Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #4

(Bolles Harbor)

Renner’s third thing a husband should never do is this.

3 – Never tell your wife there isn’t enough money in the budget for her to buy a new outfit – and then turn right around and spend a lot of money on yourself, your fishing trip, your hobbies, etc. When she sees you do this, it communicates to her that you love yourself more than you love her. Do you want your wife to perceive you as a selfish person who is more in love with yourself than concerned about blessing her?

I’ll add that the Christian idea about money in marriage is that: all the money a couple has belongs to God; the couple is to seek God about how to use God’s money; thus the money is not really to be talked about, literally, as “his” money or “her” money. If he makes a million dollars a year and she makes one dollar a year, then collectively they have a million and one dollars, and are together reponsible to God as to how to spend it, use it, give it, etc.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Monroe High Grad’s Movie to Premier Here in Monroe

Darren Wilson, a professor at Judson College in Elgin, Illinois, is a graduate of Monroe High School. Darren has just finished production on his film “Finger of God.”

Darren writes: “The question on everyone’s mind is simple, yet difficult to answer completely. What is the film about? The answer is not necessarily cut and dry. It’s about miracles. Signs and wonders. The death of religion. The call for more than just a belief. The power of Love. Stories that shake the very foundation of one’s belief system. The film is about a lot of thing, but more than anything, it is designed to make God famous.”

I got to see a showing last Saturday evening. I loved the film and was moved by it.

Darren’s movie will premier here in Monroe at Redeemer Fellowship Church, Sunday evening, December 9, 6:30 PM.

Darren’s film blog is here.

FYI – Darren is the son of Gary and Linda Wilson. Gary is long-time professor of art at MCCC.

The Romans 1:20 Experience in Monroe

I’m 58 years old, and I have not lost the sense of childlike wonder in the face of God’s creation. Tonight was no exception. I was driving on North Custer heading west from Telegraph, pulled over near Frenchman’s Bend, and took some shots of the sunset.

 

Earlier, I took this picture in the field behind Rupp Funeral Home. I’m a total amateur when it comes to taking pictures. So, thanks to the digital camera, I take tons of shots of something I like and sometimes get one that I like.

While I am a rank amateur, God is a pro. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

MIT physicist Vera Kistiakowsky writes: “The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine.”

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #3

#2 of Rick Renner’s 10 Things Every Husband Should Never Do is this.

2 – Never point out your wife’s weaknesses to others. Husbands often do this, not realizing how disrespectful they are being to their wives. Talking in public about your wife’s weaknesses will embarrass her. Do you want her to point out all your flaws to other people? You would prefer that she speak to you privately about such matters, so show her the same courtesy.

When I hear a man talk about his wife’s shortcomings as a way of complaining about her or making fun of her I feel certain that this man and his wife have a poor marriage. And, I’ll add this. Not only should a husband never do this. But even worse, far worse, is sharing your wife’s shortcomings with another woman. That’s fuel for an adulterous affair.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #2

This past Monday Linda and I went out for a drive to Adrian to eat at Culver’s. Culver’s has the best fast-food hamburgers and fries on the planet. On the way Linda read to me out of a book by Rick Renner. She read some stuff Renner wrote about having a good marriage. One of the things I listened to that night was his ten thoughts for husbands on improving their marriage. As she read them to me I thought we both thought – we’d like every husband to read these!

Here is #1.

#1 – Husbands, never put your wife down in front of others. Even if she smiles and laughs, trying to shrug off your verbal jabs, this kind of behavior on your part is deeply hurtful to your wife. She needs your honor, not your sarcasm. If there is a conflict between you, wait until you get home where you can talk about it privately, but never make fun of her or put her down in front of others. You certainly wouldn’t want her to do this to you.

As Linda read that to me I can say that I have never done that to her, nor her to me. Thankfully, before I married Linda, I read a book by Charlie Shedd called Letters to Philip: On How to Treat a Woman. I believe I read that book, or large parts of it, many times. Shedd taught me never to talk negatively about Linda to others. Of course, we have had arguments, disagreements, and fights between us. But we work those out without others around. I still inwardly cringe when I hear a husband do that to his wife in front of me. I feel sorry for her, and for them.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

God Visits Bolles Harbor

(10/24/07)

Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics, Tulane University): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.” Note: Tipler since has actually become a follower of Jesus. His newest book is The Physics Of Christianity.

