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Friday, September 29, 2006

Retreat!

This has been one full vacation:

A Few Highlights:

Lunch with Colin, Heather's Cousin
Hanging Out with the Indy Mitchells
Indy Zoo
Indy Children's Museum (We're now members!)
Up to Chicago for the Shedd Aquarium, Millenium Park, Moody Bible Institute & Tom & Stacey Fisch's Apartment
Visiting Grandma and Grandpa Skeldon, Helping around their old home
Visiting the Jerome Township Fire Station
Columbus Zoo
Shopping for Fall Clothes (Bought everything we need!)
Basketball with some guys
Lots of dinner with friends and family.
Used Bookstore

And lots more.

And now, it's off to the Allegheny District Pastors' and Wives Retreat!

And Monday, back home and back to work.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Easiest Thing About Praying

"The easiest thing about praying is quitting. Giving up seems so reasonable, so easy to justify. It's always been that way, which is why Paul wrote in Colossians 4:2, continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."

-Sam Storms

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Resonation

I "resonate" with this cover article from the latest issue of Christianity Today. It pretty accurately describes what I've seen, experienced, and felt for the last decade in evangelicalism.

I tend to dislike labels (beyond "biblical" or "Christian") because they can seem partisan and divisive. But I resonate enough with this "movement" enough to be counted in (though I don't feel particularly young or restless).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Today

Vacation!

Matt's Messages - Marriage by Design

“Marriage by Design”
September 17, 2006
Ephesians 5:22-33


We looked at this passage briefly last week. We read it and then focused really on just one word in it: “head.” We were talking about God’s designation of men to lead their families.

Men, have you made any changes this week in your leadership in the home? Have you taken more responsibility? Exercised more godly authority? Apologized for any passivity or tyranny? Remember, change has not happened until change happens. You can agree with everything I said last week, but unless you, by faith, start making some changes, it’s all just words. Don’t just look in the mirror and walk away. We’ll understand better today what it means to be the “head” in our families.

Today, we are returning to the same passage and want to look more closely at the details (all of the rest of the words). This is part of the longest passage in the New Testament on God’s design for the Christian family. We’re just going to look at verses 22 through 33 this morning as they reveal God’s design for Christian marriages.

Remember, God is the architect of this Home Improvement project. He has provided an infallible set of blueprints for us to follow in building our families on the Gospel. They are completely trustworthy in every way, and we ignore them to our peril.

God has been so good to us to reveal His design for marriage. Marriage is a good gift from God, the primary building block of the family, meant to be enjoyed by following His design. Now, this passage does not contain everything that God says about His design for marriage, but does have some fundamental instruction that is vitally important that we get down so that our marriages are healthy.

If you are not married, please listen anyway, because this will help you if God will grant you a spouse some day. Or if God does not give you a husband or a wife, you can pray for the marriages in our church and community to begin to conform more closely to the Master’s design.

Let’s read Ephesians 5:22-33.

[scripture reading, prayer]

These instructions about marriage are a part of a larger context. They flow out of the teaching of the first four chapters of Ephesians on what God has done in saving a people for Himself and how that people–the church–should then live. In chapter 5, the Apostle Paul has been telling the Ephesian church to be very careful how they live: not as “unwise but as wise,” not being drunk with wine but “filled with the Spirit.”

And he says what Spirit-filled believers look like (v.19). They speak to one another spiritually. They find themselves singing about the Lord. They are full of thanksgiving. And they submit to one another in the proper relationships out of fear or reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, God’s design for marriage is a spiritual thing meant to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Not to be accomplished on our own.

God’s design for marriage includes the transformation of our marriages by God’s Holy Spirit. We can’t do it on our own.

But we are to do it. God has given us these instructions.

He begins with the wife. V.22

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

The design here is straightforward and simple. WIVES SHOULD SUBMIT TO THEIR HUSBANDS.

To submit means “to place oneself under the authority of another.” To look to another person as your authority, your leader.

And Paul is very specific here. Wives are to place themselves under the authority of their husbands.

Why? V.23

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”

Wives should place themselves under the authority and leadership of their husbands because [as we saw last week] God has placed the husband (in every marriage relationship) in the role of “head.” God has ordered the marriage relationship so that it has a leader. And He has decided, in His wisdom, to place the husband as the head of the wife. Last week, we used the image of a foreman on a work site.

Paul has an other image in mind. He says that God has given us a model to see how this is supposed to work. The model is Jesus Christ and His relationship with His church.

Do you see how Paul has it set up here? There is a one-for-one analogy going on here:

Christ is HEAD over the church (His body).
The husband is the HEAD over the wife.

There is an authority structure built into the architecture of God’s design for marriage.

Husbands are given the responsibility of headship, leadership.
Wives are, therefore, given the responsibility of submission, follower-ship.

And wives are to follow the example of the church. V.24

“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

There is no area of life where a wife is supposed to be unsubmissive and in rebellion against her Head, her husband.

Just as the church follows Jesus, so also wives should follow their husbands, placing themselves under their husbands’ leadership.

Wives should submit to their husbands.

Now, you aren’t going to hear that anywhere else in our culture. In fact, many of you may not have ever been taught this before. But this is the way God has designed marriage to be enjoyed.

When wives are tracking along with God, living under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit (v.18), then they will joyfully submit to the leadership of their husbands just as the church joyfully places itself under the headship of Jesus.

Now, because of all the confusion about men’s and women’s roles in marriage that is at large in the church and (especially) in our society, I want to clarify again what this submission thing does not mean, so that we can understand more clearly what it does mean.

I have 4 very quick sub-points.

First, the wife’s submission doesn’t mean that she is somehow inferior to the husband in worth or value. Wives are not worth less than husbands.

Like I said last week, Paul says in Jesus Christ, in the eyes of the Father, God places the same value on men and women (this was radical in Paul’s day!). He says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:280. Husbands and wives are equal in value and worth in Jesus.

Just because I am called by God to lead Heather, does not mean that God values me more than her. Just because she is called to submit to me, does not mean that God thinks she is worth less than me. This has nothing to do with equality. It has to do with our roles and functions in His design for marriage.

Wives, submit. But do not do it out of inferiority. God loves you just as much as He loves your husband.

