Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Every Single Man’s Battle ~ Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:

WaterBrook Press; Workbook edition (August 16, 2005)
***Special thanks to Staci Staci Carmichael, Marketing and Publicity Associate, Doubleday Religion/ / Waterbrook Multnomah, Divisions of Random House, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Stephen Arterburn is founder and chairman of new Life Clinics, host of the daily “New Life Live!” national radio program, creator of the Women of Faith Conferences, a nationally known speaker, and a best-selling author whose books have sold more than seven million copies. He lives in Laguna Beach, California.

Visit the author's website.


Fred Stoeker is an author and conference speaker who challenges people to become sexually pure and to connect in true intimate relationships with their Father in heaven and their spouses and children on earth. Fred has written several books, including the best-selling Every Man’s series and his most recent book for single men, Hero, co written with his son Jasen. Fred and his wife, Brenda, live in Iowa.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

As a man, you’re bombarded by sexual images and battle inner urges. You want to do right—in fact, you want to meet God’s standard of avoiding any hint of sexual immorality. But accomplishing that goal is a challenge.

If you are a single man struggling to remain sexually pure, you are not alone— there’s practical, hard-hitting help from the authors of the blockbuster Every Man Series. Every Single Man’s Battle guides you—or your men’s group—through an honest and clear exploration of God’s Word. You’ll undertake a personal journey into key scriptures, wrestle with questions for reflection and examination, and discover the practical tools and biblical strategies you need to live the pure life God calls you to—even while living in a sexually-soaked culture. Make a frontal assault on the temptation every single man faces. This book provides all the resources you need.


Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Workbook edition (August 16, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781400071289
ISBN-13: 978-1400071289
ASIN: 1400071283

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


1 where are we?


This week’s reading assignment:

the introduction and chapters 1–3 in Every Man’s Battle



Before men experience victory over sexual sin, they’re hurting and confused. Why can’t I win at this? they think. As the fight wears on and the losses pile higher, we begin to doubt everything about ourselves, even our salvation. At best, we think that we’re deeply flawed. At worst, evil persons. We feel very alone, since men speak little of these things.

But we’re not alone. Many men have fallen into their own sexual pits.

—from chapter 3 in Every Man’s Battle



EVERY SINGLE MAN’S BATTLE

(Steps Along the Path to Sexual Integrity)

Experts on pornography’s effects on brain chemistry recently testified at a Senate hearing about whether porn was a form of free speech that should be protected by the First Amendment or whether it was an addictive and toxic material that should be legally banned in America. Psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover stated that it was time to quit regarding porn as just another form of expression, because it isn’t. “[Porn] is a very carefully designed delivery system for evoking a tremendous flood within the brain of endogenous opioids,” Satinover said. “Modern science allows us to understand that the underlying nature of an addiction to pornography is chemically nearly identical to a heroin addiction.”

Dr. Mary Anne Layden, representing the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania, explained how prurient pictures are burned into the brain’s pathways. She added, “That image is in your brain forever. If that was an addictive substance, you, at any point for the rest of your life, could in a nanosecond draw it up [and get high].”

The evidence the panelists presented to the Senate that day described the overwhelming harm that pornography brings into a man’s life. Still, we tend to minimize that damage from the raw visual sewage dumped into our minds and heart through our eyes. In exasperation some defenders say, Oh, they’re just exaggerating to scare everyone. Porn is just something men do to blow off stress, and they can stop anytime they want. They’re not affected at all like that!

How does porn affect you? We stated in chapter 2 that porn and masturbation inevitably inflict wounds on your sexuality. For instance, a man’s eyes begin to dominate his sexuality. A boorish clamoring for his own sexual intensity replaces his normal desire for interpersonal intimacy. Controlled scientific studies have proven what many have sensed in themselves for years.

Researchers like Professors Dolf Zillman of Indiana University and Jennings Bryant of the University of Houston have found that men register a major increase in the importance of sex without intimate attachment after regularly viewing porn. Sound familiar? What’s happening is that intimacy’s transmitters get fried by porn.

Because of our discussion, it probably comes as no surprise that men who use porn become more callous to female sexuality and that married men’s concern for their wives’ pleasure falls off significantly. But I (Fred) know something that will surprise you, and that’s how little porn is necessary to elicit such a dreadful, measurable change. All it takes is six one-hour weekly sessions, say the researchers.

Now look again at your life, my friend. How likely is it that porn, masturbation, and the other sensuality in your life have had no affect on your sexuality? You say none or very little? You can run to denial, but you can’t hide, especially if you marry someday.

Caroline discerned the damage in her husband, Cliff, in this telling way: “About six months into our marriage, I noticed our sex life losing momentum. The frequency had dropped markedly, and while this could have easily been explained away had it been the only sign of trouble, it wasn’t. We’d always been compatible—technique, frequency, timing—in every area.

“But now it was different. When we did make love, it felt like Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am, meaning Cliff got his satisfaction while I was left high and dry. I even have a journal entry that reads, ‘I feel like Peg Bundy when it comes to sex. I have to nag him to do me like a chore.’ It’s like he stopped caring about my pleasure at all, and in retrospect, that was my first clue that porn was breaking him down.”

It’s important to note that the assault on healthy sexuality doesn’t end at the borders of traditional pornography. The way our popular culture is set up these days—with scantily clad babes cavorting during commercials for football games, showing us their cleavage on billboards, and posing on magazine covers ranging from news magazines to sports—there’s enough eye candy out there to keep your sexual engines running at high idle most of the time. I’m sure you’ve also noticed that girls and young women dress revealingly today as well, so if the porn industry vanished tomorrow, you wouldn’t have to look far to take in a nice view. This lusting produces the same chemical hit to your brain as porn does, and it spins you just as easily into the same cycles of masturbation. Trust me, I know. I never did buy porn again after my wedding day, but I was just as bound in sin as I could be anyway.

You need to get serious and accept the truth. It’s time to quit regarding porn as just another form of expression, and it’s time to crack down on the lust of the eyes, that “carefully designed delivery system” that’s been flooding your brain with opioids for years. It’s time to flee sexual immorality—and time to get free.


EVERY SINGLE MAN’S TRUTH

(Your Personal Journey into God’s Word)

Read and meditate upon the Bible passages below that have to do with God’s holiness

and His call to purity. Let the Lord remind you that He is calling you to purity

because He has your best interest at heart. Also remember that He delights in you as

one who is made in His image and growing into His likeness day by day.

You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)


Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died— more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:33-35,37-39)


“Come now, let us reason together,”

says the LORD.

“Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)


1. What do Jesus’s words tell you about His deep concern for your thought life?



2. What comfort do you take in Paul’s words to the Roman believers? How does this passage relate to your feelings of guilt when you’ve given in to lust?



3. When it comes to a believer’s sin, how would you distinguish between rebellion and immaturity? What is the Father’s attitude toward us as we grow— and as we stumble—in our attempts to walk in holiness with Him? (If you are a parent, think about your relationship to your children.)



4. “White as snow” is the prophet’s imagery for God’s holiness. To what extent do you long for holiness and purity in your life? How are Isaiah’s words hopeful to you?


EVERY SINGLE MAN’S CHOICE

(Questions for Personal Reflection and Examination)


Pursuing sexual integrity, however, is a controversial topic.… We’ve been ridiculed by the world’s sophisticates who find God’s standard ridiculous and confining. That’s fine with us, because we have a bigger concern— you.

You’re in a tough position. You live in a world awash with sensual images available twenty-four hours a day in a variety of mediums: print, television, videos, the Internet—even phones.


After teaching on the topic of male sexual purity in Sunday school, I was approached one day by a man who said, “I always thought that since I was a man I would not be able to control my roving eyes. I didn’t know it could be any other way.”


5. Why do you think pursuing sexual integrity is such a controversial topic, especially for singles? How realistic is this pursuit for you?



6. How aware are you of the sensual images all around you? What has been your way of dealing with—or not dealing with—this bombardment of sexuality on a daily basis?



7. Have you ever considered your roving eye to be uncontrollable? In the past, when have you been most likely to lose control? What has helped you to exercise control?


EVERY SINGLE MAN’S WALK

(Your Guide to Personal Application)


8. Which situations in the stories of Steve and Fred can you personally identify with most? How common do you think these kinds of situations are among the Christian men you know?



9. Think about Steve’s car wreck for a moment. How much trouble have your eyes gotten you into over the years? What especially painful incident stands out to you at the moment?



10. Fred’s eyes were particularly vulnerable to sensual newspaper ads. In what situations are your eyes the most vulnerable? What steps have you taken so far to avoid such situations?



11. Recall that in chapter 3 Fred speaks of the price he was paying for his sin in his relationship with God, with his family, and with his church. In which of these areas of life—or others, such as friendships and dating relationships—do you think a man’s sexual sin hurts him most quickly and obviously? How is it with you?



12. In quietness, review what you have written and learned in this week’s study.

If further thoughts or prayer requests come to your mind and heart, you may want to write them here.



13. a. What for you was the most meaningful concept or truth in this week’s study?


b. How would you talk this over with God? Write your response here as a prayer to Him.


c. What do you believe God wants you to do in response to this week’s study?


EVERY SINGLE MAN’S TALK

(Constructive Topics and Questions for Group Discussion)


Discussion Questions

Addictive sex is devoid of intimacy. Sex addicts are utterly self-focused. They cannot achieve genuine intimacy because their self-obsession leaves no room for giving to others.… Addictive sex is used to escape pain and problems.


The escapist nature of addictive sex is often one of the clearest indicators that it is present.


When we’re fractionally addicted, we surely experience addictive drawings, but we aren’t compelled to act to salve some pain. We’re compelled by the chemical high and the sexual gratification it brings.


Another way of looking at the scope of the problem is to picture a bell curve. According to our experiences, we figure around 10 percent of men have no sexual-temptation problem with their eyes and their minds. At the other end of the curve, we figure there’s another 10 percent of men who are sexual addicts and have a serious problem with lust. They’ve been so beaten and scarred by emotional events that they simply can’t overcome that sin in their lives. They need more counseling and a transforming washing by the Word. The rest of us comprise the middle 80 percent, living in various shades of gray when it comes to sexual sin.


“When my husband and I talked about this, he was honest,” Deena conveyed, “and I was very angry with him. I was hurt. I felt deeply betrayed because I’d been dieting and working out to keep my weight down so that I would always look nice to him. I couldn’t figure out why he still needed to look at other women.”


Women told us that they struggle between pity and anger, and their feelings may ebb and flow with the tide of their husband’s battle. Let us direct this advice to women reading this book: Though you know you should pray for him and fulfill him sexually, sometimes you won’t want to. Talk to each other openly and honestly, then do the right thing.


A. Which parts of chapters 1–3 in Every Man’s Battle were most helpful or encouraging to you? Why?



B. How would you summarize the difference between normal sexual desire and addictive sex?



C. Do you agree that sex can be a way of trying to escape inner pain? What is your own experience with this?



D. How would you explain to another man what the authors define as fractional addiction?



E. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the book’s contention that, for most men, our sexual sin is based on pleasure highs rather than true addiction?



F. Imagine that a single friend of yours has admitted to you, “Okay, so I use porn. A guy like me has to have some kind of sex life, doesn’t he?” How would you respond?



G. How can indulging in visual sexual stimulation mess up a man’s dating relationships? How can it make him less ready if God should call him to marriage at some time in the future?