There are many good books that have been written for Christians on the subject of marriage, and more are being written all the time. I’ve read many of them over the years. Below are 6 of them that I can recommend to you:
The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Tim Keller with Kathy Keller
From the Amazon description:
“This book shows everyone—Christians, skeptics, singles, longtime married couples, and those about to be engaged—the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible. Timothy Keller, with insights from Kathy, his wife of thirty-seven years, shows marriage to be a glorious relationship that is also misunderstood and mysterious. The Meaning of Marriage offers instruction on how to have a successful marriage, and is essential reading for anyone who wants to know God and love more deeply in this life.”
Bucket List Update – due to the continuing fighting between Israel and Hamas, as well as the inability to obtain travel insurance to that area, I’ve had to drop out of the trip to Israel with Michael Card, scheduled for early January. While this is a disappointment, I hope to attend a future trip with Michael and his team.
I’m Currently Reading – Heaven is a Place on Earth by Michael E. Wittmer. I’ve always got a number of books going, and a big stack in my ‘on-deck circle’, so click on the link for more info.
IN THE NEWS:
WBNH welcomes Keith & Kristyn Getty and Friends and the Hymns for the Christian Life concert. This will undoubtedly be the inspirational worship concert of the year in our area! Keith and Kristyn appear at Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, on Friday evening, October 17, at 7:00 pm. The concert with the Gettys will feature their full stage band and full choir including members of the Grace Presbyterian Church! Tickets are on sale NOW! They are $15 for general admission, $10 each for groups of 10 or more. Children 15 years old and younger will be admitted free with a paid adult, but they will need a ticket. Tickets are available at WBNH, Route 9 at Mayflower Drive just east of Pekin; at Hoerr’s Berean Bookstore in Peoria; and at Christ Church, located at 1301 N. Linden Street just south of Raab Road in Normal. You can also order them on the WBNH website, www.wbnh.org. We saw the Getty’s lead worship at Moody’s Founder’s Week a few years ago. I can’t wait for this concert!
In our weekly Mark Driscoll update, he has stepped down for six weeks while an investigation into the charges against him takes place. Read more here.
FERGUSON, MO. AND RACE RELATIONS:
In this article “I Wonder if Seeing Really is Believing”, pastor Thabiti Anyabwile links to John Piper’s article “Power, Police, and Another Shooting” from the day before which includes real-life footage of another police shooting of a black man in St. Louis. Please beware that a life is taken in this shocking video and it also includes a lot of adult language. When you watch this you have to wonder what is going on with police shooting young black men in St. Louis?http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2014/08/22/i-wonder-if-seeing-really-is-believing/
R.C. Sproul writes that “Jesus holds the keys to death, and Satan cannot snatch those keys out of His hand. Christ’s grip is firm. He holds the keys because He owns the keys.” Read the rest of his article “Satan Does Not Hold the Keys of Death” here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/satan-keys-death/
Marshall Segall writes on the Desiring God blog that “True happiness — the kind that really anchors, satisfies, inspires, and lasts — is not something to be taken for granted. It’s not a reasonable, predictable, effortless expectation, not even heading into the freedom and rest of the weekend. Happiness can be very hard work.” Read his article “Four Habits of a Happy Heart” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/four-habits-of-a-happy-heart
Simon Sinek talks about the importance of empathy in his book Leaders Eat Last. Check out this one-minute video from John Maxwell on what empathy means: http://johnmaxwellteam.com/empathy/
I recently completed work on a MATS (Master of Arts in Theological Studies) degree at Covenant Seminary. Over the course of my time at Covenant I was required to attend some classes on site on Covenant’s campus in St. Louis. Covenant has now introduced an MATS that can be completed fully online. Read this article for more information: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/mats-online/
Covenant Seminary is offering the opportunity to audit any approved seminary course at a new low audit rate of $48 per credit hour. This is a significant savings over the previous rate of $240 per credit hour and gives you access to a broader array of classes than before. To find out more read this article: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/new-audit-fees-2014/
Last week I re-listened to David Platt’s challenging book Radical: Taking Back Your Faithfrom the American Dream. It was the right book for me to listen to at this time, as I love comfort. Platt challenges to get out of our comfortable Americanized Christianity. If you have not read this book, I highly encourage it. It reminds me of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life and Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, as books that have challenged me. You can see our review of the book under “Theology and Miscellaneous Book Reviews” and also check out additional Radical resources here: http://www.radicalthebook.com/
John Wilson at Northwoods Community Church in Peoria on August 30.
Switchfoot at Olivet Nazarene University on September 19.
Brandon Heath at the First United Methodist Church in Springfield on October 23.
Russell Moore writes “In recent days, singer/songwriter Vicky Beeching announced that she is a lesbian, and that she disagrees with the historic Christian sexual ethic. Prior to this, Beeching wrote many songs used as praise choruses in evangelical churches. Some are asking if they should continue to sing her songs in corporate worship.” Read the rest of his article “Should We Stop Singing Vicky Beeching Songs” here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/08/19/should-we-stop-singing-vicky-beeching-songs/
Lecrae has released a fourth song from his forthcoming Anomaly album, to be released September 9. It is “Say I Won’t” featuring Andy Mineo, and it’s another good one. Can’t wait for the full album!
Melanie Penn is the Creative and Events Director for City to City, Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s (Tim Keller’s church) church-planting ministry, and is also a singer-songwriter. Read more about her in this article titled “Singer in the City”.
In 1967, during the creation of the original Basement Tapes, Bob Dylan left a large number of long-lost handwritten lyrics unrecorded. Now for the first time Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) have come together to create and record new music to these lyrics. The album of 20 completed songs, Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapeswas produced by T Bone Burnett and is slated for release November 11.
Here’s some early chatter about the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings, in which one of our best actors Christian Bale will star as Moses. I’m sure we will hear a lot more about this film before its release.
“That’s cool but partner this just in
That you going live forever whether you want to or not
Some of us going end up holy some of us going end up hot.”
-“No Regrets” by Lecrae
The 5 Love Languages Book Club
Last week, Tammy and I completed our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapters eleven, twelve and the rest of the book. Here are a few passages we highlighted:
Chapter 11 Love Makes the Difference
Love is not our only emotional need. Psychologists have observed that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth, and significance. Love, however, interfaces with all of those.
If I feel loved by my spouse, I can relax, knowing that my lover will do me no ill. I feel secure in her presence.
My sense of self-worth is fed by the fact that my spouse loves me. After all, if she loves me, I must be worth loving.
Feeling loved by a wife or husband enhances our sense of significance. We reason, if someone loves me, I must have significance. Without love, I may spend a lifetime in search of significance, self-worth, and security.
When I experience love, I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates.
Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us. In the security of love, a couple can discuss differences without condemnation. Conflicts can be resolved. Two people who are different can learn to live together in harmony. We discover how to bring out the best in each other. Those are the rewards of love.
Can emotional love be reborn in a marriage? You bet. The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.
What does your spouse do to make you feel more “significant”? How about what you do for them?
Chapter 12 – Loving the Unlovely
In what many have called Jesus’ greatest sermon, I read the following words, which I call love’s greatest challenge. I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. . . . Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” love those who love them.
Is it possible to love a spouse who has become your enemy? Is it possible to love one who has cursed you, mistreated you, and expressed feelings of contempt and hate for you? And if she could, would there be any payback? Would her husband ever change and begin to express love and care for her?
