Friday, April 30, 2010

From Joel Oesteen: You can call me "Al"

It can't be easy to be an evangelical Christian on Larry King. He loves to ask the question, "So do you think Jews, or Hindus, or Muslims go to heaven?"

I really don't get why the answer is so offensive, but maybe it's just me. I mean I'm not offended if a Muslim thinks I'm going to Hell or will miss out on the whole personal virgins deal, or if a Hindu thinks I'll be reincarnated as a gnat, or a Buddhist thinks I'll miss out on Nirvana.

But if someone believes Jesus himself makes an exclusive salvific claim about himself, then the person bearing such news automatically becomes the enemy of all enemies. The reality is that Larry simply wants you to believe His worldview is the correct view, and if you don't, you won't be tolerated.
But I guess Jesus himself always said they'll hate you because they hate me and Paul reminded us that Christians are the "smell of death" (II Cor 2:15) to those who don't believe. So maybe it is me?

Anyhow, sometimes the fear of man, specifically the fear of Larry can be quite scary (I'm not being sarcastic-he is a powerful man in some ways). It can make some of us say things we don't believe because we want to be approved.

You may want to watch this sad video, from June 2005, where Joel Osteen really caves regarding Jesus' exclusive claim that He is the only way to heaven. Nevertheless, Osteen recants his statement after the flak he got from those in his camp and his re-watching the video clip.

Check out the video here, and president of a Baptist seminary Al Mohler's response to his retraction. But if you're going to check it out the video, make sure you check out his retraction and Mohler's response as well. Edifying.

This video is five years old, but I think its still a great picture of repentance and humility we all must embrace. Under Larry's lights, in the heat of a moment, I can see how a reforming people-pleaser like Oesteen could under the right (or wrong I guess is a better word) circumstances soften a hard truth. We all could. I'm glad old Joel recanted, because like it or not, he's got the "ear" of a ton of folks. I don't like Joel's (in my opinion) shallow positive feel good theology, but I like his repentance. We can learn something here from both Joel and Al: realize you're not above softening the truth or above the need for seeking real repentance.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lessons from the LPGA

I don't follow golf very closely. L.P.G.A golf I follow even less closely, if that were possible. But last week, the female golf world, and its followers out there (I'm sure there are plenty of followers who just don't run in my circles), received a shocking blow last week: Lorena Ochoa is retiring at the age of 28.

Now what makes it such a surprising departure is that she was currently ranked #1 in the world. And she is departing for a reason which has become so secondary in the world today: starting a family.

It's not like Ochoa is taking a pay cut, marrying the CEO of AeroMexico. But I think any woman who would sacrifice the glory of a successful career for the sake of starting a family deserves at least a little pub on a small time blog-though I consider my followers "big time."

Now I'm not saying that women can't work and have families, but I can imagine being on the road with the L.P.G.A might make it a little difficult for a mom and child. Regardless, it is nice to see a woman who doesn't HAVE to have a career in order to feel significant. Certainly a good reminder for both sexes in a career=identity world which we all live.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"T" is for Trust

And the grand finale of them all, the much anticipated (even more so than the Series Finale of Lost-which I hope that at least one of my questions will be answered), the final letter "T" in PRE-HEAT. I will say that this acronym (Staci, thanks for suggesting I do something on prayer) has helped me to be specific and well rounded in my wifely prayers. Though I've missed a "letter" here and there, it will serve as a great tool to keep me on track and stay consistent and persistent in prayer.

The final "T" is for Trust.

As for Amy, myself, and probably many of us, trusting the Lord can be a hard thing. Trusting your husband-who is fallible and sinful, yet called to lead-can be even harder. Yet the two often go hand-in-hand, especially for those who've had to leave the Great State or any state they consider great.

And don't forget the trust involved in child-rearing, in leading Sunday School, in discipleship. Is it all a waste of time; will God bless your ministry in some way if the word is going forth? Trust that you made the right decision when it was at best a "gray" area. Trust that He has your sanctification and best interest in mind in His foreordaining all things which come to pass. If you tend to be overly analytical like me, the list of things to trust can go on and on.

