Your Choice 2 (will we be married or marry in heaven)

If you were at church Sunday night you heard our discussion during the FAQ series on will we be married in heaven?

You have asked me to blog it so here it is.

My answer is straight forward and based on the account in scripture in Matthew 22. This specific question was asked and answered by Jesus himself.

(Matthew 22:23-30 NKJV)
The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.

Obviously the point of this question was to argue with Jesus about the resurrection, but Jesus by addressing the question on marriage reveals how inadequate the Sadducees were in their grasp of the scripture and this particular theological concept.

Jesus reveals to them there is a resurrection and we will not be married or have the need for marriage in heaven.

In our humanity we need and want the relationships we have. But when we go to heaven our desires and needs, devotions and dedications will take on a new form. We are the bride of Christ and He is the focal point in Heaven. We will know people there like we do here. We will see loved ones who’ve gone before, it will be the most amazing place for us, he is still our focal point.

The answer today is as specific as it was then. What about divorce’s, what about remarried widows or widowers?

Which one will you be married to? It can’t be based on some subjective desire, based on our current human needs or wants. So therefore it must not be.

In my mind there is really no argument here. Jesus was asked the specific question and he gave a specific answer.

I like the way it reads in the message.

(Matthew 22:30 MSG)
At the resurrection we’re beyond marriage. As with the angels, all our ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God.

The point was made that the message is a paraphrase, for those of you who use the message let me assure you it is considered both.

When we use the term paraphrase we automatically think of the idea of taking a king James or English version of the bible and putting it in modern terms, which leaves room for subjectivity and personal preference in the process.

Eugene Peterson the translator of the message bible and his team are Hebraic and Greek scholars and although they did put it in modern language it was taken straight from the Greek and Hebrew. To understand a little more about how translation works read this.

“Since Eugene Peterson worked with the text strictly from Greek and Hebrew to English, he did what a translator does by choosing contemporary English words that best express the meaning of the original language. As all translators do, he used interpretative skill in choosing those English words. However, he “paraphrased” the original by selecting language that communicates the style and flavor of the original in Bible times—rather than trying to achieve word-for-word correspondence. Translation is generally thought of as bringing the meaning from one language to another, whereas a paraphrase is usually a rewording of a document within the same language. But in a sense, all translation also involves paraphrasing. There is no distinct line that can be drawn between the two. Sometimes it takes five English words to bring across the meaning of a single Greek word; other times only one English word is required to communicate five Greek words.

When Eugene began his work on The Message, he looked at how scholars had translated Homer from Greek to English. Some had tried to match word for word; others attempted to recreate the poetry of Homer in English. The Message leans toward the latter. Eugene’s intent was to recapture the tone, to bring out the subtleties and nuances of the Hebrew and Greek languages while keeping a sense of firsthand experience for contemporary readers. He often asked himself, “If Paul were the pastor of my church, how would he say this?” or “If Jesus were here teaching, what would it sound like?”

So, is it a translation or a paraphrase? It is probably most accurately called a paraphrase—an intelligent paraphrase. It is a bridging of the gap between the original languages and English, and between centuries of time and language change, to bring to us the Bible as it originally sounded.”

I show you this to say there is no inaccuracy in that scripture, and I use the message version merely to emphasize what the (NKJ) already told us. The answer is no.

So those are my thoughts on this question hope it helps.

One thing that is very important to me as a Christian, pastor, preacher and leader, is that we are careful not to make the bible say what we want it to but to listen to what it does say and act accordingly.


The Power of Parenting-give them a break from you

Janae and I have learned as the parents of 16 and 9 year old girls, and having been married for over 22 years a very important help in that relationship is for us to get away every once in a while without our kids.

As I write this we are on a little break. It’s a great opportunity for them to have fun without us and for us to focus solely on our relationship.

How is this powerful parenting?

1. It gives everyone a little breathing room?

Sometimes as a family we smother each other. If your honest there are times you just get on each others nerves. Being apart for a few days, brings balance and appreciation back into the relationship

2. It is a great example to your kids of how marriage should work.

Kids operate on a monkey see monkey do mindset, they follow us much more from what we do then what we say. One of the best ways I can teach them how to choose the right man as a husband is to show them how a wife should be treated.

3. A couple needs to be refreshed and refined in their parenting skills.

When we are away we always have great conversations about our kids. Next moves and issues they are dealing with as well as what we are. It’s refreshing to talk on an adult level with out your children interrupting. Or anything else for that matter.

4. Objectivity

When your in the moment it’s hard to be self aware. We need times we can pull back and see the forest without the close blinding branches of the trees. Gain some objectivity, see how things really are.