Remember the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. For all eternity and forever, God the Son (Jesus Christ) has been in submission to God the Father. However God the Father has led, God the Son has followed (read John 5!).

But they are equal in worth and value and glory! Jesus’s submission to the Father doesn’t diminish His glory in any way, in fact, it is a part of His glory!

So wives, submit to your husbands, but don’t think of yourself as inferior. (Same for you, husbands–treasure her as an equal in value in and worth to you!)

Second, the wife’s submission doesn’t mean that every woman is supposed to submit to every man.

This isn’t God’s ordering of society. This is God’s ordering of marriage. V.22 and v.24 make it clear to whom wives are accountable. What does it say? “To your husbands” (v.22). To “their husbands” (v.24).

I’m not the head of every woman I meet. There are cultures on this planet where women are to obey and submit to whatever any man in that culture says. That’s not what Paul is saying here. This is not the Taliban. Wives, submit, but not to every man–to your husband.

Third, the wife’s submission doesn’t mean that she is to blindly obey her husband’s commands. It doesn’t mean that there is never a time for discussion or even dissension.

The wife is not to become an unthinking slave. That is not the quality of the relationship that God has planned. This is two equals [one flesh!] who discuss their married life and discuss their choices and discuss their hopes and dreams and plans and goals and vision for their life together.

And when the discussion is over, the husband needs to take leadership and do what’s best for the family, and the wife needs to lovingly, joyfully submit. That’s the picture, not Hitler running the troops around.

And, there is also a time for dissension in the ranks. That’s when the husband wants the wife to follow him into sin. Wives, don’t follow him there! V.22 says submit to your husbands as to the Lord. As obedience to Jesus, submit to your husbands.

When obedience to Jesus and submission to your husband conflict, follow Jesus every time!

This doesn’t mean that there is never a time for discussion (in fact it calls for lots of discussion!) or even dissension (when the husband wants the wife to sin).

Fourth, and last clarification, the wife’s submission does not mean (listen to this) husbands subject your wives. In the Scriptures, husbands are never called to rule over their wives. Husbands are never called to force their wives to submit to them. Husbands are never called to strong-arm tactics, manipulation, abuse, breaking of the will, or domineering control. What we called “tyranny” last week.

Husbands, listen to me. If I hear that you are throwing your weight around at home, you are going to get a visit from me and the elders. This is not an excuse for abuse.

And when you and your wife are having a disagreement, don’t get this passage out and hold it over your wife’s head. The reason why our culture and many in the church will not accept this as God’s will is because of the failure of Christian husbands to lead their wives as they should! If people could see the beauty of this lived out in Christian couples’ lives, I wouldn’t have to make four clarifications to a simple command like this!

This does not mean husbands subject your wives.

It says, “Wives, submit.” That is a voluntary choice of the wife that God is calling them to. It takes a strong woman to do it. Strong in faith. Strong in the Lord. It means trusting God to provide the best for you through your husband. Like we heard from Marilynn this morning.

And it is not to be wrangled out of you. Does Christ wrangle obedience out of us? That is a distortion of God’s beautiful design for marriage.

Wives should submit to their husbands.

And you know what that means for us men? It means that we must become men worth following!

Our wives can’t wait for us to grow up and become men that are leaders in the home. Become a man worth following!

Okay, let’s review what we’ve seen so far.

Wives are to submit to their heads (their husbands) along the analogy of the church submitting to it’s head (Christ) in everything but not in inferiority, not to every man but to their husband, not to the point of unthinking obedience or sin, and not to be forced but voluntary.

The best illustration of this principle of submission that I can offer to you this morning is my own wife. Heather is my equal (and my superior in most ways). She has her own ideas of life and where we should go and what we should do, but she lovingly, joyfully submits to my leadership. And has, for all of our married life.

I’ve told this story before. When we got married, we had a major blind-spot. We hadn’t talked about children. Can you believe that? I hadn’t even thought about children! She thought that children came along just about the same time you get married. Within a year or so of getting married she expected to be pregnant. We had a train-wreck of values!

And you know what? It was hard for her, but after much discussion and much sharing and prayer, she submitted to my leadership in this issue. She waited and waited (five years in fact) until I felt that God had readied us for children.

And God has blessed her submission and our marriage. Ask her about it. It wasn’t easy. She was tempted to go around me. She was tempted to go off of contraception without telling me. But she trusted that God had given her me as her Head. And even against some of her deepest desires, she trusted Him to give her the best through me.

Wives, that is a big deal. I know. Submit as to the Lord.

Can I ask you how are you doing in submission?

Last week, I asked the guys how they are leading. Now, I’m asking you, how are you doing at following?

I’ve seen two major mistakes that most women make.

One is taking over and trying to lead yourself.

And the other is just plain old rebellion.

Some ladies are too passive, as well. But I don’t see that one as often as I see women trying to take on the leadership role themselves or bucking the leadership that their husbands are providing.

How are you doing at submission?

Is there an area in your marriage that you need to seek forgiveness for? Is there an area where you need to lay down your rights and joyfully follow your husband’s lead?

Maybe you are not married to a Christian and that makes it difficult, at times. In three weeks, we’ll talk more about spiritually single marriages. But I’m sure that there are many many areas in which you can submit to your nonChristian husband as to the Lord. How are you doing at that?

Ladies, is there an area where you need to respectfully ask for your husband to step up to leading for you?

Is there an area that you have kept to yourself and haven’t even let him into? Much less given him headship over it?

What does your husband think? Is he happy with your submission?

What do your Christian girlfriends think? Do they have suggestions as to which areas you could improve on?

I doubt you are perfectly submitting. Where do you need the most work?

Here’s God’s design, wives: Submit to your husbands as to the Lord in everything.

Now men, Paul spent only 3 verses explaining the design for the wife, then he takes 8 verses to tell us what we are supposed to do. I don’t know if that’s because what He has to say to us is harder or if He thinks we won’t pay attention and need it spelled out more clearly! V.25

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...”

Here is God’s design for us, men. HUSBANDS SHOULD SACRIFICIALLY LOVE THEIR WIVES.

Wives are to follow the church’s example. Husbands are to follow Jesus’ example.

Love them, guys! Love them! And love them like Jesus loved all of us and gave Himself up for us.

On the inside of Heather’s wedding ring, I had engraved these words (from v.25), “As Christ Loved the Church.”

