Worship on a Sunday starts before Sunday morning. That’s true not just for the band and the pastor and tech crew but for all of us. When you prepare ahead of time, you are getting yourself in the right frame of mind and heart. It gives you a chance to read the Bible passage in advance, see the song list, and get yourself ready. You can see some of the rationale here.
Donald Keough lived with his wife and 5 kids in Omaha, right across the street from Warren Buffett. Mr. Buffett was just getting started in his career as an investor and hadn’t yet built Berkshire Hathaway into the financial empire it is today. All his neighbors knew was that Warren was this newly married who didn’t leave every morning for work.
Mr. Keough told the New York Magazine that one day Warren stopped by the house and asked him how he was going to educate his kids. “I told him I planned to work hard and see what happened,” said Mr. Keough. “Warren said that if I gave him $5000 he’d probably do better.”
“My wife and I talked it over, but we figured we didn’t know what this guy even did for a living, how could we give him $5,000? We’ve been kicking ourselves ever since. I mean, if we had given him the dough, we could have owned a college by now.” Oops.
Marriage or parenthood? Which do you value more? Is it more worthwhile to work at marriage and being the best spouse you can be, or to be devoted to your kids and raising them to be the best they can be?
Obviously, a lot of us would say, “Do I have to choose?” But a Pew Research study found precisely that millennials (roughly those 18-29) value parenthood far more than marriage. What do we make of that?
There are many forms of suffering for which we may very well be blameless – traffic accidents, loss of employment, serious medical conditions, stock market downturns, etc. Since we all tend to experience these kinds of misfortunes from time to time, it is relatively easy to sympathize with another as they live through the realities
Worship on a Sunday starts before Sunday morning. That’s true not just for the band and the pastor and tech crew but for all of us. When you prepare ahead of time, you are getting yourself in the right frame of mind and heart. It gives you a chance to read the Bible passage in
When I am going to officiate a wedding service, I sit down with the couple in my office and talk about what premarital counseling is going to look like. After asking them a few questions to help me understand their background and expectations for marriage, I tell them something that most couples don’t expect. I tell them that I’ll do the wedding even if they don’t meet with me for premarital counseling.
It’s not that I don’t think that premarital counseling can be helpful, nor is it because I don’t have anything to offer. Quite the opposite. After 25 years of marriage and being a pastor for the last 15 years and countless hours spent doing marriage counseling, I think that I have learned some things that can genuinely help any couple. The reason that I offer premarital counseling but don’t require it is because most couples don’t think they need it. And when you’re required to sit through something that you don’t think you need or you don’t think is that important, you don’t get much out of it. (If you don’t believe me, ask a middle school teacher).
There’s a lot of things I pray for when I’m praying for my son, James: for God to protect him, to keep him healthy; that he would sleep well and fully; that one day he would marry a woman who loves the Lord; that he would grow up in a community of believers, etc. But ultimately, I pray that God would know him and that he would know God.
Of course, this last one is what James needs the most, yet I find that when I pray for this, it unexpectedly terrifies me. It’s easy to pray for the circumstantial things, because there is a part of me that so wants his life to be one of comfort and ease, protected from any pain or grief. I can’t bear to think of him being hurt or made fun of or coming face to face with an insurmountable obstacle. But it is hard for me to give his life to God, to truly want God to do anything in his life in order that James would know and trust him.
Because isn’t that what is true for most of us? In the desperate times of suffering, in the revelation of the depths of my own depravity, and in the trials and somber valleys I’ve walked through – it’s in those times that I have learned to rely on God the most. It’s in those times that I have known his presence more fully and deeply. It’s in those times that I’ve seen my true need for a Savior. I want these things for James, but as his mom, it is terrifying to think that it likely won’t be smooth sailing and comfortable living that will get him there. He just might have to stagger through the wilderness in parts of his own story.