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This story from the Odd News is certainly odd.  A Florida church is in trouble for a 3-week series about “great sex.”  No, the problem is not the denomination, or some stuffy members upset about such a scandalous thing.

The problem in this case is the “risk management” department of the local school board.  The controversy revolves around the 25,000 mailers sent to homes in the target area of the church.

Mark Langdorf, the director of risk management, says the mailers generated complaints, were not appropriate for elementary school children and shouldn’t be used to advertise the sermon in the school.

This implies a few things, which really aren’t true.

First, that the mailers were geared for, and sent to, children.  Elementary school children to be precise.  I seriously doubt they were sent to elementary school children.

Second, that elementary school children don’t hear about sex from … the school.  Yes, there could be some hypocrisy at work here.  It is okay for the kids to hear about sex, including certain deviations from normalcy portrayed as normal.  But not okay for a church to instruct adults about God’s good plan for sex within the confines and freedom of marriage.

Churches should be teaching people about sex- not just the when not to part.  A certain famous pastor has been attacking another certain famous pastor for doing just that using the Song of Solomon which last I checked was in the Bible, and about …. sex (among other things).  Most churches don’t have elementary age school children in the service for the sermon however.  So, I’m not sure how this would ‘damage’ the children who attend the school (which is the risk the risk management board should be assessing, though they might need to look at their own curriculum).  Nor should it damage the children who attend the church.

This is an off-hours, voluntary event that is not contiguous with normal school hours or any other school event.  So what is the problem here?  I just don’t understand how this could even be an issue.  But I guess it shows that the world is even more inconsistent when it comes to sex than the church is.

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With a slight let up in work, I can get to work on the new box of books that just arrived from the Westminster Theological Seminary Bookstore.  Here’s what I got:

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I consider Proverbs to be “preventative grace”.  It was initially written to prepare young men for adulthood by providing practical wisdom.  It was to help them avoid the pitfalls of life’s choices rather than get out of them.  So, when I saw Anthony Selvaggio’s A Proverbs Driven Life, I was interested.  When I was offered a copy for free to review- I was estatic.

Before Selvaggio gets into the various topics that Proverbs covers, he wants to orient people to what Proverbs are, and aren’t.  Since Proverbs is a book about wisdom, it is about everyday life.  It is not about laws & precepts (he hits that again in a later section) but more like signposts.  Proverbs are generalisms that help us to make good choices by cluing us in to the typical outcomes. 

We need this book because, as he says, “people make a lot of short-sighted, self-centered decisions.”  And those decisions bring lots of misery to them and others.  We are a people who profoundly lack wisdom.

Proverbs offers us future-oriented wisdom and guidance so we can make wise decisions and live in ways that please and exalt God.

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Considering the Doghouse


Here is a very creative, lengthy commercial.  Enjoy- and don’t take it too seriously guys.

While watching it with CavWife, I commented “you’d be excited about that gift.”  Her response, “Looks like a Dyson!”  Some women are practical, but some want the big romance gift.  Guys, know your wives.  But, they can surprise you.  Prior to becoming the future-CavWife, she wore only simple earrings and little/no make-up.  I was surprised at how important it was for her to get the “perfect ring.”  I didn’t end up in the doghouse.

The art of gift giving is knowing the person and keeping an eye out for what they would like- not what you’d like to give them.  We do this with our kids, not just our spouses.  We tap into that forgotten child within, and get what we enjoyed or missed out on as a child.  Sometimes our kids love it, and sometimes we disappoint them.

The other issue here is how easily we can be offended.  It’s a commercial- it is meant to be memorable.  This is.  It pokes fun at both men and women.  Really, guys- she sends him away for who knows how long.  Sounds petty and vindictive to me.  But it is all just a joke.  Lighten up, and enjoy.

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Though often hailed as a monentous, historic revival, I have not found the Lakeland Outpouring to  compare favorably to other revivals using biblical criteria.  Whether people want to admit it or not, leadership matters.

The “mother of all revivals” was the Great Awakening.  There have been many books critically examining the Great Awakening, some by no less a heart and mind on fire for God than Jonathan Edwards.  Imagine how that assessment might change if Edwards, or Whitefield was discovered to have been an adulterer.  Or simply divorced his wife?  Would we say that God uses flawed people?  Well, of course he does since only Jesus was perfectly righteous.  But when you look at the flawed folks who led revivals in the Bible, did they have such smudge marks?  No.  David’s life was marked by pain and conflict after his affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite (not to be confused with Uriah Heep).

Photo 6/12 by Michael Wilson

Photo 6/12 by Michael Wilson

Today I heard that Todd Bentley is separating from his wife– the first step of divorce proceedings in Canada, of which they are both citizens.  She recently packed up her bags and left the warmer climes of Florida with the kids.  This after a few years of marriage counseling.