Amy gets hung up on details-because she sees them and I don't. I get hung up on bigger picture stuff because that's what I see. So know what keeps your wife up at night and pray for her trust to grow; it could be something totally different than what feeds your worry.

So that concludes my PRE-HEAT acronym, which will give you one thing each day around which to center your wifely or womanly prayers. Hope it helps. If it doesn't, scrap it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jennifer Knapp, Larry King, and THE King

Last Friday night I was flipping through the channels. I love flipping. I can't stay on one channel, especially during commercials. But this time it really paid off, as I came across a fascinating but quite sad interview on Larry King.

Jennifer Knapp, who I used to listen to while in college, (I even played her music while in a temporary makeshift band), just came out as a lesbian. She came out as a lesbian but professing Christian, though I really didn't hear her actually use the name Jesus once. But maybe I just missed it.

The quality of her lyrics always astounded me as I had grown tired of lyrically bankrupt Christian music. And now she came out of the closet. The lyrics are still good, and I'll still listen, but probably with some sadness now.

Things began to heat up as another evangelical pastor, who had blogged about her during the week, came on the scene to dialog and defend his views. I was thankful they got a mega-church pastor who had a head on his shoulders (I would have loved to see Tim Keller or John Piper though) and seemed truly motivated by love.

Then Ted Haggard, former mega-church pastor, who had to resign his pastorate because of his homosexual involvement, joined the party. Unfortunately he did nothing but muddy the waters of truth and just try to break down everything to "A Relationship with God. That's what matters." He glossed over Romans and completely missed the point. That made it even sadder and got me a bit riled up.

Anyhow, here are a few of my "takes" from the interview.

1. Lost in Translation: Jennifer Knapp recognized that the hang-up over homosexuality really hinges on what the bible really means when it refers to homosexuality. She argued there were even evangelical scholars who questioned whether we were truly translating this correctly. Supposedly this homosexuality really meant sodomy. I've not run across an evangelical scholar- who places himself below, not above the text-to land in this camp.

2. "This was not a choice." This was more of Larry King's take on homosexuality, though Knapp seemed to be OK with it. So in other words, if a feeling exists, then that's who we really are. We should act on it. But such is the same reasoning for Sodomy, and for those who simply want to leave their spouses. If its a feeling, not a choice, you need to go for it. Probably a dangerous way to live.

There are a number of Christian resources out there who can help folks with same sex attraction, as well as a other sexual brokenness. One I highly recommend is Harvest USA.

3. Don't elevate homosexuality. According to Paul in I Corinthians 6, neither the homosexual, nor slanderers, nor greedy, nor adulterers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God....and such were some of you. Now I'm totally aware the difficulty of leaving a homosexual lifestyle behind, but let's remember that we probably place more of a stigma on this particular sin and ignore other sins which the bible presents as equally as heinous.

4. Talking past. For the most part, the pastor and Jennifer Knapp seemed to be talking past each other. Jennifer claimed she wasn't justifying her sin; the pastor continued to affirm she was. So if what she was doing WEREN'T a sin, then nothing really needed to be said.

I think the hardest part for a homosexual, or for most Americans for that matter, is that they've never seen someone who believes them to be wrong, yet still wants to be their close friend.

That's just not many folks' paradigm. Most haven't seen someone who could disagree with their lifestyle, but still love them as a person, want to get to know them, and affirm their worth.
But if we're never allowed to disagree and become friends with people who we don't agree with, or we refuse to become friends with people we disagree with, the battle will just stalemate. And the scene from Larry King will just be a microcosm of Christian-Gay relations unless something changes. At least we have control over the latter.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A is for Adored

Now to the "A" of PRE-HEAT. "A" is for "adored." Men want to be respected. That's our bag. Machiavelli in his promotional dictatorial work The Prince coined the phrase, "Its better to be feared than loved." You can see how dictators have adopted this philosophy over the years. But where this really stems from is a man's healthy desire for respect run a-muck. So in some ways, this is very true for a man. We crave respect.

I'm not saying women don't desire or even need respect (particularly in areas which are not as culturally respected like child rearing), as Aretha Franklin once sang, but the order seems to be reversed. That's why Paul tells women to "respect" their husbands and for husbands to "love" their wives in Ephesians 5. It's not that women aren't to love husbands and husbands not respect their wives in any way, but this gives us an insight into the "how" of love.

So the "A" stands for adored, which to me, is far more than just respect. It is cherishing, loving, considering someone worthy of your affection. If Amy feels adored by me, then she has less of a need to compare herself with the accomplishments of others. If she feels adored, she won't need to run to a place of adoration through a romantic comedy or the embrace of another. If she feels adored by her husband, she'll believe me when I say she's beautiful even though her clothes are getting smaller and smaller because the baby is getting bigger and bigger. If she feels adored, she'll feel that sense of intimate connection. If she feels adored, then she'll be less likely to compare herself with the appearance of other women-folk and find herself lacking.

So the "A" is huge. Don't leave it out.
Martin Luther was a different cat, bolder than I'll ever be, and did more for Jesus than I'll ever do. Yet he was not without "warts," so I in no way deify him.

However, his contribution to the institution of marriage in the 1500's is just as important, profound, and unfortunately under-realized and under-applied in the 2010's (or whatever you call this decade.)
Here are some "adoring" quotes attributed to Luther regarding his wife Katie.
More proof you can't judge a book by its cover.

“I would not give up Katie for all of France, because God gave her to me and me to her.
“I love my Katie, yes, I lover her more dearly than myself,”
“Katie, you have a devoted husband who loves you. You are an empress.”

May this kind of adoration be our aim and prayer for our women. That they would feel loved, cherished, and adored.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Goodell for Pope?

Some of my pre-West VA blog followers respected this man Myron Rolle for choosing to go to Oxford instead of entering the NFL draft last year. I'm not sure I would have taken that route, but he'll get to see exactly how much it helped/hurt him this weekend as the NFL draft starts tonight.

This former FSU Rhodes Scholar athlete, made smaller news this week by praising the NFL commissioner for punishing Ben Rothlesberger, calling the move "awesome." Sheriff Goodell suspended "Big Ben" for 6 games this season for his involvement with an under-age lass in a Georgia nightclub. Since the law provides so many loopholes for wealthy athletes, and sometimes gets undercut by yahoo cops, who actually resign after investigations (that's what happened with Rothlesberger's latest case), it doesn't always provide justice. At least one cannot escape a lesser justice from the NFL.

Maybe the Pope could get some pointers from Goodell in cleaning up the priesthood, as the NFL seem to be quite aggressive in filling in where the law falls short. Maybe the papacy should be his next stop?

"E" is also for Envy

Now on to the "E" of PRE-HEAT in wifely prayer. "E" is for Envy. I've found Envy at times to be a very powerful stronghold in my life, and one in which can battle even the most godly of woman-folk as well.

The sin of envy destroys any opportunity to be thankful for all the blessings we have and precludes any hope of contentment. Amy and I struggle in different areas of envy, so this is where your 2nd "E" prayers need to get up close and personal.

I can get quite envious of people catching more fish, being better preachers, having bigger churches with different problems, and folks who didn't buy a home in Bradenton during the worst possible time in the history of mankind to buy.

I've noticed with Amy it centers more around familial and relational situations like envying parents who have easier-to-shop-with children, geographically closer families, and various deeper relationships.

While our envy finds different application, the goal for prayer is the same. As you pray against Envy, pray for contentment. Contentment for all that good God has done (and done in Christ), is doing, and the good He will yet do.

And if you can get a few of your friends together to read The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, I recommend that. But it might take some community interaction to help you better understand, apply, or even finish this puritan jewel.

