2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 7

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 3

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Marriage Blog: The Little Things

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If you watch enough TV, movies or even YouTube, you get a feeling that you are set up for romantic disaster.  There are so many things to watch that make us feel romantically inadequate.

If you watch an episode of some dating show like “The Bachelor”, you’ll see people romancing each other with, what seems to be, no budgetary and/or resource (restaurants, settings, transportation, etc) restrictions.  You’ll watch movies (probably romantic comedies) where the romantic actions are done with immense proportions that almost makes you feel like you don’t love your spouse because you’ve never did something on that scale.

We can get so wrapped up in a cultural philosophy called: Bigger is better.

But I submit to you this: I like planning big things.  I like making memorable moments.  But (to use a cliché) it’s the little things that count.

We look at all of those shows/movies thinking…
…ONE BIG event is going to propel us into marital health.
…ONE BIG moment will save our marriage.
…ONE BIG date/weekend will heal us.

It’s like saying, “one trip to the doctor will make it all better.” Seeing your family physician is good for you. It’s definitely needed. But what creates health is the every day action steps that follow the visit (fluids, eating properly, medicine, etc). The “ONE BIG” date or moment isn’t bad for your marriage. But like the doctor visit,  it’s the little EVERY DAY things/actions/moments that follow the moment that really matter.

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

Can I get you to be prudent with your steps and think smaller? Can we get past “ONE BIG thinking” and into the wisdom of “little thing thinking”? Thinking like…

– The first few minutes your with your spouse in the morning will set the pace for the entire day.
– How you leave each other for the day can decide how anxious he/she will be to see you again.
– How you greet each other when you reunite for the evening speaks volumes.
– “Please” and “thank you” help your spouse not to feel taken for granted.
– Reaching your arm around your spouse in bed to pray for him/her speak volumes as well as depths of spiritual commitment.

But why stop there? Start getting practical and creative with “little things”…

– Send/give small thoughts or gestures (notes/texts/messages). If your spouse travels, leave messages in his/her luggage.
– Authentic affection (NOT laced with sexual expectations) will foster deeper intimacy.
– Spontaneous gestures of serving/selfless activity (clean/cook/fix).
– Care for what he/she cares about.
– If you are a parent, give your spouse some relief from the kids.  As the old saying goes, “silence is golden.”
– Use little touches to his/her love languages (acts of service, gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch).

It doesn’t take much.  Most of this stuff you won’t see on “The Bachelor”. But what the shows and movies won’t tell you, it’s the little things that keeps a marriage healthy and fun.

Be prudent and give careful thoughts to your steps to doing some “little things” every day with/for your spouse.

What ideas do you have?  What little things do you do?

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Things I’ve Never Said

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“Dancing with the Stars is on.”
“I enjoy instant coffee.”
“I really like your shell necklace, bro.”
“I’m bummed that Oprah is no longer doing her show.”
“Football season is too long.”
“I love April when it’s 37 degrees and raining.”
“I can’t wait to wake up early tomorrow!”

These are a few things I’ve NEVER said. They are things I don’t plan on saying ever.

Probe
Ford Probe: A car NEVER to buy!

What got this thought going was today’s date with my wife.  Anne and I were talking about me having a bit of writer’s block about today’s marriage blog. We were driving and a Ford Probe passed by. My first thought: “wow, it’s still running.” Followed by, “You know what I’ve never said? I wish I’d bought a Ford Probe.

Then lightning struck my brain (quote from “Hook”).  What began to flood though my mind were 16 years of conversations I’ve had with married couples.  At some point, I hear the same statement that I hear other married couples say:

“My husband/wife would never say that.”

What type of things don’t they hear from their spouse?
– “I’m sorry.”
– “I was wrong.”
– “I forgive you.”
– “I need you.”
– “I can’t wait to see you.”
– “You turn me on.”
– “Can I pray for you?”
– “Can I help with anything?”
– “I love you.”

