Today's Word for Pastors...

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body.
2 Peter 1:12-13

Today's Preaching Insight...

Can't Get No Satisfaction

Cleveland, Ohio, is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That's because back in the 1950s, there was a disc jockey by the name of Alan Freed who worked for an AM radio station in Cleveland. He began referring to the music of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley as "rock 'n' roll music." Even though the inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame take place in New York City, the origin of the term rock 'n' roll music began in Cleveland.

In keeping with that 50-year legacy, a poll was taken of radio listeners and disc jockeys across the country concerning the No. 1 rock 'n' roll song of all time. I was not especially interested in the outcome—I have a preference for the rhythm and blues music of Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and The Temptations—but I must confess I was somewhat surprised when it was revealed that Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis or even Elvis Presley was not associated with the No. 1 rock 'n' roll song song of all time. Instead, the poll revealed that the No. 1 rock 'n' roll song song of all time was by the British band, The Rolling Stones, titled "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."

It occurred to me that the popularity and longevity of that particular song can be attributed to a simple observation: That song speaks to the fundamental dilemma of so many people in our society who are in a constant quest for something that can bring them satisfaction. The song has a refrain that says, "And I tried—and I tried—and I tried—and I tried—I can't get no satisfaction."

You can almost see the history of the last 40 years of American life and culture written through the lens and lyrics of that song: "I have tried sex and orgies, and I can't get satisfaction." "I have tried LSD and cocaine, and I can't get satisfaction." "I have tried alcohol and amphetamines, and I still can't get satisfaction." "I have tried money and materialism, and all I can say is I can't get no satisfaction."

Perhaps the reason the song has remained so appealing to Americans is because the song speaks to an aspiration that reaches deep into our psyche and to a frustration that burns within so many of our fellow citizens: "I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried—but I can't get no satisfaction."

The search for satisfaction can take at least four different faces in our world today, and most of us have gotten stuck trying to find satisfaction in one of three distinct ways. The things we keep trying in our vain attempts to find satisfaction are called happiness, pleasure and thrills.

How strange that all three of these things are referred to in one way or another by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:19-21 as being related to the works of the flesh or the acts of the sinful nature." Paul refers to them by such names as drunkenness, debauchery, discord and dissensions. We can refer to the same impulses of the human spirit by different names, but the motivation and the desired outcome are the same; we are trying to create satisfaction for ourselves.

(To read the entire sermon "After All I've Been Through I Still Have Joy" by Marvin A. McMickle at Preaching.com, click here)

Today's Extra...

Sexual Purity

In a recent Breakpoint commentary, Mark Earley writes: "Dale Kuehne is the author of a new book, Sex and the iWorld. He says the traditional world, or tWorld, as he calls it, has been largely supplanted by the iWorld, in which 'the immediate desires of the individual have been deemed paramount.' In the iWorld, complete sexual freedom is a given, as long as all parties consent. Sexuality is considered essential to human happiness.

"This is why iWorlders are scornful of the biblical view that sex should be reserved for marriage between one man and one woman. 'What about single people?' 'What about gays in a committed relationship?' they ask. 'Are they to be condemned to lifelong misery?'

"Even churches have bought into the iWorld belief that sex is essential to happiness. The idea that one cannot have relational fulfillment without sex 'has been a largely unquestioned assumption of evangelical psychology, if not theology, for decades,' Kuehne writes.

"That's why many Christians now accept the iWorld teaching that anything that stands in the way of sexual fulfillment must be wrong. 'God wants us to be fulfilled,' they reason; 'sex is an essential component of relational fulfillment, thus the Bible can't really mean what it says about restricting sex to marriage.'

"Well, Christians who accept this idea need to open their eyes--and dig a little deeper in the Word. Scripture teaches that humans are made for relationships, and that we crave intimacy and love more than anything else, Kuehne writes. For instance, in his teachings about sex and marriage in 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul makes clear that we can have deeply fulfilling lives without sexual relationships. Some of the richest relationships in the Scriptures are non-sexual ones. David and Jonathan. Jesus and the disciples. Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

"Moreover, where biblical writers viewed sexual relations within marriage as a wonderful good, they considered sex itself to be an appetite--something that potentially was enslaving. Tragically, many iWorlders have become enslaved by their appetites.

"'True intimacy and happiness are found in loving God with all our hearts, souls and minds, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The greater our intimacy with God,' Kuehne writes, 'the greater our ability to share that love with others.'

"For those who think sex is essential to their happiness, Kuehne has a question: 'Does the iWorld view of sex and relationship make them happy? The sad truth is that promiscuity inhibits our ability to cultivate the love and intimacy God designed us to enjoy.'" (Click here to read the full commentary. Click here to learn more about Sex and the iWorld.)

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