5. Healthy parents lead children to be healthy.

I heard Paul Scanlon teach one time the best gift I can give to others is a healthy me. It’s the same with parenting. Take time to refresh yourself and you will be a more effective, happy, encouraging and objective leader and parent.

I can hear someone say right now. I don’t have the money to get away. You don’t have to take a major vacation to achieve this, and you could also achieve it by staying and sending your kids to family for a few days. Bottom line it gives power to your parenting and it should be a priority.

You may ask, what if I’m a single parent? You especially need this time. Find away to spend some time by yourself and with some friends, absent your children.

Have fun!

The Power of Parenting

toddler learning to walk

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Ephesians 6:1-3

Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.”.  Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.

There is such power in parenting.  I think it is lost on so many of us, how much real influence we have with our kids.  We really must stop believing the lie that says we are some kind of awkward interruption on our kids life.  Family is a God thing, and He has a specific way that it works best.  The following is my attempt to clarify what that means, and what a difference we can make in the world just by being a good parent.  Just remember, parenting has multi-generation implications, a meaningful future hinges on a powerful, and positive present.

There are different styles of parenting, which are you?

1. The power parent. (positional parenting). Dictator. “because I said so”

Power parents try to force the kids to follow by the concept, “I’m the parent, and your the child, so do what I say.”  While this is true, and sometimes appropriate, it is not the best way to parent, and its not the biblical way to parent as you will see.  Parenting is leadership, and you don’t want people to follow you just because your the boss, but because they care, and you have influence with them.   It should be the same for us and our children.  A great way to parent is to build an intrinsic motivation in your kids, “an internal want to,” by taking the extra time, to explain why you want them to do what you’ve asked them to do.  If they know the why, they will be motivated to obey.  Not because they will get in trouble if they don’t, but because its the right thing to do.

2. The permissive parent. (parenting by the buddy system). These parents won’t draw parameters cause their kids may not like them, “there going to do it any way, might as well keep them around me so they won’t get hurt.”  Reliving teenage years through your kids.  This is such a huge mistake.  Your kids don’t need you to be their buddy, they need you to be their parent.  Many parents think  if they take this approach their kids will talk to them, their relationship will be friendly, etc.  Truth told though, to your kids you come off immature and they need someone mature to help them with their problems, not someone who acts their age.  Be a parent, not a buddy.  You can be a parent now and a buddy later, or a buddy now, and nothing later.  That is the way it usually works. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying you can’t have a cordial relationship with your kids.  I’m saying, a parent can have a close relationship with their kids by being a parent.

3. The passive parent. (I really don’t care what they do, as long as they don’t get hurt, or hurt anyone else)  This attitude really hurts your kids.  While we think it is perfect for kids, because they can do whatever they want, it truly comes across to them, that you just don’t care.  In the mind of a child, if you don’t care enough to give them parameters they interpret that as you just don’t care about them.

4. The overprotective parent: helicopter, hover constantly, no risk. No hovering please.  We are creating a culture of young people who cant take a risk, cant face a challenge, have a zero for an adversity quotient.  Our kids need to take chances.  We are going to protect them right out of success and significance, because we are training them to be so afraid that they won’t step out and take a risk.

5. The pushy/perfectionist parent. (the use of pressure to push your child towards excellence). “leveraging the opinions of others, comparisons, etc..”if you were like so and so.”  We all want our kids to try hard, to excel at whatever they do.  However, we don’t want our kids to resent us because we manipulated or pressured them by using leverage.  I’ve seen guys push their kids in ball, because they didn’t achieve the goals they had for themselves as a kid.  To the point their kids quit and don’t ever want to play ball again, and have a broken relationship with their parent.  There is a way to lead your kids to excellence without using leverage, comparisons, stress, and manipulation.  Your kids are not going to be perfect, you will push them over the edge trying to make them that.

5. The purposed parent. (intentional parenting, learning, praying, using biblical principles. Like, 1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, 2. You reap what you sow, 3. Do what you need to do and then you can do what you want to do. Purposed parent understands the stewardship of parenting, and bases their parenting on influence. It takes the most work and involvement, has the best results.

What parent style are you?  What style were your parents?

Sadly, to many times in today’s culture we opt out for the least effort, or easiest route.  The intentional, purposeful route will take more time. It will take more effort, it will take more discipline on our part and more energy, and thought.  It is the only way to get the results you really want in your kids lives.

Be a purposeful parent, you will be a powerful component for the benefit of the upcoming generation.

