Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Girls Rock pt. 2

 Girls Rock! part 2.

Girls and modesty (a symptom of a bigger issue)!

Have you ever seen a mouse trap? They are simple and interesting devices. They will not work without all of the components being available at the same time. The spring, the hammer, the board, and the holding arm are all essential.   In our next topic on girls, the devil keeps eating our cheese, before we can catch him and keep him out. The problem is that our focus of the issue is wrong; and we are missing attention to some of the other vital components.

When I was a young man I was hearing allot about girls and modesty in the church; meaning that women should not dress in a way that is sexually provocative. I went from one Christian place to another, seeing varied results in the way Christian girls dressed. At that time across the board by and large dressed in a way that was not provocative.

Into the start of the 21st century, we have seen an ever increasing loss of modesty; (mostly, in our sinful culture, and somewhat inside the people of the church as well). I have often heard from the pulpit that the current trend towards dressing more provocative is a desire for girls to be worldly, (in which some cases I suppose would be true). However, I think there is a much greater and lesser addressed reason than the simple desire to be, “loose” and accepted by your peers in our rebellious sinful culture.

 Many girls in the current generation don’t feel wanted or desired.  I think it has to do with the way women are viewed in the Church and at home. It is a symptom of Christian boys not becoming men of God!

Girls in the church often feel tempted to pursue sinful sexual relationships, because the men of the church are absent. They are there, but they are just not men! They are not leaders, or passionate, or steadfast, or individually responsible. Take the reverse of those, and you will have exactly what women don’t want in a man. Someone who is indecisive, indifferent, caves under pressure, does whatever the group wants them too. That is a general consensus of the young men in today’s church. The problem is that many guys are really trying to follow Jesus. Unfortunately as leadership; often times, they are exactly how we are teaching them to be!
 This is the first generation growing up in the states that has 40 to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce.  This generation is the one of the first generations that has grown up with no solid home life at an alarming level in the states. Young men are in our midst looking often times for a father or a mother that has been absent.

 Currently there are two large needs facing Christian young men and all youth in the states. Discipline, and mentorship. Often times, young men come to faith and to church looking for a war to fight, a prize to win, and a purpose to strive for. All too often, they are left with allot of hype about the next sermon series to attend, and a list of rules that God will consider acceptable behavior. In some cases the only personal involvement by leadership is the handshake at the door. They find, if you go and are faithful and stick through every series about conquering your battles, and the like: you will end up learning quickly to be gentle, passive, adept in your Christianese language. You are taught from the very beginning that the hallmark of Godliness is to not question authority. 
What God desires is obvious! The reason we don’t adopt it in the church is because it’s difficult and will dramatically change how we do things. Look at how Jesus led the disciples! He was with them allot! He made himself available to answer questions and explain the scriptures. He both raised the bar for his followers, as well as had great compassion. He didn’t take responsibility for their poor choices, but was there with them every step of the way, both encouraging them, and confronting their sinfulness.

Am I saying this is all up to the pastor, and the few people in Christian leadership? Absolutely not! It might be somewhat deflating when you realize it’s not all up to you, but, helping others into leadership is the replication process God has commanded (2 timothy 2:2, Hebrews 5:12).
God hasn’t designed the program of discipleship and mentorship to be only for those who have Christian college degree either. I assure you if you think you can’t teach scripture, you don’t know who Jesus was working through to found the Church. Scripture attests that pretty much the only one of the 12 who has any degree was Paul (Philippians 3:).

 There is another curb. None of us are Jesus! None of us get the claim to be the Son of God! Have you seen how tireless Jesus was in His job of teaching and leading in the scriptures? He spent most of his time with 12 people; investing in them, and teaching them. I think if the Son of God, chooses only to take on 12 closely; think of how God chuckles when us in church leadership pretend to know groups of hundreds intimately. God isn’t impressed with our name dropping either. He made the program so if we want tips for success; we need to see what scripture has to say about it.

So far in the 21 century our “churchy culture” has produced a whole lot of hot air! It produces people, who feel like they are making a difference: who put in valiant effort and work into a whole lot of nothing! We have the crazy concept that if we just talk about the world’s problems and have the right doctrine; that will somehow create the fruitfulness God is looking for. We have created a culture that is really good at removing the feeling that God wants more from us then our Church attendance. Also, it is a culture that insists that we be faithful to the program and not deviate course; even if it is only a place to alleviate our conflicted conscience.

Young men in the current generation are taking the brunt of this problem. There is a stark contrast for them between the life they face in the assembly of Christ, and the expectations of the real world. It’s a world in which there are few Godly examples and mentors to contrast the harshness and selfishness they face at every level outside of the assembly. Is it any wonder, why there are few youth with the backbone to raise a family, and pursue Jesus with an increasing passion?

Young Christian women have another thing they contend with on a strange, subversive level: Pornography! When Christian men (any really) view pornography for gratification, it sends a big loud signal out to the women of the Church; that they won’t be wanted unless there standards are very low! Many feel that they have to show allot of skin to get any kind of attention at all. Too many regret that kind of attention, and aren’t really rationally following through, what treating yourself cheaply means in the long run.

Many Girls feel unwanted and adopt ungodly pursuit of men. They feel rejected if men turn them down after they take the first steps. It is a side-effect of spineless men. Christian men should be the first to buck this trend. We should be the ones with an actual purpose, with a drive towards, things we want to accomplish, as well as the things God wants to accomplish. That is the case of men who are sold out to Jesus; the devil is terrified, and women feel protected and desired.

Christian men, and especially leadership, need to do two things. First they need to have a place where they can be honest with other leadership and grow through there sin issues. Heck; it’s God who gave us sex, and made it fun and attractive in the first place. Sex isn’t evil, but it also certainly has its scriptural boundary (husband and wife for life). God understands that people have struggles keeping it inside of its proper place. As leadership we are called to a very high standard. We all have to realize that we aren’t perfect and if we have a place of transparency; it can only help people grow closer to God (in whom everything is transparent). The second thing is that men have to treat young women the way scripture says we should (1 Timothy 5:1b, Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity). What does like sisters, with absolute purity mean? It means that unless you are ready to commit to a girl and peruse her until marriage, you don’t show the kind of interest that would make her think otherwise. How you treat her is with the realization, that unless you make her yours, she belongs to someone else. It is important to sink this one down deep in your being. As men we should have sisters, but you wouldn’t date your sister, that would be weird. You would stand up for her and keep her from harm!

In this day and age, I have seen allot of desperate girls do allot of desperate things. We as Godly men have to have strong compassionate hearts! We need to realize that sometimes people will lower their standards, because they don’t know that they are far more valuable than they allow themselves to be treated. We have to be the strong ones as Godly men. If we don’t treat girls with Godly respect; despite how much skin they feel the need to show, this situation will never change. It’s no use speaking from the pulpit about modesty, if young men don’t give attention to young girls who put Jesus first. I can attest that I have seen some girls, (who I know love Jesus) do some really foolish stuff, just to feel wanted by a man.

Godly women shouldn’t entice men. But Godly men shouldn’t be such wimps in the purity arena. We have to develop thick skin, and self- discipline, caring about what is important to God, over and above our physical desires. That is a stark difference than our sinful culture. Godly per suite puts women in their proper place as something valued and treasured; wreaker and protected. That is what God’s heart is all about. I can assure you that if you are pursuing a lady, your compassionate self- discipline and the ability to wait until you publically commit, in spite of your internal conflict; it will send a loud signal of steadfastness, and passion that your beautiful Godly wife goes ga ga about.
Our job as Godly men is to first make up our mind. Are you ready to get married? Than find a wife that loves Jesus more than she loves you.

Allot of times guys ask the question, “How do I know when I should get married?” I think the answer would vary from person to person; but ultimately I think it has to do with character more than anything else. There are no restrictions on when given in the whole of scripture. Just the command to love your bride like Christ loved the church. That is a whole lot of commitment! It is a complete surrendering and abandonment in spite of all costs. Do that; then, keep doing that! That is God’s requirement. He is not thinking about how big your wallet is, he is thinking about how much commitment and persistence you have. If you are week on that end, that is your first priority to develop. Once you have that straightened out, get married, and do it in a way that makes her feel like she actually is in your eyes, more desired than anything else in life besides Jesus.   People sin, without a doubt. I am glad that in allot of ways the church is becoming more of a place where people have a sounding board to sort out there problems. We dare not go the other direction though; the cost is much greater! We have to take our actions seriously, if we want to satisfy God. God has a high standard when it comes to marriage and sexual relationships. It is high, because He created sex and marriage. It is also high because it is a reflection of God’s unwavering faithfulness towards us, his redeemed people.

I am human too; I think that our righteous living in spite of our physical desires, will spell something loud and clear. It will tell women exactly what they are, treasured, valued, of worth, beautiful inside and out, and useful to God. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Girls Rock pt.1

By: Daniel Martin

How we act and teach in the church effects how women approach and view God. You would think that this would be a no brainer. The truth is: if we approach a subject with thoughtfulness, and Godliness, it might show us where our personal week points stick out like a sore thumb. Nobody wants to undergo surgery. At this point I think it’s time for some needed changes that are uncomfortable; but, better for the health of the whole body of Christ.

My first and most important concern for young Christian women in general is that they are attacked on all sides with weak Biblical doctrine. One thing that I have found everywhere I have been is that there really are no lesser people. One of my pet peeves of living in Mexico, is hearing some American pastors speak to Mexican’s from the pulpit as if they are less intelligent. After living here for a short three years I have learned that Mexicans are every bit as able to understand the concepts in scripture as Americans.