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #1

 

In my 36 years as a pastor, with 35 of those years married to my incredible wife Linda, I have counseled and pre-counseled hundreds of couples re. their marriages. I have seen marriages of all kinds and shapes and in all varieties and levels of duress. I have learned a lot of things. Here is one: I have never, ever met a marriage that I thought could not be saved and restored and made better. Never.

So, if you are in a marriage that is in bad shape, I want you to know that your marriage need not be over. I am going to begin a series of “marriage saving” posts that, hopefully, will save at least one marriage in Monroe. If that’s you, let me know, and I’ll be very encouraged.

Begin by reading this very good article, posted on CNN today.

(This picture of Linda and I was taken this past summer.)

The Colorado Rockies Have a Lot of Jesus-Followers

Today’s New York Times has a nice article on the number of Jesus-followers that play on the Colorado Rockies, and the role of faith on the team. General Manager Dan O’Dowd is a Jesus-follower, and says that his faith has “guided him to find players with integrity and strong moral values, regardless of their religious preference.”

O’Dowd continues: “Do we like players with character? There is absolutely no doubt about that. If people want to interpret character as a religious-based issue because it appears many times in the Bible, that’s their decision. I believe that character is an innate part of developing an organization, and to me, it is nothing more than doing the right thing at the right time when nobody’s looking. Nothing more complicated than that. You don’t have to be a Christian to make that decision.”

Does following Jesus mean a team will win more games becaue God is on their side? I think not. All God really cares about is His Kingdom and its advancement. “The Rockies, who will face the Red Sox in the World Series beginning Wednesday, care more about whether a teammate plays hard, is unselfish and treats everyone with respect.”

I agree. When I decided to be a follower of Jesus God began to reform my character into Christlikeness. A lot of change has happened in me. And a lot more is needed. I remain eternally thankful to God that he rescued me out of an almost-total ego-centeredness and showed me how to give my life away for others. I’d love to play on a team like that. And I love being in a church like that.

 (The picture is of some leaves that were in a puddle on my driveway this morning.)

What the New Testament is Really About


“The New Testament is a book about disciples by disciples for disciples.
Have you decided to be a disciple
in New Testament terms?
This is an intentional decision —
not something you just drift into.”

Dallas Willard

For over two years I have been reading the 4 Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John – over and over and over. In the process I have re-discovered and newly found things like:

1- The essential message of Jesus is about the Kingdom of God

2 – The words of Jesus are revolutionary

3 – The words of Jesus are radical in the sense of getting at the root (radix) of things in the world and in the human heart

4 – An actual “Christian” is a disciple of Jesus. Which means: a real Christian is someone who actually follows after Jesus.

In that regard I very much like the quote about the New Testament by Dallas Willard. So I have a suggestion for you, if you identify with Jesus: spend a year reading and re-reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Read these 4 books with an open heart and ears to hear. Write down what God says to you. Watch the inner revolution begin.

Winterizing the Human Soul

I’m writing as the sun is shining and the temperature, for October in Monroe, is in the 70s. In contrast to this near-summer day, here’s a picture of when winter came to my home – there’s my driveway with our old Aerostar in it.

I am just now beginning to winterize my home. I’m firing up the snowblower, putting insulation over the windows in my 1863 “Michigan basement,” getting out the winter clothes, putting the shorts and swim suits away.

Just as here in Monroe we have four not-quite-equal seasons, so does life have seasons. Every life has its “winter.” Just as a home needs to be winterized, so does a life. Some philosophers, such as Martin Heidegger, viewed human life as a “being unto death.” Death is actually more certain than taxes. In some significant ways a person’s life can be seen as a preparation for their death, like preparing for winter.

As a pastor I have been with many people at their moment of death. I have heard their last words (if they were able to speak anything), and I have seen their last breath. I have seen good deaths and bad deaths. I’ve seen the prepared and the unprepared. People like me do funerals, and I have done many. I have witnessed – if you can believe this – funerals that turned into celebrations of joy. And I have seen funerals that degenerated into bitterness and hatred and despair.

A funeral is a reflection of the preparedness or non-preparedness of the deceased person and their family. For me, “winterizing” my life means these things:

1) I will live my life so as to be at peace with God

2) I will live my life so as to be at peace with my family

3) I will live my life so as to work for peace and reconciliation with others

I have seen people die with these three things solidly winterized. It’s then that joy emerges in the midst of tears, hope overcomes despair, and faith displaces fear.