Porn is NOT a Problem in The Church?

You might find this staggering (or you might not) but research indicates that 20% of all Christian women and 50% of all Christian men in the US admit that they are addicted to pornography. Not just struggling…addicted!  And four out of ten pastors admit that they view pornography at least once a week. (Source: And of all those that did not admit, I can’t help but wonder how many lied.

It would seem that pornography is a huge problem in the Christian Church. After all, we can hear it preached that porn destroys lives, families, communities, churches. And porn – with all its deceit and hypocrisy – is a contradiction to core teachings and principles of the Christian faith.

But I would argue that pornography is NOT a problem. It’s a symptom of the real problem. And if we identify porn as the problem, it will distract us from the real problem. Allow me to explain:

I spent many years of my life torn between two versions of myself – two separate “me’s” that were violently opposed to one another and disturbingly contradictory. In one version of me, I was a follower of Jesus, sincere in my faith and, by all appearances, living a Christian life.  And for several of those years, I was involved in what Christians call “full-time music ministry” with something of a public profile. Many nights I was on a stage singing and speaking about God. But when I was alone and thought there was no chance of being caught, often the other me would take over. The other version of me wanted pornography.

It’s a tough way to live. Maybe you can relate?

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Roman 7:15

I won’t go into all the sordid details of my addiction, but it involved a lot of lying to myself and those closest to me. There was a lot of guilt, shame, confusion and feeling absolutely defeated and ineffective as a follower of Jesus. I did everything I could think of to solve the problem of my porn addiction. I spoke to pastors, close male friends, counsellors, installed software onto my computer, had accountability partners, read books, went to Christian classes and joined self-help groups. Each presented a way, a technique, a system, a pattern of behaviors to help me tackle the problem of my porn addiction. I gave my best effort to apply these things.

And I prayed. I prayed that God would take away this temptation, this addiction. I cried out for God to heal me of my porn problem.

Nothing worked. Even though I was often and (sometimes for long periods of time – weeks, months, even years) able to to stay away from porn by my own self-disciplined defense and determination, the addiction was always there. Like a little, whispering demon sitting on my shoulder. My problem, my “enemy” of porn was always there, waiting for the next moment when I was weak, hurting and alone.

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” Romans 7:21

But there was a breakthrough. I am pleased to be able to report that God has healed me of my addiction to pornography. I cannot take credit for it. I did not do it. This healing was not as a result of my own efforts. He did it.

“What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7:24

The breakthrough wasn’t a new technique or system or piece of advice. God Himself broke through. He broke through and performed surgery on my heart. He let me see that my use of porn was not the problem. It was a symptom of the real problem. A much deeper and bigger problem. The problem all along was me.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Prior to my healing, I’d always thought that it was right that I felt guilty about my porn habit. What I was doing was wrong and so I should be ashamed, right? I even used this condemnation as fuel – an inspiration if you will – to “get myself sorted out”. This all added to my false image of God – that He was disgusted with me because of my behavior. That I needed to be clean so that he would accept me.

Wrong! When God – His grace and His unconditional love – broke through to me, He showed that He doesn’t need, nor want me to sort myself out before I come to Him. He just wants me to come to Him as I am. He knows my pain. He knows my brokenness that would lead me to medicate with something fake like porn. He knows, yet does not condemn me. If I would only surrender to Him with all my junk – even the porn – freedom is available. His love, while convicting, is never condemning. He is the inspiration to change.

As far as I can understand, living without porn is NOT about trying harder, or building up my defenses, or being more disciplined, or maintaining a squeaky clean reputation, or being accountable to others, or working more diligently at my own personal holiness. All those things might be helpful or become involved along the journey of healing, but it’s more about giving up. Surrendering more completely to God’s Lordship over me – which includes my desires. It’s about repentance – not just for my sinful behavior, but from my sinful nature apart from God. It’s about a one hundred and eighty degree turn from where I was – everything I thought I knew.

It’s not about earning God’a approval.

It’s about being honest with myself. It’s about stopping listening to the lies that tell me that porn is the problem rather than merely being a symptom. I am the problem and Jesus is the answer.

So, I’d like to say very clearly that – no – porn is not a problem in The Church. Porn is a symptom of a much deeper problem. The problem is me – my sin-nature, my willfulness, my pride, my desire to fix myself apart from Christ. We don’t need healing from porn. We need to be saved from ourselves. I am the problem and Jesus – only Jesus – is the answer.

