Verify Installation

marriage

Tim Keller's New Book on Marriage

Tim Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God will be released November 1. Here’s part of the description:

There has never been a marriage book like THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE.

Using the Bible as his guide, coupled with insightful commentary from his wife of thirty-six years, Kathy, Timothy Keller shows that God created marriage to bring us closer to him and to bring us more joy in our lives. It is a glorious relationship that is also the most misunderstood and mysterious. With a clear-eyed understanding of the Bible, and meaningful instruction on how to have a successful marriage, The Meaning of Marriage is essential reading for anyone who wants to know God and love more deeply in this life.

It’s already available for pre-order. I can't wait to read it.

(HT: Matt Perman)

Grace Under Pressure

Parents of LaGrange Baptist Church: Do you feel the pressures of home life? Come join us for Parent Chat on Sept. 7, at 6:45 PM, as we hear how God's grace frees us in the midst of these pressures. We'll have an assortment of desserts and coffee as Pastor Tony leads us. If you have a child in SEEDS (1st - 6th grade) we encourage you to start the evening with your child in the SEEDS room and we'll dismiss you to Parent Chat at 6:45. Mark your calendars. Invite your friends!

New Website: Divorce Ministry for Kids

Divorce affects the lives of so many children in our society today, but how can the church respond?  I appreciate Wayne Stocks and his heart to help hurting children and their families through his new website called divorceministry4kids.com. Here's why he started the website:

Since 1972, over 1,000,000 kids each year have joined the ranks of the children of divorce. These kids face struggles which are very unique and very real. And, unfortunately, many of our churches are ill-equipped to deal with the special needs of this growing segment of their congregations. Whether they worry about addressing the issue of divorce for fear of alienating their congregations, pretend that the problem simply does not exist, or simply fail to recognize the magnitude of the issue, many churches are ill-equipped to deal with, or minister to, children of divorce.

Read the rest ... and check out Tony Kummer's podcast with Wayne about the website

A Good Read for the Men of Your Church

A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas looks to be a great resource to read through with the men of your church. Stinson and Dumas outline the essentials of what it means to be a godly husband, a godly father, and godly leader in a short, readable and practical format. It's clear that their aim is that you would read this book and then lead with your actions. Dumas says, "In your marriage, don't go home and say, 'Honey, things are going to be different around here. Here are five things I'm gonna start doing.'" Just lead. Don't announce it. At the first opportunity you get, just do it. Let her discover it. The last thing you want to do is over-promise and under-deliver."

Get the book here for less than $5.

7 Keys to Practical Biblical Love

Jim Luebe, a man who impacted me in college, recently wrote this helpful article on the subject of biblical love:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” –John 13:34,35

There’s a clear connection between unity in the body and the advancement of the Gospel. But this truth cuts both ways. A lack of love and unity can be a severe hindrance to the advancement of the Gospel.

Many of us are unaware of the main reason overseas missionaries return prematurely from the mission field. It’s not because of inadequate funding. It’s not due to challenges from hostile governments. The primary reason they return home is conflict on their teams!

Relational conflict and differences of opinion are inevitable when you live and work closely with people. You don’t have to be a missionary to experience this. In fact, you don’t have to look any further than your own marriage. How can it be that the person you love the most in the world is also the person you sin against most often and from whom you continually need to seek forgiveness?

Here are seven simple (but not easy) biblical steps that can help you foster love and unity in any relationship.

  1. Be humble. (1 Peter 5:5,6)
  2. Believe the best in people. (Philippians 4:8)
  3. Keep short accounts and take pains to have a clear conscience with both God and people. (Acts 24:16)
  4. Don’t let a root of bitterness grow in your heart. (Ephesians 4:31)
  5. Overlook offenses when possible. (Proverbs 19:11)
  6. Make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)
  7. Be controlled by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)

Search your heart and think about the close relationships you have. Ask God if there is anything you need to do to “have a clear conscience before God and man” (Acts 24:16). For the sake of the Gospel, let’s work at loving one another.

