Monthly Archives: July 2011

Strengthening Marriages

For those of you who are married, do remember what it was like on your wedding day? Men, remember what your soon to be wife looked like as she walked toward you in all her glory. Women, remember when you looked into your soon to be husband’s eyes as he committed himself to you.

The wedding day is a magical time, yet it is not really what marriage is all about (engaged men, never tell your fiancé this). Marriage is about the intimate connection that happens between two people. It is about dealing with disappointment, wrong expectations and forgiveness in the midst of deep hurt. Marriage can bring you to the highest heights and plunge you into the depths.

In my role as Family Director at our church, I am realizing that we as a church need to do much more in terms of strengthening marriages. If children are to grow up with a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, then two parents who seek the Lord together are very important. But how do we help strengthen marriages? How do we encourage spouses who seek the Lord but their significant other does not? How do we encourage and support single parents yet work to strengthen marriages?

There are some tough questions that come up when a church thinks about marriage ministry. Thankfully there are some great resources out there for marriage enrichment. Just today I heard about Married People who are connected with the same organization that writes the Orange Curriculum that we use in our First Kids programming.

Here is a video preview from Married People that shows the importance of strengthening marriages. Get ready because it is definitely an emotional video.

MarriedPeople Vision Video from Orange on Vimeo.

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Healthy Sexuality: Talking to Your Kids about Sex

Whether we like it or not, our children already are learning about sex from their friends and classmates. Even our six year old daughter learned the word “sexy” from her kindergarten classmates. As parents we have to step in and educate our children about a healthy view of sexuality even at a young age. If we hold off on “The Talk” until late elementary, we are way too late.

Hillary and I knew when our daughter came home from school saying the word “sexy” that we needed to start talking about healthy sexuality with her. The problem was that we didn’t know how to start the conversation. We have always appreciated the wisdom and practical insights that author and speaker Jim Burns brings to the table. So when we heard that he developed a whole series of books to help parents talk about healthy sexuality, we knew we had to get them.

One of the best parts about this Pure Foundations series of resources is that they provide resources to start the conversation with young children. We read the first book, God Made Your Body, to our daughters who are six and four. This first book is designed for children ages 3-5 and starts the conversation about sexuality by talking about how boys have penises and girls have vaginas. It also talks about how dads and moms “make love” and that is how the process of having a baby is started. Some parents might feel uncomfortable saying the words “penis” and “vagina” with their kids but I think it is important to call it what it is and provide a place for open conversation early on. Honestly, it made me uncomfortable to say those words but I would rather my girls hear those words from me before they hear it from their friends.

That same night I also read our oldest the second book in the series called How God Makes Babies, which is written for children ages 6-9. I joked with Hillary in the past that she would be the one to have “The Talk” with our girls. I wasn’t real excited to talk to our girls about sex. Before I knew it, I was having “The Talk” with Anna as we read through the book. This second book in the series is more frank about moms and dads having sex. I appreciated how Burns talks about the sacredness of sex within marriage even in a book for children. As we read Burns’ description of the act of sex, Anna asked me, “How does the man make it fit in the woman? Does it take surgery or something?” At that point I knew we were really having “The Talk” and I had to make sure that I didn’t laugh, but handle her question honestly.

Another section of How God Makes Babies that I really appreciated was when Jim Burns talks about how our private areas are not meant to be touched by anyone except for doctors or parents while taking a bath. In this day and age, our children need honest conversations on topics like this for their protection. Hillary and I have been working hard to talk to our daughters about how parts of their body are meant to be covered because they are special.

I would highly recommend this Pure Foundations series to parents out there who want to start the conversation on healthy sexuality. For parents of children in middle and high school there are two other books specifically for those age groups. Purity Code is written for middle school students and their parents. Accept Nothing Less is written for high school students and their parents. Jim Burns also wrote a parent companion book to this entire series called Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality.

Here is a brief video of Jim Burns explaining this Pure Foundations series.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWXKe6YM7ck%5D

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!

NBC Universal

Rarely a TV show comes along that speaks to the core of humanity and speaks of the heights of the human experience and the depths of suffering. In the wasteland of reality TV programming, came a show that sets the bar for what television SHOULD be about. In 2006 Peter Berg, Brian Grazer and David Nevins brought us the TV adaptation of the book Friday Night Lights. Tonight is the finale of the show on NBC.

Friday Night Lights holds a special place in our hearts. At the end of each season, we feared that NBC would not renew the show for the next season. Critics loved the show but the masses liked junk TV shows instead of a healthy show like FNL. It was not just a show about Texas football; it showed the reality of marriage and teenage life. It touched our hearts.

Here are the words of Coach Taylor at the end of the pilot episode. It really sums up the show.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_2vWfLceuo%5D

What you gave us was something special. For one hour a week we were transported to Dillon, Texas and we are better people for it. You will be missed Friday Night Lights!

The Bible: Actual, Inspired or Myth?

Does the Bible contain the actual words of God or does it contain words that are inspired by God? A recent Gallup poll found that 3 in 10 Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God. 49% percent believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.

Paul writes of Scripture, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

What does it mean that Scripture is “God-breathed?” If all of the Bible isn’t to be taken literally, then how do we decide which items are literal and which ones aren’t? There are some who develop their theology based on their own experiences first. Then they consult Scripture and interpret that based on their experience.

In our American culture, it is very important to understand how we interpret Scripture. Churches need to teach and preach hermeneutics (principles for interpreting Scripture). Right now I am studying and praying through a sermon that I will preaching August 14 on this topic. I believe it is one of the foundational issues that today’s church must grapple with. Everything a church and a believer does flows from their view of Scripture whether they realize it or not.

What is your view of Scripture? How does your view of Scripture change your lifestyle and worldview?