Monday, September 8, 2014

FLAME

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego surviving a hi-temp furnace unscathed is astonishing to us.  Why?  It's astonishing because we operate on associations.  Heat is hot.  Hot heat burns and causes pain.  Very hot heat turns us to toast.  Our associations with heat affects how we live and use heat.  It affects how we interpret heat encounters in Holy Writ.  Associations is what Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz write about in their scholarly article "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women’s Career and Marriage Decisions".

The Oxford dictionary defines a paradigm shift as: "A fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions."  A paradigm shift took place when oral contraceptives hit the market.  Hardest hit was society's view of marriage.  It severely affected the Church as well, and changed our associations with marriage.  Most important, it changed how we read Scripture on marriage.  Before the paradigm shift, marriage could never be imagined apart from children.  Which paradigm are you operating on?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gospel Sex

A popular thread making its way around social media stresses marriage as a picture of Christ and the Church—gospel marriage.  It takes the imagery to the extreme.  Contained within the gospel marriage evangelism is the concept that sex within marriage is a demonstration of the gospel—gospel sex.  All this is channeled toward young women and men as well-intended advice on marriage.  I think it will lead to much disillusionment with marriage instead, because in many ways it is misleading.  No doubt the gospel is to have its effects on marriage and these effects are to be infused throughout, but sex in its primary function is the making of disciples for Christ.  Sex is an exercise in intimacy, but not intimacy in a vacuum.  Sex is not a parable of the gospel.

Martin Luther taught insightfully on sex, pointing out how in the beginning when God said “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth", God was actively creating an explosive, innate male-female force, not simply issuing an inert command or blessing.  Adam and Eve were literally set on fire, sexually speaking.  The drive was alive.  Luther went on to point out how this sex drive was shared by all the human race and, was generally inescapable barring rare supernatural disengagement as in the case of the apostle Paul — Paul was a freak of nature by God's design.  For all others, the drive could not be suppressed or ignored, not without collateral damage in the form of unavoidable sexual immorality.  Luther witnessed the rampant, clandestine sexual immorality of the celibate priests in his day, and the resultant multiplication of whores, prostitutes, and fatherless children celibacy promotion spawned.  Celibacy is similarly promoted today in the form of delayed or postponed marriage.  Contrast ancient Israel where marriage at 12 and 13 was common.  Needless to say, like Luther we too witness the rampant, clandestine sexual immorality in the Church, only in our day it takes the forms of romantic fantasy for women, and porn for men, not to mention non-marital sex facilitated by the use of contraceptives.  The God-instilled sex drive was intended to stimulate the multiplication of God's image bearers on earth via marriage.  The Lord essentially told Adam and Eve what He tells married male-female Christ followers today: "go and make disciples".  He incentivized Adam and Eve and us, in the form of erotic pleasure.

Marriage in limited ways can be a picture of Christ and the Church.  Husbands for instance, are instructed to love their wives like Christ loved the Church.  They are not instructed however, to be Messiahs like Christ.  Husbands cannot sanctify their wives.  They can't atone for their sins.  They can't turn water into wine or walk on water.  And they can't raise the dead.  Husbands simply are not Christ.  Sacrificial love is in the apostle's view when it comes to marriage imagery.  Husbands love your wives like your own body.  That is how marriage is like Christ and the Church. Sex is not in view.  Sex in itself was never intended by God to become an all engrossing idol as it is in our day.  God does not promote the lust-driven marriage.  One of the viral posts I read made this statement: “Great sex is a parable of the Great Gospel.”  The truth is, quality of sex has nothing to do with the gospel and Christian marriage.  Many married couples will experience trouble or pain having sex.  Many spouses will have emotional scars from events of the past.  All spouses will eventually get old and peter out, yet the marriage in Christ will stand strong because it is based on Christ-like love, not great sex.  Sex has nothing to do with the gospel.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Marriage Monopoly



The Lord has a monopoly on the marriage market.  Only one concept of marriage gets His nod: Kingdom Marriage.  Even so, it is obvious in our day many pseudo-concepts of marriage appear in the market.  They are temporary dot-coms—here today, they will all be gone tomorrow.  Many of the evaporating marriage concepts are easy to spot.  Some however, are not.  One not-so-easy-to-spot concept is popular in mainstream American Christianity today.  It often flies under the banner of "God, Country, and Family".  In this concept, marriage is viewed in isolation from the Body of Christ and Christ's Law.  In this concept the marriage couple raises children for themselves, their family, or their nation, all the while seeking the blessing of God.  They should not expect to find it.

We are reminded in the Psalms:   

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain."

The Lord is said to build the house when its builders follow His design.

The Lord created marriage, and He designed it to build up His Kingdom on earth.  He designed it to build up the Body of Christ.  Marriage is a joint operation—a joint operation between The Lord and His diversified, worldwide Church.  Marriage is designed to be an intentional and deliberate Kingdom building act on the part of Christian parents and the Church.  And children have always been destined by The Lord to be propagated and raised as Christ's disciples—"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

Christ Himself said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  "All these things" is the manifestation of The Lord's blessing.  Without "all these things" our marriage is a flower pulled up by the roots.  We may appear at the moment to have bright colors; The fade is just a matter of time.  We live by The Lord's blessing.  We perish by its lack.  Is your concept of marriage Kingdom Marriage?  If not, you can change that today.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

THEM!



