Friday, June 27, 2008

A Noble Wife, One Has Found

(This is a guest post, posted without my wife's permission. Colin Adams.)

I am functionally orientated. In simple terms, that means I am usually so busy ‘doing the next task’ I forget to pause and appreciate precious relationships. Earlier today I was reading the latest raft of 9marks articles on the subject of marriage. It was a sobering reminder (not least the 30 ways for pastor’s to love their families article!) of my inept failures in ministering to my family.

I’m grateful to God that the same isn’t true of my wife. Nicki, your ministry to me is abundant and rich, consistent and caring. From my observations, here are thirty ways you love your family.

1. You always put your family first: before your needs, wants and concerns.
2. You love simply spending time with your family. You hate the notion of not being together when you could be.
3. You somehow keep a house immaculately clean despite three messy children and an only marginally cleaner husband.
4. You patiently take care of all the needs of our children 9 to 5 (feeding, washing, changing, disciplining, teaching, travelling etc). I struggle to do a good job from 5 till 7.
5. You spend countless evenings in alone, when I’m out at yet another meeting.
6. You then put up with it, when returning late ‘I’m too tired to talk about it.’
7. You regularly tell all of us you love us.
8. You are the most organised person I know when it comes to planning for birthday’s, anniversaries and other celebrations. Months ahead! You never miss a special ocassion.
9. You’re never beyond a bit of humour. A practical joke, a silly game, a friendly poke of fun at children or daddy.
10. You buy me favourite foods, even though you don’t like them.
11. You listen to biblical, passionate and profound messages from John Piper (just now from Romans) and each day when I get home, tell me about them!
12. You’re always more interested in talking about my day than yours.
13. You practice hospitality several times a week, and in welcoming other people into your home, bless the children by the exposure.
14. You are firm and consistent with your discipline of the children: they know where they stand with you and love you for it.
15. You care about the children’s education - not least spiritually - and buy great books that we use at the t-table.
16. You forgive your children even on ‘one of those days’ when they seem chronically naughty, and forgive me when I’m not as a good a husband as you are a wife.
17. You put yourself out, often when you don’t have to and it completely inconveniences you (picking me up from town - daily?; running me to meetings early Sunday mornings…)
18. You follow my lead and prefer it that way.
19. You go into the children’s bedrooms last thing at night, tucking the three children into bed - and never go to sleep comfortably until they are.
20. You read books on biblical womanhood, motherhood and marriage, and seek to apply their principles. With evident effect.
21. You miss us - and tell us so - if you’re absence from us is ever enforced.
22. You have not been unknown to inform me in the morning that you had been up half the night with one of the sick children. You didn’t want my sleep disturbed too.
23. You love meeting with God’s church on Sunday’s and by this show us all the value of church. You’re desperately upset when you can’t get an ‘evening babysitter’, especially when I’m preaching.
24. You watch football (soccer!) with your husband, instead of something preferable, because you know I like it.
25. You sometimes arrange datenights for us, including the babysitters, when if I were being diligent it would always be my job.
26. You buy your husband surprise gifts to encourage me (though I think, perhaps, “Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor” was also designed to bring me down a peg or two!)
27. You leave me little ‘love’ notes in packed lunch boxes, clothes items, and on my computer screen at the office.
28. You happily listen to me preach sermons: several times at home, and then in the pulpit.
29. You are my best sermon critic. On the one hand, you are sensitive enough not to ‘kick me when I’m down’. On the other, you are loving enough to ‘keep my feet on the ground.’
30. You ‘make out’ that everyone else is ‘the best bit’ about the family, when you are.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Godly Man's Picture

Some advice was given to me recently from a very wise and godly pastor; ‘Don’t rush through the puritan classics...less is more when it comes to reading and fully understanding doctrine that will nourish and transform your soul.’

With this in mind, and perhaps also due to the busy demands of everyday life, I’ve moved quite slowly through ‘The Godly Man’s Picture.’ At the outset, Thomas Watson poignantly reminds the reader that,
The soul being so precious, and salvation so glorious, it is the highest point of prudence to make preparations for another world.
The remainder of the book outlines the characteristics of godliness, fully expectant that the godly man (in the generic sense) will be one who is patient, thankful, zealous, sincere, but to name a few of the chapter titles. However God’s grace and ever-present help is referred to often and encourages the believer to continue in perseverance. Many regard Watson as the most readable of the Puritans; his questioning approach serves to aid the reader by providing opportunity for reflection and personal response. I found the most challenging section of the book to be entitled: ‘A godly man prizes Christ.’ Not only is the precious worth of Jesus affirmed again and again throughout this chapter, the challenge arises as to whether we really prize Christ at all.
If we are prizers of Christ:
1. We will prefer him in our judgments before other things
2. We cannot live without him
3. We shall not complain at any pains to get him
4. We take great pleasure in Him
5. We will part with our dearest pleasures for him
6. We shall think we cannot have him at too dear a rate
7. We will be willing to help others to get a part of him
8. We will prize him in health as well as sickness
Helpful explanations and illustrations support each section of this book with Scripture references woven throughout. This book really is one to be read and re-read and referred to along the way.

Promised Land

I just wanted to alert you to a fabby new album once again from Lou Fellingham. You can listen to clips from the album here. The lyrics as well as the music are superb. It's well worth forking out on, either for yourself, or for someone else!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Debt We Owe is the Gospel of Grace

I'm beginning to daily wade my way through Piper's sermon series on Romans. The following quote is the nuts and bolts of today's message which exhorts us to share the gospel of grace not just with unbelievers, but within the body of Christ.
Grace came to us absolutely free and unconditional from God when he called us to himself and loved us as his own. This grace makes us debtors to everyone who, like us, needs grace, because not to share the grace we received would imply that we qualified for it and they don't; and that would nullify grace. And what we share is the gospel of this great free grace. This is how we pay our debt to others: freely we received, freely we give.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hindrances to Self-control

Over-eating? Gossiping? Spending money? Lustful thoughts? Anger? Lydia Brownback at The Purple Cellar posts about 5 things that prevent us from being more self-controlled in these areas, and more. I found this very helpful and would encourage you to visit her site and read more fully about the 5 hindrances below.

1. Competing desires
2. Wrong Motives
3. Failure to understand the destructive power of overindulgence
4. Failure to know ourselves
5. We think self-control should be easy because we are Christians.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Live & Die Well

"Death makes visible where our treasure is. The way we die reveals the worth of Christ in our hearts. Christ is magnified in my death when I am satisfied with him in my dying - when I experience death as gain because I gain him. Or to say it another way: The essence of praising Christ is prizing Christ. Christ will be praised in my death, if in my death he is prized above life....If we learn to die like this, we will be ready to live. And if we don't, we will waste our lives."
John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life