Make me Approve of You

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I preached on the need and desire for approval that we all have. Granted, we all feel it to different degrees. In my sermon, I mentioned how my desire to win, to be right, to have power and control always outweighs my desire for approval. It is still there though.

This blog post may feel more like a confession that I’m letting you in on. Hopefully this will be an encouragement to you or you’ll see yourself in it.

For me, I was convicted how out of my desire for power and control, I can very easily make my relationships about my approval of someone else.

I can be good at putting incredibly high standards on people, making them feel guilty so they will ultimately do what I want.

This is how I control things. In the end, it is also how I can easily help people sin by gaining my approval.

It is interesting when we talk about the idols of the heart or the sin in people’s lives, we focus on the person sinning. We should. They are responsible. In doing this, it is easy to let the people off who cause the sinning. Granted, someone seeking my approval is not my fault and they stand before God on that. I stand before God on how I cause someone to sin or stumble.

That is on me.

As I think about legalism, the gospel, the idols of my heart and hopefully as you think about those things, my hope with this blog post is to get you to realize in your quest for approval, control, comfort or power, you cause others to worship their idol by your actions. In your quest for comfort, you might help someone seek even more control so things don’t fall through the cracks because you are so laidback and letting whatever happens happen. In your quest for approval, you cause others to seek power because you are willing to be a doormat to their sin and ego.

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How to Pray for your Wife

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Here is some helpful advice for husbands from Paul Miller in his book A Praying Life:

When men do pray, they often simply want their own lives to be pain free. Men will work at making money, keeping the yard neat, or helping the kids in sports, but many don’t work or think about things that last.

A husband will rarely ask God for his wife to become more like Jesus. Let’s say she is critical of him. When he tries to talk to her about it, she says, “I wouldn’t be so critical of you if you didn’t have so many problems.” By raising the issue, he just got more criticism, so his heart quietly shuts down. He just doesn’t care anymore. She is who she is. So he moves on with life and flips on the television.

Without realizing it, he has become cynical about the possibility of real change in his wife. A childlike spirit seems naïve, like a distant memory. He is wise as a serpent, but he’s not harmless as a dove. He is surrounded by idiots, and his only choice, like the Greek stoics, is to tough it out. Low-level evil has worn him down.

To engage God in prayer about his wife’s attitude feels like opening up an old wound. Just telling this to God is frustrating because it feels so hopeless, the spiritual version of banging your head against the wall. It is simply easier not even to think about it. Mixed in with his frustration is guilt. Some of what she says is true. He isn’t sure where her sin ends and his begins.

The husband also hesitates to pray because he’s been told that he shouldn’t try to control his wife. But the point of prayer is shifting control from you to God. Moreover, doesn’t the Father want all of us to become more like his Son?

Where should the husband begin? Like a little child, he should ask God for what he wants. It might help to write down in a prayer notebook or on a card what he wants changed in his wife and to find a scripture that describes Christ in her. Then he could start praying that scripture for her every day and also invite God to work in his own heart.

This prayer request will become a twenty-year adventure. The adventure begins with asking God, Do I have a critical spirit too? Do I respond to my wife’s critical spirit with my own critical spirit? Usually, what bugs us the most about other people is true of us as well. By first taking the beam out of his own eye (see Matthew 7:1-5), the husband releases in his wife’s life the unseen energy of the Spirit. The kingdom is beginning to come.

The husband can let God use his wife’s criticism to make him more like Jesus. Instead of fighting what she says, if at all possible he can do it. We can’t do battle with evil without letting God destroy the evil in us as well. The world is far too intertwined.

Deep down, we instinctively know that God works this way, and we pull back from prayer. Like Jonah outside the city of Nineveh complaining about God’s mercy, we say, “God, I knew you would do that. As soon as I started praying for her, you started working on me.”

By taking his wife’s criticism seriously, the husband might feel he is losing his identity, becoming a Christian codependent, mindlessly trying to be good. He is not. He is simply following his Master, who “rose from supper . . . laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13:4-5). Jesus’ love is so physical. Our love must be as physical as his.

The husband is not “under his wife’s thumb”; he is entering into Jesus’ life. The husband can’t believe the gospel unless he is also becoming the gospel. In other words, once you’ve learned that God loves you, you need to extend his love to others. Otherwise, the love of God sours. By extending grace to his wife, the husband is being drawn into the life of the Son. He will become Christlike.

The husband can’t leave a vacuum in his heart either. He must replace his critical spirit with a thankful spirit. One of the best ways of doing that is writing out on a card or in a prayer notebook short phrases of how he is thankful for her. By thanking God daily for specific things about his wife, he will begin to see her for who she is—a gift.

