Why My Wife Just Retired

DSC 0037 edited 1 My wife just retired.  At least that's what we jokingly tell each other.  As of last week Kaitlyn (my wife) quit her job in order to become a full-time Mom.  We live in a day and age where stay at home moms are becoming rare.  Part of this is because materialism so often rules the home.  Kaitlyn staying home to be a Mom is not a smart financial move on our part, that's for sure!  So why is she staying home?

We made this decision because of some deep Biblical convictions we hold on manhood, womanhood, and parenting.  I'm going to share our reasons with you, but I want you to take caution to my words.  I am not commanding that everyone needs to imitate us.  Not every Mom is able to stay at home (ex. single moms).  However, many Christians fail to examine the Scriptures carefully enough to see how they speak concerning home and family.  Christians must lay themselves bare before the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal sin and places where we need correction.  In our decisions, that is what Kaitlyn and I have done our best to do by the grace  of God.

Since this is a blog post and not a book, there will be no way that I will be able to provide compelling Biblical arguments for each of these reasons in just a short blog post.  However for more reading I would recommend this website and this book if you want more of the Scriptural arguments.

The Husband is the Provider

We see in the Scriptures that one of the main responsibilities of the husband is to be the provider. God has given this responsibility to the husband, not the wife.  We see this most clearly in Genesis 3:17-19, the curse Man is under due to sin.  "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread" (v.19).  It is the husbands job to make sure there is food on the table, the bills are paid, and his families' needs are met.

In my experience, many Christian husbands fail at this.  They pass on their curse to their wives and force them to work in order to maintain their current lifestyle.  I can't tell you how many Christian moms I've talked to who wish they could stay home and raise the children but their husbands will not let them.  Men, this is a failure on our part to be the providers of our family.  This means that when finances gets tight, it is the husband who picks up extra hours or a second job.  The husband must provide for the needs (not necessarily the wants) of his family.

For Kaitlyn and I, putting this Biblical principle into practice in our life was pretty obvious, though not easy.  This means that I am responsible for the finances of my family.  I will make sure their is money for food and it is my role in the family to make sure there is.  I'm not going to lie to you, this decision will be costly for us.  Our budget will be very tight (after all I live on a Youth Pastor's salary!).  No more movies together or eating out at restaurants, but the basic needs for our family will be met by me. Biblically we believe, the Husband is the provider.

The Wife is to be Homeward in Orientation

We see in the Scriptures that the wife is to be homeward in orientation.  We see this in the Scriptures in Genesis 3:16 and in passages like Proverbs 31.  Homeward in Orientation does not forbid a woman to work outside the home (we see this in Proverbs 31).  However, it does mean that the priority for a wife and mother should be running the home.  Outside work should not distract her from her primary tasks as wife and mother.  The Bible teaches that the most valuable thing a wife and mother can do is to give her life in bringing up the next generation in the Lord.  Although the wife's role is equal in worth to the husbands, it is different.

One of the reasons I decided to marry Kaitlyn is because she desired to be homeward in orientation.  Over and over again she would tell me that her divine calling in life was to be a wife and mother.  I praise God for her that she is so willing to give up a career to give all her energy to me and my children.  It truly is her joy to be obedient in the Scriptures in this area and I praise God for her and hold her out as an example for other Christian women to imitate.  I'm currently trying to convince her to write a guest blog post describing her own perspective on this issue! Hopefully that will be coming very soon. Stay tuned! (You can subscribe to make sure you don't miss an update)

The Goal of Parenting is Discipleship

"Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children  of one's youth" (Psalm 127:3-4).  This Psalm has been instrumental in my personal understanding of parenting.  You see children are a reward and a blessing, not a curse and a burden.  To have children is the most precious gift and having a quiver full is a good thing! You see, the goal of parenting is discipleship.  Parents raise up their children in the Scriptures, teaching and modeling the Gospel, and then send them out to change the world.  By doing this parents are just like a warrior plunging godly, Christ-centered arrows into the darkness of the culture.  We discovered and believe that the most important thing Kaitlyn and I can do with our lives is disciple the next generation.  No other labor will exceed us or out last us like the labor of parenting.  Discipling our children is one of the greatest and lasting legacies we can achieve.

