THE QUESTIONS I GET ASKED MOST

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One of my common refrains when I coach men is, "Ask me anything." I have nothing to hide anymore. 


 

So I thought it would be a good idea to answer the questions I get asked most. Here they are. 




IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE FOR ME TO BE COMPLETELY FREE FROM PORNOGRAPHY?



The answer is yes… and no. Yes, if you take this disease of the soul seriously and are willing to do the hard work of resurrection. No, if you think a wing and a prayer will take it away. I summoned everything I had. Read everything I could read. Listened to everything I could listen to. Met with everyone I could meet with. And opened my heart completely to authentic, earth moving, life-altering resurrection. Today I am completely free, without relapse in six years. I say that with deep humility and complete attribution to the grace of God and loving community. It's interesting... I have actually had men doubt that claim… thinking that is not possible. My reply? Get a polygraph set up and let’s do this! 

 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING IN AN ADDICTION RECOVERY CENTER? 

 

Life in my first 30 days of rehab was what I can only call being on “the bright side of disaster.” In my first meeting with one of the leading sexual addiction therapists in America, he told me he had never heard a story quite like mine and that I was “the poster child for sexual addiction in America.” Rehab was literally 12 hours and day, 6 days a week of non-stop digging into the deepest parts of my soul. Answering questions I’d never been asked. Finding answers I would have never come up with on my own. When I walked out at the end of 30 days, I was still in the grave but it was like Jesus had put a defibrillator on my soul and I was beginning to breath again. 

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH YOU WERE PASTORING WHEN YOU CONFESSED AND RESIGNED?

 

First, I loved our wonderful church community in Frisco, Texas. I still have so many friends from our church that have loved me through my resurrection. I resigned from Northstar Church in March of 2010, just a few days away from Good Friday. How appropriate right? We had planted the church three years earlier with the help of Pastor Willie George and Church on the Move. We had just moved into our brand new building. Thankfully I had a wonderful board of Elders who transitioned the leadership of Northstar into the capable and caring hands of Pastor Robert Morris and Gateway Church in Dallas. They adopted the Northstar community as one of their extension campus’s and it has been thriving every since. 

 

AFTER GOING THROUGH A DIVORCE, DO YOU STILL FEEL QUALIFIED FOR MINISTRY?

 

There is nothing more painful in all the world than divorce. In the aftermath of mine, I felt completely disqualified and incapable of leading others again. It literally took years to find the grace to actually believe God could use my story to help others. One of the pastors who discipled me through my resurrection told me this, “Blaine, our calling is often found in our conquering.” I truly feel the presence of Jesus in each opportunity I have to disciple men into freedom from sexual brokenness. Today ministry happens more in a private space than it does on a stage. And that is good with me. 

 

HOW DID YOUR THREE BOYS REACT TO YOUR DISCLOSURE? 

 

Each of my three beautiful sons reacted differently. They were all in their 20’s at the time. There was a range of response and emotion, including anger, compassion and shock. The pain I brought into their lives and all of my family reduced me to a continual stream of tears for months on end. I could not stop pain. Though each of them have shown me a love I could never deserve, it has taken years to regain their trust and respect. Today, my relationship with each of them is deeper and closer than ever before. 

 

ISN’T THE TERM “SEX ADDICTION” JUST A LABEL TO JUSTIFY SINFUL BEHAVIOR?

 

First, sexual addiction is a real thing. And it is extremely complicated. The biblical counterpart to the word addiction is “stronghold” or being “held captive to sin.” The Apostle Paul talks about this in his second letter to the Corinthians when he tells them that the weapons of our spiritual warfare are able to break the strongholds in life. That’s what an addiction is: a STRONG HOLD. But this does not give the addict an excuse to remain in the chains of sin. Nor does giving any behavior a clinical diagnoses make it acceptable or justified. Addictions can be broken, but I believe it takes more than just breezing through a 12 step program to genuinely find life that is worth living again. 

 

HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR WIFE LORI?

 

Match dot com! Haha. I learned how to live single and free from sexual addiction for four years before meeting Lori. I knew I wanted a partner in my life. But….  I was having trouble meeting someone… anyone… that seemed compatible with my life and would accept and understand my past. One of my pastoral mentors suggested I carefully explore some online dating sites. Our first date was at Tia Amos Italian restaurant in Tulsa. Lori told me that the two things she liked most about me on our first date was my cologne and my shoes. There you go guys… smell good and dress good, right? The rest is history. Lori and I are about to celebrate our 4th anniversary and she is the joy of my life!