I was astounded by this further word from Jesus’ sermon: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
“As I understand that, Jesus is stating a principle, not a way to manipulate people. Generally speaking, if we are kind and loving toward people, they will tend to be kind and loving toward us. That does not mean that we can make a person kind by being kind to him. We are independent agents. Thus, we can spurn love and walk away from love or even spit into the face of love.”
That is why loving someone who is not loving you is extremely difficult. It goes against our natural tendencies. You will probably have to rely heavily upon your faith in God in order to do this. Perhaps it will help if you read again Jesus’ sermon on loving your enemies, loving those who hate you, loving those who use you. And then ask God to help you practice the teachings of Jesus.”
“Perhaps it would be helpful for us to distinguish between love as a feeling and love as an action,” I said. “If you claim to have feelings that you do not have, that is hypocritical and such false communication is not the way to build intimate relationships. But if you express an act of love that is designed for the other person’s benefit or pleasure, it is simply a choice. You are not claiming that the action grows out of a deep emotional bonding. You are simply choosing to do something for his benefit. I think that must be what Jesus meant.
Perhaps you need a miracle in your own marriage. Tell your spouse that you have been thinking about your marriage and have decided that you would like to do a better job of meeting his/her needs. Ask for suggestions on how you could improve. His suggestions will be a clue to his primary love language. If he makes no suggestions, guess his love language based on the things he has complained about over the years. Then, for six months, focus your attention on that love language. At the end of each month, ask your spouse for feedback on how you are doing and for further suggestions. Whenever your spouse indicates that he is seeing improvement, wait one week and then make a specific request. The request should be something you really want him to do for you. If he chooses to do it, you will know that he is responding to your needs. If he does not honor your request, continue to love him. Maybe next month he will respond positively. If your spouse starts speaking your love language by responding to your requests, your positive emotions toward him will return, and in time your marriage will be reborn. I cannot guarantee the results, but scores of people whom I have counseled have experienced the miracle of love.
Choosing to love and expressing it in the primary love language of their spouse has made a drastic difference in their marriage. When the emotional need for love is met, it creates a climate where the couple can deal with the rest of life in a much more productive manner.
With empty love tanks, couples tend to argue and withdraw, and some may tend to be violent verbally or physically in their arguments. But when the love tank is full, we create a climate of friendliness, a climate that seeks to understand, that is willing to allow differences and to negotiate problems. I am convinced that no single area of marriage affects the rest of marriage as much as meeting the emotional need for love.
The ability to love, especially when your spouse is not loving you, may seem impossible for some. Such love may require us to draw upon our spiritual resources.
What if I cannot discover my primary love language?
What if I cannot discover my spouse’s love language?
Does your love language change as you get older? I think that our primary love language tends to stay with us for a lifetime. It is like many other personality traits that develop early and remain consistent.
Does the five love language concept work with children?
Do children’s love languages change when they get to be teenagers?
What if the primary love language of your spouse is difficult for you?
Are some of the love languages found more among women and others with men?
How did you discover the five love languages?
Do the love languages work in other cultures?
Why do you think The Five Love Languages has been so successful?
What if I speak my spouse’s love language and they don’t respond?
Can love be reborn after sexual infidelity?
What do you do when a spouse refuses to speak your love language even when they know it?
Can emotional love return when it has been gone for thirty years?
I’m single. How does the love language concept apply to me?
The Five Love Languages Profile for Husbands and Wives. An interactive version of this Personal Profile is also available at www.5lovelanguages.com.
Next week we will start a new book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber. Garber was the speaker at my graduation ceremonies at Covenant Seminary in May. Won’t you join us?
“Every time I look in the mirror
I’m in a shadow of doubt
Maybe I’m as lost as the next guy
Just have to find, just have to find out.”
-From “Reckless Forgiver” by Jars of Clay
“Understanding our calling is not just about finding purpose in our work but finding purpose in everything we do – understanding that we are on a mission for God.” Read this article “Are You Connected to a Higher Purpose at Work?”, the final part in the “Four Ways to Change How You See Work”.
In this fourth article in the “Idols at Work” series, Greg Ayers writes that “It’s strange to think of someone treating their anxieties as idols. People don’t consciously worship their lack of confidence. So how is insecurity an idol? More importantly, how does insecurity impact our ability to serve God through our vocations?
“Grouches of the world unite!
Stand up for your grouchly rights!
Don’t let the sunshine spoil the rain
Just stand up and complain.
Let this be the grouches’ cause: Point out everybody’s flaws!
Something is wrong with everything
Except the way I sing!”
In last summer’s “Calling, Vocation and Work” course, taught by Professors Williams and Matthews, I got my first interest in seeing how I could integrate my faith with my work. Recently, I started a book club at work with a few friends to read and discuss The Gospel at Work by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert. My hope is that this book club will be the beginning of a local “Faith and Work Movement”. Read the highlights from Chapter 3 “The Gospel in the Workplace”, which we discussed in our second session.
Ice Bucket Challenge Inspires Unprecedented Giving to ALS
The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” is filling social media feeds and celebrities have joined in on the craze. The challenge has helped raise $15.6 million in donations, compared with only $1.8 million during the same time period last year, according to the ALS Association
In this three-minute video, John Piper continues his series, in partnership with YouVersion, through the Bible’s ten most-highlighted passages. With these verses, he wants you to avoid wasting your life by staying in the path of God’s grace and purpose for you.
Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church and former long-time president at Covenant Seminary. His new book is The Gospel According to Daniel: A Christ Centered Approach. Read this interview with him from By Faith magazine: http://byfaithonline.com/the-gospel-according-to-daniel/
“Don’t try to fix it. I just need you to listen.” Every man has heard these words. Perhaps you’ve seen “It’s Not About the Nail” before, but even if you have, it’s worth seeing again. Check it out here: http://vimeo.com/66753575
Aimee Byrd asks “Should we allow our kids to date or not to allow them to date? If so, what age will they be allowed? These are the questions my husband and I are up against now that our daughters are reaching that mysterious age” Read her article “To Date or Not to Date” here: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/08/to-date-or-not-to-date.php
Churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage are more likely to think pornography, cohabitation, hook-ups, adultery, polyamory, and abortion are acceptable. And it’s reasonable to expect continued change in more permissive directions. Read the full article here: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/08/13667/
Upcoming music releases this week include 20 by Jars of Clay, Anchor by Colton Dixon, Oxygen by Lincoln Brewster and In Motion: The Remixes by Amy Grant.
Tickets for Keith and Kristyn Getty’s October 17 concert at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria go on sale later this month. If you sign up to receive the WBNH radio newsletter you will be able to purchase discounted tickets. Read more here: http://www.wbnh.org/about-us/good-newsletter/
It’s been a busy year for Michael W. Smith. First he released Hymns, a collection of traditional hymns for Cracker Barrel, then he released Sovereign, a new worship album, and on September 30, he will release his fourth Christmas album, The Spirit of Christmas with friends such as Bono, Michael McDonald, Carrie Underwood, Amy Grant and others. Read more here: http://michaelwsmith.com/michael-w-smith-to-bring-nostalgia-back-this-christmas/
My good friend Chris Meyer has a band that I’d like to tell you about. It’s not just any band. They are a self-described group of normal folks who love music and give back to their community. So they take 80% of the funds they bring in and give it back to families and individuals in need (20% is needed for equipment, printing, etc.). They do not personally take any funds from their shows. Blurklezurps is a made up name that one of the band members used as a kid when his brother would ask him what was wrong with him as he had Tourette Syndrome (TS). The band decided they loved this name for two reasons: First, no one in the band had had TS! Second, they are just a bunch of people who make mistakes and deal with everyday life like everyone else – they are just a bunch of Zurps! The Zurps started out 7 years ago and feel very fortunate to have helped numerous families and individuals in need over this time. Chris says that “To see the smiles, tears, hugs, and to see some of them healed and then also to mourn with those that lost the battle but in the end they came to know Christ, that is a biggest gift our group has known – to know we touched a life that in turn gave theirs to God!” To find out more about the band and see where they are playing next, check out their website: www.theblurklezurps.com
IN THE NEWS:
Russell Moore writes about the shootings and subsequent violence in Ferguson (St. Louis) last week. He writes “Ferguson reminds us that American society has a long way to go in healing old hatreds. Our churches are not outposts of American society. Our churches are to be colonies of the kingdom of God. Let’s not just announce what unity and reconciliation ought to look like. Let’s also show it.” Read his article here.
