by Justin Day
A retired love guru once said:
So if you have been around Volunteers For Christ and Cornerstone Church for a while, you will have (hopefully) noticed that guy/girl relationships are a bit different. We don’t date. We have kissed goodbye to dating and said hello to courtship!
That’s right, all of us weirdos at VFC have kicked dating to the curb and chosen to embrace courting. Since there is no explicit discussion in scripture on how to conduct premarital relationships, the only valid reason I can muster for our converstion to courtship from traditional dating would be to abstain from sinning.
Given this, if both people involved want to engage in dating with the goal of living like Christians would there still be reason to practice courting? Or rather, is there something else involved in courtship that should cause us to practice courtship over dating? And most importantly, is that found in scripture?
P.S. As a sidenote, next week we’re planning on kicking computers to the curb and embracing papyrus. Laptops just make it too easy to sin.
Edit: I did not intend for this joke to be offensive, but completely light hearted. If anyone found it to be offensive then I apologize. I would never want to bring division among brethren over such an issue. So if this joke did offend you, then I’m sorry. Please don’t let it stop you from commenting and contributing to good discussion.
by Mike Plewniak
Lust: Is it biology or is it sin? To understand what’s going on inside of us, Josh says we need to begin with God and how He has created us. “We need to reclaim sexual desire as God’s amazing and good gift to us.” Where in the world did these desires come from? I love this paragraph where Josh writes, “One moment you’re a kid and the opposite sex is yucky — boys are gross and girls have cooties. The next day the world turns upside down. Hormones begin to pump, your body transforms, hair starts to show up in weird places, and this pulsing, driving, burning sexual awareness and desire begins flowing through your veins like molten lava.”
It’s good to know that God gives those desires to drive us toward something — this wonderful gift of marriage and sex. It’s good to understand that having a sex drive is not lust. But, lust does hijack our sex drive and want sex outside of the context God has created it for — marriage. This list is very helpful so that we do not feel guilty for having these desires:
– It’s not lust to be attracted to someone
– It’s not lust to have a strong desire to have sex.
– It’s not lust to anticipate and be excited about having sex within marriage.
– It’s not lust to experience sexual temptation
The issue is how we respond to these desires — by faith in a good God or hijacking these desires to serve ourselves and to give into unbelief in God. Invite God into your desires, what you wish for, and invite His Spirit to come help you with self-control, patience, and perseverance. As John Piper defines lust, it is “sexual desire minus honor and holiness.” Let’s be thankful for sexual desire and not be controlled by it, but submit it to the good plan of God. “When we understand that the very nature of lust is rebellion against God, we realize the gravity and the seriousness nature of the sin — and hopefully we’re more motivated than ever to pursue a life of purity.”
So how do we live with these desires and sex drives while remaining pure, holy, and godly. Josh writes, “As Christians, embracing our sexuality looks radically different. We don’t obey every sexual impulse — nor do we deny that we have sexual desires. Instead, we choose both restraint and gratefulness. For us, sexual desire joins every other part of our lives — our appetite for food, our use of money, our friendships, our dreams, our careers, our possessions, our abilities, our families — in bowing before the one true God.”
If you haven’t bought the book yet, it’s worth it!
by Mike Plewniak
This is a spoof from the back cover of Salvo Magazine. It goes along with an article in the magazine and online by S.T. Karnick called “Girly Men: The Media’s Attack on Masculinity“. Listen to the conclusion of the article:
“Thus, the war against boys seems to have created three main character patterns for the adult male of our time: sensitive guys who want to please women; weenies and dorks who want only to be left alone to drink beer and play video games with their dork buddies; and thugs who, in rebellion against their unnatural education, are perpetually concerned with proving their toughness through increasingly loutish behavior. There are, of course, examples of decent, positively masculine males in the culture, but they are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the products of educational and cultural feminization.
The fact is that people learn what you teach them. And the consequences of the war against boys—and the broader social war against masculinity in general—are increasingly evident in both the culture and the world at large. We should hardly be surprised that the results are anything but pretty.”
(HT: Justin Taylor)
Filed under: Roles and Relationships
By: Travis Evans
What do you do when you have a few hours free to spend as you wish? When do you go to bed? When do you wake up? Do you ever ask, “Where did my day go?”?
Here are some numbers:
- 1 hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.
- The average American watches 28 hours of television per week. That’s an average of 4 hours a day.
- Tennessee ranks 12th for wasted time at work: 2.5 hrs. hrs/day = $19.3 billion year. Note: Missouri ranked 1st with 3.2 hrs. = $28.1 billion and South Carolina ranked last with 1.3 hrs. = $3.0 billion
- Top Time-Wasting Activities at Work: Surfing Internet (personal use) 44.7%, Socializing 23.4%, Conducting personal business 6.8%, Spacing out 3.9%, Running errands 3.1%, Making personal phone calls 2.3%, Applying for other jobs 1.3%, Planning personal events 1.0%, Arriving late / Leaving early 1.0%, Other 12.5%
- Top Time-Wasting Excuses: Don’t have enough work to do 33.2%, Underpaid for amount of work 23.4%, Co-workers distract me 14.7%, Not enough after-work time 12.0%, Other 16.7%
Try making a time sheet and keep track of how you spend your time. You will see that there is more time than you think. (This table can be copied and pasted into Word.)
If I may quote my good friend Caleb: “We don’t want to kill time; we want to redeem it.”
So, do you kill time? Do you pass the time with idle speech and video games? Let’s be motivated by grace to redeem our time and use it to glorify the Lord.
How do you see yourself wasting time? What is one way that helps you fight this fight and not waste time?
Fighting the fight of faith with you, as the chief of time killers!
By Walt Alexander
Last week I asked the question “If I say goodbye to courtship (for now), what do I say hello to?” I mentioned three things: say hello to the Lord, say hello to more friends, and say hello to serving. But how do we relate to girls – to the people we are trained to dream about all our lives?
Treat them like sisters. In 1 Timothy 5:2, Paul commands Timothy to treat “younger women as sisters, in all purity.” This is God’s word for young, single men. Treat all young women like sisters.
This means, treat them like a sister! Encourage them, point them to godliness, guard their hearts, serve them, enjoy worshipping the Savior with them, correct them (as needed). And (for the girls’ benefit), guys, be creative with this! Refuse the temptation to sulk through singlehood. Enjoy this season and draw in groups of girls and guys to enjoy it with you. Plan trips. Plan events. Brainstorm encouraging things to do for and with the girls.
One compelling example of this is how Kevin Shipp used his singlehood. As you know, he was married last weekend after spending some twenty odd years single. Kevin constantly planned things for groups of girls and guys to do. He took groups to DC and NYC. He took groups to punk rock shows. And much much much more!
However, this also means, do not treat them in any other way than you would your own sister. Do not flirt with them, do not lead them on, do not (with your words or actions) allow them to assume you will pursue them at any point in the future, carefully subdue unruly affections. In all your words and actions, guard their hearts. Be wise and think these things through carefully.
Specifically, guys, I want to encourage you to carefully choose how to communicate with girls. There are several methods of communication, like facebook, txt messaging, gchat, and iChat, which seem to allow unguarded and unintentional conversation and interaction. Oftentimes, we can chat with someone intentionally on the Internet and yet gradually (as sin usually works) slide into more flirtatious, unhelpful dialogue. The danger with these conversations is that they often leave girls wondering why you said that or how you said that, because you were not there to clarify. They, in effect, provide a longer leash for romantic imagination and, in so doing, can disrupt a girl’s undistracted devotion to the Lord.
Finally, we are to treat all girls like sisters; meaning, we are to be impartial. We are not to single out some girls to receive our attention, while neglecting other girls. This is implicit of Paul’s use of “all” in 1 Tim 5:2. But this doesn’t mean you must have equal relationships with every girl you know, as if you must run from girl to girl updating them with more attention. The thought alone is just exhausting! But it does mean that you should carefully interact with girls, allowing no one to perceive that you relate to one girl and several girls too much and in an exclusive manner.
P.S. Fellas, if you want a real idea of how you interact with girls, ask one of the intern girls or other mature girls in VFC! The answer may be shocking.
By Walt Alexander
Now, I recently finished writing many posts on courtship. But I realize that teaching doesn’t always end problems. In fact, it often creates more problems – more questions to ask, more things to think through, more stuff to do.
If we say goodbye to dating, what do we say hello to right now? How do guys and girls relate?
Here are just a few things we say hello to:
1. Say hello to the Lord.
The primary reason –as stated in earlier posts– I love courtship (or biblical dating) because I long to see single people more in love with God than with the carousel of continuous dating. Singleness can be a unique season of life where we can secure “undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor 7:35). This season was a gift in my own life, as it served me to cultivate this undivided devotion, this contentment in God.
So, do hard things in your relationship with the Lord while you are single. Set goals for your spiritual disciplines. Consume Christian books. Go on reading retreats. Say hello to the Lord.
2. Say hello to more friends.
Oftentimes, the dating carousel –with its tendency to isolation and inclusion– is filled with partiality and slim relationships. Partiality is elevating one person over another in your own mind, attitude and actions because of superficial qualities, like personality, dress, physique, intellectual rigor, and other characteristics. It is sin against God and is infinitely dangerous. However, it often permeates our relationships.
So, as you say goodbye to dating, expend your energies getting to know more friends. Repent of partiality and cultivate relationships! This season in your life is a unique (and excellent) one to invest in relationships.
3. Say hello to serving.
As you say goodbye to dating, you will notice that your planner is immediately loosened. So, I would encourage you to follow Christ’s example (Mk 10:45) and utilize this unique season to serve in your church, in your care group, in your house/apartment. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58). Your labor – your serving – is not in vain. The risen Savior sees it and is glorified through it.
But, this takes work – believe it or not. A servant heart is difficult to maintain. You will have to consistently direct your heart to what is supremely valuable – treasuring and glorifying Jesus Christ. You will also have to continually manage your schedule to look for pockets of time you can redeem.
Also, serve everyone. Serving is a God-given opportunity to put partiality to death. Run from partiality and serve everyone. Don’t just ask the girl you know (and like) to dance. Ask the girl you don’t know and don’t (yet) like to dance!
What do you guys think? What would you add?
Filed under: Roles and Relationships
By: Travis Evans
Godly women have it rough, and men, we must seek to care for them and be their brothers. I know that I have been less than helpful at times with my sarcastic sense of humor. Girls take words and thoughts to heart. They are always looking to grow. If you see that you have told such a “joke,” immediately ask for forgiveness from her. It’s just not helpful, plain and simple-for instance saying off-the-cuff things like, “Well, I guess you’re not very kind are you.”
These girls live in a culture that opposes them and seeks to discourage them-telling them they’re not beautiful unless they look a certain way or are useless unless they are a CEO or other leader. Yet, these girls are trying to grow in hospitality by inviting people over and cooking for them. They are looking out for guys and not looking at themselves when they choose to dress modestly. They are passionate about sharing the Gospel. They are trying to grow in submission by not taking men’s roles. They are always looking to serve others and die to themselves. They are regularly pursuing the Lord and falling more in love with their Savior.
So ladies, I just wanted to say THANK YOU and we see you trying; more than that, God sees you trying, and He is pleased. God is at work in your lives. Be encouraged!
Guys do you want to be challenged? Look at what Godly girls are doing and thank them openly and often for it!