Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
To give you an indication of where we'll be going, consider the following quote from Kevin DeYoung:
God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him.
- Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something, p. 26
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
God made Adam first and put him in the Garden with a job to do, a mission to fulfill. In the heart of every fallen man is the self-doubt that wonders, "Am I man enough to climb this mountain God has called me to? Can I fulfill my destiny?" A wise wife will understand that question at the center of her husband's heart. And she will spend her life answering it, communicating to him in various ways, "Honey, I believe in your call. I know you can do this, by God's power. Go for it." In this way, she will breathe life into her man.
God made Eve from Adam, for Adam, to help him follow the call. In the heart of every fallen woman is the self-doubt that wonders, "Do I please you? Am I what you wanted?" A wise husband will understand that question at the center of his wife's heart. And he will spend his life answering it, communicating to her in various ways, "Darling, you are the one I need. I cherish you. Let me hold you close." In this way, he will breathe life into his wife.
Monday, February 22, 2010
As a result of these recent messages, I could well imagine a married woman asking, "What am I supposed to do in light of what God calls my husband to in our marriage?" I could equally imagine a woman who listened the last two weeks concluding, "That's great for heroicly sanctified men, but my husband doesn't AT ALL match up to the picture of biblical love you painted. What am I supposed to do?"
Three answers come to mind:
1. Pray. As Proverbs 5, 6 & 7 make clear, the biblical burden on men in marriage is monumental and simply impossible without God's help. Ladies, we need your intercession so much because we need God's grace. He can soften and reshape even the most hardened, male heart.
2. Get help. Sometimes a Christian woman finds herself in a marriage with a husband who is connected to the church but is unwilling to admit his need to grow toward her in love and service. He may be locked in a pattern of sin and pride which he denies - or is blind to. Though a woman in such a marriage cannot change her husband, she does have biblical recourse to go to the elders of the church who are responsible for her husband's discipleship and growth. No Christian woman married to a recalcitrantly sinful, church-going man need ever stay in fear, hiding or despair. Ladies, as elders we want your husband's sanctification as much as you do. If your man is caught in a pattern of sin and is unwilling to get help, please come to us. By God's grace, we will seek to help him.
3. Focus on Jesus. All of you ladies probably wish that your husbands were sinlessly stellar in their Christlike love for you. Who wouldn't? Despite the fact that we elders want your husband to grow in his loving leadership in your marriage, his occasional sin is actually a blessing because it reminds you that only Jesus is the perfect Husband your heart was made for. If your husband was perfect, you would sinfully idolize him and turn away from God. Therefore, rather than growing bitter or discouraged about your husband's sins, let them prove an opportunity to remind you that only Jesus fully satisfies. Some of your husband's biggest flaws can present an opportunity for your own Christ-centered worship.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
For the next month or so we're going to be concentrating on verses 1-2:
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life and peace
they will add to you.
You'll see those verses again on Sunday, but don't wait until Sunday to review them. You may want to make it a daily practice in your quiet time and/or begin reviewing them at breakfast or supper time with your family.
Most importantly, don't just memorize this text - think about it, pray through it, impress it upon your wife and children and ask God to help you love its truth. Memorization is only meaningful when it moves from our minds to our hearts and lives.
Friday, February 12, 2010
It's a good thing that parenting, according to the Bible, has never been about 'success.' In his book Think Orange, Reggie Joiner encouarges us away from the Christian 'parenting success syndrome' by reminding us of some important facts, including that ever since the Fall, the human race has been one, big dysfunctional family. Joiner writes,
Where do we find truly 'successful' families in the Bible?
- Noah had a drinking problem.
- Abraham offered his wife to another man.
- Rebekah schemed with her son to deceive her husband.
- Jacob's sons sold their brother into slavery.
- David had an affair and his son started a rebellion.
- Eli lost total control of how his boys acted in church.
Joiner challenges us as Christian parents to stop obsessing about the successful obedience of our children (and our parenting skills). Instead, he writes,
What would happen if parents began to see the family in the same way believers should view the church, as a human part of God's design to demonstrate who He is to the world? Don't miss the significance of that vantage point. Our humanness does not prevent God from using us; it is our humanness [read: sinfulness] that actually becomes the platform from which He demonstrates His power, goodness and love to His people. It is an amazing thought when you realize that both the church and the home are comprised of broken, imperfect people through whom God has chosen to tell His story.
What if it's not God's plan for parents or leaders to restore the church and the home to a sublime, utopian state? What if, instead, it's God's plan to do an amazing work within the church and the home in order to put His grace on display? (p. 47)
He then goes on to strategically apply this gospel-centered perspective on parenting to our ministry in the church:
If you're a church leader, your purpose is not to equip parents to have exceptional parenting skills. If you set unrealistic expectations, you may create an atmosphere in which parents become discouraged and children get disillusioned....It is critical to guard our mindset and stay focused on the primary role of the family...God is at work telling a story of restoration and redemption through our families (p. 48).
Raising kids isn't about them or about us, it's about displaying the glory of the gospel.
Friday, February 5, 2010
- Jeremiah Burroughs, A Treatise on Earthly-Mindedness, pp. 16-17.