Cheap Kindle Books 8.27.13

book

Here are some cheap kindle books. Not sure how long they’ll stay that way:

Top Posts of December 2012

In case you missed them in all the rush of the holidays, here are the top 10 posts for the last month of 2012:

  1. Accountability
  2. My 12 Favorite Books of 2012
  3. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  4. My Top 12 Albums of 2012
  5. Sex Doesn’t Equal Intimacy
  6. Is Love a Choice or a Feeling (And Why it Matters)
  7. What “Be Still” Means
  8. Happy Birthday to my Beautiful Wife
  9. My Journey of Losing Weight
  10. Planning a Preaching Calendar

Sex Doesn’t Equal Intimacy

Whenever I talk with couples that are dating or engaged, at some point sex and intimacy will come up. When Katie and I do premarital counseling, there are 5 things a couple must agree to for me to do their wedding. One of them is that they won’t have sex from that point forward until their wedding night. Regardless of their background, regardless if they live together, regardless of where they are on their journey with Jesus.

Depending on the situation, this brings with it an interesting follow-up conversation. Many couples don’t care, they’ve already chosen to wait and have stayed with that commitment. Some are excited because while they’ve wanted to wait, the lack of accountability has made it difficult and they’ve fallen back into patterns they wanted to move away from. Others are frustrated because they don’t see a problem with sex outside of marriage.

I remember once talking with a couple who lived together. They weren’t followers of Jesus and he asked me if this was simply a way for me to put my morals onto other people. It was a fair question. Pastors are often guilty of thinking of ways simply to make people behave more godly without changing their hearts.

I told him that was not the point of this. Here’s why we ask couples to do this and what I told him:

  1. The bible does tell us to save sex for marriage (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21;Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).
  2. Sex doesn’t equal intimacy. Many in our culture think they are being intimate simply by having sex. For men, when we think of intimacy, sex is what we think of. Intimacy is much bigger than that. It involves sex, but involves be open and honest with another person, trusting them completely, not hiding from them. Willing to share our lives, our dreams, our hopes, our failures, our hurts, and pain with that person. Far too many couples think we had sex, so we must be in love. As soon as sex enters a relationship, it changes drastically. By abstaining from sex before marriage, they are able to broaden intimacy in their relationship in other ways, ways that are non-sexual.
  3. There are seasons in marriage where sex is not an option. Whether that is traveling for a job, health, children, pregnancy, time or energy. Abstaining from sex before marriage helps a couple to prepare for these moments and for the couple to learn they can trust the other. Is a man or woman able to control themselves when they aren’t having as much sex or intimacy as they’d like.
  4. It builds trust. On some level, usually for women, having sex outside of marriage is a trust issue. For men, sex is mostly physical, but for women it is mostly emotional. It involves trusting the other person. Making a commitment to abstain from sex and keeping that commitment goes a long way of building trust for a couple.

There are other reasons, but these are the top ones. After doing weddings for 7 years for numerous couples who have made this commitment and kept it, I’ve yet to have a couple tell me it was a waste of time or be angry that they made it. In fact, I’ve had almost every couple tell me this was one of the most beneficial things for them in their premarital counseling.

Image by Cuentosdeunaimbecila (via Flickr)

How a Wife Handles Her Husband’s Sexual Addiction

In honor of preaching on the topic of marriage at Revolution this past Saturday and this coming Saturday, I thought I’d repost some of the more helpful things I’ve written on the topics of marriage, dating, sexuality, roles, communication and others topics related to marriage.

At Revolution, we’ve never been afraid to talk about hard topics. One of the topics we’ve talked about is porn, sexual addiction and adultery. It is a hard topic, but one almost every couple is dealing with. Either the actual issue or the aftermath. You can listen to the most recent sermon on this topic here.

In the message, I was very honest and open in my talk about our journey. When I was 10, I was at a birthday party and the guys dad thought it was time for all of us 10 year olds to learn about sex and women, so he brought down a box of porn. That began for me an addiction that lasted until I was 22.

