Paul Vander Klay
December 29, 2009
You are correct. Modern American churches excel in giving prescriptions and advice on how to make marriage and life work. It doesn't work so there is another sermon series, then another and then a book. This is how churches get bigger and bigger. The people keep coming b ack, feeling guilty for their failures in the hopes that maybe this time, the sermon will "work".We need sermons on what Christ can do for us and not what we can do for ourselves.Thanks for this post; I've been trying to figure out what's wrong with the sermons I hear.
I fear for my own boys, as they date and are involved. Could they answer those questions?Davidwww.redletterbelievers.com
I love those questions! I'm going to add them to my list...hmmm, it's about 150 questions now! Thanks for sharing brother.Blessings,Jay
I donâ€™t find the fatherâ€™s questions unanswerable or futile at all. I agree with you that the church seems preoccupied, in the absence of anything better to do, with formulas for abundant living or successful marriage. I think there is a related reason that we default to viewing God as an â€œimpersonal utilityâ€. At the risk of appearing divisive, I suggest we are setting out on a mission that we are incapable of completing. Jesus breathed into the disciples and said â€œreceive the Holy Spiritâ€, then gave the great commission and told them to wait for the promise of the Father, the enduement of power granted by the overflowing of the Holy Spirit. When filled with the Holy Spirit, no one has to wonder what their purpose is, take a class on evangelism, take a class on prayer, be nagged to read the Bible or be urged to love their brother. The disciples immediately started preaching, prophesying, speaking in tongues, meeting daily and sharing their goods with obvious religious enthusiasm. There was not a need yet for the Christian advise industry, seminars on abundant living, power point sermons and professional consultants. It was a very personal friendship with a very powerful God, not an advice initiated lifestyle.Later Peter took a group from Joppa to pray with a large group of gentiles at Cesaria. They all were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues exactly as the disciples from Joppa had. Then we see Paul converted, baptized in water and Ananias laying hands on him to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Of course, Paul later says to the Corinthians, â€œI speak in tongues more than you allâ€. From 1 Corinthians 14 we further know that the Corinthians all spoke in tongues (though not all had the prophetic gift of public tongues with interpretation). Then we see Paul towards the latter part of Acts meeting 12 new believers at Ephesus who were uncertain about their doctrine. He taught more about Jesus, they were baptized in water and he laid hands upon them to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit and they all spoke in tongues. Finally, years later in a letter to the Corinthians, Paul distinguished between non-believers, believers who were â€œun-giftedâ€ and believers who commonly spoke in tongues and prophesied (Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? 1 Cor 14:23 NASB).While the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues is no guarantee of holiness (it was intended for brand new believers), and no hedge against sin, carnality and marriage problems (witness the previous chapters of 1 Corinthians), it does produce an immediate boldness, imparts the desire to witness, dramatically increases faith, gives purpose, releases joy and enthusiasm and produces the kind of disciple who has to be told when to stop reading the Bible or not pray so long. God becomes very personal, very relevant and our ears become attuned to his voice. The book of Acts is full of statements such as â€œThe Holy Spirit saidâ€, â€œI was forbidden by the Holy Spiritâ€ or â€œit seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to usâ€. So I expect that Spirit-filled believers ought to be able to confidently answer â€œWhat has God said to you?â€.I love your statement. â€œIt is not our capacity to be his friend that should lend courage, but rather his capacity of friendship towards us. That is the friendship from which all blessings flow â€œ.
I am presently teetering on the brink of a painful divorce. My husband has been verbally and emotionally abusive to me throughout our four years of marriage--literally since the honeymoon--and we are presently separated. He claims to want to make things work, but I have seen little to no effort to do so on his part. I have done everything I know to do from being raised in a very conservative fundamentalist Christian home. I have prayed, I have studied, I have sought counseling, and it has only gotten worse. I hate the idea of a divorce but I hate the idea of living with this man for the rest of my life even more. I know God can change people, but that doesn't mean he will. I am still in my mid-twenties. (I got married very young.) I don't want to waste my youth trying to fix a marriage that I feel will only turn out to be unfixable. I want children and a happy marriage and I honestly cannot envision that happening with this man. I don't know what to do. Can anyone recommend a good website or book for me to read that will not simply parrot "God hates divorce" without offering any real solution or counsel?
Trust His friendship, not formulae. This is the message that He is sending my way this season. Hope you guys could read "So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore" by Jake Colsen (http://www.jakecolsen.com), and "Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge (http://www.ransomedheart.com). God bless.
Maybe try 'God, Marriage and Family' by Andreas Kostenberger. I Hope it helps, all the best.
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