It’s not as if these statements were never said (sometimes that’s the case). For some people, these lines have been retired to an early time of martial bliss.  Sometimes they’re only used as foreplay or manipulation to get what he/she wants. More often than none, I hear a spouse say, “I don’t need to say it, he/she knows how I feel.” Nevertheless, silence has become the deadly killer in communication and has brought much more pain and agony than one can anticipate. Let me share some wisdom from scripture:

Proverbs 15:23 (NLT) says, “Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!

You’re spouse needs you to “step up to the mic.” He/she needs the “fitting reply” that no one else can say but you.  Words like “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, or “I forgive you” that come from your mouth will do more for your spouse than it would coming from anyone else.  That’s why your silence is so damaging.  That’s why WRONG replies are so hurtful.  The person that your spouse is most vulnerable to (emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally) is you.  You’re words matter and the RIGHT words can and will have phenomenal results.

The two results from Proverbs 15:23:

1 – Joy. It ways, “everybody enjoys a fitting reply.” Don’t let you ego/pride get in the way of giving your spouse a fitting reply. Proper responses to your spouse don’t fall into the category of “things better left unsaid.”  Open your mouth and  use your vocal cords to speak what needs to be said. Your words will bring healing to him/her.  Your words will usher in “joy.”  The word “joy” in the hebrew means: mirth, gladness, joy, gaiety, pleasure.  To withhold your words is to deny your spouse mirth, gladness, joy, gaiety, pleasure.  Speak up and give “a fitting reply.”

2 – Fruitful marriage. I like the ESV translation of this passage. It says, “and a word in season, how good it is!” It gives off the sound of a tree that is seeded in its proper season has its fruit enjoyed by all. When a fruit is out of season, it’s not as flavorful and definitely not as juicy. To speak the right words at the right time is called “in season.”  In addition, Proverbs proclaims “how good” those words are!!! The word “good” in the hebrew means: good, rich, valuable.  Give your spouse something rich to feast on.  Learn when to apologize.  Learn when to speak romantic words. Learn how to read your spouse to know what they need to hear. Speak up at the proper time and let them enjoy the fruits of the blessing.

That’s it for today.  Don’t let it be said of you “My husband/wife would never say that.”

Speak up!! Bring joy to your marriage.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Ten Things I Hate About My Spouse

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If you were to ask your friends/family/coworkers to make a “TOP TEN” list for you, what type of list would they make? Would it be, “Ten Things I Hate About My Spouse”?  Or would it be “Ten Things I Love About My Spouse”?

I almost borrowed the title of the 1999 teen romance film, “Then Things I Hate About You.” But I didn’t want to make you think we were just turning this blog into a movie review for lame movies from our past.

Between recent blog-posts and a pre-marital counseling appointment, one theme has been constantly staring at me in the face: Marriage Edification.  Of my marriage blogger friends, this week must have highlighted a theme that either they organized (without telling me) OR the Holy Spirit was trying to speak something specific into marriages.

Even this morning, I went through my early morning routine of waking up and immediately checking my twitter feed. There were more edification blogs. I did a quick count of 3 edification blogs in 12 hours that, specifically, was wives edifying their husbands.   With titles like: “Why I love my husband”, “Reasons I love my husband”, and “11 Reasons I love my sexy husband”, it seems everyone is on a similar page.

These wives were sharing things like:
– He laughs with me.
– He flirts with me in front of the kids
– He lets me wear his sweatshirts
– I trust him with my heart
– (my personal favorite) When I asked him to get rid of the “whitey-tighties,” he did.

Do you have a “Top Ten”?  Can you come up with 10? 

The question came: Have we stopped edifying our spouse?  How do I speak about my spouse?

A simple definition of edify is to build up.  One dictionary says to verbalize especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.

Maybe we can make it simpler: To uplift.

When we were courting our spouse, we were filled with words that caught the ear of the one we were in love with.  There were phrases spoken that unashamedly expressed feelings and sensations.  Even to friend and family around you, there was no mistake how you felt. Some of those words came out in a written letter.  Other times it was over the phone.  No matter the method, those days were times where your words could not be contained by silence.  Your date/fiancé knew exactly what you felt and why you felt that way.

Does he/she still feel edified?

Now a days, we don’t verbalize anything but criticism to our spouse.  They hear nothing but shortcomings and put downs.   Even worse, maybe all he/she gets from you is silence.

