From Australia to New York…It is a wrap. Lots to say of course Donny beat us to it. Here is what he said. We will write more later. Thanks to all the churches…..
Today is National Porn Sunday. I was flown into Oklahoma City to spend the weekend with the XXXChurch team at LifeChurch.tv, who hosted this event. I have to tell you: Life Church overwhelms me. This church has done something no other has done before: they use advanced technology to broadcast to more than 40 services on 12 Campuses – more than 20,000 people. Each campus has a Campus Pastor, holds their own worship service, then tunes into a live broadcast from the main campus when itâ€™s time for the sermon. Their incredible website also streams the service live to a worldwide audience.
Besides the 12 LifeChurch.tv campuses, 100 other churches participated in National Porn Sunday. Each of them was sent a kit which included a DVD, the same DVD that was shown here in Oklahoma. A few blog entries back I posted a trailer. Now you can see the entire production by clicking here.
Between services I had the opportunity to meet and speak with some of those in attendance. Such meetings always move me. At every service at which Iâ€™ve spoken, there are always people who thank me for being â€œso braveâ€, putting myself out there and telling my story, telling me how God touched them while hearing it, encouraging me to continue doing what Iâ€™m doing, telling me that God is going to use me in powerful ways.
I donâ€™t feel brave.
I donâ€™t know how to respond when someone tells me that I am.
I feel humbled that people are touched. I canâ€™t put into words how it makes that part of the Bible come to life for meâ€¦ the part where it tells us God can use ALL things for good. Iâ€™ve produced almost 2 million pornographic images and shot hours of video content. Iâ€™ve contributed to ruined lives, both of the people involved in my productions as well as the families torn apart by the pain caused by pornography. Yet God uses my story to touch others? I never get over that. I hope the day never comes when that doesnâ€™t give me goose bumps. Itâ€™s easy to feel like Iâ€™m not worthy to be used by Him.
A man recently pulled me aside at a Porn and Pancakes event and asked how he could forgive himself for the depths to which heâ€™d sunk. He told me that there was nobody he could talk to, but he wanted to tell me what was on his mind, because after 9 years in the porn world, I could probably listen without falling over in shock. He then told me of things heâ€™d done. Itâ€™s not something Iâ€™ve heard very often, and I donâ€™t want to share it here. I have to admit I didnâ€™t expect him to say the words that escaped his mouth. But he also told me heâ€™d repented repeatedly, asked Godâ€™s forgiveness, spoken at length with his wife about the issue, and was actively involved in personal counseling. I felt like God wanted him to know that heâ€™d been given a gift of grace and forgiveness. Not forgiving HIMSELF was like taking that gift and telling God it wasnâ€™t good enough.
I have to remind myself of the same thing sometimes.
Last evening and this morning thousands upon thousands of people saw my face and heard my story. Some of those who approached afterward acted as if I was some sort of celebrity. One woman thanked me for talking to her. To those of you who meet me in the future, pleaseâ€¦pleaseâ€¦pleaseâ€¦ donâ€™t do that.
I am Donny. Iâ€™m hard headed. Iâ€™m stubborn. Iâ€™m a sinner. I often times have a short temper. Iâ€™m overweight because I like food more than I should. Iâ€™m a man who made a living hurting people for 9 years. I feel like thanking YOU for talking to ME. You show Jesus when you talk to me with respect and compassion, rather than venting your anger and frustration at what Iâ€™ve done with my life, especially if your own lives have been negatively affected by porn. I really want every reader to understand that.
If you want to encourage me by telling me that God touched you while hearing how He transformed my life with HIS power, I am happy to listen. When you tell me youâ€™re proud of me for speaking out and for enrolling in Seminary, I am strengthened. You are my brothers and my sisters. I feel a love for each of you that I canâ€™t describe. Those are not clichÃ© words in a blog article, I mean them. I love you guys. I love PEOPLE. I love being introduced to your families. I love hearing your stories. Every story you tell me fascinates me, even when overwhelmed by crowds flocking around wanting to shake hands after services, I really like hearing them. They remind me that my life now has a purpose. They remind me, as stated earlier, that the God I serve is so powerful he can use anything to do his work. Even a man who produced pornography.
You inspire me.
This morning I listened to a woman tell Craig Gross that she was inspired to work with the homeless after reading his book The Gutter. That was really cool.
My first residency begins October 20th. Yes, Seminary has begun! Iâ€™m excited.
To my dadâ€¦
Dad, you have been great. During all the years I was producing porn you stuck up for me to those who gave you grief about my decisions, telling them that Iâ€™m your son and you love me no matter what. I never felt like you were passing judgment on me. Not once. People ask all the time if our relationship has been restored since I surrendered my life to God. I am proud to tell them it was never in need of restoration. I love you, dad. I know youâ€™ve always found reasons to be proud of me, â€™cause thatâ€™s what good daddyâ€™s do. But Iâ€™ve also seen the difference in you since this New Life has begun. I know youâ€™re proud for many different reasons now, and I wish you could be at these events with me. Your efforts teaching the right way didnâ€™t go to waste, dad.
â€œTrain up a child in the way he should go, and when heâ€™s old it wonâ€™t depart from him.â€
God knows what Heâ€™s talking about, doesnâ€™t He?
You are a man I am very proud to call my father.