Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nothing burps better than bacon.

I got to meet George Foreman, Sr. today at a book signing (one of my favorite boxers).

Most know him as a heavyweight champion:
  • Olympic gold medal in '68
  • Heavyweight champion of the world in '73 (Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!)
  • Heavyweight champion of the world in '94 (oldest at 45; the longest gap between championships)
  • Champion of the grill, the George Foreman Grill

As a kid I knew him as the guy who was not gonna pay a lot for that muffler and the boxer who did a guest spot on Sanford & Son.

Yet, many, including me, did not know him as presently being a pastor of a small church in Houston. In his book he recounts an interesting conversion experience after a lost fight in '77 which has changed his life forever, including how he boxes. I got to read his book while waiting in the queue and found some interesting stuff, like the rationale as to why he named all of his sons George Edward Foreman (II through VI). What most impressed me in the book was that after regaining the title in '94 on a Saturday night he flew home and preached the next morning. I wonder if he would have gone to the bullpen had he lost, however.

In my brief encounter with this father of ten, I found him personable and encouraging toward me as a fellow pastor.

He relived for me his Sanford & Son experience of working with Redd Foxx as "Crazy, absolutely crazy." Man, I loved that show.

What seemed most interesting to him was when I told him about how much the Lone Star Founders Fraternal appreciated him once a month as we enjoyed the fruit of his George Foreman Grill. I said, "Nothing makes bacon better than the George Foreman Grill, Amen?" I got an "Amen" from George as well as some appreciation of his contribution to our pursuit of godliness that includes that which God's people can appreciate and enjoy to the glory of God as New Covenant believers. After all, nothing burps better than bacon.

I'll leave you with his favorite Scripture:
1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
-Psalm 1, ESV

Friday, May 25, 2007

I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

Today is the 30th anniversary of Star Wars (what would later be called "Episode IV: A New Hope").

I may have to sit down with the kids and watch Star Wars with the kids for movie night.

I've been reflecting today about how much popular culture has been impacted by Star Wars (and the series that followed) .

We all know what it means to "use the force" and the potency of the "Jedi mind trick," but arrogantly assume it won't work on us. We all know what it takes to make the jump to light speed, though traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy!

How many times have lads named Luke heard, "Luke, I am your father"? How many times did you put your deflector shields up to parry off the attacks of another.

Without Star Wars, we'd never have wookies or droids or the huge jump start to Harrison Ford's career. Without Star Wars, we'd never have the hair style known as the Princess Leia, with buns one each side of the head.

Without Star Wars, we'd never have had "Spaceballs."

Without the Star Wars series, Samuel L. Jackson would have never had a chance to play an "angry black male." Without the Star Wars series, we'd never have known Ewoks or the peril of being frozen in carbonite.

Personally, I had a Darth Vader birthday cake one year. While my sister was playing with dolls, I had my "action figures" and Star Wars collectors' cards. I put a great deal of my allowance into the Star Wars video game back in the day. I was wearing a Star Wars t-shirt when ridiculed by a private school admissions counselor in El Paso for wearing attire that would certainly be inappropriate at his school. I was Darth Vader & a Stormtrooper consecutive years for Halloween, back in my heathen days. ; - ) To this day, I'm still a master at the Darth Vader breathing technique.

I can remember fondly Rachel going through a phase when she was two where you'd ask her, "Who are you?" and she'd respond in her grumpy/scary voice, "I'm Darth Vader!" On my son's bed at present are the Star Wars sheets I had on my bed as a lad.

What's your most fond Star Wars memory or cultural phenomenon?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

That's more than a dress; that's an Audrey Hepburn movie.

I hate to write about dress in such proximity to a post on modesty being more than just dress, but ...

I took my boy to the Rangers game yesterday afternoon and I found myself befuddled by the dress of many in attendance.

In all fairness, I must disclose my own peculiarities as we attended the game wearing Cardinals shirts and hats as the home team lost a close one to the Twinkies.

