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Archive for March, 2011

30 Days of Prayer (part 2)

March 30, 2011 1 comment

Well, I have to apologize, I am a couple days late on this. I wonder how many of you took the challenge of praying through the scriptures? My wife and I are over halfway through and it’s been great for us! It has been freeing to pray the things that God wants in our life as opposed to the things that we want. It’s not that our wants don’t matter, but as scripture says, “your kingdom come” meaning God’s purposes first.

Colossians 1:18 tells us that Christ is the head of all things. Everything begins with Christ, it’s His natural place. If only our lives began with Christ, our prayer lives too. What kind of changes would we find if we allowed Christ His rightful place in our lives?

Once we have arrived with Christ at the head, we enter into a spiritual intimacy like never before. We become naked before each other without shame. It was this way with Adam and Eve in the garden before sin entered the picture. Their relationship with God was perfect. Nothing was hidden, they were completely vulnerable and it was good.

This kind of intimacy only comes when a man and a woman have a right relationship with God. How is your relationship? Are you able to experience this level of intimacy?

I hope you continue this challenge of praying through the scriptures. When you seek God’s heart for your marriage, you will be able to experience spiritual intimacy like never before. You’ll begin to see your marriage through God’s eyes. If you are working through these 30 days, please let me know so I can be praying for you.

Day 11 – 2 Chronicles 6:40
Day 12 – Psalm 1:3
Day 13 – Ephesians 4:29
Day 14 – Hebrews 13:4
Day 15 – Matthew 5:16
Day 16 – John 13:35
Day 17 – Psalm 69:6
Day 18 – Philippians 4:8
Day 19 – Colossians 3:1-2
Day 20 – Deuteronomy 6:5

If you have not begun yet, check out my post on 30 Days of Prayer. If you follow this through to the end, I know it will change your marriage! Or you can read Pray Big for Your Marriage by Will Davis Jr.

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Blurred Lines

March 29, 2011 1 comment

How does one cope with the onset of an ideal which not that long ago was seen as wrong? With the changing of the seasons, this world brings new change to what we know, and to what we believe. At least it would like to think that its changing  everybody, but there are a few who are standing still. The lines in so many areas of our lives are being blurred. I see it the most in our understanding of marriage.

Whether it’s one man and one woman, or the roles of each, or maybe its the permissible lifestyles each takes on, marriage is no longer what it should be, sadly. It has become something that is almost undefinable, unclear and mostly unseen. Divorce rates have skyrocketed. Whether you are in or out of the church, you are not immune.

So what is marriage? While Webster has conveniently changed its definition from one man and one woman to two people, I will stick with the former. I will stand up to the way God has designed marriage to be and proud to say that anything else is wrong.

It’s safe to say that today’s marriage is all about me. If I am not happy, I have an out. I can marry who ever I want, regardless of their sex. While married, I can live however I want to live and my spouse should except me. It’s so me driven it no longer looks like marriage was originally intended.

Marriage once looked like one man and one woman. It once was more about holiness than happiness and striving to keep a clear focus on God who was at the center of the marriage. It was more about sacrifice and selfless love than anything else. It seems now all these are things of the past. But, they don’t need to be.

If we can just stand up for what is right, and live out our marriages the way God intended, we can show that there is more to it than just the sour “me attitude” that is like a wrecking ball in a china shop. Make your marriage more selfless than selfish. Marriage is black and white. While the Satan attempts to blur the lines, God defines them. It’s about time we take the blinders off and see what God is doing.

Categories: Community

Label vs. Lifestyle

I was challenged this past Sunday by Scott’s sermon. Are you playing to win or are you just playing not to lose? If this doesn’t draw a line in the sand, I don’t know what does. So many people slip in quietly and slip out quietly, never even considering that they have been called to so much more than just good attendance at church.

How do you measure your growth? Do you have specific times that you can names in which you know that God has moved in your life? I bet we can all mention when we first believed, many can mention their baptism, some can mention getting involved in a small group of some kind, even others can mention how they took a step of faith and served. What about you? Where have you grown?

It’s really easy to think that Christianity is more of a label then a lifestyle. We come and believe and get baptized like its one of those wrist bands you get to a concert. (the type that rip all your arm hair off when you try to remove it) We think that once the wrist band on, its all access and we don’t need to do anything else.