Rev. Stephen Strader assures us that no third party is involved.  Is this supposed to make us feel better?  No adultery, they just can’t get along.  The ‘gospel’ he preaches can not help them work out their marriage issues.  There is no grace to be offered to one another.  There is no power to change their sinful patterns of behavior.  No miracle for them.

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9 Mark Ministries compiled some ways for pastors to better love their wives (we’re talking a plurality of pastors, not polygamy) and kids.  Some of them are very good.  Some make me wonder “how?”  I’ll put my comments, silly and otherwise in brackets and in red.  Since they are compiled, there are some that sound inconsistent, go with it … they are suggestions.

IN RELATION TO YOUR FAMILY…

  1. Take the initiative and establish a plan for family worship. Then follow the plan! (Don Whitney encourages “brevity, regularity, and flexibility” in family worship.)
  2. Come home at the exact time you say you will be home; and prepare your heart to serve your family, not be served.  [this is very difficult to do regularly, at least for me.  there is that sinful sense of entitlement that plagues me when I return home, I want to rest not parent/husband.  i need grace.]
  3. Take responsibility for your children’s education and discipline—don’t leave it to your wife to figure out.
  4. Share with your wife and kids some of the good things that are going on in the church, and then thank them for helping to make that possible.
  5. Use every hour of your vacation time. And take a vacation that does not involve extended family; restrict it to just your wife and kids.  [All of our vacations have involved extended family.  We can’t afford to go anywhere else- I’m a pastor!]
  6. Take a two week vacation.  [this is wise, i’ve heard it takes about 10 days for you to actually begin to relax.  our 3 week summer vacations, though with extended family, were very relaxing.  if you go  to vacationing spots, it is hard to relax since you are going to theme parks and events.]
  7. Diligently guard your days off.  [lay leaders love this, not!  it can quickly breed a sense of envy on their part, or assuming you think you’re better than them or special.  you have to work had to communicate this priority well.  but if you’re guarding your days off, they should be able to guard theirs from church business, so maybe they really feel convicted of their lack of attentiveness to their families.  who knows, but it can get messy, folks.]
  8. There are times when it seems like you have to choose whether to be a good dad/husband or a good pastor. Good pastors choose to be good dad/husbands.  [What makes this difficult is the success-driven culture of many of our churches.  They want you to be a successful dad, not necessarily a loving & involved dad.  Loving involvement will mean less time to building the empire.  I know building my relationship with my daughter ‘cost’ the church some of my time/energy that might have resulted in a different outcome for the congregation- and my family.]IN RELATION TO YOUR WIFE…
  9. Get up early and have your quiet time, so that you can take the kids in the morning while your wife has her quiet time.  [she’s up way before the rest of us, so this is a moot point for me.]
  10. Give her flowers and a hand written card when she least expects it.

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This weekend I had the privilege of officiating the wedding ceremony of a great friend who was marrying a great woman.  They are … a great couple.

Since it was nearly 2 hours away drive-time, and CavGirl was the flower girl, we ended up staying in a Residence Inn about 30 minutes away from the wedding site.  We packed up the car and headed out Friday morning, hoping to enjoy some time at the hotel before naps.  Alas, that was not to be so since it took longer to get there than I had anticipated.  It was farther north than I thought, which was advantageous when it came to going back and forth for rehearsal & the wedding with 2 toddlers.

The front desk informed us that due to a lightning strike, they would have to test the alarm system that afternoon.  But they checked our room before we even got settled in.

After I unloaded the car, I set out to iron my clothes for that evening.  I wouldn’t be able to do it with the kids down for a nap.  At that point CavWife asked about the dresses for CavGirl, and her own clothing for the festivities that night and the next.  “Huh?  What clothes?  I thought you got them?”  I was informed that I actually had to move them off my suit to load it into the car.  She was without appropriate clothing for the rehearsal and dinner to follow.   Neither of us was happy.

Now I’m checking out the LG HD LCD TVs in the rooms.  I have TV envy- the picture is so incredibly sharp.  After the kids enjoy their lunch it is off to bed for them.  I wonder, what are we eating?  Apparently I’m off to hunt up some grub for 2 starving adults.  After splitting a McDonald’s Asian salad and some McTenders we settle in for the afternoon.  All was going fabulously until I started to get ready for the rehearsal.  Suddenly the alarms for the whole building are blaring- the kids are screaming (well, they had to get up anyway).  It is so ear-piercing we take them out by the pool to calm them down.  I couldn’t even think in there.  This is the effect they wanted them to have.  But I had flashbacks to 3 am fire alarms in college.

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