Thursday, January 26, 2012

Living In The Twenty-First Century (Part 2)

And the backlash begins. But check out the defense:

Careful to Be Faithful
Friday, January 13, 2012

Some commenters lately seem to have typecast Grace to You as a bunch of cranky old men, fearful of a changing world that threatens their long-held positions of power. If that’s what you or someone you know believes about John MacArthur and Grace to You, allow me to make a couple of clarifications. First, a word about the nature of this ministry…

One person asked if Grace to You was the proverbial pot calling the kettle black for criticizing multisite churches that broadcast their preacher to other congregations. A valid question. It’s important to say up front, Grace to You is not to be the model for the local church.

Grace to You is a para-church ministry, not a local church. According to our Purpose Statement, we exist “to teach biblical truth with clarity, taking advantage of various means of mass communications to expand the sphere of John MacArthur’s teaching ministry.” Further,

Our role is not to supplant the local church’s ministry, but to support it by providing additional resources for those hungering for the truth of God’s Word. Media ministries can never substitute for involvement in a biblical church, group Bible study, or interaction with a teacher. Yet we sense the need for more in-depth resources, evidenced by the many Christians and Christian leaders worldwide who depend on our ministry to supplement their own study.

As a para-church ministry, there’s no biblical mandate for our organization. We have freedom to pursue it (biblically, culturally, politically), but if political or economic winds blow a different direction, well, the Lord gives no guarantees that Grace to You will continue to exist. We exist at the mercy of God’s good providence.

By contrast, the local church is a mandated organization. The Lord Jesus Christ created it (Matt. 16:18), commissioned it (Matt. 28:18-20), equipped it (Eph. 4:7, 11-12), and governs it (Matt. 18:15-20). Nothing—not political, economic, cultural influences, not even the gates of hell itself—can prevail against the Lord and His church.

Another interesting set of criticisms (and snipes) in the comment thread seem to indicate a misunderstanding about our view of technology. Some seem to think we are hypocritical to caution against technological innovation in the local church (i.e., multisite churches). The idea seems to be, if you use technology, you can’t criticize when others use it. One commenter asked,

All technology was given by God to reach the lost. We should be using every piece of it for the harvest before Satan uses it for his purpose. Your own ministry uses social media. Why wouldn’t you want to use it in the church?

To answer that question straight up, we’ve never said churches should not use technology. That’s not the point, and it never was the point. We are cautious about using technology and think others, especially churches, should be too.

Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, Nicholas Carr, and other “prophets” of the technology age have raised legitimate concerns about the effects of technology. We’re not alarmists, and we’re obviously not Luddites, but we think it’s wise to think about using technology before diving into it. That’s especially true for Christians who are commanded to test everything—ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5), words (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:21), the spirits (1 John 4:1), and especially “gifts” from the culture (1 John 2:15-17)—to determine if it is or isn’t according to the will of God (Rom. 12:2). So, we don’t hate technology, or ideas, or innovation; but we are cautious because we fear the Lord and want to do what pleases Him.

One last word…being careful doesn’t mean we’re advocates for the moth-ball smelling churches today’s innovators are reacting against. We deplore dead orthodoxy and cold tradition more than anyone. We want churches to submit every decision, every pattern, every model, every initiative, every tradition, and every idea to the authority of God’s Word. Why? Because doing God’s work in God’s way glorifies Christ, puts His great gospel on display, and saves and sanctifies God’s elect.

Being careful is not the quick path to immediate gratification and big numbers—all the fleshly marks of success. It’s the slower, more methodical, deliberate, and (often) mundane walk of Christian faithfulness and church growth described by the Scripture. We want you to be careful to be faithful. That’s the true path to enduring joy and blessing.

