Saturday, February 23, 2013

Consumed: The Movie

Lying in bed in January of 2011, I spoke to God, asking Him what my next film should seek to conquer. What was next? Then I felt it land upon my heart. Pornography addiction. Interesting, I thought. I had never struggled with that. But I am living proof that God calls the willing, not necessarily the qualified.

It was April of that year and I was wondering, "Where do I go with this?". What is at the heart of this infection? I called up the only source I knew: Focus on the Family. I talked with a nice lady who referred me to their website for some CD's from a previous broadcast. She also sent me in the direction of a list of websites. I did some internet searching and I came across message boards filled with people who were dealing with it or even overcame it. Stories were being discussed; their stories. Stories of lust, of trials, and of journeys.

The next month sitting down to write a script to shoot during my upcoming time in Washington, DC, I developed a story about a couple of roommates; one of which steals porn from a suitemate and in the end has to return it. “Every opportunity is a ministry opportunity,” Luke tells him, as the scene fades. But then I ended up rewriting it a couple of months later, after God revealed He didn’t want it shot in DC.

Pornography addiction seems very common among men. We are visual creatures. We seek the enlightenment of the allure of visual images and at times, the not so enlightened. What appears like a mirage of a spring in the desert ends up as sand choking us on its way down. It keeps us up at all hours of the night. It can ruin our relationships and, according to 1 Corinthians 6:18, it can ruin our bodies. It looks innocent but becomes a disorder. After all, there is no order in it.

Deciding that portraying some form of a female body, no matter how much could be blocked out, would be counterproductive to the encouraging message of the film, I was led to show only the other side of the computer. But to add that character of porn to the film, make it in the form of a voice. The seductive voice of the devil, himself: “Hey big boy, take a look. I’ll be here all day.”

Filming was fun as I worked with two of my great friends, Micah Moore and Andrew Cacho. Neither one had professionally acted before; a motif in all of my films. Marissa Dodd, a former on-screen sister in a television show that fell through before shooting an episode, portrayed the Voice on the PC. The film was considered and denied acceptance to Sundance, but bowed to a standing room only audience in my hometown in January 2012. It has been shown a few times before and since, but February marks its online debut. It stands as a catalyst and opponent to the belief that “lust = love,” in a month dedicated to love. It stands as a bridge to those who say that their situation is too deep or impossible to cross. To recite to them 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you.”

Check out the video here "Consumed". 

Have you fought against this type of addiction?
Share a comment on how you overcame temptation below!

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Tyler lives in Durant, Oklahoma, where he enjoys making independent films. 
He spends his time with friends and thinking of new film ideas. 
Be sure to check out his other short films and follow him on Twitter!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Battle for our Desire

Let's not avoid the fact right off the start that the word "desire" is not commonly used in today's culture. But in all honestly the idea needs to be addressed badly.

Let's start things out with a simple game of decision. Imagine standing in front of a table. The table is clear and the man standing beside it has two objects of desire in his hands. On one side of the table he puts down a "Gentleman's Magazine" and on the other side of the table he puts down a Bible. After a few moments, the man asks you to point to your idea of desire. I haven't been able to make a case study of this scenario, but I would think most men would point to the gentlemen's magazine. 

Would we even consider the Bible and its teachings a thing to desire? Culture has brainwashed men to have a certain idea or belief of what desire looks like and it has nothing to do with the Bible. But why would we consider a woman hardly dressed desire? Well, quite frankly, because it's easy. We are simply not in control of what our desire should be in our life. We grab the easily accessible magazine off the rack. We watch the video that the popular guy is showing to everybody. And when we're alone, our self control goes out the door suddenly. We are easily swayed, we know it and we're doing nothing about it. Well gentlemen, it's time to make some changes!

1) STOP!
That's right, stop. Stop falling victim to what the culture says is desire and start asking God what desire is and what it should look like in your life. Stop taking the "easy" route in your life when it comes to the magazines, videos and the people that expose you to those things. Stop thinking you don't have a choice in the matter and choose to make the right decision! Because you always have a choice. 

