One of my favorite professors at Dallas Seminary was a guy named Dr. Howard ‘Prof’ Hendricks. Prof passed away on February 20, 2013. I can say with confidence that he helped me grow in my love for God’s Word more than any other person in my life. In fact, one of the reasons I chose to attend Dallas Seminary was so I could meet Prof and learn from him. I took three classes with him and loved all of them, including Bible Study Methods.
If you want to learn how to read, understand and apply God’s Word to your life, one of the first books I’d recommend is his book Living by the Book. Someday I will take my boys through this book to teach them how to study the Bible and learn to love God’s Word.
Prof loved Jesus, and he loved reading God’s Word. A few of my favorite “Profisms”:
A few days ago, while cleaning out my files, I came across some notes from a talk Prof gave in 2002. The talk is called “Pitfalls in Ministry,” and is about leaders who fell morally. Prof was tired and burdened from walking with men and women who fell sexually. In his study of Christians who had fallen sexually, Prof identified four common characteristics:
When someone falls sexually, you are guaranteed to see a broken relationship with the Lord. While they might still attend church and even teach the Bible, true Bible study, prayer and sharing the faith are no longer found. Instead, you find an increase in cultural Christianity and a lack of dependence on Jesus.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5
What are you doing every day to abide with Christ and to grow in your personal relationship with The Lord?
An accountability group will not guarantee success, and an absence of a group will not guarantee failure. However, you are an accident waiting to happen if you think you can move through life without an accountability or small group around you. Leaders who fall often have no authentic accountability to help them and often fail to submit to the authority above them.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” - Hebrews 13:7
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” - Proverbs 18:1
Who is your community/accountability? Do you have leaders you willingly submit to?
Leaders who fall sexually often meet, counsel, travel, and eat alone with people of the opposite sex without any boundaries, wisdom, or accountability in place. Often the inappropriate relationship doesn’t start physical, but those who fall, always cross boundaries emotionally with someone of the opposite sex, which can lead to crossing physical boundaries as well.
Kristen and I are super conscious about this. We have some very strict boundaries in place in our relationships with people of the opposite sex. We work hard to protect our marriage from anything that could threaten our oneness. Check out my post on avoiding sexual temptation as well as this post on 6 Ways You Can Strengthen Your Marriage.
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” - 1 Corinthians 10:12
What kinds of boundaries do you currently have in place to protect you from being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse?
No one who falls sexually and who loves Jesus ever plans their infidelity on the wedding day. In our vows, we promise to be faithful to one another for as long as we both shall live. We think it won’t happen to us, but the ones who fall sexually become prideful, lazy, and irresponsible.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” - Proverbs 16:18
Are you diligently working on your marriage? Are you pursuing and dating your spouse? What ways are you fighting against pride, laziness, and irresponsibility?
If you’ve fallen sexually, the good news is God isn’t done with you. There is hope, grace, and forgiveness in Jesus (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 2:4-5). Check out a ministry like re|engage, where you can find hope and healing in your marriage.
Prof closed his pitfalls talk by sharing about the most important thing in your ministry: the trust factor. And by ‘ministry,’ I don’t just mean those of us who get a paycheck from a church or parachurch organization. The trust factor applies to every one of us. You are building (or tearing down) trust in marriage, in ministry, with your kids and friends, today. Do whatever you need to do to protect your relationship with Jesus and with your significant other from these four common pitfalls of those who fall sexually.
Reflect on the accountability questions listed in this post. Discuss it with your spouse and come up with some action items if needed.