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Archive for February, 2015

“Delayed, but not denied.”

That is the sentence I would use to describe the winter weather this year. And it appears we aren’t done. More snow is forecasted for tomorrow night into Thursday morning.

My favorite weather forecaster is Van Denton from FOX-8. Here’s his forecast.

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Hall family down in Cary, NC…get ready! It’s your turn! Dr. Black up in Nelson, Va., (above Oxford) you too sir! If the forecasts verifies, you’ll be in the thick of it!

Yes…it looked like this winter was going to be a dude for winter weather fans, but the Lord had a different plan. He controls the weather and it’s at His hand that all things move, breath, and have their being.

Clara and I took a ride this morning and she caught the worst of it in our 3+” of snow. Can you tell…

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She got “snow-sprayed” all the way down the hill!

By the way…I saw the coldest temperatures in my lifetime last Friday morning. Just before I left the house at 7:32 am it was -4 degrees.

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Initially I thought it said 4 degrees. But, I looked closer and there was the little minus (-) in front of the four (-4)! Holy Cow!! That’s cold!! I remember in 1985 when it was zero, but beyond that, I don’t remember it being below zero. What a winter!

Here’s something else you’ve never seen before. I, unfortunately, presided over my great uncle’s funeral last Friday and my great Aunt (his wife), dug up this picture of my family.

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Hey…check out my dad’s white belt. You know… if you keep something long enough, it’ll come back in style. He looks like he could be on the PGA Golf Tour. White belts are everywhere on the tour!

That picture was taken in Miami beach. Weren’t we a cute family! 🙂

I think I’m going to end here (a bit earlier than normal) because this video really got to me. It was wonderful and it sums up Christianity in so many ways. No remember, I’ve stopped about five minutes earlier than normal, so you can watch this video…and finish the last little thought after the video, so don’t short-change yourself. 🙂

It says, “For Pastors,” but I promise you that it’s for all!

http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/248552-transformed-life-5-minute-video-will-encourage-pastor.html

Wasn’t that touching?

Now…this stats go right along with that video. See if you agree…

This is a poll done by Thom Rainer of LifeWay.

The Poll

I conducted an unscientific Twitter poll recently to see what church leaders and church members thought of this trend, My specific question was: “Why do you think many churches aren’t as evangelistic as they once were?”

The responses arrived quickly and in great numbers, both in public tweets and in direct messages to me. Indeed, I was still receiving responses four days after I sent my Twitter question.

The Results

The response was highly informative for me. Here are the top fifteen responses listed in order of frequency:

  1. Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people.
  2. Many Christians and church members do not befriend and spend time with lost persons.
  3. Many Christians and church members are lazy and apathetic.
  4. We are more known for what we are against than what we are for.
  5. Our churches have an ineffective evangelistic strategy of “you come” rather than “we go.”
  6. Many church members think that evangelism is the role of the pastor and paid staff.
  7. Church membership today is more about getting my needs met rather than reaching the lost.
  8. Church members are in a retreat mode as culture becomes more worldly and unbiblical.
  9. Many church members don’t really believe that Christ is the only way of salvation.
  10. Our churches are no longer houses of prayer equipped to reach the lost.
  11. Churches have lost their focus on making disciples who will thus be equipped and motivated to reach the lost.
  12. Christians do not want to share the truth of the gospel for fear they will offend others. Political correctness is too commonplace even among Christians.
  13. Most churches have unregenerate members who have not received Christ themselves.
  14. Some churches have theological systems that do not encourage evangelism.
  15. Our churches have too many activities; they are too busy to do the things that don’t really matter.

Rainer is right, oh that we will care to reach the lost…just like the young lady in the video. God help us all to care deeply about reaching the lost and take advantage of the opportunities before us every day.

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Finally!

It finally happened!

Snow!!

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All winter we’ve been waiting here in western NC and it finally came. In fact it came twice in just three days. There was the surprise snow on Saturday night…

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We get a quick burst of about 1 1/2″ and the bad thing is that it was falling while the temperatures were still above freezing. So, you know what that means… Yep… Ice. Roads that froze solid and looked like this at 7 am on Sunday morning right below my house.