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry


Living In The Twenty-First Century (Part 1)

In regards to the technology-age's duplicity and bombardment which the 21st century has ushered in, my long-time [virtual] mentor and favorite preacher John MacArthur and his folks at Grace to You have courageously confronted this issue. Consider his inspired thoughts:

We Can, But Should We?
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Technology continues to advance at a pace that renders every new smartphone, tablet computer, gadget, gizmo, and doohickey obsolete almost upon purchase. And for every successful product—one that actually makes it on the shelf and turns a profit—there have to be ___ failed attempts. That’s why we take a bit of a “wait and see” approach to innovation here at Grace to You. We’re not about to jeopardize our stewardship by riding on the bleeding edge of every new fad that comes down the pike.
Has anyone else noticed how many new and innovative approaches to ministry have become commonplace in evangelical conversation? If you attend one of many faithful, biblically-sound churches around the country, you’re probably scratching your head. But let me mention just a few I’ve noticed over the past year or so.

Multisite churches are now all the rage. If you don’t know what that means, you’re better off for it. Still, if you’d like to know, take a look at this tutorial. No matter what that video claims, there is no biblical justification for multisite church ministry, where satellite congregations watching the main preacher’s pulpit ministry remotely via video screen. Technology makes multisite possible, but is it spiritually beneficial for the saints of God?
It would seem that to accommodate the multisite model, some are trifurcating the duties of a pastor into categories of prophet (preacher, exhorter), priest (counselor, encourager), and king (visionary, overseer, administrator). Never mind that those are roles, only fulfilled by Christ, not biblical categories for different kinds of leaders. Here’s my question: Doesn’t the biblical elder/pastor strive to follow the Chief Shepherd in being all those things to his congregation?

What qualifies as biblical preaching these days is clear evidence of pulpit decline. There truly is a famine in the land. But that’s not what groupies, fans, and followers think. Taking hype, celebrity, and conference appearances as proof-positive that “this guy is solid, deep, and theologically sound,” many are unable to discern that their favorite preacher keeps missing the point of the passage. If the Holy Spirit’s intended meaning isn’t communicated in the sermon, you can be assured that is not solid, deep, or theologically sound.
The departure from biblical authority in church ministry has led to at least two closely-connected errors: unqualified leadership and an appeal to personal experience for validation. The biblical qualifications for church leadership (1 Tim. 3, Tit. 1) don’t seem to be that important, so long as you have a good dream, vision, or voice-from-God story that justifies your deal, you get a pass on the qualifications. And has anyone noticed how charismatic theology goes unchallenged? Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology is excellent, mostly; he’s got some serious problems with the exegesis underpinning his charismatic views.

So, the question is not, “Can we do church, ministry, leadership, church planting, etc. in this way or that?” Advancing technology has opened many vistas of new possibility, so, of course we can. The better question, the righteous question, is this: “Should we do thus and such in ministry?
The “should” question indicates accountability to a greater standard. And if it’s church ministry we’re talking about, that standard is sola scriptura. You won’t find the flavor of the month in churches submitted to the biblical model of ministry (of which there are many, even if they are small and unknown), but it’ll save you from having to trade out your shiny new ministry gadget every year or two as well. Just think about what God can build over the course of your life when you trust and obey the old standard to do its transforming work in your life and


We’ll consider what that standard has to say in coming posts.

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Don't Get Weird

I've enjoyed reading and studying about evangelism. One of my close friends, Dan is a friend I have gained, hopefully for life, by way of getting to know him through the following testimony and lesson learned. Dan was also a former co-worker/brother in arms. There is so much to be gaine, accomplished, and God-glorifying through the simplicity of evangelism. It can get complicated but don't let it. Get out there, stop being weird, find common ground and simply talk to people. Christian, it is the Father's command.

From The Instructive Resurgence:

7 Tips for Talking with Your Neighbors about Jesus by Tim Gaydos

We met in the elevator of our condo building.

Instead of the classic stare down at the ground and avoid eye contact bit, I said hello and introduced myself. I asked him a few non-awkward, basic questions. How long have you lived here? Do you like it? Have you met any cool people?

The following week, I saw him in the lobby, and we picked up the conversation with a longer discussion revolving around the Seattle Mariners and their dim prospects for the year. I checked again to see if he was up for talking more, “If you want to watch a game at Sport, [the appropriately-named Seattle sports pub,] let me know.” He accepted, we figured out a good date and time and within a few weeks, we were grabbing a bite and watching a game together.