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Roman 7:25



Watch my short vlog that’s along the same theme as this blogpost HERE.


Horizontal or Vertical Validation

A VLOG with a BLOG

I call what I do for my job “word & song”. I’m a speaker and a musician. From time to time I’m given opportunities to be in front of groups of people – as the focus of attention – to tell stories, paint word pictures, interpret bits of The Bible and sing songs. When I speak and sing, the subject matter is never far from Jesus as the Christ. Every song and message I present is my best effort, at that time, to encourage people to swim more deeply into the mystery of relationship with God and to respond to Him more fully.

I love my job. I love seeing the audience connect with what I offer. It’s wonderful to see people in the crowd respond with a smile, a nod, applause or laughter (at the right times), a look of intense listening and thought, and sometimes, some people might even shed a tear. Seeing those things contributes to my sense that I’m doing something good – important even – something bigger than myself. Something that has significance in the building of God’s Kingdom.

I like it when people want to tell me how they’ve been impacted by my message. When people begin a child sponsorship after I’ve made a Compassion invitation. When they buy my merchandise. I think it’s good when I’m paid well to speak or sing. The more the better! I even like flying to gigs, partly because I get this weird sense of importance from it. Unconsciously, I might be saying to myself, “Yes, ‘they’ need me to travel across the country to be at their event because no-one closer can do exactly what do.” I make a special effort to collect favorable testimonials from pastors and event organizers after my visits. Maybe too much effort.

Here’s the problem: The more horizontal validation I collect from people, the easier it is for me to ignore my desperate need for God’s vertical validation. It’s terribly easy – far easier than I consciously realize – for me to fall in love with what I do for God (and the affirmation of people) and not notice my heart growing cold and unmoved toward God Himself.

C.S. Lewis, famous author and theologian, warns me about this in his book The Great Divorce:

“Every poet and musician and artist, but for grace,
is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells,
to the love of the telling till, down in deep hell,
they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.”


If you think that’s a tough quote to read, yet you realize (like I do) that you need to hear it, try restating it in the first person “I” using your own vocabulary. I tried that and I instantly felt the influence of the statement go even deeper.

Here’s my best effort:

“I, Grant Norsworthy, the musician and speaker, apart from the Grace of God, can so easily be deceived. I can comfortably fall in love with my singing, playing and speaking about God – become only interested in what I do for God – as I fall out of love with God Himself. And I am the least qualified to know that it’s happening. This is a sure path to hell.”

Now the statement is not about “every poet, musician and artist” but it’s about me. Please let me encourage you to make this statement about you. Re-write it in your own words and in the first person. Seriously. Do it! (Yes, a blogpost with a task!) The effort will be well worth it, I assure you. You might start like this:

“I, [write your name], …

the [write the thing(s) that you do for God that are noticed by other people], …

but for grace, [and continue] ….”

And if you would be so brave as to write your own C.S.Lewis personal paraphrase, share it with those who are closest to you in your ministry work. And please put it in the comments section under this blogpost.

I mentioned in a recent vlog that this is my least favorite C.S. Lewis quote. It’s my least favorite, but I need to know this more than I need a good response from an audience. To be honest, I really don’t want to know the danger that C.S.Lewis is describing. It’d be far easier to live in ignorant bliss – allowing people’s good feedback to give me a sense of worth – but I need to allow people’s responses to be what they are and, instead, be moving consistently into deeper intimacy and oneness with God – the only place where I can find my true worth.

As a musician and speaker, I’m aware that C.S.Lewis is delivering a serious warning to me and to all of us who sometimes find ourselves in the limelight – allowing ourselves to be placed on something of a pedestal (of any size) as we sing or speak about God. Am I willing to take this warning to heart? It’s tough to do! Sure, we must be aware of people’s reaction to what we do. We must be able to receive horizontal encouragement and even a rebuke when it is necessary. But the horizontal must not be allowed to rule me – to define who I am and guide what I do. I must allow the vertical – God – to define who I am and guide what I do.

Can I do that? No, I can’t. It’s impossible.

“…but for grace…”

Thank you C.S, Lewis for those three words!

Apart from the amazing grace of God, it’s impossible for me to be defined by Him alone and not my audience. My only hope is God’s grace! The only thing that can save me is a loving, gracious God who best demonstrates His love and grace by The Cross of Jesus. The Cross shows my true worth. My audience does not.

