Book Plunge: If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy.

What do I think of Rhonda Stoppe’s book published by Harvest House Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I make it a point to read books on marriage regularly and though this one was meant for the wives, I found it on a Kindle sale and decided to pick it up. I want to understand matters from a woman’s perspective after all. Rhonda Stoppe is writing from the perspective of a pastor’s wife to women who are believing very foolish things about marriage.

I know very well that we men are just as guilty, but this book is for the women. Each chapter also ends with a note from her husband Steve. There are also references to their website so you can see a video of her and Steve talking about the issue under question.

She emphasizes at the start that the way to love your husband best, and anyone else for that matter, is to love God first. If you are in a marriage and you and your spouse are both loving God first, loving each other will come much more easily. It’s a sort of win-win. You have a good walk with God and you have a better marriage as a result.

She also rightly says that if you make it about your feelings, then you’re going to suffer for it. Feelings are something that change and are unstable. We all know this. Strangely enough, so many of us still like to base reality on our feelings. Your marriage is not about a promise to have good feelings towards one another. It’s about a promise to love one another and do good to one another.

She’s also correct that men tend to thrive on respect more than they do on love. A man does not want his wife to be another mother. He wants someone who relies on him, believes in him, and who celebrates his accomplishments. In essence, he wants someone who will look at him and say “You are my man.” (Yes women! We would love to hear that and even more to have it shown to us!)

She also notes that your husband isn’t perfect, and this mainly in a chapter about how women believe their marriage would be better if they were prettier. Your husband cannot do for you what only God can. I’d also like to say at this point that we already find you beautiful anyway. That’s one reason we married you. As much as you might think you’re not beautiful, we think about that body of yours that you don’t think is beautiful much more than you realize and we think it’s much more beautiful than you realize.

This is followed by the chapter on sex, a chapter I was certainly very eager to get to as a man. In this, she says

“So why are wives so resistant to minister to their husband’s need for sex? The most common reason is selfishness, plain and simple. Because of our sin nature, the basic problem all people have is a preoccupation with self. In short, every sin results from this preoccupation. (Yes, I just implied that not having sex with your husband is a sin that stems from selfishness.)”

At this, most every Christian man in the world wants Rhonda Stoppe to come and give a talk at his church. One of my favorite Family Feud clips is of Steve Harvey asking the question that was asked to 100 married men. I would blank for sex. Every guy who answers, except for the final one who listened to the women, nailed it. The women always missed. As Steve says in it, “You don’t know how deep this runs with us!”

This often shows a disconnect that Rhonda understands. Sex to a man is far more than getting his game on for a physical release. It is the way we feel desired and adored and wanted by our wives. It is the way that we know we are the man. Duty sex itself won’t do this. The more passion you give a man, the more you will empower that man. This is an honest need in a man’s life.

The problem I think is that too many women do think that a man is just wanting a physical joy with his wife instead of realizing that this is often how he connects emotionally as well. Dare I say it, but it’s a prideful attitude just like Rhonda says. Too often women expect their men to be more like them and thus more “refined” as it were and that their husband is a lowly and filthy creature for wanting sex. Not at all.

Rhonda also says that to remember your kids won’t always need you. Your husband will always need you in his life. Don’t replace the husband with the kids. Too many marriages have the marriage centered around the children. This should never be.

She is also right in saying that a husband wants a joyful wife. Be someone that your husband enjoys being around. Be a source of joy. That doesn’t mean never ever be sad and come to him in pain if you really are that way, but it does mean try to have joy around him.

For housework, most men don’t care about a house being spotless. They would much rather that the house just be livable. To go back to what was said above, many men would be far more happy if women who are so eager to make sure the house is perfect would spend more time working on the areas that they’re concerned about the most.

Rhonda will deal with many myths in the book. Most every wife would likely hold to a couple of them at least. There are many myths that men believe as well, but this is for the women. I appreciate Rhonda’s book here and it is one I can easily recommend to wives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

What Is Your Pastor’s Job?

