mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be helpless

Moms and Dads who are raising boys….

PLEASE teach your son how to be a husband for his future wife.  It might not seem important now, but it will be so very important as days go by.  I have witnessed an abundance of immature boys growing up to marry girls by whom they expect to be cared for just like their mommies cared for them when they were children.

I just don’t get it!  This is not rocket science and it is not asking too much…really, it’s not. It is also not in line with biblical principles of rearing godly children.  Every child should assume a place of responsibility in their home compatible with their age of understanding, abilities, etc.

What seems to happen is that mommy and/or daddy don’t teach their male child how to be a  responsible man by having them participate in the household.  How to have integrity or ethics as a man.  Instead, many of these boys learn their mommas will take care of “whatever” they leave lying about or undone.  As years go by, these bad habits will parlay themselves into a very unhappy wife.  Not pretty.

Even in the most conservative of Christian circles, this should NOT be acceptable.  Even “if” your son marries a girl with excellent homemaking skills, he should still know how to fix a grilled cheese sandwich and cup of soup.  Your son should know how to load and unload a dishwasher, know his way around a vacuum cleaner and washer/dryer.  There will come a time when mommy is the one sick and daddy will need to step up.

With so many wives working outside the home, it just chaps my hide to see these grown men gathered around their video games, focused on blowing something up, while their children are running around the house like wild animals, no rules, no consequences, no respect for their own belongings. Toddlers making their own meals and leaving dishes everywhere.  Complete chaos.  Children need to be disciplined and they need to know what is expected of them.

While sons are most likely around their mommas for the majority of their day, Daddies must reinforce godly principles with their sons.  Daddies need to guard their own hearts towards their wives.  Your son is watching and will adopt the same attitude towards his wife.  So girls…you wanna a quick rule-of-thumb indicator?  Observe your potential in-laws and how they interact because that might be the only relationship reference your fiancé knows.

I am begging you Moms/Dads with sons….do not give a free pass to them.

ruby slippers

I was gonna write some disclaimer, etc. but nope…just doesn’t seem right to explain this.

Ruby Slippers

My kingdom is vast as I cast my eyes upon it
countrymen who have served me well most of my days
tending to my affairs and personal business
with the same determination that has kept me in chains all my life.

Loyal subjects . . . all of them . . .
Suspicion leads the guard while
Despair and Depression look over the ranks.
Melancholy and Misery talk among themselves
with Agitation patiently waiting for his own special moment.
Grief, Gloom and Discouragement shuffle through the crowd.
Jealousy, Pessimism and Hopelessness – a constant presence.

Yes, all of my loyal subjects – dedicated to me . . .
And my destruction.
Exasperation has been my most trusted friend all these years,
allowing me to forego any progress so that I may be idle in my own apathy.
Lapdog of Oppression and Heartache showing my own justification of indifference.

The illusion of bondage that has plagued me into slavery to my own followers.
Those that have been with me so long . . . it is difficult to think of life without them.

I saw a glimmer of Hope through the darkness only yesterday,
Radiant as a starburst and emulating Goodness closely behind.
The vision of Hope was quickly replaced when Confusion sounded the alarm
and the ranks formed a barricade of Subtleness and Shrewdness to block my view.

But Memory was there to help me, leaving me warm with the afterglow of that experience.
Confusion and Subtleness came to me with more games to play, more time to waste.
Deceit brought his benign games of magic which threaten my focus
and suck me back to the darkness . . .
Tolerance was waiting with his own games of legendary innocence meant for me,
games of supposed naivety and drama – too complex to be seen as corruption,
too exciting to be perceived as adverse.
Rationalization rushed into my council with abstract explanations while
Confusion blocked my vision . . . again . . . and again.

Memory still consumes me with the image of Hope . . . 
the long feathered wings of Strength and Authority 
filling my mind with pictures of Grace and Forgiveness.
Perhaps the time has finally come when I will summon Courage
and choose to battle for my own life, 
beyond the complacency of my own existence.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

I can still see the dimming trail of light left behind 
when Hope streaked across my sight, 
beckoning to my soul with Faith
wanting me to join them in songs of joy and elation.
Calling out to the Lamb, the one who waits for me to come home.

giving within poverty

I did this study in acticipation of starting a “mite” ministry, but instead, I was greatly convicted in the area of stewardship and giving.   I pray you find the hope of the Gospel as you read through.

