Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Be Her Man, Part 1

This is probably the hardest of the three areas we'll be looking at in this study. Why? Because we've been taught by a feminist-dominated culture how to treat women. To a great extent we have succumbed to those teachings. If we're going to claim our rightful places as heads of our household and heads of our women, we have to overcome our own training - and we have to overcome the training and examples our wives have had. This is not easy.

First let’s make sure we're convinced as to what the Bible says out role is, then I’ll look at some practical ways in which we can be the men God intended our wives to have.

In 1 Peter 3:7 we read, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” It is not some sexist, male plot to take over the world which teaches that women are in fact the weaker vessel. God's Word says so. Not only that, though; they are also co-heirs of the Kingdom of God with us. These two facts need to constantly be balanced in our relationships with wives (or future wives, for those of you not yet blessed with one).

Let me submit before I go any further that anyone who tries to tell you that this headship thing is the position of superiority - or comfort - has not understood the concept. The word "husband" is used 105 X in Scripture. Now some of those do refer to animal husbandry. Most however, refer to that role of male half of a marriage relationship. There are a lot of ways to approach this subject. Let's look at three roles God prescribed for men in relationship to their wives (Just one in this blog entry).

Leader

If you are a Christian man and you are married, you are the head of your wife. Nowhere in Scripture is the man commanded to take this role. We are simply told that we are. Ephesians 5:23 states, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” This is an important distinction. We don't have a choice in the matter - and neither do they.

How we fulfill this role has a lot to do with how our wives relate to us. This is especially difficult if you marry a smart and strong woman. If you become a Christian after she does, there are all sorts of obstacles to climb. But, we don't have a choice. We can be good leaders or we can be lousy leaders. A man's authority in the home should be exercised with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader, following the example of Jesus Christ.

Leadership is a stewardship from God. (Read Psalm 103:13; Malachi 3:17; Matthew 11 :29-30; Colossians 3:21; 1 Peter 3:7). In other words, being her leader; being the head of the household does not mean living up to that caricature of headship that anti-Christian, anti-God leftists want to impose on us. It does not mean being the boss at all costs. It does not mean forcing her into some kind of unbiblical submission.

One of the problems with trying to understand our leadership role is that there is so much written about leadership. Most is written from a secular, success=$ perspective. We cannot simply superimpose non-Biblical models of leadership on men and expect them to be Christian leaders. We need to have Biblical models (the positive ones - there are also plenty of negative ones). Modern families, Christian families included, lack men who are willing to stand up and point the way and expect the others to follow their direction. So most families flounder about like rudderless ships with no sense of overarching mission or purpose and no clear guidance for day to day life. In place of purpose they substitute frantic busyness, trying to mask their lack of direction with endless activities.

So what does headship look like? [Note: in trying to cover as much as I can, I am not going to give specific scriptures or examples for every statement. Many of them are self­-evident. Others would be good topics for you to research.]

Things we need to be:

· A Christian: not just a non-Jew or non-Muslim; a real, authentic; born-again disciple of the Messiah.

· A leader: Someone who develops goals for the family instead of drifting along wth the tide of culture.

· Someone who takes initiative: who's not afraid to make the hard decisions - and is willing to stand up against the onslaught. (our children and dating can be a big crisis).

· Someone who develops and calls upon the gifts of his family.

· A man of Integrity

· Anti-feminist: the feminist society will hate you for making a biblical stand - your wife may be among them. After all she grew up in this culture too. Quote: "Today the most organized and formidable opponent of women’s social, economic and sexual rights remains organized religion. Religionists defeated the Equal Rights Amendment. Religious fanatics and bullies are currently engaged in an outright war of terrorism and harassment against women who have abortions and the medical staff which serves them." (From an Anonymous pamphlet, "Why Women Need Freedom From Religion.").

Things we need to do:
·
Grow (devotional study)
· Learn (doctrinal study)
·
Provide for our family
·
Pray for your family

I think that may be enough to chew on for a while. Next installment will look at husband and father as teacher.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Family Man: Be a Man (of God)

As we plunge forward in our look at the Christian family, we must put first things first. We must recognize that men are intended to be the head of the family. There are instances in which this is impossible, but we are concerned with what the norm is intended to be.

To that end, I will start by looking at the role of man. First a little Biblical background on “manness.”

Man was created first; before woman. In Genesis 2 (particularly in verses 4-7 and 20-23) we read about the creation of the world. This is called the Creation Ordinance. The Apostle Paul uses this understanding often in explaining the roles of men and women. For example, in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 we read, “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”

Man was created with work to do. Right from the beginning there were tasks for man. He had animals to name and gardens to care for (although there couldn’t have been a lot to do since agriculture didn’t get difficult until the fall, chronicled in Genesis 3).

Man was created with responsibility. Did you ever ask yourself why Adam got the rap for the 1st sin? He was created to be responsible, to be the leader. It was his job to protect Eve from sin, not join her in it.

As men, we need to remember what God has told us to do. A good outline for what we may call “Biblical Manliness” may be found in Micah 6:8. Obviously this is a mere outline. It’s not complete, there are literally hundreds of verses in Scripture which give us a “job description.” But look at this one:

He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.

Act Justly
A man of God is a man who seeks to have justice done to the best of his ability. We cannot all be high officials in the government and we can’t control what goes on in all the world, but we can seek justice in our own little part of the world. And we can act in a just, that is right, proper manner to all around us. What this really means is that we need to stand up and be counted. We must be a buffer between them and trouble. We can’t let them suffer when we can take on the suffering on their behalf. Men need to have a “Titanic” attitude. Women and children should go first; they should get the lifeboats; we should leap in front of them to stop bullets, verbal assaults, and other potential calamities of life.