Breaking the Stereotype of Judgmental Jerk
It wasnʼt long before he found out I was a Christian, went to church, and loved Jesus. He said to me, “Wow, my stereotype of Christians has been blown away. Youʼre normal. You like good food and drink, you love your city and donʼt come off as a judgmental jerk.” I soon invited him to church, where he heard the gospel preached powerfully. He became a Christian and got involved in Community Groups, praise God.

For whatever reason, it’s easy for Christians to clam up and get weird when talking about their faith in the day-to-day. Here are a few tips to make bridge those inhibitions and get the conversation going:

1. Find a road that leads to Jesus.
In the course of conversation, be thinking of how Jesus intersects with the discussion, because Jesus intersects and touches everything in our culture: sports, music, art, politics. Look for bridges to introduce Jesus into the conversation. It should be just as casually or passionately as you talk about everything else.

2. Donʼt be weird and awkward.
“, Iʼd like to talk with you about Jesus.” If all of a sudden you put on your "Jesus" hat and you are talking to them like a project and not a friend, then you're entering awkward territory. Now, there will be times it becomes awkward because talking about Jesus and sin can be that way, but don't let it be because you are socially weird.

3. Be winsome.
Included in that word is the word “win.” Be “winning” friends and the conversation by being engaging, friendly, and kind. For more on being winsome, check out Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon.

4. Counter stereotypes and caricatures of Christians.
Many urban, secular folks have a particular caricature of a Christian, which is not very flattering (judgmental, harsh, the “morality police”), although many don’t personally have any Christian friends. Be gracious and talk with them, serve them, and love them.

5. Host an open house.
When my wife and I moved into a new apartment building we hosted an open house for the whole building and went over the top with really good food and wine. Dozens of our neighbors came out and it was the foundation for future gospel-centered conversations.

6. Be honest about your struggles and failings.
We all fall short. We all struggle and fail. The credit has to be given to Jesus in your life. Many non-Christians donʼt want to talk with Christians as they will feel guilty regarding their own problems.

7. Actions also communicate.
Serve your neighbors. Serve your neighborhood. Look for opportunities without being an attention-getter. Your neighbors are watching you and just as James said, faith without works is dead.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taming The Dragon

Taming the Dragon from Moments with You 4 JAN 12 Devotion:

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

It can lie. It can gossip. It can slander. It can also murmur and complain. It can manipulate and flatter. It can tear down. It can paint itself in nice words, even while cutting someone to ribbons.

My friend Joe Stowell calls it "the dragon in our dentures." Our tongue. It can truly be deadly.
On the other hand, when that "dragon" is under the power of the Holy Spirit, when we are daily training it to be submitted to Christ’s control and available for His use and purposes, He can transform it into an instrument that delivers encouragement.

I remember being in church one Sunday morning when I spotted a prominent local oncologist walking by. I’d been hearing about some special things he’d been doing with his cancer patients--some unique ways he was allowing God to minister through him in the course of practicing his profession. So I caught his attention and said, "Hey, I just wanted you to know I really appreciate what you’re doing. Do you realize what an incredible minister for Christ you are? You’re making quite a difference in our community."

It was like I’d hit him with a stun gun. A dazed expression flashed across his face. And after a moment’s pause, he looked at me and said, "Really?" I said, almost laughing now, "Well, yeah. The things I’ve been hearing about the work you do are really inspiring. We could use a lot more Christ followers like you."

He shook my hand and smiled. "You don’t know how much I needed to hear that this morning. Thank you." I was reminded again how often people just need a nod of encouragement in their journey, no matter how confident he or she may appear to be.

Shared a good word with someone lately?

Think about some things you’ve been noticing in others that are really worth praising. Slay the dragon and encourage them.

Ask God to make you and your words build up, not tear down.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Free Will

By John Piper

Before the fall of Adam sinless man was able to sin. For God said, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

As soon as Adam fell, sinful man was not able not to sin, since we were unbelieving,and “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

When we are born again, by the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to not sin, for “sin will have no dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).

This means that what Paul calls “the natural man” or “the mind of the flesh” is not able not to sin. Paul says this in Romans 8:7-9

The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (See also 1Corinthians 2:14).

How then shall we think of free will?