Monday, April 19, 2010

No more black

Tim Tebow's eye-black contained scripture verses which would be googled or searched for by thousands of fans following his football games last year. One announcer even read the scripture referenced by his eye-black.

This will not happen this year in college football (and probably not in the NFL because they have uniform nazi's). Not because Tebow's graduating and will soon be drafted by some fortunate NFL team. It will happen because the NCAA is now banning eye-black with any messages, logos, or scripture references.

No real reason is given for the ban in this article. The eye-black rule comes into play along with changes on kick-off coverages and taunting. Perhaps the NCAA didn't want any sponsors getting free advertising? That's understandable. Or they didn't want players promoting things the NCAA didn't want promoted? That's understandable. Or they didn't want Jesus to get any pub? That's understandable from a non-Christian worldview, but it seems the ultimate motive might be to attempt to privatize religious expression.

Nevertheless ministry is much more than wearing Christian T-shirts, fish emblems on cars, or eye-black. It's messy, life-on-life, self-sacrificial, loving, other-centered. As a result, we need not ever fear or even get overly frustrated with NCAA or government trying to curtail religious expression. Neither have the power to destroy ministry opportunities. They just may create new ones.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My new stone brother

I haven't rooted for the Red Sox since they came back and beat the Yankees and won their first world series. But I'll be rooting for Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron, who is on the Disabled List due to a kidney stone. After having a kidney stone last Friday, which I may/may not have already passed, I got re-acquainted with the power of these rocks. These tiny jagged boulders which barrel their way down through the ureter, in the end, produce a new kind non-combatant Band of Brothers. Stone Brothers. And you can't, "go against the family." I salute you Mike, and hope you do well this season, just not against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Invention of Lying

I watched a clever movie the other day called The Invention of Lying. The story takes place in a world where everyone only tells the whole truth all of the time. There is no tact or grace in that display of truth, but at least everything you see is what you get. With one exception. One person somehow develops the ability to lie and uses it to his advantage throughout the movie.

The liar, who ironically is the only one who can see the world as it truly is, finds himself fed up with a clearly materialistic-Darwinist worldview. His love interest, Jennifer Garner, looks not for love in a quest to marry, but simply to find a mate (Rob Lowe) who will ensure her the greatest possibility of reproducing good looking kids: in her words passing on the "best genetic code."

Obviously the main character (Ricky Gervais, from the British series "The Office"), who has a plump face and "flat nose," can't deal with life in this world. But he also can't stand to continue to prophetically perpetuate a Theistic worldview where "the big man in the sky" rewards and punishes people based upon what they have done.

I think the movie shows the ridiculousness of both Darwinist and stereotypical religious/ theistic worldviews. Yet in the end, it exposes the lack of any rationality which would justify rising above the materialistic world where wedding vows include the deep commitment to stay married "as long I feel like."

A unique and clever movie indeed (it's nothing like Liar, Liar) and worth the watch. Let me know if you saw things differently or had a different opinion.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"H" is for Heart Idols

Now on to the "H" of the wifely prayer acronym "PRE-HEAT." The "H" is for Heart Idols. All men have them and all women have them. Even kids have them. Tim Keller explores several big idols like money, sex, and power in his book Counterfeit Gods. But what Keller does extremely well in this book is that he elucidates how money, sex, and power, are really only "surface idols." Different people may seek the same "surface idol" for a different reason, and until that reason, or heart idol (he calls it a "deep idol") is addressed, we're only scratching the surface. In relation to money, Killer writes:

"Surface idols" are things such as money, our spouse, or children, through which our deep idols seek fulfillment. We are often superficial in the analysis of our idol structures. For example, money can be a surface idol that serves to satisfy more foundational impulses. Some people want lots of money as a way to control their world and life. Such people usually don't spend much money and live very modestly. They keep it all safely saved and invested, so they can feel completely secure in the world. Others want money for access to social circles or to make themselves feel beautiful and attractive. These people do spend their money on themselves in lavish ways. Other people want money because it gives them so much power over others. In every case money functions as an idol and yet, because of various deep idols, it results in different patterns of behavior. pg. 65

