The Phone Call I Hope I Never Have to Make About Your Marriage

Recently I had to make a phone call that broke my heart. It’s a phone call that I hope I never have to make again. A few years ago a couple came to me for marriage counseling. They had been struggling with issues for years but hadn’t talked to anyone about them. We met several times and made a little bit of progress but no breakthroughs. They couldn’t meet in the middle. Counseling kind of petered out and they eventually moved to a different state.

telephoneAs life goes we lost track of each other until I received a letter from a lady I’ve never met. She told me she was the guardian ad litem for this couple. They’re getting a divorce. It’s getting messy. Accusations are flying back and forth. And worst of all, there are kids involved. The relationship had deteriorated to such a point that the government had to step in to help decide where the kids went.

That’s where my phone call came in. The guardian ad litem received permission from both parties to talk to me and get my take on the situation. It was a depressing phone call to say the least. I believed and still believe that it was a marriage that could have been saved. The greatest casualties are the children, pawns with no say in the matter.

I hope I never have to make a phone call like that again. If your marriage needs help, get help. Don’t stick your kids in the middle. Don’t make the government decide where they go. Talk to someone this week.

Five for Friday (7.11.14)

5Learning never takes a break! Here are five articles (plus a bonus video) to keep you learning through the weekend.

Is There a Pause Button for Parenting? - My thoughts exactly!

Six Things You Can Do To Improve Your Marriage – Always helpful words from Perry Noble.

An Acts 17 Moment: What Burger King Has Right About LGBT People - Great perspective for those with ears to hear.

10 Keys to Being a Great Employee – We could all benefit from this!

Why We Won’t Live In Heaven Forever – Just to blow your mind a little.

Bonus Video – the new trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings is out, starring Christian Bale. Looks epic!

Five for Friday (6.27.14)

5Have a great weekend!

A Different Kind of Millennial Problem – Wouldn’t it be great to have this problem in all our churches?

How to Speak Your Spouse’s Love Language (And What to Avoid) – Great help for any marriage!

10 Questions for a Six-Month Spiritual Checkup – Great tool! Worth the read!

A Letter to Married Couples Who Are Struggling With Infertility – Great encouragement!

Where Do Millennials Attend Church? – More good insight into this pivotal generation for the church.

Why Pastors Like to Stay Indoors

6.25.14Yesterday was ministry in a nutshell, a microcosm of what many pastors face week in and week out. The first half of the day was idyllic. I cocooned myself inside my office, spread out my Bible, commentaries, online tools and a pen and paper, and went to town. I brainstormed, researched, read, prayed, and planned. I created sermon series ideas for the next school year, dug into some of my favorite biblical texts, and imagined how successful all these upcoming sermons were sure to be. It was a carefree, clean, tidy, optimistic morning.

But then I did something I knew better than to do: I stepped out of my office. Inside my office, there are no problems. Outside my office, outside the church walls, there’s the mess. I ran into two recovering addicts who’ve come on and off to my church. They’ve been more ‘off’ than ‘on’ when it comes to church attendance. They’re clean and sober, but they’ve still got an uphill climb in life from years of mistakes. Victory in their life will never be quick or easy.

Then I found out about two marriages on the verge of divorce. One divorce will be final in the next few months. One is on its last legs. Both are couples recently in our church. One actually sat in my office for counseling (that’s the one that’s already calling it quits). Kids are involved in both marriage. No one is winning there.

Now you know why some pastors like to stay indoors. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. It’s clean and tidy. We can sit at our desks and wax eloquent about deep biblical truths that only other seminary students care about. But that’s not where we’re needed. Pastors are needed outdoors, offering hope to addicts and hopeless marriages.

Every time I get out of my comfort zone, every time I step outside, I’m reminded why I’m a pastor.

Five for Friday (6.13.14)

five red buttonThe more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss

Here are a few things to read this weekend. Enjoy!

What if Your Child is Gay? Very insightful words from Russell Moore.

Why I Gave Up Alcohol - A very reasoned, non-judgmental word to all the social drinkers out there.

What the Latest SBC Numbers Mean for Your Church – the article that inspired by blog post on Tuesday.

