Freedom From Addiction

Featured Story: Paul Leininger

 

“I always thought I didn’t need help. That I could do this on my own. I couldn’t do it on my own.”

As men, we think we are strong enough to handle our issues. The truth remains, no matter how strong a man, there lies an Enemy in the shadows determined to see us fall. But Paul’s story boasts of a God who is stronger than it all. A God who never intended for us to do this on our own.

During his senior year in high school, Paul found God on a golf course. Growing up in a non-Christian family, it was his girlfriend’s dad that walked him through what it meant to know Jesus. It was all he needed to hear. Paul was now a self-proclaimed “Bible-banger.”

After high school, Paul’s relationship with Jesus struggled. He quickly found himself headed down a dark path, addicted to pornography and involved in an ungodly relationship.

Paul’s addiction to pornography became a catalyst for selfishness and anger. As the sin and secret grew, so did the anger. This deep-rooted anger would eventually follow him into marriage.

Paul met his wife Connie in 1995. Marriage and kids would soon follow. From the outside looking in it seemed as if Paul and Connie had it all together. But Paul’s secret remained in the dark.

“Whenever there’s a secret, it’s the enemies biggest weapon. When you get that secret out you disarm the enemy.”

In 2008 Paul and his family started attending Petra Church, in New Holland, PA, where Paul got involved in a men’s ministry called Men’s Fraternity. In his Men’s Fraternity group, a man named Dean shook Paul’s world with one sentence, “I have a porn problem.”

It was this one sentence, this one moment of admission and freedom for Dean that would ultimately break the chains of pornography for Paul. Paul began feeling his life change, and slowly God was taking away his anger.

Paul not only found a best friend in his men’s group, he found accountability. He found a group of men he could be transparent with.

Because of Petra’s experience with Men’s Fraternity, Men of Iron seemed like a natural fit for their church and a great next step for their men. Paul was part of the initial team that got Men of Iron – Strong27™ off the ground at Petra. Today Strong27™ is an integral part of the men’s ministry at Petra Church.

“Through Strong27™ we have seen the effects of accountability. We are seeing marriages change, we are seeing single men change. Men are more intentional about being godly husbands, fathers, friends, and workers. They are more intentional about taking responsibility for their actions and their sins.”

A 2003 Focus on the Family study showed that 70% of men in the church view pornography. A survey done by the Barna Group in 2016 found that only 7% of churches in the United States have programs equipped to deal with someone who comes to them for help with a porn problem.

Pornography is a serious issue that men in the church are struggling with in silence. At Men of Iron we believe that accountability and one-on-one mentoring can change the narrative. Strong27™ provides men with a chance to be open and transparent. To sit across the table from another man and share in each other’s struggles and victories. To challenge each other to grow as a Christ-follower, husband, father, and leader.

Thanks to Dean’s vulnerability and a desire to have another man hold him accountable, it gave Paul the freedom to do the same. It gave Paul the courage to tell his wife and sons. Today Paul and Connie are not afraid to tell their story and to help other couples walk through similar issues. Paul has experienced a substantial change in his own life through mentoring and he sees the impact Strong27™ is having on the men at Petra Church.

“Guys are admitting things, they are saying I have issues and I need a guy walking beside me. They needed something intentional and something strategic. We are seeing guys sow the fruit of it, they are hearing from other men and saying I need that. The change has been so traumatic that it is changing the men in our church. I want to see this grow exponentially.”

Steve Glick

Do You Have Internet Addiction?

Written By: John Grant, Mentor @ Idlewild Baptist Church

John Grant is a Strong27™ mentor at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, FL.  John was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1980-1986 and was a Senator in the Florida State Senate from 1986-2000.  He was also an attorney and partner of Harris, Barrett, Mann & Dew, P.A. in St. Petersburg, FL.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.– Matthew 6:13

If you can’t go for an hour without checking your email…if you email and text during church…if you panic when there is no internet connection or wifi capabilities…then you might have internet addiction. The internet has become a part of our modern day life. We use it to get our news and communicate with others. It is our all-time companion.

Internet Addiction Disorder is defined as any online-related, compulsive behavior, which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment. Internet addiction has been called internet dependency and internet compulsivity. Has it become your idol?

Don’t get me wrong. There is much good about the internet. I use it as my Bible and devotional. I use it for my business livelihood.  I try not to let it grab hold of me. In fact, you are probably reading this online, however, the internet can also be filled with darkness and distractions. I’ve seen it pull men away from the abundant life we are offered through Jesus.

We have to use the internet with reasonable wisdom. We have to disconnect and make sure that the internet is not becoming our idol.

Is you phone bill greater than your tithe? Do you check social media or email during worship services? Do you spend more time scrolling on your phone than you do with Jesus?

If you spend more time on the internet than you do with Jesus, then you have internet addiction.  Don’t let the internet become your God.