At first glance this feels like the husband is whitewashing reality. Life feels uneven, unfair. After all, the wife is the one with the critical spirit; not only is he putting energy into reflecting on his tendency to be critical (which isn’t half as bad as hers), but he’s also working at being thankful for her. The only thing he has going for him is his pitiful little prayer.

A thankful heart is constantly extending grace because it has received grace. Love and grace are uneven. God poured out on his own Son the criticism I deserve. Now he invites me to pour out undeserving grace on someone who has hurt me. Grace begets grace. This husband is taking a journey into the heart of God.

Welcome to the life of God! That’s what a life of grace feels like, especially in the beginning. That pitiful little prayer is tapping into the power center of the universe. If the husband hangs in there, he will be amazed at the creative energy of God. Grace will win the day.

Praying steadily for his wife will help him to become more aware of her as a person. Peter challenges husbands to treat their wives with “honor . . . since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). You can’t separate prayer from love.

Watch what happens over time. By getting his ego out of the way, the husband makes room for the Spirit to work in his wife’s life. God will start doing things far more effectively than the husband ever could. No one teaches like God.

Over time the husband might discover that his courage and wisdom are growing. He’ll find the best phrasing, the best timing to be gently honest with his wife. He’ll move from trying to win a battle to loving a friend. The kingdom is coming!

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Sunday Morning Mind Dump…

  • Great night at Revolution last night
  • It was so cool to sit with Katie and worship and hear good preaching
  • She leaned over to me and said, “There’s a bunch of people here I don’t know”
  • Loved seeing how many guests we had and how many have started attending Revolution while I’ve been on my summer preaching break
  • I’ll share more this week what I’ve been up to over the last 3 weeks, but needless to say, the time away has been recharging and an incredible blessing to our family
  • Here is one thing I’ve been doing that has changed my world
  • Mike brought a good word from the life of Jonah about how we try to be God and control our lives
  • Great reminder
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • AJ equally did a great job in leading worship last night
  • So cool to see how he continues to develop as a worship leader and how God uses him
  • It was great being back at Revolution last week after being gone for 3 weeks
  • The house is quiet now as I’m getting some good introvert time reading through John Adams
  • This summer I’ve been on a history reading kick
  • Solid stuff
  • The other history book I read was The Presidents Clubwhich was fascinating if you are a history nerd like I tend to be
  • I majored in history and last night met a guy at Revolution who also majored in history and just graduated, he’s looking for a job
  • I told him history is a useless major, which he agreed with
  • Narrowed down this week the preaching calendar for the next year at Revolution, we’ll be preaching through Joshua, Ephesians, Esther, Ruth, Galatians and possibly the Song of Solomon
  • So excited to kick off our series Fearless on the book of Joshua on July 14th and talk about what lays ahead for Revolution, where we are moving to and what God is preparing us for
  • Someone asked me last night if I was frustrated that we had to move, honestly, it is turning out the be the greatest thing God could’ve brought to our church
  • The doors he has opened are incredible and ones we did not expect and I believe will lead us to places we never thought of going
  • Seriously, it is going to be awesome
  • It’s time for me to finish cleaning up
  • Getting ready for grilled nachos, grilled pizza, good friends and the Euro final
  • Sweet

This Weekend @ Revolution: Trusting God with the Big Things in Life

We are kicking off a brand new 2 week series this Saturday at Revolution called Jonah & David

Jonah and David are two towers in the Old Testament. Men who did some incredible things for God, men who completely fumbled the ball mutliple times in their effort to follow God and live out what He called them to.

For the next 2 weeks, we will look at David next week, but this week we will look at Jonah and look at what we can learn from a man who ran from God, who refused to do what God called him to do, who God relentlessly pursued and ultimately used to change an entire nation.

I’m looking forward to seeing you this Saturday, at 5pm. Bring someone with you as we celebrate and gather as a church family.

Remember, we meet at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

New Series This Weekend @ Revolution

This Saturday, we are kicking off a 2 week series on two men whose shadows are large in the Old Testament. Much has been written about them, the New Testament refers to them often. Both of them made huge strides for God in their time, but they also made huge mistakes, showing their humanness. It is this element that makes them so easily relatable to us, stories we love to read and listen to. It is also how God used them that makes them men we long to emulate. They are Jonah & David. 

We will look at the life of Jonah on June 30 and the life of David on July 7.

We meet at 6620 E 22nd St. at 5pm. 

