Recently, I held our first Men’s Leadership Night at Grace Baptist Church. It was a delight to share some simple truths to encourage guys in their calls to lead. I summarized the lesson in four short videos. I will be releasing them over the next several weeks.
Notice what God said about the prophet, Jeremiah.
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” —Jeremiah 1:5
For the Jeremiah, God set him apart and commissioned him to lead. In the same way, God has set you apart and commissioned you to lead in the roles He has given you. I would suggest that you take a moment to write down the different roles that God has given you, so that you can visualize your call to lead.
You have the unique, unspeakable power to impact others who live around you. When I speak of impact, I am talking about the ability to influence the direction, decisions and destiny of others. You have heard the statement, “No man is an island unto himself.” Simply put, every action, word and decision that you make influences the actions, words and decisions that others in your life make.
Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
None of us slip into life and back out without making some kind of impact in the lives of others.
Take a moment to consider both the kind of impact and the amount of impact you are making. If you are like me, you will be left thinking, “How can I impact others more?” The best way to maximize impact is to simply love God with all of your heart, soul and mind. Your impact will be directly proportionate to your relationship with God.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus
In honor of our ninth wedding anniversary, I thought I would share nine of the lessons that I have learned. Some of them are simple while others I am sure that I will continue to learn for the rest of my life. Regardless, I hope that they will be a blessing or help to you. So here
- God is Good.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good…” It is so true! One of God’s greatest demonstrations of goodness in my life was when He gave me Sheila. She is definitely way, way more than I deserve!
- God Honors Faith.
One of the most important decisions God brought me to in life was to rest in Him about a life companion. I certainly wanted to be married and I wanted it in my time. I remember the day that I finally just said to God, “I will wait for the right person and the right time.” It was a huge step of faith for me which led to spiritual growth and eventually to finding my wife.
- Marriage is a Blessing.
If you have listened to people talk about marriage, you have likely heard some sour perspectives about it. You have heard such things as a wife referred to as the”Old Lady” or the “Nag.” Some liken marriage to a ball and chain. I just want to say I love being married and have found marriage to be a gigantic blessing. Sure it has its ups and downs as well as its cycles. Every relationship does. Yet that does not change the fact that it is a blessing!
- Two are Better than One.
Solomon said this in Ecclesiastes and I have found it to be true! Sheila is to me a friend, comrade, completer, helper, counselor and encourager! When I am discouraged, she finds something to say to lift my spirit. God said that it was not good for man to be alone. He knew what He talking about. I remember the bachelor days and I say two are definitely better than one.
- Humility is Key.
I mentioned that marriage has its ups and downs. There are times that Sheila and I have not agreed and have been upset at one another. However, when we got married, we made vows committing ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives. Being committed to each other is also a commitment to work through disagreements. There have been many times in the past nine years that I have had to humble myself and say, “I was wrong, you were right and I love you.” Pride will kill a marriage, humility will grow it.
- Communication Cannot Be Overdone.
We started communicating in the early stages of our relationship. We talked about everything—our dreams, goals, desires, expectations, fears and thoughts. We have often asked each other, “What is going on in your heart?” We have tried to always be comfortable with talking out our feelings and thoughts. Frustration mounts when communication lessens. Open communication takes constant work and but it is worth it!
- A Wife’s Intuition is a Great Thing.
I have heard many older men say, “Learn to listen to your wife.” I assume they learned that from not listening to their wives. One of the reasons behind the advice given is that God created women with intuition. My wife often has a sense about a situation, person or decision that I have never thought about. Her input has many times proven invaluable.
- I am not Complete without Her.
Undoubtedly you have heard men say of their wives, “She is my better half.” Again, that is so true of my wife. She completes me. I need her in my life. She makes everything I do better.
- True Love is Christ’s Love.
We live in a society that defines love based on emotion. When Christ told men to love their wives, He was not speaking of an emotional love, but a sacrificial love. I confess, I have a lot of growth in this, but I have learned that the love I must have for my wife must be selfless and sacrificial. I am learning to delight in putting self aside and meeting her needs. When I practice Christ’s love toward her, I find that I am truly fulfilled. Before I was married, I asked a pastor to give me one piece of advice for marriage. He told me to work on getting rid of selfishness in my life. I have learned that I cannot show Christ’s love, true love, and be selfish.