That’s my commitment to her. She wears it every day of her married life. “As Christ Loved the Church.” That’s my calling as her Christian husband.

Sacrificial love. Jesus DIED for us! Men, are you ready to die for your wife?

Jesus poured out His life for the church. Husbands, are you pouring out your life for your wife?

That’s just as hard a calling, maybe harder, than the call to submit.

Wives are called to lay down their rights.

Husbands are called to lay down their lives!

“Lay down your life for your wife.”

And I’m not talking about a one million dollar, one-time, cash pay-out of your life. I’m talking about a one fifty cent piece payment each hour that you live!

Husbands, God is calling you to lay down your life for your wife.

Put their needs before yours. Protect them. Romance them. Buy them what they need. Work to provide for your family. Listen to them. Share their pains and their griefs and their sorrows. Pray for them. Pray with them! Lead them in the Lord. Give up sleep and sport and comfort for their good.

Love them!

Again, this is what it means to be the “head.” And Jesus is our example.

What Jesus did for His church is what we need to do for our wives.

He sacrificially gave His all for His bride. And He did it for a beautiful purpose. V.26.

“...to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Jesus saw our pitiful condition, and He pulled us out of the gutter of depravity and washed us, cleansed us with the gospel of forgiveness through His blood and then He dressed us in the clothes of His righteousness and prepared us for eternal marriage with Him in heaven–a radiant bride. Imagine that day, when we are perfected by His work on the Cross applied through the Holy Spirit and presented to Him as gloriously holy and blameless without any imperfection at the great Wedding Supper of the Lamb!

He did everything it took for us to be holy!

Husbands, are you doing everything you can for your wife’s good?

Jesus did everything it will take to make us gloriously holy in His sight!

That’s our model, guys! That’s who we have to follow as our example of husbanding.

God is calling us to lay down our lives for our wives!

He spells this out further in v.28.

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body.”

I don’t know about you, but I love my flesh. I eat. I drink. I clothe myself. I take care of my body’s needs.

Jesus loves His body. He provides the Bible for food. He provides His grace for our nourishment. He cares for our every need!

Husbands are to love their wives the same way. This kind of sacrificial love that we are called to is a caring love, a nurturing love, a cherishing love.

Husbands, are you caring and nurturing and cherishing your wife like you would your own body?

When was the last time you checked on your wife to see what she needed?

I regularly try to ask myself these questions:

Does she need more attention? More of my time?
Does she need help around the house?
Does she need new clothes?
Does she need to feel more protected and secure?
Does she need to hear it from me today that she is the only one?
Does she need a break?
Does she need a date night?
Does she need time away from the kids?
Does she need a shoulder to cry on?
Does she need tenderness and understanding?

Guess whose responsibilities those are? Hers? Well, they’re her needs!

They are mine.

“Just as Christ loved the church.”

Jesus knows our needs. I need to know what my wife needs and then I need to give of myself to make certain that she has it.

Husbands, this is how God has designed the gift of marriage to be enjoyed. You are supposed to lead and to love. And to love sacrificially, meeting your wife’s needs.

Two nights ago, my wife was having a spiritual struggle in prayer. And it was bed-time. I was really tired and fighting a head-cold. I wanted to go to sleep.

But she was really struggling. I think it was, at least in part, demonic attack.

What should I have done?

I got up and prayed with her and counseled with her until she was able to rest on Christ and go to sleep herself. Then I went to bed.

Did that require sacrifice? Absolutely. But it was a joyful one for me to make as I followed by Savior’s example of leading with love.

Now, wives, you can make this easier for us by being women that are love-able. Sharing your needs, doing what you can to meet them yourselves, pursuing your own holiness and faith in Christ. But whether or not you are love-able, we, husbands are called to love you sacrificially. The church was not very love-able until Jesus gave His life for us.

Husbands, love your wives sacrificially, nourishing and caring for them. Just as Christ loved the church, lay down your life for your wife.

Now, I’ve got to point out that this was incredibly shocking in the first century.

Wives submitting to their husbands was not, though this is submitting as to the Lord.

But for Paul to go into all of this detail about husbands needing to sacrificially love their wives was virtually unheard of in the ancient world.

This called for a total transformation by the Holy Spirit of the institution of marriage from what was the norm in the culture.

But, in reality, it was a restoration of God’s design for marriage from the beginning.

That’s Paul’s point in verse 31. “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ [That’s Genesis 2:24, we’re back to Genesis again!] This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
Genesis 2:24 is the most important passage in the Bible for defining what marriage is. Leave, cleave, and become one-flesh. That’s what marriage is.

And Paul says, that this marriage thing is a “mystery.”

Now, remember, a “mystery” in the Scriptures is not a detective story. A mystery in the Bible is something that was once hidden but is now revealed.

And the mystery of marriage is that it has always been a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church–even before anyone knew who Christ was!

Paul is saying that when God designed marriage and gave it to the first couple in Genesis chapter 2, He had Jesus in mind! Jesus was hidden at the time within the leaving, cleaving, one-flesh marriage bond–but He was there! He was there!

God has designed marriage–from the beginning–not just as a good idea or even just as a good gift to humankind, but as a picture for all to see of what kind of an intimate love relationship Jesus wants and has with His people, the body, the church. That’s the mystery of marriage. And Paul says that it is profound, or great, magnificent! He says (v.32), “I am talking about Christ and the church.”

Listen! There is a lot more at stake in our Christian marriages than our happiness.
There is also the picture of Christ’s relationship with His people at stake!

That’s why God hates divorce! Because it isn’t just about you and him or you and her. It’s about what are you picturing about Christ and His church! Divorce smears mud on the breath-taking picture God is painting with your marriage!

A wife’s glad submission to her husbands is supposed to mirror for the watching world the glorious trustworthiness of Christ Headship!

A husband’s sacrificial, need-meeting love for his wives is supposed to mirror for the watching world the glorious agape love that Jesus had for us to die in our place!

From the very beginning marriage has existed to paint a picture for the world of Jesus’ relationship with His people.

Our marriages are a part of that picture. Our marriages are a canvas that the Master Artist wants to bring to life with the glorious paint of submission and sacrifice.

And the whole point of it is to direct people’s attention past us to our Savior!

