Month: May 2019

Review: Young and in Love

Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage
by Ted Cunningham

Is falling in love and getting married young a sure red flag and a precursor to divorce? Ted Cunningham doesn’t think so. In Young and in Love, he writes that age isn’t the thing that causes divorces; immaturity is. He writes his book to young people who want to get married and are facing an uphill battle from parents and society that tell them to make sure their careers are settled first, encouraging them to find and display maturity.

First off, I love Cunningham’s thesis:

While there are many valid reasons to delay marriage, your age should not be on that list. Marriages fall apart for all sorts of reasons: unmet expectations, unrealistic expectations, buying into the “soul mate” myth, prolonged adolescence, lack of commitment, and a culture that devalues marriage. But to say those all go away with age is a fallacy. The issue is maturity, not age. (22)

YES. (more…)

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Review: Make Your Marriage Stronger

5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Marriage Stronger
by Ron Garwood

You can have a better marriage, and there’s some things you can do to secure that better marriage. In this little book – less than 100 pages! – Ron Garwood guides the reader through some simple steps you can take to strengthen your marriage.

First off: There is nothing wrong with this book. All the information is gospel-based and solidly presented. The advice is good advice, and I stand behind it. If you’ve never read anything about how to strengthen a marriage, this is a good place to begin.

That said… maybe I’ve read too many books about marriage, but this was both way too shallow and way too deep for the length of the book. (more…)

The Battle-Planning Has Ended

Planning

Every interaction with the church leadership required careful battle planning. How to explain this? What part of their spiritual immaturity was most likely to explode? How to deal with that ahead of time, if at all possible? Who do I need to talk with before it’s brought up in council?

Any time we had a meeting of the leadership of the church, I would stress out. It was a cause of ulcerous concern. I really would call it battle planning, and it would start weeks ahead of every meeting. And considering we usually met about monthly, that meant a lot of my time was filled up with just dealing with church leadership. So much mental and emotional space was crammed with all that.

I would feel the pressure building up weeks and weeks in advance. I’d pray that this person or that would simply not being at the meeting, so we could just get the thing done or addressed and move on. I hated it.

I tried to build bridges. More than once we had the church leadership over to the house for just a friendly meal… and though it wouldn’t turn into an argument, it did turn into a business meeting. The leadership couldn’t just talk about how their lives were going with each other; it had to be about the church every time we got together. Not about Jesus, mind you – about the congregation.

The stress grew and grew. I dreaded the meetings. There were parts of ministry I looked forward to, but it rarely had anything to do with anyone in leadership. As the pressure built, I hated that part of the ministry more and more.

And then we moved. (more…)

Review: Elijah

Elijah: Fiery Prophet
by James A. Aderman

Elijah served when a wicked king and queen suppressed worship of the one true God. Because of their evil, God shut the sky for three and a half years. Elijah struggled with depression as well, even asking God to kill him. And yet this prophet was used by God to share his Word in dramatic ways. This book takes the reader through the life of Elijah, seeing how he both received grace from God, and shared that grace with others around him.

Elijah is one of my favorite prophets to read about. I find his struggles with God and his own depression so incredibly relatable. I was looking forward to reading this little book that gives him a story-based biography. Unfortunately, some unique choices in the writing made it a hard read for me. (more…)

“Go get Jesus!”

IMG_20190507_205042.jpg

I don’t know.” She stares out over the river, her mind distant. “I mean, I try to do good. But my mind keeps on doing things. And I’ve done things.” She lapses into silence again. “I mean, I’ve done things that are bad. Really bad.” She looks down. “If it’s the Ten Commandments, if it’s really the Ten Commandments, I don’t know what I’d do.”

And I tell her.

I tell her it is the Ten Commandments. God says, “Be holy, as I the Lord your God am holy.” Jesus says, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” He says, “Do this and you will live.”

I really don’t have any hope, either. Not if it’s based on the Ten Commandments. No way. “The soul who sins is the one who dies.”

But then I point her to Jesus. “So, Jesus was holy. He was perfect. He really deserved life! And do you know what happened to him instead?”

She nods, a little hesitant. “He died on the cross.” (more…)

Review: It’s Not Too Late

It’s Not Too Late: The Essential Part You Play in Shaping Your Teen’s Faith
by Dan Dupee

So, your kid’s a teenager now. I guess that means your job leading them to faith is done, since they don’t listen to you anyway. Might as well hand them over to a youth minister. And if your kid’s in college? Well, expect them to sow some wild oats, and don’t expect them to ever show up in church. It’s just that time of their life.

Except… don’t.

In It’s Not Too Late, Dan Dupee puts out seven myths of bringing emerging adults to faith and keeping them there. He presents the myths and shows why each is false, using statistics, personal anecdotes from his position as a chairman for a national campus ministry, and lots of Scripture. He then shows how parents can use their influence to help their children continue walking with Christ.

Short review: Buy this book. Read it. Even if you don’t have a teenager or your children are grown, this book will be useful to you. Dupee points out that when infants are baptized, the entire congregation is asked if they will support the parents. That means every teen that has been baptized is part of every member’s responsibility to encourage. (more…)

Medicated Pastor

Pills

Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

My friends told me I needed to see a doctor. More than one friend. They said my depression was getting worse, and they could tell.

They were right.

I delayed going. I figured the next step would likely be meds. It can take a while to find the right med to help a person. That search is well worth it; I’ve seen the positive results. However, I needed time to be able to go through that search, and the buildup to Easter probably wasn’t the right time.

But Easter is done now. I’ve survived. And… and I want to the doctor.

Long story short: I’m now medicated. (more…)