Clowning Around

Clowning Around

 

Job 24:15

“And the eye of the adulterer watches for the twilight, thinking, ‘No eye can see me,’ and covers his face with a mask.”

When we clown around with porn, flirting or affairs, we quickly begin wearing a mask. Sure, we may not physically look like Bozo the clown with the rubber nose and face paint, but we certainly put on a show to imply that everything is fine. The truth is we’re not laughing; we’re dying inside.

We paint on a smile to manage day-to-day life. We believe that inner voice that says we will be rejected if we remove our masks. So we live the life of a pretender, performing acts that would otherwise make us uncomfortable.

Over time, we find ourselves juggling more than we can handle, adding riskier behavior, until we ultimately lose control and everything comes tumbling down.

Clowning around is no way to live!

I have found over the years (contrary to the world’s standards) that STRONG men admit weakness. WEAK men choose to hide behind masks of perfection and success. What kind of man are you?

Keep in mind that ALL masks eventually will be removed, by way of this world, or standing before God. Trust me when I say that the best way to remove the mask is sooner rather than later. Unlike a clown, if you’re found with your pants down it won’t be so funny :)

“We press on to Finishing Strong”
– Steve Kleinheksel

 

No Pain…No Gain!

No pain...No gain

Hebrews 12:11

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

The path we take towards sobriety is difficult and painful. In order to remain committed to the journey, it will take discipline. Recovery is not for the lazy man. The way out from sexual addiction is not possible, or sustainable, without daily self discipline.

I recently came across the following quote which speaks so much truth about our recovery. “Life is Pain — and you get to choose: either the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Disappointment.”

We were never designed by God to escape all the pains and hardships of this world. Pain is inevitable. Knowing pain is here to stay, it’s up to us how we utilize it. It will either build us up or break us down.

THE PAIN OF DISAPPOINTMENT
The excitement of masturbation, pornography, and affairs may seem thrilling at first. The problem is the feelings are short lived and leave us carrying weights of guilt and burdens of shame. I am certain you’ve heard the popular saying associated with eating, “A moment on the lips adds to a lifetime on the hips.” The same is true with acts of sexual immorality. Small (seemingly insignificant) impulsive acts of the flesh lead to a lifetime of disappointment.

THE PAIN OF DISCIPLINE
Making the right choices in life are often painful: exercising, eating healthy, serving others, daily devotions and prayer, or even the small pain in attending recovery groups :) The key is accepting the short pain associated with self discipline, rather than acting impulsively on our selfish desires. Over time, practicing discipline will restore inner peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

“We press on to Finishing Strong”
– Steve Kleinheksel

Technical Difficulties

Technical Difficulties

 

Matthew 7:13-14

“Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

We are currently living in a time like no other before us in all of history. Pornography and sexual temptations are all too easily accessible in a world full of technology. Just as technology has progressed in our society, so must our conversations concerning the “birds and the bees.” We must be willing to take the off the blinders and see what is truthfully taking place before us. Sadly, most of it goes unnoticed until it is often too late because we generally assume the best, or because porn is simply too uncomfortable to talk about.

What would you think about a parent who purchases a Playboy magazine for a child or teenager? Crazy. Foolish. Nobody would do that! Here’s some truth…the smartphones in our pockets and iPads that lay on our nightstands WILL overwhelmingly surpass the destruction brought upon previous generations discreetly flipping through Playboys. Wake up people!

The devil is crafty. He is not a fool. He works very hard to remain hidden and disguises objects to appear innocent, harmless and cool looking. The mobile technology we all love is, without question, the perfect tool to destroy your faith, marriage, family members and all future generations to come.

Wide is the road to destruction. Many are traveling this road.

Did you know?

– 70 million individuals WEEKLY visit pornographic websites (11 million are under the the age of 18)

– 68% of men and 18% of women view porn at least once a WEEK.

– The porn industry is huge, generating $13 billion of revenue every year, with Internet porn bringing in $3 billion. YET Internet porn revenue has been cut in half since 2007 because of how much FREE porn is online.