That being said, I found it interesting how many people were there whose attire gave no indication whatsoever that they were at a ball game.

For example, no blue for the home team or Rangers hat. I guess I'm used to Busch Stadium in St. Louis where everyone wears a Cardinals jersey or at least wears red, but everyone at least owns a Cardinals hat.

Folks were dressed in business casual or regular shorts & shirts combination, but with no baseball or sports identification whatsoever. What was also peculiar was the number of people who were overdressed, like more than a few ladies who were rather dolled up for an afternoon baseball game. There was one lady in particular wearing high heels and a slinky black cocktail dress. In fact, it was more than a dress. It was an Audrey Hepburn movie.

Yet, most distressing of all was a lady about 5 rows up, a thirty-something mother of at least 2. Now, I'm not all that concerned about what kind of underwear people choose. I don't care if my president wears boxers or briefs and I'm apathetic as to whether or not this mom wears a thong. But did I really need to see 3-4 inches of it riding up her back above the DMZ?

I'm not going to be sizist and say she shouldn't wear such, but modesty yearns for her to at least not wear a shirt 2 sizes too small. At least we weren't treated to a tattoo poking its way beyond the fabric.

In a game without much offense for the Rangers, there was plenty to take in visually at the game. At least I'm raising my boy right. He wore his baseball clothes (including t-ball glove) and made sure his shirt tail in the back covered his Lightning McQueen drawers.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!

Most don't know it, but there are elected positions in the Southern Baptist Convention, for example a president and an assortment of vice-presidents.

I'm not really sure what those tasks entail, but it's a big deal, at least with regard to who is the president (currently Frank Page).

Historically, such elections (since the conservative resurgence) have been where candidates were typically unopposed, this past year being an exception.

To demonstrate this phenomenon, Wiley Drake (LA pastor) will not accept a nomination to be re-elected as 2nd VP of the SBC. He feels God has so led him to not be party to any conflict or hurt feelings, since he's learned of the potential nomination of another.

Yet, he's still available if need be for service down the road. He won't try to oust the current president who is allowed to be elected to another term, however.

“I think [current president Frank Page] has done a good job,” Drake said. “I mean, he’s not perfect, he’s not the Lord, but I think he deserves another chance. After that, I would accept a nomination to be president.

Assuming, Frank Page is elected president in 2008 and then Wiley Drake is elected in 2009 and 2010, I figure I'd go ahead and end any suspense.

After that, I would accept a nomination to be president. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It is our most modestly priced receptacle.

What comes to mind when I say the word modesty? As the father of 3 girls, I can assure the topic has come up in many mother-daughter conversations, but I appreciate the wisdom of a fellow blogger:
Why is it that the dress habits of 15 year old girls is pretty much the only thing some Christians talk about when the topic is "modesty?" Nobody talks about the 16 year old basketball player who rubs it in to those who didn't make the team. Or the 35 year old man who buys the biggest house, best sports car, loudest stereo, etc. in order to show off his income. Or the 23 year old blogger who knows he's right about everything.
Indeed, modesty is more than just a (young) lady covering sensitive regions of skin.
"Modesty comprises a set of culturally or religiously determined values that relate to the presentation of the self to others." (HT Wikipedia)
If modesty is in the same family as humility, which it must be since both are on the endangered species list, then we really have our work cut out for us in the church with regard to modesty. There's much more that needs policing than merely clothing that is too tight, though that shouldn't go unattended.

For example, selfishness is a delusion of one's greater importance than others, a flexing of the immodesty muscles. The spiritual one-upper who has to outdo the other folks in Sunday school or with regard to how the children are educated or how meager the family is with finances might all be found thanking God they are not like that immodest teenager over there.

What about the singer of the "special" who can't wait for another turn in the spotlight? What about those in the church who only want to serve when it means they get to teach or preach? That way they can show off what they know to further their reputations.