So anyone who is shepherding another, whether it's a husband, pastor, elder, parent, Sunday school teacher, mentor, older friend, will do a disservice to those under their care if we don't go below the waterline and discern the reasons behind the clearer "surface idols." It takes time listening and loving, but this is a must in praying for your spouses.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Connar "balling"

I feel kind of bad posting this video, because it was taken very early in Connar's basketball career. Because basically all he does these days is talk about "ball" and shoot "ball," he's actually now quite accurate from inside the 3 point line. Regardless, he makes a few shots here in his rookie debut.

"E" for Enjoy

Now on to the "E" of PRE-HEAT in "wifely" prayers. I guess that's a word, as it didn't get underlined in the spell check.

"E" is for enjoy, and is fitting since I no longer have the pain of a kidney stone-though I have no evidence it has actually departed. And I preached on joy this past Sunday, so joy is on the brain.

I pray that Amy would truly find herself enjoying time with the Lord, time with me, time with Connar, time with friends, family, church family, and neighbors. It seems that Amy's best days (and I would imagine this is true with most women) occur when she thoroughly enjoys all of her relationships. In the marriage arena, I could be wrong here, but I think that intimacy will naturally come when spouses are truly enjoying each others' presence, conversations, texts (while apart).

Ultimately if Amy is finding satisfaction in her relationship with Jesus, then God is most glorified. So this is ultimately a very God-centered prayer.
And once she is fully satisfied in Christ, then she can more easily enjoy the rest of us-since we're not her ultimate and primary source of joy. We're not expected to be something we're not: Jesus the source of true joy (Matt 13:44-46).

Because I think God is also highly glorified when she finds a secondary satisfaction in the husband of her youth (though we got married at 26, so we technically weren't "youths" or "yutes" like in My Cousin Vinny), I pray for to enjoy being married to me, as hard as that may be sometimes.

But again, keep in mind the prayer for our spouses to Enjoy Christ, as well as His gift of husbands, church family, friends, kids, houses, and even coffee, will result in her thanksgiving and God's honor. So don't forget to pray for your ladies joy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"R" is for RELAX, just ask Frankie

"Relax, don't do it, when you want to go to it." - Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Continuing in the acronym PRE-HEAT, I want to briefly look at the "R" now. I can't speak for all women, but I can speak for Amy (and the same goes for myself). We need to relax. We both believe God is Sovereign and in control of all things. We also believe that doesn't negate human responsibility. Both are true.

But when responsibility bumps up against sovereignty, sovereignty always wins.
What I mean is that you can be completely irresponsible and do all the wrong things, and God can still redeem the situation. And you can be completely responsible, and not see the outcome you so desired.

Amy and I often err on the side of responsibility, so that causes us not to be lazy (and that's good), but it also keeps us from relaxing (not good).
Whether its child rearing, going to work, worrying about children, relationships, family, or whatever, a good prayer is for women to be able to relax. For Amy, relaxing that bills will be paid, Connar will love Jesus, learn to listen, and speak in real sentences some day. Relaxing is hard for someone chasing after a rambunctious 23 month old little boy, and will only get harder when the next child hits the scene.

In Colossians 1:29, Paul speaks of "his (Christ's) energy, which so powerfully works in me." That's why we can hopefully pray for women who are juggling 30 things, to relax even amidst their labors. Now this doesn't negate the necessity to actually relax, stop working, and take a sabbath rest or even a daily break with a glass of sweet tea or wine. But before that time, my prayer is that Amy feels relaxed amidst her busyness, responsibilities, and concerns.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From Thuggins to Huggins

I used to call West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins, "Thuggins." That's primarily who he recruited-in my opinion-while at the University of Cincinnati. With a sub-par graduation rate for his players, I never really thought too highly of him. Then I moved to West Va and began to follow his new team. And so I followed "Thuggins" too. My opinions of this coach changed drastically as he wisely coached players who did not bear any resemblance to the top athletes of other programs. Then the Final Four came and this happened.