My talk came out of the journey that Katie and I experienced as we tried to heal, move forward, understand the reasons why (ironically, this is the last thing people talk about, the why, but I believe until you understand that you will have a difficult time finding freedom), and how to heal our marriage and find trust, integrity and purity.

I can honestly say, this was the hardest thing we have ever done, but worth doing. What came out of this journey is a stronger relationship, honesty, trust, purity. We put many different boundaries and protections in place in our lives to keep us pure. We have accountability we didn’t have 7 years ago because our marriage is worthwhile.

The most common questions we got after the talk were, “Is it possible to be free?” and “What does a wife do, how does she handle it?”

Yes, it is possible to be free. It will take a lot of work, prayer, some drastic changes in your life, but you can find freedom and have eyes only for your wife. Our life is a walking example. Like any addict, we celebrate 10 years of freedom!

To answer the second question, Katie did something that I am very proud of her for doing. She walked through our journey, her journals, her heart and shared them on her blog. These are must reads for any guy who is addicted to porn and any wife who suspects or knows her husband is and she is trying to find answers or healing.

Here are the posts:

If you need some more resources to help you through this journey, here are some that have been incredibly helpful to us.

One thing I learned through preaching on this is that enough churches do not talk about this. Statistically, over 80% of the men in your church are dealing with this. The stats are crazy and the church needs to step up to the plate, call men to integrity, help couples find freedom and answers and healing.

I’m going to step off my soap box now.

Spiritual Warfare, 30 Day Intimacy Challenge and You

First a note on spiritual warfare. There are different opinions about it within the church.

You have the guy who sees a demon everywhere, in a Starbucks cup, in the dark and at McDonald’s. Some do not believe spiritual warfare is real and so whenever it comes up they think you are nuts.

Here is the reality, the Bible is clear about a few things:

  • Satan is real
  • Jesus is real
  • Demons and angels are real
  • There is a world we do not see, the spiritual realm
  • All of us who pray believe in this spiritual realm or else we wouldn’t pray

The Bible is also clear about what happens whenever you take a step in the direction of following Jesus and doing what He wants. In this case, the 30 day intimacy challenge. The 30 day intimacy challenge is designed to help couples raise the level of intimacy, bring them closer together and teach them to meet each other’s relational, emotional and physical needs. For those who aren’t married, it is designed to train them to have integrity, boundaries, allow Jesus to meet their needs as opposed to looking for those needs to be met by someone that is not supposed to meet them (ie. boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance’ or porn).

In case you realized it or not, doing the 30 day sex challenge is right up the alley of what Jesus wants in our lives, it is a step in the direction of living biblically. Now, you can live biblically without doing the challenge, so don’t misunderstand. But, when you decided to do the challenge, you also invited Satan to come and hang out in your life. Anytime, we take a step in the direction of following Jesus and the Bible, we invite Satan. We don’t invite him, but he comes anyway.

If you haven’t already, here is a warning. Get ready for the world you do not see to come and hang out in the world you live in.

If you are not married, over the next month as you try to have integrity and purity, as you try to live a Godly life, Satan will do everything in his power to stop that. He will do everything in his power to bring temptation into your life, make you busy so you forget to meet with God, he will do everything in his power to keep you from keeping your commitment.

If you are married. He will do everything in his power to make sure you do not connect with your spouse. Whether that is making you too tired, making sure the kids keep walking in, you will fight more in the next month than you did last month, you will find reasons why you don’t want to do the devotional guide together.

Why?

You are becoming more like Jesus.

So, have patience. When this happens, take a deep breath, pray alone or as a couple. Get another person or couple to walk with you (who is doing the challenge, in case you don’t know, a high percentage of our church is doing this) someone who can pray for you and ask how it is going.

And know this, the goal of following Jesus is to become like Jesus. The fact that Satan is taking notice means you are going in the right direction.

What is the 30 Day Intimacy Challenge?

Last night, one of our next steps was to challenge our church to participate in the 30 day intimacy challenge. I wanted to take a minute to explain what it is, what we are challenging you to do and how to participate in it.

