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Archive for October 2013

Encountering Jesus-Michael Franzese

In this clip, Michael Franzese shares how a trip to the bank ended with him sitting in a jail cell with a bible in his hand and how he encountered Jesus there.

To watch to the entire message visit vimeo.com/77357976

For more information about Christ Community Church, visit the website at cccomaha.org. You can also watch the service online at CCCOmaha.tv.

Follow Christ Community Church on: Facebook – facebook.com/cccomaha Twitter – twitter.com/cccomaha Instagram – instagram.com/cccomaha

Submit to God-Michael Franzese

In this clip, Michael Franzese talks about the changes that came to his life when he started submitting to God.

To watch to the entire message visit vimeo.com/77357976

For more information about Christ Community Church, visit the website at cccomaha.org. You can also watch the service online at CCCOmaha.tv.

Follow Christ Community Church on: Facebook – facebook.com/cccomaha Twitter – twitter.com/cccomaha Instagram – instagram.com/cccomaha

Young women are like Silk. Young Men are like Gold.

silk cloth

An ancient Cambodian proverb says that the sexual purity of a girl is like a fine silk cloth – once violated its stained forever.  But the sexual purity of boys is like an object made of gold metal – if you drop it in the mud, you can quickly pick it up and easily wash it off.

Why don’t we hear anything about boys as sex trafficking victims?

Ever ask yourself that?  As you research this topic you’ll have absolutely no trouble finding statistics and stories about girls being trafficked into prostitution.  The average age of a girl entering prostitution in the United States?  12-14 years.  The percentage of women who leave prostitution then return to it within a year?  95%.  One in four females will experience some form of sexual abuse in her lifetime.  One in three runaways will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

But what about men?  What about boys?  If it’s true that one in six males will experience sexual abuse, shouldn’t we have nearly as many problems for young men in our culture?  This morning as I was researching information for this article, I came across the group called No Child Harmed.  Posted there were the keynote presentations from their recent online conference called Counter Child Trafficking.  Here’s a link to the YouTube site for the presentations:

http://www.youtube.com/user/NoChildHarmed?feature=watch

One of the talks caught my attention because it dealt with the issue from the male perspective.  Here’s a few things I just haven’t heard anyone talking much about.  In response to the question, “Why is sexual exploitation of boys largely ignored?” Dr. Glenn Miles suggests the following reasons:

1-      Society is less willing to cast boys as victims in the first place.  They’re just not “supposed” to be the exploited sex.

2-      Society views sexually exploited boys as individuals who choose to be involved because they are gay.

3-      Christian groups don’t want to be seen as pro-gay, so they don’t want to talk about it.

4-      Secular groups don’t want to be perceived as anti-gay, so they avoid exposing the connection between homosexuality and sexual abuse.

5-      Boys can’t get pregnant – so the stigma and damage are easier to overlook.

6-      Boys are supposed to more easily marginalize the emotional and mental effects of sexual damage.

The implication is clear.  Boys and Girls are seen so differently in light of their sexual vulnerability.  The damage to boys can more easily be tuned out by culture – so that’s why we only view males as the perpetrator in the scenario.  Dr. Miles’ calls attention to the practice of “Holiday Romance” by wealthy female tourists to places like Bali, Indonesia and Thailand.  The female is the customer in this role.

I thought about this in light of my recent conversations with a convicted sex offender I’m corresponding with from the Douglas County Jail.  The roots of the abuse he’s in jail for started when he was just a 6 year old boy being sexually abused by a family member.  Society pays little attention to the abuse he’s experienced till he becomes the abuser himself.  Once he’s a perpetrator, then he’s noticed and dealt with!

I encourage you to give Dr. Miles’ presentation a listen.  Not very slick as far as presentations go – an audio track with power point slides.  It’s about 23 minutes long.  He’s talking about boys in various Asian countries and what their pathway into the sex industry is like.  Here’s a link directly to it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jNr6NrrRis

As you think about the community you live in, ask yourself the question – What does this problem look like for the boys and young men in my city?  Are males involved in the sex industry in my city in roles other than the Pimp or the John?  What about women as sexual exploiters and consumers of pornography?  Gives you a lot to think about.  Unfortunately gives you another reason to have your heart broken for the lives of people hurt by sexual sin.

Getting in the conversation. Connecting the dots.

sex plus money pic

It happens almost every week!  No, I take that back. It happens every stinkin week.  A news story comes across my screen. An e-mail gets forwarded to me.  Someone who’s been through our Trafficking Awareness Training writes me and tells me personally why they’re so passionate about the issue.

Here’s how last week unfolded. Phil, a guy at our training weekend with Theresa Flores notices an advert for a documentary viewing at UNMC. “Can you send me the details?” I fire back.

Turns out the documentary is one that I caught last spring and was very impressed with.  A group of twenty something Christians led by Morgan Perry made an award winning documentary on Sex Trafficking in the United States.  They criss-crossed America interviewing people and exposing the ugly face of trafficking in community after community.

Here’s a link to the film’s website if you care to check it out.

http://sexandmoneyfilm.com/

Connecting the Dots.

As it turns out tomorrow night there’s going to be a viewing of this documentary at UNMC.  Phil is inviting me as his guest and I’m thinking to myself “Hey, we have an entire international outreach to Chinese scholars at UNMC doing research.  I bet they already know about this event.  I bet it wouldn’t take much to connect with a few of them right there at school.”  Hmmmmm, better call my associate outreach director and see if we can hop on the train!