Luke 21:1-4 (ESV)

1  Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Verse 1 & 2 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.

Jesus was watching.  He watched people give their offerings.   Jesus thought it important enough to comment on and draw attention to the act.

Reflection:  How does knowing “Jesus watches you when you give” reflect in your giving?

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Verse 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.

Jesus speaks to the sacrificial giving that comes from this widow compared to the selfish giving of the rich.

2 Corinthians 8:2 …for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

2 Corinthians 8:12  For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.

Reflection:  How is this “sacrificial heart” reflected in your giving?

*********************************************************

Verse 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

In today’s American-consumer culture, we expect those who live in abundance to give, but we never challenge those who live without to do the same.  The Bible, being counter-cultural, disagrees.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Luke 8:43  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone.  (This woman spent all her money and was still NOT healed…and now in her poverty, she had no where else to go.)

Reflection:  Do you trust God to provide, even in poverty?

Bloggers Gone Wild

DISCLAIMER  You all will undoubtably notice that this particular entry and my most recent one have serious time in between.  Yes…they do…ignore that <wink>

I’ve had it. I’m sick to tears about it. Our society is out of control with entitlement. Completely and totally OUT of CONTROL.

The latest is Chick-Fil-A. Seriously? Could the world of bloggers and immaturity get more petty? I think not.

Chick-Fil-A has been in business since 1946 and has had no real issues, no real complaints as they run their faith-based business – even among non-Christians. Nothing but the absolute best in customer service integrity along with good chicken sammiches (I prefer mine with extra pickles) and fabulous waffle fries! Not to mention their lemonade and soft serve ice cream…but I digress.

However, now…today…in all our advanced glory. Chick-Fil-A has become the boogey-man because…are you ready for this?  One store (yes, just one store) in PA donated food towards a marriage seminar that opposes gay marriage (eek! the horrors) and now the blogger-muts are raining down the “hate.”

Is this what’s left of the…well, left?  The intelligent approach, the one that would actually make sense is floundering, so they’re now singling out Chick-Fil-A stores for donating food and calling it hate? If it weren’t a sign of how far our self-centeredness has taking us, it would be laughable.

This is just about the most immature (I can’t even refer to it as childish because I don’t want to offend children who have more sense than those involved in this issue) path of offensiveness I’ve ever seen.

I can assure everyone that in our town and area, Chick-Fil-A has not been affected by this ridiculous call to arms to boycott their stores. In fact, I would say that quite the opposite has happened.  The lines are long at the drive-thrus and the tables are full on the inside.

We’re Southerners and we will defend our right to eat tasty chicken from a Chick-Fil-A, the convenience store on the corner (where the fried chicken is located right next to the fishing bait and boiled p-nuts) or any other place we deem appropriate!

I will also add that while I love me some Chick-Fil-A, they have not compensated me or contacted me in any way.  Y’all come back, ya hear!

 

What wives with husbands involved in porn don’t want to hear…

Up front…I’ve been there. I’ve lived where you live. I’ve doubted myself, my marriage and my husband. I’ve had my share of restless and sleepless nights. I’ve also had my share of marital sex that had little to do with marital intimacy. Just so we’re clear…I’ve been there.

Your husband needs accountability in this area. And…that person to whom he is accountable should not be you. Seriously…consider your most grievous sin and multiply it by about a thousand and then give an account for every temptation, every glance, every thought to the one person that your sin would hurt the most. Who would do that? Your husband needs to be accountable to other godly men. You are not his momma. God made helpmeets, not momma-meets.

We as wives must also have a very clear understanding that your husband has sinned first and foremost against God and then you. Just like King David. His first sin was against God. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt or it should be dismissed as “nothing.” I’m saying we cannot forget that God is the head of marriages and God is the first one offended by our sin – any and all sin. And if we think that the consequences of porn here on earth are bad…just wait…it’ll be worse for them when they stand before the Lord to give an account.

A bit more frankly…who do we think we are when we demand perfection from someone else? I know some wives reading this will have an incredulous look of “I don’t expect perfection from my husband…” Sure ya do. I did. I expected that as soon as he said, “I’m sorry and it’ll never happen again…” that well…it would NEVER happen again.