[Please note that I don’t use the word ‘vertical’ in reference to God’s love and grace to suggest that he is somehow hovering above us only. In a sense God is distant – some vertical distance away, if you will – but I believe He is also with us and in us through His Holy Spirit. And His vertical grace and love can reach us through the horizontal path of other people and circumstances too!]

I must submit to my gracious and almighty God. I must allow His Holy Spirit to remind me that every message I speak, every song I sing must first minister to me. For the sake and well-being of my own eternal soul. I ought not think that my audience needs to hear this message or this song more than I need to hear it.

I need to remember that singing and speaking for God is an awesome responsibility that can easily trip me up “but for grace.”

Oneness with the perfect will of God MUST ALWAYS be the focus of what we are doing – connecting ourselves to God, connecting other people to God and to each other. We need to remember that singing and speaking about God is NOT the destination. GOD HIMSELF is the destination in whatever we do. HE needs to be the purpose.

I need to be reminded of this every time I step up to a microphone or strap on a guitar.

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides,
so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:11

Watch my short vlog that summarizes this blogpost HERE.

Cheap Worship and Costly Worship VLOG & BLOG

Does it cost you anything to worship God? Is it expensive? Or is worship inexpensive? Or, rather than thinking there is any cost to worship at all, do you look at worship as a wonderful gift for you to enjoy with no significant cost? I explored these questions in this week’s vlog. Watch the video and, if it sparks your interest, please read this blogpost to go even deeper.

For most Christians, their worship is clearly defined in very specific terms: doing certain activities, in a particular place at a specific time each week. As we hear and imitate the way the word ‘worship’ is used in today’s Christian culture, it’s almost impossible NOT to think of my worship as being when I am gathered with other believers singing songs to and about God inside a church building on a Sunday morning. That’s the ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ of my worship of God, right? That would suggest that the rest of my week – well, pretty much – is mine to do with what I think is best.

What does that worship cost? A couple of hours of the 168 I have available to me each week? The effort required to be on time (or close enough to it) for the start of the service? The energy to sing along with the songs if I feel like it? Perhaps I could also see listening to the sermon and dropping a few bucks in the offering plate as other ways that I worship God. But if I consider everything I have (and all that I am) this ‘worship’ doesn’t really cost me much.

Let’s be honest. Most of us wouldn’t be there at all unless we were getting something from the ‘worship service’. Would I attend unless at least a few people I like were there too? If I found all the other people annoying and impossible to be around, wouldn’t I never go back? Would I show up each week if I never liked the preaching? If the music was not to my taste or up to my standards?

Most pastors are only too aware that they need to produce a “worship service” that “rings bells” if their congregation is to grow or at least be maintained. The emphases of the “worship service” are influenced (or even governed) by the need to give the congregation a positive “worship experience”. If they are fed the “worship experience” that they want – the rationale goes – they’ll come back next week and maybe bring their friends!

But my worship of God is not how I receive. From the beginning of creation, through the Old and New Covenants to this very day, worship has always been, and must always be about giving to God. The worship of God is to make a sacrifice in response to God’s glory. True worship is a one-way street from the created to The Creator!

God has already given Himself to us. My worship of God is in response to all that He is. This worshiper’s response should not – must not – be limited to just an hour or two on a Sunday morning while I am engaged in very specific activities of my own choosing. He gave Himself on The Cross to us. What is my response of worship to this overwhelming, gracious gift?

My deep concern is that we have turned even worship into another commodity that we, the people, decide if we like or not. We can hear Christians say thing like: “I love worship – especially Chris Tomlin” or, “Thank you pastor, worship was wonderful this morning” or, “I do not like the worship at XYZ church so I am going to find another church where I like the worship more.” We have made a form of worship of our own design – that suits us and our busy, consumerist lifestyles – when we ought only to worship God on His terms.

What are God’s terms for worship? We find the answer in The Bible.

During the Old Covenant (described in the Old Testament in The Bible) the worship of God usually took the form of a blood sacrifice of livestock – sheep, rams, cattle, oxen or other animals. Worship would cost me my very best and favorite farm assets!  In fact, the second book of Samuel contains a fascinating story. We can read that King David travelled to a place to worship God by building an altar and making a livestock sacrifice, but he had not brought his own animals. He is met my a man named Araunah who offers to give King David all that he needs – a very generous gift – so that David could worship. And we read David’s response:

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24a

King David knew that true worship – worship that is acceptable to God – must cost him personally. No one else could pay on his behalf.

