2014-09-21

An Interesting Article...

Ok guys.  Listen up!  I want you to head over to this site (I'll provide the link in a bit) and check out Rourke's article.

About a year ago he found the door ... and stepped through into everlasting life.  He found Christ.

He has a group with his church - something that every man should have.  And his article points out some important things.

 

So here's the link:   Link to article

Last modified on 2014-09-21 by Jeff

Thoughts on Marriage - Part 1

Let me preface this article by saying that I really don't feel qualified to give this message.  Why not? Well, sadly because my life, and my marriage do not reflect what I am about to write. This is a sad state of affairs, and yet, God prompted me to study His word in this area.  Which, I will admit I did at first hoping that by so doing I could pass along words of wisdom to my wife, and our marriage would improve.  But as I studied, I realized, by the Holy Spirit, that God was telling *me* things that I needed to know about *my* part in the marriage.  Sure, I still found the words of wisdom to pass along, but more importantly, I found wisdom for myself.

I have endeavored to follow those words of wisdom through the months since.  Of course, I can not do so perfectly, but I hope that I am improving as each day goes by.  I still don't beleive I am qualified, but there are those that have previewd this and have encouraged me to go ahead and 'publish' it.  And so here I am.  Let's begin.

Marriage, Part 1:


We are in an epidemic of problems in marriage, not just in the world, but also in the church and I would like to address this issue today.

Some of us are simply muddling through, because we don't want to go through the pain and loss of getting a divorce. Some are just going to grit their teeth to get through this because God hates divorce and we don't want to be put in that category.  Some are simply biding time, waiting for the kids to grow up, or that other job to come through, or even for the other spouse to file!

Then there are those of us that aren't happy with the way things are, and are grasping at straws to make things better - that want to save their marriages, and make them better.  Hopefully *all* of us, those that are simply just not happy and want to make things better, but also those I mentioned before, would like to "save" our marriages.

And then there is the category of those that have marriages that are fairly good - or even great.  I think even they would be pleased to be able to make it more fullfiling, more exciting, more enjoyable, and all those wonderful things - even moreso than it already is!

So, I simply want to begin by studying what God's blueprint for a fulfilling, harmonious, and God pleasing marriage is, according to the scriptures.

Most will begin with the passage in Genesis - and yes, that is God's blueprint for marriage.  But like a house doesn't make a home, a marriage isn't fulfilling and pleasing to God simply by gritting your teeth and remaining married through thick and thin.  Oh, to be sure, that is part of it...at times.  But I believe that it will be easier to stay married, and with less dental work, if we follow the rest of the plan for a God pleasing marriage.

This is going to be a difficult to read.  But like a parent when disciplining a child, this pains me more than it is going to hurt you. Hopefully by the power of the Holy Spirit, I am only writing and giving the word of God, and not my own words.

So let's begin by turning to John 13:34.

As Christian men and women, is it not our joy to obey the commands of Jesus?  Is not His burden light? In John 13:34  It is simply this He asks of us, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (John 13:34, john 15:12, 17).

My belief is that if we can, even in an imperfect way since we are all fallen, follow God's plan, and by the power of the Holy Spirit love one another as Christ has loved us and obey His commands - not because we need to for salvation, but out of the joy of that salvation (for the joy of the reward put before us, so to speak) - we will have better, happier, holier marriages.

First I want us to agree that our God is a God of order, not of chaos, correct?  His is an ordered universe, He spoke it into being, and pronounced that it all was good.  It was all in order.  He ordered the seasons, and the tides, the rain and the snow.  The Day and the night and the seasons.

There was only one thing that He said was not good.  It was not good that the man was alone. That there was no help ... meet - or suitable - for him.  And he put His plan for marriage in place.

[ Meet
adjective
1.
suitable; fitting; proper.
Origin
before 1000; Middle English mete, aphetic variant (see y- ) of imete; representing Old English gemǣte suitable, cognate with German gemäss conformable
]

So, let's explore what God's plan for marriages is...

I am going to use Ephesians 5:22-33 (???) for our main text, and pull in a few other passages that will help us understand this passage and God's plan for marriage.

Now, because this is such a sensitive subject I am actually going to start with verse 23 and skip to verse 25 through 28, and then cover the rest of the passage.

(23) For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. (25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, (26) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, (27) that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (28) So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. (29) For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

So let's start with just the first part of verse 25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also Loved the church ..."  I can only imagine what some of the women are thinking - "oh yeah.  Now THAT's what I'm talking about!", "See, God says your supposed to love me like Christ!"- as she elbows him in the ribs from whence woman originally came.

