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Husbands

December 26, 2010 Leave a comment

In Ephesians 5:21 through 5:33 Paul writes about the relationship between husband and wife, and likens it to that between Christ and the Church. He starts by saying that we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Notice please that it is a mutual submission guys. This is not a one way street. Notice also that it is a different word that is used here than that used in Ephesians 6:1 where children are told to obey their parents. My point is that wives are not called to “obey” their husbands.

In this entry I will speak to husbands, since that’s what I am. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (ESV). As men we have a tendency to look at that passage and think very highly of ourselves: we’re sacrificing ourselves for our wives. We’re amazing people, we husbands, aren’t we.

Trust me when I tell you, I have done my share of thinking well of myself. But that is not the point of the statement that Paul is making.

Let’s start with the church. What kind of people make up the church? Are they holy, righteous, kind, merciful, tolerant people? Is that what you have found when you do more than scratch the surface of the church? Or have you found another kind of person, the kind that needs a bit more grace than you’re willing to extend?

I have found all kinds of people in the church, but without exception I can tell you that every one of us is a sinner. The church is full of people who need forgiveness. The church is made of people who have lied, stolen, cheated, lusted, committed adultery, who are arrogant, have dishonored parents, who are combative, depraved, who have participated in all kinds of sexual deviations. You name it, someone in the church has done it. So I repeat, the church is made up of real sinners.

If ever there was a group of people more undeserving of God’s love you would be hard pressed to find them. Yet there you have it, we’re called the bride of Christ. Jesus loves us as a husband loves his wife, but not as a human husband. We don’t set the standard for loving wives, and you wives have God to thank for that. If we husbands set the standard for God’s love then God would not be a very loving God, would he?

God’s love is different than the world’s love. Christ made an amazing sacrifice for people who certainly did not deserve it. An absolutely holy God made this sacrifice for the most vile people. And we husbands are called to do the same. Now, I’m not calling our wives vile. I’m just saying that the love we’re supposed to extend to our loves is not like the world’s love. It is not like human love.

The way we love most of the time is dependent upon something that we see or find in our spouse. She has some beauty, wealth, personality, or other characteristic that we find engaging. This is what some of my friends recommend. Find a woman that has prestige, personality, and panache: some positive characteristic. It’s not a bad idea really. But that love will be fickle. What happens when you discover, much to your dismay, that she no longer has some of those characteristics? What if she never really had them? Most men move on to the next woman. They become serial monogamists.

God’s love is not like that. First, God is not partial with his love, and second he doesn’t expect us to be worthy of his love. As I said above, if he were to only love those who are worthy of his love, then no one would be loved by God. But it’s in his nature to love what he created.

So, husbands, what does this mean for us? We are commanded, yes commanded, to love our wives, period. Love her not only when she deserves it, but also when she doesn’t deserve it. Love is not about being attracted to her, it’s God’s command. If you can love her when you’re not attracted to her, she will become attractive. That’s part of what it means when it says that she will be “sanctified” as the result. Love is not about what, or who she is. It is about what and who we are in Christ.

There will likely come a time in your married life when you are not attracted to your wife. In fact, there will likely come a time when you find that she is not the person you believed her to be. Some, or maybe all, of those engaging characteristics of hers disappear. Husband, you are still obligated to love her. Indeed, you are under a greater obligation to do so since she needs it more. There is something powerfully redemptive about being loved when you need it.

Divine love is such that God loves us despite the fact that he knows us.

That’s the love that Christ has for the church. That’s the love that husbands are to have for their wives. That’s the call that God has laid on you as a husband. But let’s take it one more step. She is in the world just like you are in the world. That means that she’s been wounded like you have been wounded. She needs you to be Christ to her in the very place where she hurts the most, where her wounds are deepest. This may be a place of great pain for her, and it may call you to be very dependent on “supernatural” love and grace.

The role of husband is to be the leader in the home. So, lead already. Leadership is not the same as boss-ship. It means “go first.” Set the example. Establish a vision.

Love first.

