Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bible in a Year

For the last almost decade I've read the Bible from cover to cover. I've read it in different versions and even done the chronological Bible (super cool). For those of you who are looking for a challenge this post is dedicated to you.

Reading the Bible in a year is not for the faint of heart; its a huge commitment.

Reading the Bible in a year takes about 20 mins of reading a day.

There are days you are going to be behind, keep reading: Don't Skip!

You are going to be tempted to skip, don't!

Here is the plan:

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Benediction

On Sunday I knew I wanted to share a Christmas Benediction to close our service but I wasn't going to have time to write one so I searched for one. In my google search I found this one, but it seemed a little too long so I tweaked it to fit my style.

Here is what I came up with:
May you be filled with
the wonder of Mary,
the obedience of Joseph,
the joy of the angels,
and the peace of the Christ child.
May almighty God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Something you want, something you need. Something to wear, something to read.

With the countdown to Christmas at t-minus 17 days my guess is many people have their shopping done. Its weird to think this way but with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon you can really get your Christmas shopping done quite early now. The days of rushing to the mall and standing in lines are (almost) over. The days of sitting on the couch and buying presents are in!

As we talk about Christmas at the Benson home, Charity said something that has really stuck out in my mind. It was this: “something you want, something you need. Something to wear, something to read.”

Now I thought about this statement for probably over a month before telling my wife she was a genius for thinking this up to which she replied, “I saw it on Pinterest.” Even though she didn’t make it up it sounded like such a good idea I wanted to share it with others. If you search this: want, need, wear, read on Pinterest they will give you tons of ideas!

This year our girls will be receiving gifts based on this idea.

Disclaimer: I feel the need to make the disclaimer that I tried to use Pinterest one night, while sitting next to my wife, but have since stopped. Pinterest has great ideas though as you can see!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

An Abstinent Engagement

"There's nothing more than I enjoy than an awkward conversation." - Said no one

One of the greatest roles I get to play is when I officiate a wedding ceremony for a couple. I say “one of the greatest roles” because for me its a culmination of everything we’ve worked on for the last number of months. Its a huge responsibility to sign a piece of a paper for a couple who is saying they want to spend the rest of their lives together.

See, when I was younger I foolishly officiated a handful of weddings for couples who I never spent adequate time with. I talked with them a handful of times but it was mainly about not leaving the sink dirty and where they squeeze the toothpaste. I didn’t have much marriage experience so I thought, “Well, they love each other so it will work out.” I wish it was the case.

Unfortunately I know a handful of weddings I’ve presided over have not worked out.
So how can we change that?
How can we help give couples the best foundation for a health marriage?

Let me share two things I’ve learned about setting couples up for a healthy marriage:

1) Ask them to abstain from sex
This is actually a requirement for me now. At our church we strongly encourage couples to remain sexually pure prior to marriage. For some people this is tough. I’ve actually talked with couples about this and some have opted to have someone else officiate their wedding. On the other hand some couples are embarrassed when I talk about this because they are already remaining sexually pure. There are also the couples who have gone too far sexually and they choose to commit to remain pure until their wedding day.

2) Mandate pre-marital counseling
This is where you talk about focus on the marriage and not the wedding date. Much of what an engaged couple is doing is talking about the wedding day. They want to make sure the time is right, the flowers are perfect, the cake is good and the list goes on. I want to talk about what happens the following day. I want to talk about waking up to that person for the next 50-70 years of your life and supporting them.

My pastor has been using A Handbook for Engaged Couples and I’m enjoying the book. In the past I’ve used books like: Sacred Marriage or Love and Respect to talk with the couple about marriage. These books, in my opinion, are more for a marriage couple. The handbook is great to bring up conversation related to practical advice of what they need.

I’m sure I will have more to offer on this subject the longer I’ve been married and the more couples sit at our kitchen table from 8pm-10pm as we talk about the greatest commitment, besides following Jesus, they will ever make.