Now that we live in New Covenant times (described in the New Testament in The Bible) things are not so impractical, bloody and messy for us. In the New Covenant Jesus the Christ gave Himself on The Cross as the ultimate sacrifice. His sacrifice was made in my place. He bore the weight of my sin and the sin of all humanity. His sacrifice took away the need for any more blood being spilled as worship. Thankfully (on many levels) we don’t have to arrange for a family pet to die, or to buy a nice cow from a local farmer to worship God anymore.

[NOTE: To read Jesus speaking about the change in worship from Old to New Covenant, read John 4:1-45, especially verses 20 to 24.]

Yet sacrifice is still required of me. Jesus did not die on The Cross and rise from the dead so that I do not have to offer any sacrifice, or to allow me to offer only the sacrifice of my choosing. To think so is a cheapened form of worship. But what does this New Covenent, costly, sacrificial worship look like?

One of my heroes is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was part of the resistance movement in Germany during WWII and was executed only two weeks before the end of the war for resisting the Nazi regime and for being implicated in the June 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s worship of God included the loss of his physical life.

In 1936, he opened his book The Cost of Discipleship with these words:

“Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly grace.”

I believe this statement is just as relevant for us today as it was in 1936. But I have changed one word to help us understand this statement a little better for our culture today:

Cheap WORSHIP is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly WORSHIP.

Worship is our response to God’s grace. If we cheapen what it means to worship God, it shows that we undervalue the grace of God. This cheapening of God’s grace, shown by the cheapening of worship, is the most dangerous, deadly thing to the life and future of The Church. This is a big deal!

While I am reasonably confident that my worship of God won’t cost me my physical life any time soon as it did for Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I must see that true worship – the worship that God requires of the worshiper – still costs. And that cost is me. Just like Bonhoeffer, and just like Jesus, I must lose my “life”. The only appropriate gift to give God is myself – all of myself – in every moment of every day, no matter where I am and with everything that I do. As the old song says, “I [must] surrender all!”

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God —
this is your true and proper worship.
” Romans 12:1

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.'” Matthew 16:24-25

It’s so easy for me to look at The Cross of Jesus and accept it as just a free gift. It IS a free gift but, paradoxically, this free gift costs everything. The Cross is a picture of what God has graciously done for me, but The Cross is also what is required of me.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Meeting as a community of believers is an important thing to do. Singing songs as one of the ways we worship God is potentially powerful and wonderful, but my life SURRENDERED IN WORSHIP – that is what is required.

And I believe that the most important, outward characteristic of the worshiper will be costly, self-sacrificial expressions of Christ’s love – especially towards the poor.

Read Matthew 25:31-46 – the judgment day story of the sheep and the goats.

And James 1:27 which states:

“Pure and faultless worship in the sight of God our Father is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world

[SIDE NOTE: Most English Bible translations use the word “religion” in James 1:27, but I use the word “worship”. Why? Today, the word “religion” holds a great deal of negative connotation, even for people of the Christian faith. The word has changed in its meaning and usage over time. While it may have been true in the not-too-distant-past, Christians today tend not to think of themselves as “religious” but generally would see themselves as worshipers of God. So, in the hope of bringing greater clarity and a more relevant meaning, I use the word “worship” in place of the word “religion”. Today, I believe “worship” is a far better translation of the original text’s Greek word “thrēskeia”. Strongs Bible Concordance definition of the Greek “thrēskeia” supports this more helpful way of understanding James 1:27.]

Watch my short vlog that summarizes this blogpost HERE.

Which ‘me’ is the real me? VLOG

Have you ever asked yourself “Who am I? Who am I – really?

Is it really ‘me’ when I’m hanging out at home with my family? Is it ‘me’ when I’m on stage at church? Or is it the real ‘me’ when I’m on my own with my laptop behind closed doors when no-one is looking?”

Our hope would be that we are the same person wherever we are, whatever we are doing, right? But are we?

Unfortunately, especially in Christian circles, we have created a situation where it seems more important to APPEAR to have good character than to actually HAVE good character. We have accepted and seem to be okay with the fact that we are different people in public than behind closed doors.

