The Second Best Thing In My LIFE

Thirteen years ago today I was running around a church as nervous as I had ever been in my life.  My family and friends had driven from all over the Southern United States to be with us.  I wish I could say that I remember all the people who were there, the truth is their names and faces were all blurred. I stood at the front, ready to speak my part but I couldn’t be settled down until I saw her. Then it happened. The music played and she floated down the isle to me (escorted and tethered to the earth by her father).  It was a great day in the history of great days and the best part is that even though it seemed like a dream… it was all true!

We stood in front of a crowd and took our vows.  The pastor pronounced us husband and wife and let me kiss my beautiful bride for the first time.  We ran out the front doors and then came back into the sanctuary for a few last-minute pictures.  At the reception I learned about just what all came with marriage.  Her grandmother engaged me in an awkward dance of avoidance as she zeroed in for a kiss on my lips. unfortunately she won and pinned money on my awkwardly as if to claim here prize.

We headed out the door, where we were pelted with birdseed and were well on our way to our honeymoon.

As beautiful as that day was and as wonderful as it is to retell the story, it was just a day.  You see the second best thing that ever happened to me wasn’t a wedding, but our marriage. And marriage is one of those things that you don’t just look back on, you live it.  Everyday growing, learning, loving, giving, forgiving, holding, sharing, caring, hearing and walking together. Some days better than others, but always together.  And that’s the point.  Always together, through thick and thin, an ever-loving, never giving up, kind of bond that holds husband and wife together.  Its one of the most awesome things I have ever experienced on this earth.

Today we are celebrating 13 great years of marriage and looking forward with anticipation to God’s plan for our life together.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to me you ask? It’s the day that I learned that God really loved me like that.

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.
(Ephesians  5:25-27, ESV)

The 2nd Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me!

Six years ago today I was running around a church as nervous as I could possibly be.  My family and friends had driven from all over the Southeast to visit with me that day.  I wish I could say that I remember all the people who were there, the truth is their names and faces were all blurred behind the radiant beauty of my soon-to-be wife.  It was a great day in the history of great days.

We stood in front of a crowd and took our vows.  The pastor pronounced us husband and wife and let me kiss my beautiful bride for the first time.  We ran out the front doors and then came back into the sanctuary for a few last-minute pictures.  At the reception I learned about just what all came with marrying such a wonderful woman.  Her relatives pinned money on us and her grandmother engaged me in an awkward dance of avoidance as she zeroed in for a kiss on my lips. unfortunately she won.

We headed out the door, where we were pelted with birdseed and were well on our way to our honeymoon.

As beautiful as that day was and as wonderful as it is to retell the story, it was just a day.  You see the second best thing that ever happened to me wasn’t a wedding, but our marriage. And marriage is one of those things that you don’t just look back on, you live it.  Everyday growing, learning, loving, giving, forgiving, holding, sharing, caring, hearing and walking together. Some days better than others, but always together.  And that’s the point.  Always together, through thick and thin, an ever-loving, never giving up, kind of bond that holds husband and wife together.  Its one of the most awesome things I have ever experienced on this earth.

Today we are celebrating 6 great years of marriage and looking forward with anticipation to God’s plan for our life together.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to me you ask? It’s the day that I learned that God really loved me like that.

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.
(Ephesians  5:25-27, ESV)

How I Courted My Wife

Review: Dad’s Bible (NCV)

Dad’s Bible: The Father’s Plan (affiliate link) is a NCV Bible with special notes written by Robert Wolgemuth geared towards fathers.  There is also a NCV Mom’s Bible: God’s Wisdom for Mothers (affiliate link) written by Bobbie Wolgemuth geared for mothers.  I really enjoyed reading my Dad’s Bible this past week.  The Bible is very user-friendly assuring that it is a good gift for dad’s who are new to reading the Bible.  The New Century Version is a very easy to read version and there are several explanatory notes that help the reader to understand cultural nuances.  The Articles by Robert Wolgemuth do a great job of illustrating the main principle of the text.

I would highly recommend this Bible to new dads and dads who are new to reading the Bible.  I imagine that it will make a great father’s day gift for dad’s who are just beginning to get interested in spiritual things.  It also makes a great reading bible, though I wouldn’t suggest it for in-depth study.  Originally I was planning on giving my copy away, but I ended up liking it so much I may end up using it on a regular basis as a reading Bible.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Dad’s Bible: The Father’s Plan  (affiliate link), the retail price is $29.99 (Hardcover), and is worth every penny.  It is also available at places like Amazon.com for $19.79 (affiliate links).  I gave it four stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book (affiliate link) free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Intimacy Ignited

I got this book thinking it would be a great aid to studying the Song of Solomon.  I now understand the intent of the book was more designed to examine sexual issues between husbands and wives using the Song of Solomon as a launching pad for discussion.  My understanding of the Song of Solomon has shifted over the years and I have come to a different historical perspective on the Song of Solomon which makes my view of the book come in conflict with some of the authors’ interpretation and main points.  None-the-less I still see how this book has some value for couples who may be looking for some insight into how God designed sex for marriage.

The authors do a great job of illustrating their perspective of the text and relating it to issues faced by husbands and wives today.  Much of the insight and perspective shared on sex inside the book are not new.  The book does a great job of illustrating the perspective of husbands and wives and how to navigate some of the more difficult issues.  Over all Intimacy Ignited: Conversations Couple to Couple: Fire Up Your Sex Life with the Song of Solomon is a good book filled with great perspective and counsel for couples on sexual issues.  However I would offer one word of caution… If you are not married, don’t read the book…. It really is written for married couples.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Intimacy Ignited, the retail price is $21.99 (Hardcover).  It is also available at places like Amazon.com for $14.95I gave it three stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Nav Press Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

True Love Waits

I had the opportunity to speak to a local Christian club on the topic of “True Love Waits” and thought it would be great to share my observations here (seeing as parents, student pastors, and even occasionally students stop by here from time to time).

Warning: This content is mature in nature. Parents this may be a good guideline for you to have “The Talk” with your kids.  If they are in upper middle school they probably have heard a lot about sex and it doesn’t hurt to have a Biblical perspective.

You can get a PDF copy of my notes by clicking the following link:  True Love Waits.

A few other places that might be helpful:

What a Father says to His Daughter on Valentines Day

I have a pretty amazing little girl.  She turns five soon.  I am anxious, yet hopeful as she grows older and approaches womanhood.  I have a huge responsibility in demonstrating the way real men are to treat women.

valentines day

I take her out for pancakes once a week.  She looks forward to it every week.  Sometimes she goes to sporting events with me, just the two of us.  We call these daddy-daughter dates. Every day she asks if its her day to have breakfast with daddy.  She loves me in a crazy four-year-old way and I love her like any father should.

So here is what I’m saying to my little girl this valentines day and will probably say almost every day of her life.

1. I love you.

Love is not an emotion, it is an act of the will.  I chose to love you and I will never stop.  I love you enough to tell you the truth, to act against your will sometimes, and to do what is best for you even when you disagree.  I love you when you cry over broken toys, scraped knees, and hurt feelings.  I love you when the world is pressing in and you need a place of refuge and strength.  I love you when you have disobeyed the rules I gave you that were to protect you from harm.  I love you when you dance and sing like they do on TV.  I love you when you dress up like a princes and we dance.   I even love you when you are mad because you didn’t get your way, when you are angry with the kid who stole your toy, and when you don’t want to share. I hope you know by now that I love you and that will not change.

2. You are Beautiful

You are beautiful.  You are beautiful not only in princess gowns, play make-up, and jewelry… your  beauty is beyond skin deep.  I am inspired by your beauty when you are kind to your brother.  Your beauty shines when you help your mom.  Your beauty is evident when you bring your bibles in for me to read.  You are beautiful when you challenge me to dance.  You are beautiful.

3. I am Proud of You

I am Proud of you for so many things.  I am proud of you for letting people know when they have hugged you for too long.  I am proud of you when you take the initiative to help others in need.  I am proud of you when you think of me or someone else and you draw them a thank you card.  I am proud of you for picking up your toys with a good attitude.  I am proud of you for wanting to teach your brother what few lessons you have already learned in life.  I am proud of you when you trust me simply because I’m your dad.  I am proud of you when you ask questions (and you ask great questions).  I am proud of you.

To Dads:

We are often good about telling our daughters about when they misbehave or things they could do better.  Somehow it is easier to notice what we don’t like or don’t value than it is to affirm the good that our children do.  It is important that we cheer them on and provide a positive aim as well. Valentines day (or any day for that matter) is a great opportunity to let your daughter know that you love her and affirm the good things you see in her character.  These 3 words of affirmation are something that all daughters need to hear from their daddy no matter what their age.

Resolutions for a New Year

I have 3 main resolutions for this next year.  I actually have a LIFE plan with a lot more detail, but that’s for another blog post.  After having a brief conversation today with a stranger who is dreaming about one thing and doing another I decided that I should set in stone some serious goals for the next year.  Here are mine… What are yours?

1. Relate better as Husband and Father

Not that I think I’m doing a terrible job, but I’ve seen too many husbands and fathers drift from their duties over time.  It is really easy to imagine a loving relationship with my wife 5, 10, and 20 years from now, but the truth is that dreams don’t always create reality.  Having a good relationship with my wife and children will take time, intention, and discipline.  I have a strategy in my Life Plan, but its a little personal to share here.

2. Get into God’s word more (both personally and as a family)

Our pastor keeps a blog and comments on a chapter of scripture each day.  I usually keep up with that and read a few other passages each day.  I am also looking at creative ways to be in God’s word more as a family.  My wife and I used to read a chapter of scripture each day together.  When our daughter came along it was a little more difficult to keep her involved and so we shortened it to a few versus during family devotion time.  Now that she is almost 4 we are going to pick up something similar using a new tool for devotions.  My daughter is also old enough to start each day spending some time in God’s word.  Though she isn’t able to read yet I was thinking of moving her nightly Bible reading with me to the morning time (we have been working our way through a picture bible of the New Testament).

3. Live Healthier

This involves changing eating habits and making physical exercise a priority.  It also involves creating a better schedule and sticking too it.  I’ve learned that with planning and intention I can do more in my life with the time I have (this also involves planning for interruption).  We’ll see how it goes.  In my LIFE plan I check up weekly to see how I am living.  I’ll share more about that later… but how about you?  What resolutions do you have for this next year?