- Everyone Has a Big But
It’s a line from Pee-wee Herman in his movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure… and it doesn’t mean that all of us have gigantic backsides, although it sounds pretty funny when you think of the possible double meaning! He’s trying to explain something to his friend Simone and the conversation goes like this:
Simone: I know you’re right, Pee-wee, but…
Pee-wee: But what? Everyone I know has a big “But….
This isn’t the word butt, rather b-u-t. The one small, three-letter word that has all the power to dismiss, discount and disregard everything that came before it. People can hear the truth, they can be given all the guidance, direction and wisdom that they need to live right and make the proper choices. Yet in the quick and swift utterance of this one word, believe they’ve exempted themselves and that they are not required to heed the truth. After all, their big but quickly erases everything.Continue reading →
- The Church’s Answer to Immorality – Part Two
In the last post I began discussing the way most churches handle teaching their young people about sexual purity (or not teaching it as the case may be). While many Christians use purity rings and pledges to ensure right living, they also throw in a healthy measure of the world’s view making concessions for masturbation and what I term “non-sex” sex to tackle the question of sexual immorality. But we are giving the wrong answer.
It’s time that The Church starts acting like The Church, time to start giving the right answer to immorality and that answer is this: Get married.
- The Church’s Answer to Immorality – Part One
Go to almost any church in America and sit for an entire year of Sunday morning services. Odds are great that you will not hear the subjects of sex, sexual purity, or sexual morality mentioned. If by some chance a pastor has the cojones to talk about sex at all, most often it will be couched in code using the words “intimacy” or “marital relations”. Most churches don’t teach it, preach it or talk about it because they are afraid to offend someone with the word s-e-x and The Church is a mess today because of it.
Make no mistake about it, the group of people we are failing the most in all this is our youth. Young men and women from a very early age are inundated by millions of sexual messages from our media and culture, yet The Church remains silent and says nothing to combat the plague. Fornication, cohabitation, STDs, pornography use, and out of wedlock births are all occurring in churches at nearly the same rate as the un-churched world. Isn’t that just great?!
- At Least Get Paid for It!
There is a misconception, a mistaken way of thinking among Christians when it comes to having sex outside of marriage. Here is what many people think:
- The best circumstance to have sex in is within the bounds of matrimony or if you are not married, to remain sexually pure.
- The next best scenario is having sex with your boyfriend/girlfriend…but while you really shouldn’t do it, most people will give a pass to those who do. Because after all, you love each other, it’s just so difficult to wait; you can’t really control yourselves when you feel so strongly about one another.
- Then the lowest and most unacceptable sex (in most people’s minds) is prostitution—those who get paid to engage in sexual acts.
- Connecting with Your Kids
For those of you who have attended my Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar, you are well acquainted with the assessment tool we use called the Flag Page. It is an online inventory that couples complete in a matter of minutes, which yields a colorful printout explaining what your greatest needs, motivations and desires in life. The Flag Page gives you an easy to understand snapshot of your heart and who you are at your very best.
Previously I have referred to how the Flag Page is beneficial to blended or stepfamilies and military families where the spouse is coming back from a deployment. These are “forced change” type situations that can be very problematic if you can’t gain understanding of who the person is. But it is also a very valuable tool to use in any marriage or parenting relationship.
- Drawing the Lines
There is a great song by Michael Buble titled “Everything”. It’s quite romantic actually, as he is telling his girl how important she is to him:
You’re a falling star, You’re the get away car.
You’re the line in the sand when I go too far.
You’re the swimming pool, on an August day.
And you’re the perfect thing to say.
And you play it coy, but it’s kinda cute.
Ah, when you smile at me you know exactly what you do.
Baby don’t pretend, that you don’t know it’s true.
Cause you can see it when I look at you.
- Learning to Say No
One of the first words that a child learns is “no”. A small toddler knows what it means and it is an early entry in their verbal vocabulary as they wobble around repeating, “No, no, no” everywhere they go. Even a dog will quickly learn the word when you are training him. Yet while it is one of the earliest concepts that humans acquire, and extraordinarily simple to understand, many people never grasp the word or learn to act on it.
It is imperative that we get the whole idea of “NO!” drilled into our heads, learn to deny selfish desires and feelings, and do the right things in life. If you don’t get this, you will live a life that is nothing but a series of disasters that leave a wake of destruction in your path.
