Marriage: Friendship and Co-Working

Since I've had a goal to love my family better this year, I'm continually hunting down resources that can help me do that. And I'd like to share those helpful articles with you, too.

From Ed Welch, Three Relationship Rules:

  1. If something bothers you, give it to the relationship. Talk together, as opposed to making pronouncements. The key is putting the relationship first.
  2. When one person is working, the other person should be working too. Big one for me.
  3. If the other person asks you to do something and you can do it right away, then do it right away. Another big one for me.

From Michael Hyatt, How to Become Your Spouse's Best Friend [podcast and video]:

Lots of great tips in this video and podcast, including these three practical steps:
  1. Make a list of what you want in a best friend.  
  2. Become that person for your spouse.  
  3. Keep sowing the seeds until the relationship blossoms.  

From Tim Keller, You Never Marry the Right Person:  

"Why would it be easy to live lovingly and well with another human being in light of what is profoundly wrong within our human nature? . . . So the biblical doctrine of sin explains why marriage—more than anything else that is good and important in this fallen world—is so painful and hard.

From All Pro Dad, Difficult Things Men Need to Understand About Marriage

  1. Commitment is more important than love. 
  2. Being right is overrated. 
  3. Change is part of the definition of "alive." 
  4. "My hopes and dreams" must submit to "our hopes and dreams."
  5.  Denial is never a real-world solution. 
  6. It's not what happens to you, it's how you respond.

From Paul Tripp, Romantically Pulling Weeds:  

"A healthy marriage doesn't develop overnight; it takes the daily work of pulling weeds and planting seeds. We wish that with just a little sprinkle of romantic Miracle-Gro like Valentine Day's, our marriage would blossom, but that's not the reality."

For more, pick up the best marriage book I've ever read: What Did You Expect??

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[Book Review] The Story of King Jesus

The Story of King Jesus (by Ben Irwin) is apparently intended to be a shorter version of The Jesus Storybook Bible. And if you like the latter, you will probably enjoy the former.

But I don't.

I'm not a big fan of storybook bibles and devotionals. They tend to "soften" up theology, and the wording is often too flowery for my taste. Nevertheless, I have used them in the past and plan to do so in the future.

While The Story of King Jesus is not a storybook Bible, it does communicate the whole story of the Bible and God's redemption. That is, it communicates as well as you could in the time-frame of a bedtime story for 4-8 year olds (the intended audience).

Theological Hurdles

However, a few problems with this book leads me to give it two stars out of five:
  • There is no mention of the word "sin," an important idea that parents should be teaching their elementary school children. This book refers to people doing "bad" things. 
  • The authors misses an important purpose of the Old Testament Law. He writes that it was for God's people to know how to live. However, Paul writes that the Law was given to expose our sin nature and to show how much we needed a Savior (Galatians 3:19).
  • The only "job" from our King, according to this book, is to "love each other with all we've got." But that ignores the first of the two great commandments: to love God with all we've got (Mark 12:30-31). 
  • The page that talks about the world being broken is depicted by angry and sad people (OK, I'm with you there), plus a bulldozer and a factory emitting fumes and clouds. Really? While I do think that we are to be stewards of creation, we can do better than make this a major issue.

All that being said, there may be a place for The Story of King Jesus in your home. That is, if you can look past the questionable theology and $15 price tag.

Do You Want a Free Copy?

And if you want to avoid the price tag, you can get a free copy of this book. The publisher (David C Cook) will send one of my readers a copy. You can enter to win by leaving a comment here or on the Facebook post, by replying on Twitter, or by emailing me.

The deadline for entering is Saturday April 18.

My recommendation: try to get this free copy, or borrow from another resource, and read it with your kids. But be sure to follow up reading it with a discussion of the theological issues I listed above.

**Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of The Story of King Jesus in return for this review.

Should Students Wear School Uniforms?

Are you in favor of or against school uniforms? Or are you indifferent?

If I had to make a guess, I would suppose that:
  • Nearly all students children and teenagers are against the idea. 
  • About half of parents are in favor of the idea. 
  • Most school administrators like the idea, but most of them don't know if it's worth the effort to push for it. 
Over the years, I've come to see the value of schools having uniforms for their students, and I would be completely in favor of any of my kids' schools instilling this policy.

(Of course, we are not high-stakes players in this game, since only one of our children will be in public school next year.)

Why? Read my latest post on the Family Matters blog to learn more. And please share your thoughts by leaving a comment here, or on that site.

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

How I Probably Need to Change as a Parent

As a parent of adult children (who now have children of their own), Mark Altrogge reflects on Things I Would Do Differently If I Were Raising My Children Again. He lists a total of 7 things, but these three stood out to me as ways I probably need to change:
  1. I wouldn’t emphasize manners as much.
  2. I would try to draw them out more as teenagers.  
  3. I would try not to expect our kids to change their attitudes immediately. 

Intrigued? Read the full article here.

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A Good Friday, Indeed

It's a great day for those of us who are in Christ.
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."  (II Corinthians 5:21)

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed." (Romans 3:23-25) 

"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit."  (I Peter 3:18)

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Favorite Tweets for March

From the (HT: How To Be a Dad):

Makes sense. Except for those of you who keep nasty stuff like that.

Here were some other things I caught or shared on Twitter.

From Others:

@PaulTripp:  Corporate worship is designed to remind you of the instability of your own heart and the eternal stability and reliability of God's grace.

@BJ116:  If 2014 taught us nothing else it should've taught us that the way we approach racism needs to be totally different in 2015.

@JimGaffigan:  When is there going to be an eating contest for Girl Scouts cookies? 

@DJack116:  Worst than an atheist is one who says they believe in God, yet lives as though He doesn't exist.

@WillSamariLittle known fact: sulfur, phosphorous, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and guacamole are the fundamental building blocks of life.

SamOhhh"What feels like struggle and frustration is often skill development and growth." - James Clear

From Me:

My life: Lots of passion, but very little know-how about the things I'm most passionate about.

Could we bring an idea like to ?

We're excited about the event this Saturday!

: The single biggest thing you can do to break the cycle of .

"Just kidding!" ~ warm weather

"The sin of partiality comes down to NOT LOVING others." ,

"Are We There Yet?" -- Thoughts for Passover

"Are we there yet? When will we get there?"

Have you ever taken a long trip with your kids, and heard this? If you haven't heard this, then you probably haven't driven more than 90 minutes with your children.

But in truth, we are not much different than our children. We like the idea of the destination, but we don't like the idea of the journey. We want to enjoy the fruits, without the labor.

The First Passover and Journey

Recall the story of the first Passover, in the book of Exodus. The Hebrews were told by God to leave Egypt on short notice. They packed up their essentials ("go-bags," if you will), and headed out, not even waiting long enough for their bread to rise.

And off they went on what amounted to be a 40-year journey.

During those years and years, can you imagine how often the Israelite parents heard, "Are we there yet?" Those parents didn't have DVD players or a Nintendo DS to occupy their children.

It's hard to imagine, but I guess 40 years in the wilderness is slightly worse than driving down I-95 to south Florida. There is nothing like crossing the GA-FL border and realizing you have only 360 miles to go. (There's a palm tree. There's another palm tree. There's another . .") 

The Hebrews wanted out of Egypt, and they wanted to be in the Promised Land, but they didn't want to trust in God's provision of the time in-between. They wanted safety and provision from God on their terms.

Our Journey Today

When it comes to our spiritual journey, we are not much different than those Hebrews wandering in the wilderness:
  • We want heaven, but we don't want to endure in life's struggles. 
  • We want spiritual maturity, but we don't want the daily disciplines of personal prayer and Bible reading. 
  • We want the gospel to spread, but we don't want to make significant sacrifices to make it happen. 
And yet we continue to ask Jesus, "Are we there yet?" We wonder if we have endured enough, learned enough, and served enough.

But if you are reading this post (or ignoring it), you know the answer is "No."


We parents, especially if your children are preschool or elementary-age, wonder the same. We are physically and/or emotionally exhausted and wonder when we will be done.

We want respectful kids, but we don't want to discipline that 4-year old one more time. We want a good relationship with our children, but we fail to yield our desires and schedules to build into their lives. We want teenagers who are independent, but we don't want to go through the struggle and fear of letting go (and we don't have an on-going exit plan).

(And don't think I'm judging anyone. I'm more guilty of these things than anyone else.)

Not "There" Yet

What do we do? We follow the example of the Hebrews leaving Egypt at the first Passover:
  1. Pack your bag. Understand the essentials of what you really need for this journey, as a disciple of Christ, and as a parent. 
  2. Take the first step. Realize that you may have to make many changes, but start with one. 
  3. Move. Make progress. Pursue your goal (as a disciple and as a parent) continually. Get help and support from others. Keep enduring, knowing that life will be full of pressures and challenges.
  4. Don't stop. Don't look back (one mistake that the Hebrews made). Don't settle for anything less that what God has for you. Keep the faith. Know that God offers hope, rest, and salvation. He has proven His commtement to you through sacrificing His Son as the atonement for our sins. 
"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience."  (Hebrews 4:9-11)

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