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Archive for the ‘To Date or Not to Date-Book’ Category

Today I taped the weekly “Two-Minute Tuesday” segment and I’ve been inundated with requests for my booklet on:

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So, I thought I’d just put the entire thing on my blog. So here you go. It’s approximately 30 pages typed and will take most readers about 45-50 minutes to read it.

To Date or Not to Date-What the Bible Says about Premarital Relationships

Preface

Dating has become a totally accepted practice in America and even in the Church. Yet, what I hope to show you in this book is the fact that dating, (as we know it), does not appear in the pages of the Bible. It’s my desire to awaken within the hearts and minds of parents and young people alike the understanding that we can trust the Bible to guide us in all things, including pre-marital relationships. My prayer as you read this book is that you will be inspired to go against the grain of the culture and follow the timeless truths of Scripture and seek the best God has in all things.

Please know this little book will go counter to almost everything you and I know about relationships and thus it will challenge on many levels. I am not naïve enough to believe that this little book will change the tide of culture or society, but it is my heart-felt desire to raise the bar in our thinking concerning God’s ways in seeking a future mate. Therefore, I dedicate this book to all those who will choose the way less travelled. I’m excited to know that you desire to experience the blessing of allowing the Word of God to be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.

Lastly, a big “thank you” goes to Henry Neufeld for publishing this book and being such an enormous blessing to me! Thanks Henry for touching so many lives through Energion Publishing!

Introduction

I’m going to make an assumption that you are likely a Christian if you are reading this book. You could be a parent or a young adult or even a grandparent. You are intrigued by the title and saw that the book isn’t that thick, so “Let’s give it a whirl.” I’m glad you chose to do so. Now, this is not to exclude the unbeliever, if you happen to be reading. Not at all! But, I’m not naïve enough to believe that I’m going to change the world with this book. I won’t. I know 95% of people will continue to date or live together, or whatever the cultural norm might be 10 years from now. But, for those of you reading the book that might desire to choose the way less travelled, well…keep reading. I’ll think you’ll like or at least be interested in what you read.

I’m going to seek to write from a biblical perspective. I don’t desire to give you my opinion. I’m sure your opinion is better than mine. I simply want to expound upon what the bible has to say about premarital relationships. I’m going to write this book based on the premise that the bible is indeed God’s word and that it is not bound in time, but is instead timeless and applicable for all ages and for all time? However, I will not be able to expound upon every area of scripture in this little book. It’s not my purpose to write a commentary on each verse or section of scripture I use. But, I hope to give you enough to chew on and get you thinking. Yet, I will tell you now that there is no cookie-cutter, cut and dried formula for how one might arrive to the wedding altar. I can’t point to chapter and verse and say, “Look! There it is! That’s how it’s done.”

Truth is there are no two examples in Scripture that are exactly alike regarding relationships. Yet, there are principles and patterns in Scripture that give us very good direction and indication on how we might choose to live. Just as there is not a “sinner’s prayer” in Scripture that we may point to and say, “Pray this prayer to get saved,” we know there isn’t a formulaic pattern we follow like baking a cake to arrive at the wedding altar. Yes, regarding salvation, we know that we must pray and “call on the name of the Lord” to be saved, but it was a different experience for the Ethiopian Eunuch, the Philippian jailer, Lydia the seller of purple, Cornelius the centurion and even Nicodemus the Pharisee. Yet, there are rays of light that will guide our lives from the pages of Scripture if we’ll recognize and follow them.

What’s wonderfully amazing is the fact that God uses betrothal and marriage to describe the supernatural relationship and union of his son with us, (the Church). You see, we are living in a state of betrothal with the Lord Jesus right now. The marriage has yet to take place. But one day it will and the marriage will be followed by a grand reception in heaven called the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. It’s truly awe-inspiring the significance God has placed on marriage and the relationship (betrothal) leading up to marriage.

My ultimate goal in writing this little book is to bring encouragement, hope and even conviction to choose to follow what the bible says about premarital relationships. I pray that we will stop permitting our sons and daughters to practice “mini-divorces” and that we’ll want the best for them in seeking God’s will for a future spouse. I pray that we’ll all be moldable clay in the hands of the potter as we read. So, let’s begin… 

Problem on Aisle 9

Bill and his wife, Phyllis, along with their three children make the turn at aisle 9 in the local grocery store. Two loaves of bread are on the list and this is the aisle. All is well until Bill bumps into a lady who promptly says, “Well hi Billy! It’s been forever since I’ve seen you! I just moved back to town last week!” Bill is now three shades of bright red, and sheepishly says, “Hi Susie, nice to see you.”

Little Bobby asks, “Who dat daddy? Who dat?” Bill squirms. He never looks directly at his three-year-old son. “Uh, well, uh…” Susie enthusiastically responds as she kneels down to rub Bobby’s head, “Well Bobby, I was your Daddy’s girlfriend! He took me to the prom two years in a row. Well, that is after he dumped his 10th grade girlfriend. What was her name Billy?” “Uh…oh…ah…that doesn’t really matter now,” says Bill.

“Uh…Susie Epperson, this is my son Bobby. He just turned three and these are my two daughters, Megan, who is eight and our oldest, Mary Anna. She’s ten.” Bill now looking at his wife says, “I believe you know Susie, don’t you Honey?” Phyllis, with a look of resignation says, “Yes Bill. I know Susie.”

Just how many times this embarrassing scenario plays out; no one could possibly know. But, one thing is for sure. A past relationship being brought to light is never fun or easy to explain. And contrary to Bill’s statement to his young son that it “…doesn’t really matter now,” well, that’s not really true. It does matter. It matters a lot! Can you imagine how awkward it will be for Bill to see Susie four more times on every aisle before he and his family can finally get out of that store? Excruciating!

Think about the conversations that will continue in the car on the way home? What does Bill say to his two girls? Does he want this scenario to play out for them one day down the road in their lives? I hope not! But, the truth is, according to our cultural norms, this will likely be the case. But it doesn’t have to be! We don’t have to live a life littered with relationship regrets. There is a better way. In fact there is a much better way. There are patterns and principles found in the pages of the Bible that provide a path to a vision that will eliminate the opportunity for any awkward and embarrassing moments in a grocery store aisle.

Going For Gold

What medal do Olympic athletes shoot for when they go to the Olympics? Bronze? Silver? I don’t think so. They go for the gold! Why would you train and sacrifice so much and not go for the best! Go for gold! That’s my desire in this book. I want to inspire you to go for the best! I want to inspire you to go for the gold!

What if you could arrive on your wedding day and marry your spouse with no previous baggage of past relationships in tow? What if you never had to bring up the “other ones” in any conversation with your spouse? What if there weren’t any “other ones” at all? I can speak from experience here. I wish with all of my heart that what I just described to you could have been the case in my life on December 22, 1990, the day I married my wife. Yet, it was most definitely not the case for me or her.

I can honestly say that I was only doing what everyone else was doing and that I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that I could even go for gold! I didn’t know that I was supposed to even try. The problem with dating in our culture is that for most, there is no understanding of what we’re really to be shooting for in terms of our future and relationships. We’re not training for anything, much less a gold medal. Thus, dating is most often a pointless, purposeless and intentionless endeavor. It’s just something you do as a pre-teen and teen because everyone else is doing it. But, there is no purpose or vision in that. It’s like having the ability to win a gold medal and you don’t even try.

Ask yourself this question: Where does dating lead for many teens? You won’t have to think long to answer, because we all know where it most often leads: sexual promiscuity, lost innocence, emotional heartache and aisle 9 awkwardness for the future. Truth is: dating has become practice for divorce. After all, just because you slide a ring on someone’s finger at a wedding someday, doesn’t mean you are going to stop what you’ve been practicing for 10 years in the turnstile of swapping off partners in multiple relationships. And that’s the undeniable mark of dating in our culture. The high divorce rate in our nation confirms this premise.

It’s time we raise the bar! It’s time to want better for our young people than the purposeless, casual, intentionless relationships that we’ve become satisfied with over the last several decades. Let’s go for gold!

A Better Way?

I will tell you now that as I study the pages of Scripture, I do not see a cookie-cutter, specific “cut and dried” formula for how one might arrive to the wedding altar. I can’t point to chapter and verse in the Bible and say, “Look! There it is! That’s how it’s done.” Truth is there are no two examples in Scripture that are exactly alike regarding relationships. Yet, there are principles and patterns in Scripture that give us very good direction and guidance on how we might choose to live.

Just as there is not a “sinner’s prayer,” per se, in Scripture that one might point to and say, “Pray this exact prayer to become a born again, believer in Christ,” I’m also keenly aware that there is not a formulaic: A, B, C, D pattern that we may follow, like baking a cake, to explain all the nuances of premarital relationships. Yes, regarding salvation, we know that we must pray, confess and repent of our sins and “call on the name of the Lord” to become a believing follower of Jesus Christ. But even that experience was different for the Ethiopian Eunuch, the Philippian jailer, Lydia the seller of purple, Cornelius the centurion and Nicodemus the Pharisee. Yet, there are guiding principles in the pages of Scripture that serve as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).

Assumptions

May I make some assumptions? Yes, I know it’s dangerous to assume anything, but for the sake of argument, I’m going to assume if you are reading this book you might be a parent, grandparent or young adult (teenager) who is looking for a better way for your children, grandchildren or for yourself. I will also assume if you are married, it’s likely you are not married to the “one and only” person you ever dated. However, I will assume that if you could go back and do it over again, you would. And, if you could do it all over again, I’m going to assume you would only date your current spouse. (If this is not the case, then something might be wrong in your spirit and heart.)

As parents, I believe we desire something better for our sons and daughters. As a young adult, you probably want more for yourself than just being a part of the meat market of dating. Therefore, with those assumptions in play, I want to share with you a grander vision of something far better than that which we’ve all been swallowing for the last 50-60 years in our western culture. I believe you desire a greater vision than the current dating merry-go-round of purposeless relationships that are often leading to broken hearts, emotional turmoil and a much greater likelihood for future divorce after marriage.

You see, I wish someone had told me what I’m going to share with you when I was young. I have the relationship baggage just like our fictional character, Bill on aisle 9 of the grocery. Most likely, if you are a married adult reading this book, then you do too. Why? Because you and I were simply following the accepted patterns and cultural norms of our society. Everyone dated. It’s what we did. We started out as little kids by passing notes in third grade that said, “Check ‘yes’ if you like me and ‘no’ if you don’t.” We’ve all been conditioned to date people in order to find “Mr. or Mrs. Right.” Even as Christians, we are following the exact same patterns of this world. We’re no different. The Bible says in Romans 13:12-14:

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

What Do You Believe about the Bible?

In the last paragraph, I quoted the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Romans from the Bible. I’m quoting Scripture because I’m convinced it is the sole authority for all of life. As I stated at the beginning of this book, I’m assuming you are likely a professing Christian. I might be wrong and if I am, I pray you would trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. But, assuming I’m right, I’m also going to assume that you believe the Bible is the “word” of the living God.

But, what I don’t want to assume is what you believe about the Bible and it’s authority over your life. I know you’re probably okay with saying the Bible is the “Word of God,” but to what degree do you believe the Bible is authoritative and sufficient to guide your life and mine as our moral compass? The reason I bring this up is because from this point forward I’m going to use the Bible as the sole guide for framing our discussions about relationships. After all, the subtitle of this book is: What the Bible Says about Premarital Relationships.” I’m going to ask you to clear everything else from your mind and let’s use nothing but the Bible to shape and form our thinking.

This sounds fairly simple, but I assure you it’s not. We all have a grid and a way of thinking that has been shaped by our childhood experiences, our educational experiences, our entertainment choices, etc. So, while we might think that we are making decisions based upon the tenets and principles outlined in Scripture, we might not be. In order to think Biblically, we must kick out of our brains what popular culture says and thinks about relationships. What I will share with you in this book will not be politically correct. So, for now, please try to push out of your head what the talk-show hosts and social gurus of our day say about relationships.

I am a “Biblicist.” What is that? I believe the Bible is literally God’s word to us. I believe 2 Timothy 3:16-17 wholeheartedly.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The Bible is a supernatural book and is sacred and literally breathed out by God. The Apostle Peter said much the same thing in 1 Peter 1:19-20.

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

I’m seeking to build on the solid rock foundation of God’s word, not on man’s ways, not on what’s culturally acceptable or politically correct. But, I know the arguments and I know what some of you might be thinking. You might be contemplating, “Well, the Bible was written a long time ago and while I believe it’s the Word of God, I’m not sure it’s applicable for today.” My response: Are we to be pitied because we weren’t born in Bible times? God intended for His Word to be applicable for all generations.

I believe God was smart enough and wise enough to divinely inspire the 40 authors of His Word to write in such a way that what was written in the first century and beyond to be applicable in the 21st century as well. God is not dumb. He stands outside of time. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He knows your next thought before you think it. He sees tomorrow before it happens. He’s the same, yesterday, today and forever. No, the Bible is not bound in time. It’s timeless! It will shape and form our thinking if we’ll let it. Thus, the Bible and its principles will be the framework we use going forward in this book.

So How Did We Get Here?

Before WWII the current concept and idea of dating didn’t exist. Prior to the 1940’s, people “courted,” which is really a watered-down form of betrothal, which we will discuss in detail a bit later. The divorce rate prior to WWII was extremely low (almost non-existent). Being divorced carried with it a heavy social stigma. But, something happened. After WWII, Americans became a very prosperous nation and we slowly but surely began a steady march away from the Lord and Biblical principles. This decline continues almost unabated in our country. As the children of Israel did in Scripture, we have forgotten the Lord (Deut. 7:10-15). In the 1950’s we entered the era of “Happy Days.” Parents started providing their teens the keys to the car and off to the drive-in they went. Dating was born.

The dating relationships I had and those I continue to observe today are by and large casual in nature and done mostly to get to know someone or just to have fun. I think any honest observer of “dating” today would probably agree it is seldom done with any intentionality or purpose.

I know there are many ways to define dating. But, for the purpose of this book, I’m going to use the definition of dating as this: a casual, relationship with little or no intentionality other than to have a good time and to get to know a person. I could even describe it as: recreational romance.

I know many people who say that they are dating with purpose and that they are “committed” to the other person. Okay, great! My concern is: at what point does that commitment stop? Is it when you have an argument? Is it when you don’t make each other happy anymore or someone new and better comes along? You see, that’s a recipe for future divorce and you are practicing how to do it now. I often tell young people: Please don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you are dating with purpose and commitment if that purpose and commitment can be tossed away at a moment’s notice. That’s not true commitment, that’s selfishness.

The Consequences

So what are the consequences of dating? What has dating done to our society? It’s helped to decimate the family. We have a divorce rate in this nation of over 50% and young people are going through multiple relationships like a turnstile at a stadium. Thus, we have a soiled morality, broken hearts and devastated children. Many Christians have assumed it is normal and healthy for young people to experience several dating relationships prior to selecting a spouse. For whatever reason, these recreational romances are assumed and considered to be some sort of emotional preparation for marriage. But, dating is not natural. It’s artificial. It’s play acting. When a person goes on a date, they are showing their best to that other person. It’s not real life. We dress up and spruce up and put our best foot forward and off we go to dinner and a movie. That is an artificial environment and certainly not an ideal situation.

These temporary often fake, romantic relationships are not God’s ideal. Surely God does not desire for young couples to become romantically involved with one another when they are 12 and 13 years old. Is partner-swapping for ten to fifteen years from a person’s mid-teens to their late 20’s until they finally married God’s design? It cannot be healthy for young people to “practice” divorce for 10-15 years. My former basketball coach always said: “You play like you practice!” Amen coach!

Dating today often teaches that it is okay to break up at any time for any reason. You can even do it via a text message or via social media. No problem! Yet, in breaking up, these two hearts, (which have likely begun to bond emotionally) will be ripped apart. They leave each other with at least some degree of heart-break. And they will likely leave with varying degrees of emotional wounding and scarring. But soon the pain of breaking up is pushed to the back of their brain, numbed perhaps and before long there is a new romance with a different partner. Yet, even young wounds leave deep scars and over a period of several years experiencing these emotional break-ups has a cumulative effect on a person’s heart. It becomes increasingly calloused and unable to love deeply and commit wholeheartedly.

Finally the young person “finds” the one they will eventually marry. (I place the word: “finds” in quotations because it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s God sovereignty that brings that person into a believer’s life. Will we trust Him?) But the memories of past romances, the pattern of broken relationships without question will indelibly mark the brain and the heart forever.

Not Sticky

Have you ever tried to use a sticky note that would no longer stick? Maybe you used it as a bookmark or you used it on your refrigerator, but it no longer sticks. That’s frustrating. We all know that the “sticky” will eventually wear off of an overused sticky note. This analogy works for relationships too.

As a young couple becomes romantically involved with one another, they begin to bond emotionally. They increasingly share their hearts with one another. Their thoughts and imaginations are focused on their partner. What they have done is to begin the God-designed process of becoming “one,” even if there is virtually no physical relationship. They become one heart long before they become “one flesh.” It’s like taking both your hands and putting them together with all your fingers touching. Yet, we tell our young people that it is okay to date and get to know the opposite sex, but don’t have sex. That’s like putting both hands together with all fingers touching except the two ring fingers. Eventually they’ll touch (representing what’s to be done only in marriage…sex).

Neuroscientists tell us sexual activity releases brain chemicals which trigger emotional bonding and a powerful desire to repeat the activity. Breaking these bonds over and over make it much harder later in life to bond with a future spouse.

As I worked my way through writing this book, it galvanized in my own heart once again that the very idea of recreational romance has created a revolving door mentality for our young people. They have been exposed to so many relationships prior to marriage, no wonder they find it so hard to eventually settle down with one spouse. They are simply repeating what they’ve been doing for years. Just because a minister asks a bride and groom to place rings on each other’s fingers and repeat, “Till death do us part,” means almost nothing today. Do we really believe that a ring on our left hand is going to change what’s been trained in the brain?

We just talked about being “sticky” and Jesus spoke of this idea in Matthew 19:1-4.

 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Did you see those two words in verse 5, “hold fast?” Those words mean to “cleave” or “be glued to.” But that’s impossible if we’ve lost our sticky! Just how many times can a person be in a relationship and give his or her heart away to someone before he or she cannot stick anymore? This cleaving and uncleaving is not what God intended for us. It is not how God expects us to arrive to the marriage altar. But, then again, just what is marriage?

Marriage: A Picture of Christ and the Church

Our society as a whole has become very flippant about marriage. Marriage has become somewhat of a joke in America. Many people are no longer getting married at all. Cohabitation is rampant and “no fault” divorces, where both parties can walk away, are chalked up as a mistake.

Marriage is critical to a stable society. Without it you eventually have chaos. If you don’t believe that just take a few minutes and read Romans chapter one, where homosexuality is addressed. Marriage is not to be between two men or two women. That’s not God’s divine design. Remember, Jesus said in Matthew 19 that a “man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.”

Cohabitation and homosexuality have been embraced in this country. Biblical marriage is on the decline. The nuclear family is disappearing in America and with that disappearance has come the appearance of homes without fathers and massive poverty for many of those homes. You read any study you like on the socio-economic impacts of homes without fathers and you’ll see the devastating effects of a “marriage-less” America.

Think about what marriage represents in Scripture. Marriage is the representation of the Father, (God), offering to send his son, Jesus for the bride (the Church). God could have used any other analogy he wanted to describe the relationship between His Son and the Church, but He chose marriage. Paul said to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3.

2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (My emphasis added.)

Marriage symbolizes and signals to mankind the love the Father has for us, the Church. He wants to give the Church (that’s us, as believers) to His Son (the Groom), clean and pure. There is total 100% commitment here. Dating is the absolute antithesis of that picture. Jesus is not dating us. He paid a great price for the Church.

The Bride’s Price and Betrothal

Have you heard those terms: bride’s price and betrothal before? Maybe you have, but you might struggle to define them. Honestly, I didn’t fully understand these terms until I began to dig deeper into the Bible about premarital relationships. The terms bride’s price and betrothal continually pop up either in name or in practice in the pages of Scripture.

Scripturally, in order for a young man to be qualified to call on or pursue a young lady, he must first be able to show to the father of the young lady that he is capable of paying the bride’s price for her. In other words, he must show that he can make provision for her. Let’s put it in our vernacular today. He’s got to have a job! If he can’t provide for her, then he cannot legitimately and biblically pursue her heart. However this process of pursuing her is one that is much deeper and much more committed than what we know of today. It’s called: betrothal.

As I have studied Hebrew customs over the years, (and I’m not a Hebrew scholar by any means), I have encountered a process that is almost totally unknown today. In the ancient Hebrew culture, a young man and a young lady would see each other in the community and they would become attracted to each other and they would discuss this attraction with their families (unlike today, where parents are simply “informed” as to whom their son or daughter is dating). The custom was for the fathers of both the young man and young lady to discuss together as families the relationship of their son and daughter. At that time, the prospective bride’s father would ask the prospective groom’s father about the bride’s price. At that point they would become betrothed to one another. In other words, there was a commitment that was so binding, that only a certificate of divorce could break it.

In the gospels of Matthew and Luke we read that Mary was betrothed to Joseph. The Bible says in Matthew 1:18:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. (My emphasis added.)

Joseph is called “husband.” Customarily during the betrothal, the young man and young lady were already being called “husband” and “wife.” Until Joseph understood God’s plan for the virgin birth, he could only assume Mary had been with another man. So, he planned to divorce her quietly. Again, a certificate of divorce was required to break the betrothal. It was only the act of consummation (sexual intercourse) that sealed the marriage.

Jesus would grow up and ultimately give us the greatest example in all Scripture of the payment of the bride’s price. He willingly paid the bride’s price to the Father (God) for His bride. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us:

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (My emphasis added.)

Think about the fact that Jesus is betrothed to the Church right now. Ultimately, He came from His Father’s house to where we live, earth. He showed the Father that He was willing to pay the bride’s price for the bride (the Church) with his death on the cross. Now try to grasp this next thought. Jesus Christ died for the Church when He was only betrothed to her? Wow! Can you grasp the seriousness of betrothal?

I hope you are beginning to see some biblical parallels between what relationship-making should look like in our lives as modeled for us by God the Father and His Son (the groom) and the bride (the Church). Again, Jesus is not dating us. He is betrothed to us. He committed Himself to one bride and one bride only. God modeled this in the Garden of Eden, when He brought only one woman, Eve, to Adam. God didn’t make 10 women and ask Adam to try them all out, (date them), to see with whom he most compatible and satisfied. That’s a ludicrous thought. God designed Eve to be the perfect and suitable helper for Adam. Eve completed Adam and Adam completed Eve. God knew exactly what He was doing when in His sovereignty, He brought them together. You see, there are absolutely no biblical parallels to the idea of dating in Scripture. It simply doesn’t exist. We can trust God to bring that perfect one to us, just as He did for Adam and Eve.

And just think…one day Jesus is coming back for the Church. Jesus said in John, chapter 14 that He was going away to prepare a place for us and that He’s coming back to take us to be with Him. Right now He’s gone away (as the Groom) and He is making provision for the bride, the Church. And once those provisions are made, He will return for the Church and there will be a wedding in heaven. Jesus will marry the Church and this wedding will be followed by a grand reception called: “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:6-9). I can’t wait! That will be the wedding of all weddings and the reception of all receptions!

What about Falling in Love?

I can hear it now: “But, what about love? Where is the opportunity for them to fall in love?” Another popular question might be: “When are young people supposed to begin to bond emotionally and see if they are compatible?” Those are legitimate questions, but they are not exactly the best or most biblical questions to ask. So, let me ask a question or two. Is falling in love like falling off the sofa during a nap? Is falling in love like having an accident, oops! Or could it be that we are somehow unknowingly or unwittingly bitten by a love bug or pierced by an arrow from Cupid’s bow? Is that how love and relationships work? We just fall into them?

First of all, it’s been said that when you fall, you most often don’t know where you are going to land. So, I don’t like the idea of falling. Second, the whole “love-at-first-sight,” mantra is often heralded as the “perfect way to fall in love.” Yes, there might be physical attraction at first, but not committed, dedicated love. As human beings we are not to be ruled and governed by our emotions only. Emotions are fickle and can easily mislead us.

Think about this fact: If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, haven’t you chosen to love Him without seeing Him? You have never seen Jesus and neither have I. Isn’t it amazing that we have been betrothed to Jesus Christ, sight unseen? We chose to receive Him by faith and we have never seen Him! This fact reminds me of the account in Genesis 24 when Rebekah agreed to become Isaac’s wife having never seen him before. That’s trust! That’s faith! That’s true love!

Let’s be reminded that God has a perfect design for all of our lives. If He is sovereign, (and He is), then we can know without a doubt that He’s got a plan for whom we are to marry. Yet, when I say this, I’m afraid some might think that I’m advocating relationships where there is no love? Well, I’m not! I can assure you of that. But, falling in love is simply not mentioned in the Bible. Men are simply told to love their wives and the wives are told to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33).

Love is a decision. Love is so much more than feelings or butterflies in our stomachs. It’s more accurate to say that we choose to love. We choose to love even when the feelings aren’t there. Why? Because our feelings will ebb and flow and come and go, but the decision to love doesn’t waver. It’s been said that it’s not true love until there is sacrifice. If you’ve been married for any length of time, you know this to be true. One of the reasons we have such a high divorce rate is because people decide to stop loving. They have not fallen out of love; they have simply decided to stop loving. They made the mental choice to stop loving and give up.

We are not to be led by our emotions. We are to be led by the will of God. Emotions are a wonderful gift from God, but they are not to lead us. Solomon told his son in Proverbs 23:19:

Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.

We must “direct” our hearts. Love is to be based on our willingness to surrender to God’s will. Romance will follow. We are all too often getting the cart before the horse. We’ve reversed the biblical order in our culture and placed “feelings” ahead of “committed knowledge.” Is there romance in Scripture? Most certainly! Just read the Song of Solomon if you want to see romance. I almost blush as I read how that couple loved and interacted with each other. In the Song of Solomon you can see the progression: The Betrothal (1:2-3:5), the Wedding (3:6-5:1), the Life of Love (5:2-8:14).

In our culture we are taught to marry the one you love. However, nowhere in Scripture do we ever find this idea encouraged or articulated. Instead, Scripture teaches us to love the one you marry. If we can grasp this fact and see relationships the way the Bible sees them, then it will change how we teach and train about love and commitment versus love and feelings.

Parents-Are We Awakening Love Too Soon?

As a parent I feel I need to admit something to you. I am more influenced than I care to admit by others. I believe as parents one of the greatest obstacles in implementing these principles is staring us in the mirror. Could it be that we, parents, are just too afraid to implement these Scriptural principles? Could it be that we are afraid of the conversations at work, or at the grocery store, or even with those in our own families, when they ask, “Why don’t your kids date?” After all, peer pressure affects all ages.

Here’s the problem. It’s the snowball effect. What starts out as something small and cute, innocent and sweet, such as Valentine cards in the third grade and school dances in the 6th grade, often morph into sexual promiscuity by the 10th grade. We might think it’s cute when Susie has a little boyfriend when she’s 9 or 10, but, it’s not so cute when Susie is 19 or 20 and has been through numerous heartaches and emotional breakups and has the emotional scars to prove it.

The Song of Solomon, repeats an interesting warning three times (2:7; 3:5; 8:4) that we need to heed. Solomon tells the daughters of Jerusalem not to stir up or awaken love too soon. Parents, I believe we are innocently and unknowingly doing this very thing. We are allowing our children to stir up romantic desires too young. All that does is to potentially set them up to live the kind of lives we’ve lived or worse. They’ll be apologizing for their emotional and relationship baggage one day, just like us.

Parents, this is such a critical issue. If we open the door to being romantic prior to a commitment, we will continue to allow our young people to be vulnerable to all the potential hurt and pain experienced in multiple breakups. I don’t think this is what any of us want. I believe you want what’s best for your children? You want to give them nutritious food and a good home. You want to give them a quality education and even a nice vacation. You will get them to their practices on time and prepared. You will make sure they have the right kind of cleats and the right kind of dance shoes and the right kind of musical instruments. I’m with you! We will go out of our way to make sure our children are prepared for school and prepared athletically, but what about emotionally and spiritually?

Why are we so intentionless and purposeless when it comes to desiring wholeness for our children’s hearts? Can’t we see that we are often awakening love too soon? When will we stop being so accepting of the broken hearts and the emotional damage (not to mention the physical) with multiple relationships throughout our children’s youth? Maybe we don’t know and have never really studied what the Scripture says. Maybe we are afraid of our peers or even our children and we’re allowing ourselves to rationalize: “Well, I got through it. They will too. They’ll be okay.”

Do you really want to take that chance? I’ll ask again, if you had it to do over again, wouldn’t you have saved yourself for your spouse? Wouldn’t you have desired only that one relationship? I know that I’d live differently. I’d have saved myself for Pam and only Pam. Why shouldn’t we want the same for our children?

Maybe we just need some courage. I’ve learned courage is something that wells up inside a person to the degree that person believes in the mission. Do we believe and value the mission of raising our children to be morally pure? Our sacrifice will be in direct proportion to how much we value the mission and that sacrifice will require courage. I believe in my children and the mission of protecting their hearts and teaching them to trust in the sovereignty of God and His timing for their future spouse. I desperately and sincerely want better for them than running into a former girlfriend in a grocery store and awkwardly trying to explain who that person is that’s not their mother.

Oh, I know what I’m describing is the way less travelled, but isn’t that what Jesus teaches? Isn’t it the narrow way that leads to life and the broad way that leads to destruction? The Bible says that we are to be a peculiar people. The question is: Do we have the courage to be peculiar? We teach our kids not to succumb to peer pressure. I pray we won’t either. I pray we won’t awaken love in our children too soon.

The Role of Fathers

Perhaps you see that heading and are thinking, “He’s just talked about parents, why is he not moving on at this point? Why is he bringing up fathers?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Dad, quite simply the Bible tells us that we are to be the spiritual leader in our home. Furthermore, the Bible admonishes clearly in Ephesians 6:4:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Dad, we have to lead in the spiritual teaching and training of our children. I wrote an entire chapter about this fact in my book: Rite of Passage: Raising Christ-Centered Adults. As fathers, we have a responsibility to get our children to the wedding altar pure. Dad, if you have a daughter, please realize that you will one day “give her away” by placing her hand into the hand of the young man who will then assume the role of being her protective, provider and spiritual leader. Up to and until that time occurs, it’s your job to be her protector, provider and spiritual leader. Remember in Genesis 2:22, it was God who brought Eve to Adam.

22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (My emphasis added.)

God, the Father, brought Eve to Adam. She was pure and chaste. That’s our job men! We are to deliver our children to the wedding altar pure and holy. But, is that happening today?

There are some young “men” out there who are just pretending to be men, because they’re still acting like “boys.” These young “men” pull into the driveway in a car in which they didn’t buy the gas nor pay for the insurance. And, yet they expect you to turn your daughter over to them for the next four to five hours…no strings attached. If this young “man” doesn’t have a job and he can’t afford to pay for the insurance and he’s not expressed his intentions, then Dad, what are you doing allowing him to take your daughter anywhere? You are potentially giving her away to a young man who might crush her heart.

Let me phrase the discussion this way. Dad, would you give him the keys to your antique car and let him drive it away, no questions asked? I know that answer. Absolutely not! So then why do we so readily and easily give him our daughter? Shouldn’t we know his intentions? Shouldn’t we require him to sit down and declare his intentions and the purpose of the relationship? I am not saying that our daughters are not smart enough to protect themselves, but it is our job to make sure they are protected.

I’m the father of three daughters and one son and it’s my job to train my children to be pure and righteous. It’s my job to encourage and inspire my children to seek the Lord and desire to arrive to their wedding day holy as virgins. To desire anything less is not to desire God’s best. Thus, we should be having conversations and discussions with our children regularly about God’s desire for them and their future mates. Dad, I would encourage you to fast and pray for your children and their future spouses. I do this one day per week and have been for years. Why? Because my kids are worth it and I know yours are too!

A Word to the Young Ladies

Ladies, I must tell you that I’ve sought insight from my wife what I’m going to share here. You are inundated with thoughts and ideas about how to find Mr. Right. You are influenced by magazines, movies (featuring “love at first sight” and “knights in shining armor”), music, romance novels, social media posts, tweets, etc. You are often made to feel that you are not beautiful or desired if don’t have a boyfriend. It’s easy to become frustrated and impatient, but please do not be so hasty to give your heart away until you know what a young man plans to do with it.

It’s been my experience that there are some young ladies who will quickly say, “I don’t date.” But, in their hearts, they would jump at the chance if an opportunity presented itself. Some girls are in love with the idea of being in love. It is easy to be in love with the idea of marriage. But, life is not a remake of Romeo and Juliet. Ladies, there is no Mr. Perfect, or Romeo out there. Marriage is not a Shakespeare novel. No, I’m not saying to lower your expectations for what your potential mate should be. But, often we set the standard based on the wrong things like Hollywood movies or sappy love songs. Those things are not real life. Do not become frustrated in waiting on God’s timing so that you settle or you will likely end up miserable. It’s okay to just be in love with serving God until he brings that young man into your life. After all, we are told to love the Lord our God with all of our soul, mind and strength. Is He enough for you right now?

I recently heard a young lady say, “What can I gain from falling in love with a flawed, imperfect human man, when I can’t even love my perfect, loving God first?” If you have the desire to marry but not the opportunity, be content and trust God. We know coveting is a sin. Too many ladies have a mentality to have a “ring by spring” and they end up spending their season of single life longing for marriage and then spend their married life longing to be single again. Be content and trust God no matter your circumstances. It’s so easy to become blinded and self-absorbed in dissatisfaction with our current state of affairs. Yet, we must trust the hand of God. Can you become satisfied and patient with God as he orchestrates your life? Trust Him! Don’t become sad or bitter. Satan wants that for your life. Don’t give up on love, just understand that God’s timing is perfect and His love for you is perfect and His desires for you are perfect.

 A Word to the Young Men

Guys, please don’t ask a young lady for her heart until you are ready, willing, able and fully intend to keep her heart. Remember the discussion about the biblical principle of the bride’s price? In order for a young man to rightly pursue a young lady, he must be able to show that he can and is willing to pay the bride’s price. This means that he will follow the mandate of Genesis 2 and he will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and provide a way of life for her. Otherwise, he’s trying to buy something he can’t afford. So, young men, you have no business pursuing a young lady’s heart if you can’t provide for her. If your dad is still paying for the gas and insurance on your car, then scripturally speaking, you are not qualified or capable to pursue a young ladies heart. Prepare yourself now and be willing to give yourself up for your bride, even now.

The Bible has a very powerful exhortation for us regarding our duty to our wives in Ephesians 5:25.

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

You might be thinking, “Wait a minute. I’m just 14-years-old.” Well, I want to give you a vision of seeing your future bride. Picture her in your mind. Did you know that your future bride is on this earth right now and God can see her? He knows her. She’s living, walking, talking and breathing just like you. Can I ask you a couple of questions? Is God’s choice for you worth waiting for? Is God’s choice for you worth giving yourself up for her even now? Ephesians 5:25 can give you a vision for the future that will drive you to surrender and sacrifice all other potential relationships and simply wait for God to bring this young lady into your life. That means you are willing to forsake all others even now. We’ll often say those words in our wedding vows, “forsaking all others, keeping only unto you…” But, will we do that now? Will we forsake all others now? Why wait to forsake all others until you put on the ring? Why not forsake all the potential relationship baggage instead? You could make that decision right now to give yourself up for her. Grab that vision! She’s worth it!

So How Do We Do This?

We’ve covered a lot of ground and it’s now time to begin to boil this thing down. Maybe you are like me and you are a “bottom line” kind of person and you are ready to get to the bottom line: Exactly how to do this? Well, let’s all be reminded that I can’t give you five easy steps (like the recipe for baking a cake). There is no cookie-cutter formula and I can’t point to a specific passage of Scripture and say, “Do it like that!” Yet, I do believe we can take what we’ve seen thus far and begin to provide some points of admonition.

#1 Looking For a Name?

Surely by now you have noticed I’ve not attempted to name what I’ve been describing to you in this book? I haven’t called it: “Dating with Purpose,” or “Dating Friendships” or “Neighbor Relationships,” “Courtship” or “Covenant Relationship.” While all of those terms have merit in their own rite, I don’t want to give a name or title to this process other than what the Bible calls it: betrothal. You see, it matters not so much what you call this process, it matters more that you seek the Father in implementing His Word in your life. We are to be more than just hearers of the Word. We are to be doers of the Word.

#2 Preparation

Often when we think about relationships, we think mostly about the end result. Seldom do we consider the preparation involved so that we might arrive to successfully to the intended conclusion. It’s so easy to become enamored by good looks, athletic prowess, intelligence or popularity when considering someone to pursue. But, preparation, character and purity should be considered first. We can become so engrossed in finding the right life partner that we forget that we need to become the right life partner, trusting God to orchestrate the “who” and “when.” In short, we need to prepare.

Part of that preparation is purposing to remain pure, and taking proper advantage of your singleness and building wholesome relationships that cause one to treat younger men as brothers and younger women as sisters. Too often that’s not the case in our culture. It seems the goal is to find the handsome hunk or the gorgeous gal. Let’s not be superficial. For those of us who are married, we know marriage is about more than appearance and physical attraction. God told the prophet Samuel not to look on the outward appearance, but at the heart.

So what should you be thinking about in regard to a mate? Here are some considerations: What’s on the inside? What kind of personality do they have? What kind of personal discipline do they have? Can they get along with others? Do they have a work ethic? How about a sense of humor? How do they handle stress? Can they handle money? How do they relate to God? Is there a righteousness and purity about their demeanor? Will they draw you closer to God or pull you away? How do they talk, dress, act? How do they handle pressure? What’s their attitude toward their parents? How do they speak to and treat their parents? How do they treat their siblings and other children? Do they love Jesus? The Bible? The church? These are the things that really matter. Now go back and read that list again and ask yourself if you embody those characteristics?

Let’s place emphasis and focus on the process of preparation and in becoming the person God wants us to be and leave the timing to God. He knows exactly (at this very moment) who your mate, or your child’s mate is to be. We don’t have to help the Creator of the universe do his work. He’s very capable. Trust him and trust his sovereign timing. Young person, use this time in your life to prepare yourself to become the mate that your future spouse is praying for. If you are single right now, don’t waste this season of your life by coveting someone else’s life. Your singleness is only temporary (even though God does call some to remain single, like the Apostle Paul). Just remember, you’ve not failed if you don’t get married or if you aren’t married by a certain time. Don’t pine away. Surrender your will to the Lord, serve Him and trust Him to take care of the rest.

#3 Don’t Worry about What Everyone Else is Doing

I am convinced one of our biggest issues in deciding how we are going to live our lives is simply making up our minds not to be influenced by the culture. In other words, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. I know every TV show has boyfriends and girlfriends. I know most of the people you know are going to continue to date. I know social media is going to continue to drive the culture. But, that shouldn’t surprise us. Art and entertainment are simply reflections of our society.

We’ve all been conditioned to fall in love. But, love is sacrifice, not a Hollywood movie ending. We’ve got to stop allowing ourselves and our children to be conditioned by the culture. Your son or daughter will be expected to pair up with other 11 year-olds at the middle school dance. (By the way, that’s mind-blowing to me. What’s next…first grade dances? How young will they go?) Just realizing how we’ve been conditioned by the culture is half the battle.

The Bible says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Parents, the peers your teen hangs around will have a huge impact on them. Let’s be honest. Your teen, nor mine, can be immersed in a culture of friends who aren’t living for God and that negative influence not rub off on them. Almost by osmosis…the ways of the world will rub off on them. You can count on that. So, I encourage you to know your children’s friends and know them well, for it’s likely they will have a huge impact on whether or not your teen will embrace the principles in this book.

#4 Observe, Observe, Observe

It is good to observe someone’s life in real life situations in group settings. Remember dating is artificial and it often creates a façade. So, look for opportunities to observe someone you might consider God’s man or woman for you at your church or working on a team mission trip. Being alone with someone you care about is very dangerous. All too often the emotions begin to do the thinking.

So consider having younger siblings present if you are going to move the relationship outside of the home or church group setting. We did this with our daughter Katy prior to her marriage. Kandace, who is almost four years younger, tagged along with Katy and Josh from time to time. They both knew being alone with no one around could potentially end up in physical compromise. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 speaks clearly about self-control and God’s will that we abstain from sexual activity. Group settings provide accountability and protection, and help to maintain purity and wholesomeness for a couple.

#5 Begin Young

Those of you reading who have young children, begin now. Begin when your children are young discussing what the Bible has to say about relationships. Point out the fact that God knows exactly who it is that He wants them to marry. Raise the bar. Encourage them to go for the gold medal, if you will. Don’t settle. Our children will always rise to the level of our expectations.

It’s obviously much easier for a child to accept these principles than it is for a teenager. It’s not impossible for a teenager to adopt these principles to live by, but it’s much harder than for the young person under the age of 12. Parents, realize that you have a wonderful opportunity to begin shaping the expectations of your child. As the old saying goes, “Don’t wait until they’ve already put the boat in the water before you tell them it’s too soon to go sailing.”

You see, if we truly believe that God is all-powerful and that His word is the authority in our lives, then we will teach our children to trust Him in all things at a young age. We will teach our children to be courageous enough to be peculiar as the Bible teaches. In fact, if you will build this kind of thinking into their minds, you will rejoice with them as they realize the pressure is off and they can simply spend their teenage years growing spiritually without the pressure of a relationship which only adds to the many demands they already have as young adults.

One of the best ways to impart truth to our children is by simply talking to them. Keep them talking. Bed time particularly seems to be an important time in the lives of children. They seem to be most open and willing to talk. Ultimately, they desire you mom and dad. After all, rules without a relationship usually lead to some form of rebellion. I know, for me, I’m often really tired at night after long days, but that’s when my children like to talk. So we do. We talk about life. We talk about their day. We talk about the hopes and dreams their mom and I have for their future. It’s during those times that my wife and I continue to plant the seeds of Scripture in the fertile soil of their young minds. God’s word, once it takes root, will bear fruit by forging the character in their young lives that will be able to stand strong and bear the ridicule and pressure of the peer-driven teen years.

Katy and Josh

You’ve now read the majority of this book and you might be thinking, “Okay, all this sounds good, but will it work?” The answer is: yes, indeed it can. It’s God’s plan after all. God’s word will not return void. These aren’t man-made theories. These are principles gleaned from the timeless Scriptures. And yes, I have a real life example for you. Here it is:

That’s my daughter, Katy and my son-in-law, Josh Isaacs. They were married on November 10, 2012. Katy never dated. Josh did and he’ll tell you that if he had it to do over again, he would have waited for Katy.

Katy never dated. She never got her heart tied up and tangled up with another guy. In fact, her first kiss was given to Josh on their wedding day. Some have asked me, “How did you make Katy do this?” Truly, Pam and I didn’t make her do anything. Truth is: you can’t really make a child choose this path. At some point they have to own their own faith and convictions. Katy chose to walk down this road with road signs along the way that said: commitment, parent involvement, and purposeful intentionality, guided by God and His word.

I want you to know that this lifestyle can be lived and this can be done. Now, please understand, your story will not be like Katy’s story. No two stories are exactly alike. The same is true with our salvation. Your story is not like my story. But, we’ve arrived at the same destination. Katy decided when she was a little girl that she wanted to save all of her heart and all of her kisses for her future husband. Like an Olympian, she chose to go for gold! It wasn’t easy. It was a tough pull. But, she took the principles of Scripture that we taught her and embodied them and received them into her heart and spirit.

I was once told by a man, “You’re lying. It’s impossible! She had to have kissed a guy!” But, that’s simply not true. She chose to never put herself into that situation. We had taught her from the time she was a little girl about what happens to the heart and emotions once a couple becomes close emotionally. But, Katy also knew that she needed to surround herself with friends who were like-minded. She recognized if all her friends were dating, the peer pressure would likely become too much. This is true for any of us. We tend to become like the people we hang out with the most. But, I don’t want to tell you any more about Katy’s journey, because she can tell you herself. She’s written a book entitled, “The Unbroken Road.” Information on how you can obtain it is located at the end of this book.

Honestly, I chose to show you Katy and Josh’s picture above because I know a picture can speak a thousand words. I wanted to inspire you. That’s ultimately what I’ve been trying to do throughout this entire book. It’s been said, “Nothing great is accomplished without inspiration.”

Conclusion

In this book, I’ve tried to describe to you what the Bible says about premarital relationships and show you the parallels of how God describes His relationship with His Son and His church. If you want a bottom line though, it will be impossible for me to give you one. I’ve tried to show you what God has designed for two people of the opposite sex to do to get to know each other, under the protection of a loving family, who will help guard the couple against impurity until marriage.

Some will say: “But, I’m afraid I won’t have the discipline, focus or time to make this a reality in the lives of my children.” Some might say, “But, I want details! I need details! How am I supposed to navigate these waters without more information?” Well, I’ll summarize these questions by saying this to you one last time: If you were looking for a detailed, formulaic, step-by-step process for handling premarital relationships, you won’t get that from me. Why? Because I’m convinced God wants us to look to Him through this process and for all things in life. He wants us to depend on Him. He wants us to seek Him in prayer and rest in Him. Isn’t that the Christian life in a nutshell: “Walking by faith and not by sight?”

My goals here were to bring you encouragement, inspiration and hope as you consider what the Bible teaches about premarital relationships. My heartfelt prayer is that this book will impact your life and that of the lives of your children by potentially saving them from the “mini-divorces” that are so common even in Christendom today. I pray the next generation of children will not have the emotional, relationship-baggage that many of us have had to deal with in our adult lives.

I believe the focus of all life should be Jesus Christ and our desire should be to bring Him glory. He offers salvation to all who will repent of their sins and call on His name and for those who have received this great gift, much is required. We’re called to take the message of His good news to the world. It’s called the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

I see marriage as a crucible that refines us for eternity. God has used my marriage to my lovely bride to help me be a better servant for Christ. We have leveraged our relationship together for our Lord and Master, King Jesus. Pam and I understand the finish line in this life is not marriage; it is heaven! Let’s teach this lifestyle to our children today. It’s not too late to start. It’s not how you star; it’s how you finish. In Christ, we can make up for lost time.

Jesus is coming again to gather his bride, the Church, to Himself. He’ll take us to the prepared place (heaven), where a wedding will commence, followed by a grand reception. Marriage is part of God’s divine plan to make us holy and that won’t necessarily always make us happy. But, it’s part of the sanctifying process to prepare us for the ultimate marriage in heaven. To the young person reading this book I conclude with these words: I pray that you will one day find as much joy in marriage as I have and that you will remember the ultimate goal in all of life is glorifying God through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

For Katy’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Unbroken-Road-Kathryn-Brown-Isaacs/dp/1631990500/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473189383&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=unbroken+road+katy+isaacs

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For a hard copy of my book:

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https://www.amazon.com/Date-Not-Bible-Premarital-Relationships/dp/1631990039/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473189477&sr=8-1

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Katy wrote a great blog post today and I want you to see it. Particularly for families with young children and who are trying to decide what to do about dating as their children get older. What Katy shares might be of interest to you.

“I Had A Choice” (by: Katy Isaacs)

Every once in a while I have someone come to me and ask this question:

“Did you have a choice? Ya know, did your parents arrange your marriage? Did they tell you that you weren’t allowed to go to a college campus at 18-years-old? Did you have a choice as to what you did with your life?”
That question doesn’t make me angry, in fact, I’m glad people ask. I see how it must look. I just want to set the record straight for anyone who has wondered. 
As a young teenager my parents looked me in the eye and said, “What we want what is best for you, but in the end, it’s your choice what you do with your life and your heart. If you want to have “turn-style” dating relationships, we won’t stop you. We just want you to be protected from getting hurt.” There, I had my choice. People have always joked that I was sheltered. Someone offered me an energy drink at 13 years old and I turned it down, as I was not entirely sure it wasn’t alcoholic. Now I laugh. Better safe than sorry, right? 🙂 
My dad stood in front of the church he pastors for years encouraging young people to live a biblical lifestyle regarding purity. And though it’s shocking, I actually wanted to strive for not just what he taught, but more simply… what the Bible teaches. I wasn’t perfect, but I decided to try – with God’s help – to be pure until marriage. I married someone who my daddy certainly didn’t choose for me. Josh was all my idea (God’s idea really, but you know what I mean). I married very young because at the time, I knew if I didn’t get married I was going to be a very lonely and hurting young woman. I knew without a doubt that Josh was the man for me and to put off marriage for four years until he was out of the military and I was through college just to please the social norms was preposterous. We discussed many times back in 2011 and 2012 whether we should wait to get married in the fall of 2015 when he got out of the Marines. It didn’t take long to realize we might easily compromise our standards and boundaries if we waited that long. We were both ready to start our lives together and I’m SO thankful we did in 2012. 
I chose this path and I’m glad I did. I don’t look down on others who do differently than I did. For some ladies, four years on a college campus (maybe more) is good. Some God allows to stay single till they are in their thirties or older (maybe not marrying at all). Some never have children and others have many. Some make a lot of money at a white-collar job, while others make minimum wage. It’s all okay. Because God’s Word is ultimately what I encourage anyone to follow; it is absolute truth. No one forced me to marry young and be a stay-at-home mom. I realize it is unusual for a teenage daughter to actually agree with her parents on things, but regarding many, many things, I did and still do. Just because I married young, had a baby young and chose to take my college education at a slower pace while choosing to teach music and write doesn’t mean I was led around by the nose without any say in the matters. The path I chose is the one God told me to walk. I was faced with very real and scary challenges early on and I am thankful that I had chosen the path myself or I likely would have become very bitter toward my parents. Yet, I knew that challenges come in all areas of life and that it was normal to have hard times even when you follow God’s plan. 
I’m in no way perfect nor think that I am. The way I did things, while I believe closely followed Scripture, was still flawed. There were things I wish I had done better… differently. Yet, all in all I’m thankful I was guided. Yes, guided not forced to do as I did. 
Like I said in my book, there is nothing wrong with having an “unbroken” heart on your wedding day.  There is NO shame in being pure. These days young people seem to push that the more scars the better. It shows you’re tough and resilient and you know what? Stories like that are amazing and God uses them and He heals their wounds and puts hearts broken back together. However, the story of the person who doesn’t have the scars is also a beautiful testimony. It too is of redemption… from what could have been… from what God protected you from. 
I encourage you to rejoice in all testimonies. In the end, as long as they end at the feet of Jesus, that’s all that matters. 

Conclusion

In this book, I’ve tried to describe to you what the Bible says about premarital relationships and show you the parallels of how God describes His relationship with His Son and His church. If you want a bottom line though, it will be impossible for me to give you one. I’ve tried to show you what God has designed for two people of the opposite sex to do to get to know each other, under the protection of a loving family, who will help guard the couple against impurity until marriage.

Some will say: “But, I’m afraid I won’t have the discipline, focus or time to make this a reality in the lives of my children.” Some might say, “But, I want details! I need details! How am I supposed to navigate these waters without more information?” Well, I’ll summarize these questions by saying this to you one last time: If you were looking for a detailed, formulaic, step-by-step process for handling premarital relationships, you won’t get that from me. Why? Because I’m convinced God wants us to look to Him through this process and for all things in life. He wants us to depend on Him. He wants us to seek Him in prayer and rest in Him. Isn’t that the Christian life in a nutshell: “Walking by faith and not by sight?”

My goals here were to bring you encouragement, inspiration and hope as you consider what the Bible teaches about premarital relationships. My heartfelt prayer is that this book will impact your life and that of the lives of your children by potentially saving them from the “mini-divorces” that are so common even in Christendom today. I pray the next generation of children will not have the emotional, relationship-baggage that many of us have had to deal with in our adult lives.

I believe the focus of all life should be Jesus Christ and our desire should be to bring Him glory. He offers salvation to all who will repent of their sins and call on His name and for those who have received this great gift, much is required. We’re called to take the message of His good news to the world. It’s called the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

I see marriage as a crucible that refines us for eternity. God has used my marriage to my lovely bride to help me be a better servant for Christ. We have leveraged our relationship together for our Lord and Master, King Jesus. Pam and I understand the finish line in this life is not marriage; it is heaven! Let’s teach this lifestyle to our children today. It’s not too late to start. It’s not how you star; it’s how you finish. In Christ, we can make up for lost time.

Jesus is coming again to gather his bride, the Church, to Himself. He’ll take us to the prepared place (heaven), where a wedding will commence, followed by a grand reception. Marriage is part of God’s divine plan to make us holy and that won’t necessarily always make us happy. But, it’s part of the sanctifying process to prepare us for the ultimate marriage in heaven. To the young person reading this book I conclude with these words: I pray that you will one day find as much joy in marriage as I have and that you will remember the ultimate goal in all of life is glorifying God through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings!

Kevin

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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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Ever been in a relationship that leaves you guessing what the other person is thinking? Tough isn’t it. It’s no question how difficult it is to get into another person’s mind and try to figure out what they are thinking.

Katy has done a wonderful job of doing that in her latest post.

I encourage you (especially parents with younger children) to read this carefully. It might save your children a ton of grief, especially as school has just started back. Take a look…

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not – Kindness vs. Affection

When I was 12 years old I had a huge “crush” on an 18-year-old guy. Josh was his name, Josh Isaacs. I was the brace-faced, freckled preteen who just knew she would marry the handsome, blond football player who was over 5 years her senior. I developed a sort of fondness for him as I tried to make sure I was near him at church and smiled a little too often in his direction. He never had anything against me. He was sweet and loved my family, so he went out of his way to talk to me and be my friend. But friendship was not what I saw, I assumed that he must somehow care for me as well and before I could recognize it, I had a full-blown obsession with Josh. He was my first thought each morning and last thought each night… and many thoughts in the middle. Josh was kind and a good friend, but as a 12-year-old girl, I believed it was more than that.

Why do I tell you this pitiful story about me? It would have been a sad ending had I not eventually gotten the proverbial “slap in the face” and had moved on. The story even graciously improved better than expected when Josh and I ended up together after all when I was 18-years-old, because it was God’s will at that time in our lives…. not when I was 12.

Kindness is really a rare thing in young men. It’s not very often you see a young man ask a girl how she is doing and smile in her direction just to be kind with no strings attached. This has bred a problem. Girls who are perhaps, hungry for male attention, have noticed this as well. So when a young man says, “Well, hey! How are you doing today?” it’s easy for a young lady to read between the lines… something that isn’t there.

Now, there are some guys who take this overboard and enjoy being “a ladies’ man” and cause girls to have feelings for them and then leave a trail of hurt girls behind, saying that they didn’t mean anything by it. And then there are just some nice young men, who are kind in general and don’t make an exception for girls their age and those girls read hearts and love all in their kindness.

It’s just something I have noticed more, even since being married. So I suggest, if a guy is not actively pursuing you of his own will, then there is a large chance that his care and concern toward you is probably just to be kind. I remember the days when friends of mine would come up to me and whisper in my ear, “He looked over here three times in a row! Do you think he likes me?!” Well, maybe he just happened to look over here three times in a row. I pondered then if guys really hinted around like that or if we girls were just looking way too deep for affection. I found the latter to be true when most of these romanticized dreams in girls’ hearts just didn’t come true. There had never been a “relationship” but the heartbreak had still occurred… one-sided. I know the pain of this since I experienced it as a 12-year-old. Josh was just trying to be nice; he didn’t love me.

So, guys out there, I encourage you to not intentionally lead girls on with obvious gestures of romantic affection if you don’t truly plan to take care of her heart. I believe you have no idea how this hurts young ladies. If you care for her and are prepared for marriage, then be intentional and don’t leave her guessing. Yet, if all you are doing is being nice and asking her how she is doing just like you would ask her father, then keep it up. I think some guys are afraid to be kind because they are terrified a girl will fall in love with them. Don’t worry about that. Just be kind to her like you would be to anyone else. We need more men like you!

crush

Ladies, if a young man smiles at you or happens to end up sitting near you two times in a row, it doesn’t mean he is ready to marry you. Guard your heart. The easiest place to lose it is not by giving it away, but by dropping it and hoping someone, anyone will pick it up, even if it gets stomped on a bit in the process. Wait till he actively pursues you with clear intentions. When both Josh and I were attracted to each other, but before we were in a relationship, Josh and I went to a football game with some friends and my hands about froze off. He went and bought me a pair of gloves. Now at 12-year-old I would have been convinced that he loved me after such a gesture, but at 17, I reminded myself that just maybe he didn’t want my hands to be cold. I remember thinking the simple thought, “He takes such good care of me.” Whether like a brother, friend, or whatever, he simply took care of me.

Do you see the balance? Guys, be careful you don’t lead a girl on. Ladies, don’t be too quick to read into something a guy says or does. I am just starting to see how many heart breaks on the ladies’ side could be prevented if only we subdued these “crushes” before they take over.

Well said my dear daughter!
Katy has written a book about this entire issue and it’s phenomenal. (I really mean that. I’m unbiased of course. :)) If you haven’t picked up your copy at church yet, I’d encourage you to do so. It’s an easy read. Remember, if you aren’t in our area, you can get her book at Amazon.com.
I also wrote a short book on it called, “To Date or Not to Date.” You can get it at Amazon as well.
To read more of Katy’s blogs, go to: http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com

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Have you ever looked through a pair of glasses that were scratched up?

Eyeglasses That Need Repair

I had a pair of sunglasses that I wore when I mowed the yard and they got so scratched up that looking through them finally starting giving me a headache. That can happen when what you are looking through is compromised.

I really believe what a lot of folks are “looking through” has been comprised. I’m amazed at the worldview that many Christians have today. I talked about this last week when I blogged about the “New Grace.” You remember:

Going

Right

Ahead

Comprising

Everything

So why do we compromise? Why is it that “anything and everything goes” today? It’s our worldview. It’s the set of glasses we’re looking through. They are all scratched up.

Let me give you an example.

Duggars

That’s two of the Duggar children. I’m sure (unless you live under a rock) you’ve heard of this family. Pictured above are: Ben Seewald, Jessa Duggar, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard.

Jessa and Jill are being pounded by the media because they are choosing not to kiss until their wedding day. Here’s an excerpt from an article found on the Today Show website.

“Courting” is the theme on the new season of TLC’s hit reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” which stars the Duggar family and premieres tonight.

Two Duggar daughters – Jessa, 20, and Jill, 22 – begin relationships with their respective beaus, Ben Seewald, 18, and Derick Dillard, 25. And just like a high stakes basketball game, the Duggars’ style of courting involves plenty of rules, plus refereeing done under the watchful eyes of dad Jim Bob and mom Michelle.

TODAY.com caught up with Jim Bob and Michelle to learn more about their views on courting. As Michelle pointed out, “love is in the air” in the Duggar household this spring.

Rule 1: Courting is not dating; it’s “dating with a purpose.”

There are two main distinctions that make dating different than courting, says Jim Bob. Dating is spending time with someone alone, not necessarily with the end goal of marriage. Not so with courtship, which is carefully monitored and not for the commitment-phobic. “Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process,” the father of 19 says. “It’s really examining the person and considering, ‘Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?’” says Michelle.

To see the rest, go http://www.today.com/moms/duggars-7-rules-courtship-love-air-no-kissing-2D79464674.

Now here’s my point. I can expect the media to think the Duggar girls are nuts…but, not Christians! But, let me tell you…many “so-called” Christians are riding them just as hard as the mainstream media. In fact, some Christians have said they are ashamed of such strange and weird people like Jessa and Jill.

Well give me “strange and weird” any day! As a Christian, I’m called to be peculiar. But, here’s the deal… These “Christians” have on scratched glasses. They are looking at relationships through the lenses of the WORLD and NOT through the lens of Scripture (the BIBLE). Is that you? What’s your worldview? Am I saying that you have to do things exactly like the Duggars? No. But, let’s look at the subject of dating and courting through the lens of Scripture (an open Bible) and then discuss it. So many people today want to discuss issues with the “World” as their glasses. It’s one of the reasons I wrote my book:

Kevin book

Let’s take another example.

LGBT

Born that way…

What set of glasses do you have on?

If it’s the worldview of our culture…then you will say people are born gay, like a black man is born black. If your worldview is the Bible, you will say gay people can be healed.

I read an article that was very enlightening on the matter last week. Get this… The title of the article is almost shocking to our culture today:

Even LBGT Historians Admit No One is ‘Born Gay’

What? Can you hear the outcry? Here’s the upshot of the article…

Whether it’s Macklemore’s “Same Love” or Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” our culture is pretty convinced that homosexuality is inherent from birth. But, as it turns out, those within the LGBT movement aren’t that convinced themselves. In an article in The Daily Caller, gay writer David Benkof presented the solid case of the historians – several of whom are also LGBT – who maintain that the sexual orientation of homosexuality didn’t exist until about 150 years ago. While same-sex relationships and behavior have happened from time to time throughout history, LGBT scholarly studies show zero evidence of any culture with gay “oriented” individuals at any point in history. The mountain of scholarly research also continues to show no “gay gene” accounting for sexual orientation from birth.

Can you say, “Wow!” You’ll never hear Brian Williams talk about that on the NBC Nightly News! Why? Because it doesn’t fit the worldview of NBC News.

Here’s another one…

The origin of life…

Big Bang

A little less than three weeks ago this was reported:

Big Bang Proven (March 27, 2014)

Here’s the upshot from an article that can be found at apologeticspress.org.

“Theory No More?”

“Scientists Make ‘Big Bang’ Breakthrough with Find”

“Big Bang’s Smoking Gun”

“Scientists Find Cosmic Ripples from Birth of Universe”

These titles are a sampling of the headlines after Caltech publicly announced some of their groundbreaking research. The impression being given is that the Big Bang has been finally proven. It has been “confirmed.” As usual, many in the media have shown themselves to be irresponsible with their overstatements and wild implications. Since most people only read article titles and never actually read the details of an article, false impressions are immediately spread to the four winds, and usually, never to be corrected.

Theory No More? Scientists Make ‘Big Bang’ Breakthrough with Find” (2014, emp. added). “Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun” (Overbye, 2014, emp. added). “Big Bang’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Confirms Early Universe’s Exponential Growth” (Vergano, 2014, emp. added). “Scientists Find Cosmic Ripples from Birth of Universe” (2014, emp. added). These titles are a sampling of the headlines after Caltech publicly announced some of their groundbreaking research. The impression being given (and, based on the many that have contacted us since the announcement, being accepted) is that the Big Bang has been finally proven. It has been “confirmed.” As usual, many in the media have shown themselves to be irresponsible with their overstatements and wild implications. Since most people only read article titles and never actually read the details of an article, false impressions are immediately spread to the four winds, and usually, never to be corrected.
Read more at http://savingourfuture.com/2014/03/big-bang-just-proven-astronomers/#zBGClEHd6fTwSJUC.99

You see, it all depends on your worldview. When you don’t want accountability and you don’t want a God, you have to look for a way to explain the universe without Him. When you want to live life with no strings and no consequences…you make it up. And there you have the worldview of “Evolutionists.” But, the Bible teaches, “In the beginning God…” You can’t have it both ways…

What’s your worldview?

In America we continue to decline in our thinking because we no longer regard the Bible in high esteem. Amazingly, we still own a bunch of copies and many still believe it’s God’s Word, but we don’t put on those glasses too much.