- It’s Dangerous for Men to “Follow Their Feelings”
Maleness is under attack in this country and has been for the past 40 plus years. This is true in the culture at large, as well as in The Church, and it is extremely detrimental to male culture and our society at large. For a few years now people have been addressing this issue in books like The Feminization of American Culture by Ann Douglas, and David Murrow’s Why Men Hate Going to Church. The results of this feminization have been disastrous. Men are not real men anymore. Many males themselves don’t even know what it means to be a man because they have no role models. Part of this is due to the fact, that far too many fathers have literally abandoned their children or they are not engaged playing an active role in being a part of their son’s lives. For decades since the industrial revolution, most boys have been surrounded and raised by women who are the caretakers and role models. The message men are getting in spades—consciously and unconsciously– is that they need to be more like women and less like men.
While, there is much to be said about the causes and cures for this phenomenon, for the sake of this argument, we are going to zero in on one particular area: living by feelings. More importantly, how it’s a dangerous thing when men live by them. In his book, Man and Woman in Christ, Dr. Steven Clark states that one of the earmarks of a feminized man is that “he will place an unbalanced emphasis on how he feels (and how other people feel), in turn becoming highly visceral in his personal thinking and reactions”. In other words, because such a high emphasis has been placed on feelings, men have incorrectly learned that they have permission to act on and live by their feelings rather than thinking through logically what is right and wrong.
Continue reading →
- Hugs=Happier Marriage
A recent poll of 4,000 couples found that those spouses who described themselves as “very happy” tended to hug one another at least four times a day. Science has found many direct correlations between human touch and physical health…and I’m not even talking about actual sexual intercourse! Just holding hands, hugs, a pat on the back, a hand on the arm or other touches like this have a great impact on our mental wellness, our health and the state of our relationships.
Studies have shown that people who don’t have physical touch don’t fair as well. Single people, who generally don’t get as much physical touch have more health problems, and babies in ICUs and people with chronic health conditions who get touched more heal faster and fair better. We are not designed to be people who are never touched or held. We really do need to have it. See the following article on the connection between touch and the release of oxytocin.
Continue reading →
- Tinkerbell Christianity
by Mark Gungor
Why does the Church seem to be so impotent today?
As I look at what we Evangelical Christians have accomplished over that last decades, I cannot help but be stunned at how far we have “dumbed down” the Christian message. For the last fifty years, we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on crusades, television and radio broadcasts, concerts and outreaches trying to get as many people as we possibly can to “believe” in Jesus. We have told millions of people that if they just “acknowledge Jesus as their savior, they will be saved!”
We have convinced millions of people that all they needed to do was “repeat this prayer after me…” and Christ would transform them from the kingdom of this world to the Kingdom of our glorious God. That “it doesn’t matter what you do – just believe”. That once they let those magic words ooze over their tongue, push past their teeth and bubble over their lips, they would now would become real Christians.
- Less Martha and More Mary
Guest Blogger-Diane Brierley, Co-Host of The Mark Gungor Show
Several times on the show, we have heard from wives who feel as if they have to be and do everything in their homes and are very upset because their husbands don’t help them. I call this the “Martha Complex”—where wives think they have to be “superwoman”. Now, because Mark Gungor is not a woman and he is not a “Martha”, he asked me to give my perspective speaking as a “reformed” Martha!
We can start with the biblical example of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) when addressing women about this and see how Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus just listening to him while Martha was running around taking care of all that she thought needed to be done. Martha ends up getting mad because she’s doing all the work, and thinking Jesus will be on her side, asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her. But Jesus doesn’t do that. Instead, he tells Martha to chill out and leave Mary alone because she has chosen what is better–that which is more important. (The Gungor translation!)
Continue reading →
- Breaking Free of the Matrix
Many people have seen the 1999 movie The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne. It’s a really cool movie with all this action and cool special effects that most guys really love. One of the great things about the movie is the theme of the “chosen one” or “messiah” coming to save the race—a theme common to lots of literature and movies because of it’s universal appeal to the human soul.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, or in case you have forgotten, the basic gist of the movie is that these humans think they are alive and carrying on their normal lives, but in reality, they are not actually living. They exist in cocoons where their bodies are used to generate energy to run the giant computer program that simulates their lives—the matrix. All they are doing is living a virtual life in their heads and the movie is about trying to break out of the matrix so they will live a real life, rather than the one generated in their minds by the computer.
- The Church’s Answer to Immorality – Part Two