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Can you say, “Skating rink?” I saw that and I stopped dead in my tracks and said, “No way Jose!” I have a front wheel drive, but I was already spinning. I had Andrew with me because the rest of my family was still at the coast seeing Katy, Josh and some little girl named Charlotte. 🙂

I said, “Andrew, it’s not worth it.” Andrew didn’t speak. I think he was scared too. So, we cancelled services on Sunday. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do even though the conditions were not uniform across our county. Truly, there were some folks that didn’t have any issues like many of us “country bumpkins” had. But, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

What I have to remind people is that even if we have just one service at 11 am, we still have to get the Praise Team, Audio/Visual guys and the rest of our staff to the church 2 HOURS earlier than the start time. So, that meant 9 am. That doesn’t count getting salt on the sidewalks after shoveling them. That’s backing things up another hour. So, you see the dilemma.

It makes me appreciate the folks who make the decisions for our schools. It’s not an easy call for sure. The pressure I feel and the other Elders is immense. Thanks for your understanding and prayers. Believe me I WANT to have church. I’m ready to preach and ready to teach, but I don’t want to ever do anything that could needlessly hurt someone. With well over 500 people coming to our church each Sunday, it’s a lot of opportunities for someone to fall in a parking lot or even worse, get killed driving a great distance.

Many people don’t realize that we have people driving from across our county to church. Some folks are even driving from outside the county to church from Ashe, Watauga and Iredell counties. Well, enough said… you get the picture.

As a reminder if there is inclement weather, you need to find someone who has internet access and go to our website or find me on Facebook or Twitter. We will also update WXII-12 News in Winston-Salem. Problem is, they chose not to run our announcement on the screen because it was such an isolated event. Well, that’s not so today. There are cancellations galore.

If you know someone who doesn’t have access to a computer, please check on them and let them know. We stopped the Phone Tree last year because people don’t update their phone numbers. They drop land lines and go to cell numbers or they change cell phones and we just can’t keep up with all that. There is no perfect system. We’re doing the best we can. Again, thanks for your understanding.

It’s been nice to enjoy the snow though… Here’s our sled run…

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Fun, fun, fun!

Folks, this winter was DELAYED, but it will NOT be DENIED. Ask the folks in Boston who are approaching 100 inches of snow. We, here in the south, are going to see bitter cold. The Weather Channel, as I type have said our low Thursday night will be -7. Oh my!

The forecast for the next two weeks continues to show above normal precip and below normal temps. It looks to be an interesting time.

Well, I mentioned that the family was at the coast seeing Josh, Katy and Charlotte earlier. Andrew and I drove down separate on Thursday and came back Saturday. It was short and sweet, but it was SWEET because we got to see this little lady…

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Can you tell I’m a happy Papa?

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We had a Valentine’s meal together. Pam and I don’t mind sharing Valentine’s with our family. It doesn’t get any better than this…

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Isn’t that a happy looking bunch! Am I a blessed man or what? 🙂

Oh…and another fringe benefit of spending time and money on music lessons is hearing these three sing and play together. Wowie!!

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Can’t wait to get Katy back in the Praise Team at MPBC. She loves playing and singing so much!

Speaking of being blessed and being touched. Take a look at this story of a young lady that I’ve known all my life, Melanie Matthews. She was Melanie Huffman to me until she got married and moved to Tennessee. She and her husband, Chris and their two boys had a baby girl with a defective heart and Down’s Syndrome. Their story is awesome! Have a tissue ready…

Okay…are you ready for a few laughs…

Church Bulletin Mistakes:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
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Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
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The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus.’
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those
things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
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Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
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Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
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Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’
Come early and listen to our choir practice.
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered..
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn-singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
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And this one just about sums them all up the Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last
Sunday: “I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.”

🙂

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High Horse

Boston has had 6 feet of snow this winter and all the Global warming folks want us to believe it’s because of Climate Change. Yep, it’s change indeed. It’s actually cyclical. Patterns come and go and this has been happening since the Flood. These folks are pushing this stuff like the Evolution folks push their “theory” as fact. Just take note of that when you are watching the Weather Channel (WC) and reading stuff on the internet. I love the WC, but they have swallowed this hook, line and sinker. Mainly, (in my humble opinion), because they are owned by NBC’s parent company.

Did you hear the President at the Prayer Breakfast last week. Amazing! He compared the Crusades where Christians were seeking to take back the Promised Land from the Muslim Turks with what ISIS is doing with burning people alive. Really, Mr. President??!

Do you now this man?

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This is Ravi Zacharias. He’s absolutely brilliant Christian apologist from India. I’ve shared with you about him before. Take a look at his take on the President’s remarks.

President Barack Obama’s address at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2015 has reverberated through the corridors of the world and provoked shock and dismay in numerous quarters. Even a professor at the University of London commented on his shallow understanding of the Crusades. I hesitated to write anything on the subject because it would drag me into politics or into a sobering critique of Islam. I am not sure that at a time like this either distraction would be wise, so let me keep it to the minimum.

For those who did not hear the talk, it is sufficient to say that it was the most ill-advised and poorly chosen reprimand ever given at a National Prayer Breakfast. I have been to several and have never, ever heard such absence of wisdom in a setting such as this. ‎I wasn’t at this one but have heard the speech often enough to marvel at the motivation for such thoughts. President Obama basically lectured Christians not to get on a moral high horse in their castigation of the ISIS atrocities by reminding them that the Crusades and slavery were also justified in the name of Christ. Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy.  ‎In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.

There is so much I would love to say in response but shall refrain. The President obviously does not understand the primary sources of either faith for him to make such a tendentious parallel. The predominant delight in his remarks would be in the Muslim world and the irreligious. The next day Geraldo Rivera, opining favorably, made the oft repeated lie that more people have been killed in the name of God than in any other cause. Try telling that to the Chinese and the Russians and the Cambodians and the victims of the Holocaust! ‎Such intellectual ignorance gains the microphone with pitiable privilege. If a thinking person doesn’t know the difference between the logical outworkings of a philosophy and the illogical ones, to say nothing of the untruth perpetrated, then knowledge has been sacrificed at the altar of prejudice.

But let me get to the President’s final statement, after he had wandered off into erroneous territory. That final remark was true. He said, “It is sin that leads us to distort reality.” He was right. In fact he embodied it in his talk. But there is good news for the President. At least in the Christian message forgiveness is offered for sin. In Islam it isn’t. You must earn it. May I dare suggest that if Christians had been burning Muslims and be-heading them, he would have never dared to go to Saudi Arabia and tell them to get off their high horse. He unwittingly paid a compliment to those who preach grace and forgiveness. That is the dominant theme of the Gospel. That is why we sit in courtesy listening to the distortion of truth, the abuse of a privilege, and the wrong-headedness of a message.

I cannot recall when I have heard such inappropriate words at so important an occasion, in such a time of crisis. The world is burning with fear and apprehension. We need a message that will inspire and encourage and redeem. Ironically, two years ago when Dr. Ben Carson spoke and made some comments about our medical plan and the tax system, the White House demanded an apology from him for straying into controversial terrain, because it felt his comments showed disrespect for the President.

This year’s National Prayer Breakfast speech was a blunder in thought. But there was a silver lining. In the end, President Obama blundered into the truth. Sin distorts… and only Jesus Christ restores the truth. Christ will ever rise up to outlive His pallbearers. Even presidents will have to get off their high horses then and recognize the Lord of life and hope and peace. There will be no speech making then. Only a prayer of surrender… which is what the National Prayer Breakfast was meant to be in the first place.

Amen and amen Ravi!!

Thankfully country boy and NASCAR announcer (and former driver) Darrel Waltrip set things straight.

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Darrell was just a feet away from President Obama when he delivered the keynote address. He said: “I did everything to satisfy me,” he said.

When his wife, Stevie, tried to get him to go to church, he responded, “I just don’t have time for this church stuff.”

“I realized that wreck knocked me conscience,” Waltrip said. “It scared the hell out of me. I mean that literally. I realized, what if I had lost my life that day at Daytona? Would I have gone to heaven or would I have gone to hell? I thought I was a good guy, but folks, let me tell you something: good guys go to hell.”

He continued, “If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, if you don’t have a relationship, if he’s not the master of your life, if you’ve never gotten on your knees and asked him to forgive you of your sins, or if you are just a pretty good guy or a pretty good gal, you’re going to go to hell.”

The country boy told the truth. I pray the President was listening.

Franklin Graham nails this situation on the head. The President is all about being politically correct.

Franklin said this at the Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference on January 26th:

“Secularism and communism are the same thing…they’re godless. They’re anti-Christ. So now we have the secularists who’ve taken control of our country. They’ve taken control of Washington. They’ve taken control our city governments, our local governments, our school boards all across the country, and we have just sat back. It’s happened and we haven’t even realized it’s happened.”

Franklin went on to say…

“Now, you say, Franklin, your father [Billy Graham] wouldn’t get on to these subjects. Wait a second. My father, when he was going to school, they had a Bible in school. When he was going to school, they had the Ten Commandments on the wall. When he was going to school, you could pray in school, and the teachers would lead in those prayers.”

“America has changed and it’s not coming back unless the church takes a stand. There are storms that are coming, and we find ourselves in these storms and many times, we as a church, we run. And we run to the wrong place. You see, Jesus is in the boat [with us]. All we have to do is call Him. Call on His name. But the secularist and the humanist, no.  You mention the name of Christ and they jump all over you. I get jumped on all the time. I don’t care. I really don’t. I gave my life to Christ.”

Me too Franklin and I’m not afraid to stand on His name no matter what they do to me. What the humanists want to do is back us into a corner and keep us there with a sock in our mouths. And here’s the deal if you think that we can just “love” people by our actions and not get involved politically (vote), then you will watch this country go down the tubes. And you know what that will mean? It will mean that the country that sends out the most missionaries and sends the most money to spread the Gospel throughout the world will find itself becoming more and more economically powerless and thus the Gospel will be more and more muted. Satan loves that!

Satan hated this…

This was our annual Sportsmen’s Banquet on Saturday. 400+ people! Tons of lives touched!

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James Quinn was our speaker. He’s the Construction Manager at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He was excellent. Again…huge crowd…IMG_2034

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Christians are seeking to spread the Gospel. ISIS is seeking to spread fear and death. Mr. President, please remember that. And with all due respect sir, it may take you dismounting your “high horse” to understand that.

Weather update. Cold and wet. You know what that might mean? I’m afraid to say. It’s been a “bust” for the winter weather fans. But the blue on the first map and the green on the second might mean an interesting pattern change next week. 🙂

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I’ve learned something about social media and my new foray into Twitter. (I’ve only been on it about 2 months.) For many of our young people Twitter seems to be a place to talk about the desire for a relationship or how to recover from a bad one. I see tweets like this:

“If only I could find Mr. Right. Where are you hiding!”

“You’ll miss me one day…”

“Whoever I end up with is going to be so lucky, cause I’ve done so much for the wrong people.  I can only imagine what I’ll do for the right one.”

“Did you have to do that to me. I thought I could trust you.”

So sad.

I hear parents talk about how their kids are now dating “so and so” and I rack my brain and try to think about how old they are…Hmm…let’s see…they’re 11! Oh my!

Solomon said, “Don’t awaken love too soon.”

But, then we can easily move to the other extreme and see that people are now deferring marriage altogether. Marriage is totally out of favor now. I heard one stat a few weeks ago that over 50% of couples under the age of 30 are cohabitating. The question I have is: From what grid are we using to give us our reasoning for how we do relationships? Could it be that we are summarily dismissing the Word of God or even worse…we don’t want to even know what the Bible teaches on the subject because it might implicate and indict what we’re currently doing?

I wrote a book (more like a booklet) about dating last year and I guess I shouldn’t be disheartened, but it’s certainly not flying off the shelves of Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Now don’t get me wrong…it’s selling copies…but it’s certainly not a top seller (nor did I expect it to)…   411ESCnsQbL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

It’s on Kindle for only 99 cents and it would take maybe an hour to read (that’s if you are a slow reader). You see, I wanted to know what the Bible says about relationships so I took the time to take the passages of Scripture about relationships, marriage, etc. and put them concisely in this small 35 page book. But, I’m afraid most people won’t take the time to read it. Why? Well it’s hard to type these words, but I believe people are more interested in fitting in than being Biblical.

Truth is: If they did read it and then felt convicted and didn’t follow through with changes, then…well…let’s just not go there. You get the picture and I guess you can’t say I haven’t tried. Look, I’m just trying to say that I’ve got it all figured out. I don’t. I promise! I’m just trying to save people from a lot of heartaches. I’m trying to share with folks what I wish someone had told me. I hurt for this young person who tweeted this: “Whoever I end up with is going to be so lucky, cause I’ve done so much for the wrong people.  I can only imagine what I’ll do for the right one.”

Ugh! I hurt for that person. Can you feel their hurt and pain? Yet, God has given us principles to follow if we will simply choose to do so. It’s like a man thirsting to death, and yet there’s a canteen of water right beside of him. But he ignores the canteen and crawls right past it looking for a watering hole. I believe many are looking for the watering hole when the canteen (the word of God) is at their reach if they’ll just take it and drink.

Can I say it again? UGH! So, if you are reading this and you haven’t read my book, it’s okay. Maybe you’ll read this blog post from a young lady who followed what the Scriptures teach.

Now let me say this (and I said as much in my book): Every situation is DIFFERENT. The way the Lord leads us to our spouse is as different and unique for all of us as our individual salvation experiences, but the principles are the guard rails for that road. I hope you’ll take the time to read this beautiful story of trusting God and His timing… FullSizeRender (3) This is Margaret Wilkes and Wyatt and here’s a couple of paragraphs to whet your appetite… (YES, I’m trying to convince you to read her blog post that will take about 6-7 minutes.)