Wait a minute.  Another set of dots.  Turns out that Anna Brewer of the local FBI is going to be present at the viewing of Sex + Money.  I’ve been wanting to meet her and personally invite her to help us here with our effors at Christ Community.  Hmmmm.  Wonder what will happen if I attend this viewing and make it a point to meet Anna Brewer.  Anna is also the director here in Omaha of the FBI’s national trafficking task force called Innocence Lost.

  • Please pray for the dots to connect this week.
  • I’m pressing into my community to see where the conversation about Trafficking is taking place.
  • Pray that my associate Lisa and I can have a chance to meet Anna Brewer this week if possible.
  • Please keep sending me what you’re seeing out there in our community.
  • I’ll keep you posted.

It’s not about arriving safely at death.

In this clip, Lead Pastor Mark tells stories of one way missionaries that have changed the world and delivers a call on our lives.

To watch to the entire message visit vimeo.com/76826208

For more information about Christ Community Church, visit the website at cccomaha.org. You can also watch the service online at CCCOmaha.tv.

Follow Christ Community Church on: Facebook – facebook.com/cccomaha Twitter – twitter.com/cccomaha Instagram – instagram.com/cccomaha

Sowing and Reaping

https://vimeo.com/76364318

In this clip, Lead Pastor Mark explains what 2 Corinthians 9:6 says about how we should give.

To watch to the entire message visit vimeo.com/76279387

For more information about Christ Community Church, visit the website at cccomaha.org. You can also watch the service online at CCCOmaha.tv.

Follow Christ Community Church on: Facebook – facebook.com/cccomaha Twitter – twitter.com/cccomaha Instagram – instagram.com/cccomaha

 

Niko in Mali

In this clip, Lead Pastor Mark shares the story of a young man named Niko who lives in Mali.

To watch to the entire message visit vimeo.com/76279387

For more information about Christ Community Church, visit the website at cccomaha.org. You can also watch the service online at CCCOmaha.tv.

Follow Christ Community Church on: Facebook – facebook.com/cccomaha Twitter – twitter.com/cccomaha Instagram – instagram.com/cccomaha

Jenna Hager Update from Guatemala

Jenna Hager recently graduated from High School and is spending 2 months this Fall ministering at an orphanage in Guatemala before heading to Zambia for 4 months in the Spring.

As with every trip you take, you can only prepare so much, but just have to adjust once you get to where you’re going. Guatemala is no different. My first three weeks have been spent learning about each individual kid, student and worker and figuring out how I can serve each of them. As I have worked side by side with the women who help keep this Home running, I have learned some very valuable skills and life lessons that I know I will take with me.

One thing I have definitely learned is to always turn to God for strength, encouragement and guidance. He never leaves us, and always knows what we need right when we need it. My time here has been full of lessons, great playing time with the kids and challenges that keep me on my toes. But the most important thing I have been experiencing here is God’s love. Too many times to count, I have silently and audibly prayed to him for strength, guidance, and comfort. Every time He sends me just what I need; a surprise package of food I can eat, a break from working, a child coming up to me and giving me a big hug, and everything in between.

I love being here with the simplistic lifestyle and abounding love. I am thankful for every day I have with them, and look forward to other ways I can serve them in the upcoming month and a half left. I appreciate all of the prayers and encouragement I have received, and thank God for all who support me.

Thank you for your support.

Jenna

Update on Bluffs Campus

In this clip, Lead Pastor Mark is joined by Bluffs Campus Pastor Nick Kalina for an update on the Bluffs Campus.

To watch to the entire message visit vimeo.com/75720751

For more information about Christ Community Church, visit the website at cccomaha.org. You can also watch the service online at CCCOmaha.tv.

Follow Christ Community Church on: Facebook – facebook.com/cccomaha Twitter – twitter.com/cccomaha Instagram – instagram.com/cccomaha

Domestic Trafficking – Closer to home than you think!

Slave_4x3_TitleSlide

 

 

Received a letter last week from an inmate in the Douglas County Jail serving a 5 year sentence for molestation.   He had the chance to listen to our recent message series, Dirty Laundry, and wrote the church wanting to chime in on the issue.  His experience was one of heartbreaking childhood abuse within his own family of origin.  Perhaps the cruelest form of abuse goes beyond the surface abuse.  When wrongful sexual contact is further compounded by bribery and threats, the damage runs deep.  Pimped out by immediate family members as a young boy, then again by extended family in his teens, he sank to incredible depths of self loathing and substance abuse.

Check out next week’s Friday Night Gathering

Writing from his cell to “one of you pastors there at Christ Community” he encouraged us to keep raising awareness about sexual abuse and trafficking.  Since in jail, he’s met Christ and radically turned his world around.   Based on his experience, he’s seen how the dark side of abuse can become a cycle where victims grow up and turn into abusers themselves.  The damage is so tragic.  The letter left me furious, depressed and weeping the first time I read it.  It also left me strangely warmed by the power of forgiveness.  After a day or so, I felt a God-inspired impulse to write this guy.  I told him a little more about the message series and how it fit with bigger plans to address the issues.

Next week at Gathering we’ll hear Theresa Flores also share her story of being pimped into prostitution by her high school boyfriend.  In Theresa’s case she was able to escape and find a new trajectory for her life before being so dragged down into the pit.  You’ll be inspired as you learn about her hopes to rescue others that still live through what she experienced.

Some of you may be wondering – This sounds horrific – does it really happen around me in my community?  If I notice something amiss and suspect sex trafficking of an individual could be happening, what do I do.  Who do I call?  Remember that there is a National Trafficking Hotline number you can call to report suspicious happenings in your community.  Here’s the number and a link to a website.

Polaris Project – Trafficking Hotline    1-888-373-7888