After examine these Scriptural truths, Kaitlyn and I could not help but joyfully "retire" her from the work force so that she could spend her life on the most eternally significant of tasks: the discipleship of the next generation.  We could not be more excited about this decision and we will trust the Lord every step of the way!  Although we don't expect every Christian home to imitate us, but we pray that more Christians will make their family decisions in light of God's Word.

 

6 Ways to Spiritually Lead Your Wife

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As Christians, we have the Biblical conviction that the husband is to be the leader of the home.  We believe that this is God's intention and healthy design for the family.  However, although many Christians strive to have a Biblical understanding of family, many men fail to be the spiritual leaders of their home.  When I first got married, one of the things I struggled with most, is leading my wife spiritually.  To be honest, many churches fail to train the men in their church to be godly husbands and dads.  As I've talked with other brothers, I've seen that many have had the same struggle that I've had.  How do we practically lead our wives spiritually?  It is a crucial question.  Although I am far from perfect in this area (as my wife told me last night!), by God's grace I have grown in this area over the past 2 1/2 years of my marriage.  Here are some real practical tips for how you can lead your wife spiritually. 

1. You Can't Give What You Don't Have

This should go without saying, but I'm startled by how many men fail to understand this principle.  How can you expect to lead your wife to the throne of grace if you are not daily going there yourself? If you hope to lead your wife spiritually, you must violently pursue Jesus Christ.  You cannot expect to encourage and disciple your wife if you are not growing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This means that you must prioritize studying the Scriptures every day. Make prayer a habit that takes place throughout the day.  Find some good books to read that encourages you to grow and become the christian, husband, and dad that you need to be.  You can't give what you don't have, and you can't expect to lead your wife spiritually if you are not vigorously pursuing Christ yourself.  

2. Initiate Prayer with your Wife Daily

Husband, you need to make it a daily habit to pray together with your wife.  This is so easy to do, but for some reason so difficult for us to initiate.  Praying before meals doesn't count here.  Husband, you need to grab your wife by the hand, ask her how you can pray for her, then….. You do it!  Pray for her right then and there.  In my own marriage, Kaitlyn and I have found that this happens best at night.  We have been working on making prayer together a nightly ritual as a couple.  We finish our day by talking about what is going on in our lives, then I lead us in prayer.  This is so practical and easy to do, but so many of us struggle to just pray with our wife.  If your wife is craving for you to spiritually lead the home (as she should!) start today by just taking your wife's hands and praying with her.  

3. Read the Scriptures or a Devotion Together

Start reading a book of the Bible together.  Read a chapter a night, and talk about what the Lord is teaching your through it.  Discuss it and open up about what the Lord is teaching you.  Maybe find a good devotional book together.  For a while Kaitlyn and I were reading Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening together.  Again, this is obviously simple, but sometimes we are so stubborn to see it!  It might be awkward the first week or so, but make it a habit to read the word together and the Lord will use it to draw you closer to Himself and closer to each other. 

4. Counsel your Wife with the Gospel

Every husband should learn how to counsel his wife.  Indeed, every christians is to learn how to counsel other christians with the Word of God.  A husband should learn to do this for his wife.  A big part counseling her in the Word is actually listening, which is tough for us men.  In a day with smart phones, TV, and iPads we are so quickly distracted.  In order to counsel your wife, you need to listen to your wife. This means giving her your undivided attention and listening.  It also means learning to apply the Gospel to your wife's struggle.  Questions to ask are, What does God's Word say about this situation?  How does God's grace change the way I think about this problem? How can God use this situation for his glory and our good? Questions like this can shepherd your wife's heart.  Listen, be attentive, and apply the Gospel in your conversations.  

5. Be Involved in Biblical Community Together

Notice that this does not say "let your wife drag you to church and hurry home to catch the football game".  As a pastor I see so many men who get dragged to church by their wives and show no interest in being there.  There is no love for the things of God and there is no love for his bride, the church.  As a husband and the spiritually leader of the home, you should be the one that initiates belonging to the body of Christ.  This means that you make it a priority to go to church on Sunday morning, but Biblical community is much more than showing up for a service on Sunday.  This means that you make the initiative of getting involved in a Sunday School class or Small Group.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines, take the initiative and get your family involved in Biblical community.  

As a pastor, I've noticed a really bizarre and disturbing trend in some churches.  So often I see husbands and wives going to two different Sunday School classes.  I'm going to be honest, this doesn't make any sense to me.  Sure, sometimes we need accountability with the same sex, and that's a good thing.  But a husband and wife should be in community with the body of Christ together, learning and building relationships together.  

6.  Serve the Lord Together 

One of the great ways God has grown Kaitlyn and I together spiritually is through serving the church.  Kaitlyn and I have always done ministry together as man and wife. Whether she is helping me out on a youth event or I am helping out at the pregnancy center, we serve the Lord together.  We are a team. I think many couples would benefit from serving the Lord together.  Volunteer together at a ministry at the church.  Go invite your lost neighbors over for dinner and share the Gospel with them together.  Serve the Lord together as a couple.  Husband, take the initiative here and take your wife by the hand and joyfully serve the Lord together.

Husbands, I hope you are picking up on a common theme throughout this blog.  The key word here is INITIATE.  We need godly men who take the lead in the spiritual life of the home.  Husband, you have been given the biblical responsibility of pastoring your family.  You are to lead your wife like Christ led the church.  You are to lay down your life for her, just like Jesus did for you on the cross.  The Bible makes this clear:  

   “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,” (Ephesians 5:25–29, ESV)  

Husband, you are called by God to lay down your life for your bride.  You must give yourself up for her sanctification.  To be the spiritual leader of the home, means you are to be the disciple maker in the home.  You are to disciple your wife and your children in the word of God.  As you sacrificially give up your wants, God will use your leadership for your wives spiritual maturity.

So how are you doing in leading your wife spiritually?  We are faulty men who will struggle and fail often, but there is grace at the cross of Christ.  Today ask your wife this question, and be prepared for an honest answer; How am I leading you spiritually? Have you grown in spiritual maturity since I became your husband? More than ever we need husbands who will rise to the challenge to be the pastors of their homes and shepherd the soul of their wife and children for the glory of God!

How have you lead your wife spiritually? What tips would you add or have worked well in your marriage?  Why is leading our wives spiritually such a struggle? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Biblical Manhood From 1 Timothy 3:1-7

In our youth ministry, we are currently studying what the Bible says about Manhood and Womanhood.  Recently I preached on Biblical Manhood and this is an edited excerpt of that sermon.  The tone is aggressive and sometimes harsh, but aims to speak the blunt truth to teenage guys.   There is a crisis of manhood in the America.  We need better men.  In fact today we see less and less men rising to the responsibility of finding a job, marrying a wife, and being a father and more and more boys who simply wish to extend adolescence.  We live in a world where men are absent and all that remains are boys who can shave. They refuse to take responsibility for themselves and the people they care about.  They'd rather depend on mommy and daddy to pay the bills so that they can play video games rather than getting a job and supporting themselves. They would rather have casual sex with women rather than committing to one in marriage, and when things get tough they run away rather than being a man and fighting through it. As a result the divorce rate is at an all time high and more and more children are growing up in fatherless homes. We need less boys and more men.

In God's word we are going to look at the qualification for the church position of overseer. In the NT the language of overseer, elders, and pastor are synonymous. As an ordained pastor, this is my Biblical qualifications. If I do not measure up to this list then I am disqualified from pastoral ministry. Although these list of qualifications are for pastors, these are the qualities that all men should aspire to have. Pastors are to be an example to the flock of what Biblical Masculinity should look like. They are not always perfect, but these qualifications that Paul lays out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 describe the characteristics of a Godly man.  We are going to go through them one by one.

Above Reproach

This is a junk drawer term that describes that a man is to be of blameless character. In other words, Paul is asking is there anything in your life that a person could look toward and say against your character.  For example, are you a liar? Did you cheat on that test? Do you put people down with your words? Are you lazy and spend more time on Halo than in the Bible?

Husband of One Wife

Guys, you are to be a one woman man, and that woman your wife. In your relationships with women you are not supposed to be a flirt or have a reputation for fooling around with lots of woman. This characteristic of biblical manhood means that you have sex with one woman, and that woman is your wife after you've committed before God in marriage. A real man doesn't have sex with digitized woman on his computer screen in pornography, and he doesn't do anything sexual with a girlfriend. This is contrary to every thing our culture teaches us. You are encouraged by our culture to have sex without consequences and to push the line as far as possible. Boys trick girls into having sex with them without responsibility or commitment.  A real man, a Godly man protects woman from sexual immorality and waits to have sex with his wife until they are married.

Sober Minded and self controlled

This idea shows that a man is free from rash actions. A sober minded man doesn't let his anger or hormones get the best of them. He is in control of his thought life and is calm, cool, and collected. He doesn't get spontaneous rages, he doesn't act like a baby when he doesn't get his way. He is in control of his thoughts, his emotions and his actions.

Respectable

Does anyone respect you? Amongst your friends, do any one respect you or do they just think you’re a joke? Are you the goofball always cracking everyone up but the one no body takes seriously? Real men understand that respect isn't something that's entitled, it is something that is earned through hard work and dedication. Are your respected?

Hospitable

A real man is welcoming and caring to people they don't know. When there is a new person at school are you the one joining them for lunch or the one gathering your friends together to tease them? When a new person walks into your church, do you distance yourself and get into your clique of friends, or do you reach out and welcome them?  A real man is hospitable and welcoming to strangers.

Able to Teach

This is one of the specific skills that are required only of Pastors. Not everyone will have this gifting and ability to stand up and teach people. However men, let me ask you this. Are you able to clearly explain what you believe to another individual? Can you tell your friends why Jesus came to die? Can you tell them what they must do to be saved.  A real man knows what he believes and can communicate it.

Not a drunkard

This is the first negative qualification. A Godly man must refrain from being filled with drunkenness or any other substance. A Godly man is not addicted to any substance which includes alcohol, illegal drugs, and even cigarettes. Substances don't control a Godly Man, the Holy Spirit does.

Not Violent but gentle

A Godly man is not violent. He doesn't handle conflict by raising his fist, but rather through the reasoning of his tongue. A godly man doesn't threat or intimidate in order to get what he wants. A Godly man is gentle and kind and handles conflict in love, not in aggression.

Not Quarrelsome

Real men don't go looking for fights. They are not always trying to stir up drama and encourage conflict.  He has a peaceable attitude and seeks to maintain unity rather than division.

Not a lover of Money

A real man doesn't love possessions he loves people.  A Godly man isn't concerned with what's in it for him or accumulating vast wealth. He loves Jesus far more than he loves money and as a result he is generous and loving.

A Family Man

He loves his wife, he parents his children, he provides for his family. He knows that He is the head of the household and that he is responsible for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of his family.  A Godly man leads, provides for, and protects his family.

Maturity of Faith

Godly men are to be mature believers in Jesus. They are rooted deeply in the Bible. They know and love Jesus and they are planted firmly in Him for his foundation. A Godly man is a mature Christian man who walks in humility growing and maturing in Jesus Christ.

Many of you are living like your father Adam. In the Garden Adam failed miserably. He passively watched as he let Eve took that first bite. He failed to lead his wife. He failed to protect her from the temptation of the serpent. Many of you are following in Adam's footsteps as a cowardly and passive man.  Don't be like Adam, be like Jesus. Jesus is a man's man. He lived righteously and perfectly. He led sacrificially as laid down his life on the cross for us. There is a reason that Paul tells husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Real men are to be like Jesus.

Many of you guys God is calling out to you. Just like God calling for Adam in the Garden, God is calling out to you. Where are you? Where are the men? Will you rise to the challenge. Will you become a man or remain as a boy. Will you rise to the challenge or are you going to be a coward? God is calling you to stand up and courageously live out your life for the glory of God.