Narrow is the road to life/heaven. Not a lot of people are choosing this road. Why? It is difficult to restrain or die consistently to our fleshy desires. Many love porn. We must understand that we daily have a choice to either live for Christ or continue down the porn road that ALWAYS leads to destruction. What are you living for? What are you dying for? I believe, just like Christ surrendered and took up His cross, we too are called to surrender our porn.

Along with surrendering we must put effort into preventing future failures.

Did you know?

– 64% of parents do not utilize parental control on their kids’ smartphones or computers.

Would you let your 16-year-old drive a car without brakes? Would you be wise driving a brand new Cadillac without insurance? Neither should we travel the world wide web unprotected and void of stop signs.

I would encourage you to consider installing software and/or have a conversation with your loved one(s) today. I , as many others, highly recommend Covenant Eyes (see below) for accountability software. Please don’t allow today’s technical difficulties to turn into a massive meltdown!

Covenant Eyes.  www.covenanteyes.com

” We press on to Finishing Strong “
– Steve Kleinheksel

Optical ILLusions; Critical Conclusion!

wpid-complacent_man_black_2.jpg

Romans 6:1-2

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

I believe, in West Michigan, many of us certainly can understand, or relate with, the fact that comfort over time leads into complacency—whether we are speaking in terms of religious freedom, financial abundance or social well being. Complacency and comfort is fully alive and… well, not so well.

The big concern with complacency in our present culture is pornography. God clearly, through His word (the B.I.B.L.E. yes, that’s the book for me), speaks His concern on sexual immorality issues. So why, if we live in such a Christian-saturated area, do we poorly address this immoral sin? Let’s look into two driving forces that breed sexual immorality in our society today. Appearance and Complacency.

Appearance (Presentation). The shame associated with sexual immorality, along with the increased expectations of a christian life, only add fuel to an already burning flame. Then, through striving to set a perfect example externally, the devil often goes unnoticed internally. He comes and goes as he pleases because, apparently, nobody sees him physically working. We learn to wear masks.  Often the greatest reasons young people leave the faith or church environment is due, in part, to not having a sense of a safe place to lay their dirty, filthy, immoral rags. We need grace, people, not more perfect façades! Do you remember the story of Jesus and the adulterous woman? Jesus drew a line in the dirt before the Pharisees as they hovered over her passionately calling out for her death. He lowered Himself to meet this shameful woman with unheard of grace in the culture of that day and age. Jesus loved the sinner, yet hated the sin! He drew a line in the dirt, offered her grace and specifically said, “now go and sin no more.” Yet, how often do we stay lying in the dirt, relying on grace?

Complacency. I believe one word best describes our present culture: porn-olescence. Fully accepting and engaging in porn is wrong, YET we are unwilling to make the necessary efforts to stop. In other words, feeling it’s OK. “Grace covers my need to change.” Porn has become a normal part of life for christians and non-christians. Just look at any current statistics concerning porn usage. Many men (and women, too) have lost, or are losing, their moral compass along with their desire to turn away from sexual sin. Do we live in an overly grace-based culture of faith? I am all for grace, but when is the time for turning from sexual immorality? Today, my friends!!

My previous marriage failed, but not from lack of grace. It ended due to my over-abundant expectation of grace over the years. It was the continuous, unchanged sin on my behalf that resulted in a sad ending to the relationship. I believe our heavenly Father does not want our relationship with Him to end the same way. He loves us and ALWAYS offers grace, YET we are told “sin no more” or turn from it. If we expect grace will remain from the first encounter with porn until the day we die with no effort for change, that is, without question, twisted. It is not in line with Christ’s example and teaching.

This is my question for you today. Is the grace offered to you keeping you in porn or making you reborn?

” We press on to Finishing Strong”
– Steve Kleinheksel

Johnny Crappyseed

wpid-fotolia_40013400_subscription_xxl.jpg

Galatians 6:8-9

“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

My grandfather was a farmer, and he made a living planting seeds. He had wisdom that came from all the years out in the fields. I am not a farmer. Although, in years past, as a child, I found myself weeding my parents garden. Yes, I did complain, every time. :)

I would like to share some truth concerning the seeds of sexual immorality. If I told you I planted seeds from a thorn bush and beautiful apple trees grew up from the soil, would you believe me? I would hope not. It is not possible. Yet how often do we fool ourselves into planting seeds of sin, expecting a life of bountiful blessings and happiness?