There is so much at stake here, brothers and sisters! And it is worth all of the heart-ache and hard work of submission and sacrifice! Because Jesus will get the glory!

That’s why Paul comes back in v.33 and sums it all up again.

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Husbands, love your wife as yourself! To what lengths will you go for yourself? Go the distance for you wife! Meet her needs in love!

Wives, respectfully submit to your husbands. Give them the respect and reverence due them as your Head and follow their lead.

And, mysteriously, as we do this, we will show the world the glory of Jesus!

We need to build our marriages on God’s design.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Now 1 Day

Until vacation.

Friday, September 15, 2006

2 Days

Until vacation. Hooray!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One Big Happy Toews Family



One (Very) Big (Happy?) Alexander!



One happy big sister, Victoria!



Sharon, Jordan, and the bundle of blessing.

Desiring GOD

I see that DesiringGOD.org has been completely re-vamped. This is an awesome one-stop resource site. Everything here is recommended.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Matt's Messages - Headship

“Headship”
September 10, 2006
Ephesians 5:22-6:4

This is our second week in our Home Improvement series. Last week was basically an introduction: why we are studying God’s design for the family, what we hope to accomplish in our families with God’s grace, and what foundation we need to build and (where necessary) re-build upon–the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you missed last week, let me encourage you to grab a free CD of last week’s message. They are in the bins on the right side of the steps as you go out of the auditorium. Also, you will notice on page 4 of your bulletin a tentative schedule for this series. I am not promising to actually do it like I have listed in the bulletin! But I wanted you to have some kind of a map of where we are headed over the next 4 months. And you can pray for these messages using that.

Many of you have turned in good questions about the family on the Home Improvement Survey. I hope that these messages address them. There’s still plenty of time to fill out a survey. They are under the missionary-letter bulletin board in the foyer. Also on that table are sheets for turning in prayer requests for my retreat on Tuesday. I’ll be praying for you and your family, and I’d love to have specific requests to take with me.

Have you found Ephesians 5? We will be in this passage this week and next week (more in-depth) and then return to it again later on in the series. There’s a lot in this passage, but today I want to just focus on one thing: leadership in the family.

As I read it, I want you to notice everything that it says about leadership in the family.

Ephesians chapter 5, verse 22.

[scripture reading, prayer]

Okay, what did you notice about leadership in the family according to Ephesians 5 and 6?

According to Ephesians 5 and 6, who is designated by God to lead their families?

The men are.

The husband is called “the head of the wife” in chapter 5, verse 23.

And fathers are singled out by name to “bring up [their] children in the training and instruction of the Lord” in chapter 6, verse 4.

GOD HAS DESIGNATED MEN TO LEAD THEIR FAMILIES.

It has always been this way. In the book of Genesis (to which we will refer repeatedly during this series), God made the Man first (before the rest of his family) and gave him certain responsibilities as the Man such as naming all kinds of things including even his wife. From the beginning, God has designated men to lead their families.

And for better or worse, men have led their families for most of human history.

We often call this leadership “headship” after the metaphor that Paul uses here in Ephesians 5 and elsewhere in 1 Corinthians 11 to say that the husband is the head of his wife. We often expand that to cover the whole of leading his family. We call him the “head of his family” because he is charged with leading it.

Next week, we’re going to look at headship and submission explicitly in the primary context of marriage.

But this week, I just want to start generally with the God-given responsibility of men to lead their families.

In 1 Timothy, when Paul is giving Tim the qualifications for being a leader, he says, “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)” (1 Tim 3:4-5).

Leading/managing/caring for a family is part of the character qualifications of a church leader. That’s because church leaders are supposed to be examples of what Christian men are supposed to be like.

And Christian men are supposed to exercise headship in their families.

God Has Designated Men to Lead Their Families.

Men, sometimes you may wonder or even be asked, “Who died and put you in charge?”

Well, God put you in charge.

You have not earned the right to lead.
You have been charged with the responsibility.

If you have a wife and/or kids, you have been appointed–you have been designated–“head.”

To keep up our analogy of a construction site, you have been named “the foreman.”

The man at the front.

You have a different colored hard-hat on the construction site of your family.

God Has Designated Men to Lead Their Families.

Now, for some of you this is Family 101. You know this stuff. You’ve come from male-headed families and have led male-headed families for years.

You’re hoping that I can give you some pointers for doing it better.

For others of you, this is new stuff. You’ve never been a part of a healthy male-headed family. You might not even know anyone who is part of a healthy male-headed family. Lots of boys and girls are growing up in homes without fathers.

The male-headed family is an anomaly in today’s American society.

The nod is given to it from time to time, but it’s becoming a rare thing in our culture.

And yet, it’s so fundamental for healthy families!

This is why our culture is in crisis.

This is why the family is in danger!

And that’s why we are starting the series with this:

God Has Designated Men to Lead Their Families.

Some of you are not persuaded yet.

The idea of headship and male leadership in the home is a hotly disputed topic even in the Church today.

So, I want to begin by making 5 points about male headship, male leadership in the home that I hope can clarify what the biblical teaching is and isn’t so that our families can be led by good foremen.

#1. HEADSHIP DOES NOT MEAN INEQUALITY.

I know that’s a double-negative which you shouldn’t never use.

But I’m trying to clarify the misconception.

Some people think that headship means inequality between men and women. It doesn’t.

The Bible teaches that men and women are equal in dignity, value, and worth.

Genesis says that men and women are made in the same image–the image of God. And that gives both men and women equal value, dignity, and worth.

And the Apostle Paul (the same one who calls men “head”), says that both men and women are equal in salvation, redemption, where it really counts.

In Galatians chapter 3, verses 26-28, Paul says, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The ground is level at the foot of the Cross.

Headship does not mean inequality.

I’ve talked to men who think that because they are the head they are better than their wives and more important than their children.

It’s not true.

Being a man doesn’t make you better than anyone else.

You aren’t worth more. You don’t have more value. You don’t have more dignity.

You aren’t more glorious.

This is probably where the analogy of the foreman breaks down. I would imagine that, on some jobs at least, if not most, the foreman makes more money than the other construction workers. He might be considered worth more than another guy on the crew.

But that’s not how it works in God’s plan for the family.

Men, the Apostle Peter tells us to treat our wives with respect as co-heirs in the gracious gift of life.

Headship does not mean inequality.