Did you read about the $1 million baseball memorabilia find on the PBS Antiques Roadshow program recently? If not, check this out.
ROBIN WILLIAMS:Courtesy of World Magazine
In the wake of Robin Williams’ tragic suicide, this article from Desiring God encourages those who are fighting for dear life to remember and believe that life is worth living, and “…. not listen to the darkness and it’s seductive, hope-depleting half-truth lies. It leads to a black hole. Listen to and move toward the Light. Light will dawn for those who trust him (Psalm 112:4). It’s a promise.” Read the article “Help for Those Fighting or Grieving a Suicide” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/help-for-those-fighting-or-grieving-a-suicide
Thoughts on Robin Williams ~ From Guest Blogger Katie Krolik
Terrible news last night. Peter Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Genie…is gone. It’s hard to believe that someone who brought so much joy and, by all human standards, “had it all” left the world in such a dark way.
I would never claim to be remotely profound, in fact, 99 percent of the time I either don’t know what to say or I say completely the wrong thing. But, as I was driving to work this morning and nearly every radio station was talking about Robin, it had me thinking.
There is a lot of talk about mental illness in light of Robin’s passing. No doubt, depression is a very real and ugly thing. I’ve lived through that darkness and it was scary. By God’s grace, I was pulled out of the muck and found a reason to have hope.
Sometimes though, I think the term “mental illness” can be used a little loosely. Sometimes I think it is similar to the way that multitudes of excited, energetic kids are quickly “diagnosed” with ADD/ADHD and put on medication. Guess what, they are KIDS, and kids are usually energetic. (By the way, Ethan was one of those kids. His 1st grade teacher suggested that we have him tested and put on meds. Funny, after she moved his seat from facing directly in front of the class computer, and away from a group of other “talkers”, he showed no other signs of “ADD”. He doesn’t have ADD, she had way too many distractions around a young boy. At the end of the year, she admitted that she was completely wrong to try to diagnose him.)
Similarly, I think there should be a clearer identification and more education on what is and what are the signs of true clinical depression. It is our human condition to go through valleys. That doesn’t always equate to mental illness. There is a part of us that is missing, incomplete. We are lacking something, and we are all looking for something to fill the void. That is ingrained in all of us. But on top of that, God sometimes allows us to experience pain, hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and loss. Why? I learned that unfortunately, we don’t always get the answers this side of eternity. But, we know from His truth that He does all things out of love. That is who He is. I think He uses pain to teach us, bring us closer to Him, show us how weak we are and our need for Him, and even to bless us.
At the end of the day, we are not much different than Robin. We ALL have the capacity for self-destruction. We all are in need of a loving Savior to save us from ourselves. To love us when we don’t love ourselves. And to adore us when we feel utterly alone.
We will experience pain. That is a promise that comes from scripture. But where do we get our hope from? If we rely on the things of the world, when the valley comes, and inevitably it will, what will we have to stand on, to look to, to pull us up and give us a reason for hope? I am ‘Chief of Sinners’, and I am still learning every day. But by God’s constant prodding (because I am a slow learner), I lean more on Him as the source of my joy and certainly my hope. People will fail me, things lose their shine, and money is an imaginary security that can be gone tomorrow. When I was in the depths of despair from when I was 18 to 24, dealing with/running from tremendous grief and hurt, God was the one who rescued me time and time again. He loved me before I loved Him, before I surrendered to Him, and when I was in the midst of my sin. He gave me a reason to not only live, but to really breath in the freedom from darkness that only His power can bring.
The point of this is, when you hear the term “mental illness”, don’t let it gloss over the fact that in a way, we all have an illness. It is called sin and it makes us less than what we were designed to be. Sometimes medication is an absolute necessity. But I think the first question we have to ask is if our hurt is from a regular human longing that can only be cured by the ultimate Healer. His name is Jesus.
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:11-12
A religion of head-knowledge and theories will prove of no avail either in this life or that which is to come. -C.H. Spurgeon
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus to all of my haters For the ones that think I forgot Him And the ones who won’t let me say it I ain’t scared no more. -Lecrae from “Fear”
One of the balances we have with our work is finding a good work/life balance. Tim Challies writes that “One thing to keep in mind: There are many jobs and many vocations, but the Lord gives you only one family, one opportunity to love your wife as Christ loved the church and one opportunity to raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. “ Read his article “How Many Hours Can I Work?” here: http://www.challies.com/christian-living/how-many-hours-can-i-work
This article from Desiring God states that “We humans are always seeking to discover new keys to success. But nowadays we’re hearing more and more about something of a rediscovery – grit”. Read the entire article “True Grit” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/true-grit
What’s Best Next Book Club – Part 3
What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
Last week, Tammy and I continued our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapter ten: Love is a Choice. Here are a few passages we highlighted:
Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different. When we choose active expressions of love in the primary love language of our spouse, we create an emotional climate where we can deal with our past conflicts and failures.
It’s the “I don’t love her anymore” mind-set that gives men the emotional freedom to seek love with someone else. The same is true for wives who use the same excuse.
Thousands of husbands and wives have been there—emotionally empty, wanting to do the right thing, not wanting to hurt anyone, but being pushed by their emotional need to seek love outside the marriage.
Fortunately, I had discovered in the earlier years of my own marriage the difference between the in-love experience and the emotional need to feel loved. Most in our society have not yet learned that difference.
The in-love experience that we discussed in chapter 3 is on the level of instinct. It is not premeditated; it simply happens in the normal context of male-female relationships. It can be fostered or quenched, but it does not arise by conscious choice. It is short-lived (usually two years or less) and seems to serve for humankind the same function as the mating call of the Canada goose.
The in-love experience temporarily meets one’s emotional need for love. In time, however, we come down from that natural high back to the real world. If our spouse has learned to speak our primary love language, our need for love will continue to be satisfied. If, on the other hand, he or she does not speak our love language, our tank will slowly drain, and we will no longer feel loved. Meeting that need in one’s spouse is definitely a choice. If I learn the emotional love language of my spouse and speak it frequently, she will continue to feel loved.
However, if I have not learned her primary love language or have chosen not to speak it, when she descends from the emotional high, she will have the natural yearnings of unmet emotional needs. After some years of living with an empty love tank, she will likely “fall in love” with someone else, and the cycle will begin again.
Meeting my wife’s need for love is a choice I make each day. If I know her primary love language and choose to speak it, her deepest emotional needs will be met and she will feel secure in my love. If she does the same for me, my emotional needs are met and both of us live with a full tank.
Few men, suffering from an empty emotional love tank, leave their marriage until they have prospects of meeting that need somewhere else.
Speak it frequently. “What if the love language of your spouse is something that doesn’t come naturally for you?” I am often asked this question at my marriage seminars, and my answer is, “So?” You see, when an action doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a greater expression of love.
Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself.
We discover the primary love language of our spouse, and we choose to speak it whether or not it is natural for us. We are not claiming to have warm, excited feelings. We are simply choosing to do it for his or her benefit. We want to meet our spouse’s emotional need, and we reach out to speak his love language. In so doing, his emotional love tank is filled and chances are he will reciprocate and speak our language. When he does, our emotions return, and our love tank begins to fill.
Love is a choice. And either partner can start the process today.
A key thought here is the idea of speaking our mate’s love language whether or not it is natural for us. Why do you think this is so fundamental to a healthy marriage?
Next week we will cover the two remaining chapters and finish our study of the book. Won’t you join us?
We hope you enjoy our blog. Our desire is to serve our readers. If you enjoy the blog, would you consider posting a link to your Facebook site so that your friends can enjoy it? Thanks for helping us get the word out! Bill and Tammy
Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church—based in Seattle, Washington and the author of over 15 books. Mars Hill Church grew beyond all expectations to 13,000 people (and counting) and gathers weekly across 15 locations in five states. In 2012, Mars Hill was recognized as the third fastest growing church in the country.
Mark Driscoll, who is showing up in the news more and more, and not for positive reasons, apologized to his congregation for comments he posted under the name of William Wallace II back in 2000 that have recently resurfaced. Read the story here.
LifeWay Christian Resources, which bills itself as “one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services,” announced that it had pulled Mark Driscoll’s books from their website and more than 180 stores nationwide. Read the article here.
What is the key to sexual happiness? This article from Desiring God states that “It is learning that sex isn’t everything; God is. Marriage isn’t everything; God is. Though they are all good gifts in their rightful context, they fail in comparison to the eternal glory and awesome wonder of our God. True happiness always comes from trusting and enjoying God.” Read the article here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-single-man-s-journey-to-sexual-happiness
A great way to start the day is to listen to Albert Mohler’s The Briefing, a daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations. This will be some of the best twenty minutes you will spend each day. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen on Dr. Mohler’s website here: http://www.albertmohler.com/category/the-briefing/
In addition to their primary site (www.ligonier.org), Ligonier Ministries has two sites that I would like to recommend to you. They are Renewing Your Mind (www.renewingyourmind.org), which contains the daily radio program, and RefNet (www.refnet.fm), which features 7 X 24 of excellent teaching from R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias and others.
My friend Freddie Cornejo makes wonderful signs on a machine that he built (see the one below that he made for me which is in my office at work). The signs are available at a very reasonable price. To find out more and see other samples of his work, go to his Creative Routing Facebook site.
Russell Moore writes that the article profiling the “abortion ministry” of Willie Parker in the current issue of Esquire magazine is one of the most disturbing he’s ever read. Read the rest of Dr. Moore’s article here.
This article from Christianity Today states that we need to remember that leadership is Biblical, theological, and contextual. Read the article here.
John Maxwell writes that “Asking the right question of the right person at the right time is a powerful combination because the answers you receive set you up for success.” He has written Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, which comes out this October, to show the impact that questions have made on his life, share the leadership questions he asks himself and others and answer questions from others. Read more in this article titled “You Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask” here.
And speaking of The Banner of Truth Trust, they are in the process of adding e-books to their store. That’s great news. We’ll let you know when they are available.
Trip Lee will return this fall with Rise, his first album in more than two years. A book Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story will follow in January.
To celebrate 20 years of music making, Jars of Clay has recorded a collection of 20 intimate acoustic versions of their songs chosen by their fans. The project has two songs from each of their studio albums recorded live, along with the accompaniment of small string ensembles, and a few friends. The album, which releases August 19, also includes two new tracks.
Lecrae is a believer who is a making a difference in the rap/hip-hop culture. His Anomaly may be my most anticipated album of the year. It will released on September 9, though he has released three songs thus far to those who have pre-ordered the album, including the lead single “Nuthin”, a message to today’s music artists who aren’t saying anything. Here are the lyrics:
(Chorus) Here we go again in circles
I think I heard it all
We been here before
But we need something more
What you say
I can’t hear cause you
What you talking ’bout
They be talking ’bout the same old thing
Imma have to call a foul in the game
What you talking ’bout
A little money now you all OG
Talking ’bout it’s all eyes on me
They ain’t talking ’bout nuthin
Let me guess you counting money to the ceiling
Difference ‘tween us like at least a couple million
It’s foreign cars, pretty girls everywhere you go
Yeah I heard it 30 times on the radio
Lou Vuitton ain’t gon’ pay you for that bragging
And Donatella prolly never heard your album
Yeah they probably ’bout to label me a hater
But I know these people greater than the songs they created
It’s little homies in the hood regurgitating
And everybody watching thinking that you made it
The truth is for a few designer labels and a little bit of paper now you 12 years slaving
Hey but you ain’t Lupita
So why you beat up and pushing people to lean on the devil
Copping a seizure
It sound like you put your feet up
You still a slave and money can’t buy you freedom partna’
Tell me why the song’s on in my car (hear the radio)
Why the song on in my gym (what they saying now)
And the song’s stuck in my head (I can’t take no more)
I still don’t know what y’all saying
Lemme lemme lemme do this
Imma be a straight shooter
And we was made in his image
Why we so Judas
Talking bread like we at the last supper
Throwing money at these women make it rain in the summer
I ain’t advertising brands on the radio
They expensive and I know they ain’t gon’ pay me for
Telling kids to go in debt, for the ‘vette that they’ll prolly never get
But I talk about it every song
And every song talking ’bout they selling work on every corner
Don’t talk about the laws, taking kids away from mommas
Don’t talk about your homie in the trauma cause he shot up
Or what about your young boy messing up the product
They don’t talk about the bond money that they ain’t have
And everybody snitch on everybody in the jam
They don’t talk about the pain, they don’t talk about the struggle
How they turn to the Lord when they ran into trouble
Imma talk about it
I don’t care if the world try to swallow me
I turn my back to ’em, tell ’em all follow me
I know you gon’ label me a hater
But inside you are greater than the songs you creating man
Hey man, the way I see it
I think we were made for more
Than just, ya know, the simple things that we aspire toward
We were made for more than just telling stories about
How much money we can get by selling poison to people
It’s time to talk about who we are and who we can be
And we need to build each other up and not put each other down
I feel like we not talking about nothing right now
Integrating Faith and Work
Am I desiring and seeking the temporal and eternal good of my neighbor with the same zeal, ingenuity and perseverance that I seek my own? -John Piper
The more a person counts as loss his own righteousness and lays hold by faith of the righteousness of Christ, the more he will be motivated to live and work for Christ. -Jerry Bridges
Here’s an article from the Your Work Matters series about who is influencing who at work. I think it will resonate with most, if not all of us.
Read this article from the Leadership Journal which states: “As pastors, we would do well to heed the question of Dorothy Sayers: “How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?” Any religion with little concern about the coalescence of faith and work must derive from a different book than the Bible.” Read the article “Where is God on Monday” here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/july/where-is-god-on-monday.html
Tim Challies writes that “Work has intrinsic significance because it gives me the opportunity to do something with joy—with joy in the Lord. I can do my work in such a way that it glorifies God, or I can do it in such a way that it dishonors him. Anything I can do to God’s glory has significance. It has great significance!” Read his entire article “Work That Makes a Difference” here: http://www.challies.com/christian-living/work-that-makes-a-difference
Here is another article in the “Idols at Work” series, this one on redeeming power at work. It’s worth your time to read.
Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast is one of my favorites. In the latest episode he talks about being a “Beyond You” leader, something he spoke on at this year’s Leadercast event. You can listen to the podcast at this site http://andystanley.com/free-resources/ under “Podcasts”. You can review my notes from Andy’s Leadercast talk below:
Andy Stanley opened the event, and it was his job to tell us what it means to be a “Beyond You” leader, and to create a “Beyond You” culture in your organization. He stated:
“Beyond You” leaders fearlessly and selflessly empower leaders around them as well as those coming alongside them.
Fearlessly. Leaders who are not afraid of the 25 year-old kid who is smarter than you. “Beyond You” leaders will pour themselves these leaders even though they may take their place someday.
Empower. Every leader has power. What leaders need to learn is how to leverage your power/influence for the sake of those around you.
Andy stated that the Big Idea is: The value of a life is always measured by how much of it was given away. He said that this is often apparent when we hear about the impact someone has had on others at their funeral.
“Beyond You” leaders celebrate generosity and selflessness. We celebrate generosity, but sometimes envy accumulation.
We should spend more time on leveraging influence for the sake of others rather than accumulation.
He gave us three things to begin doing:
Make as few decisions as possible. Refuse to make decisions that other people can make. This is empowering. We need to say: “You decide”. As your organizational authority increases, your organizational IQ decreases. As you go up, you’ll know less and less about more and more things because you are responsible for more. You have authority, but not competency. Just because I have the authority, I don’t have to use it. Give it to others.
Work for your team. “Beyond Leaders” ask: “What can I do to help?” How can I leverage my influence/power/position to help you do what I’ve hired you to do? How can I work for you? I want to loan you my influence/power/position. Ask for 1-3 things you can do to assist your team members.
Empty your cup. “Beyond Leaders” should ask: “What can I do to fill their cup”? Some object and say that they will do this when they’re the boss. No, start now.
The 5 Love Languages Book Club
Last week, Tammy and I continued our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapter nine: Discovering Your Own Love Language. Here are a few passages we highlighted:
Discovering the primary love language of your spouse is essential if you are to keep their emotional love tank full. But first, let’s make sure you know your own love language.
What is your primary love language? What makes you feel most loved by your spouse? What do you desire above all else? If the answer to those questions does not leap to your mind immediately, perhaps it will help to look at the negative use of love languages. What does your spouse do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you deeply?
If it grieves you deeply that your spouse seldom gives you a gift for any occasion, then perhaps your primary love language is “Receiving Gifts.” If your deepest hurt is that your spouse seldom gives you quality time, then that is your primary love language.
Another approach to discovering your primary love language is to look back over your marriage and ask, “What have I most often requested of my spouse?” Whatever you have most requested is probably in keeping with your primary love language.
Another way to discover your primary love language is to examine what you do or say to express love to your spouse. Chances are what you are doing for her is what you wish she would do for you.
Thus, you may discover your own language by asking, “How do I consciously express my love to my spouse?”
I have suggested three ways to discover your own primary love language:
What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.
What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.
Two kinds of people may have difficulty discovering their primary love language. The first is the individual whose emotional love tank has been full for a long time. The second is the individual whose love tank has been empty for so long that he doesn’t remember what makes him feel loved. In either case, go back to the experience of falling in love and ask yourself, “What did I like about my spouse in those days? What did he do or say that made me desire to be with him?” If you can conjure up those memories, it will give you some idea of your primary love language.
Another approach would be to ask yourself, “What would be an ideal spouse to me? If I could have the perfect mate, what would she be like?” Your picture of a perfect mate should give you some idea of your primary love language.
Having said all of that, let me suggest that you spend some time writing down what you think is your primary love language. Then list the other four in order of importance. Also write down what you think is the primary love language of your spouse. You may also list the other four in order of importance if you wish. Sit down with your spouse and discuss what you guessed to be his/her primary love language. Then tell each other what you consider to be your own primary love language.
Once you have shared that information, I suggest that you play the following game three times a week for three weeks. The game is called “Tank Check,” and it is played like this. When you come home, one of you says to the other, “On a scale of zero to ten, how is your love tank tonight?” Zero means empty, and ten means “I am full of love and can’t handle any more.” You give a reading on your emotional love tank—10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0, indicating how full it is. Your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill it?” Then you make a suggestion—something you would like your spouse to do or say that evening. To the best of his ability, he will respond to your request. Then you ask your spouse the same questions, in the reverse order so that both of you have the opportunity to do a reading on your love tank and to make a suggestion toward filling it. If you play the game for three weeks, you will be hooked on it, and it can be a playful way of stimulating love expressions in your marriage. Incidentally, if you have still not discovered your primary love language, keep records on the Tank Check game. When your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill your tank?” your suggestions will likely cluster around your primary love language. You may request things from all five love languages, but you will have more requests centering on your primary love language.
Each month Christianaudio offers a FREE audio book, announced on the first day of the month. Anna and the King written by Margaret Landon is the free audiobook of the month for August. From their website: “This poignant story of Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam has captured the fancy of millions worldwide through not only the book, but the play The King and I. Wonderfully narrated by Anne Flosnik and nominated for a prestigious Audie Award in 2013, it is certainly one of the most entertaining audiobooks we have given away”. To download your copy, go to: http://christianaudio.com/free/
Do you wrestle with the sovereignty of God? I love receiving Scotty Smith’s daily prayer. I can resonate with most of them, including this one – especially this section – “Indeed, I don’t have any problem with you setting up and sitting down presidents, premiers and potentates. But when it comes to things that are limiting, inconvenient or a contradiction of my sensibilities, I am quite capable of questioning your goodness or faithfulness”. Read the entire prayer here, and better yet, sign up to receive Scotty’s daily prayers: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/07/29/a-prayer-for-wrestling-with-the-sovereignty-of-god/
Last Sunday we visited Hanna City Presbyterian Church to see Pastor David Keithley preach on Luke 17. Pastor Dave was our long-time Youth and Family Pastor and rarely got the opportunity to preach, but it’s obvious he was born to preach. Sunday was the one year anniversary of his last Sunday at our church. It was great seeing wife Jen and daughter Katie as well. It’s clear that the Keithleys are well loved in Hanna City. http://www.hannacitypres.com/
Paul Miller and his wife, Jill, have put together a study on the person of Christ for those with intellectual disabilities. Westminister Theological Seminary Books is offering a $5 coupon off anything in their store if you simply take the time to watch the video introducing it.
Tim Challies recently started a new series of articles titled The Defenders. Through brief sketches of Christian leaders, Tim plans to draw attention to believers known for defending the church against specific theological challenges or false teachings. He will be focusing on modern times and began with James Montgomery Boice, a long-time defender of the doctrine of inerrancy. Read Tim’s article here: http://www.challies.com/articles/the-defenders-james-montgomery-boice
Registration is now open for Liberate 2015: It is Finished. Held at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale Florida February 19-22, the conference features some of my favorite speakers including Tullian Tchividjian, Scotty Smith, Steve Brown, Eric Metaxas and many more Check out the conference site at http://liberate.org/2015conference/
A song that I’ve been listening to recently is “Mercy” by Matt Redman. Check out the lyrics:
I will kneel in the dust
at the foot of the cross,
where mercy paid for me.
Where the wrath I deserve,
it is gone, it has passed.
Your blood has hidden me.
as endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
for all eternity.
We will lift up the cup
and the bread we will break,
remembering Your love.
We were fallen from grace,
but You took on our shame
and nailed it to a cross.
as endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
for all eternity.
May I never lose the wonder,
oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah?
May I never lose the wonder,
oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
I will kneel in the dust
at the foot of the cross,
where mercy paid for me.