If I were able to ask my grandfather today more about farming, I am sure he would add that as Christians, we are all farmers indeed. You see, each and every day we plant seeds either by thoughts, words or actions. So what kind of seeds are we planting? The Bible states there are two ways to sow seeds.

Seeds of the flesh. I know these seeds all too well from my past. Innocent little lust seeds planted and forgotten, soon sprout up into an “idol” that we trim and prune to manage. As time passes, we become lazy and it grows uncontrollably. Now it has become overgrown and ugly. It has spread into other areas affecting others and robbing life from the innocent. Can you reap true life from seeds of lust, porn, or affairs? No. It is not possible. You will reap destruction.

Seeds of the Spirit. Planting seeds for Christ and others—this is where it’s at! This is the great shifting point in our recovery when we flip from selfish to selfless. We begin seeing, feeling and living in a new way, like never before! Maybe for the first time feeling the effects of the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.)

I will end with some food for thought. A farmer understands that to be successful he must persevere. Planting and harvesting seasons will come and go, but know that God is merciful and gracious with each new season. Maybe take a walk today through your “fields” and be honest about what you see. Maybe it’s time to pull some weeds, plant new seeds and water dry land. Learn from past crop failures. Make adjustments and press on knowing that Christ wants more than anything to bless us with bumper crops!

“We press on to Finishing Strong “

– Steve Kleinheksel

My Personal Journey With Pornography

Steve Kleinheksel

Proverbs 28:13

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

My name is Steve Kleinheksel. I was born in 1977 and raised in Zeeland, Michigan. I grew up in a strong Christian home with wonderful parents. We attended church twice every Sunday and on Wednesday nights too. I was first exposed to pornographic material when I was around 10 years old (see soccer pic). My neighborhood friend and I stumbled across Playboy magazines in his parents’ bedroom. What started so innocently would slowly progress over the years. As a teenager, I was already watching hardcore porn videos that I either bought, stole or borrowed. As a Christian, I found it extremely difficult to share honestly. The shame kept me in bondage. Then, of course, came the Internet when I was around 18 years old. By the time I was 21, I ventured off into the world of strip clubs, etc.. I was living a double life, feeding my addiction and all the while attending church.

As time passed by I convinced myself that I could stop at any time by simply using my own willpower. So I said “I will fix it tomorrow”. Tomorrow turned into next week, next month, next year and then decades passed. The negative effects from sexual immorality in my life grew and spread like cancer. A type of “spiritual/emotional cancer” that I believe led me to medicate myself with food and prescription antidepressants over the years to cover the pain. Ultimately, porn played a role in a mental breakdown in 2001 and the collapse of two marriages between a 12-year timespan. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So after my second marriage failed in 2011, I knew this was going to be life or death for me. In order for change to happen, I needed to make changes. First, I needed someone or something bigger and stronger than just me and my efforts. I had to trust Jesus with my life. Having lost everything, I, in return, gave Jesus my everything. I began believing and trusting in His way rather than my own selfish ways. Recovery for me needed to be a priority and a commitment. I also chose to be transparent with family and friends. I decided to have my finances and smartphone monitored. I joined recovery groups because I wanted to, not for others.

In late 2011 I met a woman named Susan. I was interested in dating her, but I knew I had to be honest. No masks. I shared with Susan everything concerning my past and she chose to love me and support me. She reflected Jesus to me. In November 2011, I felt led to discontinue taking all three antidepressants. Judging from the past 20 years on meds, I could see no reason to stay on them. They seemed to only numb an already calloused heart. I needed to feel the pain of the past in order to heal and move beyond it. I decided to start eating healthier and exercise through running. I lost weight and started feeling great! Day by day trusting in Christ, and others, I began transforming from an old man into a new man.