#2. HEADSHIP DOES NOT MEAN TYRANNY.

This one goes along with the last one.

Because you are the head, men, does not mean that you get your will all of the time. It does not mean that you rule in your home and that everyone must bow to your wishes.

I’ve seen some male-headed homes that were run by dominating tyrants.

They read verses 22 through 24, but they ignore verses 25 through 33.

Headship is loving and caring and sacrificial–not dominating and controlling and overlording.

Some of you have experienced this either in the family you grew up in or in your family now.

Tyranny has been a problem ever since the Fall. In Genesis 3, part of the curse on the woman was that she would desire to rule over her husband and would then suffer from his domination (Gen 3:16).

Men, don’t use your headship as an excuse for abuse. You will be held accountable for it.

This one is on the other end of the spectrum:

#3. HEADSHIP DOES NOT MEAN PASSIVITY.

This is the opposite extreme from tyranny. This is men who will not lead their families.

They leave it up to other people, especially their wives, sometimes even their children!

I know men who say, “Well, I’ll have to ask the Boss.” And they really mean it!

Not that we shouldn’t be asking our wives what they think. We should. Good leaders do that all of the time.

I mean, these men think of their wives as the Boss. As the foreman. In charge of their home, their family, their head!

Many men want their wives to be like their mothers were and take care of them and lead them around.

Or maybe they don’t even get married at all. And are passive to the extreme of not even taking a wife.

Many men are passive in some areas that they should be active in–especially the most important area–spiritually.

Many men take some responsibility in the areas of providing, protecting, and so on, but they are passive spectators when it comes to their families’ relationship with God.

But that’s not the kind of headship that God has designed for the Christian family.

Headship does not mean passivity.

Do you know who started this?

Adam did.

Where was Adam when Eve was being tempted with the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3?

The Bible says that he was right there. What was he doing?

He should have been stomping on the head of that snake that was lying to his wife!

But instead, he was just sitting there, passively watching all of our lives unravel.

Headship does not mean passivity.
Nor does headship mean tyranny.

Men, most of us fall somewhere between the two. Which one do you tend towards?

Do you tend to rule with an iron fist?
Do you tend to leave the decisions and the direction of your family up to someone else?

I gravitate towards the passive end of the continuum. It’s a lot easier to let Heather take the initiative to discipline the kids or to make a decision about some purchase or something. But by God’s grace, I have been growing as a foreman on our crew for the last 12 years, and I am getting quicker at taking responsibility for the direction of our family.

How about you? Which way do you lean?

Headship does not mean inequality.
Headship does not mean tyranny.
And headship does not mean passivity.

So, what does it mean?

I think I can boil it down to two words.

#4. HEADSHIP DOES MEAN AUTHORITY.

Men, you have [not tyrannical authority but] genuine authority in your family.

You are called to lead. You have to make the big decisions.

You can’t be passive. You can’t stand idly by. You are in charge.

That does not mean that you are “on your own!” You don’t lead out there miles ahead of your family. You are one flesh with your wife. And you are called to listen to your children.

But at the end of the day, you are the God-appointed authority in your home.

You might say, “That’s unfair. My wife is a lot smarter than I am.” It’s true for me.

“And she’s got better leadership gifts.”

Well, utilize her brains and her gifts in your home. But you’ve been put in charge. You are the foreman. You are the head. You can’t dodge your authority.

You need to step up to the plate.

I used to think that it wasn’t much in the way of authority. Headship basically meant to me that there had to be a tie-breaking vote when the two of us couldn’t agree on something.

But I’ve meditated a lot on this passage and the meaning of the word “head.”

And I’ve come to see that there is a real authority bound up in being the head. And I ignore it to my peril.

And it goes hand in hand with this last one.

#5. HEADSHIP DOES MEAN RESPONSIBILITY.

This is the big one.

In a way that my wife is not, I am responsible for my marriage and my family.

I am responsible.

I will be held accountable.

Not that my wife is not responsible for her own actions. Not that my children aren’t responsible for their own behavior.

But in a way that they are not, I am responsible for my family.

After the Fall in Genesis 3 (Notice how this all got started back at the beginning?), when Eve had been tempted and was the first to bite, whom did God come looking for first?

The Bible says that God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Adam was held responsible for what was happening to his family. We know that he had failed in passivity. And he was held accountable.


In headship, God is giving men both the authority and the responsibility to lead their families where they need to go.

And you know what?

Most women love it when their husbands act like godly heads.

And almost all children do.

Headship mean responsibility.

Responsibility for what?

Ultimately, for the direction set in every area of your family.

Headship means taking responsibility for the direction set in every area of your family.

That doesn’t mean making all of the decisions. It does mean making sure that all of the decisions get made.

I’ve found that headship often boils down to taking the initiative.

In providing, protecting, parenting, sexuality, finances–basically everything–especially spiritually (like what we heard from Jeff and Ben today).

Headship means loving your family enough to lead it where God wants to take it.

Yesterday, we went to the Tractor Show at Penn’s Cave.

That was cool!

And there was so much testosterone there! There were men everywhere.

And what I kept wondering while I was there, was whether or not those men who could do such amazing things with machines were committed to leading their families where God wanted them to go.

Foremen taking the responsibility for their crew.

Now, I know that many of you are not men or are not men yet.

And I know that this raises a whole host of questions:

What about when my husband won’t lead?
What about if my husband is not a Christian?
What about if my ex-husband and I are divorced?
What about leading my children in that case?

What about...?

Well, certainly, if there is no man to be the head, you have to take those responsibilities yourself. And God will give you grace if you trust in Him.

And if your husband is not a Christian yet, you will have to lead your children in certain ways–especially spiritually. He is not the head in that sense.

But he is still your head. We’ll talk more in a couple of weeks about spiritually single marriages.

There are a whole bunch of “what abouts.” And God will provide wisdom for navigating them.

But here is His revealed will: God Has Designated Men to Lead Their Families.

Married men, here are some diagnostic questions for you:

How are you doing at leading?

Are you leading?

Do you see yourself as the head?

Do you see yourself as her equal?

Are you rejecting passivity?

Are you taking responsibility?

Are you ruling like tyrant?

What does your wife think?

What do your kids think?

What do your friends think?

Have you asked them? Any of them?

How is your family doing under your leadership?