Categories: Love, Marriage

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope that this Christmas finds you well.

Despite it having been a very hard year, I find that I am blessed beyond measure. My family has been more than supportive and loving. And I want to thank you for that.

Also, throughout the worst of this crisis there have been a few very close and loving friends. You stood by me even when it looked the worst, and even when it looked as embarrassing as it could possibly be. It is very interesting to experience a personal crisis in your life. Some people will stand by you, some will abandon you.

For those that stood by me, thank you. You have blessed me greatly.

Categories: Love

Why FounderSeed

December 24, 2010 Leave a comment

A friend of mine asked me today why I named this blog FounderSeed. The answer is quite simple. It is named after God, the founder of the church and the founder of this mission. And it is named for Jesus who is the seed that God planted here to spread the Gospel.

The tag line “Wandering Homeward” is a reflection of what we’re all doing here. I’m sure you’ve noticed that everyone dies. The question is, what happens then? Is it like falling asleep with no dreams? Is there anything after life? Or do we join the great “force” since we all know that energy is never destroyed but only changes form. Or is there life after death?

Well, having had a personal and close encounter with God, I admit to believing that we do experience life after life. You are, of course, welcome to disagree. I get that, and I can’t prove you’re wrong; won’t even try. Frankly, I’m not here to try to prove anything. And if you’ve ever read the Bible you may have noticed that it never attempts in any way to prove the existence of God either. It begins, continues, and ends with the supposition that God is real.

So, wandering homeward is just my way of saying that I’m going home, and I seem to be taking the long way.

Categories: Purpose

Preparing for the AT

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, so I’m old, I had a heart attack when I was thirty-eight, planted a church in North Central Ohio in my early fifties, have had some personal struggles that temporarily took me out of ministry and here I am planning a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. Some of you may say that there is indeed some village somewhere that is missing its favorite idiot. But, this is something I’ve dreamed of doing ever since I read about Grandma Gatewood.

In some ways this is a mission, and in others it’s a redemptive hike. And it will not be easy. Along the way it will be tedious, the terrain laborious. There will be cold, hot, muggy, rain, snow, and bugs. There will be long stretches of gray skies and green mud. There will be substantial call for determination to reach the goal of Katahdin Falls which is located in Baxter State Park.

It’s a mission because I’m a crazy Christian who believes that the primary purpose of the church is to talk to people about Jesus and for whatever reason I also believe that there is someone I’m supposed to meet on the Trail. It’s redemptive because life has been pretty difficult lately and it will provide an opportunity to heal and to “interact with the environment” to quote my counselor.

When you’re out on the a trail there is only one thing to focus on, and that is taking the next step. Yes, you must have a determination to reach a goal, but that goal is very far away. So, sometimes the best you can do is take a step, overcome the inertia, and begin to move in some direction: even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.

I remember reading that there are three things that can undermine a vision. They are fear, criticism, and good opportunities. All of those were present when I planned to start a church, and they are present now. Many good friends have expressed a fear for my safety, and quite frankly I appreciate the concern being expressed. Others have flat-out told me they think I’m a “bit off my rocker,” and I probably am. But the church we planted is still there and I believe that this will produce something significant and lasting as well.

First Thoughts

December 20, 2010 2 comments

Eventually I will write many and diverse scintillating blog entries here that you will be hard pressed to ignore. My writing will be spectacular and challenging.

Ok, Ok, so maybe it won’t be spectacular, or scintillating, but I hope to challenge you in many areas of your thinking. And quite frankly I hope you challenge me the same way.

For the liberals among us, you will find that I disagree with you about a number of issues. For the conservatives, sorry, but you will be likewise disappointed. I find that both liberals and conservatives alike have their own special brand of intolerance.

I will not pull any punches, and will maintain a radical commitment to the truth. I hope to establish a community that has not only the same commitment to truth, but also has a radical commitment to grace and mercy. In other words this will hopefully be a place where people can come to discuss anything whatsoever without fear of condemnation.

Categories: Purpose