marriage_books

Helpful Books on Marriage

*UPDATED* Below is a list of books on Christian marriage I have either read or gotten a strong referrals for from men I trust. They are taken from a larger list of “Recommended Reading” covering topics on marriage, parenting, manhood, doctrine/theology, and Christian living. Disclaimer: Just because I recommend a book for reading does not necessarily mean that I agree with every single premis or view the author takes up. My recommendation comes based on the fact that the helpful, Christ-centered views contained within the book outweigh any views I may personally disagree with.

Please feel free to leave a comment suggesting books on the topic of marriage that will help others grow in their relationship with Christ and their spouse. Please list the title, author, and a few brief thoughts on how the book has helped you in your marriage.

awesome

Context Matters

In biblical interpretation, context matters – a lot. The context of the passage dictates how it is to be interpreted. In missing this crucial point many Texts have been snatched out of their original context and given meanings they were never intended to have. Each Scripture or passage only has one meaning, not many. It cannot mean one thing to me and another thing to you. Either you, or I, or both are wrong. There can be many different applications of a passage, but only one meaning.

Contexts to keep in mind when looking at a specific passage:

  • Context of the whole Bible. What is the big picture and over all story? How does this passage fit with the whole story? The Bible is not an instruction manual that we consult when things aren’t going our way. It is not God’s love letter to us. It is God’s self revelation to us of His will, His character, His glory, His sovereignty, His story, and how He displays His glory through choosing a people for Himself to love and save.
  • Context of the letter or book you’re reading. What is the cultural setting of the addressed people? What was the intent of the human author in writing it? To whom was it written? What was going on there?
  • Context of the passage itself. What topic or idea is being explained or debated? What people group is being addressed (Christians, unbelievers, Pharisees, etc.)? It’s helpful to keep the passages directly before and after the section in question in mind while interpreting.

Two texts I hear/have heard misinterpret most often are the story of David and Goliath & Phil. 4:13. In both cases the story or context has nothing to do with us in any way being the heros or focus of the story. But, in our narcissistic culture, they get snatched kicking and screaming out of their contexts and taught in a way that makes us look good or helps us look within ourselves to do something really awesome. We love to think that God is on OUR sideline, cheering US on in OUR pursuits, you know, He’s there just in case we need Him.

In the story of David and Goliath, we become David, facing down our giants. With God’s help and a few smooth stones, we can defeat our bullies, overcome our hardships, conquer our fears, or defeat the opposing football team that beat us earlier in the season so we can go to the state playoffs. You get the point. In actuality this story (that really happened) is a picture of how Christ defeats our enemies (sin, Satan, death) for us as we look on like scared, paralyzed Israelites. If you consider all WE gain from HIS victory… this is a much better story.

In Philippians 4:13 Paul says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I can’t help but think of how much disappointment this verse must cause people when it is misinterpreted to them. One of the most grievous misuses of this Text I see in my part of the country is in the area of sports, which happens to be a very influential god down here. A runner falls behind in a race. A boy stands on the free throw line at the end of the fourth quarter with his team down by one. Insert any underdog in any sport, ad nauseam. Then all they have to do is continue to think to themselves “I can do all things through Christ,” and boom! supernatural strength. Given this meaning the verse simply is not true and can’t bear the weight we place on it. The Bible is not a magical book from which we can pick and choose verses to chant for good luck.

The context of Philippians 4 is suffering and contentment. Paul is saying that he can endure all kinds of suffering and be content in any situation through Christ’s strength. This is much better news than “Jesus will help you win your sporting event” because hard times are coming for us all!

The point being, read the verses in context and allow them to say what they say instead of forcing them to say what you would like them to say. We trivialize the Bible when we make it about us. It does TALK about us, but that is NOT the same as us being the point of it. Christ is always the point of the Bible.

Romans 8

The Power of the Preached Word

Romans 8:31-39 contains some of the most inspiring, beautiful, motivating promises in all of the New Testament. We are promised, if we are in Christ, that: God is for us, we have everything we need in Christ, no charges brought against us will stand, because God is our justifier, we cannot be condemned, Christ Himself is interceding for us, none of the trials mentioned (Rom 8:35-39) can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ!

We are not, however, promised that we will be kept from the trials, only that they will not ultimately defeat us. In Christ we have the ultimate victory – life eternal with Him! So many of us, myself included, spend most of our lives trying to avoid the trials mentioned instead of following Jesus whole-heartedly and depending on His strength and grace to get us through. Because we have the promises proclaimed by Paul, we can confidently and boldly abandon ourselves to the cause of Christ.

