Men or Boyz

1 Timothy 5:8 (KJV 1900)

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

                 , in taking this woman to be your lawful and wedded wife, before God and these witnesses present, you must promise to love HER, to honor and cherish her, to the best of your ability provide for her, in that relation and leaving all others, cleave only unto her, and be to her in all things a true and faithful husband so long as you both shall live.  WILL YOU SO PROMISE?
If so answer I Will.

I,              take thee                to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.

               please repeat after me:
In token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love, with this ring I thee wed, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

What we have here is the standard wedding ceremony that I use. I have added a line that I fully intend on using from here on out. That line is “to the best of your ability provide for her”.  When you read the context of the above verse you will see that it speaks of a widowed MOTHER.  The Scripture is also clear that a wife trumps a mother in every possible way.  Yet here we see that the Lord is concerned for mothers… and if the language here concerning mothers is this strong, where do you think wives and children reside.  The fact is men, that if you are not doing your best to provide for your family, you have denied the faith and are worse than an infidel.  Gods Words not mine.  Think about it.

 

Now consider something much worse than not providing.  Consider how you treat your family.  Is negligence better or worse than assault?  Are you keeping your vow?  Are you allowing Jesus to love your family through you?  Are you ministering to your wife, to your kids and to your aging parents?  Are you acting like a man or just one of the boyz yo.

 

Just sayin’

Pastor



Gentlemen

Stop Fooling Yourself

James 3:13–18 (NKJV)

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, DO NOT BOAST AND LIE AGAINST THE TRUTH. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

This is a tough passage to swallow isn’t it?  This is a passage of Scripture that begs us to examine ourselves and see if we are following demonic influences or Godly influences.  So many of us have lied to ourselves and to others about our spirituality.  We profess that we are good or we excuse our behaivor or maybe even give lipservice to how bad we are, but in our hearts we are so very wrong and refuse to accept how wrong we have been.

I have listened to brutal men excuse their wicked behaivor all the while fooling themselves into thinking that they are spiritual by saying they “KNOW IT’S WRONG”.  However their excuses give away the lie.  This is lipservice to the truth.  Wrong is wrong.  In this passage the Lord calls to the bench the witness of works to help the believer realize that he is not walking in the Holy Spirit but the unholy spirit.   These men use their wife’s behaivor to excuse their own.  Instead of taking leadership of their homes, they resort to being bullies and frightening their families into submission.  Some scream and yell, some hit and hurt but all decieve themselves when they blame others.  They LIE AGAINST THE TRUTH and even use it to abuse their families by saying if my wife were more like Sarah in the Bible, if my kids would just behave I wouldn’t have to scream and yell all the time, or they excuse themselves by claiming to be just so tired and weary that no one could do better in my circumstances.  All of this is bull.  It is self-pitying and self-serving and full of bitterness.  “I’m not that bad” is another shade of the lies we tell ourselves.

The Bible teaches us a better way.  The Bible holds up Jesus and says look! Here is a perfect man!  Here is a man that walked in the Spirit and endured for your sake more than you will ever have to!  Look!  Here is a better way!  But my friends, we need to face ourselves squarly in the mirror of the Word and apply it.



Speak Well

This is a post taken from Michael Hyatt’s blog on intentional leadership.  He is a greatly sought after speaker to leaders around the country.  I haven often espoused the same philosophy below, Michael has written it eloquently and I hope you and I will heed it.  Blessings!

Pastor

Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important

I am currently on vacation. During this time, I am completely offline. I am getting some rest, feeding my soul, and enjoying time with my family. While I am away, I thought I’d share with you my top posts of all time. Whether you have read this particular post or not, I think you will find the content relevant and useful. I am excited to share it with you again!

As a leader, the health of your marriage directly affects the impact of your leadership. (Click here to tweet that.) I have witnessed this time and time again. Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.

A Couple in Love Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk, Image #10563305

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Early in our marriage, Gail and I attended a church led by a dynamic, thirty-something pastor. He was an extraordinary communicator. He was a wise and empathetic counselor. As a result, the church grew rapidly.

 

But as we got better acquainted with him and his wife, we started noticing a disturbing trend in the way they related to one another. They would often make disparaging remarks about the other in public.

At first, it seemed cute. Their comments seemed playful and humorous. Everyone laughed. But over time, they became more and more pointed, thinly masking their frustration with one another.

We ultimately left that church. But several years later we learned they suffered an ugly divorce, both admitting to multiple affairs. They lost their family, and, of course, their ministry. To this day, it grieves me to think about it.

Conversely, I noticed that Sam Moore, my predecessor at Thomas Nelson, always spoke highly of his wife. He would often say, “I hate to leave her in the morning, and I can’t wait to see her in the evening.” They have been married now for nearly 60 years. Last time Gail and I were with them, they were holding hands. It was obvious they were still in love.

