Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Maybe we should write a marriage book

I have read that everyone has a book in them. I'm not sure if I think that is true but I think I may have a book or two in me, but the question that keeps me paralyzed is, "What would I write about?"

I could write about planting a church. Actually, I have the outline of a book already written. Nathan was impressed that I have 12 chapters. But who wants to read a church planting book from someone like me? 

Liz and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this past Sunday. Over and over again we heard three thing: Congrats, 18 years is a long time, and how do you do it?

I know a lot of people who are having a tough time in the marriages. Some of my good friends are separated or divorced. I saw today that an old friend of mine is separated. It breaks my heart. 

We don't have a perfect marriage. There's no such thing. But I love my marriage. I love being married. And I love Liz. 

All this got me thinking that maybe we have something from our experience to share. 

So maybe we should write a marriage book. It's just an idea. In the meantime, if you need advice, ask. I would love to chat with you.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another reason to be a Clemson fan

The wait is over. College football starts tonight! For those of you (not to mention any names, Mike Adler...) who are still unsure who you should support let me share the follower WSJ article and graphic. Go Tigers!!!

Following three consecutive 10-win seasons, including back-to-back top 10 finishes on the field, coupled with four straight years ranked among the top 10 percent in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report, Clemson football again is perched in the top right corner of the Wall Street Journal’s grid of “admirable” and “powerhouse” programs.

(The WSJ grid is available HERE - WSJ Chart

Clemson is the only FBS program nationally to finish each of the last three seasons in the top 25 of both polls on the field, and in the top 10 percent of APR scores in the classroom. Clemson and Stanford are the only two FBS programs with a top 10 final ranking in the USA Today Coaches poll and a top 10 percent ranking in FBS APR scores each of the last two years.

The Journal places teams across an x-axis based upon on-field success with a y-axis correlated to off-field reputation. According to the article:

We decided the thin line between admirable and embarrassing with a weighted calculation of every team's academic performance, NCAA violation and probationary record, attendance figures, off-season arrests, total funding it takes from the university or state and amount that student fees subsidize the athletic department.

This is the Wall Street Journal’s fourth annual grid, and Clemson has been in the top right quadrant each of the last two years.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Small parenting wins

There's no such thing as a perfect parent. If you're a parent then you know this because, well, you're you. 

Even though there's no such thing as a perfect parent there are times when we, as parents, feel like we had a win.

I had a small win yesterday.

Ever since our boys were born I've been praying that as they grow older they will still want to spend time with us. I want my kids, when they are grown up, to want to spend time and have a relationship with Liz and I. That's a really big win for Liz and I.

Yesterday Nathan came home with information about his 8th grade field trip to NYC. He shared his plan to pay for over half of it himself if we can pay for the other half. That's a pretty good plan. But then he told me that he really, really wanted me to go because I'm a great chaperon. He said it a number of times.

That's a win in my book. He, as a 13 year old, actually wants his dad to go on a trip to NYC with him and his friends and spend time with him. 

Now let me be clear: Life is not always like this. As anyone who's ever had an adolescent knows, life is a roller coaster of emotions and this afternoon there may be a shout fest in my home, but yesterday we had a win.

So what's a win for you? I think small wins are what keeps us moving forward as parents. 

Now I guess I'm headed downtown to start panhandling in order to get some money to pay the outrageous cost for the field trip. If you're interested, I may have a kidney for sale.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Character matters

If this is your first time reading along on this blog then let me tell you something that all 4 of the other readers already know. I'm a pastor. I have the privilege of pastoring an awesome church family in Spartanburg, SC called Hub City Church. 

While being a pastor is a privilege, it is also a huge responsibility. 

I'm sure you know this, but those of us who do this Christianity thing full time as a job (think pastor, worship leader, church staff, etc) are held to a higher standard by God. Let me show you what I'm talking about.

James says it this way: Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. - James 3:1

Paul says it this way in 1 Timothy 3: 
This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position.”So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.11 In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well.13 Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
In light of those two passages I think the following quote I read today is of immense relevance:

When the Bible lays out qualifications to ministry, it is character that rules every time. The Bible says little about skill and less still about results. It heralds character. Numerical growth and shared theology are wonderful, but insufficient. It is character that qualifies a man to ministry. God’s Word could hardly be clearer in this regard. - Tim Challies

Character matters. 

With that in mind I would ask that you pray for me. I want to get to the end of my life having lived with Christlike Character, and having lived a life worthy of the calling I've received.

But character doesn't just matter for people who do what I do. Character matters for you. It makes you someone worth knowing and following. Since that's the case I'm also praying that you will be a person of Christlike Character as well.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Slow to speak

How many times have you said something, only later to look back with regret over what came out of your mouth? If you're like most of us, you can't count that high. We are all guilty of saying things we regret.

Maybe that's why we should pay attention to what Jesus' brother, James, says in James 1:19-20 - My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

James tells us to do 3 things: Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

I heard someone say one time that you have two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as she speak. I'm not sure that's an appropriate ratio.

Maybe we should follow the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes when he says, let your words be few.

Imagine what could happen to your level of conflict if you did what James tells you to do? It may not erase all of your conflict but I bet it would significantly decrease your conflict.

Friday, August 22, 2014

For

What if we were known more for what we're for than what we're against? What if that's the way God wanted it to be in the first place?

Join us at Hub City Church this Sunday at 10 AM as we kick off a new teaching series called For.

Everyone's invited. Come as you are.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fight for your marriage

I read this today and wanted to share it with my friends who are in difficult relationships. May God give you the courage to fight for your marriage.

How to Rekindle Lost Love
by Rick Warren
“You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first.” (Revelation 2:4-5 NCV)
At first glance you may not think the book of Revelation — with its images of beasts, lambs, and angels — has anything to do with romance and the kind of affection needed to sustain a growing marriage.
But it does.
In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus uses an analogy from romantic love to describe the relationship of a church that had gone astray. Jesus said to the church of Laodicea: “You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first” (NCV).
He tells us to do four things that are important when recapturing our marriage: remember, return, repent, and repeat.
  1. Remember. Think about what you did in your first days together that made you fall in love in the first place. Think about the happy days. Stop thinking about all the problems you have now, and remember how your love began.
  2. Return. Return your focus to God. Your focus is likely on everything but God. It’s likely on your problems, your pressures, your stresses, and your career. But if you want to return to your first love, you need to turn your attention back to God.
  3. Repent. Choose to change how you think and act. Love isn’t a feeling, but it creates feelings — sometimes enormous feelings. But love is a choice. It’s a commitment to put someone else’s best interest over your own. Anything other than that isn’t love. God couldn’t command it if it were a feeling. Yet God commands us over and over in his Word to choose to love others (including our spouses). When you make a choice to love your spouse as Jesus would when you haven’t been doing so, that’s called repentance.
  4. Do what you did at first. Do what you did when you first fell in love. Feelings always follow actions. It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action. If you wait to feel affectionate and romantic, the devil will make sure you never feel it. So you choose to act in a loving way, and the feelings will come back.
The kind of affection that leads to a lasting relationship tends to seep out of marriages. It’s almost inevitable at some point. But how will you deal with it when it does?
The practice of “remember, return, repent, and repeat” should be continual in any marriage.