In his message to The Gathering, B. Taylor did an outstanding job communicating these truths to us. I encourage you to listen to his entire message “The Motivating Power of Our Future Hope of Glory.” He expands on the depth of the promises God gives us in the gospel and what it means for us, the Church. This has really made me examine my own life and repent of trying to shield myself and not trust Christ. My favorite part of the message is at the very end when he reminds us that, “There are zero commands in this passage.” To turn this into a “do” passage would be to confuse the meaning of the whole thing.

This is a phenomenal message simply because he stayed true to the gospel saturated Text! He realized that he did not have to give a big moralistic, motivational speech. Men preach the Word and it is the Spirit of God through the preached Word of God that motivates and changes lives!

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New Content 6.4.12

New content is here. As often as I find new resources that help me accomplish my tasks of loving and leading my family well, I like to pass them along. Here are the latest few articles I have found helpful. They are listed below and can also be found along with the other articles HERE.

Articles

10 Practical Ways to Love your Wife – Brian Croft

You Can’t Say This Enough – John Piper

Parental Discipline Without Provocation (wisdom from Lloyd-Jones) – Kevin DeYoung

11 Practical Ways for Men to Lead Their Family – Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll Blog/Marriage and his blog for Parenting

Teaching Tools

Torchlighter “Heros of the Faith” DVDs – A wonderful teaching resources for your children!

 

glory-cycle

God's Self-glorification

God, in His wisdom, has chosen to glorify Himself through saving sinners. This is wonderful news! The following is a post I wrote several months back as I was studying through Ephesians. Since this is one of my favorite topics, I thought I would repost it here. I’d love to here your thoughts on it.

There are some major, overarching themes in Ephesians that are fantastic and empowering when we take some time and examine them. I’m not going to examine them all in detail in this post, but we’ll take a look at a few of them.

  • God’s glory (majesty, holiness, apart-ness). – Eph. 1:6, 12, 14
  • God’s wisdom in working His plan and purpose. – Eph 1:5, 8, 9, 11
  • God’s love for His children and the blessings we have in Christ. – Eph. 1:3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13-14, 19

In looking at these verses and themes, if you pull any of them out of context or out of the whole and base your doctrine or theology on those, you could run into one of a couple of ditches. Read more

Family Leadership - Biblical Manhood

Practical Tips for Leading Your Family

Family leadership at times can be a bit ambiguous. As Christian men, we know we should be leading our families in the pursuit and worship of Christ. But, if we were honest with each other it feels at times as if we were given a mission and then dropped behind enemy lines with little to no supplies and zero direction.

I believe the best thing we can do for our families is personally seek Christ with all our hearts (studying, praying, worshipping, etc.) and allow Him to change us. We cannot teach our wives and children things we do not know ourselves, nor show them the beauties of Christ and His gospel that we haven’t seen. Read more

pragmatism

Rest in Christ!

I love how in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1 – 7:29) Jesus gives us the Beatitudes first! Christ gives us the promises of God saying you and I, as Christians, ARE blessed before He gets into telling us how we should respond in faith to these promises. We are not blessed because of anything we did or can do. The Beatitudes are not things we are to strive for in order to obtain the blessings. They are not a “todo list” we are to check off each day. They are promises in Christ to us as believers.

We have such a tendency to look at the Sermon on the Mount and turn the entire sermon into a list of do’s and don’ts.  For example: “If I’m really meek I will inherit the earth” or “If I mourn I will be comforted”, etc. We place thoughts like these right along side “I need to try and be salt and light.” This only proves that we love the law. We run back to it every chance we get. We love the imperatives (commands) more than we love the indicatives (statements of fact). This is one reason we have such a hard time, in our Western culture, resting in Christ. We even take His statements and promise of blessing, that he accomplished for us, and turn them into things we must do or strive to earn! Jesus says: “You ARE blessed” and “You ARE salt and light” because of Him. Read more

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Theology and HTML Code?

I believe the reason a lot of people don’t study their Bible more in depth or tackle theology and doctrine is because they don’t see how all this “stuff” relates to their daily lives. We live in such a pragmatic society that if someone can’t see how something directly effects their day to day life why, bother with it? Though I don’t believe pragmatism (truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences) is something we should praise or endorse, nevertheless, I will try to show how taking the time to dig a little deeper in your studies can benefit everyone, every day.

Theology and studying doctrine can sometimes seem a bit intimidating or overwhelming simply because there are some big words we have either never heard, seen, or understood. Taking the time to dig into the Word, commentaries, and other theological works from trusted men will help us break these large words into smaller, more manageable parts. As we begin to understand the parts, we can then begin to understand how they relate to the whole, and the next thing you know we magically know what we believe about an issue and why we come down where we do on it.

