I found this article by John and Noel Piper at desiringgod.org. It’s excellent! I strongly encourage all parents to read it:

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I stumbled upon a very dear friend’s blog tonight – I didn’t know he had one before. While he is very dear to me, I don’t see him very often – for the last 6 years it’s been months or even years between a few minutes together. He was an upper classmen at TMC when I was a freshmen, and the Lord used Him to impact my life in ways I don’t think he will ever know… I’ve tried to tell him a few times before, but some things just can’t be put into words, try as we may…

 It turns out it was his birthday recently, so I took a minute to write him, and briefly, try again:

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I wrote about the first chapter of “Love That Lasts” last week. In this excellent book the authors give this counsel that struck me as very wise: 

“Ladies, this is Betsy. If your husband begins to demonstrate biblical love after a long season of neglect, be patient and receive his love thankfully. Please don’t think, Oh, he’s only doing that because it said to in the book. He doesn’t really mean it. It may feel that way for a while, but he needs to start somewhere. He is trying, perhaps for the first time, to love you as God intends. God’s call to you is not to read this book and then judge his progress but to give yourself to God’s will for you.

Guys, Gary here. The first steps to restoring or rejuvenating a drifting marriage can be very awkward. It’s difficult to admit, “You know, I’ve never said this to you before, but in my heart I really want God’s glory and your best in our marriage. I haven’t done a good job at pursuing this, but I want to. I don’t exactly know how yet, but please be patient with me as I try.” Just this sort of simple statement is a great next step.”

I’ve seen people try to bring about change in their marriage only to have their spouse refuse to give them a chance. While I understand this in light of all the pain and “baggage” that can exist in a marriage, it saddens me because it discourages the one trying at the very least, and completely short-circuits change at worst. I think the authors were very wise to not just talk about “being an excellent spouse”, but to recognize that this is far harder to do when there’s pain and “baggage” to be addressed and worked through. I’m not yet married and I don’t presume to be any marriage expert, but based on God’s Word, I encourage you in these things:

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True Greatness, part 1

February 16, 2008

The longer I walk with Christ, the more and more I realize that true greatness is found in little, every-day things – things many people would never see. I think true greatness is seen in the home as much as it is seen anywhere… Your spouse and kids see you day-in and day-out. They know if you’re consistant. They know how you respond when tired, stretched, or squeezed. They know what you put effort towards and what you neglect. They know how you die or don’t die to yourself for the sake of others in every-day life… As a result, I’m all the more encouraged when one’s spouse or children speak highly of their walk with Christ. 

I’ll probably write more on this another time. For now, with Valentine’s Day just a couple days ago, I’ll stick with a couple things I’ve heard wives say about their husbands – things that I think point to true greatness:

I was in a home last year, talking with a wife and mother. Her husband works many hours, is very involved in his church, coaches his kids sports teams, and is just just very busy all-round.  A newspaper was on the kitchen table. She pointed this comic strip out to me and said, “That’s my husband!” (Click on the strip for a larger image) 

baby_blues.gif

Beautiful, isn’t it?! It takes exemplary love and faithfulness to all God has called you to to come home after a very long and hard day and be “all there” – being purposeful about cherishing your wife, loving her and being there for her. I think consistancy in this is very rare, and I think it’s a mark of true greatness.

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This weekend, Jeff will finish a sermon series entitled “God’s Glory in His Church”. Our prayer is that everyone in our church will come to love the church, invest in it, and be blessed by it, as Christ has called us to.

The lyrics to a song called “The Church” by Derek Webb are spot on and a real blessing. They are saturated with Scripture references… References to lovers and being a harlot/whore are from the common biblical theme of spiritual adultery. Also look for references to communion and the cross, as well as Ephesians 5:22-33 (ie. “water” = “God’s Word”, etc). Read the lyrics as words from Christ to an individual Christian.

 

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That is the sub-title to “Love That Lasts” by Gary and Betsy Ricucci,  one of several books Heather and I are reading in preparation for marriage. We’ve only read one chapter so far, but it’s absolutely blessed our socks off!! : )

I’d like to share a few highlights with you from the first chapter of this wonderfully God-Scripture-gospel-and-grace-centered book:  

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This is my first post to the Christocentric Blog. I am a blessed man to be part of the Bethel Grace community. While spending some time in the office I looked at some information for conferences in the area and was directed to an interesting ministry. The conference is put on by a church community from Kansas City. I looked through the website for the conference and then the church. This ministry isn’t in agreement with many of the doctrines as Bethel Grace, but I had to keep looking at their ministry. For one reason alone, this church in Kansas City was founded on prayer. I know you are thinking every church is founded on prayer. But this church is quite different. Literally, a group of people met to have a prayer vigil. That prayer meeting hasn’t stopped according to their website. Since September 19, 1999, prayer has not stopped being offered up. What started as a small meeting has turned into a church, and into an international ministry trying to stir the fire in young adults. 

I found myself admiring this ministry.  I’m not advocating for it, nor am I in a place where I think this is the way for every Christian to function. But there is something admirable about Christians dedicated to prayer. The idea of having prayer offered up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, is appealing. It is a realistic literal way of seeing 1 Thessalonians 5:17 in action. I like the idea of seeing Christians characterized by prayer. It is obedience in action, but more importantly it is dependence on a Holy God to act. That is beautiful. While it may not be a physical possibility to have Bethel Grace having its doors open 24 hours a day for ever believer to have a shift, I do hope that those that are members are characterized by prayer. So as the new guy on staff at Bethel Grace I hope that we are characterized by prayer and all the more as we see the Day of the Lord approaching. 

Drew Lepis

By the time this post is over, I will have linked to my brother Gunner’s blog. As you may have noticed, I link to his blog a lot… He was my RD in college and he discipled me for two years. The Lord used many hours of fellowship with this brother to sharpen me, as well as his example. What I am most thankful for, however, was his faithfulness to tell me what I needed to hear, to point out how my life could be lived better to the glory of God and the blessing of others… I told him once that no one had “wounded” me as much as he had. That doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it is. It comes from this verse: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” ~Proverbs 27:6. It’s often easier to tell people what they want to hear, but it’s not loving to tell someone all is well when they’ve got half a head of lettuce stuck between their teeth! Tell them it’s there so they can do something about it!!

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Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be spending my time meditating on Genesis 13-14 for the evening service, where I hope to see you!  But I am planning to tape the game and watch it Monday.  I’m looking forward to watching Tom Brady and the Patriots complete their perfect season.  Yes, that is my prediction!  Please don’t tell me the score when you see me tomorrow night! 

For the rest of you football fans, CJ Mahaney has offered some helpful tips for watching the Super Bowl.  Here is a summery:

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