This number is way low when we consider various kinds of sexual bondage beyond what I’m mentioning here, yet it is estimated that among our very own boarders there are 500,000 purchased sex acts upon unwilling victims daily!
We gathered for worship, prayer, communion, and soaking in God’s Word and Spirit this Sunday and enjoyed talking boldly about forming a task force here in Merced focused on kicking off a more serious focus on this issue between now and the launch of our second house church gathering beginning in April 2018.
Our leadership team also discussed this as a serious enough issue to probably always have one or two of our congregations focused in on it. Another focus we discussed aiming a congregation in on is the sharing of the hope of Jesus year in and year out on and around the campus of Merced Junior College as well eventually as the UC. We could see each congregation selecting a focus and acting like a task force together to cultivate faith, hope, and love together for mutual health in the Lord, and then to together GO and make disciples of the Lord Jesus among specific communities and contexts.
For our inaugural Jesus community, I am leading us to focus on the victims of sex slavery between now and the end of March 2018. How could such a small gathering make even a dent in this?
Lord, You know. We come before You time and time again! You made a huge way and provided miraculously in the life of Rosa Knauls through our little Jesus community, so I ask You to yet again perform Your wonders through our humble little gathering of Your ekklesia!
This morning I was studying in 1 Timothy and this term stood out to me, that we are as Jesus’ called out ones, His gathering of Jesus’ followers… We are the pillar and buttress of the truth! What is more central in God’s Word, His truth, than this: Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost!
As followers of Jesus, God has propped us up humbly and lovingly to make way for the Way, the Truth, and the Life to be encountered in the lives of the communities we touch and have opportunity to touch in godly love, instead of the way in which these community members have been touched prior – in lust, hatred, jealousy, self-seeking, control, pride, and Ill say it again… LUST.
Particularly in California where the vast majority of porn is produced, women and girls who make up 80% of victims in the sex sales market… these have in 2/3 of the cases been sexually abused in their young years, typically highest at ages 8, 12, and 18.
Do we know girls in these ages? Those who are particularly vulnerable are foster care girls and especially those on the edges of running away. Plenty of this “sales process” gets kicked off with girls (and boys) you’d think are just promiscuous and horny, but in most cases they are acting this way because someone molested them in their private life.
My personal focus with the men in our Jesus community and with leaders of other churches and organizations in town is to get pornography exposed and dealt with starting with men who call themselves Jesus-followers. I’ve been pressing forward the use of a great video resource for starting this discussion which is called The Conquer Series. If we are following Jesus, why are we sowing to lust at every turn with our phones and affections? We are fueling the very spawning of the sex slavery industry, the sexual bondage of male “clients” who eventually want more and more until they are engaging in what they never would have imagined possible for them.
My wife and I and some of our church family members are focusing in on connecting with others in our community as well as touching down with the Central Valley Against Human Trafficking based in Fresno.
On Sunday we talked about how we cannot focus on these “missions” without keeping our gaze set on Jesus and health among our Jesus community and neighborhoods and work places and the contacts God gives us naturally day to day. This is a focus however and is a priority in our community, and it will be powerful to experience as an inaugural house church Jesus community what kind of a difference a few people can make when they are focused on Jesus and on a specific group of victims in their community, following the manner of ministry our Lord demonstrated, reaching out first to those most heavily pressed down.
In the love of Jesus,