In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul walked into one of the edgiest centers of culture in the ancient world–Athens. He went to the town square where the public gathered, looked around and said, “Wow, you sure have a lot of idols that you worship. Let’s talk about these idols.” And he engaged the culture in a way that was relevant and would lead people to Jesus.

Following Paul’s example I began to ask the question, “What are the idols that we who live in America today are worshipping?” And I think the answer is fairly obvious. In America today we have the tendency to worship money and sex. And frankly, the church doesn’t talk about either nearly enough.

So, this weekend we’re beginning a teaching series at RiverTree called “Pure Sex.” We’re not afraid to talk about IT. We put up ten billboards in the area that are an image of two sets of feet sticking out from under the sheets. All the billboards say is When you go to the web-site you see a very cool flash video that asks questions about sex and then lets visitors know that RiverTree is going to be talking about how to have the best sex ever.

Well, the media has picked up on this big time. So far I’ve been interviewed by two radio stations, two newspapers and four television stations. On Sunday morning the Today show is flying in to do a live interview with me. All because we’re willing to talk about sex?

Here are the posts from the Canton Repository blog regarding the article that ran. I left them all on . . . none deleted.

Reader’s Comments

Mike Welsh – 7:04 AM on April 13, 2007
Personally, I’m not offended by exposed feet. I think it’s important to be able to discuss anything at church. Too many people don’t have a healthy view of sex and that can destroy a family. I think if these billboards encourage discussion on the topic, then they are a good thing.

Marley Greiner – 7:36 AM on April 13, 2007
The Christian church has never had anything healthy to say about sex. Go to these sermons and you’ll end up with a more pathetic sex life than you have now.

Wren Bishop – 8:36 AM on April 13, 2007
I AGREE–NOT WITH THE CHURCH that did this–but..with the public,talk about PATHETIC,this is a pathetic way of geting people to the “church”.Once again,this shows the hypocrisy of the church.The sign shows “sex”-it is implied,that could easily be looked at as porn,by some.There are surely other ways of stating your opinion on “sex” other than this.TALK ABOUT SHOVING the churches beliefs down everyones throat,the Pastor adn church should be ashamed of themselves.And a billboard is about $600-to $800-a piece-and a fee per month–think of all the people that money could’ve helped-with food-or other needs-NICE CHURCH to waste money on billboards like this,another church to mark on the list of-“DONT EVER ATTEND OR SUPPORT”– SHAME ON YOU Pastor–and whoever agreed to do this. THESE signs should be removed or banned at once, and sorry, this not constitute freedom of speech either, this only shows an opinion,I really feel sorry for the youth that go this church, what ridicule they ar eprobably enduring at their schools, I CANNOT BELIEVE that more people have not banned together to have them removed–WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR PEOPLE?

chuck daugherty – 8:37 AM on April 13, 2007
Oh my god …. a billboard with feet! Quick cover it up ! This is a joke. The people that are up in arms about this need to join the rest of us in the real world and not be so PC. I bet if their life was an open book it might be way worse than naked feet. This is the best thing the church has done to reach people in a younger age group in years.

tanya cironi – 8:39 AM on April 13, 2007
I am very offended by this trashy billboard. One of them happens to be in an empty field across the street from my allotment, so every day when I bring my young chidren home, I have to look at this trashy billboard. There should be some limit in Lake Township as to what kinds of things can go on billboards in our township.

Donna Whelan – 8:41 AM on April 13, 2007
Garbage? This billboard is as offensive as an Anne Geddes photo: babies in flowerpots, nestled in ferns, in bunny suits, etc. Since it isn’t really the art work, the objection must be the message. THAT is in the mind of the observer. Nobody raised a hissy about Easter Sunday service billboards for churches around the county. What would be the difference? A church is offering a lecture series on sex. Ahhh, that is the objection, the TOPIC. It appears that there might really be a need for such a series, judging from the remark about ‘those people…Christies’. {I am assuming that Christies is a bar, from the ‘tone’} I find it pathetic that a church is being pilloried because they are offering a lecture series on a MORAL issue. Oh, those nasty, nasty FEET!

Theresa Hamilton – 8:58 AM on April 13, 2007
Here we go with making a mountain out of a mole hill!!!

Mary Beth Habunek – 9:07 AM on April 13, 2007
I’m not offended by this billboard. You see others promoting condoms and other sexual topics, some are subtle. You just can’t make everyone happy, and believe me, her daughter is hearing/seeing a lot worse at her school.

d moore – 9:34 AM on April 13, 2007
Oh My God! What trash is that billboard displaying. To think that young kids will see that, oh my. After all the positive messages that are put out to us daily, such as television and magazines, books, videos, walking down the street, and now this. Our kids are doomed. Sarah Owens, grow up. It’s about time the church steps foward and acknowledges that people have sex and maybe they can help put it in perspective for our young ones, because Gods knows we haven’t done well with this subject.

dan pierce – 10:33 AM on April 13, 2007
I think here is another case of someone expressing an opinion about which she knows nothing or very little at least…. television has it’s limits until 8:00 hah, what rock has she been living under? If she thinks that the billboard is inappropriate and that the church meetings should be held at Christies then I am amazed that she can get anything done all day except to complain. Everything she is exposed to in this day and age has a sexual connotation attached to it because SEX SELLS (Ask any advertising person)!! Also, She is complaining about the service before she knows anything about it… maybe she should come to the service and if she still wants to complain then she can so based on knowledge not supressed inhabitions! I applaud Rev. Nettle and his desire to bring the uneasy topic of sex out in the open instead of treating it like the family secret that no one talks about. Knowledge is power and I believe that if more young people are given the proper knowledge then they will be better equipped to handle sexual decisions when they arise. I also believe that more marriages would be saved if sexual problems could be discussed and treated. I plan on attending the services at Rivertree and I believe that we need to get out of the dark ages where “certain topics” just aren’t talked about and start helping those who are in need. Dan Pierce

Jennifer Sigler – 11:00 AM on April 13, 2007
Pastor Nettle should be applauded for having the courage to attack the issues that affect our society the most. Anyone who has heard Pastor Nettle speak knows he is 100% committed to bringing his listeners the truth about what God wants for us in our lives. I would challenge you to go to the Rivertree website where you can check out past sermons. God Bless you, Pastor Nettle.

