WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT TITUS CONNECTION Volume 14, Number 10 – OCTOBER, 2020
Greetings. This month I am bragging on my wife, Ann, because of her relationship with Jesus and who she is. I would be a complete fool if I did not listen to her because she walks closely with her Lord and offers insights that impacts our marriage and ministry. Thanks for praying for the both of us. Mike
MARRIAGES THAT IMPACT CULTURES
In connecting with ministry people throughout the world, I sense at times an aspect of marriages that is missing or brushed aside due to culture or as males growing up, is that it was not modeled to us. When we read, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:7-9), there is a tendency to focus on the sexual aspect. Granted this aspect is a part of the two becoming one flesh, but there is so much more. When husbands do not rely on their wives to give them wisdom and insight as they live each day and as they seek the guidance of the Lord, we are missing so much. Our wives are not just good for making meals, doing the laundry and having babies, as has been quoted to me more than once by pastors’ wives. Let me ask this question and open the discussion up to both spouses. What does it mean to you to have your spouse a part of your life? Another way to ask is, what role does your spouse play in your life? Do you consider your spouse to be a growing, developing spiritual person? Are you building into your spouse? I must admit that the number of role model godly, biblical couples is not that high but that does not excuse any of us to keep those numbers low. We all have access to the Bible and for the most part, can read and comprehend at some elementary level. Plus, if we are believers, we do have the Holy Spirit as a teacher and counselor for us. Why do pastors’ wives lament that they are only good for making food, doing laundry and having babies? We are not actively seeking to develop a oneness with our spouse. One of my biggest problems in my marriage to Ann of 39 years is a lack of communicating with her especially as I set my time schedules. Too often I have had Ann fit into my schedule rather than working it out together. I have to be intentional about communicating with Ann. One thing I have learned and where I needed to patiently wait on the Lord’s guidance and Ann’s speaking into my life, is where it comes to the guidance of the Lord. As a married couple, I truly believe the Lord speaks to both Ann and I. So often she has given me wisdom and insight when making a ministry or a personal life decision that was spot on. I see Ann spending time developing her relationship with Jesus, opening the Word of God and wrestle through passages of Scripture that mold and shape who she is. I also see her as a prayer warrior where prayer and spending time in the Word as priorities in her life. You may say that your spouse is not making the development of their spiritual life a priority. Okay, find out why and help your spouse develop. Your spouse may be your first disciple you need to come along side to help in their spiritual walk. Perhaps due to raising the children, dealing with daily household chores or a situation where there is a current struggle with God over something, what can you do to help your spouse get to the place where their walk with Jesus is their number one priority? You may need to throw out your cultural norms to make your spouse your number one priority, outside of your relationship with Jesus. Be biblical here and prioritize your spouse. You married the person, you are united to that person, now live as you are united. Ann has given me so much godly advice over our years together, I am sorrowful when I do not listen carefully to what she is telling me. She knows me the best as any person on earth and the Holy Spirit has proven time and time again, her wisdom comes from her relationship with the Lord. Let us raise up a generation of godly couples who are looked to in our cultures as the examples of how to have a quality, God-honoring marriage.
YOUTH MINISTRY – SPONGES
Our lives can be like a sponge. Sponges are primarily used to clean things as they hold liquid for a while. Now read what Jesus said in Mark 7:14-15, 20-23, “Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Do this experiment. Take a sponge and put it in a pan of water, squeeze it, allowing the sponge to expand. Pick it up and the sponge will eventually begin to drip water. Some objectives of this exercise are we all need sources of encouragement, inspiration, knowledge, wisdom and strength to soak into to have something to offer not only to ourselves, but to others as well. When we dip into these sources, we become saturated and then we potentially can begin to drip encouragement, inspiration, knowledge, wisdom and strength. As we interact with others and drip good on others, we positively impact their lives. Yet, the opposite is also true where we dip into negative sources, and also become saturated with negativity, dripping that on others. As we drip on others, pressures and normal life activities of life can speed up what we dripping and eventually what is in our sponge (our life) can dry up where all the liquid is drained out of the sponge. If we do not return to the positive sources to get rejuvenated from good sources, we will become very ineffective, hurting people as we rub up against them. The other fact is if we use up all the liquid in the sponge, it can quickly become an irritant, causing soreness on our skin or even open sores. Have you ever had an old, dry sponge rub against you? To remedy that is to place the sponge in a water source again to draw in the water and start dripping again. The secret in all of this is to have your sponge, which is your life, draw from excellent sources of “liquid nutrients”, because whatever is in you (the sponge) will come out, just like Jesus said in Mark 7. What are you saturating your mind with? Is it good, quality information, music, truth from the Bible, insights from wise people and what you watch? Or are you putting into your mind, things that will cause impure thoughts, hatred, wicked and evil thoughts, greed, deceitfulness and foolish ideas by what you read, see, listen and interact with to include people you hang around with? As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. What you fill your mind with will come out. Whatever is in your mind impacts you. Do not blame others for wrong. It is entrenched in our hearts. What kind of sponge are you, one that can be used by Jesus to draw people to Him or does your sponge repel people, driving them from Jesus? Make sure we have good water sources so that what is in us will honor Jesus.