Where are you taking your family?

What blueprints, what foundation are you building your family upon?

Are you the authority in your family?

Are you taking the initiative?

Are you making the key decisions? Are you getting the input you need?

What are you doing to lead your family where it counts the most–spiritually?

Are you leading in family prayers, family worship, family devotions?

Sometimes, we have such fantastic wives that we think that we don’t have to lead her. But our fantastic wives have us as their heads, and we are responsible for them.

Boys and Unmarried Men, here are some diagnostic questions for you:

Are you training for headship?

Are you taking responsibility for the areas that God has entrusted to you now?

Are you becoming a man worthy of following?

Girls and Unmarried Women, here are a couple of questions for you:

Who are you going to marry?

Someone who is tyrannous? If you listen, you’ll probably know before you get married what he’s going to really be like.

How about someone who is passive? Are you going to marry someone you are going to end up leading?

I pray regularly (even last night) for Robin Joy who is very strong willed leadershipp-gifted young girl that she would marry a man worth following. A man who can lead her.

Are you going to marry an unbeliever? There are reasons to find yourself spiritually single, but going in with your eyes wide open to it shouldn’t be one of them.

Married Women, here are some diagnostic questions for you:

Are you enabling passivity? Are you taking the lead where you know you should follow or ask to be led?

Do you have a disposition to follow even when you don’t or even can’t agree with your husband? We’ll talk more next week about what submission is, but at least, it’s an attitude, an internal disposition to follow your man when you can.

Everyone, pray for headship to raise its head again.

This is what is missing in America. We have become a divorce-based fatherless nation.

We need fathers to not only raise their boys and girls, but to raise them to be fathers and mothers.

We have a crisis of headship that needs to be solved.

Now, I would imagine that there is a heaviness that has fallen on the shoulders of the men in this room today.

Perhaps you have been reminded of your responsibility again and it feels heavy.

I pray almost every day for wisdom because my responsibilities seem so heavy.

Perhaps you have seen your responsibility for the first time. And you are feeling it.

Maybe you’ve messed up a lot as a tyrant or a wimp and you see yourself in the mirror of God’s Word.

I want to end with this:

Remember what we are building our families upon: the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Jesus died and rose again for this!

Jesus died for all of your passivity and tyranny.

Jesus died to forgive you for your treating them as inferiors.

Jesus rose to give you power to use your authority for their good.

Jesus rose to give you power to take responsibility and initiative to lead your family where God wants it to go.

Jesus died as an example (we’ll see this more next week) of how to love your wife; how to raise your kids.

The Gospel is the foundation we build our lives upon.

Godly male headship is made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It all starts with Him.

If you don’t know Him, you can’t lead your family where God wants it to go.

He invites to know Him by trusting in Him and what He did on the Cross bearing our sins.

And He invites us to trust Him for the power to lead our families in the way that they should go.

Men, there is grace.

In these days of gender confusion and directionless, headless families, God has both told us what He wants and assured us of His love for us to get us there.

Let’s trust Him and exercise godly headship.

Friday, September 08, 2006

10 Pounds 4 Ounces!

William Alexander John Toews was born at 10:31am!

Mom and baby are doing well. What a big boy!

Pictures on the way.

Salty Speech

"According to the old adage, you canlead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. That's true, but you can feed him salt!" - Howard Hendricks

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." [Colossians 4:5-6, NIV]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

We Interrupt This Blogfast...

Why has no one ever told me about Steve Farrar (I didn't know it was a blog when I went to check it out)? This guy is saying (and has said for years, it turns out) most of the things I think need said during the first half of my series on the family--and most of it is in one place--his book Point Man.

The guys in our Basic Training class read portions of this book last year. I just pulled it off of the shelf this evening, and was blown away. Great stuff!

Messy Cousins



Isaac (2 yrs old)



Gideon (1 yr old)

Victoria Rose - Big Girl and Big Sister



Heather's sister's daughter, Victoria, is 5 and in kindergarten this Fall. She's expecting a little brother to make his arrival any hour now.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Friend the Coke Addict

My friend, Dan "Fruit" Ledford has revealed that he is a "Coke Addict."

Gonna Be An Uncle Again



My sister-in-law, Sharon, is overdue by a week. Auntie Heather and I expect to hear tomorrow of a little boy's birth! We're praying for you, Sharon!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Matt's Messages - Home Improvement

“Home Improvement”
September 3, 2006
Matthew 7:24-29


Today, we’re going to begin a new sermon series together that will take us up to Christmas, at least. We’re calling it “Home Improvement: Building Our Families on the Gospel.”

And this morning, I wanted to begin by explaining where this sermon series comes from and where we want to go with it.

This series is, in many ways, really the fruit of 11 years of pastoral ministry for me. Three years as a youth pastor in northern Illinois and now 8 years as your pastor here in central Pennsylvania.

I’ve seen what has happened and what is happening to the family, and I’ve been very concerned. Very concerned for the Christian family, for the families within our church, and very concerned for the families around us in our community and larger culture.

And I have wanted to say something about it.

All along, I have said a few things about the family as we’ve been studying through books of the Bible, whenever the family pops up. But this is the first full sermon series that I have done on the family itself.

Last year, about this time, I conceived of this series. Heather and I had been away, and as we were driving home, I asked her to write down some thoughts that I had about a possible series on the family. Here’s that little sheet.

I’m glad it’s in her handwriting or I wouldn’t know today what it said!

She made a list of desires that I have for our families to receive good biblical teaching on.

And over the last year, as I’ve been pondering this series, that list has grown.

In fact, the hardest part of preparing for this series has been to figure out what not to preach on. Because I could go on for months and months about my desires for the families in our church and community.

Dr. Dobson and Dennis Rainey are on the radio every day of the week helpfully covering some aspect of the family. There is so much to say.

And I’m not the expert that they are. I am just learning myself. I’ve been married for 12 years and have four kids, but they are all still very small, and I’m just learning myself how to do this family thing. I often still feel like a kid myself.

But I also feel like the Lord has said that it’s time for me to preach about the family.

As we go along, we’re going to suggest and provide lots of excellent resources on the topics that we cover: books, websites, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. All of the things that I have been eating up voraciously to prepare for this series and to help me to know what I’m supposed to do as a Christian husband, father, and family head.