Melissa Higham – 11:07 AM on April 13, 2007
The point of this billboards to spark interest so people go to the web site and become interested on going to a series about what GOD says about sex with in a marriage. Why aren’t people complaining about half naked pictures and mannequins in store windows in our local mall that advertise sexuallity? Come on people get over the f
eet in the sheets, there is so much more in everyday life being radio, tv, the internet, etc. that is so much more explicit that this billboard.

Randy J. Lindower – 11:09 AM on April 13, 2007
Good for them. (the church) It may not be politically correct but like it or not, sex is a major part of the human life. It is a God -given part of life. It is what separates humans from animals.

JOHN JOE – 11:16 AM on April 13, 2007
‘Pure Sex’ = BORING SEX. Thats why 60%/%40 of men and women (respectivly) cheat. Id rather do to Christie’s then this waste of time.

Nancy Dollard – 11:56 AM on April 13, 2007
It’s important to talk about sex as long as you get medically accurate comprehensive information on sex and how to prevent pregnancies. I’m doubtful the church will tell you how to prevent a pregnancy w/birth control.

Melody Gates – 12:15 PM on April 13, 2007
I agree with the folks on this article. I don’t like that fact that this church is promting this on big boards let alone kids starting in 8th grade can attend this. This is just wrong, I don’t like this at all. If they want to do the classes fine – but there is no need for huge billboards promoting it.

michelle pittman – 12:26 PM on April 13, 2007
OH NO!! Two pairs of feet under sheets — that is SO OFFENSIVE!!! Personally — what a great topic for a sermon series! Maybe if more people would attend these types of sermons less people would divorce!

jim mapes – 2:02 PM on April 13, 2007
Before we were married, my wife went to a sex education class. While the teacher was talking ,a gentleman stood up and said ”I know 113 ways to have sex”. So my wife speaks out and says” I thought the women got on her back and the man got on top. The gentleman jumped up and said 114,114.

Wendy Roberts – 2:44 PM on April 13, 2007
Very eye catching and clever. Only thing was I’d’ve put a bit more info on there so folks would know what this was about. TV, music, and movies talk about sex all the time. This church is right to attempt to give another view.

Jennifer Podis – 2:56 PM on April 13, 2007
I think if the church wants to open a discussion about sex to help prevent sexual misconduct, that’s great. But I don’t like the billboard. What about small children that can read, but aren’t old enough to understand? Obviously since the discussions are only open to those 13 and older, the church knows this…so why advertise with the word ‘sex’ in a vibrant color?

Kenneth Jones – 3:01 PM on April 13, 2007
Sex is a gift from God. So is life itself. How about clap? Is that a gift too? It comes from God doesn’t it? Oh no…I forgot. It has to come from Satan since only the pathogenic bacteria come from him. The beneficial rest are gifts from God. Oh…and since other animals practice sex as well, they have also been blessed with God’s sexual gift. Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s talk about God’s rules regarding sexual behavior. I’m sure we can find at least one highly confidant and zealous preacher who can extract from the Bible the exact type of sexual behavior God condones. And undoubtedly, this preacher will sit at the right hand of God, all the while he listens intently to Satan sitting on his other side.

Stephen Orcutt – 4:09 PM on April 13, 2007
I have absolutely no problem with this. What ever happened to free speech in this county? Oh yeah, that is being hijacked right now too. Just ask Imus. We pass out condoms in schools, teach sex education to elementary school kids, and watch trash on our TV’s every night (sorry, no more shows like Happy Days anymore); and a church wants to advertise its series on healthy sex by showing bare feet, and everyone starts throwing stones? Of course, putting this on A1 above the fold probably sold a few more Reps today too.

JOHN JOE – 4:18 PM on April 13, 2007
Oh NO! I am unwed and I have sex with my girlfriend. I guess that is unpure. We have a kid together. I couldnt go to this thing if I wanted to. I am Satan’s child and the whole place might collapse. I guess any other sex act other than the “missionary position” is unpure and considered sodomy. I got confirmed in the Lutheran Church, all of my teenage years they try and drill into our heads (at church) that sex is not ment to be pleasurable and should only be done with intent to conceive a child even inside marrage. What BS is that?! I don’t care what the church does and says. It is 2007 and not 150 BC, time to come out of the darkages. Looks like many of these men may cheat if the church pushes it overly right wing conservative views on sex. Looks like Betty-Sue wont do that thing with her mouth that Michael likes because the church considers it unpure. Looks like the cheating rate of men just went up 1%. Its time to stop putting a TABOO on everything sexual. In Denmark they have Sexual Education classed that go above any beyond the basics of anatomy,safe sex, pregnancy prevention, ect. They actual instruct student on “how” to do it and what women like vs men. This is why America is so screwed up…because everything is TABOO!

And there you have it!