,” (Ephesians
2:11). He is the incalculable joy we receive in trade
for our contemptible offerings of discontentment
and disappointments in this life. Like an invaluable
coupon, we are able to exchange our failures, as
well as our tainted successes, for His perfection—
we have something to offer, after all!
There is much more to come because of what
Christ has done for us, but if we live by faith we
already beneft a great deal now because of His
accomplishments on our behalf. We can live
without the fear of failure, knowing His pleasure
for us never changes. We can make decisions
without fearing rejection, knowing His love for us
depends only on the faithfulness of Christ. While
it is true that if we disown Him, He will disown
us, once we’ve experienced the long-lasting, truly
unconditional love He freely gives, who would do
that? Only someone who doesn’t believe such an
unfair offer!
So the next time we redeem that coupon for a
free sandwich, remember how we were likewise
redeemed, when Christ was exchanged for an
insignifcant and offensive people. Unlike the
coupon, Christ’s exchange only needed to be done
once and was suffcient for each of the spiritual
blessings for which it can be redeemed. We don’t
need a coupon for grace, another for faith, another
for patience, and so on. For He, “has blessed us in
the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in
Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
We have been saved, and we are secure in Him.
Even more, we have that eternal redemption which
we so desperately long for. Christ has delivered us
completely, and there’s no need for a sequel!
(I believe He wanted me to remind you of this!)
Real Relationships
t’s amazing that some Christians don’t
go to church. These are real Christians,
not fake ones, who call themselves
believers, but never act like it. There are
sincere, genuine Christians, who I know
and trust, but are often too busy or too
tired to attend church regularly. Some say
they haven’t found a church they like or
one where they fit in, so they just give up.
Going to church doesn’t save anyone
and missing a service occasionally when
things come up is understandable. Still,
there are a number of believers who don’t
seem to make church a priority. Perhaps
this is a symptom of a deeper problem: we
don’t make fellowship with other believers
a priority.
The Christian life was not meant to
be lived alone. We all need, in addition
to God’s grace and guidance, the
companionship and accountability that
come with relationships with other
It’s understandably difficult to form
these relationships, though. Even if
we attend weekly church services or
functions, companionship, fellowship and
accountability can be difficult to find.
For many, the early adulthood period
is a time of transition. We graduate
from high school and try to figure
out how to connect to a new group of
peers, but can come up empty-handed.
People frequently come and go from our
lives, and if we constantly change jobs,
schools, or churches, we can easily remain
disconnected from those around us as we
convince ourselves that we don’t belong.
Sometimes staying separated from others
is more comfortable than putting forth the
emotional effort to build relationships.
In the book of Genesis, God said it was
not good for man to be alone. In the letter
to the Hebrews, we are told not to forsake
assembling together (Hebrews 10:25). We
were created to live in fellowship with
others and none of us has the strength
to live out the Christian life alone. Even
when we acknowledge our need for
fellowship, finding the best way to meet
and connect with other believers in the
same busy, transitional stage of life can
prove difficult.
As busy adults, we are sometimes tempted
to think we don’t need anyone, and that
we’ve arrived at the point where we can
make it on our own. We quickly rationalize
that our schedules don’t allow us much
time to spend with others. We easily get
too absorbed in ourselves, our own work,
school, hobbies, interests or concerns.
We even start to believe lies, such as “I
don’t belong at church since no one likes
me there,” or “I’m not good enough to
associate with those other Christians.”
Of course, those things aren’t true, but
sometimes the church doesn’t do much to
help us debunk these lies.
One time, I decided to try out my church’s
new fellowship group for college-
aged young adults, but as a 24-year-
old graduate student, I was one of the
oldest ones there and felt distinctly out
of place. Conversely, when I attended
the men’s prayer meeting for a while, I
was definitely the youngest member of
that group and one of the only ones still
single. Lately I’ve been attending a small
Bible discussion group for post-college
aged Christians, with only a handful
of consistent attendees and only one
other male. Finding one’s ideal niche in
the church takes time and can be a real
However, we don’t always have to be
with others so much like us. It certainly
can be beneficial to spend time with
people older or younger than ourselves;
each generation of believers can pass on
wisdom and experience to the next. Yet,
it’s also important for each of us to have
some friends who understand and relate
to the things we’re experiencing. For we
Christian young men, that often means
having a few very close guy friends who
will encourage and strengthen us in the
Over the years I’ve had several close male
friends who fit this description. These are
guys that I enjoy hanging out with and
I can trust for spiritual accountability. I
can talk with them openly and honestly
about serious topics like relationships,
temptations or doubts.
Some say it’s best to have only a few
close friends, but whether it’s many or
a few, it’s important that we have close
Christian friends in our lives—not just
casual friends-- ones who will encourage
us to make good decisions, confront us in
love, and challenge us to grow spiritually.
Sure, having people so close can be
uncomfortable at times. We may rub each
other the wrong way and have to apologize
later. But overall, having Christian friends
can embolden us to talk about our lives and
relationships with God openly. Christian
friends should encourage and counsel
each other. They should hold each
other accountable and sharpen each
other just as iron sharpens iron
(Proverbs 27:17). Even on those days
when we feel like being alone, we will
be glad that we have such friends on
whom we can rely.
In the midst of our busy lives and
the many concerns that occupy our
minds, let us not neglect to spend
time with those around us as we
build strong, positive, God-honoring
relationships. When we have trouble
finding a good group to be part of—
which probably will happen to all of
us at some time or another—let us
not grow discouraged. Instead, keep
searching and lean on relationships
that were already developed. Not only does
God instruct us to remain in fellowship
with other Christians, but it truly benefits
us to have support in our Christian walk.
Just as we seek strong Christian support,
we should strive to support fellow
Christians. We all need companions who are
positive influences, so be thankful for the
relationships God has given and continue to
cultivate them for His glory.
Sam Harris is continuously striving to follow
Jesus Christ more closely and to love others
more fully. He is currently pursuing an M.A.
in English at Liberty University in Lynchburg,
Virginia, where he also works as a teaching
assistant for English classes. He enjoys writing
nonfiction accounts of his life experiences, as
well as science-fiction and fantasy stories and
the occasional poem. He would like to be either a
teacher, a writer, or a superhero when he grows
up. You can find his blog at www.sirrahleumas., or like “Samuel N. Harris” on
Sometimes staying
separated from others
is more comfortable
than putting forth the
emotional effort to build
Real Relationships