The 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Six
Tammy and I completed week six of our summer book club reading Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts last week. We covered the final love language, physical touch. Here are a few passages we discussed:
• Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love.
• To the person whose primary love language is physical touch, the message will be far louder than the words “I hate you” or “I love you.”
• That does not mean that all touches are created equal. Some will bring more pleasure to your spouse than others. Your best instructor is your spouse, of course. After all, she is the one you are seeking to love. She knows best what she perceives as a loving touch. Don’t insist on touching her in your way and in your time. Learn to speak her love dialect. Don’t make the mistake of believing that the touch that brings pleasure to you will also bring pleasure to her.
• Love touches may be explicit and demand your full attention such as in a back rub or sexual foreplay, culminating in intercourse. On the other hand, love touches may be implicit and require only a moment, such as putting your hand on his shoulder as you pour a cup of coffee or rubbing your body against him as you pass in the kitchen.
• Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination on ways to express love. Coming up with new ways and places to touch can be an exciting challenge.
• Try new touches in new places and let your spouse give you feedback on whether he finds it pleasurable or not. Remember, he has the final word. You are learning to speak his language.
• All societies have some form of physical touching as a means of social greeting.
• There are appropriate and inappropriate ways to touch members of the opposite sex in every society.
• Within marriage, however, what is appropriate and inappropriate touching is determined by the couple themselves.
• Counselors’ files are filled with records of husbands and wives who are trying to grapple with the emotional trauma of an unfaithful spouse. That trauma, however, is compounded for the individual whose primary love language is physical touch. That for which he longs so deeply—love expressed by physical touch—is now being given to another. His emotional love tank is not only empty; it has been riddled by an explosion. It will take massive repairs for those emotional needs to be met.
• If your spouse’s primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries. Your words may mean little, but your physical touch will communicate that you care.
• Crises provide a unique opportunity for expressing love. Your tender touches will be remembered long after the crisis has passed.
• Pete is only one of many individuals for whom physical touch is the primary love language. Emotionally, they yearn for their spouse to reach out and touch them physically. Running the hand through the hair, giving a back rub, holding hands, embracing, sexual intercourse—all of those and other “love touches” are the emotional lifeline of the person for whom physical touch is the primary love language.
• The chapter ends with a “Your Turn” section, where the author asks that you “Recall some nonsexual “touching times” that enhanced intimacy between the two of you. What made these times special?”
Next week we will cover chapter nine – Discussing Your Primary Love Language. Won’t you join us?
Here are some suggested summer reads on integrating faith and work. I’m participating in a book club reading/discussion one of them – The Gospel at Work, and the second Visions of Vocation, will be the next book Tammy and I read and discuss after The Five Love Languages. Read about these recommended reads here.
Switchfoot performed their new single “When We Come Alive” from their #1 album Fading West on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson on July 22. You can watch their performance here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyXu_LbHiDw
TobyMac will bring his Worship, Stories and Songs tour to Braden Auditorium on the Illinois State University campus on December 11! The tour will feature Matt Maher and Ryan Stevenson. The “Worship, Stories & Songs Tour” will be a totally different TobyMac show, a time where it’s not about the lights, smoke or big stage. Instead, it will be more intimate and personal, a “storyteller’s night” where Toby will share where the songs came from. Tickets go on sale August 4. For more information, go to http://www.awakeningevents.com as well as http://tobymac.com/tour.
Lecrae’s new albumAnomaly is available for pre-order on iTunes. It will be released September 9. With the pre-order, you will get immediate downloads of “Nuthin” and “Fear”. Guests on the album include Andy Mineo, Kari Jobe and King & Country. The pre-order checks in at #2 on the Hip-Hop/Rap charts and #10 on the overall Top Albums charts, with the two downloads coming in at #12 and #13 on the Hip-Hop/Rap chart.
Speaking of Lecrae, he will be bringing his Anomaly tour to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on Sunday, October 26. Special guests will be Andy Mineo and DJ Promote.
Christianaudio is offering a $5 Fiction Sale on a number of their fiction titles. The sale goes through July 31.Check it out here.
Reformation Heritage Books will be publishing a KJV (King James Version) Study Bible with Joel Beeke as General Editor this fall. To find out more, go this site: http://kjvstudybible.org/
Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah says he can’t sit by idly and watch the devastating violence in Chicago that recently claimed an innocent child sitting inside her home about to make s’mores. So, in an effort to reach the youth, his Noah’s Arc Foundation has filmed a series of 60-second public service announcements he and his mother unveiled Friday at a Near West Side community center. The “Chicago Stand Up” PSA campaign urges Chicagoans to put down the guns and stand up for peace. Watch the video here: http://www.suntimes.com/28869199-761/joakim-noah-urges-chicagoans-to-put-down-their-guns-in-psa.html#.U9OhF40g_3h
Tammy and I completed week five of our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts last week. We covered the fourth love language Acts of Service. Here are a few passages we highlighted:
By acts of service, I mean doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her.
Such actions as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning a commode, changing the baby’s diaper, dusting the bookcase, keeping the car in operating condition, paying the bills, trimming the shrubs, walking the dog, changing the cat’s litter box, and dealing with landlords and insurance companies are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.
When you were dating Mark, what convinced you that he really loved you? What made him different from other guys you had dated?” “It was the way he helped me with everything,” she said. He was the most wonderful person I had ever met, but after we got married that changed. He didn’t help me at all.”
In fact, love is always freely given. Love cannot be demanded. We can request things of each other, but we must never demand anything. Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.”
Mark, I want you to list three or four things that if Mary chose to do them would make you feel loved when you walk into the house in the afternoon. If making the bed is important to you, then put it down. Mary, I want you to make a list of three or four things that you would really like to have Mark’s help in doing, things that, if he chose to do them, would help you know that he loved you.” (I’m big on lists; they force us to think concretely.)
Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.
“I can do those things. In the past, I have felt overwhelmed because no matter what I did, it was never enough.”
You may be wondering, if Mark and Mary had the same primary love language, why were they having so much difficulty? The answer lies in the fact that they were speaking different dialects. They were doing things for each other but not the most important things.
When they were forced to think concretely, they easily identified their specific dialects.
When they started speaking the right dialects, their love tanks began to fill.
I would like to make three other observations. First, they illustrate clearly that what we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage. Before marriage, we are carried along by the force of the in-love obsession. After marriage, we revert to being the people we were before we “fell in love.” Our actions are influenced by the model of our parents, our own personality, our perceptions of love, our emotions, needs, and desires. Only one thing is certain about our behavior: It will not be the same behavior we exhibited when we were caught up in being “in love.” That leads me to the second truth illustrated by Mark and Mary. Love is a choice and cannot be coerced. Mark and Mary were criticizing each other’s behavior and getting nowhere. Once they decided to make requests of each other rather than demands, their marriage began to turn around. Criticism and demands tend to drive wedges. With enough criticism, you may get acquiescence from your spouse. He may do what you want, but probably it will not be an expression of love. You can give guidance to love by making requests: “I wish you would wash the car, change the baby’s diaper, mow the grass,” but you cannot create the will to love. Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love our spouses. If we choose to love, then expressing it in the way in which our spouse requests will make our love most effective emotionally.
What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage.
There is a third truth, which only the mature lover will be able to hear. My spouse’s criticisms about my behavior provide me with the clearest clue to her primary love language. People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need. Their criticism is an ineffective way of pleading for love. If we understand that, it may help us process their criticism in a more productive manner.
People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.
A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like. It has no will of its own. It can be your servant but not your lover.