And I hope that we get some of you to share some testimonies of what God has done and is doing in your families. If you’d like to share one, please talk with me about arranging that.

We’d love to hear your story.

And there is still plenty of time to turn in a survey with any questions that you are hoping that I might address during this series. We’re going to be doing Home Improvement for some time, and if I can I address your question on the family, I would like to. Some of them, I might answer privately, others will make it into the sermons, but I’d love to hear from you with any questions that you have.

There is no one book in the Bible on the family.

I sometimes wish that there was Paul’s Letter on the Family Book One and Book Two with all of my questions answered in one convenient place. “Turn to Second Family chapter 13.”

But in a real sense, the entire Bible is about the family.

In the first two chapters of the first book, Genesis, we are introduced to the first family: Adam and Eve. A beautiful, God-arranged marriage of two pristine people.

But then in chapter 3 of the Bible, sin entered into the picture and everything was messed up.

Shame, fear, and blame entered into the first family where there used to be only intimacy, innocence, and love.

The roles of the family were turned upside down. Instead of loving, sacrificial male leadership and loving, submissive, female support [like it was supposed to be], now we have so much conflict.

The family began its downward slide, not in the 1960's, but in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3.

And the rest of the Bible tells the story of the family’s restoration.

So, in some ways, the entire Bible is about the family. And the entire Bible can be applied to the family.

And I want to apply it to the whole family.

You may be worried because of your situation that these sermons will be boring to you.

You might still be a kid or you might not be married (yet, ever, or anymore) or you might not have small kids or you might not be married to a Christian.

But just as the entire Bible applies to the family, I think it will also apply to you.

And I’m planning specific messages on the duties of children, and spiritually single marriages (where one of the spouses is not a Christian), on singlehood itself as a gift from God and a unique part of the Christian family, and on being a Christian grandparent among other things.

So, don’t tune this out if you think it doesn’t apply to you right now.

If nothing else, use this as a training time for you for the future of your family or to give counsel to others who need to know what God says about the family, and as an opportunity to pray for families within our church and our community.

Here’s what I’m hoping will happen as result of our studying God’s Word together this Fall:

I’m hoping that Christian men will step up to the plate and take responsibility to lead their families with sacrificial love, exercising godly authority and initiative, and rejecting both dominance and passivity.

I’m hoping that marriages will be strengthened.

I’m hoping that marriages will be saved!

I’m hoping that our marriages will be a better picture of Christ and the Church before a watching world.

I’m hoping that “unequally yoked” marriages will be strengthened. That godly spouses will grow in their love for their unbelieving spouses and that many of them will be saved by watching the purity and reverence of their husband or wife.

I’m hoping that we’ll learn better how to relate to one another in our conflicts and that we’ll so fortify marriages that divorce will be the rare exception instead of the norm that it is in our culture.

I’m hoping that we better understand the roots of homosexuality and see why “homosexual marriage” is a dreadful oxymoron. And more than that, that we would see the hope for those trapped in homosexual lust and behavior–the hope held out in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I’m hoping that we will know afresh the value of children. Seeing children as the blessing that they are.

And grow in our ability to raise them in the way that they should go.

I’m hoping that Christian parents acquire greater skills and understanding in parenting their boys and girls. And raising boys to be godly, masculine, biblically defined manly men who lead. And raising girls to be godly, feminine, biblically defined women who fear God and no one else.

I’m hoping that we begin to value the teenage years as a season of opportunity for great gains in biblical manhood and womanhood and not assume that they will just be lost years of rebellion.

I’m hoping that we will recognize and appreciate singles in the Body of Christ like we never have before. And that our singles will be better equipped to face the unique challenges and opportunities that come with being single.

I’m hoping that our Grammas and Grandpas grow deeply in wisdom and are ready to help our families in ways that only those with maturity and experience can.

I’m hoping that family prayer and family worship will increase. That Dads (especially) and Moms, too, will lead their families in daily prayer and Bible study and worship–no matter how old the kids are.

And I’m hoping that our families will grow in their sense of God-ordained priorities and commitments (finances, relationships, how they use we time) so that the family is stronger than ever.

And I’m hoping that our families experience much grace and tender mercy from God during this sermon series.

That our families will be built, not on will-power or rule-keeping, but on grace and on the Gospel.

I’m hoping for Home Improvement: Building Our Families on the Gospel.

Now, does that sound good to you?

It sounds to me like a I’ve been giving my “I Have a Dream” speech!

I have so many desires for our families to be what God wants them to be.

That’s why I’ve suggested that our next ministry staff person be an associate pastor of Family Ministries.

But he, even if we had him now, couldn’t accomplish my dream.
I can’t accomplish my dream, no matter how hard I preach this Fall.
Even you can’t accomplish my dream for the family.

But God can.

God can do exceedingly, abundantly, more than I can ask or imagine if we ask Him to.

Let’s pray together and then consider God’s word.

[prayer]

Turn with me quickly to Matthew chapter 7, verse 24.

You’ve, no doubt, noticed all of the building materials and tools that are decorating our church for this new sermon series.

We’ve got hammer and nails, and saws and tape-measures and all kinds of things up here.

Right here I see two things that are unbelievably important for building a building.

Blueprints and foundation blocks.

Blueprints are the architect’s plans for how the house should be built. You better follow them or who knows what’ll happen.

And foundation blocks are what lies beneath the house to hold it up.

Both are very very important.

In Matthew chapter 7, verse 24, Jesus is finishing the most famous sermon in the world: the Sermon on the Mount.
He’s been giving an overview of what the Kingdom of God is all about.

And He ends with this familiar story that includes blueprints and foundation blocks. Verse 24.

“‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.’ When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

It’s a tale of two houses.

One built on rock. The same story in Luke says that the man dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.

The other house was built on sand. Luke’s version says that the man didn’t even put down a foundation. He just built it wherever. And it happened to be on sand. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” “Everybody else was doing it.”

Question. Which house encountered a storm?

It’s a trick question, isn’t it? Both did, didn’t they?

Both houses encountered a storm.

The same words are used in verse 25 and verse 27. “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house...” Both of them.

But the outcome was drastically different for the two houses, wasn’t it?

The house built on the rock “stood firm.” It did not fall.

The house built on the sand “fell with a great crash.”

The difference was in the foundations wasn’t it?