It is not a saving power. In his freedom to will, fallen man cannot on his own do anything but sin. Such “free will” is a devastating reality. Without some power to overcome it’s bent, our free will only damns us.

We could stop here and turn with joy to the gospel truth that God overcomes our resistance, gives us life, wakens our dead inclination for Christ, and freely and irresistibly draws us to himself (John 6:44, 65; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 2:5; 2 Timothy 2:25-26).

But it sometimes helps to answer objections. One common objection is that, if we “cannot” do what is right, and “can only” do what is sin, then we are not acting voluntarily and cannot be praised or blamed.

Here is part of John Calvin’s answer to this objection:

The goodness of God is so connected with his Godhead that it is not more necessary to be God than to be good; whereas the devil, by his fall, was so estranged from goodness that he can do nothing but evil.

Should anyone give utterance to the profane jeer that little praise is due to God for a goodness to which he is forced, is it not obvious to every man to reply, “It is owing not to violent impulse, but to his boundless goodness, that he cannot do evil?”

Therefore, if the free will of God in doing good is not impeded, because he necessarily must do good; if the devil, who can do nothing but evil, nevertheless sins voluntarily; can it be said that man sins less voluntarily because he is under a necessity of sinning? (Institutes, II.3.5)

Date: July 8, 2009 Source:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

7 Negative Effects of Porn by BJ Stockman

7 Negative Effects of Porn
BJ Stockman » Worldviews Body Mind Sin Culture

This is a rather frank post on porn, so proceed, or not, with that in mind.

Porn is a problem. It's a personal problem for many and a cultural problem for all. You may think you have not been affected by porn, but you have because it's embedded in the surrounding culture. The staggering size of the pornography industry, its influence upon the media and the acceleration of technology, paired with the accessibility, anonymity, and affordability of porn all contribute to its increasing impact upon the culture.

Pornography affects you whether you’ve ever viewed it or not, and it is helpful to understand some of its negative effects, whether you are a man or woman, struggling with watching it, or simply a mom or dad with a son or daughter. There is a plethora of research on the detrimental effects of pornography (and I do not think that what follows are necessarily the worst of them), but here are seven negative effects of porn upon men and women:

1. Porn Contributes to Social and Psychological Problems Within Men
Anti-pornography activist, Gail Dines, notes that young men who become addicted to porn, “neglect their schoolwork, spend huge amounts of money they don’t have, become isolated from others, and often suffer depression.” (Pornland, 93). Dr. William Struthers, who has a PhD in biopsychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, confirms some of these and adds more, finding that men who use porn become controlling, highly introverted, have high anxiety, narcissistic, curious, have low self-esteem, depressed, dissociative, distractible (Wired for Intimacy, 64-65). Ironically, while viewing porn creates momentary intensely pleasurable experiences, it ends up leading to several negative lingering psychological experiences.

2. Porn Rewires the Male Brain
Struthers elaborates,

As men fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on [pornographic images], the exposure to them creates neural pathways. Like a path is created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed. Over time these neural paths become wider as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with woman are routed….They have unknowingly created a neurological circuit that imprisons their ability to see women rightly as created in God’s image (Wired For Intimacy, 85).
In a similar vein regarding porn’s effect upon the brain, Naomi Wolf writes in her article, "The Porn Myth,"

After all, pornography works in the most basic of ways on the brain: It is Pavlovian. An orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers imaginable. If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on; if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on. The ubiquity of sexual images does not free eros but dilutes it.

3. Porn Turns Sex Into Masturbation
Sex becomes self-serving. It becomes about your pleasure and not the self-giving, mutually reciprocating intimacy that it was designed for.

4. Porn Demeans and Objectifies Women
This occurs from hard-core to soft-core pornography. Pamela Paul, in her book Pornified, quoting the research of one psychologist who has researched pornography at Texas A&M, writes,

‘Softcore pornography has a very negative effect on men as well. The problem with softcore pornography is that it’s voyeurism teaches men to view women as objects rather than to be in relationships with women as human beings.’ According to Brooks, pornography gives men the false impression that sex and pleasure are entirely divorced from relatoinships. In other words, pornography is inherently self-centered–something a man does by himself, for himself–by using another women as the means to pleasure, as yet another product to consume (80).
Paul references one experiment that revealed a rather shocking further effect of porn: “men and women who were exposed to large amounts of pornography were significantly less likely to want daughters than those who had none. Who would want their own little girl to be treated that way?” (80).