These are things I have learned and will continue to learn. I am so very thankful for our marriage and look forward to the years ahead together!
I am so excited about Couples Retreat 2016. I believe that in a day when marriages are crumbling, we must be very careful to make sure that as followers of Jesus our marriages continue strong. You might be wondering what to expect at a Couples Retreat. Here are several thoughts.
- I look to have a refreshing, romantic time with my wife.
Couples retreat is designed to help us as couples come away from everyday stress and life. This is an opportunity to reconnect with your spouse and renew the love that you share with each other. This should be a breath of fresh air for your marriage! Don’t make this just an event that you check off your calendar. If it is something that you rush to without much forethought, it will probably not be so refreshing or romantic. Take the time to plan to make it special! You will get out of it what you put into it.
- I look to be challenged along with my wife.
No marriage is perfect because it is the union of two imperfect people. So to think that there is not an area that God will challenge us in, is dreaming. God intends to challenge us from His word. He intends to make us think. He intends to help us make our relationship a little bit of heaven on earth. You might say, “That’s impossible! You don’t know what my spouse is really like!” God does know your spouse and if we will listen to Him, He can do in our marriages what seems to be impossible.
- I look to make some adjustments in our marriage.
When God challenges us, we then need to respond by making adjustments. Commit to God right now that you will do everything He tells you to do. You might feel scared to do that, but remember that God will only tell you to do what is the very best for your relationship. It is always better when we listen to Him.
Take these thoughts to heart and plan have a fun weekend with your spouse. I am praying for each of you and asking that God will bless our marriages.
My dad is a mechanic for a ministry and taught us early on how to do basic maintenance on cars. I can remember being in his shop as a young boy and learning how to change oil and service vehicles. It is interesting to me, as I think back on those days, that no matter how new or how good the vehicle was, it still needed care. The oil still needed to be changed and the fluids still needed to be topped off.
Guys, you understand the importance of caring for your cars. Every 3,000 or three months you take it to the service shop and get the oil changed. You do this to make sure it lasts and does not leave you stranded when you would least expect it.
While you are very careful to give your car the needed maintenance, do you give your marriage the same careful maintenance? You are wondering how we just jumped from cars to marriage. It’s simple. We as guys can understand that no matter what year or how good a car is, it needs regular maintenance to make sure it lasts. So does your marriage. If we treated our cars like we treat our marriages, we would be stranded on the side of the road of life far more often than we would like to be known. Your marriage needs regular care, just like your car.
This year at Couples Retreat you can stop and give the needed maintenance to your marriage. No matter how long you have been married or how good your marriage may be, your marriage needs maintenance so that it will continue to last. Don’t wait till the check engine light comes on in your marriage at the most inconvenient time. Stop and give your most precious earthly relationship the maintenance it needs.
In the wake of the ruling that has been passed down from the highest court in our land, I want to point attention to a biblical character that gives an excellent pattern for Bible believing Christians. Daniel was unashamedly a follower of the one true God. He openly loved Him and sought His guidance daily. Daniel was so open, that those who worked closely with him knew his habits of prayer. When the new law was handed down from the king saying that the citizen could only pray to the king and no other god, Daniel’s co-workers knew that he would continue to pray to the God of Heaven.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Before we look at today’s ruling from the Supreme Court and bunker down, lets remember what Daniel did. He continued walking with God and seeking Him daily as he did aforetime. What do Bible believing Christ followers need to do today?
- Seek God
Don’t react publicly until you have sought God privately. Take time to pray today. Pray for God’s grace to stand and shine for Him. Pray for other believers to remain steadfast. Pray for our leaders to come to trust and follow Jesus. Pray for a revival of the fear of God in our country. You cannot go wrong in seeking the Supreme Ruler of All first.
- Share Jesus
Continue to witness for Christ. If you have not been an open witness, seek God’s forgiveness and begin right away. Jesus needs you to stand and shine for Him in the midst of spiritual darkness. Don’t allow fear and cultural trends to mute your witness for Jesus. He is the answer to all the chaos!
- Show Christ’s Love
As you witness, remember to speak the truth in love. Christ always showed compassion to those that were against Him. Let the love of Christ be most evident in your voice and eyes as you proclaim Jesus Christ. Remember, there is not a single person alive on planet earth that is beyond the reach of His love. Let Jesus love them through you.