When we treat our spouses as objects, we preclude the possibility of love. Manipulation by guilt (“If you were a good spouse, you would do this for me”) is not the language of love. Coercion by fear (“You will do this or you will be sorry”) is alien to love. No person should ever be a doormat.
Allowing oneself to be used or manipulated by another is not an act of love. It is, in fact, an act of treason. You are allowing him or her to develop inhumane habits.
Love says, “I love you too much to let you treat me this way. It is not good for you or me.”
Learning the love language of acts of service will require some of us to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles of husbands and wives. These are changing, but models from our past can linger.
Love says, “I love you too much to let you treat me this way. It is not good for you or me.”
A willingness to examine and change stereotypes is necessary in order to express love more effectively.
Remember, there are no rewards for maintaining stereotypes, but there are tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of your spouse.
Each chapter ends with a helpful discussion question.
Next week we will cover the final love language, Physical Touch. Won’t you join us?
Experiencing God at Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center
by Teri Williams, Director
Having been part of a Pregnancy Center ministry for many years, I have listened to many in leadership describe incidents of “God is working in our midst”, “God has provided in an amazing way just what we needed”. Yes, it was incredible to hear about, but it is even more amazing to watch! Genesis 23:16 says, “Surely the Lord is in this place…” The evidence being in the fruit only He can bear. The following examples are just a glimpse;
We have a new volunteer, Cindy Brown. She is an advocate at WPC in Peoria that I have known for a long time. She called me one day and said,” Teri, the Lord has impressed upon me that you could use some help!” Amazing.
Being asked to pray by a client who has said multiple times,” I don’t believe in God”.
STUCK, our new Bible study curriculum has been so well received; clients are asking to view more of it!
We have 2 churches who have stepped up to say; we will provide brand new cribs for women who earn them through the EWYL (Earn While You Learn) program. Word is getting out into the community about this as well!
Free advertising that is bringing in new clients!
One client who accepted Christ this spring!
New clients, new babies, sonogram appointments and even phone calls from people considering abortion!
Yes, it is exciting. If you would like to partner with us in this ministry, please contact:
Last week Tammy and I completed week four of our summer book club – Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We drove out to Evergreen Lake and enjoyed the beauty (and even ran into some great friends bringing their pontoon boat in!), while covering the third language “Receiving Gifts” and the questions from the Study Guide (available for download at this link – http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/the-5-love-languages/. Here are a few passages we highlighted:
I examined the cultural patterns surrounding love and marriage and found that in every culture I studied, gift giving was a part of the love-marriage process.
A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts, but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.
Gifts are visual symbols of love.
If receiving gifts is my primary love language, I will place great value on the ring you have given me and I will wear it with great pride. I will also be greatly moved emotionally by other gifts that you give through the years. I will see them as expressions of love. Without gifts as visual symbols, I may question your love.
If your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn.
Make a list of all the gifts your spouse has expressed excitement about receiving through the years. The list will give you an idea of the kind of gifts your spouse would enjoy receiving.
If receiving gifts is his/her primary love language, almost anything you give will be received as an expression of love.
If you are a spender, you will have little difficulty purchasing gifts for your spouse; but if you are a saver, you will experience emotional resistance to the idea of spending money as an expression of love.
There is an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand. I call it the gift of self or the gift of presence. Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the one whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts. Your body becomes the symbol of your love. Remove the symbol, and the sense of love evaporates.
If the physical presence of your spouse is important to you, I urge you to verbalize that to your spouse. Don’t expect him to read your mind.
At the heart of love is the spirit of giving.
Each chapter ends with a helpful discussion question.
Tammy added an excellent insight about the book. She said that this would be more of a Christian book if it pointed to God at the end of each chapter, just like a Christ-centered sermon does. We should love others as God loves: He is the giver of great gifts, He made us to spend quality time with Him…What about Acts of Service (giving His only Beloved Son to reconcile us to Himself), Words of Affirmation (I Peter 2:9), and Affection (Psalm 91:4)? Just think about it; Instead of loving others to fill their needs you can then love others sacrificially and without expectation of being loved in return.
Next week we will cover the fourth love language “Acts of Service”. Won’t you join us?
~ THIS AND THAT ~
My good friend Dustin Webb just started a new tree trimming and removal business. The name is….get this….Kick Ash. I love it! The story goes that Dustin needed to have an ash tree removed and was stunned at the cost and knew he could do it less expensively and fulfill one of his passions – exercise and physical fitness. I’m amazed at how many trees I’ve seen this year that have either died or are under stress. If you have a need, send Dustin an email at email@example.com or call him at 309-287-1147.
The Passion 2015 conference has announced their speakers for their event in Atlanta January 2-4. The event will also be held in Houston.
John MacArthur continues his series on the subject of spiritual growth, or sanctification. He writes that “The truth is legitimate spiritual growth takes work. In fact, Scripture teaches that true sanctification is the product of God’s enabling power and the believer’s godly self-discipline. Read his article “The Model and Motivation for Spiritual Growth” here: http://www.gty.org/blog/B140710
Jon Bloom of Desiring God writes that “With regard to God’s answers to prayer, expect the unexpected. Most of the greatest gifts and deepest joys that God gives us come wrapped in painful packages.” Read his entire article “The Unexpected Answers of God” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/thunexpected-answers-of-god
Ligonier Ministries continues work on the extensive update of The Reformation Study Bible (RSB). The updated RSB will be released in the English Standard Version (ESV) before spring, 2015 and in the New King James Version (NKJV) next fall.
R.C. Sproul has been working with an award-winning composer to produce a work of new hymns. Recordings are taking place at this time. The new hymns will be debut in a concert at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, where Sproul is Co-Pastor on February 18, 2015, just preceding the 2015 Ligonier Ministries National Conference.
One of my favorite singer/songwriters (and now authors) Ashley Cleveland reports that Bart Peters, a film maker in Los Angeles and the head of original content for Direct TV is making a documentary on Ashley based on her excellent book Little Black Sheep. Peters has brought Morgan Neville, who won an Oscar this year for his documentary: “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” on board as co-producer. Filming has already begun and there is a loose plan to finish by the end of the year.
Big Daddy Weave will be in concert at Lincoln Christian University on August 16. One of the organizations that will benefit from the proceeds is the local Immanuel Health Center. To find out more, go to: http://fantheflamechristianconcerts.org/
Chris Tomlin will release his new album Love Ran Red this fall. We can expect it to include his new single “Waterfall” and “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)”, my favorite song of 2014 thus far. Here are the lyrics to “At the Cross”, which I believe has the potential to have the impact of Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”:
There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down
At the cross
At the cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
And my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You Jesus
There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down
Here my hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down
Michael Card has two new book projects that he is considering. He writes “The first has to do with the synthesis of the four Gospels. For several years now I have longed to integrate the four different portraits of Jesus found in the Gospels. I plan on calling it the Four Portraits of Jesus. It would be based on the themes and conclusions of the four previous books on the Gospels. The other book, and the one I believe I will probably tackle first, has to do with the Hebrew word Hesed. This unique word occurs over 250 times in the Old Testament. I propose to look at each one of those examples and organize them into themes. Finally, I would like to look at the New Testament and see in what ways the word hesed appears in the teaching and life of Jesus.”
Phil Robertson will release his follow-up book to Happy, Happy, Happy, unPHILtered: The Way I See It on September 2.
Louis Zamperini, the inspiration for the best-selling book Unbroken (an incredible story, and one of my favorite books), and soon to be released (Christmas Day) film has died at age 97. Read more here.