“It becomes about your pleasure and not the self-giving, mutually reciprocating intimacy that it was designed for.”

Again, it needs to be emphasized, that this is not an effect that only rests upon those who have viewed porn. The massive consumption of porn and the the size of the porn industry has hypersexualized the entire culture. Men and women are born into a pornified culture, and women are the biggest losers. Dines continues,

By inundating girls and women with the message that their most worthy attribute is their sexual hotness and crowding out other messages, pop culture is grooming them just like an individual perpetrator would. It is slowly chipping away at their self-esteem, stripping them of a sense of themselves as whole human beings, and providing them with an identity that emphasizes sex and de-emphasizes every other human attribute (Pornland, 118).

5. Porn Squashes the Beauty of a Real Naked Woman
Wolf, in her own blunt way, confirms this,

For most of human history, the erotic images have been reflections of, or celebrations of, or substitutes for, real naked women. For the first time in history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn (Quoted in Wired for Intimacy, 38).

6. Porn Has a Numbing Effect Upon Reality
It makes real sex and even the real world boring in comparison. It particularly anesthetizes the emotional life of a man. Paul comments,

Pornography leaves men desensitivzed to both outrage and to excitement, leading to an overall diminishment of feeling and eventually to dissatisfaction with the emotional tugs of everyday life…Eventually they are left with a confusing mix of supersized expectations about sex and numbed emotions about women…When a man gets bored with pornography, both his fantasy and real worlds become imbued with indifference. The real world often gets really boring…” (Pornified, 90, 91).

7. Porn Lies About What it Means to be Male and Female
Dines records how porn tells a false story about men and women. In the story of porn, women are “one-dimensional”–they never say no, never get pregnant, and can’t wait to have sex with any man and please them in whatever way imaginable (or even unimaginable). On the other hand, the story porn tells about men is that they are “soulless, unfeeling, amoral life-support systems for erect penises who are entitled to use women in any way they want. These men demonstrated zero empathy, respect, or love for the women they have sex with…(Pornland, xxiv).”

How To Honor Your Wife by Mark Driscoll

This post was adapted from website and adapted from the Marriage & Men sermon and edited by the Mars Hill Blog

Now, my tone is for the men. We speak to men differently than women. Were this a women’s conference, I would not call you all idiots and imbeciles and fools, that you’re a joke, okay? But you men, this is where it needs to go. You’ve been glad-handed and buddied up and positive thinking and you’re a winner and Jesus loves you and you can do better. And I’m telling you, you’re a joke. And the real men in the room know it and they see it. And maybe there’s one woman that you fooled and she doesn’t see it because like Eve, she’s deceived.

Show Honor to Your Wife
Here’s what Peter has to say In 1 Peter 3:7:

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayer may not be hindered.
In the previous verse, 1 Peter 3:6, he said that women, when it comes to marriage are prone toward, what? Fear. Fear. And you know what? Those fears that the women have about marriage are legitimate.

Your Wife Trusts You with the Rest of Her Life
If a woman marries a man, she’s trusting him with the rest of her life that he won’t hit her, cheat on her, that he’ll work hard, that he’ll pay the bills, that he’ll love their children, that he’ll finish the race well, that he’ll walk with Jesus until the end, that if she gets sick, he’ll look after her, that if she is dying, he will be faithful to her. Gentlemen, it is a terrifying thing for a woman to trust a sinful man.

“Every man who reads this, even the best men among us, has areas of repentance and growth that are required.”

As a man, I don’t think I fully understood this until I had daughters, and now I have some understanding of that fear. The thought of taking one of my daughters and walking them down the aisle and handing them to a man and trusting that he will love them and protect them and serve them and care for them and look after them, it causes me fear and grave concern.

Don't Give Women a Reason to Fear
Women have legitimate fears, and what Peter is saying is that men need to be a particular way so those fears are alleviated. And I love his words, “in an understanding way, showing honor.” That’s a man.

