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The truth about the sex trade and pornography

Unearthing Sexual Exploitation

When Unearthed was formed, we had our hearts set on producing a documentary that would expose the mechanics of the global sex trade. For a solid year, we traveled, filmed, raided brothels, rescued victims, and had our hearts crushed by the magnitude of sexual brokenness that surrounded us. You can watch some of that work here.

When it came time to edit the film, we decided that the last thing the world needed was another depressing documentary that explained how badly sex trafficking sucked. So, we pulled the plug on it, we prayed, we waited, and we listened.

The Root of Trafficking

We all have responsibility to the victims of this injustice, and we’re thrilled that 85% of the money that comes into our doors goes right back out to some of the best organizations in the world that rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate the women & children that live in this hell.

But who’s going after the victimizers? Really…who’s made it their ambition to kill this thing at the root? If we rescued every victim today, we’d wake up to a demand for 100+ million new slaves tomorrow. If a victim’s care is the only weapon in this battle, it’ll continue to do a cyclically miserable job of winning.

If we rescued every victim today, we’d wake up to a demand for 100+ million new slaves tomorrow.

We’ve got to go after the heart of the issue, and that is the hearts of men. Men perpetuate the demand in sex slavery. Men in our cities, backyards, and churches can fuel the global sex trade with their “private” sexual decisions, which often create massive global impact.

Take porn for example: a 97 billion dollar per year industry that’s got almost 80% of men and 35% of women ensnared. Americans spend so much on porn each year that it breaks down to $50 per person, and we account for only 14% of the global porn share. While specific connections can be hard to trace, we know that porn profits directly fund the acquisition of new women and children being forced into sex slavery.

The Hearts of Men

Jacob’s story in the video above isn’t an isolated incident. Jesus is continually transforming abusers into protectors; addicts into free men and traffickers into rescuers. Over the next year, we’re creating a film called The Hearts of Men. It’s a raw, unfiltered examination of how sin distorts sex, who’s affected, and how the Gospel changes all of it. We know that to win this war, we need to engage men and right now they aren’t just asleep on the battlefield, they’re fornicating on it. A generation of God’s sons need to be reminded who they are in Christ: chosen, washed, sanctified, and justified.

Men, we’re coming after you, in love, because we know that when the gospel changes you, everything changes.

 

Find out more about Unearthed here

Batman the dark knight rises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Knight Rises: Movie Review

Is Batman motivated by vengeance, or something more profound?
Mark HadleyPublished: July 30, 2012

 

Batman the dark knight rises

I’ve always struggled with highly anticipated films, because the more attention they draw, the more likely they are to be spoiled before you finally reach the comfort of your cinema seat. I often enter a self-imposed media ban in order to protect myself, but was that ever going to be enough with the most anticipated film of the year? On my way into The Dark Knight Rises, I passed a person coming out of a session that had just finished – and he had the biggest grin spread across his face. It didn’t give away much, but it did show his appreciation for what he’d seen and heard. Maybe that’s the best goal for this review, if you’re as shy of spoilers as I am…

When The Dark Knight faded to black in 2008, Bruce Wayne had decided to allow his super alter ego to take the blame for several murderous crimes, and in particular the death of the district attorney Harvey Dent. Of course, Dent was in reality the violently disturbed Two-Face, but Bruce had concluded that a city needed a different sort of hero than a masked vigilante if it was going to take responsibility for its own justice. However, peace cannot be built on a lie, and the curtain rises on a Gotham that is vulnerable to criminals again, because it doesn’t know its own history.

Director and writer Christopher Nolan has mined DC Comics’ archives to introduce the fearsome character of Bane, played by Tom Hardy. His physicality is more than a match for an aging Christian Bale, however it’s not the only advantage he holds over the long-absent Batman. Bane serves a warped purpose, but he does so with a calmness that transcends fanaticism. He believes in a way, that Batman no longer does. In fact, Bruce Wayne has not only embraced a lie for Gotham’s sake, he has built his life thereafter on a series of mistruths. It remains for Michael Cane, in the form of his conscience and confidant Alfred, to set him straight:

“What if we all stopped trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day? … I know this means your hatred, but maybe that’s worth it to save your life.”