But we cannot deny that God calls us to holiness. 1 Peter 1:14 – 15, says:

“Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”

But it seems to be easier said than done. How then can we be holy? How can we be a person of character who is the same authentic person in every situation?

In this short video, I am sharing some simple insights and steps that have helped me in the pursuit of holiness. Watch my 4 min 17 sec vlog here.

“My real character is who I am when I’m behind closed doors.”

“There must NOT be a difference between who I really am and who I try to appear to be.”

“If there is a chasm between who I am behind closed doors and the way I act when I am outside, it’s gotta change…”

Striving for Eternal Significance VLOG

We discussed in a previous vlog that external success is not a sign that God is blessing us and that we should seek significance in an eternal sense rather than success in a business sense. The pressure to “succeed” – in our studies, career, financially or any other earth-bound pursuit – can be enormous. But succumbing to that pressure to succeed in outwardly obvious “worldly” ways as our main purpose in life can be a distraction from our real purpose.

However, does our pursuit of eternal significance have any impact on our personal goals, business practices or our character development? I believe it can and does. Focusing our life’s energies on eternal goals should never be used as an excuse to be unintentional, overly-serendipitous or even lazy. I believe that quite the opposite should occur. When we focus on God’s Kingdom, those things that are Godly, true and worthwhile in our day-to-day lives become more important, not less.

I discussed this topic in a recent interview with legendary Nashville artist manager Mike Smith.

“Paradoxically, we will be very disciplined in our business practices and our self-improvement as a response to our striving for significance.”

It’s a very short video this week and our last one in this series! Watch the 37 sec vlog here.

This video excerpt was recorded as part of Mike’s online artist management course.
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For a deeper look into this topic, please check out my “Pursuing Success or Significance VLOG” from September 29th..

What Does God Want from Me?



If my regular attendance at church services is to satisfy my self-imposed religious obligations, God doesn’t want it.

If I sing songs of praise because I enjoy it or in order to get a feeling of God’s presence, He doesn’t want them.

If my prayers are offered as an attempt to have God alter my circumstances, He doesn’t want them.

If my study of scripture is to find words from God to support my prejudices, God doesn’t want it.

If my effort to care for the “least of these” is done so that I can feel good about myself, or out of a sense of religious obligation, that’s not what God wants either.

“There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.” Oswald Chambers from today’s My Utmost For His Highest.

God wants me utterly and completely surrendered to Him – not my good behavior. My behavior should reflect that I am surrendering to His Lordship.

Check out the devotional reading from Oswald Chambers that inspired this blogpost here.

The Hidden Tragedy of the Christian Music Industry VLOG

Christian Contemporary Music (or CCM as the genre is called) sings primarily about Jesus: Jesus, who is God’s gracious gift to redeem, restore and reconcile. Our songs point to and claim to represent The One who is THE supreme agent for love, peace, grace, forgiveness and the healing of broken relationships. So wouldn’t we expect the people who are professionally involved in the CCM world to have a better track record in the area of relationships than the rest of the world? We might hope that … but we cannot expect it.

It turns out that those who are in CCM are still broken people in need of God’s saving grace. Sadly, even those who are constantly around Jesus’ message of good relationships can still struggle to maintain them in our professional and personal lives. The hidden tragedy is that there are many – way too many – broken relationships in the CCM world. I have experienced several myself.

I discussed this topic in a recent interview with legendary Nashville artist manager Mike Smith.

“[Within the Christian music industry] there are actually a lot of broken relationships – not just business relationships. We don’t really want to talk about this much, but there are a lot of divorces; there are a lot of kids who don’t know their dads or their mums.”

“Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work.” Oswald Chambers

It’s very easy for a person to get so involved in their work FOR God – what they might call their “ministry” – that we can easily forget to cultivate the work OF God in our personal and professional relationships. Usually it’s a guy who gets so enamored with his own “ministry” that he forgets to love his wife and kids as he should. The health of the relationships within my family must be more important than my career – even when it is called a “ministry” and feels like such a strong call from God. If my wife and family are feeling less loved by and connected to me because of my (so called) “ministry” – singing and speaking about God – it’s time to quit.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25

“I’d like for us to realize that that is a huge danger. It’s a terrible indictment on the Christ that we are trying to represent. First and foremost we are to be people of good relationships.”

It’s a short video this week! Watch the 1 min 12 sec vlog here.

This video excerpt was recorded as part of Mike’s online artist management course.
More info from