Now as I say this, many of you guys will nod your head and say, “Yeah, that’s me.”

No, you’re not. So let me practically unpack this for you. Every man who reads this, even the best men among us, has areas of repentance and growth that are required. And so I want to talk to you men about some things that your woman will fear.

1. Honor Your Wife Maritally
What this means is, gentlemen, you’re not looking for a girlfriend if you are single. You’re not looking for a roommate. You’re not looking for a cohabitation partner. You’re looking for a wife. You must honor her while dating, that is when you're on your best behavior. I don’t care if you apologize, do you repent and lead? Being sorry is not enough; being Christ-like is what is necessary.

Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Are you selfless or selfish? Do you give yourself up for her or do you take from her?

What it is to be a one-woman man
When you get married, men, you are to be a one-woman man. That’s the requirement of an elder and that is the example for all men.

You’re not the flirt guy
You’re not the female buddies guy
You’re not the download porn guy
You’re not the “I got another gal on the side I always keep in case of emergency” guy
You’re not the wandering eye guy
If you are, you’re not honoring marriage and you’re not honoring your wife.

Don't make women fearful of men
I know some complete fools, they like to take their wedding ring off when they go out to the sports bar with the boys. Do you honor your marriage covenant? Do you take responsibility as the head of the marriage covenant, take responsibility for the well-being of the woman?

A woman has great fear. If you don’t honor marriage, she is statistically going to go into poverty upon divorce. She will become yet another single mother. She’ll have to find a way to explain to the children of why they shouldn’t be embittered against you even though you’re a loser. See, these fears are very legitimate. Women have seen this so many times that they’re fearful of men.

2. Honor Her Physically
Peter says that the woman is the “weaker vessel”. What that means is, generally speaking, if a husband and a wife get in a fist-fight, he’ll win. I’ll give you an example. Many of you have seen my wife, Grace. If we get in a fight, it’s not a fair fight. I have an 18-inch neck, she has an 18-inch waist. If someone breaks into our home, I’m not, “Go get ‘em, baby. You’re the tough one here. I’ll pray. II’ll pray imprecatory prayers in the closet.”

You know what, gentlemen? You are stronger than your woman
Do you ever hit her?
Do you ever shove her?
Do you ever push her?
Do you ever grab her, restrain her?
Do you ever raise a hand and threaten her?
Do you ever intimidate her with physical violence?
Do you give her that look, that pierced, glazed, violent, angry, don’t-push-it-now’s-a-good-time-to-shut-up look?
Do you tell her, “I’m getting very angry, you should just shut up right now. It’s gonna go bad for you”?
Do you get right in her face?
Do you intimidate her with your presence?
Shame on you. A man who picks on a woman, what a joke.

Have you ever forced yourself on a woman? You’re a rapist.

You’ll say, “She’s my wife.” You’re a rapist.

Don't hold your wife prisoner
When someone is attacked, we call it abuse. As horrible as that is, what is even worse is torment. Torment is when you’re abused and you can’t get out. This is like prisoners of war and those who are held captive in slavery. For some women, their version of slavery and captivity and torment is called marriage. Their husband is physically intimidating. She’s afraid of him. She can’t leave, at least that’s what she thinks. She feels stuck, particularly if she’s got children. Some of you guys are tormentors and abusers and rapists and husbands and Christians, and that is absolutely inexcusable.

Women, a man who hits you is in sin
Most men don’t walk around thinking about their personal safety. I know a lot of women who do. Does she feel safe with you? Ladies, if you’re dating a guy who has ever been physically violent, run for your life, run for your children’s life, run for your grandchildren’s life. If he’s ever even threatened you with violence, there is something profoundly demonic in that man. There is something sincerely wrong in that man. He will then apologize, tell you he is sorry. He will shed a few tears, say it will never happen again and he will subtly shift the blame to you. “You know when you do that, it just makes me really angry. Don’t do that again.”

“Oh, okay, it must be my fault.” It’s never your fault. It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if a man hits you, harms you, he’s in sin, no excuse.

