Archive for the Relationships Category

Forgiveness

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Relationships, Religion on November 25, 2008 by Scott

warrickdunnWarrick Dunn’s mother, Baton Rouge police corporal Betty Smothers, was killed on the morning of January 7, 1993, in an ambush at a local bank.

Two years later, the man who killed her, Kevan Brumfield, was sentenced to die.

In October 2007 Dunn visited Angola State Prison and spoke with Brumfield about a moment that changed his life like no other.

“I didn’t kill your mother. They got the wrong guy.”

He listened to Brumfield explain how, because of the life he had lived, he would have probably been dead by now if he hadn’t been arrested for this crime that he now claims he didn’t do … but to which he confessed.

After listening to Brumfield for a while longer, he  decided he wanted to tell him how that night changed his life.

Tears started to well in his eyes when he realized that he was laying it all on the line for a guy who had killed his mom. As he looked around the room, he realized everyone else in the room had tears in their eyes, too — Brumfield included.

“If you didn’t do it, I don’t know why you are here today, but I know why I am here today. I am here because I need to forgive somebody… It is time for me to forgive…”

Dunn realized that rather than seeking the answers to all of the questions he had for years, it was time to forgive.

What a great story….sometimes we don’t need to the answers, we just need to forgive.

The Real Threat to Marriage

Posted in Church, Faith, Family, God, Jesus, Relationships, Religion on September 22, 2008 by Scott

Results from a recent survey on marriage:

  • 88% said they were happy or reasonably content in their marriages.
  • 56% would definitely marry the same person again.
  • What happened to the 32%? Guess they’re “happy/content,” but would choose someone else next time.
  • 30% admitted that they remain married either because of financial reasons or because “it’s too much trouble to get out.”
  • Too much trouble?  A wedding cost thousands of dollars, but you can get a divorce for $50. Maybe we should make it more difficult to get married.
  • Less than 25% of men named households chores as a source of friction, as opposed to 31% of women.
  • 33% of women don’t have sex more because they are tired.
  • Maybe the women are tired from doing the chores.
  • 31% have sex less than once a month.
  • 60% of men said they don’t have sex enough.
  • 48% of men don’t have sex more often because their spouse isn’t interested.
  • Alright, we admit we only put this one in here in case our wives read this.
  • 24% have kept an important secret from their spouse.
  • 31% have discovered that their spouse kept an important secret from them.

Albert Mohler says this about marriage:

The greater tragedy is the failure of Christians to take marriage seriously. According to the Bible, marriage is not only designed by the Creator as an arena for human happiness and the continuation of the human race–it is also the arena of God’s glory, where the delights and disciplines of marriage point to the purpose for which human beings were made.

Marriage is about our happiness, our holiness, and our wholeness–but it is supremely about the glory of God. When marriage is entered into rightly, when marriage vows are kept with purity, when all the goods of marriage are enjoyed in their proper place–God is glorified.

We keep talking about the external threats to marriage and family, but the biggest threat might be staring back at us in the mirror every day.

Bowling Alone

Posted in Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, God, Relationships, Religion on September 1, 2008 by Scott

In his book, Bowling Alone, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam focuses on how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, communities and institutions that were once the fabric of our society.

Putnam tells the story of two men from different walks of life, who and were not likely to have known each other had they not joined the same bowling league. One had a serious illness and faced death. The other ended up donating one of his kidneys to save the life of his friend. Had they not come together, and had the mam who became ill not gone bowling, it is likely that he would not have lived.

Putnam found that in recent decades the following have declined:

  • Attendance in meetings of community-based organizations has declined by 50%
  • In the last 20 years the number of Americans visiting the home of friends at least once a week fell from 66% to 33%
  • in 1960, 62.8% of Americans of voting age participated in the presidential election, whereas by 1996, the percentage had slipped to 48.9%.
  • Church attendance is down roughly 25%-50% from the 1950s – depending on how you define “attendance”
  • One in five Americans moves once a year, while two in five expect to move in five years, leading to an isolated population that is less than empathetic to its fellow citizens

Putnam does not place the blame for this on one source, but cites the entrance of women into the workforce, high levels of divorce, and urban sprawl among others as possible contributors. His most damning remarks are reserved for television. According to Putnam, no single technology has had such a damaging effect on America’s civic and personal relationships.

Working together, coming together, and creating real communities all give life to a society.