Lessons from 18 Years of Marriage – Great words!

7 Things You Should Know About Temptation – Don’t read this if you struggle with temptation! (Aha! I just tempted you!)

12 Things You’ll Learn After Twelve Years of Marriage

IMG_0494Yesterday my gorgeous wife and I celebrated twelve years of marriage. I’ve blogged about marriage many times, but my anniversary is another opportunity to share what I’m learning along the way. Here are 12 things you’ll learn after twelve years of marriage:

1. You’ll look back at your wedding photos and say, “Who are those kids?”

2. Being knee deep in parenting, you’ll think back and wonder, “What did we do with all that free time we had before we had kids?”

3. You’ll learn which fights are worth fighting, and more importantly, which one’s aren’t.

4. You’ll laugh at the false narratives of marriage being portrayed in the media (movies, sitcoms, etc).

5. You’ll find beauty in the mundane; you’ll find richness in the quiet moments with your spouse.

6. If you’ve made it twelve years, then you and your spouse will have already gone through the fire and come out stronger on the other side. You’ll have realized a new strength forged in your marriage.

7. You’ll learn that marriage doesn’t get easy after twelve years. It might get a little easier, but it never gets easy.

8. You’ll acknowledge that one of the greatest competitors to maintaining romance with your spouse is your own children.

9. To be successfully married for twelve years, you’ll have surmised that marriage is the most humbling, the most sacrificing, and most transformative thing you can ever do in life. It forever changes you.

10. You’ll have discovered a level of intimacy with another human being that you’ve never experienced before.

11. You’ll get this sense that your spouse truly does complete you. You’ll acknowledge that marriage really is God’s beautiful design.

12. You’ll learn that even though you spend every day with your spouse, you still have so much more to learn.

QUESTION: What have you learned after your years of marriage?

Five for Friday (5.30.14)

five red buttonThe world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning you go to school.” Bishop T.D. Jakes

Here are five links to help you keep learning today!

Leadership and the San Antonio Spurs – great leadership lessons for the sports fans out there

How to Engage the Demonic – insightful follow up if you’ve been keeping up with our War of the Worlds sermon series

The Irony of the New Tolerance: It Doesn’t Tolerate Christians – beautifully written

The VA’s Socialist Paradise – great opinion piece about the ongoing scandal about the VA.

How to Speak Your Spouse’s Love Language (And What to Avoid) – must read for all married couples!


Five for Friday (5.23.14)

five red buttonWho’s ready for Memorial Day Weekend? Here’s some interesting articles to keep you reading through the holiday. Enjoy!

Kirsten Powers: Liberal’s Dark Ages - Must Read! Great article that captures the hypocrisy of the ‘tolerance’ movement.

Author Debunks Myths About Divorce Rates, Including of Churchgoers –  Great news for married people!

What is the Link Between Pornography and Sex Trafficking? – Insightful article from my buddy Tony Merida.

Do We Do Discipleship Wrong? – Derwin Gray asks a critical question for churches today.

Southern Baptists Struggling to Attract Younger Generation, Says New Report – Research to back up what we’ve known for years.

Five For Friday (5.2.14)

five red buttonHappy Friday! Here are five good articles to keep you growing through the weekend!

Why Muslims are Becoming the Best Evangelists – Solid perspective on what God is doing in the Muslim world today.

My Kid is Not My Calling – A great reminder to all parents out there!

Evangelical Internet Accountability – Incredible USA Today article on Covenant Eyes. If you don’t use internet accountability software, start today!

5 Ways to Pray Intentionally for Your Spouse – A must read for all married spouses out there!

Distant Strangers – Great point of view from a buddy of mine on the Donald Sterling/Clippers saga.



Five for Friday (4.18.14)

five red button Happy Easter! Here are five links to keep you thinking throughout the weekend.

The “15 Second Kiss” Experiment – Married with kids? This article is for you!!!!

Do We Really Need More Churches in America? – Great perspective!

3 Big Questions Kids Ask on Good Friday – great perspective for those with curious kids.

Heaven is For Real – Good review if you’re considering watching the movie.

Saved From Hate – An interview with the son of deceased pastor of Westboro Baptist Church.