Head-of-the-house does not mean bully
And there are some guys, some absolute block-headed idiots who think when the Bible says that you’re the head of the home, that it means you get to be the bully. There’s nothing uglier than a guy who then takes this same disposition toward his children, especially his daughters. The grossest, vilest thing is a man who hits a woman, and the man who hits a woman is willing to hit his own daughter. It’s disgusting.

3. Honor Your Wife Emotionally
Some of you say, “I’m not emotional, I don’t connect.” You should. Men and women have the same emotions; they express them in masculine and feminine ways. Your wife needs intimacy. She wants you to know her. She wants to know you. She wants you to open up. She wants you to be passionate and loving and honest, and she wants to know you and she wants to be known by you. And the Bible says that Adam was with his wife, Eve, and he, what?

He knew her.

There are too many guys that turn marriage into a job description. He does his responsibility, she does hers, and there’s no emotional connection whatsoever. Those are guys whose sins are sins of omission. “I didn’t hit her, I didn’t yell at her.” Yeah, but you didn’t love her. You didn’t connect with her. You didn’t encourage her. You didn’t pursue her.

Ultimately, you failed her.

4. Honor Her Verbally
How do you speak to her? Do you have nasty nicknames for her? Do you raise your voice? Do you threaten her? Do you give back-handed comments? Some of you guys would say, “I would never hit a woman.” How about with your tongue?

When you wife is not there and you’re with the boys, how do you speak of her? What do you say about her?

Dont' put your children in the middle
You know what? Your children will pick this up as well.

You start saying horrible things about your wife, and the children will be left in this horrible position of choosing between their mother and father and invariably some of the children will despise their own mother and speak evil of her in an effort to remain loyal to their father.

A division in a marriage includes the children, they’re stuck in the middle. They’re casualties of the war.

If I close my eyes, no one can see me
You men could defuse this and take away this fear by honoring her verbally. Speaking honestly, respectfully, lovingly to her and about her. Some of you guys forget. You say, “Well, Jesus isn’t there. My wife isn’t there. I get to say whatever I want.” No, Jesus is there even when your wife’s not there. God sees everything. God knows everything, and you’re not getting away with anything.

5. Honor Your Wife Financially
“If a man does not provide for the needs of his family, he’s denied the faith and worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

In Genesis, the woman’s curse was her children and submitting to her husband. The man’s curse was providing for his family. And what the weakest, most impish, worthless men among us do is, “Oh, my load is heavy. I know yours is heavy, but I need you to carry half of mine too.”

Men, you have to work
You've got to work hard. You’ve got to out-work the other men if you want to feed your family. That’s your responsibility as a man. If you want any men to respect you, if you want your wife to respect you, if you want your children to respect you, you pay the bills. You make the money, you feed the family.

We live in this day where there are guys telling their wives,

“Hey, birth control, abortion”
“We can’t have kids”
“You make too much money”
“I don’t like responsibility.”
Shame on you.

Your wife has a maternal duty to fulfill
There’s nothing sadder than a woman who loves Jesus and wants to be a mom, and the husband keeps saying, “I’m the head of the home, no.” What he’s saying is “I’m in charge and I command you to sin, to deny all of your maternal instincts." Titus 2 says, “The woman should be homeward in her orientation.”

“We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.”

And I know that some of you guys are going to say, “Oh, but this is outdated.” Yes, and I would say look at the condition of marriages and families in our culture and ask if it’s working.

The latest statistics indicate 40 percent of all children are born out of wedlock. It is now at the point where women aren’t even pretending they’re going to ever get married.

They go to college, get a good job, get pregnant, have a kid. They’ve lost any hope of ever finding a guy who can actually carry the load, and that’s tragic. We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.

Be generous with your wife
I know guys as well, they’re not generous. I know one guy, he’s such an idiot. This guy makes decent money and he’s totally chintzy with his wife. She gets no spending money, can’t go out to coffee with the girls because he’s a total control freak and tightwad. Be honoring of your wife financially. I’m not saying you have to live at a lavish and high level. But what I am saying is live within your means, you make a budget, you tithe, spend, save, invest well. I know it’s hard to live on one income. I know it’s particularly difficult in this economic climate, but for some of you boys, it’s a built-in excuse to be irresponsible.