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The-Last-Supper-Da-Vinci-1495-98

The Atoning Work of Christ

Being the beginning of Holy Week, I wanted to take a look at Christ’s death on the cross, or His atoning work. These are notes from my latest Sunday School lesson, so they’ll be in more of a bullet point format. It begins with His words at the Last Supper (Mt. 26:26-69).

Atonement

What is it?

  • The work of Christ in His perfect life and death on the cross to earn our salvation.
  • Not just that He died for our forgiveness – that would have only made us morally neutral.
  • But also He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father in all righteousness (Mt. 3:15) so that we could become the righteousness of God in Christ (Phil. 3:9, 1 Cor. 1:30).

What were the causes of the Atonement?

  • The love of God (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8).
  • The justice of God (Rom. 6:23, Gen. 2:17, Rom. 3:23).
  • In our culture, especially in my generation and younger, we tend to place so much emphasis on the love of God that we forget that He hates sin so much that He sent God the Son – perfect, spotless, sinless, blameless, holy, who enjoyed perfect communion with the Father and Spirit for all eternity – to die on a bloody cross taking the full force of the Father’s anger, wrath, and hatred.
Grow Up

Raising Children: Parents' Role vs Church's Role

One of the biggest complaints I hear from ladies in our churches today is that their husbands won’t “step up and lead” the family when it comes to spiritual issues. What I hear from the men is that they know they should be leading their homes spiritually, they just don’t know exactly what that means or what it looks like.

So, we find ourselves in this crazy cycle that started somewhere in the mid 20th century when men slowly began to abdicate their responsibilities of leading, teaching, and instructing their children in the ways of God to the church. The church, in turn, instead of rebuking the men and teaching them how to lead their homes began to enable them and accomodate them. Because of decades of this, we now have complete generations of men and women who grew up in the church and were never taught what it looks like for the dad to lead and instruct the home.

Read more

resources1

New Content 2-25-12

New content has been added to the website. As always I like to send out updates after adding a few new items to let people know what has changed. Thanks for taking a look!

New Content

Videos from Doug Wilson on biblical masculinity – In the Videos section.

Catechism For Boys and Girls – In the Articles section.

Watch Your Conjunctions In Parenting – In the Articles section.

Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham – In the Recommended Reading section.

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller – In the Recommended Reading section.

Featured Content

Social Resources – Guys or websites I follow for resources.

God In The Dock by C.S. Lewis – In the Recommended Reading section.

What Family Leadership Looks Like in My Home by Chad Gray – In the Blog section.

Have any resources you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear about them. Just leave a comment below. Thanks!

Discipline_Of_Family_Worship1

Family Worship Is A Discipline

Anyone who thinks family worship is not a discipline has either not tried to be consistent with it for any length of time or they have never tried it and are merely romanticizing it. It is a discipline. It is hard at times. It can frustrate you to no end. There may be times you half-way consider bringing physical harm to one of your little disciples. 😉

Having said all of that, none of these are good excuses to not have consistent times of family worship. By the way, not every time will be difficult. Though “family worship times” are not commanded in Scripture, this is a discipline that has proven beneficial for children and parents for thousands of years. I can tell you from experience and from listening to older dads who raised children having family worship that there is no better way to raise your children in the fear and instruction of the Lord (which is commanded).

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glory-cycle

Thoughts From Ephesians 1

There are some major, overarching themes in Ephesians that are fantastic and empowering when we take some time and examine them. I’m not going to examine them all in detail in this post, but we’ll take a look at a few of them.

  • God’s glory (majesty, holiness, apart-ness). – Eph. 1:6, 12, 14
  • God’s wisdom in working His plan and purpose. – Eph 1:5, 8, 9, 11
  • God’s love for His children and the blessings we have in Christ. – Eph. 1:3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13-14, 19

In looking at these verses and themes, if you pull any of them out of context or out of the whole and base your doctrine or theology on those, you could run into one of a couple of ditches.

Bless-Me Theology

You could end up thinking that God is all about you or us as humans. This theology focuses on God’s blessings toward us and thinks that God exists to bless and make much of us. God is all about making you feel good, making you successful, blessing you with a great job or lots of material things. Some things you might hear people who believe this way say are:

  • “Just look at all the riches we have in Him.”
  • “I’m a child of the King, therefore I deserve this or that.”
  • “We are blessed with blessings in the heavenlies.”
  • “See God’s love for you. He would never let anything bad happen to you. It’s not his will.”

When God is all about you, you are all about you and everyone else should be all about you also. When this is your attitude, if you don’t get your way, you get angry at the people around you and upset with God because He didn’t give you what you wanted or “deserve.”  Of course we would never say this is what we believe, but our actions, or rather reactions, when we don’t get what we want sometimes prove otherwise.

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