What is your pastor supposed to do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about how our churches are not equipping us. Someone replied at a place where I posted it saying an hour a week on Sunday is not enough. This is absolutely true. Even if we added in Sunday school and Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services, it still can’t compare to the media onslaught most of us get every day.

As I reflected on this, I thought of something else that is often not mentioned. Evangelism is not the pastor’s job per se. Now all of us are meant to be evangelists to an extent, but what I mean is that we often have an odd view of how to get people to come to Christ.

We go out and we meet a neighbor who is an unbeliever. What do we think the plan is? Oh! Well, you invite them to church and then when in church the pastor gives a message and the person is convicted and they repent and come to Jesus. This can happen, but this is not the way it really is supposed to happen.

It sounds like a stretch to some, but really, the person who is supposed to bring that person to Jesus is you. A pastor should certainly when giving a message keep in mind there could be unbelievers in the audience and be willing to offer them the chance to come to Christ, but that is not his main role. His main role is indeed to equip the saints further.

Our methodology today often absolves us of any responsibility. We get them to church and then the pastor takes over. Your pastor, no matter how good he is, cannot be Superman. He cannot do everything. He has his limitations on him as well.

Consider it as a coach. A coach wants players to be able to make the decisions as if he wasn’t even there. Sure, a player can go to a coach for a strategy if he needs one, but a coach will not be supportive of a player who goes to him for everything that he is thinking about. The player needs to learn how to play as much as possible without the coach.

This means that when you do evangelism, you might actually have to learn how to answer questions yourself. You might have to learn how to dialogue yourself. You might actually have to do some bizarre things. This could include such things as reading the Bible on your own, praying on your own, reading devotional literature or studying theology, apologetics, church history, or anything else on your own.

In other words, your Christianity might require some work on your part.

“But I don’t have time!” I hear as you sit down to watch the rerun of that show you’ve seen 27 times so far. I hear it as you sit down to follow your favorite sports franchise that you can’t seem to live without. I hear it as you do whatever is that you’re doing during the day.

The problem is that if something is truly important to you, you will make the time for it somehow. If your Christianity is important to you, you will make the time for it. If it isn’t, you won’t. You will find some excuse and go back to what is really important to you.

Your pastor should help you along the way, but that’s not what he’s there. He’s there to equip and encourage, but like a teacher, he’s also there to help you so that you won’t need help eventually. Hopefully, at that point, he will be like a wise mentor that you come to only periodically.

When the church is producing people who are ultimately teachers of the Gospel themselves and evangelists themselves, then the work is being done. When it is just producing people who think their only job is to bring unbelievers to the pastor, it is not, at least on that front. It is my hopes we will see more and more equipped churches where the huge majority is truly growing in Christ.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/1/2017: Steve Bedard

What’s coming up Saturday? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Pastoring is a hard job. I don’t speak from experience on this, but it must be if you are one who seeks to give it your all. You have to attend all these board meetings with a church, be available for counseling, be available for 3 A.M. phone calls if someone has a medical emergency, do your academic study for a sermon, be writing it out and preparing it and finding material to use for it, read Scripture for your own spiritual formation, and spend quality time with your family. This is a tough task you don’t want to take on lightly.

Now imagine another hurdle to all of that. You have to out there and be with the people and be interacting with them regularly. On top of that, you’re autistic.

How do you handle that? April is coming upon us and so we have our customary show for Autism Awareness Month. He has been on before to talk about his book How To Make Your Church Autism Friendly and now he’s back because since then, he has realized that he is on the spectrum. He is Steve Bedard, and he will be my guest.

So who is he?

Stephen Bedard is the pastor of Queen Street Baptist Church and is a sessional lecturer at Tyndale University College. He has MDiv, MTh and MA degrees from McMaster Divinity College and is a DMin candidate at Acadia Divinity College.