Kevin Trax writes about watching the new film about Rich Mullins film Ragamuffin. Read it here.
Just a reminder….Keith and Kristyn Getty will bring their “Hymns of the Christian Life” Tour to Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria on October 16 at 7:00pm. The concert is sponsored by our good friends at WBNH radio. We’ll let you know when tickets become available. You can get more information, including a downloadable tour poster, at https://www.gettymusic.com/tour.aspx#
Michael Card’s final album in the Biblical Imagination Series John: A Misunderstood Messiah, was released this week! Look for a review in the coming weeks.
Kevin Trax offers a brief profile of one of my favorite rappers Trip Lee here.
For the past few years, after hearing about it from Tim Challies and John Piper, I’ve enjoyed Christian hip-hop/rap. I first started listening to Lecrae (still my favorite), but I’ve since been introduced to Trip Lee, KB, Andy Mineo, Propaganda, Tedashii and others. Tim Challies’ guide to Christian hip-hop/rap may be helpful to you. Check out his “Middle Aged White Guys Guide to Christian Rap” here: http://www.challies.com/resources/the-middle-aged-white-guys-guide-to-christian-rap
And one more story about Christian rap, read about this lawsuit alleging that Katie Perry plagiarized Flame’s song “Joyful Noise” for her song “Dark Horse” here.
NEEDTOBREATHE announces that The Live Roomsession was recorded in Studio A at the infamous Ocean Way Recordings (Los Angeles, CA) earlier this year, the same room that artists from The Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra to Whiskeytown, Radiohead, and Tom Petty used before them. Check out the band “getting their mojo back” here: http://www.needtobreathe.com/liveroom
Bruce Springsteen recently released the video for “Hunter of Invisible Game” from his High Hopes album. Watch it here.
Paul McCartney recently released the video for his song “Early Days” from his New album. “The idea was inspired by the chance meeting in 1957 that would change Paul, John, George, and Ringo’s lives forever,” explains L.A. director Vincent Haycock. The proposal Vincent wrote for ‘Early Days’ simply begins, “This film is a poetic homage to the legendary beginnings of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s relationship.” Shot between L.A., Natchez, Mississippi and Faraday, Louisiana, Vincent spent almost a month in total working on the video. Paul recorded his parts in L.A. over two days and the story unfolds around an intimate performance with just him and an acoustic guitar. By the end of the video Paul is playing with a group of blues guitarists, including his friend Johnny Depp. Johnny, no stranger to a McCartney video and an accomplished guitar player too, stopped by on the day for a jam. Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE3SGaGeXck
“How could God possibly rescue me when I am the problem? There is a hideous, God-belittling lie in believing we’ve sinned ourselves beyond his sovereign mercy. For many of us, it’s not hard to see how our sin has brought pain or conflict or heartache into our lives.” Watch a two-minute video clip from John Piper in which he confronts this kind of self-pity and pleads with us not to count ourselves out of the saving work of Christ. With powerful conviction and hope, he declares, “None of you may escape the good news.” http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/don-t-tell-god-he-can-t-give-you-good-news You can also listen to Piper’s full message on Nehemiah 9–10 from the recent TGC National Women’s Conference
Kevin Trax writes that “gospel presentations that include personal testimonies should take care to emphasize the gospel itself (the news of Christ’s death and resurrection), not merely our personal experiences of life transformation.”
Tammy and I completed week three of our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts last week. We covered the second love language Quality Time. Here are a few passages we highlighted and discussed:
By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention.
What I mean is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, giving each other your undivided attention. It means taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking.
A key ingredient in giving your spouse quality time is giving them focused attention, especially in this era of many distractions.
Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person. The activity in which we are both engaged is incidental. The important thing emotionally is that we are spending focused time with each other. The activity is a vehicle that creates the sense of togetherness.
Our spending time together in a common pursuit communicates that we care about each other, that we enjoy being with each other, that we like to do things together.
Like words of affirmation, the language of quality time also has many dialects. One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation. By quality conversation, I mean sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.
If your spouse’s primary love language is quality time, such dialogue is crucial to his or her emotional sense of being loved.
Quality conversation is quite different from the first love language. Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing.
If I am sharing my love for you by means of quality time and we are going to spend that time in conversation, it means I will focus on drawing you out, listening sympathetically to what you have to say. I will ask questions, not in a badgering manner but with a genuine desire to understand your thoughts, feelings, and hopes.
Many of us are like Patrick. We are trained to analyze problems and create solutions. We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve.
A relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and desires. We must be willing to give advice but only when it is requested and never in a condescending manner.
Most of us have little training in listening. We are far more efficient in thinking and speaking. Learning to listen may be as difficult as learning a foreign language, but learn we must, if we want to communicate love. That is especially true if your spouse’s primary love language is quality time and his or her dialect is quality conversation.
I suggest the following summary of practical tips:
1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking. That keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that he/she has your full attention.
2. Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time. Remember, quality time is giving someone your undivided attention… If you can’t do that right now, just say “if you will give me ten minutes to finish this, I’ll sit down and listen to you.”
3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it.
4. Observe body language. Sometimes body language speaks one message while words speak another.
5. Refuse to interrupt.
Learn to reveal yourself – Quality conversation requires not only sympathetic listening but also self-revelation. Self-revelation does not come easy for some of us. Many adults grew up in homes where the expression of thoughts and feelings was not encouraged but condemned. By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have learned to deny our feelings. We are no longer in touch with our emotional selves.
If you need to learn the language of quality conversation, begin by noting the emotions you feel away from home.
Using your notepad, communicate your emotions and the events briefly with your spouse as many days as possible. In a few weeks, you will become comfortable expressing your emotions with him or her. And eventually you will feel comfortable discussing your emotions toward your spouse, the children, and events that occur within the home. Remember, emotions themselves are neither good nor bad. They are simply our psychological responses to the events of life.
Based on our thoughts and emotions, we eventually make decisions. In each of life’s events, we have emotions, thoughts, desires, and eventually actions. It is the expression of that process that we call self-revelation.
I have observed two basic personality types. The first I call the “Dead Sea.” This personality type receives many experiences, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day. They have a large reservoir where they store that information, and they are perfectly happy not to talk.
On the other extreme is the “Babbling Brook.” For this personality, whatever enters into the eye gate or the ear gate comes out the mouth gate and there are seldom sixty seconds between the two. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell. In fact, if no one is at home to talk to, they will call someone else.
The good news is that Dead Seas can learn to talk and Babbling Brooks can learn to listen. We are influenced by our personality but not controlled by it.
One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. I call that the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy marriage. If you will start with the daily minimum, in a few weeks or months you may find quality conversation flowing more freely between you.
In addition to the basic love language of quality time, or giving your spouse your undivided attention, there is another dialect called quality activities.
Quality activities may include anything in which one or both of you have an interest. The emphasis is not on what you are doing but on why you are doing it. The purpose is to experience something together, to walk away from it feeling “He cares about me. He was willing to do something with me that I enjoy, and he did it with a positive attitude.” That is love, and for some people it is love’s loudest voice.
The essential ingredients in a quality activity are: (1) at least one of you wants to do it, (2) the other is willing to do it, and (3) both of you know why you are doing it—to express love by being together.
One of the by-products of quality activities is that they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead.
Those are memories of love, especially for the person whose primary love language is quality time.
The chapter ends with a helpful application section called “Your Turn”.
Next week we will cover the third love language Receiving Gifts. Won’t you join us?
We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows. -Tim Keller
When I see Thee as Thou art, I’ll praise Thee as I ought. -John Newton