The 30 day intimacy challenge was originally developed by Relevant Church in Tampa, FL. The idea is to create a challenge that would move married couples to higher levels of intimacy while at the same time challenging those that are not married (single, dating, engaged) to higher levels of purity and integrity.

So here is the challenge.

If you are married, to do the 30 day devotional guide with your spouse everyday and have sex everyday for the next 30 days.

If you are not married, to abstain from all things sexual for the next 30 days. Self love, porn, oral sex, sex, fill in the blank for the next 30 days and while you are doing that, go through the devotional guide.

What do you do if you are engaged or dating? Do the singles guide because until you are actually married, you aren’t married. For more on the ways we make it okay to have sex outside of marriage, you can listen to tonight’s talk.

Now, how do you do this?

You can go to our website, download and print out the married guide and the singles guide.

The reality is that one of the main reasons many marriages end or are unhappy is because of their sexual relationship. Many of the problems that couples experience begin before they get married and often, before they even meet the person they are married to.

If you are a couple that has lost some ground in your sexual relationship, are on the edge of adultery, dealing with sexual addiction, need to spice up your relationship or want to raise the level of your sexual relationship, then this is definitely for you.

If you are not married and are struggling with not having sex, you are struggling to keep good boundaries, struggling with sexual addiction, then this is something you should definitely do. This will help to create good boundaries, while at the same time working through the issues that sex outside of marriage brings about.

Here is a great way to know you should do it, if you don’t want to. That is the clearest sign that you need to do this as a couple or individual.

Any questions about this, let us know.

God’s Blueprint for Marriage Q&A Part 1

On Saturday night, Katie and I taught together at Revolution Church from Genesis 2:15 – 3:19 as part of our series The Story of God and we looked at God’s blueprint for marriage and life. If you missed the sermon, you can listen to it here.

At the end of the sermon and you can hear it on the podcast, we did a live Q&A in both services. There were a ton of questions, but we couldn’t get to all of them. So, Katie and I sat down this week to work through the remaining questions.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Date Night

The other day I wrote about doing daddy dates with my kids.

Even more important than that is Date Night with Katie. For the first few years of our marriage, we did not do this consistently. Date night was haphazard at best. It was poorly planned, rarely executed and consequently, our relationship suffered.

The longer we have been married and as our family has grown, it became even less of a priority. Last fall, I preached through the Song of Solomon at Revolution and for my research I read C.J. Mahaney’s book Sex, Romance and the Glory of God. This book and series hit me upside of the head and really challenged me. If you are a guy who wants to be a better man, husband, dad, then you need to right now buy C.J.’s book. It is by far the best book I have ever read of being a man.

I really want to emphasize something that does not always happen in marriage. This is the man’s responsibility. As men, we don’t have a huge need to be pursued, but your wife does. She wants to be romanced, she wants to be chased, she wants to know that she matters to you. Ironically, within a man is the need to chase. Neat how God worked that out.

Pursue your wife.

It is your job to plan and execute date night. No exceptions. You protect the night, you tell everyone “We are busy that night,” you plan where you are going, if you stay home, you cook; you find the babysitter. It is not her job, her job is to enjoy and participate in date night.

Date night does not have to be expensive. It can be a cup of coffee, it can be going out for ice cream. Date night needs to be uninterrupted time alone. One of the things we do on a regular basis is put the kids to bed and then grill up something good. Sit on the back porch, eat and just talk.

NO TV on date nights. This means, don’t take her to a sports bar. Avoid the temptation. But there is a game on you might say. Then don’t plan date night on that night.

Date night is not a time to run errands.

Now, sometimes on Date night, you do some work on your relationship. You talk through some tough things. This is a time though to talk about and work on your relationship. Don’t let other things cloud your conversation on Date night.

Do you have to do this? Nope. But if you don’t, you won’t be married very long, or at least, you won’t be happy. Your marriage is too important for this to not happen.

It doesn’t matter when it happens, as long as it happens EVERY WEEK.