Since 2011 with God’s strength and trusting in Him, He has faithfully blessed me with spiritual, physical and emotional health. Susan and I joined in marriage on February 1, 2013. We have three precious children (Bennett, 7, Lily, 7, and Lindy, 5). We own a home in Holland Heights. Pornography no longer controls me as it did in the past. Exposing my sin has allowed me to experience healing through mercy, grace and forgiveness as Proverbs 28:13 speaks about. Through mercy I had hope for a better future. Today I am 50 lbs lighter than I was in 2010. I also have had no need for any forms of medications since 2011. The heavy chains that the devil once used to control me have been broken, allowing me to passionately pursue God’s will for my life. I have found purpose and fulfillment assisting other men through Finishing Strong. I help facilitate a men’s recovery group, also (as you see) write a personal blog pertaining to sexual addiction. Having the opportunity to share in church and at a few retreats has fueled my recovery process. Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Slovakia with Finishing Strong to share my experience, strength and hope with men. I truly believe that sharing publicly about sexual addiction, along with my testimony, may offer hope to those struggling.

I understand this journey will not be easy. That is why I am asking for many prayers and support. I must continue to seek Christ, my wife, family members and the many authentic relationships that have developed over the years in order to Finish Strong.

“We press on to Finishing Strong”
-Steve Kleinheksel

Everybody’s got one…

wpid-excuseskeeptmehere_1.jpg

 

John 5:6-8
When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Excuses. Do you know what day of the week is an addict’s favorite? Tomorrow. I will fix it tomorrow. If you are struggling, or know someone who is, you probably would agree.

As strange as it sounds, we often find excuses to stay ill. The “I will fix it tomorrow” excuse only allows for more sickness to spread like cancer. I used this excuse for 20+ years. Unfortunately, the same rings true for almost all the men I have listened to, talked with, and continue to hear each week. So what can be done to change this?

I believe there are two movements that must take place in order to experience healing from sexual addiction. God’s part and our part.

God’s part. We must pray for healing and ask for repentance through Christ. I believe men do a good job understanding this and practicing it. I would like to believe the ill man at the pool cried out to Jesus for many years, yet he was still ill. So what is the issue here…God or us?

Our part. This is where we as men fail. We often expect Jesus to do all the work. We pray for weeks, months, or years for a miracle. I hear it all the time. I know all too well from my past that prayers I offered were limited as I continued to sit on my dirty mat.

But, there is hope! We just need to stand up and act on what Jesus is telling us. Sure, it might be uncomfortable at first, but can you imagine what this man’s life looked like from this moment forward? The freedom to finally experience a new life journey full of freedom and excitement! It’s a life changer! Looking back, I ask myself, “Why did I settle for a dirty old mat when I was offered an abundant life ?”

Jesus tells us, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Do we really believe we can be set free and no longer controlled by our illness? If you believe it and strive for a change, it is possible. I have experienced it as well as other men in Finishing Strong.

I will end with some questions for us all to ponder. Is there something, or someone, keeping you on your mat? Would you like to be healed and experience what God has waiting before you? If so, consider standing up. You have the freedom to connect with us or other individuals anytime. Don’t wait until tomorrow turns into next month, next year or, like so many, never. Start today, right now.

“We press on to Finishing Strong”

-Steve Kleinheksel

The Macho Man Mindset

wpid-wp-1398178011052.jpeg

Psalms 36:2
“In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin.”

Pride is one of the most difficult behaviors men must overcome before any assistance can be established. We live in a society where, unfortunately, many of us often ignore the “heart condition” and negative effects of pornography simply because of this one fear: “What will they think of me?” Pride. It is the devil’s most valuable tool in his workshop.

Now, imagine how difficult it becomes for the family man or elder of the church to seek help for sexual immorality issues. Pride keeps us from seeking help. Often times, brokenness is ultimately needed. With this being said, you can quickly begin to understand how pornography and sexual sins can and do get out of control. As long as we fear rejection from our peers, sexual immorality will continue to grow.

Many men find it difficult to see clearly how porn is impacting them. Just as Psalms 36:2 points out, many are so proud of themselves and their accomplishments they do not detect or see their sins. Did you know that 65% of men believe it is morally acceptable to view porn? Is it possible that we have shifted sexual immorality into the same moral arena as eating and drinking, only seeing porn as a problem if we cannot control it? Wake up! A manageable portion of porn is sin. I truly believe men justify porn usage because they have not yet reached “gluttony” or “drunkenness.”