Two life-applications come to mind:

  • Life cannot be done alone. We all need others.
  • There is a tremendous opportunity for Christ followers to get involved in our communities and really make a difference in the lives of others.

No one should have to go bowling alone.

A Mile in Her Wheels

Posted in Jesus, Relationships on July 24, 2008 by Scott

I’ve mentioned before that my oldest daughter is in a wheelchair…I still remember her 1lb 14oz body when she was born. She’s always been the only child in a chair in her mainstream classes, even now as a sophomore in high school.

She just got back as a counselor at a special-needs camp…she never complains; she just keeps moving forward. She has a great ability to distinguish right from wrong, and it’s black and white for her, and they never meet…she just chooses not to go there.

I see how people look at her…not knowing what to say…thanking God for their children. It used to make me incredibly angry. And now I see how her friends look at her with complete acceptance…how her future husband will look at her.

The funny thing is her chair used to be more bondage for me than her…a lot of why’s between me and God. Then as I spent more time with Him and her…it was clear…it wasn’t about me, it was about her and her fate in this life. It was as if God said “she’s perfect in my eyes, and if you can’t see it, that’s your problem man”…my God talks like that.

So as I think about one of my heroes and how God has changed me through loving her…truly teaching me about love without expectations, I reflect on others.

The reminder is that when those close to you are going through something or are given a certain lot in life…it absolutely has nothing to do with you. You may be called to provide care or be a part of something special but when you begin to ask “why” in reference to yourself…you’ve lost perspective on why you’re there.

One Way Ticket to Paradise

Posted in Christianity, Church, Discipleship, Jesus, Relationships, Religion on July 3, 2008 by Scott

People do not like single solutions…it implies arrogance…it implies exclusivity. Well, not really…not if it is offered to everyone.

I heard my former pastor many years ago say that Christ made two statements that changed everything. He made the most inclusive statement in scripture in John 3:16…

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Then he made the most exclusive statement in all of scripture in John 14:6…

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

People hate one-way tickets…they want options…they want to be in charge…they want to be God. It’s the reason they don’t want their sin examined by others…the reason they don’t want to be accountable to others…they justify their sin by the sin of others…”we’re all sinners” is the motto.

This is actually the response of the embracing body not the cry of the arrogant sinner.

People struggle submitting to the exclusive lordship of Jesus…that’s why salvation can be elusive for people. And then we struggle submitting to the body of Christ…and that is because we want our sin to be exclusive to us.

Included in forgiveness but excluded from correction.

We like options.

Without Honor

Posted in Faith, Jesus, Marriage, Relationships on June 22, 2008 by Scott

I had a brutal week…embezzlement issues…etc…etc. I had so little bandwidth remaining for other things.

I recently had a conversation with my wife…I told her that her idea of an apology was “you’ll be fine”…to which she replied, “when did I apologize!” Two words came to mind…WOW! and EXACTLY!

Life is like that…timeless moments we hope we’re not remembered for in terms of our character. I read something like this in Mark this past week…

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.

As we live the Gospel this week, remember the first two letters…GO! We often get so bogged down with God’s unrevealed will that we never grasp the revealed…GO! And be okay with the fact that those who knew you when may never get it.

Who is the Ringmaster?

Posted in Christianity, Faith, God, Leadership, Relationships, Religion on June 19, 2008 by Scott

Just finished reading a book entitled “Juggling Elephants,” by Jones Loflin and Todd Musig.

The book follows the fictiuous story of a business man who attends the circus with his family, only to realize that his life is a circus as well. The moral to the story is that he needs to do a better job of juggling his own three ring circus, which includes work, family, and “me-time.”

As I finished the book I thought…. “Yeah, I need to get more balance of my life.  Sometimes I am juggling elephants. There is too much to do and not enough time. What I need is more control.”

SCREECHING HALT!

Control? That is a bad word for someone like me. I have a hard time with anyone else having any sort of control over what I do.

I’d like to be able to give it up to God and let him be the Ringmaster. Who better to plan the “acts” that come and go through our lives?

Admittedly, most of the time I can’t. I make excuses such as “I’m just wired this way” or I spend the majority of my day in a leadership position, so I can’t just turn-if-off. But the reality is that I am too weak to give up control.

Man… this is something I really need to work on or I’m looking at a lifetime full of juggling elephants.