7 Books to Strengthen Your Marriage

Here is a list of some recommended books on marriage. My encouragement - get one of these and read it together with your spouse. Talk openly, pray earnestly for God to strengthen your marriage.
  1. What Did You Expect by Paul Tripp (best book on marriage I've ever read!)
  2. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (main point: marriage is for your holiness as much as it is for your happiness)
  3. When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey (very gospel-centered in its approach to husband/wife relationship)
  4. This Momentary Marriage by John Piper (lots of deep truth to chew on here; a biblical theology of marriage)
  5. His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley (honest look at protecting your marriage by knowing your spouse's needs)
  6. Intimate Allies by Dan Allender & Tremper Longman (Allender's writing is always realistic and provoking!)
  7. Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God by C.J. Mahaney (great book for husbands on romancing your wife)

Francis Chan's Humble Confession

One of the most encouraging parts of the DG conference for me happened during the Q&A time with all the speakers. The panel was asked the following question: Should we be having a daily quiet time or prayer time with our wives? Here's Francis Chan's humble response:

FC: I’m learning a lot from this conference and especially from Joel’s talk last night (on Family Worship). I want to build up and so I don’t want you to follow my example. My wife and I don’t pray regularly together. When needs arise, we pray. I don’t have a regular family worship time. I spend a lot of time with children one-on-one. I’m thinking of Ephesians 4:29—I don’t want to say anything that won’t build you up, but I want to be honest with you. I look at what Joel was saying and I want that. I have issues in my life. But I almost feel weird sometimes talking about spiritual things with my family. Maybe it has something to do with my upbringing. When I do pray with my wife, it is awesome. I just have this weird block with praying with my wife.

Later he added this:

FC: We prayed a lot when we were dating. When we got married, she told me honestly that she thought we would pray and read more together. I was concerned for her walk and that everything was through me. I told her if I saw her praying and reading on her own more often, then it would be easier for me to do that with her. I have some great examples here and I’m going to go home and start trying this daily thing.

I got the opportunity to meet Chan after the conference, and I let him know how much I appreciated his honesty and vulnerability. I told him that we (as young leaders) need to see models of broken, humble leaders like himself. He said that he already called his wife and prayed with her on the phone. Wow. I am convinced that Chan's confession will have a ripple effect on hundreds-perhaps thousands-of men who struggle to pray with their wives.

I'll end with Piper's challenge to the pastors (and all of us men!):

JP: Try this: go home, and if you never regularly pray with your wife, tell her you are going to try some new things. When you wake, roll over, take her hand, and say a short prayer before getting out of bed. Start there. Praying together is an awesome barometer of how things are going. If you can’t talk to God together, you can’t talk to each other. This is important for Francis and me and you to start doing this. Just take thirty seconds when you go to bed and commend both of you to the Lord. “Lest your prayers be hindered” should start at home. This is the most intimate relationship you have on the planet. Jesus is the most intimate vertically. If those don’t connect, there is something wrong.

A Good Conversation for Couples in the New Year

Couples, I encourage you to block off some time together this weekend to reflect on this past year and talk, pray and dream about the coming year.  My wife and I spent some time last night going through these series of questions below - written by Justin Buzzard.  It was a sweet time together and it helped us feel united and focused on the year ahead.

Remembering 2010

What one word best sums up and describes your 2010 experience? What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2010? What was the most loving service you performed in 2010? What are you most happy about completing in 2010? Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2010?

Looking Forward to 2011

What advice would you like to give yourself in 2011? What are you looking forward to learning in 2011? What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2011? Who or what are you most committed to loving and serving in 2011? What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2011?

Read Buzzard's entire post here ...