We, as wives, expect our husbands to deal with this issue once and then be done with it as though it were quitting a bad habit. Porn is not a habit, I’m not even convinced it’s a real addiction but it is a sin problem and requires massive amounts of confession, repentance and self-control, which is doable by relying on someone greater than themselves. The choice not to sin when faced with the temptation can be done, but the temptation doesn’t magically go away.

Consider the amount of sex in our media alone. While we may not be affected by a Victoria Secret ad, men are. It really is very simple. We see a pretty bra and panties and wonder at the cost…our husbands see what those items are holding and that’s it…the mind stops and the brain freezes. So, in this area, we can help protect our husbands by being more aware of what we bring into our homes. And I’m not saying that we are responsible for our husband’s sin, nor should we become overly obsessed with all this. It’s a matter of discernment and balance.

Finally…Porn destroys marriages. The intimate part of a marriage is sacred for a reason. The vows we take are solemn for a reason. Forsaking all others (real or imagined) is for a reason. We must pray for the purity of the marriage bed, for the integrity and character of our husbands and for ourselves as well. Many of us have bore the burden of what it costs when a husband looks at porn. And, we can choose to bear it alone or allow God to shoulder the majority of it.

We cannot fix another human being. We are not the Holy Spirit. In this area, I encourage wives to push all the grace from other areas of their life into the way they view their husband. He cannot genuinely confess and repent from porn with someone breathing down his neck, just waiting for him to screw up. Show him grace. Be firm on your stance on sin, but show him grace. He will stumble and he will fall. But our Lord tells us to be angry and sin not. I’ve been angry…and I’ve definitely sinned against my husband with my anger concerning porn. I’m still working on the “not.”

It took quite some time to get to the place I am now, but I love my husband more every day and I love the Lord even more. I know when I stand before God, He will ask why I sinned against my husband while he was deep in the pit fighting for his life, dealing with porn…what will I say? Will my actions speak louder than my angry words? Will the grace the Father has shown me be reflected in my own actions? Will this letter be put to the test in my own life…again…

Perhaps. None of us are sinless. But we can choose to rely on someone greater than ourselves, who loves us and wants the best for us. He has made provisions for us to run from sin, but we have to decide to do so.

I would pray for any wife reading this to take a moment…
breathe in…breathe out…
and truly confess your anger and ask God what He would have you do. It grieves me that this is such a dominant issue in marriages. But they are our marriages and we must be prepared to fight this enemy and not turn on one another.

Unbelievers and Heaven

I was randomly listening and flipping TV stations and stumbled across a concert with Live.  I have always liked their music and ended up listening to most of the concert.  The lead singer gave a few words before singing their song, “Heaven” about how this song was his prayer for his daughter and his famly.

I’m fairly certain…not positive, but pretty sure…that these guys are not Christians as you and I would define it.  However…the lyrics to this song are such a vivid analogy of Romans 1:20 where Paul describes the unrighteous as being without excuse in not knowing God.

I wanted to share this simply because of late, the circles I run in have had many discussions on unbelievers capacity to serve and can unbelievers impact our lives for God’s glory, etc.

I included all the lyrics, as repetitive as they might seem…but in reading them, keep Romans 1:20 in mind. 

“Heaven”

You don’t need no friends
get back your faith again
you have the power to believe
another dissident
take back your evidence
it has no power to deceive

I’ll believe it when I see it, for myself

I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven
I look at my daughter, and I believe.
I don’t need no proof when it comes to God and truth
I can see the sunset and I perceive

I sit with them all night
everything they say is right
but in the morning they were wrong
I’ll be right by your side
come hell or water high
down any road you choose to roam

I’ll believe it when I see it for myself

I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven
I look at my daughter, and I believe.
I don’t need no proof when it comes to God and truth
I can see the sunset and I perceive, yeah

darling, I believe, Oh Lord
sometimes it’s hard to breathe, Lord
at the bottom of the sea, yeah yeah

I’ll believe it when I see it for myself

I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven
I look at my daughter, and I believe.
I don’t need no proof when it comes to God and truth
I can see the sunset and I perceive

catching up

Haven’t written here in a while…so much happened in such a short span of time. Preparations for the Acts29 boot camp. Completing that process only to find out we’re not recommended as church planters for their network.  Discussing that back home with Oasis and being excited about the Gospel and an even more committed group of Christ followers ready to do the work of spreading the Gospel of Christ.