Sunday Afternoon Mind Dump…

  • It’s been awhile since I did one of these, but thought it would be good to bring the tradition back
  • So much has happened
  • I’m on my summer preaching break, which has been unbelievably refreshing for me and my family
  • We spent a week in San Diego on vacation and last week, Katie and I spent the week in Newport Beach at the Acts 29 Pastor’s retreat
  • We got a new child 9 days ago through a local adoption
  • I’ll post more about that tomorrow
  • For my preaching break this year, we shot 3 sermon videos that we used over the last 3 weeks
  • The response to those sermons has been amazing, love hearing how God used those videos in the lives of our church
  • If you missed any of them, you can listen or watch them here
  • We showed my favorite of the 3 last night, that you can see here
  • We are starting a brand new 2 week series this week called Jonah & David, it is going to be a great look at two important people in Scripture and what we can learn from their lives
  • Then, on July 14 we are kicking off a brand new series called Fearless on the book of Joshua
  • That will also be the night that we look towards the future and our move as a church and what God has in store for us
  • The 14th is definitely a night you don’t want to miss as we look to see what God has in store for us
  • I am more excited about the future of Revolution than I have ever been about Revolution
  • I believe God is preparing us for some incredible things and we as leaders have seen God’s hand over this entire process of looking for a new location
  • Been loving all the Euro 2012 games
  • I’m one of those guys who gets up at 2am to watch a World Cup match
  • So pumped for the semi’s, love that all the powerhouses are left
  • I’m not much of an underdog guy
  • During my break over the past week, I’ve been reading one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read called The President’s Clubthere truly is no better book for a history nerd
  • Like me
  • The next 3 months at Revolution Church are going to be unlike any other time in the history of our church
  • As we move, launch our fall Missional Communities, and some of the other things we have planned are going to set us on a journey where I believe we will see God do some things we’ve never seen him do at our church and through our church

God’s Ultimate Plan for Your Life Sermon Video

If you missed Revolution Church last night, we wrapped up our series So You’re Dead…Now What? and looked at God’s ultimate plan for our lives from 2 Peter 3:14 – 18, you can watch it below. I’m really grateful for all the hard work Mike put in to make these sermon videos and the graciousness of Revolution as we used them.

Don’t miss next week as we kick off a brand new series called Jonah & David. 

This Weekend @ Revolution: Surprised by Grace

So excited about Saturday at Revolution. After 3 weeks off from preaching, I get to preach. We will be continuing our series The Story of God and looking at the book of Jonah.

One of the things we have seen over and over in this series is how God pursues broken people. How he uses those who are stubborn, judgmental, hypocritical. How he goes after them, loving them, pursuing them, showing how far his grace really does reach.

One of the questions I’ve been asked a lot from people at Revolution in this series is how much God’s grace covers. The answer is most clearly given in the book of Jonah. In Jonah, we see a man just like many of us. Intolerant, self-righteous, thinking he is not in need of grace, rebellious, not doing what God tells him to do, being spiteful when God gives grace to people not named Jonah, and yet, Jonah is one of the few people in the Old Testament who is given a second chance. Imagine, after all of that, God gives him a second chance to understand his grace, to be forgiven, to be rescued and changed.

I’ve been looking forward to this sermon this whole series because the book of Jonah is one of my favorite stories in the Bible because Jonah reminds me so much of me. It really is my story, and the story of many others who walk in the doors of Revolution each week.

This Saturday, we will see a God who pursues rebellious, broken people. Who showers grace on those who do not deserve his grace, but instead deserve his wrath. We will see a man who judges God after God has given him grace when he deserves judgment. In short, we will look in the mirror of our own lives, see our hearts and how God responds.

It promises to be a powerful night.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy way to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our next series starting August 20th called The Vow. This is a series you will not want to miss one week of.

See you Saturday.

The Origin of Salvation

Salvation is entirely of God. It is God-sourced in its planning, in its execution, and in its application; it’s also from God in how it’s sustained in the human heart, and in how it’s ultimately perfected in our eternal state. Salvation belongs to the Lord. -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Angry with God (or Myself)

When we are angry, we know we are on to something that matters, that really counts. What anger fails to do, though, is tell us whether the wrong is outside us – our spouse or our child or our God has done something wrong, and we are angry. That is what Jonah did, and he quarreled with God. But when we track the anger carefully, we often find it leads to a wrong within us – wrong information, inadequate understanding, underdeveloped heart. If we admit and face that, we are pulled out of our quarrel with God into something large and vocational in God. -Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant