I’ve already mentioned this in a post yesterday, but for this week’s audio (rather than sermon) of the week, I would recommend you listen to the excellent talk by Mike Bullmore on how personal retreats can help you be more effective in ministry. It is entitled Watch Your Planning and is available as a free download from Sovereign Grace Ministries.
I’ve been doing thinking recently about a personal retreat. I came across a sermon from Sovereign Grace Ministries 2007 Leadership Conference by Mike Bullimore entitled, “Watch Your Planning.” You can even load the notes from the session. Are there any thoughts out there from anyone on personal retreats? Have you taken one? What are some details you worked through to do this? Any counsel you can offer? I would be happy to hear from anyone.
This week’s Marriage Monday is about this topic of praying together. I know it is sometimes difficult to find the time to do this, but it has great benefits. One man in our church was discussing this with me recently speaking of how God had brought incredible harmony and lack of conflict between he and his wife and the reason for it was praying together. In other words, praying together helped their relationship be stronger.
It makes sense, we know that women are wired for relational intimacy. What better way for your wife to know your heart, husband, than to spend time with her in prayer. It has also been well known that most women long for a man to take the lead in a spiritual way. Men, what bettter way to encourage your wife with loving leadership than to pray with her. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that praying together is a great way to not only build into your relationship with one another, but also to focus on the One who brought you together for His glory. Remember marriage is what God has brought together. Draw near to Him together, then, and see if He isn’t pleased.
This does require some discipline. Recently, God has been stirring my heart about family worship. You see, I was at a place in my life where, after a long day, I wanted to sit in front of the TV and watch Sportscenter updates or whatever else was wrong. I decided to best serve my family, there would have to be some severing of my pleasures. Usually from around 8-9:30ish, we try to have some family worship time with Andrew. Then, after he is in bed, we take some time to build our relationshp spiritually. We have tried to do this by reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones book The Sermon on the Mount. Every week, we are studying (at this point) a Beatitude and looking to deepen our understanding and application of it. Then we turn around in prayer together and ask God to work this in our lives. God has been so faithful. Praying together really has brought spiritual fellowship between us.
In conclusion, then, pray together and watch God draw near to you.
You might have heard…
Sovereign Grace Ministries has made all their downloadable MP3’s available for free.
You can access a tool to search for one here.
Maybe you’ve read Carolyn Mahaney’s excellent book Feminine Appeal. Well, she has MP3’s of her speaking some of the content found in that book. There are MP3’s from all their leadership conferences, from New Attitude, from C.J. Mahaney, David Powlison, Wayne Grudem and others. This is definitely an incredible gift to the WWW. Take advantage of this and see if growth in godliness is not the result.
For this week’s Sermon of the Week, I would like to add a resource that relates to this Sunday past’s AM message. The sermon was “Salvation Is Of The Lord” from Jonah 2. C.J. Mahaney has preached an excellent sermon on Sovereign Grace from Ephesians 1:3-14. His approach is one of humility with a longing to serve us by exposing God’s Word. I commend this sermon for your benefit.
I am drawn to think that I could just learn one more truth, or find one more formula, or have one more experience, or get into the right fellowship — then my battle with sin would diminish. The right leader, the right theology, the right diet, the right worship style — these are what I need.
This is the error of church growth. It leads us to think that the key to the church is finding the right external form. Power is hindered by the wrong form, power is unleashed by the updating of the church to new forms. No — power comes from the Gospel and its being applied. Tradition or “hip-ness” are not the issue. There is not a whit of power in going ancient (candles and dim lights, formal attire) and there is not any more power in going cool (graphics and urban decor, jeans in worship). Neither matters.
I think he is right on here. Too often as a pastor in a local church, I am tempted to think this. I am tempted to think, “If my church could be more cool…” or “If we could just hook people in …” or “If I could be a hipper communicator…” All of these statements reveal that I am consistently close to neglecting the central power of the gospel. The Gospel must be all that the local church centers on. It needs to be the consistent theme of all we’re about. Therefore, be reminded of that today and find your true help from the Helper Himself.
It occurred to me that I failed to post something for last Monday’s marriage Monday, so please forgive me. At HomeWord a couple of weeks ago, we looked at the role of the wife. In the application time, we focused on the following areas highlighted by Martha Peace in her wonderful work, The Excellent Wife. She gives the following:
EIGHTEEN WAYS A WIFE MAY BE THE GLORY OF HER HUSBAND:
1) Ask your husband, “What are your goals for the week?”
2) Ask your husband, “How can I help you accomplish these goals?”
3) Ask your husband, “Is there anything that I can do differently that would make it easier for you?”
4) Be organized with cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking. As you fulfill your God-given responsibilities, your husband is then free to do his work.
5) Save some of your energy every day for him.
6) Put him first over the children, your parents, friends, job, ladies’ Bible studies, etc.
7) Willingly and cheerfully rearrange your schedule for him when necessary.
8) Talk about him in a positive light to others. Do not slander him at all, even if what you are saying is true.
9) Do whatever you can to make him look good, to accomplish his goals. Some examples are offer to run errands for him, organize your day to be available to him with his projects, pray for him and make good suggestions. Give him the freedom not to use your suggestion, and do not be offended if he does not follow it.
10) Consider his work (job, goals, hobbies, work for the Lord) as more important than your own.
11) Think of specific ways that you can help him accomplish his goals. Examples are get up early in the mornings to help him get off to work having had a good breakfast, take care in recording telephone messages for him, anticipate any needs he may have in order to attain a specific goal, and keep careful records of money spent to keep up with the budget.
12) Consider the things that you are involved in. How do they glorify your husband? Ask his guidance.
13) Be warm and gracious to his family and friends. Make your commitment to him obvious to them.
14) Do and say things that build him up instead of tear him down.
15) Dress and apply your makeup in an attractive manner that is pleasing for your husband.
16) When your husband sins, reprove him privately and gently, always giving him hope and pointing him to the Lord.
17) Encourage him to use his spiritual gifts in ministry.
18) Realize that just as God is glorified when man obeys Him, your husband is glorified when you obey your husband.
As you can see from her suggestions, being a godly wife is a high calling. I hope today you are encouraged, ladies, to realize that God has given you the grace for this kind of following. Cling to Him and watch Him do wonderful things through you.