 

HOW COULD YOU CONTINUE TO PREACH AND PASTOR WHILE LIVING YOUR SECRET LIFE?

 

That is the question I get asked most. And it deserves a good answer. I lived in the private world of porn and sexual addiction for more than 20 years… all the while leading a very public life as a Christian leader. Did I feel like a complete hypocrite? Yes. Was I? Perhaps… but I really don’t think so. The word hypocrite was originally used by the Greeks to describe a stage actor in a play. My faith was never acting for me. I genuinely loved Jesus and desperately wanted to be free of my sexual sin. I hated myself for continually repenting and falling and repenting and falling. I guess I just kept preaching and hoping one day I would find the miracle of freedom. When I finally came to the end of myself… I did the one thing that I had refused to do for decades. Confess. Disclose. Ask for help. 

 

I’VE HEARD SOME PRETTY FAR-FETCHED RUMORS ABOUT YOUR PAST SINS. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

 

You will have to read my new book that will be released next month. It is raw and candid about all that really happened… parts of my past that I have never revealed before. I was messed up pretty bad. I had become two different people and literally created a second hidden identity and life. I am ashamed of my past and how deep I allowed myself to fall into the sexual underworld, but there is nothing I can do to change that now. I really don’t like to talk about it today, but feel an obligation to be honest about it in my writing and talks at men’s events. Why? Because it was the honesty and transparency of others that inspired hope in me for freedom from my own pain and addiction. I have found when I am open and honest about my past with guys I am coaching, it gives them the courage to be truthful about their own secrets. And it's the truth that sets us free. 

 

WHY DO YOU THINK SO MANY POPULAR MINISTERS FALL INTO IMMORALITY?

 

It’s really pretty simple. Pastors and ministers are put on a moral pedestal, both by their followers and often by their own actions and words. They begin to feel any admission of sin in their lives (other than the “minor” ones) will either cause them to lose their spiritual status or worse —  their jobs. And here’s the simple truth: if we can’t be honest with someone about your struggles, we are headed for a colossal crisis. Many popular ministers are so driven by achievement and exhausted from their work that they almost unknowingly begin to adopt a sense of entitlement. It is then that some begin justifying forms of indulgment. The “I work hard and deserve a little pleasure” internal mantra isn’t just a minister’s problem though. This sense of privilege can enter into any man’s life. This is why one of the most rewarding parts of my coaching today is with ministers that are coming to me for help before it is too late. And they know they can trust me with their stories, because I’ve been there.

 

DO YOU STILL GET TEMPTED WITH THE SINS OF YOUR FORMER LIFE?

 

Of course. But the temptation is different today than it was before. The best way I can explain it is like this. In my former days, the temptation was a continual loud screaming in my head every morning, afternoon and evening that would never stop. Today it is more like an occasional faint whisper. It simply doesn’t have the voice or power in my head and heart that it had before. And more importantly, I don’t allow that whisper to be amplified any louder by giving it space to grow in my head. I’ve discovered so many beliefs, tools and practices to mute the voice.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HAVE YOU SPEAK TO OUR CHURCH, CONFERENCE OR MEN’S GROUP? 

 

I get asked this a lot. Honestly, years ago I asked for certain honorarium fee to speak. I just can’t do that today. What Jesus has given me is too important to attach a financial cost that may prohibit an opportunity to see others set free. I realize that different churches and conferences have to work within the confines of different budgets. And I don’t want ministry to be a financial transaction anymore. So I just go where God is calling me and the need is great. 


Last note... If you have questions you would like to ask me that are personal to you, I am happy to do my best to answer them. Just shoot me a personal and confidential email to bbartel99@gmail.com. Everything you ask of share will be held in the strictest confidence. 

All out grace,


Blaine

 

HOW CAN I HELP YOU? 

 

If you need marital or addiction coaching...  click here and discover your path to complete healing.

If you are a Pastor or conference leader… and are interested in having Blaine speak to your church or men's event,  click here and let’s plan something amazing!

If you would like to support us financially... click here and thank you for helping us make a difference in the lives of those who are fighting for freedom from addiction.