All American Da'sean Butler tore his A.C.L. while trying to avoid a charge. He didn't and his college career ended in agony. The video depicts Huggins intimately holding Butler's head up and somewhat caressing his face with his fingers. Some folks like sports reporter Dan Patrick have called it "creepy." And perhaps it was a bit over the top?

But there was never any doubt in Butler's mind that he indeed had a coach who would be with him in his pain and suffering.
I don't see any in the NFL who care that much. They try to distance themselves from the players, with the exception of the Buc's coach (who has won all of the 3 games).

Of all the religions, only Christianity has a God who suffered. And as a result, he is able to be right there with us in our suffering. Holding, and caressing, and whispering, "Behold, I am making all things new. And I'm right here with you as one who suffered too."

Thanks Huggins. I guess you lived up to your name, so I'll drop the "T." Most of the time. I like the nickname too much to entirely get rid of it, but it will from now on, only be in jest. After all, any coach who visits coal miners families in the midst of their suffering is cool with me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The "P" in PREHEAT

Now to start with the prayers. The "P" in PREHEAT stands for protection. I want to be regularly praying for Amy to not only be protected (actually) but also to feel protected (existentially). My favorite Psalm is 91, where the psalmists describes God as a "refuge" and "fortress."

While Amy is driving-which she hates-I pray God to be a refuge and fortress to not only
keep her safe, but allow her to feel safe.

And obviously women are more prone to violent attack or rape, so it would be foolish to simply ignore prayers for such protection in today's world.
In addition to physical protection, a helpful paradigm from my Reformed tradition is the "world, flesh, and devil."


Women, the same as men, are subject to spiritual attack. So it would likewise be foolish to ignore this aspect-though most often presbyterians (and I) do. Satan can easily place little doubts, like "Am I a good enough wife? A good enough Mom? Fit or trim enough? Pretty enough?" To take down a man, Satan will often go after his wife so that he can get a two-for-one deal.

"Flesh"=our tendency to struggle with general and specific sin

A prayer of protection for daughters, sisters, and friends could deal with protection from "settling." It's sad and far too predictable how young women settle for dudes who are just too spiritually immature or are unbelievers. So Queen's "Another one bites the dust" just plays in the background of their lives, but never loud enough for them to hear it. We really need to be praying not just for patience and protection but for the actual provision of godly husbands.

"World" = the specifically sinful cultural assumptions

Our ladies need protection from the world's depiction of success: career woman, perfect super soccer mom, completely independent, sexy pre-baby bodies even for mothers who've had many children.
Of course Christian ghettos have their own unhealthy depictions of what moms and women are supposed to be, but I don't have time to go into those. I would categorize them under "world" just as Jesus categorized the religious and cultural assumptions of his day which were contrary to scripture. But those don't seem as much of an issue where I'm serving now, so I'll leave it at that.

One man wisely said, "I'm not man enough to be a woman." I agree. At the heart level, the only weapons we have against this battle are sacrificial and active love, God's word, and prayer, so lads, let's get to it.

Monday, April 5, 2010


"Jefe...You do not understand women....." El Guapo

What better way to introduce the subject of praying for women than El Guapo from Three Amigo's?

I've spent a little time lately trying to develop a practical grid for helping we husbands, and lads in general (this grid should help friends, brothers, fathers as well) pray for their lady-friends.
Amy will come on after me and give us some thoughts on praying for your man-friends. I love that word, if it is one.

Anyhow, the acronym I'm going to try to put to good use is PREHEAT. Now please don't think I associate women with pre-heating an oven. I'm not a male chauvinist pig comparable to El Guapo (the "handsome one"). I may be 2 out of 3, eating like a pig, but I don't think I'm a chauvinist.

I simply put down seven areas to correspond to days in the week I wanted to pray for Amy, and the first letters seemed to form this word.

