Tuesday, September 25, 2012

His and Hers

We all draw boundaries in our relationships. We have our side of the bed, our drawers, our cars, even our spot on the couch. But it doesn't stop there, does it?

We also have our chores and duties around the house. In fact, society has some stereotypes when it comes to chores, doesn't it? I think we could look at a list of chores and agree at least 80% of the time whose responsibility it is for a particular chore.

  1. Laundry - Hers
  2. Dishes - Hers
  3. Changing light bulbs - His
  4. Car maintenance - His
  5. Grocery shopping - Hers
  6. Yard care - His
  7. Gardening - Hers
But I think if we let these stereotypes set into our relationships, we're doing ourselves a disservice. Looking after the household should be a shared responsibility. In fact, we should find joy in helping our spouses with those tasks that are "theirs". I think Ephesians 5:33 lays it out for us when it says that we should love our wives as ourselves, and that our wives should respect us.

Out of all the bosses you've had, which have you respected more, those that pitched in and helped out, or those that tossed everything into your queue? Why should your wife respect you if you don't first show her love? Are you worthy of her respect if you never stand in the gap for her and help her out?

Here is my challenge for you. Identify one task around your house that is traditionally her job, and start helping out without being asked. Even better, pick one that you let her do because it's your least favorite thing in the world to do. Don't call attention to it. This isn't about claiming praise for yourself. This it about taking on a servant's heart and loving on your wife. After all, isn't this the model that Christ set for us in His time on Earth?

I've started doing a lot more dishes these days. Especially with my new job, I find I have more time in the morning. Instead of sitting around trying to get caught up on social media, I take 10 minutes to unload the dishwasher. If there are dishes waiting, I go ahead and put them in too.

Guess what? I find I don't loathe doing the dishes as much as I used to. Further, my wife is happier. There's one less chore that she has to make time to get to, which reduces her stress. And when she's less stressful, our relationship is better. After all, if mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. And if mamma IS happy? Well, that can be a very good thing.

His and Hers?

Let's make it Ours, instead.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wow, what a coincidence!!

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning in Kentucky. The sky was bright blue, with not a cloud to be seen in the sky. Football was in the air, and outside chores beckoned. In other words, a perfect first day of fall. 17 guys, mostly older men but with a few high school kids thrown in, were gathered in the kitchen of the church. Cups of coffee in one hand, donuts in the other, we greeted those we knew and introduced ourselves to those we didn't. We ribbed each other good-naturedly about the upcoming football games, talked about our plans for the day, and caught up with each other's lives.

The youth pastor got our attention and told us why we were all there. "There's a lady in the choir that's moving today. She's a single mom with three kids. She's moving from an apartment into a house, and she needs some help. She's not moving far, and she's rented a truck. I've told her we can help until 1:00 PM. If some of you can stay later, great. I have no idea what we're walking in to: how much furniture, how many boxes. I do know she has a rental unit we have to put on the truck as well. Here's the maps. Let's carpool, so we're not flooding the apartment complex with cars. Any questions?"

We all trudged back out the parking lot, and jumped in cars. After a short drive, we reconvened at the apartment complex. "Hey guys, um, this is the right building, but I don't have a unit number, and I forgot to bring her phone number." We started looking at windows, calling out which ones had lights on. The pastor knocked on the first door, waking up the occupants. They hadn't heard of the lady we were looking for. He knocked on the next unit we called out. "Yes, we're moving today, but that's not my name. No, that's not our truck down there. My husband's on the way back with ours. I'm pregnant, and our friend can't help us until this afternoon. It's just my husband to work on loading the truck this morning."

This could have been a "Wow, what a coincidence" moment. And, all to often and to our shame, it would have been a time to say "Oh, sorry for bothering you. Best of luck with your move." Instead, we knew it was a divine appointment, and it was a chance to be the hands of feet of Christ in our community.

The 17 guys that showed up that morning comprised the largest moving crew that had ever responded to a call for help. Honestly, it was too many guys for one apartment and one truck. We would have been in each other's way, and there would have been lots of standing around.  In reality, there were now enough guys to move two apartments worth of stuff: one from the second floor and one from the third floor. And to get it all done in an hour and a half.

As we were finishing loading the trucks, the husband said "You guys were a God-send. It was just going to be me this morning, and I figured it was going to take all day to get this truck loaded. Now, my friend can help me unload this afternoon. It's a huge weight off my mind. Thank you guys so much."

We all have those moments when we feel an inexplicable urge. "Wait here for a few minutes." "Stop and talk to that person." "Go this way instead of that way." "Buy some extra milk today." "Volunteer for that work crew." Listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. You never know when you're going have a divine appointment, and when you're going to be a God-send in somebody's life.

QotD - What is the Gospel?

I am currently reading What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert. At 8 chapters and 120 pages or so, it's a very short book. For all that, it's packed with tons of information. The book is part of a series called "9Marks", which is taken from the book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, by Mark Devers.

Throughout the book, the author lays out, in clear and concise language, exactly what the Bible teaches about the Gospel. It's quite eye-opening to consider all the ways that we as humans get the gospel wrong. It doesn't matter if your laity or pastoral staff, understanding the true nature of the Gospel is crucial.

While there are lots of good passages in the book, this is the one that jumped out at me the most, perhaps because it talks to a theology that is all too prevalent in today's society:
Another misunderstanding of sin is to say that it's just a matter of negative thinking. We saw this in some of the quotes in the introduction to this book. Get rid of your old wineskins! Think bigger! God wants to show you his incredible favor, if you'll just get rid of all those negative mind-sets that hold you back!
Now that's a compelling message to self-reliant people who want to believe they can take care of their sin all by themselves. That's probably why men who proclaim that message have managed to build some of the largest churchesi n the world. The formula is pretty easy, really. Just tell people that their sin is no deeper than negative thinking and that it's holding them back from health, wealth, and happiness. Then tell them that if they'll just think more positively about themselves (with God's help, of course), they'll be rid of their sin and get rich, to boot. Bingo! Instant megachurch!
Sometimes the promised goal is money, sometimes health, sometimes something else entirely. But however you spin it, to say that Jesus Christ died to save us from negative thoughts about ourselves is reprehensibly unbiblical. In fact, the Bible teaches that a big part of our problem is that we think too highly of ourselves, not too lowly. Stop and think about it for a moment. How did the Serpent tempt Adam and Eve? He told them they were thinking too negatively about themselves. He told them they needed to think more positively, to extend their grasp, to reach toward their full potential, to be like God! In a word, he told them to think bigger.
Now how'd that work out for them?
It's definitely food for thought.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Free Ted Dekker Book

For the next 24 hours or so, Thomas Nelson publishing is making Black from Ted Dekker available for free.

This is book 1 in his Circle trilogy (which is actually 4 books now, with the release of the prequel Green). I love Ted Dekker and his writing style. I've always enjoyed thriller and suspense stories, and Dekker is definitely the master of the craft in Christian literature circles.

If you've never read him before, what better way than to get introduced to him for free?

The free ebook is only available through the publisher's website, and, naturally, you do have to register.

Go sign up, download the book, and give it a read.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.