Thoughts on Marriage

   For some reason I watched Sister Wives for the first time tonight – a show about a family consisting of 1 husband and 3 (soon to be 4) wives and their children. The controversial nature of their family makes them a perfect candidate for TLC programming. While I find the show… enlightening, I am far from promoting their polygomous lifestyle. The show did make me think of some thoughts on marriage in no particular order:

  • God made 1 woman for 1 man. Genesis 2:24
  • Scripture makes no wholesale command against polygamy, except in church leadership. 1 Timothy 3
  • Proverbs 22:3 – ‘nough said!
  • Frank Ramono to son Ray on Everybody Loves Raymond, “If you’ve got a problem with your woman, don’t go get another woman. Now you’ve just got TWO problems!!!”
  • How do you court another woman without committing emotional adultery? Matthew 5:28 
  • Is it not hypocritical for 1 man to have 4 wives, yet each wife is expected to be married to 1 man?
  • Polygamy is against the law in all 50 states. Romans 13
  • My wife (singular) is the only woman who can satisfy all of my needs – emotionally, relationally, and sexually – guilt free.

John

Politically Incorrect

   This will be the test of the loyalty for some of my viewers for this brand new blog! Many people are staunch are their political views, and others even more grounded in the idea of “separation of church and state.” But with the voting polls opening in less than 2 days it seems appropriate to put some things in perspective…

  First of all, it is worth noting that the terminology of “separation of church and state” appear nowhere in any government document; not the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, ammendments, or preamble to any such documents. It was written in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to an association of Baptist churches and referenced by a Supreme Court Judge later on in 1878. Many have tried to suggest that the first Ammendment states “separation of church and state,” which it does not. It does state that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibitting the free exercise thereof.” I am a pastor. I am also an American citizen. My choice to back a political figure is as legitimate as that of any other American. My rights are not invalid simply because my motives are spiritually driven. With that said, I officially endorse…

   Jesus. “Really?!? That’s a lame, predictable answer.” Probably, but the truth is no candidate – and I mean NO CANDIDATE – has ever impressed me to such a degree that I would recommend them wholesale for others to vote for. Not that I wouldn’t. “Are you Republican or Democrat?” Neither. I would have said Republican at one point. But I’ve been overwhelmingly disappointed with the moral depravity on both sides of the political aisle. And a candidate who can quote Scripture is as unconvincing to me as someone sitting in church who knows all the right things to say, but does not live it. Both parties say “God bless America.” Do they mean it? What do their  political choices suggest? Do the bills they pass honor the God they ask to bless this country?

  These days, I’m too busy lifting up Jesus to give the same level of attention to a political candidate. He is still the only one capable of bringing lasting, meaningful change to this country, or the world for that matter. One day, He will return and reign over the world in truth and justice, on a level unlike any human government is capable of. In the meantime, we must remain engaged in the world in which we live and exercise our rights.

   I’m an American and I intend to vote on Tuesday. My choices will be based on Biblical and moral principles. In some cases, I will choose the lesser of two evils. But the “lesser of two evils is still evil.” In some races, I’ll not select a candidate at all, simply because I’m hard pressed to stomach voting for either.

I encourage every reader to go out and vote for the individuals who give us the least government interference, lowest taxes, greatest protection, and most importantly, possess the highest character. This may not be the most politically correct post I make, but I have a right to exercise my “freedom of speech.” A statement that does appear in our constitution.

John

“Missions” revisited

At the age of 14, I gave my life to full time ministry after watching a documentary on TV about a tribe in a jungle that talked around the campfire about the “creator spirit” who spoke to his reflection in a pool of water, and the reflection stepped out of the water to become man. While watching this with my father, he pointed out the similarity in their tribal tale to the Biblical account of God “creating man in His image.” It felt like God was laying on me the task of taking the Gospel to this people group one day. I’m not honestly sure where exactly this tribe was from, but that they needed to hear the whole story.

I enrolled in Bible college in August of 2000 as a “Missions” major in order to go reach some people group I had never met or even heard of halfway across the planet. I was young, driven, and impatient to go. Halfway through college I started noticing the startling trend of my generation leaving church. I was shaken by the statistics and wondered where my real priorities lay. God began to add to the stress I was feeling. I couldn’t shake my generation here in the states from my mind. I surrendered to being more open about God’s calling on my life in 2003, but at heart, still wanted to go to the mission field.

6 years later, and I’ve been working at Edgewood for over 1 year and was beginning the work of starting our Saturday night service, The Awakening. I started reading up on building new ministries and specifically church planting, as it related to what we were trying to do on many levels. One book was Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stezter. It was in this book that Stetzer makes the connection between foreign missions and ministry here in the states. The book described the process that we go through to reach another people group in a different culture: learn the language, learn the culture, adapt to the customs, relate but don’t try to imitate, find common ground, meet the outward needs, communicate the Gospel in a way they can comprehend and connect to. But when it came to our own culture, we seldom got it right. They learn our language, culture, and customs first. Meeting outward needs is considered “superficial”. Many churches refuse to find any common ground to relate to at all, or they imitate to the point of having no distinction. Result: The Gospel is unappealing to our culture, because the people sharing it appear more interested in advancing an agenda than reaching a life.

It was as if God spoke to me to say, “See! I want you to be a missionary to your own generation. You’ve even got a head start on language school!” God used missions to turn my heart to one of the largest, most unreached people groups. As it turns out, they live all around me. I find that it’s easier for us to have compassion on people who we’ve never met, who live thousands of miles away, than to look to the needs of the people we see everyday. If we want to do missions, we don’t need a telescope to see around the world. We need a living room window. Sometimes we forget that we’re not a church that has a mission; we’re a mission that has a church.

John