Now, before you guys think I'm being sarcastic, and that I'm going to knock this down a few pegs I want to say this.  Yup, they're right! We ARE supposed to love them as Christ loved the church ... and it gets even more difficult guys ... check out the last part of the verse... "AND GAVE HIMSELF UP for her."

And again the ladies are probably agreeing whole heartedly... "see, you're supposed to give up all that stuff, the fishing trips, the football games, the Saturday night poker game..."

Well, yes, ... and no.

We need to first look at *how* Christ gave himself up for the church.  Remember it says He gave HIMSELF up for the church ... not his guys night out, not his fishing trips with Peter and the guys, HIMSELF.  Of course, gentlemen, this doesn't mean that you have carte blanc to do whatever you please, and ignore the needs of your bride!  However, it was in fact through the fishing trips, and his time with the guys - and other disciples and times in the wilderness - that He was giving himself to the church, all to culminate in the ultimate, willing, giving up of Himself at the cross.

THIS is how we are called to be like Christ. To be the head of the wife.  To train our families, to teach our wives, to be the head of our families.  To not be passive in our headship. Rather to be Christ-like in servant leadership.  Loving our wives as the example to the world of how Christ loves the church!  

At the same time, we are not to stray from our mission in the Lord.  Even Christ's bride (his small group of disciples) tried to get him to do it "her" way.  Remember, they did NOT want Him to die for them, they wanted Him to conquer Rome for them!  And did He do what *they* wanted?  No.  In fact, he rebuked them for focusing on the "immediate" desires, not the long term goals of His mission on earth.  And then He went about the business of His mission.

Gentlemen, this is the example we are to follow.  We don't always get our way, yet, we are to stay on task of our mission.  To present our bride sanctified by the washing of the word, without spot or wrinkle. Holy and without blemish!  If you are abusive, verbally or otherwise, to your wife, how does this accomplish that part of your mission?  What kind of example does this set for the world?  How does this exemplify the love of Christ for us?  Would *you* like to be part of a family that was abusive towards certain members? Or neglectful? Or worse yet, unfaithful, in thought, or word, or deed, or any combination of those?

To be certain, we are far from perfect, but if we are trusting in Christ for our eternal destiny, and we understand the sacrifice He has made, how can we live in any other manner than to follow and obey Him? How can we treat a sister in Christ in any way other than with Love borne of the Holy Spirit? To discover what kind of love that is, remember to check out 1 Cor 13. The attributes and fruit of love are listed there.

Among other things, we must lead in spiritual things.  Washing - that is teaching - our wives with the word of God. As I alluded to earlier, not just to present her glorious without spot or wrinkle to ourselves, but to Christ! Holy and without blemish.

1 Peter 3:7, we husbands are told, "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered."

If we are without love and understanding when we are being the head of our wives, we are nothing but noise and we deserve the disrespect that they certainly would heap on us.  Note that they do not have the *right* to heap it on us (more on that in part 2), though. What's more, we should not be surprised when our prayers are "hindered" - or seem to go unanswered for a long time, as this verse states. We should allow our wives grace, just as Christ grants us grace when we fail.  However, as when we fall short, when we are sinful, and the Spirit calls us to repentance, so too should we not be complacent in gently, and with grace, call the attention of our wives to times when they have fallen short and call them to repent.  Yes the difficulty is that we are fallen as well, and need to dispense a LOT of grace and understanding when we approach this.

Husbands... it looks like we are called to the more difficult task ... to love our wives as Christ loves the church. But as we will see, theirs isn't an easy task either.  So we need to make it easy on them - let us do our part.  NOT as if we are doing it for them ... rather as if we are doing it for the Lord - because we ARE!

21 Sep 2014

An Interesting Article...

Ok guys.  Listen up!  I want you to head over to this site (I'll provide the link in a bit) and check out Rourke's article.

About a year ago he found the door ... and stepped through into everlasting life.  He found Christ.

He has a group with his church - something that every man should have.  And his article points out some important things.

 

So here's the link:   Link to article

Wow! Has it really been that long?

Yes, it has.  There have been a number of things going on here, one of which is that I have become employed again.

I am currently involved with a group of gentlemen from my church that I hope will help me, or at least encourage me, to develop this vision further.  I know that they have similar thoughts about the role, position, instruction, and mentoring of men that I have.  This should lead us to some good discussion and perhaps the actual launch of this ministry.

