Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Aaron Armstrong on Encourage your pastor, be fruitful.

How do you encourage your pastor? In some ways, the answer seems obvious. We know we should pray for them (and hopefully we do). We know we should thank them. We know we should find ways to help them (all ideas I’ve discussed here). But there’s another way we can do this—simply, by being fruitful.

Marlena Graves on Raising Christians kids in a sex filled culture.

I believe the porn pandemic and other forms of illicit sex are really a result of our failure to love God and our neighbors. Consequently, we cannot merely fixate on “Don’t do this, don’t do that” instruction or on isolating our children. They need to know deep down why we do what we do or don’t do.

Tim Challies on Stopping an affair before it begins.

At one time or another, most of us witnessed the devastation that comes through infidelity in marriage. We have seen marriages stretched almost to the breaking point and we have seen marriages destroyed by an unfaithful husband or unfaithful wife. Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is simply one step in a long chain of events, one decision in a long series of poor decisions.

10 Ways to leverage Christmas to reach unchurched people.

So…how are you leveraging Christmas to reach unchurched people? After all, there is really only one time of year left in Western culture when our culture still celebrates something Christians hold dear, and that’s Christmas. What surprising is that many churches don’t really leverage it to make the impact it could.

David Murrow on How to preach to men.

It’s been said that a good sermon is like a good skirt: long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep you interested.

Thom Rainer on 6 pastoral lessons from the coach of a football team that never punts.

The joy, work and beauty of motherhood.

Links of the Week

  1. 5 reasons men cheat and how to stay faithful. This is based on a Gallup study and put out by Men’s Health. Interesting how biblical there 5 ways to stay faithful are and some good stuff to think about. The best thing Katie and I have done besides a weekly date night is setting up boundaries.
  2. Andy Crouch on the Ten most significant cultural trends of the last decade. Huge implications to ministry in the church as we try to reach the culture.
  3. Living gospel centered. You need to read this post.
  4. Watch this great video with Scott Thomas and Jeff Vanderstelt talking about what living on mission looks like.
  5. Trevin Wax on Reframing the discussion on homosexuality and the Bible. This is one of the best things I’ve read on this topic. Wow.
  6. Rest and the pastor’s soul.
  7. C.J. Mahaney on What the bible says about productivity. This was a really helpful thing for me, lots of great things in this short e-book.
  8. Luke Simmons on Leadership development. Luke is a good friend and has been to Revolution several times to preach and he has some great insights.
  9. Perry Noble on 6 steps to overcoming obesity Part 1 and Part 2. I’ve shared my journey and struggle with my weight before and Perry is right on when he says being overweight is a spiritual issue first.
  10. 17 signs of a fast growing church.
  11. John Starke on Teaching children the gospel in everyday prayers.
  12. Church trends with Jim Tomberlin. This has been a great series by Tony Morgan on what leaders see as the coming trends in church, this one in particular caught my eye.

#6 of 09: Marriage, Cheating, Football & Steve McNair

I’ve been watching with the interest since last Saturday about the death of Steve McNair. One of the best quarterbacks of our time, killed in a murder-suicide (according to ESPN).

What this shows, once again is how easy it is to cheat, but also how dangerous it is.

I think in our culture, we’ve become used to the idea of cheating and we have a nice word for it, affair. But as Mark Driscoll says, “Affairs are what you get dressed up for, affairs are the prom. Cheating is adultery.” We need to use the right words so we understand the damage they inflict. Affair/adultery/cheating, however you want to slice it, it will inflict sometimes, irreconcilable pain. Even Skip Bayless at ESPN understands this when he tweeted, “McNair findings prove once again that affairs can be extremely dangerous. The danger makes them more exciting. But it can be lethal.”

I think most people would agree that cheating whether in a marriage or dating is wrong. But how does it happen? What is considered cheating?

It happens because on some level, there is a need that is not being met. It might be a need that you are aware of and have even talked with your significant other about, or it might be a need you have not realized. When that need is not being met, you will instinctively go looking for someone to fill that need. When that happens, cheating becomes easier.

There is a great book His Needs, Her Needs that lays out the basic needs for men and women. When these needs are not met, according to the authors, your love bank is not filled, it makes withdrawals. When your love bank is empty, you look to fill it.

For men, the needs are: sexual fulfillment (this is different from just sex), recreational companion, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration/respect.

For women, the needs are: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, safety and security, and family support.

What often happens in our culture is we only see the womens needs as the necessary ones. “Of course he wants sex” people will say. Or, “how degrading, an attractive spouse.”

Think about it like this, if your husband talked with you with as much enthusiasm and frequency as you have sex with him, how would you like that. If the answer is, “he already does” then you have a problem.

Katie and I sat down early in our marriage and explained to the other what each one of these needs meant for us. It is different for each person. Your husband defines what is attractive, not a magazine cover, so let him tell you. If you do this, you will actually meet the need of conversation (look at that!)

There are also different levels of cheating. It could be physical (which is what we often think about) or it could be emotional or mental. Cheating happens when we allow someone we are not married to to meet a need that our spouse should be meeting.

So how does cheating happen? It doesn’t just happen, it takes place over weeks, months, sometimes years. Slowly, your love bank depletes and it is not refilled. Then, a man shows you attention, he is easy to talk to, interested in your life and you find yourself opening up to him, wishing your husband was like that. You are right there.

Or, a woman compliments you, she takes pride in how she looks (ironically, study after study say that people cheat on their spouse with someone less attractive than their spouse, so it isn’t looks), takes an interest in you, asks about what you like and bam.

Katie and I often talk about how we don’t meet with someone of the opposite sex alone and we get some weird stares. The reason. If you aren’t alone with someone, you aren’t in the position to cheat on your spouse. If you don’t share intamite things with someone, you can’t be amazed by someone. This doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people you aren’t married to, but it does mean you are guarded around those people.

Do you share things with people of the opposite sex that you don’t share with your spouse? Are you making memories or having experiences with someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself looking nice for someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself thinking about what someone other than your spouse is doing? How they’ll be dressed when you see them tonight? When you are talking or having sex with your spouse, do you find yourself thinking about that person?

If you answered yes to any of these, you are having an emotional affair. Which sometimes, but not always, leads to a physical affair.

See how easy it is?