In reflecting on these two experiences, I am convinced that praising your spouse in public is one of the most important investments you can make—in your family and in your leadership. (Click here to tweet that.)

This is important for at least five reasons:

  1. You get more of what you affirm. Have you ever noticed that when someone praises you, you want to repeat the behavior that caused it? This is just human nature. It can be a form of manipulation if it isn’t genuine. But it can be a powerful way to motivate others when it is authentic.
  2. Affirmation shifts your attitude toward your spouse. Words are powerful tools. They can create, or they can destroy. They can build up, or they can tear down. I believe most people have a drive to align their actions—and their attitudes—with their words. If you start speaking well of someone, you start believing what you say.
  3. Affirmation helps strengthen your spouse’s best qualities. Encouragement is also a powerful force for good. All of us need positive reinforcement. This is why when we are losing weight and people notice, it gives us the strength to stick with the program. This is true in every area of life.
  4. Affirmation wards off the temptation of adultery. When others see you are happily married, they are less likely to proposition you. It’s like a hedge that protects your marriage from would-be predators. You simply stop being a target.
  5. Affirmation provides a model to those you lead. To be a truly effective leader, you must lead yourself, and then you must lead your family. Your marriage is a powerful visual of how you treat the people you value the most. (Click here to tweet that.) When you speak highly of your spouse, your followers are more likely to trust you. It takes your leadership to another level.

Affirming your spouse in public is an investment that pays big leadership dividends. (Click here to tweet that.) In a world where fewer and fewer marriages last, it can be a difference-maker.

This post originally appeared at http://michaelhyatt.com/why-speaking-well-of-your-spouse-is-so-important.html



HELP!!!

As Christian men today, I think that we can have a fatal flaw.  That flaw is the refusal to ask for help.  Why wait so long before we either turn to God, or a brother?  The easy and most obvious answer is pride.  We shouldn’t need it, we should be better, stronger, further along in our Christian walk.  Or we just miss the warning signs.  My admonishment today is that we need to both be humble and aware.  As men we are responsible for our homes.  We are to provide for and protect our families.  When you look in the Bible you see so many great examples of men seeking help.  David is arguably one of the manliest men in the Bible.  He was an outdoorsman, a warrior, you name it he had it.  Yet even David understood (most of the time) his need for help.  He also knew where to find it… My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.  One of the wonderful things about David, was his close relationship to the Lord.  He knew who to run to, he knew who won his battles.

Another thing I have noticed is that when we are failing, we tend to withdraw from one another.  We don’t want to be around people, we don’t want to risk our reputations, we run from help instead of to help.  The devils device of divide and conquer is in full operation.  Our families suffer, our church suffers, our witness suffers and our fellowship with God suffers, and we suffer. David’s greatest failure came when he separated himself from his savior.  Read the Psalms written after his fall with Bathsheba… he expresses the anguish of being away from the grace of the Lord. Then he expresses the joy of returning to the throne of Grace too obtain help in time of need… He teaches us that the sacrifices acceptable to the Lord are a broken spirit and contrite heart.

Guys, we need to turn to the Lord, we need to support each other like David’s mighty men… Let’s give our hearts and minds and strength to the Lord and receive His in return.



What’s in Your Tool-Belt?

As I experience spiritual growth, I realize that my tool belt has not been outfitted with the tools I need.  Sure I may have had an good selection of tools, but upon closer examination, I see that some of these tools are the “Fisher Price” kind. Flashy and colorful, made for entertaining and appeasing a child’s mind, or distracting their attention.  But not very useful for real life.  Some may have been the real deal; a shiny chrome finish, the right look and feel, but they were made with weak material.  When used under stress, they give way, bending or completely failing.

I am encouraged to hear about the upcoming series “The God questions”.  I’m sure that anyone that’s had a spiritual conversation of any depth has gone through the dreaded moment when the only answer you have is “I don’t know”, or some other less than brilliant reply.  Worse yet is to regurgitate a canned answer, one that can’t be reasoned out, and fails miserably to the simple “why?” cross-examination.  I don’t like experiencing those times when having a discussion, and realizing the tools are failing right before my eyes.  This is perhaps the most glaring obstacle to engaging in conversation with those that need to hear the message the most.

The media has dropped one-liners into the laps of confused people, arming them with the very stumbling blocks we are unprepared to disassemble.  Our tool belt is unequipped to breakdown the latest obstacles.   We have our basic set of tools, the crescent wrench, the philips screwdriver, maybe even a box end wrench.  But each year there are new tools needed; Torx, offset screwdrivers, ball point hex.