I came to a point in my life where I just “gave it up.” I realized that what I really wanted was God’s will for my life. If that meant being single, then so be it. “…..and if I am an *old maid,* it’s ok, I will just be the most fabulous old maid that ever lived.” said I. “Or I will just be a nun! That’s an idea!” 

Kidding aside, I know plenty of single folks who are amazing and are a very integral part of the body of Christ. But if His will meant getting married one day, then so be it. I would learn and be useful until that time. I realized that I had been living with the subconscious thought in my mind that told me “your life won’t really begin or be truly wonderful until you get a boyfriend or get married or have your own family!” (BIG LIE!) I decided to trust that if God wanted me to be in a relationship someday, I simply needed be faithful to what he had me doing at the moment and NOT CONCERN MYSELF about if and when my man would make his appearance. God can handle the details.

Read full post at: http://astepheavenward.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-times-they-are-changin.html

I read an article a while back about the negative consequences of delaying marriage in our culture.

Here’s a couple of paragraphs…

“We [in the church] are teaching kids at 14 to wait until they get married before they have sex,” says Marshall. “Historically, that might have been until they were 21. If they’re not getting married until they’re 30, that looks like a really tough hurdle. As a public policy person looking at these questions, we look at the aggregate data. As the typical age of first marriage is climbing, we’re also seeing cohabitation rates climb. We’re seeing unwed childbearing climb dramatically.” Without the “easy out” of premarital sex and cohabitation, Christian young people often find themselves in a struggle to keep themselves for a honeymoon that could be a decade or more away.

The average age for marriage among American men is now 29. For women it’s 27. This means churches are asking Christian students to spend, on average, 15 years fighting the strongest hormones of their lives. It’s an expectation no previous generation of believers has faced. But increased emphasis on self-betterment isn’t entirely to blame. As Karen Swallow Prior writes at The Atlantic, our culture’s conception of marriage itself…is now “something [young people] do after they have all their ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood.” 

Full article here: http://www.summit.org/blogs/summit-announcements/the-consequences-of-putting-off-marriage-for-christians-and-for-culture/

I suppose the current debates over whether marriage is a good, over whether children need mothers and fathers, over whether sexual expression should be bound by the covenant-reality of the male-female one-flesh union versus homosexuality will continue. Our nation has now embraced and even celebrates casual sexuality, cohabitation, no-fault divorce, homosexuality, and abortion rights as parts of a sexual revolution that rips down “old, out-dated” ways. Yet, as a believer, I must stand on God’s unchanging Word.

The apostle Paul warned that the sexually immoral person sins not just against another but “against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). He compared the spiritual union formed between Christ and the believer with the union brought about in the sexual act. Even one who is “joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her,” Paul wrote, (citing Genesis). You see, the sexual act, mysteriously, forms a real and personal union. Immorality whether that be cohabitation, homosexuality, adultery, sex before marriage for teens…all of these things are not just some sort of “naughtiness,” but is a description of a different gospel. They are not part of the mystery of the Church (the Bride) and Jesus (the Groom). This is why attempts to “free” sexuality from marriage as the union of a man and a woman do not lead to freedom, but bondage.

I know some will read this post and say, “There he goes again! Kevin just won’t let up on this stuff.” The truth is I can’t because I can’t get this out of my mind…

TWEET: “Whoever I end up with is going to be so lucky, cause I’ve done so much for the wrong people.  I can only imagine what I’ll do for the right one.”

Yes, I know, many will tell me that people will not hear us if we limit people to the Bible’s definition of sexuality. They won’t say it out loud, but they are whispering this: “Tone it down… or at least avoid the conversation of what we believe about the definition of marriage, and you’ll win more people to your side.” Wrong! To throw out or minimize what the Bible says about sexual ethics is to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Jesus has invited us to a wedding. His wedding. His wedding with the church. Like it our lump it. That’s the truth. That’s why Jesus said to the woman both “go get your husband” and “come here.” So must we. It has been said, “Lust is the craving for salt of someone who is dying of thirst.” Our young people are looking for a love that is stronger than death. They cannot articulate it in a tweet, but what they are looking for is God.

So, we must both articulate and embody a correct understanding of marriage. For you see, marriage is the very picture of the mystery that defines Christ and the Church. And the last time I read the Bible I see that Jesus loved His bride so much that He died for her and is now waiting in a state of betrothal for the day when His Father says, “Go get her!” Now that’s true love and that’s no mistake and that would be a great tweet. 🙂

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