Archive | April, 2015

Authenticity in Today’s World

30 Apr

Authenticity is quick to listen.

Authenticity knows that it can learn from a variety of voices at the table, and refuses a seat to no one.  They pull up a chair for those disenfranchised, call attention to those overlooked, and speak on behalf of those muted.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2014. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Authenticity owns its weaknesses, and never provides easy answers.  A call to authenticity often requires us to lead with the broken, the challenging, and the lacking in our lives.  Not in order to find healing or fullness, but to acknowledge the humanity within each of us.

Authenticity is slow to speak.

They consider their words, and do not feel the need to speak first or have the final word.  They understand that they do not need to shout the loudest in order for their words to have an impact. Authenticity does not run to the marketplace demanding the subjugation of others to their ideology.  They understand that who lead with answers are revealed as heralds of their own arrogance and superiority.

Authenticity is slow to wrath.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2013. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Their temperature is not raised by a disagreement, and understands that their world is not in danger due to someone’s opposing view.  They understand that God’s throne is not based upon public discussion or popular vote.

 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to come angry.  James 1:19

As Jesus called out the Pharisees, they fought for their image, clung to their power, and prized their piety.  The authentic individual acts heedless of image, releases power, and prizes the call of God above all else.

This is what will lead the church to intimacy.   This is what will lead the church to healing.

 

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.

When the Church Has Let You Down

28 Apr

I talk to so many people who have been wounded by churches, and never return.  As someone who has unfortunately hurt people (in my job as a church leader), and someone who has been hurt by a church, I think this articles touches on some important steps towards spiritual health.

As a kid, I was deeply hurt by the pastor of our church. The man we had trusted to be our spiritual leader used his position to do some awful things. The result would be the displacement of our family, the splitting of our church, and a wound I would carry for many years to come. I would eventually come to trust Jesus again, but trusting His Church would prove to be a far bigger challenge.

You can read more Here.

Aaron is a husband, dad, church planter, coffee addict, insatiable learner and chronic dreamer.

 

5 Themes of Biblical Manhood

23 Apr

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel slammed into the East Coast of the United States, leaving 16 dead and cutting power to six million homes. The edges of the hurricane passed through Washington, D.C., prompting the president and members of Congress to find safer quarters.

That was not the case at Arlington National Cemetery, where guards stood vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the time, just as they had done every hour of every day since July 1, 1937. When the hurricane hit, the soldiers remained at their posts even though they were given permission to seek shelter.

That’s what a soldier does. He acknowledges the storm, but he doesn’t give in to it. He stands firm. Continue reading

What does it mean to Give up?

21 Apr

If you’ve ever watched the Olympics this year, it is quite evident that there are those who are the best at what they do, and they smoke everyone in their event.  Then there are those who it looks as if they will not make it and lose.  Yet by some miracle they pull through and take home the gold.  One thing that you will find is they all will end up saying that the only reason they won is either by the help of their teammates or simply by not giving up.

There is a saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  This is a statement that most people forget all about and when the going gets tough they break down and give up.  I believe that there is One who is here to help us keep the faith and not lose it.

1.) When the Going Gets Tough

There are a lot of people who believe that sometimes there is a fight in everything. If you are not fighting against something you are weak and feeble.  But our fights should never be with flesh and blood.  The Word of God says our fight is a spiritual fight.

hopelessness from Flickr via Wylio

© 2013 mayeesherr., Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

We tend to believe that what we come against in our daily lives is just something that the Lord wants us to go through and not do anything about it, and suffer under the circumstances. I believe when the going gets tough it is not because God wants us to go through it, he allows us to, but he never wants us to go through testing. We are to push through, bind the enemy and rely on God to bring us through.

Look at King David’s mighty men in 2 Samuel 23. Here were men who didn’t know what was going to happen. The land of Israel was torn apart by war, not only between Saul and David, but also by the Amalakites, Philistines and many other nations who would have liked to see Israel destroyed.

Israel didn’t give up and they continued what the King asked them to do, with reckless abandon.

Our lives and families need to have the same hardcore value towards our King – (Jesus). We need to live our lives with reckless abandon and teach our children and families to live with the same passion.

What does “reckless abandon” mean?  “To give up completely to…” In other words, if we are to live our lives in reckless abandon to God it literally means, “To give up completely our lives to God.” We abandon our own lives for the sake of the King.

No matter what happens in our lives, it is not God’s wanting. He allows it to happen, because bad things happen. He is there to pick us up when we do fall.

2.) The Tough Get Going

We all have been given a call to fulfill.  The question; are we going to just sit there and pout when things don’t go our way or when things get hard?  No!  We need to learn to get up and move forward, push through with the word of the King and fulfill our calling.

Things in life will hurt.  There is no question about it.  Yet, like David’s men, are we going to do what the King asks of us?  The man in the lentil field kept fighting even though everyone around him left.  He fulfilled what was asked of him – “Protect the field.  No matter the cost.”  This is what is implied in this passage of scripture.  He managed to fight off the enemy and hold the field.

The question we need to ask ourselves is; “Are we going to allow Satan to take from our fields?”  I pray that is not that is not the case.  Many Christians live a defeated life and live a life of no victory.  Yet the scripture teaches us that Christ already has the victory.  He conquered death hell and the grave.

1 Cor.  15:54-58

If we take what Paul says we are able to be steadfast, immovable.  This is how we are to live.  When this is what we strive for, no matter the cost, we will be able to touch more lives for the Kingdom of God.  Why?  Simple, when we are remain steadfast in our trials we have a testimony that people will want to hear.  There are scores of people who want to be free from their trials, but it we teach them to place their trust in the King we will begin to see miracles take place in our areas of influence.