I would like to encourage our men to check the contents of their tool-belt. Examine each tool, check its “made in” label, if you can’t find the origin, either get rid of that tool or find out where it came from.  Trade up the tools we used as children for ones made for the hard work.  After all, there’s no cost, free.  There is no risk of patent infringement either.

My advise to myself and others;

  • Take notes.
  • Research your own questions.
  • Ask questions.
  • Dare to be a little ADD while studying.
  • Take more notes.

Dave



American Idolatry, Part III: Liking Porn and Loving Jesus

Original Article

by  on DECEMBER 14, 2011 in DEVOTIONALSSTATISTICSUNCATEGORIZED

In the first post, we covered the fact that who you worship is ultimately the most important thing about you. The second post dealt with the fact that all false worship is ultimately self-worship. Now I’d like to zoom in a little and get down to some of the nitty-gritty details of what self-worship looks like in the life of the Christian. (spoiler: it looks pretty much the same as self-worship in a non-Christian, just without the excuse)

The Bible has a lot to say about worship and idolatry, because the purpose of the whole Bible is to reveal and glorify God to us, so that we will worship Him as He deserves. And no, Mr O’Steen, it’s not about you, me, OR your mullet. I’m flashing my best plastic Joel “Jesus-loves-my-mullet” smile right now, but you can’t see it.

One of the clearest passages that deals with the selfish urges that lure us down the gaping maw of idolatry is found in I John 2:15-16…

“Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

You could spend an enormous amount of time learning about worship  just on that first verse, but here are just a couple quick thoughts on it:

There is no Biblical consolation for someone wondering if they are a Christian without a pattern of loving God displayed in their life.

 

  • Like calls to like: The idols of the world call to us because our nature is twisted by the same sin. This means your odds of beating this idolatry is zero without the new birth. You’re going to be who you are.
  • What you love most wins out, and what wins out reveals who you really are. There is no Biblical consolation for someone wondering if they are a Christian without a pattern of loving God displayed in their life.

This passage references the three basic building blocks of the world’s attraction, the three worms that bait the hook of all idolatry: Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.

I. Lust of the Flesh:

I am writing this post from Los Angeles, and there is PLENTY of fuel for this rant. If you’ve never been to LA, it’s a little hard to describe how saturated this place is with that particular form of idolatry. On a 5 minute drive yesterday we counted 6 strip clubs, and 2 billboards for “Adult-con”, touted as the world’s largest pornography convention. A line from a well known rock song says this about LA:

“It’s understood that Hollywood sells Californication” Red Hot Chili Peppers

I’m not endorsing the song or artist when I say this, but they are right on the money on that count.LA produces over 90% of the pornographic material made in the USA.

Porn revenue, $57.0 billion world-wide, is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises.  US porn revenue, $12.0 billion, exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion). As depressing as those statistics are, you may not be aware of how pervasive this worship problem is among Christians:

  • In August 2006, a survey reported 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. (source)
  • 40% of pastors have visited a pornographic Internet site, with over 33% doing so within the last 12
    months. (source)

If you were to rank idols by how much is spent in their worship, sex would be bigger than any other religion in the world, and this particular idol is sitting with us in the pews.

 

“You weren’t just addicted to sin, you were in bondage to it. Then you got saved. It’s about the heart, not the drugs. Teach them to love Jesus.”

One of the ministries we were able to lead in our home church was Reformers Unanimous, a faith-based addictions recovery program. I remember how intimidated I was when I went to my pastor to volunteer to help in the ministry, and he told me I would be the director. I told him I wasn’t sure that was the best idea, I didn’t come out of a lifestyle of addiction. His response? “You weren’t just addicted to sin, you were in bondage to it. Then you got saved. It’s about the heart, not the drugs. Teach them to love Jesus.”

Sounds simple. But that’s the core of it: we don’t struggle as Christians with a porn addiction: we have a worship problem. We are caving in to our desires because WE are ultimately what matter most to us, not God.

Most of the “help” given to Christians struggling with this idol doesn’t really help with the root problem. Here’s what we tell them:

  • Don’t do it, it’ll hurt you. That’s very true, there’s plenty of Bible and life examples to the fact that sexual sin is essentially spiritual suicide. The problem is that its a lesser motivation, but not the primary one. If making your life better is the motivation, in the moment of temptation it becomes pretty hard to remember that what feels good and seems good is not worth it. You are still the focus, and even if you remember that it hurts you, well… That’s your choice isn’t it?
  • Don’t do it, it’ll hurt someone else. Also true. Sexual sin doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts everyone in your life. It’s a raging fire that destroys everything and everyone in its path. So what’s the problem with this being the primary motivation? First, it’s not always going to work in avoiding sin, because our sinful nature doesn’t start by leading us into huge family destroying sin, but makes small compromise after small compromise: “This is too small to really cause a problem… This won’t hurt them THAT much”.

