Women, It Matters Who You Marry

Marriage

(Photo credit: Lel4nd)

This past week, as I wrapped up our series Beautiful at Revolution, I preached on Proverbs 31. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

One of the things that struck me is verse 23 when we are told what her husband is like.

There are many sides and applications to this verse.

The first is to women. I’ll blog another time about fathers and the impact of this verse.

In our culture, we often minimize the impact that comes from who we marry. Whether it is movies, the rise in divorce, the lack of seeing strong marriages as we grow up, but whatever it is, many people seem to minimize the impact of this decision.

Outside of your choice to follow Jesus, who you marry will have more of an impact on your life than any other decision you make.

The woman in Proverbs 31 marries well. She marries a man who is respected. He is at the city gates, with the elders. The gates is where decisions are made. He is part of leading the city and community. He is respected by the others.

Women, if you want marry well, marry a man who is respected by other men.

Men respect men.

Don’t marry a guy you think you will make into a man. That doesn’t happen.

How do you know if you are dating a man or a boy? Here are few ways to find out:

  1. Get him around men you respect. Men can spot men. They can also spot a fake. Women can struggle with this because they fall for a boy and can’t see the truth. Those around you can. Ask men you respect what they think of him. This might be a father, a pastor, someone in your MC, someone who cares about you and wants to see you find a man.
  2. Ask him about his vision for his life. This one question separates men from boys. Men have a vision for their life, which means they will have a vision for your life as a couple. Boys do not. They are simply floating through life waiting for it to happen.
  3. Look at how he worships. Does he read his bible? Does he serve in a church? Does he love Jesus? How does he worship? How does he use his money? How he does these things while you date is exactly what he’ll do when you are married. Most of the time, men will take these things down a notch when they get married, but that’s a post for another day.
  4. Look at his work ethic. Does he have a job? Does he provide for himself? Is he saving money or getting into debt? Men work hard. Men are called to provide (1 Timothy 5:8).

Ladies, marry well.

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Preaching a Balanced Diet

One of the dangers of preaching is repetition. Repetition in one sense can be good because people need to hear things several times before they understand it or get it, and a church should have a nice flow of guests coming in that need to hear specific things about Jesus and faith.

Repetition can also be dangerous because communicators can get into the habit of saying the same thing over and over, always finding a way to make a passage about their soapbox, or just repeating sermons. I knew of one church planter that repeated his sermons, really repeated them, every 18 months.

One of my jobs at Revolution is setting the preaching calendar, what topics we will study, what books we will preach through, etc. I submit those ideas to the elders to make sure that we are in agreement on what our church needs to hear, get feedback on topics from them, etc.

Here is what makes me excited about the next 18 months at Revolution, we will study a wide variety of topics. Such as:  Jesus, the trinity, mission, evangelism, community, marriage, dating, being single, heaven, hell, the afterlife, the wrath of God, predestination, free will, election, suffering, does God cause suffering, hospitality, prayer, money, generosity.

We will touch on books like Malachi, Daniel, Jonah, Ephesians, Proverbs. We will preach through Titus, Jude, and Romans.

Pastors, one of your jobs is to make sure your church is getting a balanced diet of Scripture. Do you have a plan for that? Do you know what topics you will cover over the next 12-18 months? What books you will preach through? How will you make sure you don’t just preach from the New Testament or the gospels?

You Are Not Their Savior

One of the things that is easy for a pastor, counselor, parent or even friend to do is think that it is your job to save somebody. As a pastor, you often base the success (or failure) of a sermon based on the response:  were people visibly moved, did people respond, did people cry, come up for prayer, was there energy in the worship music after the sermon, do people comment to you after the sermon about your sermon.

Something has been in the forefront of my mind before preaching, while I’m preaching and after preaching:  I’m not the Savior.

While I preach hard, study hard, pray hard, I don’t and can’t save anyone. This is a heartbreaking realization on one hand as a pastor, and comforting on the other. When I talk with people, as they seek counsel and confess sins, I want them to turn from their sin and live in the freedom of the gospel. But I can’t make them. I can’t stop them from wrecking their life.

For the longest time, I would take someone not taking my advice and choosing to live in sin personally. It still hurts to watch someone live in bondage of sin, but something has changed as I preached through James. And it came one day in talking with Katie about wisdom and proverbs.

Often, people will ask, “What do I do in this situation?” and they choose to pray about. The reality is that in almost every situation, God has already told us in his word what to do and how we should live. We often just choose not to.

Proverbs 1 says that “wisdom cries in the streets, in the noisy streets she cries, by the city gates she cries.” It goes on, “I have called you and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel.” Because of this, “I laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you.”

God says, “If you don’t listen and follow what I say, not only will it go badly for you, I won’t feel bad.”

While I still emphathize with the pain people live in, often because we in our sinfulness cause it, I no longer see it as my job to save them, to protect them. I pray with them, carry burdens with them, share what Scripture says and then let God be God.

Jesus died for them to bring them freedom. I can’t die for anyone to bring them freedom from sin.