Steve Bedard has an active role in apologetics as well so this kind of work is no stranger to him, but he is no doubt having to learn about himself quite a bit and then how does the church respond? What do they think about having an autistic pastor? Is Steve able to connect with his congregation or not?

We can also now ask him what it’s like from a first-hand perspective instead of just through his kids to be on the spectrum. Has this changed his relationship with his children any? Does being an autistic pastor provide any benefits to the job? Are there any extra hurdles to it? Does he ever meet with other pastors who are surprised to learn that there is an autistic pastor?

Of course, those of us on the spectrum know that there are degrees on it and people are all different. There are some things many of us have in common, but there are many ways that we are all different. People like Steve I hope are an inspiration to others that are out there on the spectrum. (Just recently, I read an article by a professional answering that he thinks Aspies are capable of intimacy. I commented and said myself and my Aspie wife of nearly seven years would agree.)

I hope you’ll be listening to this show as we talk with Steve Bedard and find out what his ministry is like for him. We will also be asking about how his relationships have changed since then. Please consider going on ITunes also and leaving a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I love to read them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

So You Want To Be A Pastor

What will it take to get you ready for ministry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I seem to be running into men who want to be pastors. Now this is certainly a noble ambition to have, but I want to make sure that they are ready. You see, I have met far too many pastors that were “called to preach” (Which is a term I don’t support anyway, but oh well) and I can’t help but wish that when God had “called” them that He had actually given them the ability to preach. These preachers never really grow in their knowledge of God at all and don’t wrestle with the text and don’t read the best material on what they’re speaking about. For these kinds of people, if you have passion, well God will work through your passion and make sure you get it all right.

No. It’s work. It takes work. Here are some steps I recommend.

First off, if you are to be a man of the book, you must be a man of many books. The Bible is a complex book to understand on its own. Don’t be someone who thinks you’re the only one who has received any guidance from the Holy Spirit in reading the text. Remember that many people went before you who engaged with the text and you can read them and save yourself several years where you would have been reinventing the wheel. You should also read your modern brothers and sisters today so that you can know what is being said today and what the big issues of the day people are wrestling with are.

Second, you will need to learn many other skills. If you want to lead a church, you will need good administrative skills from how to handle long and boring meetings to how to balance a budget. You will also need to learn counseling for the many people who come to you with some form of distress. You will need to learn subjects like church history so you can know the history of your belief system. Naturally, you will need to learn apologetics as well and in the growing age of skepticism, I cannot stress enough just how important it is to learn apologetics. If you cannot answer objections to the Christian faith and give a reason why you should believe the claims of Christianity, you will end up producing many apostates and these apostates will tend to reproduce themselves easily in the age of the internet.

Third, you will need to know how to manage your own time. You have to have time for the meetings and such of a church, time for your personal study for your own edification, time for study for the preparation of a sermon, time for your own family life, time for your own downtime so you can avoid burnout, and then be available for sudden 3 A.M. calls when a member of your church has a loved one in the hospital. If you cannot handle this, then you should not go into the field.

Finally, remember the work you do, you do for God. Please watch what you say. I see pastors make major blunders in sermons and it’s quite frankly embarrassing. Try to preach a sermon that can hit as many people in the audience as possible. We tend to have pastors speaking on the lowest level possible. I think this is quite wrong. Don’t aim above their heads, but aim to make them reach up a little bit at least. I have been in more than enough sermons where I’ve been sitting there wondering what I’d do for some fun on my Sunday down time when I got home. Why? It’s because it’s all stuff I’ve heard before. Make sure some of this is good doctrine too. Your church needs to know what we believe and why we believe and what difference it makes. It needs more than just being a good person. Morality is important for a Christian, but it is not the whole deal.

Please make sure if you want to be a pastor that you are ready. You are leading the flock of God and that is not a responsibility to be taken lightly as those of us who teach will be judged more strictly in the end.

In Christ,
Nick Peters