Where do we draw the line between contentment and progress?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Image via Wikipedia

My wife and I have been talking about how difficult in life it is to be content.  What does it mean to be content?  Does it mean to be satisfied?  Much of the time people struggle with being satisfied.  Life can be going along just fine, yet a disatisfaction creeps over us and causes us to stir it up, as if to say this is not good enough.

Im not talking about people who have nothing, or who are struggling.  I know people who create struggles because internally they are discontent, and disatisfied.  The truth is this is an internal problem.  It literally has nothing to do with external things.  People at all levels of life and from all different places in life struggle with this.  Its killing marriages, businesses, churches, governments, individuals.  Discontentment reveals an internal void.

Don’t misunderstand me to be saying that contentment and satisfaction means you should never try to do or be better, not at all.   I know people who never make an effort and are discontent, I also know people who are constantly working it out, and struggle being content.

Discontent with our lives, our friends, our spouses, our children, on and on leads to one place.  Isolation.  Being discontented is a vicous cycle that leads to our being disconnected and  shrinks our lives into lonliness, which is the fruit of never being satisfied.

The apostle Paul tells us that contentment is very important in our lives.  That no matter what our state is we should not find ourselves struggling and striving.  It’s not things or people or money that satisfies, it’s Jesus.  No matter what your situtation you can be content, because contentment, and satisfaction are all about internal peace, and when we know the prince of peace, we are settled, we are satisfied, we are content.

So move forward, grow and develop, but don’t expect progress or growth to satisfy.  Don’t expect people, things or money to satisfy, those are all externals.  All those things can be blessings in your life, but only one can give you peace.  Get to know Jesus, and in Him contentment can be found.

Something to say about Leadership

Over 20 years ago I began my journey as a leader. My Journey if far from over. I still have much to learn, and haven’t begin to tap into the true potential that could be realized in my life. I wish I could say that I have reached some sort of pinnacle, but what I have found to be true at the age of forty, is that those who think they have reached the top, really haven’t, but have left themselves no where to go but down.

True, effective leaders are always growing, and developing themselves, and everyone around them. A true leader gives the benefit of their growth to those following them.

I am going to attempt over the next few weeks to blog each day on an issue of leadership. Over the last two decades I’ve read many books, I’ve attended many conferences. I have had the privilege of setting under the ministry of some of the greatest leaders out there and had the opportunity to meet them and set and listen to them.

Over this time I have gleaned enormous amounts of resource, but to be honest this is not where I’ve received most of my leadership “education.” In those settings I learned principles, and leadership thoughts, but it has been in the everyday activities of leading alongside the leaders over me, beside me, and those following me, where I have learned the most. Not because they knew more than the experts, but because we were putting into practice those things we learned.

In this series of blogs I am not going to try to tell you all the principles of leadership that will work for you. I am going share with you experiences in my own life, and in the lives of leaders I’ve watched rise, and fall.

There are things that kill Leadership. Enemies of leadership. Most of them are not external. They are not an enemy from without, but an enemy from within. Pretense, Fear, Jealousy, competition, envy, pride and Greed. All of these, everyone of them, can be summed up in one word, “INSECURITY.” In my mind the greatest Killer of leaders and our influence. Insecurity is sneaky, its often hidden, its always revealed under pressure, and ultimately it will choke the life of leadership out of any leader who doesn’t remove it.

As I write these next few blogs, I hope it will reveal places of insecurity in us and help us to understand there is a way to overcome it. Our leadership can thrive! Our Potential can be realized! We can be Secure, confident, happy, and content, and at the same time very influential.

stay tuned….

“I Love the Lord”…..Whitney Houston

I watched the rerun of the Oprah show late tonight and saw the second interview with Whitney Houston. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was so impressed with her. She was very honest without being disrespectful, which i would imagine would have been very difficult given what she has experienced. It seems her life, had become very much like so many lives today. Simply out of control. Her marriage, her emotions, her physical life, and her career. Everything was out of control.

She obviously made some bad choices, and got herself in a mess. Addicted to drugs, estranged from her husband, and just trying to pull it together. My favorite part of the interview was when Oprah said, “who do you love?” Whitney replied, “I love the Lord” Oprah asked her so how did you make it? She said I know where my strength comes from, I would never have made it if it wasn’t for God.

Our lives may or may not be out of control today, but it wouldn’t hurt for us to remember we can not make it without Jesus. He has done so much for us, and his grace is so good, and has empowered us to overcome all the negatives in life. So tonight I say like whitney, I love the Lord, and I would never have made it, outside of his goodness and Grace. I know where my strength comes from. Not me, but the Holy Spirit. Thanks Jesus for living in Me, guiding me, encouraging me, and inspiring me, and loving me.