2) Fill the Gap
So you've stopped? Now you need to come up with a plan; in other words you need to fill the gap. What are you going to do the next time you encounter the dirty magazine, the crude jokes at work or the hot woman walking past you in the store? Don't wait for it to happen, come up with a plan to defeat it! When I was trying to discover the true desire in my life, I decided to read a book titled "Wild at Heart". I hated reading at the time, but I had to fill the gap. I would get out of work early and just sit in my car and read. I would read until I knew I would get home at the same time as my wife. I had to fill the gap, and remove the option.

3) Pray
I don't recall ever saying this process would be easy, but I can assure you it will be beyond fulfilling and life changing. If you were never much for prayer, this would be the time to change that and start praying often. Your desire should be to stop the old habits, to form new Godly habits, and seek God in a whole new way. God is always there to help us and guide us, we just have to give him the opportunity. Make his teachings and his lifestyle your new desire and watch him go to work in your life!

Your challenge: Read Mathew 5:27-30 

As men, we are all victim to the temptations that the world has to offer. But we have to be stronger and rise above the world and its lies. Share your story or thoughts below of how you overcame false desires and found true desire in Christ! 
Show other men that real change is possible!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Things Not Seen

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

This is a verse we frequently use as Christians when we are hoping for things to work out for our best or even to encourage others as they hope. But, how do we get to this point of hoping and having the faith that the book of Hebrews is talking about? It does not say that whatever it is we are hopeful for is going to happen. It just says, have faith and hope. I believe that usually it isn’t until “the hay hits the fan” that we tap into that kind of faith. When there is nothing left to pull from, we find ourselves at a decisive moment in our lives where we will have to make a choice: do I believe that I can have that kind of faith, or is it time to run for the nearest exit? Faith has to become us...Let me tell you a story to illustrate.

A few years back our family went through a very rough patch. The company I was working for decided to discontinue my position, and I needed to find a job as soon as possible. Out of the blue, my safe-secure rug had been pulled right from under me. I had a family to to provide for and bills to pay, but our bank account was shot. I applied to as many jobs as I could, but nothing seemed promising. At this point, I could hear those voices in my mind saying things like, “Why didn’t you save any money or how can you put your family in this position?” I had heard people “standing” on the Hebrews 11:1 verse, but I never knew what it was like to be there - until now.

The choice had to be made. I chose to believe that God knew I was going to be let go from my job and by knowing He also had a solution. As much as I did not want to be in that position, I needed to go through the process of developing my faith. The kind of faith that trusted “all things work together for the good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Part of our human nature leads us to think that at certain points we have to take over. You know, as men,we are used to being the one to make things happen, but I had come to the point that I realized I needed to allow the Holy Spirit to work in me. Let me point out that this is not about bad things happening to good people. It’s about submitting our human mindset to the Heavenly Kingdom mindset in Matthew 6:33 as Jesus instructs. Faith doesn’t happen overnight. Faith is the result of a relentless pursuit of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Whether we get what we hope for, as Hebrews conveys, in this pursuit, we are bound to discover that we truly have received everything as we put our trust in Him.

As men, are you striving to get the things you are hoping for, or are you trying to develop a faith that will sustain you through the tough times? 


This was a guest post by Rick Cubas! 
Rick is the director of the SkyWay Leadership Group in Texas.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

stand up and LEAD!


These were my final words at the end of my plea to my buddy sitting reluctantly in front of me. When your conversations have to take place in a small cafe; your words are only allowed to get so loud. I raised my arms up and put my hands behind my head. He lowered his head to his lap and put it in his hands. His marriage was on the verge of disaster and all he could do was sit there...

Hit rewind and go back 3 days.

My buddy proceeds to tell me over the phone that he is done with his young marriage of only a year and a half. I listened patiently on the other end of the line, well aware that this was a familiar call from him time to time. This time was different though, this time he actually sounded like he was finished. Hearing the reality in his tone, I told him that it was time we took things to the next level and meet up. He agreed, finally, to meet up and discuss all the issues. I prayed hard and prepared myself for battle.