Telling someone the truth is one mark of a true friend, not simply because honesty is the foundation of all lasting relationships, but in doing so we take the risk that they will rather reject us than listen to reason. The same could be said for a Christian every time they challenge the mistaken worldview, as much as it can for Alfred. But in The Dark Knight Rises, we see a hero rise to the challenge of personal pain as much as the suffering of a city.

What motivates a superhero?

The master of plot twists, Nolan is not prepared to leave Batman battling against a single villain. Viewers should prepare themselves for not one but two major surprises that will test the carbon-fibre of the caped crusader. No doubt many people will mistake his response for courage, simply because we’ve lost the meaning of the word that really describes his actions: love. It’s not that Batman is overcome with warm, fuzzy feelings every time he flies his bat-copter down a Gotham street (look out for that one!). It’s his dogged determination to put someone else’s welfare ahead of his own. Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon tells newcomer Detective John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that he hopes he comes to understand this level of sacrifice:

“One day I hope you have a friend who will plunge his hands into the filth so that you can keep yours clean.”

Does Blake learn to better understand Gotham’s saviour? Will Batman finally lay down his life for its citizens? These are questions that can be easily answered for the price of an admission ticket. But I hope you also pick up an appreciation for the deeper messages behind what you see and hear.

The Dark Knight Rises contains enough action sequences, gadgets and insider references to ensure that almost three hours of film won’t disappoint, and when you emerge again into the cold light of day you can dwell on the fact that the world has already seen Batman’s level of love in action. Jesus took on an adversary more hellish than Bane when he delivered us from death. His love didn’t look for a way out, but trusted his Heavenly Father would preserve him. However recognizing this real life hero is still no easy task for us citizens of Gotham. It hangs on us answering a question similar to the one Alfred posed to Bruce. Will we take refuge in a comfortable fantasy, or embrace the harder truth that we need a way out?

Watching The Dark Knight Rises with your kids

The Dark Knight Rises is a fair film for high school aged kids, with little blood even in the face of significant physical violence. Try a couple of these questions to spark conversations on the way home:

  • Did Bruce Wayne end up hating Alfred for telling him the truth?
  • Why does Selina Kyle stay instead of taking the easy escape route?
  • What might real love prompt you to do for your friends?

Is your life Jesus Centred or Religion Centred?

What It Means To Live A Gospel-Centered Life

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important truth a human being can grasp, and yet many of us would struggle to articulate it clearly. Even more so, those who do have a clear sense of gospel truth live as if it were an idea to be contemplated and debated more than actually lived out in the stuff of life. It is frightfully easy for us, myself absolutely included, to develop a life lived according to two gospels: one that we believe intellectually and another that actually guides our life.

It is into just such a situation that the Apostle Paul spoke these words to the church in the ancient city of Galatia:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:6–7

We see three major truths in this passage. First, there can be multiple versions of the gospel of Jesus. Second, there is one right version of the gospel, and everything else is false. We may see the gospel from different angles or describe it slightly differently, but there is only one gospel of Jesus. Third, getting the gospel right is of the highest possible importance because straying from that truth is literally deserting God himself.

Let’s take a few minutes together to clarify our view of the gospel and then look at what it means to have our life centered on it.

THE GOSPEL OF RELIGION

If you have been around the church for very long or ever been around a children’s Bible story book, you have probably heard a version of the gospel told through the story of Noah that sounds like this:

Once upon a time there was a man named Noah. In the midst of a world full of bad people he was the one good guy and so God loved him and blessed him. We should all try hard to be like Noah and do the right thing so God will bless us too.

The only problem with this message is that it is entirely false and doesn’t even vaguely resemble what the Bible is saying in this passage or any other. Accordingly to this story it’s all on us to be good and follow the rules so God will bless us. The more we do so, the more we are separated from the “bad guys” in the rest of the world.

This is the gospel of “religion,” i.e. man’s efforts to please God—and it’s exhausting. How good do we have to be to earn God’s favor? How many rules do we have to follow to receive his blessing?

The truth is Noah was a sinner just like everyone else. He wasn’t good so God would love him—God loved him and gave him favor, even though he didn’t deserve it (Gen. 6:5–8).

THE GOSPEL OF GRACE

There is only one true gospel, and it is the good news—that’s literally what “gospel” means—that we are worse than we ever believed and Jesus is better than we could ever imagine. Paul says it this way: “. . . even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:5).

At the very heart of the gospel is the idea of grace, the unmerited favor of God, and therein lies the scandal. To believe in real grace, you have to believe that you don’t deserve God’s love.

Leave behind your competitive, judgmental spirit that always measures your righteousness against those around you. Let go of your sense of entitlement toward God.

It’s easy to say the words but it’s very, very difficult, actually impossible, for a human being to believe that we do not deserve God’s love in at least some way. We are born with innate self interest. What masquerades as self-esteem is actually what the Bible calls pride and is nothing less than the desire deep within our hearts to displace God with our own glorious divinity. We constantly distort the gospel of grace with the gospel of religion as we try to earn God’s love.

Even in the midst of this cosmic treason, Jesus came on a rescue mission to save us from sin and pride and this is the heart of the gospel:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:3–4

We were dead, Jesus died for us, and through his death and resurrection we can have new life in his grace. That changes everything!

The gospel-centered life is one in which everything we do, think, speak, and act out is radically transformed by the grace of God seen through Jesus.

A GOSPEL-CENTERED LIFE

A gospel-centered life is a life where every corner of existence is touched by the truth of the gospel of Jesus’ grace. It’s easy to talk about the gospel in terms of the nuances of what we believe.

However, the gospel must be more than simply right thinking. If we say we believe the gospel of grace and then we live as if we were under the gospel of religion, we only show that we do not actually believe in what Jesus did for us. Unfortunately, that is exactly what many of us do.

Every time you feel frustrated with God or angered that he is not giving you what you deserve, you show you believe the gospel of religion. You show that, deep in your heart, there is a sense of entitlement, that you followed the rules and God has wrongly failed to bless you in response.

Every time you that God is treating you unfairly, that you are twice as good a person as the next guy and have only received half of what they got you show your faith in religion.

Every time you fail to give grace in the same way you have received it from God, you hold others to the same false gospel that has taken root in your heart.

In light of the gospel, we become people quick to repent and confess how we have failed at all these things and are still in desperate need of a Savior.

The gospel-centered life is one in which everything we do, think, speak, and act out is radically transformed by the grace of God seen through Jesus. In light of the gospel, we lay down our endless efforts to measure up before God and accept his gracious love. We become people who, despite the numerous ways we have and continue to be wronged by others, are able to forgive because of how we have been forgiven. We become known for lavish acts of service and love to others because of how we have been served and loved by Jesus. Even the way we speak to those around us is radically changed as we wait to jump to conclusions, hear each other out, and are patient. Maybe most important of all, we become people quick to repent and confess how we have failed at all these things and are still in desperate need of a Savior.

I implore you today, believe in and be changed by the gospel of Jesus’ grace! Abandon your efforts to earn God’s love. Leave behind your competitive, judgmental spirit that always measures your righteousness against those around you. Let go of your sense of entitlement toward God. Walk away from the gospel of religion and be transformed by Christ’s gospel of grace.

Tim Smith is the lead pastor of Mars Hill Portland.

Honour your father Skit guys

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Jca8ttkUew&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

 

 

Skit Guys video Honour your father

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Jca8ttkUew&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

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