Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
isaiah 6:8

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pursuing versus Being Pursued, Pt. 1

Next Wednesday I will be celebrating my year anniversary with my future wife. That is sooo exciting! I was over a year ago that I began taking steps to pursue Jenny as my girlfriend and further as God allowed. I had been friends with Jenny since she began school at WKU, as I had already been around for a couple years at that point. Then two years ago our circles of friends got intermingled and we began to become better friends. Thats what made last year very scary for me. I didn't want to take unwarranted step that could ruin our friendship and make things ackward. But as we (we being Jenny, Katie Barr, Adam Holloway, and me) were talking about relationships at DoJo one night, the guys sharing the guys side and the girls sharing theirs something was said that hit me pretty hard. Jenny explained it like this, "A girl just wants to be treated like a princess. Girls feel like they are at a dance standing against the wall because they are constantly told they are to wait for the guy to prusue. Guys are to scared to pursue or don't know how to. Girl's just want to be asked to dance!" In girl's biblestudies (as I am told) they are often exhorted not to pursue the guys, but allow guys to pursue them.

Unfortunately Guys are really intimidated by the idea that we are supposed to pursue a girl, that we are supposed to lead a girl, that we are responsible for all actions while in a relationship. Man that is so intimidating. Guys who are not intimidated by those thoughts probably don't understand that they are required to follow them! They don't understand the weight of those repsonsibilities. That, I believe, is why there is a huge trend of failed Christian marriages and failed Christian relationships. God has wired us to relate to each other in this way and when we don't and allow sin to interfer we are on shaky ground and not on the Solid Rock. I see this as a huge issue that in alot of cases both sides don't understand how it works. Granted I am not claiming to be perfect or to know everything about relationships. All I can claim to know is what God has seen me fit to understand in Scripture. I believe He has given us a clear outline for how relationships are to work, but we allow sin to corrupt that and our own opinions to shape our view instead of God.

Why Men are the leaders of the Relationship
This is a huge statement that both men and women are scared of. Men are scared of it because they are forced to shoulder responsibility and therefore consequences. Women are scared of it because it means that they are not in complete control and are reliant on someone else who is just as sinful as they are.

I believe in Genesis 2, we see the first example of this relationship and the fear involved. We see God create Adam and place him in Eden. Adam was given everything he would ever need. he was also given one command by God, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17) God then sees that Adam should not be alone and put him to sleep to take a rib and make Eve. After Eve is created and is with Adam, God does not repeat this command. This shows God giving Adam the responsibility to tell Eve what is wrong and to provide leadership that will keep her from breaking the commandment of God.

I think we see it echoed after their sin. God seeks out Adam when they have sinned and questions him about it. It was Adam's responsibility for them not to eat of the tree, even if Eve was the initial perpetrator. Adam had equal sin because he allowed her and didn't stop her in that moment. Adam knew he was supposed to keep them out of sin, but he didn't. Men today are placed in that same position. We know we are to be familar with the Scriptures to keep us and our spouse out of sin, but we often fail. We are responsible, but often we blame it on them.

That is just an initial insight to why God has set up (and I should say that He did) relationships to function that way. Sorry it took me so long to post this. I thought I had posted it, but I had actually only saved it again as a draft. I will be posting again later with another look at Ephesians 5 and the evidence we see there for why a man should lead a woman in the relationship.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Is New Orleans my neighbor?

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

I have to admit, there is a huge part of me that wants to quit work buy a john boat and hit the highway. I have been watching FOXNews when I am at home and CNN video clips while I am at work. Each time feeling my heart break even more. What would I do if I lived there? How could I help people if my house was ruined, i had no electricity or sewer, food & water, etc? People amaze me, God amazes me. As I watch I see stories of people losing family members and treasured family heirlooms and just looking utterly devestated, but I also see people loading elderly and disabled people onto air matresses and dragging them through the nasty waters of New Orleans. They are being the good neighbor. I hope that I could say I would be too.

This is such a serious time and I don't think people in Kentucky realize it because we aren't really affected by it except at the pump. This situation needs serious long term help. People need to start planning weekend trips to Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana to help out with what they can. If you can't go, enable someone to. You can do this by letting an employee have friday off to go, give someone $50 for gas if they will go, buy supplies and send them with someone. An organization that I know God will use in big ways during this crisis is the North American Mission Board. NAMB is the nation's third-largest disaster relief agency, and their disaster relief ministries are both effective and trustworthy. NAMB and its teams have been asked to provide 300,000 meals a day by mid-week, and up to 500,000 per day by the end of the week. Here is a link for information and donations.

This is a situation that will not go away soon. People will be in physical and emotional need for months if not years to come. They will always be in spiritual need without a relationship with Jesus Christ. What kind of neighbor are you? Are you willing to go? Are you willing to send someone? Let's not be a church of people who pass by on the other side of the street. Let's drop our lives and go pick up someone needing help (spiritually or physically) and show them the Love of Christ!

34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

And the journey has begun

Where do i start? Sooo much is going on right now that it's hard to summarize it all. This past week i began at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY ( It was great! It was a great affirmation as to my call to ministry and to where i am right now in life! That's a great place to be, in the peace of the plan of God isn't it!?!

I am taking 2 classes this semester, Church History 1 and Leadership in an Intercultural Context. Both have been great so far and have greatly stretched me in my faith and knowledge of God.

Of course I am getting married in 114 days!!! I am very excited about that and also very thankful that God had worked in both Jenny's and my life separately to prepare us for each other. Then in His timing brought our friendship together to teach us more about Him through each other and our relationship. God is so amazing in His plan and the circumstances that He uses to orchestrate it! (Our Knot Website - Check it out)

One of my favorite stories in all the Bible is the story of Joseph. At the end of Genesis in Chapter 50 his brothers are certain that now that their father has died that Joseph is going to have them all killed for what they did to him as a boy. Joseph had gone through many different trials, each time God remained faithful to him so He could work out His plan. And at the end of Genesis in 50:19-20, "19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. " God had put Joseph through all of those trials and troubles just to get Joseph where God needed him to be to be able to save Israel.

That is the same God that is working in each of our lives to "accomplish... the saving of many lives" through our testimonies and witnesses. Have you shared your faith or testimony today?