Devastation. Destruction. Decimation.  THEM!  A by-product of testing the Atom-bomb, these tractor trailer-sized sugar babies were a force to be reckoned with—nobody touchin' their ant colony.  Unfortunately for THEM, their days were numbered.  They were just a 1954 black and white Hollywood fake.  Really.  No more ants in the pants.  Nevertheless, a real and much more fearsome THEM remains.  A THEM much more devastating, destructive, and decimating.  A Divine force for righteousness.  All in living color.  Just watch how the dark side reacts!

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created THEM."

The real THEM is a by-product of testing the Adam-bomb; infused with grace and power from on high, THEM put no confidence in the flesh.  The real THEM is a mission-minded couple—you and him—that's part of a Holy colony being formed on planet Earth.  The real THEM have a sure future, no temporary phenomena here.  THEM are indestructible and even rise from the dead.  As a holy union between God, woman, and man, THEM have the King's presence, power, and blessing; they have the power to replicate.  In the midst of a dark and shadowy world, a holy couple can confidently say:

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me". 

Discouraged by every creeping thing that creeps on the earth in our day?  Long for a New Earth where righteousness dwells?  Rise above it.  Ditch the him-her mindset and become a THEM.  Get some holy ants in your pants (and skirts) and start wreaking some holy havoc in this present world.  Colonize for the King!  You can be assured of His blessing.

"And God blessed THEM. And God said to THEM, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review of Horace Bushnell's "Christian Nurture" (1847)


"We have been expecting to thrive too much by conquest, and too little by growth."
--Horace Bushnell

By the early 1800s an individualistic conception of conversion had taken root in the American Christian mind, a conception which mentally severed children of believing parents from the Kingdom of Christ--at least until a visible conversion could take place. As a result, children of believing parents were seen as objects of evangelization, instead of Christ's disciples. En masse, parents began to walk by sight, not by faith. The Kingdom would suffer.

By the mid 1970s, with the enabling of "the pill" and credit legislation that extended easy credit to husbands and wives jointly, a definitive choice was made by a majority of parents to abandon the home as an incubator and bootcamp for developing soldiers of Christ. Sheetrock and a new Chevy displaced a "godly seed" and became the new anticipated kingdom of God on earth. Today, the Church plows ahead with evangelism, hoping to outpace the crumble rate of member marriages and families by continuously adding new blood.

Christ declared the Kingdom that He would build would continuously progress and endure forever--it was goin' global. As the prophet Daniel foretold: "...the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." Toward this amazing and optimistic Gospel end, Horace Bushnell's "Christian Nurture" is nuclear war, laying out a solid Scriptural argument for the priority of Gospel procreation and family-based discipleship. This is a must read for all enthusiasts of Christ's Kingdom!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Push!

"The 5 Reasons Marriage Scares Men"
  —From an anonymous secular male blog:

#1. Loss of Power
#2. Divorce is Terrifying
#3. We Compare Our New Relationships to Old Ones
#4. Ridiculously Expensive, Lavish Weddings
#5. We're Flooded with Anti-Marriage Messages



The New World of Massachusetts in the early 1600s was a desolate and daunting place. Its rocky landscape and its cold, harshly uninviting environment made it one of the last places on earth anyone would want to colonize. If there was a Paradise, Massachusetts was Hell. This is the way it was viewed—a no man's land. Yet Massachusetts was colonized by an elite few that pressed through a perception filter by faith, and as a result they were tremendously blessed by God. Kingdom-minded men face a similar perception filter today, only this New World is marriage.

Family desolation.  We are told "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it" and yet we've passed through a housing boom whose builder and maker was not God. It has turned out to be a housing bubble gone bust, and the devastation is widespread and grim. The carnage is real and gets personal. It was a housing boom built on sand. To look around is scary.  We need to look up.

The first blessing given to man by The Lord God was given to the man and woman as one. It was given to a married elite. It is a blessing He's still desirously handing out today to an elite who walk by faith and not by sight.  Will we trust the Lord?  The Lord is ever desiring to bless and populate His world. His blessing of marriage is like a baby waiting to be born.  He's just waiting on us to push!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It Takes Two Ta Tango


Marriage is popularly despised or minimized.  Nevertheless, the God of love generally multiplies through romance.  This is the way He builds civilization on planet earth.  The world began with a marriage, and a marriage will initiate the beginning of the age to come at Christ's return.  And every significant move of God in between will be a mirror image of them both—Christ is the Lord of this dance.


It was the Father and Son jointly who said “Let Us make man in Our image”, and that “image” was the man joined to his wife —the Father and Son move by replicating unity.  Not to deny individuals are also made in the image of God, but couples have the ability to reflect the Divine Image more fully, and multiplying the image of God on earth is what our Creator is all about.

The Lord has a special affinity for twos.  This is primarily how Christ sends His disciples on mission.  The animals before the flood were brought into the ark two-by-two, and it was the same for Noah and his three sons —four couples ruled the Ark and established the New World.  In 1608 Captain John Smith found out it took marriage—not men—to tame a wilderness called Virginia.  John Winthrop discovered the same in Massachusetts Bay.  America was founded by moms and dads and started with a boom —we’re talkin’ a baby boom!

Great moves of God generally start in the bedroom, not the board room or voting booth.  And, they don’t depend on prime financial times —it takes faith, hope and love to build a marriage, not money.  The Lord of the dance has the world as His dance floor, and He's looking for faithful men and women to light it up.  Those who could care less, please step to the side.  Christ’s Kingdom will be built by doing the Tango not a line dance, and for the Tango...baby, it takes two!