In addition to that, we also need to treat people with fairness, paying debts that are owed (monetary and otherwise) and teaching our families to follow these same practices. Give everyone their due, whether it be your boss, your employees, your family, people on a committee you chair, your neighbors. This is how we should see our role in our own families – and expanded to our church family. It’s not about being macho – it’s about doing what’s right.

Love Mercy
Be kind to people. Be merciful and compassionate to everybody, not using severity towards any. Be helpful; reach out to the needy in the community, the church. Be involved in mercy ministries such as crisis pregnancy centers, Christian camps; the Deacons Fund at the church, Tsunami relief, etc, etc. Teach your family members, by your example, about mercy.

Walk Humbly with your God
Have fellowship with God. How do we do this? Through prayer, worship, study, meditation, regular attendance at church – for worship services and other meetings such as Bible studies. This is really the most important part of the three-fold command in this verse. It is the basis for the others. It is because of the relationship between us and God that we can have positive relationships with people. In 1 John 4:19, we read “We love because He first loved us.” We have to get close to Him.

Question: Men, do you have a regular quiet time? Do you have a time when you read God’s Word? Do you have a regular devotional routine? Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day – but hold the tension; don’t get lazy.

Note on manliness and age.
There’s no upper or lower age limit on Biblical manliness. Look at David. As a youth he was called by God “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). He was a shepherd boy, the youngest of eight children. He was so young that his father didn’t even bother to send for him when Samuel the prophet arrived to anoint one of his sons. David was a Biblical, Godly man.

What about the other end of the scale? Consider Caleb. At the age of 85 he was ready to go out and do battle, physical warfare, on behalf of the Lord. (You can read about Caleb at Deuteronomy 1:26-36 and Joshua 14:10-12.).

This is a bit of a lengthy installment, but I did want to get across the point that in order for families to be strong, Dad has to step up and “be the man.” Next time I’ll write about “Being Her Man.”

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Christian Family

My wife and I travel the globe working with young families.As I travel around I find that young families today often don’t have a clue as to what a family is supposed to do, or be. In this country the blended family, the step-family, the single-parent family the “two-mommy” (or two-daddy) family, and the dysfunctional family have all confused us.

In the countries of the former Soviet Bloc in which Sandra and I work, they have a cultural and historical gap to overcome. For the past several generations the state has been both mommy and daddy. Now, with a resurgence of Christian families, and young men and women seeking to learn how to best serve God as families, there is still a lack of role models.

Young families all over the globe have to “make it up as they go along.” While this may be a good method for some pick games at the park, it is not the way to raise a family, It certainly is not the way God intended families to be.

So, I embark on some blogs on the topic of family; specifically the Christian family. The family is still the basic building block of any healthy society. During the Reformation, Thomas Becon, an influential English writer and clergyman, wrote:

Since a city is composed of individual homes, and the common weal is the sum of well-ordered households, it stands to reason that the model for good government flows from the smaller, more private society of the family. For how can a man preside over a city if he cannot rule over his own home? How can he govern a commonwealth if he does not know how to conduct family matters? . . . The state of a man’s marriage will tell you how much he knows about morality and ethics. A good home life will quickly make a man experienced in wisdom and patience, love for God and mankind, and every other virtue.

So, as we look at the family, we begin with one of the most outrageous statements a man can make in this post-feminist society: It’s all about dad.

Until Christian men learn about their roles as family leaders and begin to implement that learning, Christian families will continue to careen down the river of life without rudders and without destinations. Christian men need to step up and be men; leaders; lovers.

One of the major problems in our society over the past several decades has been the confusion of men as to their proper role in society. In an earlier day we were taught that opening doors, pulling out chairs, and generally treating women as princesses was the proper way to relate to women. Then, along came Hugh Hefner, the sexual revolution, and rabid feminism. All of a sudden simply helping a woman at a doorway or into a car became akin to criminal activity. If you tried to help a woman in any way, you were a “chauvinist pig.” (Though few using the term have any clue as to what a chauvinist really is). This gender confusion, naturally, worked its way into the church and into Christian families.

It’s my hope that, together, we’ll rediscover some of the Biblical understanding about Biblical manhood; family life; and the service of God.

Comments, questions, requests, complaints - and even kudos - are welcome. let's make this an interactive study as we seek what God wants!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Global Warming

This picture is of a waterfall. There is no water falling because that water is solidly frozen. This is global warming in northern
New England.

I recognize that I am not a scientist, and that my remarks may be met with derisive retorts about my being na├»ve, unlearned, etc. I know what’s cold and what’s hot, however. I also know a few other things. Let me share just a couple of them.


  1. Global climate change happens and it doesn’t need help from me. The last ice age was a reality. So is the fact that with no help from SUVs or other man-created “greenhouse gas”-producing machines, that ice age ended. The earth warmed. It’s not my fault. Not only that, but the earth survived. I do not know what the optimum temperature is for the earth. I do know that when I arose this morning the temperature outside my window was less than 0 (zero) degrees, Fahrenheit.
  2. I know that “Global Warming” is not going to destroy the earth, unless we count the fire that will come down from heaven and devour the forces of evil, as recorded in Revelation 20:7-10. God has a timetable. I don’t know exactly what it is. (NOTE: there are many people who claim to know all the details. Don’t buy their books. They don’t really know either). We know that Jesus is coming back (if you want to read about this try these passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; the Book of Revelation) and that there will be a last battle (Revelation 16:15-21). Then we will enter what I call “post-history.” There is no mention of global warming here and I know proponents of global warming (who are, in fact, opponents of humanity – especially American humanity) could somehow construe this as just another way to express global warming. That would be a stretch, but people will believe what they want to believe. I believe God's Word.

It’s good that Al Gore invented the internet, too, so that I can get this message out. Thank you.