What about the people you talk/facebook/email to?  What do they hear you say about your spouse?  Is it words like, “can you believe HE did this?” and “you’ll never guess what SHE expected me to do.”

I’ll ask you the initial question we asked earlier in the blog: If you were to ask your friends/family/coworkers to make a “TOP TEN” list for you, what type of list would they make? Would it be, “Ten Things I Hate About My Spouse”?  Or would it be “Ten Things I Love About My Spouse”?

Where would their information come from?
– Your conversations with them
– They way you talk to your spouse in public
– Your body language when your spouse walks into the room
– They way you talk to your spouse in front of the kids

By our words and actions, would they have a stronger case for the “hate” list over the “love” list?

Hebrews 3:13 is what jumps out to me.  “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Do you hear the warning?  Encourage DAILY.  If you don’t, the results are painful.  Your marriage will be hardened.  Unfeeling. Deceived.  I understand the context of the passage was speaking, generally, to all of God’s people.  I think it would be VERY appropriate to carry that principle into our marriage.  TRUTH: Choosing to not edify your spouse is asking for a hardened and callused marriage.

TRUTH: You cannot assume your spouse knows how you feel! They need to hear it.  They need to see it.  Then take it a step further: edify your spouse to the people around you.  It will accomplish four things:

  1. Pleases the heart of God. 
  2. Rekindles your passion by uplifting the one you have become one with.
  3. It will get back to your spouse and, thus, rekindle their passion.
  4. Leaves no room for the enemy to fill the need for edification by anyone else.

Take some time to make a “top ten” list.  Share it over dinner.  Share it on a date (unless you’re in a theater then wait till after).  Even better, share it in bed.  It’s great pillow talk.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

6 items I want @kalamazoofirst to know on Labor Day

Happy Labor Day KFirst!

There a few things I would love to share with you today…

#1 – What an awesome day at KFirst yesterday morning.  Pastor Matt brought a great word “Connect the Dots.”  If you missed it, check out the KFirst Website or download it in iTunes in the next few days. PMatt shared his testimony and challenged  us with a TRUTH: “The next generation will know Jesus because of people who chose to obey Him today”  I found myself reminiscing of those people in my life that have influenced me and are the “dots” in my life story.  It was an amazing site to see our students and school faculty come forward for prayer as they are challenged to live out another TRUTH: “How you live your life today has the potential to change someone’s life tomorrow”  Awesome job Matt!

#2 – Tomorrow is, officially, the day where all of our children will be school.

  • Pray over their transition into a new school year, a new schedule, and for some, a new school surrounding.
  • Pray over their connections to peers and faculty.
  • Pray for protection for them.
  • Pray for the faculty and administrators (teachers, principals, custodians, bus drivers, etc).
  • Most of all, pray over outreach possibilities your children will have as they live out Christ in the one of the greatest mission fields in the world.

#3 – Today is Labor Day. Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement. It is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  Oddly enough, Labor Day is seen as a day of rest.  Find some time today find some rest.  But also find a way to invest in your marriage, family, and/or friendships.  Have a BBQ, invite some friends over, and celebrate friendship.

#4 – This is a the week we launch “Dust.” As I stated this past Monday, this series has been developing in my heart for quite a few months.  The old saying, “May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.” Reason being, years ago, disciples who closely followed their rabbis along sandy, dirty roads would get covered, quite literally, with the dust of their rabbi.  Join us on this journey as we launch a new series that explores our endeavor to follow Jesus, our teacher/rabbi.  I’m so excited to travel this journey with you.

#5 – DON’T MISS WEDNESDAY!!!

Night of Worship and Prayer is this Wednesday at 6:45p.m. It’s going to be a great time of soaking in the Lord’s presence as we intercede over our school year.

#6 –Pastor’s Prayer has changed to Wednesday at 9:30 JUST FOR SEPTEMBER.  I can’t wait to connect with the prayer team and launch into the fall.

In case you missed our video announcements, here you go.

That’s it for this Monday…I love serving KFirst and cannot WAIT for this Sunday.

Thanks for letting me ramble…