In 2002, we showed up at a porn show. Not outside with signs and megaphones. We showed up inside because we care. Ten years later, we are still showing up in your world because we still care about you.
Last week a few of us flew over to Sydney, Australia. That sounds so simple and easy to fly 7,000 miles away. This was the 5th time we (XXXchurch) have been down under. Our third time we have exhibited at one of the Adult Expos. In addition to holding up a booth at the show, we held a Strip Church training for 15 women from all over Australia and Craig spoke at three different churches on Sunday and held a Porn and Pancakes on Saturday AM. We got a lot in on the trip. We will be back and do more down under. Such a great place.
Here are some recaps, stories and highlights.
This show was different than a lot of the others because it was a sexpo and not a porn show but I had some really cool conversations with some people throughout the show that shows me how much the temptation of pornography works to tear apart families and remove people from their plan and purpose. Here's one of the stories from this weekend:
A man came up to me interested in knowing what XXXchurch is all about. I started to explain to him about our message of Jesus being a lover of people and how if Jesus can love a pastor he can love a porn star too. The man (we'll call him Steve) nodded in agreement as I spoke. He then started to tell me his story. I stood there and listened for the next 30 minutes and I think you'll find it interesting. He started quoting scriptures about how Jesus did this and Jesus did this. We often get that at shows from people who were raised in the church and decided they want to do their own thing for a time. 'Steve' who is in his mid 50's, not only was raised in the church but had gone to bible school and church planting school. He had left for Africa in his early 20's to be a missionary and church planter to Darfur. He had been married for 27 years to his wife who died of cancer 3 years ago. "She was an amazing woman and I don't understand why God took her but I know the sayings of 'bad things happen to good people' and vice versa" Steve said. This threw Steve into a sort of spiral. He didn't say exactly when his pornography use started. It could have been well before her death or simply a result of the stress of her death but nevertheless it started. He shared with me that he had been married for the last two years and his new wife was in the habit of questioning him about who he was paying for sex and what prostitute he had been with. Just the night before he had walked out on his wife in a fit of her accusations and left. He was planning on leaving her for good. He said the accusations were false.
When I asked him if he had gotten a lap dance from any of the strippers at the show he said yes but "only a 10 dollar one". I used this as an opportunity to ask him if he thought maybe his current wife might be right about him hooking up with other women. He agreed it probably wasn't the most faithful thing to do and we had a long chat about that. I noticed a number on his hand and asked him about it. He told me it wasn't the number of a woman but then at the end of the conversation he admitted that he had been planning on meeting up with a woman for a one night stand later that night. We talked about it again and you could see God's grace cover him and he realized that it was wrong. He wanted to work things out with his wife and he attended a local church where his daughter was on staff. He told me he was going to meet up with a woman but that he had changed his mind. He appeared sincere and told me he was going to go to his daughters house that night and confess his actions and get help. There had been no pressure from any of us at the booth, he simply was convicted of the consequences the next day of what that evenings festivities would have brought. He decided that it wasn't worth the cost of tomorrow to enjoy today the way he wished. Anyway, as he was leaving he reached down into a bag and handed me a calendar of naked women. He said, "I haven't looked at it and was going to, but here you go, do something with this and get rid of it". He quoted a scripture about temptation and how God gives you a way out and then he was on his way.
I think that if XXXchurch hadn't been at that booth in Sydney that he wouldn't have been able to have that confession and heart to heart with us that led him to a heart to heart with God. Thank you Craig for the work that you and XXXchurch are doing which allows people to reach out to those in need who are from every background imaginable. We hear of everyday people whose struggles with porn have ruined their lives. Now I know it stretches much further and also that there is a way out for everyone. Thanks to XXXchurch we had the opportunity to help them see that they're not the only ones tempted and that Jesus loves them no matter what they do. He simply has a better plan for them.Steve who used to me a missionary, who had fallen off the rails a little bit, chose to fight for his marriage because of your boldness to speak out about Porn and refuse to remain silent.
Aloha - Chris from Hawaii
Here is an email from someone who attended one of the church services.
Firstly, Thanks Mike for having the guts to work with XXX Church.
I came tonight because way back when Craig Gross started his ministry I heard what Craig was doing in the midst of my prodigal journey and I wanted to be able to say to Craig tonight that the seeds that were planted do germinate when the conditions are right. And the seeds he planted in me along with many others gained more ground and pushed out the weeds. The person that sows seed often never will know the full impact until they get to heaven. But there isn't ever a harvest without people willing to sow seed season after season. For me, after 10 years of working in the adult industry one way or another and for as long as I knew about XXXchurch I always included the link to his software on all of my adult sites.
Luke 15:17 and when he came to his senses
And when I came to my senses or right mind I called out to God and said "if you are real, be real to me now ... I know the right way to do this but the right way has never worked ... just be real to me."
I went home to my estranged parents - my Dad the Pastor who had to resign from his ministry of 25 years because I was his daughter going her own way and I was welcomed home and working through the healing, the relationship with God and the apprenticeship in evangelism my Father has been so generous to give me.
The video of the girl sharing about having met Craig at her Christian school ... it's not surprising to me. A large percentage of women I have met working in adult are pastor's kids, missionary's kids ... people that have a destiny in God and chose to walk contrary to that for many reasons. The skill set is the same.
My own daughter is 12 now and I brought her with me tonight. And I am grateful that you put this event on so that some of those positive seeds could be planted in a conversation hard to have.
One dandelion seed can germinate up to 9 years after it was first sown. There is always Hope.
Mike ... what you have done to start a conversation in Australia about porn took guts. But it is real.
Craig... Keep sowing seeds. Picture that Dandelion Clock and blow on it and those things can germinate up to 9 years later and you are at 10 years. Now you are going to see the harvest.