We must bury our pride in order to see our true “heart condition”. Seeing clearly will give us an opportunity to become humbled and seek out support. Recovery will be easier to achieve when transparency exists within our churches and among family and friends. I dream of the day when pride has lost its power on man and we no longer hide in the dark.

“We press on to Finishing Strong”
– Steve Kleinheksel

Fight the Good Fight!

wpid-Fotolia_62081085_Subscription_XXL.jpg

2 Timothy 4:7

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

When we find ourselves committed to sexual purity, we begin to realize that it will not be an easy task. Solid recovery takes daily efforts. I think it helps if we liken our journey to champion boxer.

Let’s look at a few quality traits that will help lead us to victory.

First, we need to be well prepared. In order to have a good chance to overcome the battles, we need to be spirituality, emotionally and physically fit. I believe we need someone in our corner (God) and a team of supporters (men) who truly know our strengths and our weaknesses; Pushing us towards victory.

Next, a seasoned fighter knows the value of understanding his opponent. We should know that our opponent (the devil/evil one) will always strike at our weak or unprotected areas. Whether it is an upper-cut to the chin exposed through stress; or a strike to our gut from simply not protecting ourselves. We must ALWAYS be aware and on guard!

Finally, A Hall of Fame boxer is driven to continue fight after fight. He is not satisfied with one or two victories. He presses on always preparing for the next battle. He stays lean and mean. He has a “never give up” attitude. Past mistakes, pain, and failure has not broken his will. He has chosen to learn and become stronger.

We too have a choice. Stand up and fight with all you have, or sit in the comfy seat that only produces regret. Know that we CAN and WILL have victory through Christ! All the effort will be worth it when we hear the final bell… ding.ding.ding!

“We press on to Finishing Strong”
-Steve Kleinheksel

Lost at Sea

wpid-Fotolia_36976386_Subscription_L.jpg

Matthew 14:28-29

“And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.”

Courage. Without question the greatest obstacle that prevents healing from sexual addiction/immortality, is fear. We will need a good amount of courage followed by a step of faith.

One of the best examples of courage comes from the story of Peter. Peter was in a scary situation finding himself on a boat during a storm. He was given an opportunity for the storm to pass, but it came with risk. He made the right move.

This story of Peter reminds me of the boat I once sailed. I was comfortable, complacent and had a false sense of control. My boat was driven by my desires. I sensed I was heading in the wrong direction. I felt the waves, I heard the thunder. I convinced myself that I could maintain the small leaks along the way, until the storms hit.

Many times as addicts we blow through warning signs. As a captain of a boat when the fog is thick, you would be a fool to disregard a foghorns blast. So understand this warning, as an addict we only have two options to get through this storm. Be courageous or be cowardly.

#1.Courageous. We have the choice to be bold by practicing courage to get out of that old boat. Sure, its not going to be easy. Peter literally risked his life by stepping overboard into the sea. But, you know what? His life changed forever by one courageous step. Jesus was there for him. It was Peter’s trust in Jesus that saved himself and others.  Wow!

#2.Cowardly. This choice has one outcome, destruction. Your boat will sink. I know, I was the coward that stayed in the boat too long. Sure, I eventually reached out for help to Jesus and others, but I watched loved ones sink in my misguided boat. Your boat will sink. Please do not wait any longer by denying of justifying your actions. Unfortunately, shipwrecks are often the reason men finally seek help they so desperately need.

I truly believe that a great number are lost in this immeasurable sea of porn. They will hang on for so many reasons. My heart hurts for them. It is a horrible place to be. I was once that man lost at sea, seeing no possible hope. Let me tell you this with certainty, with Jesus all things are possible! It wasn’t until I let go and trusted in Jesus that He made all things new.

I will end with this, stop following the ways of this world. Don’t be the captain that goes down with your ship! Humble yourself today and send out an S.O.S before it’s to late!

“We press on to Finishing Strong”

-Steve Kleinheksel