Then wham! Our long time friend and family member, Blue gets very sick with kidney failure. She has been our beloved cat for about 13 years…pretty much the entire time Derek and I have been together. We had to make tough decisions and then walk out those decisions. Derek and I said our last goodbyes to her last week and then put her to sleep on November 14. My heart still aches as I type these words. We miss her so much…still look for her every time I jump in the shower (it was one of her favorite things…showers, rain, water in any form) or anytime I walk outside, she tagged along. It’s still hard. It still hurts. I still cry.

In all of this, God is good. I believe that, I trust that. I just wish this lump in my throat and pain in my heart would stop. I know grieving is like that. I know I am loved by my husband, my family and God. I suppose the pain of grief is there to remind us of the pain and suffering of Christ on the cross. (Heresy alert! No, I am not comparing the loss of Blue to the sacrifice of Jesus just so ya know.)

The love we have received from friends and Blue’s vet office has been very touching. Especially touching were the loving remarks from other men towards Derek about their own pets. Those who have had to make the hard decisions for their families and then follow it through alone. Derek gave me that option…but I was there when he found her tottering across a sand-filled driveway, abandoned by her mother and I wanted to be there when she left us.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the friends who cried with me and all the friends who let us know we were in their thoughts.

Time will move on. The pain will grow less and Blue’s memory will become a source of warmth, rather than pain in my heart.

Blue at her most relaxed.

Blue at her most relaxed.

A content Blue.

A content Blue.

assessment and the meaning behind it all

The time is getting closer to our assessment with the Acts29 Network of church plants.  We attend the October conference in St. Louis and will spend the last day being assessed as church planters.

I have listened to nearly every Mark Driscoll message out there.  I have laughed till I cried, I have wept till I couldn’t breathe and I know that God is in our lives, in our ministry and in our marriage.  And for some odd reason, I find great security in that.  I find great peace and contentment in the knowledge of the Kingdom picture.  That’s definitely new for me.  I’m more of an “in the moment” kinda gal.

I think I am looking forward to meeting other people who have a similar “demographic” as we do.  We’re not inner-city, we’re not a “downtown” kinda area, we’re not even suburban by definition.  We’re in a county surrounded by 160,000 blue collar workers with incomes on the low side of middle income.  Football is a religion, shopping is nobody’s pastime, and Budweiser is how you spell relaxation.

We’re smack in the middle of a country music video with achy-breaky-big mistakey-haircuts.  The people here work hard, very hard – nearly every home is two income.  Their weeks are filled with jobs, taking kids to various activities and shopping for food to feed them all.  These families love one another, love their community and would like to love their neighbors.  They’ve just never met them.  They don’t make to time to meet them.  They live in an area 25 years and don’t know their next-door neighbor, because it’s not something we do today.

I love our community.  I love the people around here.  They work hard all week and spend the weekends caring for their homes, their yards and trying to squeeze in a movie or sporting event. 

They need Jesus…and they need Him desperately.  Our neighbors are lonely, but fearful.  They’re friendly, but distant.  They’re in need of the truth and how it will set them free from their burdens.  We have reached out our hands to our neighbors and while it’s been kinda weird for everyone…they’re starting to reach back.

At our assessment in October, I feel like we’re representing more than just our community.  I know there are other areas with similar people, similar lifestyles.  I pray we can share our stories, gain encouragement and learn to keep our ears to the ground, listening to the heartbeat of our own community.

It’s weird, but assessment sounds so personal to me.  My temperament will be assessed and then they will determine if I do indeed possess the character that exhibits Christ in my life.

I will be given the approval from a group of men so that I may go out to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.   Wait a minute….didn’t I get that already?  Some guy about 2,000 years ago said something about going out … hmmm

titus 2 and the highly functional female

How many times have you heard women talk about how tired they are, worn out, burnt out, overwhelmed and devastated their lives are. And how many times have we, as listeners bothered to go beyond lip service in the lives of the women in such need of comfort or encouragement?

God created me as a woman with the capacity to love, to have responsibilities, to have great integrity and to worship. And when I say “capacity,” I don’t mean that in a mandatory way, but in a more qualifying manner. I don’t have to…I get to.