Batman from Flickr via Wylio

© 2011 Kevin Dooley, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

God never said that He would make us go through hard times, He said that He would never leave us nor would He ever forsake us.

Alfred Pennyworth from Batman Begins said this to Bruce Wayne, “Why is it that we fall Master Bruce?  So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up again.

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT:

***What are you doing right now to pursue God with reckless abandon? What do you do when things get tough and you want to quit?  Leave your thoughts below.

WebHeaderJason Sisam is the author of “Divine Providence”, blogger and full-time pastor at Life Church in Minneapolis.  You can read more about him at his website at http://jbsisam.com/.

To Make this House Our Home

16 Apr

© 2006 James Thompson, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

To make this house our home, we must acknowledge the Owner.  Not the bank, but the Owner of all.  He is the one who has brought us together.

To make this house our home, there must be food.  Food is what nourishes our bodies and souls.  It will give us strength and energy to face what lies ahead.

To make this house our home, it will need plenty of windows which will allow the light to shine in our darkness and guide our footsteps.

To make this house our home, it will need to be a little messy.  A place of activity, a place of fellowship whose hallways resound with laughter.

To make this house our home, the door must always be open.  Open to those lacking love, to those who lacking safety, to those lacking a family.

To make this house our home, we must make it a priority to be present.  Together during times of play, times of prayer, and times of work.  We cannot be absent in either body or mind.

To make this house our home, the rooms must be filled with grace.  Grace that is freely given.  Grace that is humbly received.  For each member is not perfect and each will have times when they are in need of grace.

Through wisdom is a house built; and by understanding it is established; And by knowledge are the chambers filled With all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4 ASV)

 

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  When not writing, he works alongside of his beautiful bride Rachel seeking to make their house –  a home.

In Pursuit of the Perfect Marriage

14 Apr

The dreams of a perfect marriage, and a fairy-tale life have often left me chasing worthless pursuits, and living in discontent.  Even after fifteen great years of marriage, I often hid my weaknesses from Rachel in order to be seen as  a shining knight in gleaming armor. Continue reading

How Long should an Engagement be?

2 Apr

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2013. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Can an engagement be too short?

Absolutely. 

Can an engagement be too long?

Absolutely. 

Unfortunately for my wife, I didn’t really put too much thought into the length of our engagement.  We had discussed marriage, and although a winter wedding seemed practical to me, Rachel had other plans.  After a time of reflection (or let’s call it – enlightenment), I realized that in order to have Rachel’s fall wedding, I had to immediately propose.  Luckily, I already had purchased a ring and asked for her parent’s approval.

While an engagement can be too short (or too long), the length is not as important as what you do during that time.  As a couple, you must discuss what is right for you.  So if you are planning an engagement period, here are some positives and negatives for either a long or short engagement period.

Thoughts Concerning a Short Engagements 

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2013. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Limited Time to Process – Marriage introduces a ton of change into the lives of the couple, and these changes take time to process.  While less time might be a blessing for doubters or those who struggle with anxiety, a short engagement can cause others to neglect thinking through the commitment that they are making.  (Read more on the Purpose of Engagement)

Limited Time to Plan – Becoming one requires a lot of work by the bride and the groom.  If both partners are working full-time, the extra workload of fulfilling the extra responsibilities during engagement will be extremely stressful.  Even the simplest of weddings requires many hours of preparation.

Limited Period of Sexual Tension – While I believe it is best for a couple to remain abstinent before the wedding, the engagement period is a time when emotional, spiritual, and sexual boundaries in the relationship need to change.  As a couple become more physically involved, their bodies will naturally lead them towards sexual fulfillment.  A short engagement helps the couple maintain their boundaries.   (Read more about the relational changes during engagement, Engagement is Awkward.)

While there is a lot of work to accomplish during this period, one emerging adult said, “If you keep a short engagement Christ-centered and smart, it can be wonderful.”

Thoughts Concerning a Long Engagement 

Time to Process and Plan – A long engagement allows the couple to fully explore their relationship and the commitment they are making.  The couple is not focused entirely on the day-to-day or the looming ceremony, but they are also able to think through their decisions and discuss the changes they are experiencing.

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2013. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Time to discuss tough issues – Engagement periods can be a time when the couple is faced for the first time with conflict when their values clash as they are forced to make decisions together.  Sometimes couple who rush through their engagement will bury problems until later because they know there is not time to fix the problem.

More Living Expenses – Unless one or both of the couple are living at home, living separately can often be a financial burden to the couple.  Emerging adulthood can be an expensive phase of life with little income, and so it is wise to save whenever possible.  I wouldn’t necessarily move up your wedding, but you might want to live with family or friends until the big day comes rather than pay rent at two places.

Difficult to maintain physical boundaries – One EA states, “Some of the long engagements I have seen have been so hard on the couple – specifically the struggle with sexual sin as the months pass.”  Even for couples who maintained clear boundaries while dating find it difficult to remain sexually pure once a promise is made.  A long engagement will require them to regularly discuss their physical boundaries, and the sexual tension between them.

There is no right or wrong answers, but each couple must decide based upon:

  1. How long have you known each other?
  2. In what capacities have you known each other? (Are you together regularly, or are you long-distance relationship?)
  3. What do your friends and mentors believe about your decisions?
  4. How well do you as a couple deal with stress and waiting?
  5. What do you sense God is leading you to do as you pray?

Whether long or short, your engagement can be all that you dreamed as you both seek God and follow His leading.

 david in hat - blackDr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to provide resources to Emerging Adults, and those who love them.

 

 

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