What about the amount of time or money that is spent on looking good? I'm not just talking women, but men too. Think of how much time & money American Christians spend at the gym just so they can look good. Oddly enough, we have no indication Jesus was ever a regular at the gym or was ever on a diet. The Proverbs 31 woman didn't seem to spend bundles of money on make up, since she never bought into the lie that you she had to show herself she was worth it by buying the expensive products.
Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
- 1 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV
There's nothing wrong with looking good or being healthy, quite the contrary. But I can assure you that much more time, effort, and finances go into making people physically fit, while they spend so little to rectify the situation of being spiritually flabby.

As Christians, most of us could probably do with a dose of modesty in living within our means and in how we present ourselves to others. In other words, modesty is a problem for all of us, it just make take different forms.

I better stop lest this "blogger" gives the impression he has a clue about anything, particularly modesty.

P.S. This picture is to give a hint as to the answer to King Pin's question in the comments section.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 21, 2007

Well, now, guess what. This is happening.

At Providence Church last night we began a study of Luke-Acts and I taught on Luke 1 (80 verses). Embarking on a study of the life of the Messiah is an excursion that I hope will rekindle our first love as God "speaks" to us through His Son.
1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
- Hebrews 1:1-3, ESV

Along those lines, I share with you a quote from the late F.F. Bruce:
"The Christian gospel is not primarily a code of ethics or a metaphysical system; it is first and foremost good news, and as such it was proclaimed by its earliest preachers.... This good news is intimately bound up with the historical order, for it tells how for the world's redemption God entered into history, the eternal came into time, the kingdom of heaven invaded the realm of earth, in the great events of the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus the Christ."
-The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
The incarnation says so much and I look forward to our Sunday night study of how the kingdom of heaven invades the realm of earth, Light conquering darkness as the drama unfolds.

A Messiah was expected, but not this Messiah, God in the flesh who is more concerned about defeating the powers of darkness and liberating His people from their sins than about overthrowing the Romans to save them from their oppression.

Little did they know that this King would conquer far more than some land, but His kingdom would know no end, geographically or temporally. All the years of awaiting a leader fit to rule God's people are over, the King is here, now and forever more.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who.

Dirk Nowitzki has won the 2006-07 regular season NBA MVP, the first European player to do so. All season Mavs fans have wanted to see this day come. We just figured it would be awarded during a Mavs playoff game.

But being "the best player on the best team," the one that won 67 games (of 82), which was tied for the 6th best record in NBA history, gets you noticed as having great value.

Dirk's a great guy it seems and a great player. Yet, he had a poor playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. He's not alone in not playing well in that series, but he shoulders more of the blame being the superstar. That's just how it is.

Personally, I thought the Mavs MVP in that series was DeSagna Diop and I'm glad they re-signed him.

But this was much less of a happy occasion because of the huge disappointment for the Mavericks. After being up 2-0 in the NBA Finals last year, the Mavs have just really underwhelmed in the playoffs ever since, which is sad.
"Even when I heard I was MVP, I was sad to watch all these playoff games and know that we're not a part of it," Nowitzki said. "It's heartbreaking still to me. I was trying to be positive and be really happy, but it's going to take a while for it to really sink in."
Somebody killed their championship last year and most thought they were a lock to at least make it to the Western Conference Finals (only needing to beat either the Spurs or the Suns, but not both). They would have had the 8th seed and then Utar, which would have been seen as an easy route to the WCF, at least on paper. But somebody killed this championship season as well.

Was it Dirk not stepping up? Was it a lack of playing defense? Was it Jason Terry not stepping up? Was it Josh Howard being absent for lengthy periods? Was it just overall an off series for a great team? Whatever it was, it writes a bad ending for a good season/story.

But ... this is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who.

Dirk was "Number One" this year, but the team was not. Next year, I'd like to see him hoisting a different trophy, not in May, but in June.

Danke for a great regular season and congratulations, Dirk.


Monday, May 14, 2007

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

I was conversing on the phone today with the Rev. Dr. Mark Forrest and he had a very interesting observation, putting it in the form of a question even though we were not on Jeopardy!