Now, some of you may think that you don’t need to do anything else. You preach “freedom in Christ” and its not about works. Let me just say, you’d be right. However, I assure you, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians, you are a baby. You feed off milk. While so many around you are moving on to solid foods, you are still craving strained peas.

Everything Christ called his followers to was something of action. He never called his followers to an apathetic life. When Christ told his followers they’d be witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, he was telling them that they would have to endure some big things. In fact, the word witnesses in the Greek is “martys” which is also the same word that we get “martyr”. He said they would be martyrs for His name.

Are you ready to give your life for His name? You see some of his followers were ready and willing, but some of them were harder to convince. Even Paul was stricken blind before he would follow. What will Christ need to do in your life before you are ready to follow after him?

If you are looking to take the next step in your life, there are so many opportunities. I’d love to be able to help you through that process. It’s time to get up and move.

the real ‘American Idol’

I often find the title of the popular talent search show “American Idol” a little bit controversial. Sure its a good show about the young people of America showing off their talents, but really what comes of it. The goal is to be the star, the winner and just another idol for people to worship.

I read in passages like Exodus 32 and Isaiah 44 how people are drawn to inanimate objects to worship. I read this and I laugh. However, its at this point that I realize, nothing has changed. I read in a book this week that the idols still exist today, they are only more glamorous now. Instead of worshipping a log or a golden calf, we worship money, security, fame, we worship people and potential and a number of other things.

Even those of us who are self proclaimed Christians and followers of Christ fall into this trap. Now, the scriptures make it explicitly clear that the items themselves are not evil. The scriptures say in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” It’s the love of such things, when we place money or any other object above God is when we sin.

The most grey area of the idols are in our relationships. We date, we marry, we are constantly searching for relationships which fulfill our needs. We enter in these expecting to beomce complete. Guess what, you will be sorely dissapointed. The second part of the Hebrews 13:5 verse says, “because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”” If you are not receiving your complete fulfillment from God and God alone, you are fishing for something other than what God designed you for.

Look at your life very carefully, what defines you? What can you not live without? These are the things that we worship. Is it your car, your bank account, your wife/husband, your kids? What is it? What are you placing above God?

The book I was reading described these type of relationships as “two ticks and no dog”. I love this, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized the author was right on with this analogy. We are in need of something. Sometimes so much that we can suck the life out of something. If we are looking for this fulfillment we won’t find it in something that sucks the life out of us. Basically, that is anything except for God.

If your priorities are out of whack, its time to get things in order once more. Put God above all else. He should be the only thing we cannot live without.

30 Days of Prayer

I have always struggled with getting the time that I need during the day to pray. Some how I don’t think I am alone. It’s so much easier to worship God in “other” ways like singing in church, reading the Bible, but sincere, heartfelt prayer is something different. I think the reason it is hard for people like me and others it that prayer exposes us.

When we kneel down and pray, we open up ourselves to God’s will. Unfortunately, we don’t like the fact that we have to change our ways or lay down our pride. So, we avoid prayer. Even if you don’t, your prayer like consists of prayers like, “Thank you for this day. Thank you for my life. Amen.” or “Dear Lord, why can’t people be more like me? Please help change them.” Do these sound familiar to you?

This week I have begun a challenge for 30 days of prayer. I am working through the book Pray Big for Your Marriage, but prayer is by no means just for married couples. The challenge here consists of praying through the scripture. This may be a new idea to some of you. Let me explain it to you.

Praying through the scriptures allows us to get God’s heart and God’s desires rather than our own. Remember, just like anything else with God, its about Holiness not Happiness. You read a passage and you ask God to reveal the principle of that passage in your life. For example, one of my favorites is John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.” If this doesn’t knock you off your pedestal, I don’t know what will. Your prayer would look something like this:

Father, I humbly submit myself to you with the knowledge that you are creator of all things. Help me become less as I step back and give you greater room to work in my life. Help my desires fade and your desires grow in me. When people see me, I pray that they would see more of you then they would of me. Become greater in my life and help me become less. I ask this in your Son’s name, Amen.

It’s this heart that does give God the greatest room in our lives to work. It becomes more about acknowledging His work and less of ours. If your prayer life is suffering, I invite you to pray through the scriptures with me. I am going to use the guide in the book Pray Big for Your Marriage by Will Davis Jr. This is a 30 day challenge. Pray with me.

I do ask that if you take this challenge, you let me know. I would love to be praying with you and for you through the next month.

Day 1 Mark 10:7-9
Day 2 Matt 6:33
Day 3 Jer 32:39
Day 4 Matt 6:9
Day 5 Matt 6:10
Day 6 Matt 6:11
Day 7 Matt 6:12
Day 8 Matt 6:13
Day 9 Proverbs 22:1
Day 10 Col 3:12

We’ll stop there, but we’ll have  a check in on Day 10 and I’ll give more at that point. If you are married and taking this challenge, I recommend you pick up this book. It can also be purchased at one of the Weekend to Remember Getaways.

Check out 30 Days of Prayer (part 2) to continue your journey!

There is a Plan

How many of us face challenges and trials on a weekly basis, but often will come through it wondering why it’s necessary to endure such things?

This was my sentiment almost one year ago. My wife and I dealt with some pretty heavy stuff. It stirred our emotions, our hearts cried out, and it  seemed like there was no reason for it. In heat of the moment we can all be blinded by the chaos that is front of our eyes. However, if we are able to see past it, we can begin to see that plan. Even in the most challenging times, can you trust that God has a plan and a design?

My wife and I are knee deep into marriage ministry this month. There is nothing like marriage that can stir people’s emotions, stretch their patience, and sometimes rip into their hearts. Most married couples on the outside look pretty normal. They think what they don’t deal with won’t hurt them. They are afraid of the ramifications of dealing with an issue, yet they know if they don’t it could end in disaster.

I met a couple this weekend who was under this impression. They slowly drifted apart and eventually became two different people. The natural drift toward isolation that a couple experiences is as sure as a rivers current. Eventually, they started taking their marriage for granted and stopped investing in it. They turned on one another and it got ugly. Before they knew it they were seperated and filling out the divorce papers.

“How did we get here?” Too many ask this question. Did you know there is a plan for marriage? Did you know that the creator of the Earth, of humanity, of everything also took as much time when he planned marriage? To acknowledge there is no hope for your marriage is acknowledging God is not God. When you say there is no hope, and when you believe you can’t see through the chaos, you are believing the God of the universe is not big enough to fix what he designed perfectly.

Think about that for a moment. The same God who is creator, who parted the Red Sea, who sent His son to die for us on the cross designed marriage. He has a perfect plan for it. Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to take part in it? How many of you would take your broken SUV to Starbucks for repairs? None of you. So we do we insist on not taking what God originally created back to Him when its broken? Whenever something breaks, always take it back to the designer. They had a plan, so does God.

Categories: marriage Tags: , , , ,

What is a man?

If you type, “What is a man?” into a Google search, you get all sorts of answers. I was pretty surprised by this. Everyone seems to have their own definition of what manhood is. Maybe its loyalty, maybe its defined by strength, maybe its defined by order. Who really knows?

My wife and I sat behind the bench of the opponents team last night at our local Indoor Football League game. I bet if I were to ask their coach he would say he is a man. However, when I hear him throwing F-Bombs loud enough for the whole arena to hear including all the children in the crowd, I’d question his manhood. Or maybe I ask the  man who is beating his wife physically or emotionally. I bet he would say he is a man. Afterall, he is keeping order in his home. However, if you are reduced to this kind of activity to keep order, I would question his manhood as well.

Tonight we are beginning Quest for Authentic Manhood. Tonight we will begin our search for what a man is. We will soon determine who have graduated to manhood and who have not.

I look forward to this journey because I have never been told whether or not I am a man, I have just always assumed I am. Too many guys in this world have also assumed that they have achieved manhood. Are we wrong? Maybe. The important thing is that we know how to define what a man is and not just with words but also in everyday actions.

To leave you with some scripture from a someone who had to learn what it was to become a man, Paul. He says in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.” This may be the simplest definition of manhood, but its a good one.

If you want to find out what it means to be a man, please check out http://www.mensfraternity.com