But I think it also is more than a meaningless acronym. Our prayer for our women ought to ultimately be that they "heat" up during the day. That they exhibit the "heat" (feeling/heart) and "light" (knowing truth/head) from God. So in a way, I hope my prayers in the morning would serve as a pre-heating device like turning on the oven. And of course that it would heat up throughout the day.

This is a work in progress. Women and men, please feel free to share and reflect with comments. I'm not trying to get a book deal out of this thing-though I wouldn't turn one down of course! I'm just trying to come up with an aid which may be helpful to move us all to more specific and regular prayer for the women in our lives.

Tomorrow I shall explore the "P."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Devotion by Justin Taylor

Brief Easter devotion here on the mysterious thief on the cross who had a "change of heart." It's a good one.

Friday, April 2, 2010

By Next Friday, The Friday after Next, or Seven Fridays it became "Good Friday"

Last week, our senior pastor Barret mentioned the name "Good Friday" and how weird that name sounds. Right now its sunny in West VA-which I'm just loving now-and so the day looks "good" to me. But for that first Good Friday, it was anything but good for Jesus. And to be honest, because the disciples didn't understand, it was anything but good for them. How could something so brutal, so devastating be "good?" Even the day looked anything but "good;" instead a darkness fell over the land (Matt 27:45).

But it was good for them that Jesus leave. His words, translated into English in the ESV, are "It is to your advantage that I go away....(John 16:7)" If he didn't "go away" via the cross, we'd not have forgiveness, a new power, a new family, a new world one day, and of course a new Spirit within us.

And it was good for Jesus in that he purchased redemption of the whole cosmos (Col 1) and all death will one day be under his feet (I Cor 15), that every knee will bow and give glory to Him (Phil 2), and that the church he put His love on before the foundation of the world would cherish Him forever at a wedding feast (Rev 19).

It probably took the disciples a little while to consider that Friday a "Good Friday." Maybe not by the next Friday, but perhaps the Friday after next? At the very latest it would have taken seven Fridays (till Pentecost-the giving of the Holy Spirit).

Good Friday is our example of how God can turn injustice into victory for His people. It is indeed a Good Friday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Husbandly prayers a comin soon

Someone suggested I do a series on praying for wives. I responded favorably to this person, because, quite frankly, she has good ideas. Second of all, she's been thinking through this in large part due to her re-reading A Praying Life, which is the best darn book on prayer I've ever read. I recommend you check it out. Before too long, I'm going to try to get something going at Redeemer which studies this book.

Third of all, I need to do a better job of specifically praying for my lovely wife Amy. I don't say that with false humility, as though I really pray an hour a day for her and just "feel" like its not enough. I need to grow in this area because the enemy would love to bring her down (bring her down to China town like Robert Deniro in
Meet the Parents), especially here in WV, where the god of this age has blinded the hearts of many from the gospel in favor of a be-good and try-hard, rules-first type false gospel. He's not happy we're here as I've been warned (after I signed on of course!) and experienced.

Anyhow, as a result of these posts, I feel like I'll be more structured and intentional in doing battle with the Spirit for the heart of Amy: that she would fully delight in the gospel. For husbands reading these posts, I hope that it will beneficial to you in praying for your wives. I don't consider myself an authority on anything outside of using artificial jerkbaits for snook in shallow water grass flats on an outgoing tide.

So I welcome your comments on praying for your wives.
Please comment.

For wives, I hope these posts can encourage you to expect bigger prayer from your husbands. We men are always running from real sacrificial leadership-either running over by dominating or by running away to work or hobbies. We need to be challenged by our wives. We should have no problem with our wives coming up to us and saying, "How seriously are you praying for me, my heart, my challenges, my world, etc..."

So I hope women will boldly approach their husbands, parents, siblings, male friends, and expect bigger things.

Finally, Amy will be guest blogging, and discussing how women can better pray for their husbands. I'm really excited about this. Should be fun ya'll.