We were discussing the mindset that is prevalent that a bigger church is a better church. He asked what programs (insert name of well known SBC mega church in our area here) had that we don't have, etc.

So many of these church growth conferences give the impression that the mega church is where it's at and the VAST majority of churches out there ought to just have their heads bashed against a tree to be put out of their misery if they can't attain the elite status of mega.

They often (though albeit perhaps unintentionally) give the impression to the smaller churches that they just can't compete. Given that and the propensity of people to jump ship to the bigger, better deal one can easily become convinced that to land these consumeristic sharks you're gonna need a bigger boat.

Your building must be bigger. Your choir must be bigger. Your children's programs must be bigger, etc.

It's this last one that I find interesting.

There have been occasions in the life of our family whereby we have pondered sending our kids to a Christian private school. What was one of the huge selling points? A great student to teacher ratio. They let us know that their classes are such that you never have any more than a 1 teacher to 12 kids ratio or whatnot. In contrast, they will note, you're looking at 1 teacher per 20-30 kids in a public school. Now, concerned parent, which is obviously better?

But ... take that to church. Hmm. As they drop off their kid the parents realize that there are only 8 kids in that class with little Johnny. That's a concern.

Like Mark said, "What's the difference between the 4th grade class at (insert name of that church again) and your (Providence) church?" Mark's brilliant question: "Why don't they value a good student to teacher ratio in church like they do in school?"

I thought to myself and said, "Good point. In fact, I'll put my class up against anyone's. We've got a husband and wife team teaching. They are the parents of four and he has a 4 year Master of Theology degree and a Ph.D. in education. We keep a good student to teacher ratio. Why is it that in church folks want more kids in a room with not enough adults and that's a good? Our curriculum from Children Desiring God rocks the house.

But folks don't typically think in those terms. Folks have been more trained to look at the exterior of the building and see the size of the church as the more important factor in having a better church life/experience, even with regard to kids slooge.

Why is that? I think it's because we see the bigger church as successful and want to be on board with a winner. It's hard to be a Rangers fan, but it's always easy to be a fan of the team that has just won the World Series or the Superbowl, etc. There's a sense of prestige being associated with such a winner, like a mega church.

I said all that to say this ... smaller church person/pastor, you have nothing of which to be ashamed. You may not be able to "compete" in certain areas, but those are the areas that really define true success anyway. Do what you do well and in an excellent manner for the glory of God.

As your church is healthy and your faithfulness sees God graciously add to its number, rejoice, but do not gloat and certainly don't lose sight of what's most important.

If you're a Rangers fan you can relate. Other teams have bigger payrolls and it's easy to have some envy in the standings. A manager still wants his team to play hard each game and put a quality "product" on the field.

Yet, aren't even the Rangers an illustration of the bigger, better deal syndrome? They built the Ballpark in Arlington in 1994. The new stadium drew more fans which meant more tickets (tithing units or TUs as their seen in church growth circles). So, the team has more money it can spend on players, etc. In 1996 the team made history, the Rangers made the playoffs for the first time ever. From then on expectations have been higher for the team.

I said all that to say this, I wish we could better educate Christians ... nay, "church shoppers" as to properly measuring quality in a church by looking at things like doctrinal fidelity, depth of instruction, values, and vision for the glory of God in all that is done. It's typically, however, the window dressing of a church that gets all the evaluation, good or bad.

We're called to be fishers of men and some would tell us, "You're gonna need a bigger boat" in order to catch fish in our era. Perhaps, but I would be inclined to think that Jesus might rather tell us that we're gonna need the Holy Spirit and faithful diligence to get the job done.

If you get a bigger boat, praise be to God, but you don't need it to be successful.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.

Recently I came across this story about a woman who was offended/insulted by the quip on her Starbucks cup (Woman expresses indignation at quote on Starbucks cup).

The unhappy woman was/is Michelle Incanno, a married mother of 3 who is a Catholic (but may or may not be an "Evangelical Catholic" and the story did not report as to her membership status in the Evangelical Theological Society). (HT Gunny)

The thought provoking comments were attributed to London, Ontario, Starbucks patron Bill Schell (likely not a Catholic nor an Evangelical). The comments were part of Starbucks' effort to "collect different viewpoints and spur discussion." I have appreciated this bit, on occasion, but I too would not have been a fan of this one.

Printed on the cup was:
"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure."
In a very Modern way, he encourages us to not look up or out, but within. Trust in humanity, for we have the power to overcome.

Doesn't he know that's so Modernity? Doesn't he know we've lost our "faith" in humanity?

Anyway, she was offended by that, which is understandable. He basically criticizes people for being dumb and/or weak in punting their responsibility to act.

"As someone who loves God, I was so offended by that. I don't think there needs to be religious dialogue on it. I just want coffee," said Incanno.

It's funny to me. The whole bit has been, you're not just buying a cup of coffee, you're buying the experience. Yet, here we have a woman who doesn't really want the experience they're trying to offer, she just wants her cup of steaming Joe.

But, hey, if I was a non-believer like Bill Schell, I would likely give him a hearty, "Amen." Our faith doesn't make sense to him, but that's the nature of our foolishness. In the same way, one must realize the limitations of trying to use reason to prove to someone why he/she should believe in God and/or be a Christian.

There's a supernatural element involved whereby the blind cannot see and the message of the cross will be foolishness to those without the Spirit. But those who have been regenerated to see the beauty and majesty of the Savior and have experienced the fullness of a God of love can endure whatever may come.

That's why John Huss (a forerunner to the Reformation) could stand strong though it meant being burned at the stake as a heretic in 1415, by the church. As Huss stood before the stake he reportedly said, "In the truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached, I die willingly and joyfully today." Incidentally, he proved to be a prophet when he said, "You are roasting a poor Bohemian goose, but in 100 years there will arise a swan whom you will neither roast nor boil." I don't know if many would refer to him as a swan, especially since Pope Leo called Martin Luther a wild boar (i.e., pig) in his papal bull of excommunication, Exsurge Domine.

Folks like Huss can live lives that perplex and maybe even disappoint others, but that's the nature of our supernaturally enabled faith in the supernatural One. It's not a blind faith or an unfounded/ungrounded faith, but it's faith nonetheless and faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.

I got these in the email recently and thought them shareworthy. (HT Tater's mom)

Some of these are groaners, but others are rather cute. Even my kids got the humor. Hopefully, you will too.

Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
A. Ruthless.

Q. What do they call pastors in Germany ?
A. German Shepherds.

Q.. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A. Samson. He brought the house down.

Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
A. Joshua, son of Nun.

Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
A. Noah He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.

Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
A. Pharaoh's daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.

Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David's Triumph was heard throughout the land. Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord.

Q. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden ?
A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.

Q. Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?
A. Moses. He broke all 10 commandments at once.

Q. Which area of Palestine was especially wealthy?
A. The area around Jordan. The banks were always overflowing.

Q. Who is the greatest babysitter mentioned in the Bible?
A. David. He rocked Goliath to a very deep sleep.

Q. Why didn't they play cards on the Ark ?
A. Because Noah was standing on the deck. (Groan...)

PS. Did you know it's a sin for a woman to make coffee? Indeed, it's in the Bible. It says, "He-brews"

I thought these were funny, but then again insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

I'll be honest. I don't think anyone knows what it means anymore.

The president of the Evangelical Theological Society, Francis Beckwith (professor at Baylor), has apparently converted (back) to Roman Catholicism, but intends to remain in a member of ETS.
Because I can in good conscience, as a Catholic, affirm the ETS doctrinal statement, I do not intend to resign as a member of ETS.
(EDIT: But he changed his mind and did resign his 23 year ETS membership.)
Jay the Bennett has asked how a Roman Catholic can affirm the following from the ETS doctrinal statement:
"The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory."
But I wonder, do the Roman Catholics declare something else to be the "Word of God written"? Though it may have been intended to do so, I don't think this ETS affirmation equates to sola Scriptura.

(from The Cambridge Declaration, also the philosophy of ministry at Providence Church)
"Thesis One: Sola Scriptura

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation."
I think the ETS bit cited affirms the inerrancy of Scripture, but it does not subordinate councils nor does it deny papal infallibility, etc..

I can see how this would be in keeping with the fundamental of the faith known as inerrancy, but do Roman Catholics deny inerrancy?

In other words, I don't see this as an exclusively Protestant statement of Scripture.

This, of course, raises the question for me ... "What is an evangelical?" Or, "Can one be an evangelical Roman Catholic?"

If it's an adherence to the "Fundamentals of the Faith" of the fundamentalist movement (i.e., bodily resurrection of Christ, imminent/literal second coming of Christ, inerrancy of Scripture, virgin birth & deity of Christ, and blood/substitionary atonement), then you're likely only going to have the nature of the atonement as the dividing wall between Roman Catholics and Protestants, though these have historically been discussions in the Protestant arena exclusively.

I do find the whole thing interesting as labels seem to mean so much less than they once did, though they're still vehemently used. Forums debate what it means to be "Reformed" and Baptists are wrestling with the nature of the true essense of Baptist identity. Evangelicals have wrestled with open theism.

So much of this we just sort of know intuitively or in our gut, but it's interesting how labels seem so fluid. Rush used to say (and maybe still does), "Words mean things," which is true, but do they mean the same thing to everyone? In communication theory terms, who defines the meaning, the sender or the receiver? Who gets to define the terminology?

We know the winners get to write history and I wonder how this plays in to definitions and establishing boundaries.

What does it mean to be evangelical? What does it mean to be orthodox? What does it mean to be a Christian? I'll be honest. I don't think anyone knows what it means anymore.

For if eveyone knows it to be something different, then nobody really knows.

P.S. Apparently Thabiti Anyabwile is feeling me on the question of definitions and asks, "What is an Evangelical?"


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My biological clock is ticking like THIS, and the way this case is going, I ain't never getting married!

How does your church treat the singles therein? Is singleness a disease that must quickly be cured through marriage? Is your singles ministry judged, not on lives changed to the glory of God, but on the percentage of singles married off.

Single people, what do you look for in a church? Hotties? Dudes whose last name you can claim?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting to be married, but is it possible to miss the blessings of singleness due to a preoccupation with wanting that era to end? Is it possible that your singleness can be squandered in a desire for the "greener pastures" of married life? Is it possible that singles have prematurely married or married with insufficient knowledge and/or preparation due to some erroneous thoughts with regard to singleness and marriage?

Is Christ not enough? Are you a slacker as a Christian if you want to get married? Does that mean you're discontent with God and lacking faith? What does Paul mean that it's best to be like him? (1 Cor 7:8) Why? How does one know if he/she should get married or stay single? (1 Cor 7:8-9) What does Paul mean when he says that, "those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that." (1 Cor 7:28) What benefits are there, to the kingdom, of singleness? (1 Cor 7:32-34)

How does the church encourage erroneous thinking about singleness? Do they make singles feel like third-class citizens (second-class is reserved for those couples without kids yet)? Do they make them feel inadequate/incomplete by constantly trying to "help" by match-making?

What should a biblical view of singleness look like?

Pastor, what do you say to the singles in your church? Heed "the Pipe" on this one:
God promises spectacular blessings to those of you who remain single in Christ, and he gives you an extraordinary calling for your life. To be single in Christ is, therefore, not a falling short of God’s best, but a path of Christ-exalting, covenant-keeping obedience that many are called to walk.
In this sermon John Piper has some great insights in this regard and heartily encourage you to read them, even if you're already "cured," so to speak.

To whet your appetite, I'll leave you with some of his concluding thoughts.
As long as you are single, this is your calling: to so live for Christ as to make it clearer to the world and to the church
  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families;
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. And that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.
To him be glory in the Christ-exalting drama of marriage and the Christ-exalting drama of the single life. Amen


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting