Thursday, July 29, 2010

15 questions for your marriage

Sometimes we need a little help communicating with our spouse effectively. How about setting aside a night and answering these 15 questions together? Here's the full post by Justin Taylor:

In the latest Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Rob Lister has a good article filled with practical suggestions for married couples to use in evaluating their marriage. The whole thing is worth reading for counsel on how and when to do this.
Below are the 15 questions:
  1. On a scale of 1-10, give your overall assessment of our marriage in the past six months. To be sure, this is a very broad and subjective item, but I have found it helpful to open the conversation with an item of this kind of breadth, because it helps to prime the pump. Obviously, you won’t hit on a ton of specifics with this one—that’s what the rest of the questions are for—but I have been truly amazed at just how much discussion this assessment alone can generate, as various issues come to mind. From there, we’re off and running. Follow-up questions in the event that the conversation fails to gain traction initially: What have been the strengths of the past six months? What would make your assessment higher?
  2. How has the husband’s leadership been over the past six months? The wife’s support? Follow-up: How can I improve in fulfilling my respective role?
  3. How is your walk with God, both personally and as a couple?
  4. Where do you see ungodliness in my life?
  5. Do I have any unconfessed sin that needs to be shared with my spouse?
  6. Are we guarding meaningful time together? Prayer? Conversation? Date Night?
  7. How is our sex life?
  8. What could I do to make you feel more loved/secure/respected?
  9. How can I serve you better?
  10. What are the issues that we need to anticipate in the upcoming six months?
  11. What’s your greatest personal disappointment and your greatest satisfaction in the last six months?
  12. How can I best pray for you?
  13. What are our major upcoming mutual prayer concerns?
  14. Spend a few moments, in an encouraging fashion, sharing several of the things that each of you loves and appreciates about the other.
  15. Then close, by spending some concerted time in prayer for those prayer concerns you just shared, as well as thanking God for his faithfulness to you as a couple over the past six months.
The article is also available as a PDF.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blessed are the Broken and Gentle

Many thanks to Bret Capranica for filling the pulpit and feeding our flock the two weeks my family was on vacation.

I heard a lot of positive feedback from his sermons. His second week, Bret preached an entire message on one verse. One person remarked, "he went deep, but it didn't feel deep." I can think of no greater compliment. What a gift to plumb the depths of God's Word without becoming confusing and esoteric in the process.

Here are links to his two messages, both taken from the Sermon on the Mount. I am looking forward to listening to them myself!

Values of the Ultimately Satisfied: Brokenness 
(Matt. 5:1-3)

Values of the Ultimately Satisfied:Gentleness 
(Matt. 5:5)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

SBC Open Forum in Los Angeles this Thursday

I and the other officers of the California Southern Baptist Convention will be hosting another Open Forum this Thursday, July 22, to discuss the future of our convention. This meeting will be held from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at First Baptist Church of Beverly Hills, 9025 Cynthia St., West Hollywood, CA 90069.

These forums are very open-ended and seek to address questions such as "How can we get young people more involved?" "How can we cooperate more effectively as local churches?" and "What will the Great Commission Resurgence mean for us?"

This is the third of five forums being hosted across the state this year. I have found them to be a valuable time to network with other pastors and to brainstorm about the future of our state convention. We welcome the input and participation by pastors and SBC leaders in the area. Hope to see you there.

To learn about our past meetings, click the links below:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Financial mistakes by young families

Every pre-marital counseling course should include some basic advice on family finances. I'm very grateful Natalie and I were required to read the Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples, which helped us talk through some important issues, set up an early budget, and avoid many pitfalls.

A recent article by might also be helpful. They list six common financial mistakes made by young families:
  1. Carrying too much debt
  2. Operating without a budget
  3. Failing to begin planning for retirement
  4. Inadequate life and disability insurance
  5. Not preparing for college tuition
  6. No rainy day fund

Even if you've been married for years and have made some costly mistakes, it's never too late to begin heading in the right direction. You can read the whole article here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Greater Love movie - July 30

First Southern Baptist invites the public to a free showing of the movie No Greater Love at 7 PM on Friday, July 30. Free concessions will be served, and free child care will be provided for preschool children. It would make a great date night or family night out.

No Greater Love is the dramatic story of faith, forgiveness, and the sovereignty of God. Jeff and Heather were the "lucky ones." Best friends from childhood, high school sweethearts, and married by 22. After the birth of their only child, however, Heather fell into an uncontrollable depression. Hopelessly lost, she did the unthinkable...she abandoned her husband and infant son – and vanished. Now, ten years later, Jeff’s world is dramatically rocked when Heather shockingly reappears in the most unusual place.

Dennis Rainey, host of Family Life Today, calls this movie “a compelling story that powerfully reminds us that love is always the right choice.” The message of the gospel is clearly presented as well. We look forward to showing it and pray it will be a blessing to families in our community.

Please spread the word, and we hope to see you July 30! For directions to the church, please click here.

Click here to watch the original trailer:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A unique revolution

"Our Declaration of Independence has been copied by emerging nations around the globe, its themes adopted in places many of us have never heard of. Here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights. We the people declared that government is created by the people for their own convenience. Government has no power except those voluntarily granted it by the people. There have been revolutions before and since ours, revolutions that simply exchanged one set of rulers for another. Ours was a philosophical revolution that changed the very concept of government" -- Ronald Reagan

Happy Independence Day!

New Blog

Today I'm closing up shop and launching a new blog called Pinch of Clay. You can visit it by clicking here . Please stop by and...