The problem with both of these is that it focuses primarily on the wrong person. King David understood this after his adultery with Bathsheba, saying in Psalm 51, “Against thee and thee only have I sinned”.

So how do we fight this idolatry? I think the answer goes back to our verse in I John 2:15. When the Bible says “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”, the inverse is true: if any man love the Father the love of the world is not in him.

  • Identify Idols: Start with understanding that you love imperfectly, and worship yourself better than you worship Jesus. It’s hard to admit, and it hurts. Writing these blog posts have made me do that, and it breaks me to think that I stink at returning the perfect love Jesus shows to me, especially because the difference is that He actually deserves that love. Somehow it’s easier to say I have a problem with wrong thoughts than to say I commit spiritual adultery against my King who loved me and gave Himself for me.

“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and [your] joy to heaviness.” James 4:9

  • Submit to His Working: Just as naturally as the world and our sinful nature pull us into idolatry and self-love, the Spirit of God dwelling in us is constantly pointing to Christ, exalting Him, revealing our new identity IN Him, and creating a love for Him and His glory. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29): When this fight seems to hard, just remember He is never going to stop that inward working. The hard part is His, He just calls you to let Him do it.
  • Don’t Avoid Sin, Seek Jesus. Much of our teaching involves telling people to run away from sin, but that’s really only half of the equation. Our church uses a program called Covenant Eyes that monitors internet activity and helps us stay accountable, and I recommend that and any other way to not “give place to the Devil”, but if all you do is run from sin you are at best tired, scared, and worthless to the Kingdom, and at worst, falling back into that sin because it’s all you focus on. Often we rely on will-power and self-control when we are tempted, and treat the Bible like a mental discipline that will help us win the fight. “If I quote enough verses… If I fight hard enough”. Acting like we can handle sin on our own is just a rebellious as the sin we are running from! Let temptation drive you into the Bible, not as a mental discipline or way to distract yourself, but as seeking His face and presence, asking Him to help you love Him more. Can you say like David that He is your tower, your shield, your fortress?

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.” James 4:8

What am I really trying to get across? I naturally like porn because I naturally worship myself. And don’t take that out of context, if

Theology beats biology. I don’t need to run away from sin, but run to Jesus.

you are a man your flesh likes porn too, at least I’ll be honest and admit it. But I naturally love Jesus more because I am a born again Christian: Theology beats biology. I don’t need to run away from sin, but run to Jesus.

I’ll end with a quote from Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress”,when Christian is faced with temptation from Satan:

“I count that the Prince, under whose banner I now stand, is able to absolve me, yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee. And besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth,I like his service, his wages, his servants, his government, his company, and country, better than thine; therefore leave off to persuade me farther: I am his servant, and I will follow him. “

That’s the kind of defiant love for the Master that makes the difference that no internet filter, no accountability partner, no support group can match. Fall in love with Him, give Him the worship He so rightly deserves, and let Satan keep his stinking pornography, adultery, and filth. I will follow Him!



Treatment of Women

Ephesians 5:25–33

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Just a quick few thoughts tonight as I get ready for tomorrows service.  Guys, do we love our wives right?  I mean when we read this passage of Scripture, doesn’t it make you realize that wow, I need a lot of work?  It does me.  To be open, I have been pretty complacent lately… you know how it gets.  I actually figured that I have it together, I’m better than average and so, well, I don’t need to try that hard anymore, I’ve proven myself.  Then you actually start to think about it.  Ouch.  We are supposed to love our ladies like Jesus loves the church.  In verse 26 the Bible teaches us an awesome truth, one that may be difficult to grasp, but when came to Christ or when He came to us, he came intending to FINISH the job.  His love and work goes on, in us to the lost and dying world, but His love and work also goes on IN US to make us what we need to be.  This love goes on.  Has your love for your wife gone on?

I take a different tack than many Baptist preachers I have listened to concerning women and the church.  I can’t tell you how many books or men I have listened to that have laid at the feet of women, trouble in the church.  I tend to lay that blame at the feet of us men. If we are leading our homes right, treating our wives the way we should, standing strong when needed, giving in when needed, guiding as Christ guides us, well, then maybe a lot of problems would be solved.

So here is the challenge… check your love level, has it waned in the last few months or years?  Have you stopped trying to show your wife that you love her?  Have you stopped trying to prove your love to her?  Maybe you need to make some changes, ask the Lord to fill you and empower you to make them, believe that He will and get to work, remember, He gives you the will and the means but the one thing he asks of you is the do.

God bless!