Women today work inside and outside the home, they raise their children, they plan menus, cook meals, clean an entire house, take care of laundry, coach sports, help with homework and at the end of the day, they need 4 more hours to get it all done. No wonder so many are overwhelmed and frustrated. No wonder women are not in bible studies and feel left out on the fringe, alone and dying.

Women have the capacity to do “it all.” God created us this way. However, God did not create us to do it alone. And I’m not talking about blaming our husbands – there’s enough of that going on in our culture without our help. I’m speaking about other women, other sisters in Christ. I’m talking about Titus 2. And not the Titus 2 where we sit down once a week, drink coffee and memorize a bible verse or turn our time into a support group for whining and complaining about our spouses.

I’m talking about Titus 2 where women live in community. The Titus 2 that allows us as sisters, to share ourselves with helpful suggestions, meaningful recommendations and counsel beyond the 7 Habits Of A Highly Functional And Angry Female. The kind of relationships that sanction our involvement in each others lives – not as an authority in each others business – but an involvement that we can walk out to the glory of God and to the delight of a well-managed home. (you know what I’m talking ’bout.)

I know it is not a normal occurrence in my life. I know that while my lips give service to the words of Jesus regarding the “one another’s” of scripture, my actions do not always follow those words. I need help and I have the privilege to give help.

Women are more tired from isolation than they are from interaction. Women tire at the thought of the to-do list at home. But, these women can get energized from those same to-do lists when they know their sisters in Christ are a phone call away to help or serve them.

Titus 2 is not a club, not a sorority, not a private society. It is sharing our lives as sisters in Christ. It is sharing the burden of managing our homes and caring for our families even in the course of employment inside or outside the home. Titus 2 is for our edification, our encouragement and also our admonition.

I pray the women of Oasis will continue to share this distinctive within and with-out our community.

everything goes back to the garden

It probably started about a year ago for me (earlier for more scholarly types), but this fact finally settled inside me. It took hold of my thinking and as I moved through life, I found it to be unbelievably true. It was just too simple, almost childlike in concept.

The sins we battle today, the problems we encounter, the issues we face can all be traced back to the garden. Back to the original sin that took place there and ultimately the consequences of that sin handed down by God. Many people call this the curse, however I can’t seem to find God cursing anything but the serpent and the ground for which man will toil.

I don’t believe we are cursed, but we do have to deal with the consequences of that original sin. Everyday. Which is why we desperately need our Lord and Savior.

One of the hot topics of today is the feminization of the church and/or why men don’t go to church.

The church building is too foo-foo. The church building has too many flowers. The worship music is played in keys too high for my voice. The pictures of Jesus are too girly. Everything about the church is done for women.

Seriously? This is what keeps men from church? Flowers and kleenex? When did so many men become such gutless wimps?

The fact is that men, in general haven’t stepped up the ladder to lead in various ministries, so women have filled that gap. However, when men do put their feet on the bottom rungs, women are the first ones to get their hackles up because men are trying to “rule over” what we’ve already done and the fear of being subjugated takes over. The past abuse of authority in the lives of women is still too fresh for many to grow beyond.

So here we are…back to the garden.

The man said, ““The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”” (Genesis 3:12)

The woman You gave me decorated the church with foo-foo and flowers and put kleenex boxes on the chairs and I am making You responsible via her actions for my problem.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ““Did God actually say, ‘‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’’?”” (Genesis 3:1)

Men gave over their responsibilities and we took on leadership (and headship for many) and now, we’re supposed to just bow down and let them have it back? That can’t possibly be what’s written in Your word. No man will ever rule me.

Family issues today.
Marriage problems.
Church divisions about men/women roles in church.
Cultural norms.
All of it…traces back to the garden.

The results in our lives today?
Unaccountability,
Abdicating leadership.
Usurping authority.
Rebellion.
Pride.

I am very thankful for a husband like Derek, who loves God more than he loves excuses. A man who clearly sees what God intended for him from the beginning. A man who can tuck in his shirt, zip up his own pants and walk the path of a Godly man. He isn’t emasculated over a flower pot. He isn’t threatened by worship music. He doesn’t even care about the color of the walls.

He is a godly man in service to the most high God. He is setting an example for other men, who will in turn set the example for other men and so forth and so on.

And my advice to women? If your man is at the bottom rung of the ladder, he can’t get to the top with you standing in his way. You want a godly man to lead? Be a godly woman and let him.

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