Marriage, Postmarital

How Married Are You?

I would love to create some scientific measurement tool to give to couples so they could discover how married they actually are. You say, “How married they are; whatever does that mean?” It means how connected, unified, truthful, in agreement and simply stated: how one they are. Here’s how I see this marriage measurement tool working…

There would be a series of questions where the couple would either gain percentage points or they would lose percentage points depending upon their responses. At the end, the percentage that remains would be how married they are. So, for example:

Do you have separate bank accounts? Yes -3% No +3%

Are you free to look through one another’s mail/email? Yes +4% No -4%

Do you pray together? Yes +9% No -9%

Do you share PIN numbers? Yes +5% No -5%

Do you regularly keep secrets from your spouse? Yes -7% No +7%

Do you always tell your spouse the truth? Yes +8% No -8%

You get the idea. In the end, we would discover just how married we desire to be. Author Gary Thomas asks, “Are we going be 60 percent married or 90 percent…or, are we committed to…100 percent?”

Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Leadership

Comfort Zones: We All Desire to Be Comfortable

images-2Comfort zones…we all have them. Perhaps yours is never flying on a plane or having a certain amount of money in savings. For each of us it is different because comfort is best described as what makes us feel the most secure. When discomfort is present, most likely insecurity is present. A situation that challenges our security will at the same time affect our physiological and emotional responses – our personal feelings of comfort.

Often at the core of discomfort is fear. We experience fear when our security is challenged. We dislike moving out of our comfort zones because we fear the process of change. Flying on a plane or depleting our savings account can in fact, based upon what we tell ourselves, lead us to being fear-filled.

imagesFunny thing is though, Jesus continually desires to stretch us, move us beyond our comfort zones. And if we’re immovable, we will resist His efforts in our life. What’s your comfort zone and how is your Heavenly Father attempting to move you beyond it? When you fully trust Him, you can move safely beyond your fears.

Children, Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Parents, Pornography

Is Your Identity For Sale?

imagesMy wife and I were speaking to 30 plus senior high youth recently. They were passionate, hungry, open, teachable, vulnerable and beautifully smiling back at us as we taught. We spoke about life mission, boundaries, identity, pornography, priorities and praying for a life mate. We were straightforward and honest. They listened intently. As I observed these kids and the pressure they’re under, I thought about their personal introductions to porn, sex, drugs, broken families, raunchy TV and movies and peer pressure. “How do they cope in a world so different from the world I lived in when I was their age?” And then this question came to me, “Will they sell their identity?”images-6

It was a church youth group. They will soon head to college, technical school or enter the work force. How often will they be tempted to throw in the towel and give up on their faith? What college professors will tell them Christianity is for the weak, the brainless and/or the non-thinker? What young girl might attempt to seduce one of these young boys or vice versa? Which ones will sell their identity and which ones will hold onto their Christ-centered identity?

images-8Quickly the answer to the question of how will they cope came: you and I. The adults in their lives will touch them, love them, pray for and with them and visit them when they are off to college. We will text them, email them and even snail mail them to encourage their faith. We will send them books and articles that will help to protect their identity and we will speak life to them. We will tell them they are accepted, of value to us and to God and we will tell them how beautiful they are. We will challenge them to live righteously and hold them accountable to the truths taught to them.

Who are the young people in your life? They need you in their life today so they do not sell their identity tomorrow.

Encouragement, In the news, Issues of the Day

Sanctuary Cities: We Desperately Need Them

images-10I’ve never heard of a sanctuary city until recent news, but it made me think how we are desperately in need of such. In the Old Testament, the sanctuary was the inner court where atonement for sin would take place. The sanctuary was a place of God’s dwelling (“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” Ex. 25:8). According to Numbers 8:19 it was a place of safety from the plagues. In I Chronicles 28 God instructed Solomon to build Him a temple, a sanctuary. Importantly, while Israel was away from their homeland and scattered throughout different countries, the Lord said that He was a sanctuary to them. (Ez. 11:16)images-9

Regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or age people are hurting and they need a sanctuary place. They need a place to find God. Would your city be friendly to them? Would your home be a sanctuary? Would they feel God’s presence in your life and see His love reflected in your eyes? Have you asked that person who stands on a street corner with a cardboard sign their name? Are you a safe place for disclosure, for someone to open up about his or her life without judgment? Hebrews 9:24 states there is no longer a man-made sanctuary, for it was only a copy of the true one. You and I are that sanctuary, practicing the presence of God to the lost, misplaced, adrift, disoriented and confused ones.