To that end, please pray for us.  I would like to see this finally come to fruition - as long as it is what God wills.

Stepping Up! A Call to Courageous Manhood

Super Saturday February 2, 2013.

As football’s elite athletes prepare for the Super Bowl® battle on the gridiron, Dennis Rainey and FamilyLife (And Rock Of Ages Ranch!) invite men to tackle an even bigger challenge: the battle for godly, courageous living in their own lives.

If there was ever a time when men needed vision for what it means to be a man, this is it. And Stepping Up™ can help them make it happen.

Imagine if we could call every man to become courageous leaders in their own lives, marriages, churches, and communities.

 

Stepping Up - update!

We have a venue scheduled, and will be holding the event as scheduled!

Please sign up by clicking on the EventBright calendar on the right (on the 2nd) and join us as we learn to "Step Up" as husbands and fathers!

Stepping Up Trailer - 60 seconds

The event fee is $38 and covers all material and lunch.

If we have enough interest - and sign ups - we'll schedule another session for later in the month, so tell everyone you know!

 

BTW, you can, if you wish, sign you and your wife up for the Date Night Challenge as well!  It is a FREE event!

Stepping Up

Announcing the first program that we are sponsoring!

Stepping Up:A Call to Courageous Manhood

This event will happen on February 2, 2013.  We are still arranging a venue for this event.  We have a couple possibilities, and will have further information about where we are going to hold the event after Thanksgiving.

Be sure to get signed up early!

Even Men of God need Instruction and Encouragement

Exd 33:13 NIV - If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."

December 29th, 2011

Fathers are indespensible.  There.  I've said it.

I've gone against the conventional wisdom of the times and stated a truth that is unpopular.  Fathers, especially involved fathers, are indespensible to the upbringing and education of children to responsible adults.

As I've mentioned in a previous article, I've recently had a birthday.  One of my in-laws, sent me a stack of books - all released in conjunction with the movie, "Courageous".

Now, I've been wanting to go see the movie, but it's been in limited release, and we've been busy.  Thankfully, it's still showing at one of our local theaters, so we went to see it this past Sunday afternoon.  An amazing movie - the characters are well established and complex, and yes, even flawed. The situations are not simply cookie-cutter, and the resolutions not easy to implement.

After seeing the movie, I have dived (dove?) into reading the first book (well, it's the first one that made sense to me to read), and I have to say that it, and the movie, have posed a bit of a challenge to me.

While already desiring to be a good father to the kids I am step-fathering, this has challenged me to step up and be more than just a father, but to be a 'dad' and to be the best dad, and the best man I can be.  A man's man, so to speak. A man of Integrity. With a capital 'I'. Not that I didn't want to be previously.  Sometimes, however, a shot of inspiration is needed.

Even more than that, a Man after God's own heart, as David was.

Studies have indicated that men who lead their families, and raise their children purposefully, have a tremendous impact on how their children grow into adults, and how those children fare in their adulthood. 

I want my kids to do well - what father/dad doesn't? Yet, we are more invested in our work and hobbies or golf game, than we are in our childrens lives. Does that seem right to you?

It takes a courageous man to stand up and say, "No more!"

"No more soft-porn on the TV in MY house."

"No more compromise on ethical issues in MY house."

"No more 'bending the truth' because it's convenient in MY house."

"No MORE!"

And it take the courage of one's convictions to say, "As for me and MY house; we will serve the LORD" - to teach our kids right from wrong, truth from lie, good from evil.  That character really does count.  That integrity is doing what is right. Every time. Even when no one is watching.  *Especially* when no one is watching.

If we had a few men of courage these days, we might take back the country from the looters that seem to think they are entitled to sit and loaf while the rest of us work to support them.  If our men of Courage would lead us to say, "No more!"

As I wrote in one of my previous posts, "All it takes for evil to triump is for good men to do nothing." But those good men, they need courage!

Where are you men of Courage? When will you appear and stand up for what is right?

As I take these issues of life by the horns; as I choose this day, and every day, to renew my resolve to bring up my children in the knowledge of truth; and as I recommit to modeling a life of Integrity myself, will you join me?

With Rock of Ages Ranch I am planning to provide a place where fathers, sons, and eventually families can go, gather together, fellowship with one another, and listen to the voice of God.  Contact us here at the Ranch to get involved in making it happen!