I have found that some churches (like the pastors that talk down to Mexicans) approach teaching women as if they couldn’t grasp complex concepts. Being a pastors son, and being involved in ministry through the years I have heard some very weak doctrine in allot of women’s groups.  I think that a few negative generalities are almost standard from place to place.

I have found is an unfair emphasis on emotions in all women’s Bible studies. I have seen both men and women in leadership in many women’s studies use content that heavily pulls on emotional heartstrings. This isn’t always wrong, and sometimes it’s good to get really emotional! The more we connect with people’s stories, on an internal level the more we might be able to relate to the message of that story. The problem becomes having an emotional emphasis that is weak on helpful content. Is the content and meaning emphasized or the accompanied feelings? 

We have to be careful as Bible teachers to put the truth above how we feel about it. When feelings are a reward in themselves they create people who chase emotions; but can’t understand them or harness them to the benefit of having them. I have found at every turn for poor young gals; there is an ever increasing emotional tug, so that Suzy and Sally can sit and listen to the speaker and really build them up in their mind as someone who really understands. They will keep coming because they think that somehow by lots of attendance they will find some real resolve to their problems. Our job as leaders and teachers in the Church is to help guide people into Holy effectiveness for God. That includes emotions. However, when you have grown beyond how you feel about a hard situation; the last thing you need is a patronizing, “oh that’s too bad, I really feel sorry for you. Let’s all cry or laugh together.”

When you are looking for logical answers, you need them, no matter how emotionally difficult those answers are to hear! It takes a clear minded, emotionally controlled person, to produce good fruit, and overcome life’s obstacles, well perusing what is the seemingly unappealing path of sanctification. Women are emotionally wired! That is a good thing! They are different than guys when we start talking about internal struggles. Praise the Lord! I have been at enough Churches where woman are not spiritually present, and it becomes a ground for strict legalism. There is a whole different process in the way they approach information. It is our responsibility as leadership in the church to approach this appropriately. We need to connect with our audience when we speak, but the goal is not so we can make some kind of tear-filled impact. Tears, laughter, head-nods and applause do not equal holiness. We can say and do allot of stuff from the teaching forum; that will create all of those.

If we make the goal, a positively changed life that is tremendously effective for the kingdom of God, we are on the right track. It might take the wind out of our sails, because, we might not be the most popular preacher or teacher in our neck of the woods, but for Heaven’s sake, it’s not about us. Our goal as a teacher is not to make the audience dependent on us, but to teach so well, that people no longer need us, but learn to grow and teach others. That’s scriptures view on it (Hebrews 5:12).

When emotions are always amplified it gives people, (especially women who are emotionally charged) a feeling of progress without any actual change. I think this is one of the hallmarks of the modern church and Biblical study. We have attached to the idea of relevance to our sinful culture. We keep appealing to its impulsivity and short attention span. We have ended up with people who are easily manipulated if given any value system that comes in an emotional package. We as the church have taught, especially women this way. It creates easy prey for the wolf in tender, sympathetic, sheep’s clothing.

The second part of this is somewhat comical to me. It appears that a great portion of the church thinks that the only books that actually apply to women in the Bible are Ester and Ruth. Those are two stellar books of the Bible. I think that we all could benefit from reading Ester and Ruth. There are some real applications there for Gals of all ages. However, we can’t miss the fact that the Bible was written for, and is profitable for, everyone who believes (2 Timothy 3:16). That means the whole thing. If we teach women in a way that is lopsided scripturally, their focus will be wrong in their beliefs and actions. If we want them to grow into maturity we must approach them with scripture thoughtfully.

Why not find ways of applying scripture that does not directly talk to the female sex in a way that gals understand and can relate to? The truth is true, regardless of the culture or the listener. we should not change the message of the scriptures, or its intended meaning. We should be helping all people apply those things to their personal life in practical ways.

I am not a lawyer. I don’t know if I would ever be good at being a lawyer, or that I would want to be a lawyer. Does that mean that verses that refer to the law, finances and proverbs about organization won’t apply to me?  In the same way, there are allot of verses that don’t directly deal with the female kind. Does that mean that they can’t grow from a good working knowledge of those principles? I should hope not! As a matter of fact; the most effective and Godly women in the church that I know have learned how to apply as much scripture as they can, even in the harder to understand portions of scripture. 

I am of the opinion that even though everyone can’t work in the space industry; everyone can understand and apply scripture, (even the tough parts)! In short; girls need the whole Bible because God gave it to all of us. There should be no hang up there, because there is no need for one. We just need to learn to be wiser and more apt teachers. I believe in Youth! I believe that Girls are essential to the growth of God’s kingdom. Let’s help them be all they can be as leaders in the Church. Don’t forget, girls rock!