Run the numbers rather assuming you need a second income
Statistically, if you have children, and put them in day care so mom can work, the other costs that are associated: eating out, take-out, dry cleaning, car, second phone, cell phone, things of that nature, plus the increased tax breaks and costs and burdens very rarely contribute anything to the bottom line of the family. The taxes alone eat a huge portion of it.

MSNBC did a big study on this years ago and they brought the data to the mothers who dropped their kids off at the day care. “You’re providing nothing to the income of the family,” and the women are bawling, having a nervous breakdown on television, saying, “Well, then why am I even going to work?”

Because that guy doesn’t know how to run numbers on taxes. He’s not smart enough to find somebody to figure it out for him. He just says, “Put the kids in day care, get a job, shoulder half of my curse. Oh and by the way, I forgot to run the numbers, come to find it’s not really helping.”

Honor her financially.

6. Honor Her Practically
With some guys, the house is a wreck. It’s never finished, the furniture’s broken, the car hardly starts, they live far away from community, they don’t have a schedule, they don’t have a budget, they don’t have a plan, the wife doesn’t know what’s going on.

Honor her practically. Do you have a budget? Do you have a schedule? Do you have an integrated plan? Do you have a life?

7. Honor Her Parentally
Gentlemen, your wife wants you to love the kids. She wants you to help raise them. She wants you to love them, to pursue them. She wants you to get guy time with your sons. She wants you to get daddy dates with your daughters. She wants you to do Ephesians 6 and be their pastor. She wants you to read the Bible with them. She wants you to pray with them. And you know what? You should want that too.

Do your job
So many guys who are Christians think “I pay for Christian school, I send the wife and kids to the Christian church. I’ve done my Christian duty.” No, you’ve abdicated your responsibility to others. It’s your job to love your kids. It’s your job to pray with your kids. It’s your job to teach the Bible to your kids. It’s your job to encourage your kids. It’s your job to discipline your kids.

“Christian, husband, father, employee. Those are your first four duties; it’ll take most of your life. You’re not going to have a lot of time.”

A wife will be so forgiving of so many things if she actually knows her husband desperately loves their children, that he serves them, that he cares for them, that he’s tender with them, that he’s Pastor Dad for them. So few children actually have a father. So few of those actually have a Christian father and how few of those actually have a dad who’s doing his job.

And I’ll tell you what, guys, this is not something you have to do; it’s something you get to do.

This is wonderful. Every night, my daughter Alexie, blond hair, blue eyes and looks like Tinkerbell says, “Poppa Daddy, I need a piggyback ride and a Bible story.” You know what? I do too. I need that as much as Alexie. I weep thinking of the day that I’m not going to be giving her piggyback rides, so I give her as many piggyback rides as I can because it’s a great season and a wonderful opportunity.

Honor your priorities
What this means, gentlemen, is your priorities will be Christian, husband, father, employee. Those are your first four duties; it’ll take most of your life. You’re not gonna have a lot of time. You're probably gonna need to put down your tools, your hobbies, your car, your projects, your golf clubs, your Xbox and probably going to need to put down the remote control, and your laptop, and your [technological product] to honor your wife parentally. You’re not going to have a lot of time for a lot of other things.

Gentlemen, your goal is not to stand before God and tell him what level you got to on “World of Warcraft”.

8. Honor Her Spiritually
All of this comes down to this point.

There are between 11 and 13 million more Christian women than men. Many women go to church on their own. They have to drag their husband to church, they drag their children to church. It is your job, men, to lead spiritually. You pray with the family. You read the Bible with the family. You pick a good church, become a member of it, submit to it. You pick the community group or midweek class you will be in. You are the one to lead the family spiritually.

Start with a prayer
Some guys say, “Well, I don’t know what to do.” Just start by praying with your wife. There are women who will read this sermon and deep down in their heart, this is what they want the most, “If my husband would just pray with me.”

There are some of you guys, you pray with all kinds of people, you don’t pray with your wife. Do you pray with your wife? Do you pray with your kids? Do you read the Bible with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your kids?

Leading spiritually is the foundation of everything else.

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