Before reaching the almost verdict stated earlier above, we discussed a variety topics and ideas on how and why to save his marriage. He wasn't really interested, but he was respectful enough to hear me out and listen to what I had to say to him. Here are 3 things to review before signing on the dark black line of divorce.
  • Review the Background Information: After grabbing a quick snack for the long journey of discussion ahead of us, we settled down at a table and I asked him to tell me about the past. Without hesitation he started out with the word "SHE". Quite frankly, it was "her this" and "her that". I listened to him quietly, doing my best to keep the half smile off of my face. "She never does anything I want or ask her to do." "She never treats me with respect." "She never lets me finish what I'm saying before she jumps in with her own opinion." This went on for a while until I finally stopped him and told him we were going to switch gears.
  • Remove Her and Focus on Him: Frustrated from all of the past discussion about her failures in the relationship, I asked him a different question. I asked him what he was contributing to the relationship and to keep what she was doing out of it. There was a pause, a long pause and a distant look in his eyes. I could tell that this was new territory for him. He started out with the word "she" again, and I stopped him in his tracks. I had a half laugh and said NO, what are YOU doing in the relationship? I asked him what he was doing special for her or what he did to help her out. I asked him if he had ever talked to her about all of the issues he was going through. Among a few quick excuses, I continued with my thought and went to the next important point. 
  • Resolve to Change You! Not Her... I went on to tell him that I was once told that I am only capable of changing myself; I can really never change anyone else. I can't force anyone to do anything. The only real person I can control is myself. He nodded in agreement, and tried to insert a "but", but I held him off. "Do you love her?" He replied, "yes". "Do you want to stay with her?" He replied, "yes". "Are you willing to do whatever it takes and make some changes in your life?" He again replied, "yes". This is where you insert the statement, "You don't have a choice". I told him to pull his head up and take the lead in his marriage! Talk to her about the issues. Talk to her about the past and seek resolution! Make an effort to keep what you wanted so badly in the past rather than taking the easy route by signing the papers. Don't make divorce a choice and you won't look at it as a choice. The change in you will affect her in many ways and your leadership could bring the marriage back to having a solid foundation! Stand up and LEAD!
I am fully aware that this scenario will not work in all marriage situations; 
 but my advice to every man on the edge is to give 
every effort before giving in to the papers. 
Men need to know that there is hope in marriage and in the future of marriage.
 I'd love to hear your story or thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Engine on, Car in Gear, JUST DRIVE!

Frustrated, tired, bitter and angry; I got up from the couch, grabbed my keys and headed out the door. My wife left on the couch crying, screaming or whatever.

Engine on, car in gear, just drive... (far away)

This was my "solution"; this was my way out. Spinning conversations about the same issues, and the same problems that we fought about every month were just not tolerable anymore. I would stare out the front windshield with intensity, wondering why I ever got married. The thought of her pain or what she was still doing was far from my care or mind. I didn't even know where I was headed; I just wanted to get away. Some solution.

If this scenario sounds familiar in your marriage, you're not alone brothers; it use to be common or better yet habitual in my marriage. Thankfully this doesn't take place in my marriage anymore, but it was the way of communication early on. This was never discussed in my pre-marriage classes and I honestly knew no better.


Typically ignited by something miniscule or just plain stupid, issues can erupt in our marriages in a matter of minutes. Away from the marriage we call this behavior pride and selfishness. Before having a place together and having the "joy" of seeing each other on a daily basis, these types of fights were dismissed or you could just simply head back to your place and wait out the bitterness. Although now you have to face them head on, you have to face them together. The long and far drive in the heat of the moment was never, and still is never, the answer.

Engine off, car in park, walk back in... (and stay)

Before you say I do, just after you say "I do" or if this type fight happened last night. Make it a point to talk about communication in your marriage with your wife. This is best done over a nice meal or on a calm walk one day. Be the leader gentlemen; gas is too expensive to take off on long, middle of the night drives all the time. But seriously gents, take the initiative in your marriage to figure out how to communicate. 
  1. Quit pointing fingers at each other and look at yourself first.
  2. Listen to what each other has to say and interpret back immediately!
  3. We speak in blue, she speaks in pink. Learn what I mean HERE.
  4. Learn to work together, not AGAINST each other.
  5. Be the SPIRITUAL LEADER and pray together over your marriage!

Marriage is awesome and can be awesome again if you want it to be. I'd love to hear about your "long midnight drive" experience or something similar in the comments below. Men need to know and hear that the hard times in marriage are common, but there are bright lights at the end of the tunnels.