The Art of Marriage

I'm really excited for this ministry of Family Life.  My wife and I attended the Weekend to Remember marriage conference a few years ago and were incredibly blessed.  Starting in November 2010, you will be able to search for The Art of Marriage locations in your community. Make sure to check out the website for more information and updates on this new video-based, one-and-a-half day marriage event built on the same biblically based content as the hotel Getaway.

Piper's Parable of Marriage

Piper gives a great parable of how the marriage relationship starts off as a beautiful green field that we love to walk in with each other.  But before long we step into cow pies (marital sins and difficulties) and they seem to be everywhere!  Good counsel here on what to do with those cow pies!

This post is especially encouraging in that Piper is presently taking time away to cultivate the green field of his own marriage.

Counseling is a Sign of Wisdom not Weakness

I so appreciate what Justin Davis says here.  I couldn't agree more.

I lost count of how many times Trisha asked me to go to marriage counseling. We would be arguing about the same thing over and over again, and she would say, “Let’s talk to Mark and Rhonda about this.” Mark was the pastor I worked for, and I wanted Mark to think I had it all together. I didn’t want him to know how sucky of a husband I was. I didn’t want him to think I needed help. Getting marriage help was a sign of weakness not strength. Man was I wrong. Seeking marriage counseling isn’t a sign of weakness, it is a sign of humility and teach-ability. My arrogance and pride put me on the path of infidelity.

(HT: Z)

LBC members, be sure to check out Parent Chat tonight @ 7:00 as we hear from Dr. Eric Johnson and seek to humbly grow together in the gospel.

God Wants You To Give Up

Paul Tripp, from his new book on marriage called, What Did You Expect:

"His grace purposes to expose and free you from your bondage to you. His grace is meant to bring you to the end of yourself so that you will finally begin to place your identity, your meaning and purpose, and your inner sense of well-being in him. . . . To add to this, he designs circumstances for you that you would have never designed for yourself. All this is meant to bring you to the end of yourself, because that is where true righteousness begins. He wants you to give up. He wants you to abandon your dream. . . . He knows there is no life to be found in these things."

(HT: Walt Mueller)

When Church is a Mistress

Jonathan Dodson with a much needed word for men who love ministry and neglect their own family:

My first year of church planting I started a new, full-time job, a new city, a new daughter, and a new church. Guess which one got the least attention? Family. As all these new things filled our lives, they began to crowd conversation with my wife. What was once natural—inquiring about my wife’s hopes, fears, and joys—became unnatural, even absent from our conversation. She patiently continued to ask how I was doing, but I was “working for the church while my family died.”

As my wife began to wither without the invigorating love of her husband, she revealed the affair. I’ll never forget her crushing comment: “I feel like there’s a mistress in the house.” I was alarmed and frustrated. How dare she make such a comparison! After all, I made a point of being home by 5:30 and on weekends. I made sure we had good family rhythms—breakfast and devotions, dinner and downtime. How could she say there was a “mistress” in our home? Then it dawned on me—you can be home without being home. I was present but absent. My thoughts, emotions, and concerns were with another Bride while I was home, not with my bride.

Read the whole thing ...

Good Christians, Good Husbands?

Good Christians, Good Husbands?As a pastor or church leader, how do you balance family and ministry?  Which comes first?  What are the biblical responsibilities of a husband and father?  And how should a wife respond to the many trying circumstances in ministry?  These and other questions are explored by Doreen Moore in Good Christians, Good Husbands? an "inspiring and convicting account of three 18th century Christian leaders (John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards), all of whom were passionate about glorifying God by serving Him in their generation ... how they balanced (or did not balance) their passion for ministry with being married is the subject of this book."

I'm about halfway through the book, and it's a very convicting read.  If you're a church leader who feels the weight of balancing family and ministry, you need to get this book.  My friend, Dr. Tom Nettles, Professor of Historical Theology at Southern Seminary, endorses the book saying, "each reader will receive rewards in personal development far in excess of the time investing in reading."  I couldn't agree more.