Here’s the latest Barna research on the Bible…

Bible

That 56% number has dropped exponentially in the last 50 years. In 1950 you had to look long and hard to find someone who didn’t believe the Bible was the Word of God. Not today. Why?

Because we’ve fed the last three to four generations a steady diet of secular humanism, postmodernism and downright lies. Therefore, anything goes! Except anything that the Bible teaches.

So…

What’s your worldview?

So, decide which glasses you’re going to wear and please, please, please…keep ’em on. Why? So, we’ll know if you ascribe to the tenets and principles of Scripture or not. Don’t take off your Bible glasses and put on the “world’s” glasses. You’ll make yourself sick!

Oh by the way…we’ve got a mission team in Mexico and south Texas.

Mexico Team-April 2014

They are working hard. Here’s the progress so far:

second floor

We are putting on the second floor of the church in Progreso, Mexico and teaching multiple Bible Studies (backyard Bible clubs) in Texas in Mexico. You can keep up with all the happenings here: http://mpbc.ws/missions/2014MexicoMissions/days12.html

 

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Spring

I’m so glad spring seems to be finally here. It’s 81 degrees as I type these words!

But, I’ll warn you. It’s going to get cool again by the middle to end of next week. Thankfully, “cool” in the spring means in the 50’s for day-time highs and not in the 30’s! Woohoo!!

I will also give you a head’s up that this year’s hurricane season looks to be below average (like last year), but we’ll have more hurricanes that could pop up right along the southeast and gulf coasts. We are starting to see the beginnings of an El Nino off the South American coast and that will blow off the tops of most storms as the southern Jetstream will sheer the storms as they come of the African coast. And you know what an El Nino means. That means a rough winter next year. Plan on next winter being very similar to this winter.

Hey…my books are in!!!

Kevin book

You know it’s amazing! I never cease to be amazed how God works. The books arrived last Thursday and I’ve been preaching through 1 Thessalonians, right? Yep! And right when I get to 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, they arrive. Get this:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Do you think those verses go right along with my book or what? Only God can do that. His timing is amazing!

As I shared with the church Sunday, this idea of saving ourselves for marriage seems to have fallen out of favor even in the church. The church is having very little impact on the world regarding purity. There is a section in my book that’s entitled “Not Sticky” and I talked about it Sunday. Here’s an excerpt from my sermon:

File:PostItNotePad.JPG

Just how many times can you stick and unstick a sticky note? Studies tell us on average…young people will have 5 to 8 relationships before they finally marry in their late 20’s. And do you know what happens each time in one of those relationships? That young couple becomes romantically involved with one another, they begin to bond emotionally. They increasingly share their hearts with one another. Their thoughts and imaginations are focused on their partner. Without knowing it…what they have done is to begin the God-designed process of becoming “one,” even if there is virtually no physical relationship. They become one heart long before they become “one flesh.”

Did you know that neuroscientists tell us sexual activity releases brain chemicals which trigger emotional bonding and a powerful desire to repeat the activity? It all begins with just a touch…holding hands…leads to hugs…leads to kissing…leads to… Breaking these bonds over and over make it much harder later in life to bond with a future spouse.

Young people here today…are you bonding emotionally with someone. It’s going to make it much harder when you get married. Because you are using up a lot of your “sticky.”

Here my heart… It’s why I wrote the book. It’s why I’m so passionate on this subject. As I worked my way through writing my book, the Lord made it clear to me again that 20th and 21st century idea of dating…the very idea of what I call “recreational romance” has created a revolving door mentality for our young people. They have been so exposed to so many relationships prior to marriage, no wonder they find it so hard to eventually settle down with one spouse. No wonder we have a 50+% divorce rate even in the church. They are simply repeating what they’ve been doing for years. Just because a pastor (like me) asks a bride and groom to place rings on each other’s fingers and repeat, “Till death do us part,” means almost nothing today. Do we really believe that a ring on our left hand is going to change what’s been trained in the brain?

Jesus said in Matthew 19…

Matthew 19:4-6

4“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

We’ve lost our sticky folks! (BY THE WAY…this totally knocks out homosexuality…it’s MALE AND FEMALE). The point is this…

Just how many times can a person be in a relationship and give his or her heart emotionally (if not physically) away to someone before he or she cannot stick anymore? This cleaving and uncleaving is not what God intended for us. It is not how God expects us to arrive to the marriage altar. But, this is what we do isn’t it? And when I preach this…people look at me like I’ve got four heads. But, I’m giving you the full counsel of God’s Word, dear Church family. I wish someone had told me!

And it’s true…I wish someone had told me! How about you? Could the same be said of you? It’s why I wrote the book. They are $5. They are available on Amazon (Kindle for 99 cents) and hard copy. It’ll take you 1 1/2 hours to read it. It’s only 31 pages long. You can also order direct from my publisher…

http://direct.energion.com/to-date-or-not-to-date?search=to date or not to date

If you want to see someone else who is seeking to follow Scripture in the matter of “dating.” Take a look…

http://www.people.com/people/mobile/article/0,,20801674,00.html

Well…while I’ve stirred the hornets nest…I’ll just go all the way. I saw this bumper sticker and absolutely lost it…

(You’ll have to decide HOW I lost it. :))

Obama

Josh and Katy are coming home! They’ll be home later tonight! Can’t wait! They’re coming in to see the Passion Play this weekend at church. Boy, do I love it when the whole family is in town!

 

 

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Helping people. I guess it’s in your nature if you are a pastor, but I’ve always wanted to help people. I guess I’m a people-pleaser and buddy, that’s hard when you are preaching from the Bible, because you’re seldom going to please folks. But, in my heart of hearts, I love helping people.

One of the ways I hope I’m doing this is through my Daily Devotions… http://dkevinbrowndailydevotions.wordpress.com/

If you want to sign-up for the devotions, please click here: http://mpbc.ws/emailsubscriptions/

Obviously, you are reading this blog. That’s another way I try to help and encourage folks. I also try to do so with my books. And I’m pleased to announce my next one is now available on Kindle for 99 cents.

You can’t beat that!

http://www.amazon.com/Date-Not-Premarital-Relationships-Topical-ebook/dp/B00J4YVB74/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395782542&sr=1-1&keywords=to+date+or+not+to+date+kevin+brown

Click above (right below the book cover) if you’d like it on your Kindle. If you want to know what the Bible says about relationships…jump on in to this little book. It’s only 31 pages. It should take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to read it cover to cover. You can order it from my publisher in hard copy form if you like by going here…

http://direct.energion.com/to-date-or-not-to-date

Can I be totally honest? If you are a parent who has young children, you need to consider getting this book and reading it just so you can be apprised of a way of teaching and training your children. Parents, I know you want the best for your children academically and athletically and for them to be well-rounded. Well, the information in this book will help them to be prepared and equipped emotionally and spiritually for the challenges of our sex-crazed culture.

For those at MPBC, I’m happy to announce that I’ll have 200 books in hand by Sunday!! Woohoo!! They are $5. Here’s the deal. I make pennies…and I mean pennies on the book. I have to order the books from my publisher and pay for them out of pocket to sell to you. So, I’m making an investment on the front-end because I wish SO BADLY someone would have told me this stuff before I started “whole-hog dating.”

I want you to be equipped with everything on the menu. What I’m offering to you in the book is filet mignon. It’s an expensive proposition and most won’t pay the price. They’ll choose hamburger or a cheap sirloin. I get that. But, some will go for gold! They’ll want the best for their children in the purity arena and I’m convinced this is it. So, I hope you’ll give it a read.

I just want to help people.

church

Isn’t that a neat picture? It’s at dawn last Friday. It’s a picture of the church as the sun was coming up. A bunch of guys were cooking chicken to raise money for our Mexico/Texas mission work this summer.

BBQ

You talk about awesome barbeque chicken! Wow! Thanks for all the men who came out at “O-dark-thirty” to cook! And thanks to all who worked in the kitchen to box and deliver!

Why do we do this? We just want to help people come to Christ.

See these ladies serving…

Hostess

That’s Pam, my lovely bride, slicing ham for members of a family who had come to the church after a funeral. Helping Pam is Gena Hodges and Margie Ellis. Not pictured were Jerry and Gwynda Marlowe. Those folks were helping this family have a good hot meal after the burial of their mother/grandmother. Ladies in our church brought food all afternoon on Saturday for this family. Another example of helping people.

For folks who are local…here’s a way to help people. We can give blood.

Mike Kerhoulas asked me to let you know that the Mt. Pleasant Masonic Lodge & North Wilkesboro Masonic Lodge (Temple Street, N. Wilkesboro,  beside of Gardner Glass) are both holding Blood Drives on this Thursday.

Mt. Pleasant’s Blood Drive will be held from 2:30 pm – 7:30 pm. This THURSDAY, MARCH, 27TH

NOTE:    FOR EVERY BLOOD UNIT COLLECTED 7 LBS OF FOOD WILL BE SUPPLIED (BY THE BLOOD BANK OF THE CAROLINAS) TO SAMARITAN’S KITCHEN  –  BACKPACK PROGRAM. FEEDING HUNGRY CHILDREN ALL OVER WILKES COUNTY. WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO MEET PEOPLE’S NEEDS IN TWO WAYS WITH ONE DONATION.

These are all ways of helping people! I’m glad to have the health to do it! Praise the Lord!

 

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