Jesus gives the point of this story in verse 24 and verse 26.

He says, “everyone [anyone] who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

“But everyone [anyone] who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

Now, this applies, first of all, to our individual lives. “Everyone who hears...is like this.” But it also applies to our families.

And notice what is really important to Jesus.

It’s in verse 24 and in verse 26.

“These words of mine...put into practice.”

He’s just finished His sermon on the Mount. And He says, if you put these words in to practice, you are laying a firm foundation.

If you don’t, you aren’t.

Let me put it this way for Home Improvement:

WE MUST BUILD OUR FAMILIES ON THE MASTER’S PLAN.

This Fall, I want to lay out for you what the Bible says about the family. Not my opinion, not my experience, not the world’s opinions, not the world’s ideas–those would be sandy foundations to build on.

I want to lay out for you what the Bible says about the family.

And that’s important.

But just as important is that we receive what the Bible says and put it into practice. To put it to work in our families.

We must build our families on the Master’s Plan.

He’s laid out a blueprint for us in His Word. And He’s told us how to build our families.

That has been ignored in our culture for the last 50 years and that is why we are experiencing so many family crashes.

The Lord has provided us with a blueprint, and He wants us to follow it.

He emphasizes (v.24), “these words of mine.”

And the crowds were amazed (v.28) with these words of his. They had authority like nothing they had ever seen or heard.

Jesus is the Master Architect. He knows better than we could ever know how to build our families. What the foundation should look like.

And, this Fall, we need to both hear those words and heed those words.

If we build our families on the Master’s Plan, will they experience storms?

Yes. They will. All families experience storms.

The rain will come down, the streams will rise, and the winds will blow and beat against our families.

But they will stand. Where it is most important, they will stand. And they will experience God’s blessing.

But if we ignore the Master’s Plan and build with whatever foundation we like, the storms will come, and we can expect disaster.

SO, THE MAIN QUESTION BEFORE US AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS SERIES IS WHETHER OR NOT WE PLAN TO APPLY WHAT WE LEARN.

What kind of a heart will you come to church with over the next four months?

A heart ready to receive and build on the Master’s plan?

Or a heart that wants to just listen but not doing anything about it?

That will determine what kind of a family you build.

Everybody is building a family or is part of a family being built–even singles.

The question is not are you part of a family being built.

The question is what are you building on?

We need to build our families on the Master’s Plans.

His plans, His words, are actually the foundation of our homes.

WE NEED TO START WITH A HEART THAT IS PREPARED TO SAY, “WHATEVER YOU SAY, LORD, THAT’S WHAT I’LL DO WITH MY FAMILY.”

If that’s your heart, then you are ready for Home Improvement.

You know, it might mean an Extreme Home Makeover.

If you’ve been building on the wrong foundation, it might take some extreme measures to make the changes necessary to get on the right footing.

Right now is a great time to prepare your heart to do whatever it takes to build your family on the Master’s Plan.

“Whatever you say, Lord, that’s what I’ll do with my family.” Whatever.

That’s the kind of heart that builds an indestructible home.

Perhaps, you’ve not only experienced some of the storms of life beating against your family, but you’ve also experienced some partial crashes.

You need to know that there is hope, too.

Because “these words of mine” in verse 24 and in verse 26 aren’t just rules or laws or principles or truths that we need to apply.

They are also words of grace and mercy and kindness and love that we need to apply.

Jesus’ words are gospel words.

The Master’s Plan is not just a to-do list.

It is the Gospel of a holy God who in love became perfect man to bear our blame, on the Cross He took our sin, by His death we live again.

JESUS’ WORDS ARE NOT JUST WHAT WE SHOULD DO, BUT THE GOOD NEWS OF WHAT HE HAS DONE.

Our Home Improvement this Fall is building our families on the Gospel.

There is grace, brother and sisters, for our families.

We are not doomed if we have built on some sand and want to change now.

There is grace!

I almost preached this morning on Hebrews 4:14-16. It says, “[W]e do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one [Jesus] who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin [and that makes Him both able to understand and sympathize and at the same time to save and restore our families!]. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

There is grace, brothers and sisters, for building and rebuilding[!] our families on the gospel.

These words of his (v.24 and v.26 of Matthew 7) are words of truth and words of grace.

Both need to be applied to our hearts.

The Master’s Plan is the best one for our families. He teaches with authority, not like the world.

And He also teaches with grace.

We need to build our families on the Master’s Plan.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Don Music Writes Sermons

When I was a boy, my Mom used to tease me that I acted like Don Music from Sesame Street [Here's a video of him in action.]

If I didnt' get it right the first time, I'd felt that "I'll never get it. Never get it. Never get it!" (Mostly without the head-banging.)

Well, now, it's "Pastor Don Music" writing sermons. And I'm trying to formulate my plan for a Fall series on the Christian family.

My perfectionistic problem this time is that I have too many desires for this series. I want so much for our families and the families of our community, that I can't figure out how to limit this series to 12 or 13 weeks. And I can't even decide on where to begin.

So, if you'd be willing to pray for me, I'd appreciate it. Because I need to make some real decisions today-ish. Thanks.

[Maybe I need a new role model?]

Boy Chaos



This is what it's really like living with boys. I chased them around the house with the camera.

Triplets?

In Motion



Peter David, always in motion.

Trusty Old Guck



Isaac and his "Guck" (Duck)

Gap-Toothed Big Girl



Robin lost another tooth yesterday.

And she made lasagna for dinner (with some help from Mommy).

And she even did the dishes!

A Boy and a Book

Vacation Plans

Just two weeks until we pack up the kids and overwhelm my brother and his family for a week and then my parents for a second week. Can't wait.

We're hoping to visit a couple of zoos: Indy, Columbus, and maybe this Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.

We're planning to run up to Chicago to show our kids the big city where we met and see some friends. While there, we're thinking about visiting the Field Museum and maybe the new Millenium Park (we've never seen it ourselves). We'll definitely be dropping by Moody again.

We'll get to see my grandparents and maybe an uncle or two. One of my uncles is a fire chief and has said that we could take the kids on tour of a real fire station!

And to top it all off, at the end of our vacation, we get leave the kids with Mom & Dad and go away for 2 nights on the Allegheny District Pastors & Wives Retreat. 2 Nights!