Friday, August 26, 2005

Josh on the Radio Tonight: Find a Local Station

Since the other link I posted takes one a round-about way, here's a link to the page that helps you find a local station, if you want to catch Josh on Fox News Radio tonight.

Also, FYI, Josh and I are both out of the office for the next couple weeks, so we'll talk to you later.

K

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Josh on Fox News Radio

Friday August 26 at 10:15 PM, Josh will be doing a live radio interview on the Alan Colmes Show. Colmes, known for his outspoken liberal commentary, will be interviewing Josh on the controversial principles found in his books I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is). Please pray for Josh, for wisdom in all his speech, and that God will be glorified in this interview. The station’s site also offers a live stream for listening online, and a listener call in number.

Katherine

Friday, August 19, 2005

Time to Cheat My Blog


Last night we had a meeting of our whole pastoral team and our conversation focused on being faithful in managing our schedules so that they reflect God's priorities. As we talked and got the input of our dear wives about times that we "bring work home" or how our work habits effect our families, I was convicted of being undisciplined and lazy in several ways.

The first way is a constant need to know what's in my inbox. There are many times when I'm at home and I'll pick up my laptop and check my email. I do it in "down time"—little moments when there's a lull in the action, or after the kids go down or when Shannon is busy with something else. The problem is that it's not necessary and it's not important. I'm just curious to hear what so and so thought of the email I sent earlier in the day. It's the equivalent of work "junk food." It's not really moving me forward or making me more effective, it's just that I'm unwilling to unplug from the constant flow of information. In light of the priority of being fully engaged with my wife and family this bad habit is, in my opinion, treacherous.

So I’m making home an email free zone. I’m not doing this legalistically. I know there will be legitimate moments when, as a function of caring for my family, I’ll need to send an email. But I’m choosing to stay away from the reading, answering, getting sucked into things as I’ve been doing.

The second way I’ve begun to be undisciplined is through upkeep of this blog. Now I’m sure this is hilarious to many people because I hardly do anything on this blog! A real blog—at least as I think of it—involves a minimum of daily posts. I’ve hardly been doing anything. But slowly in the last few weeks, as I’ve been trying to “do more” on it, I’ve seen myself grabbing extra moments at home to keep up. Comments that are posted are delivered to my inbox (ooh, there’s that evil email again!) and questions come in from folks that I really want to try and help. I find myself thinking about it at home, wondering what I should post next.

As we talked as pastors and as I prayed this morning I knew this had to change. I read a portion from a book by Andy Stanley called “Choosing to Cheat.” The basic premise is that we are always choosing one thing over another. We are always making one thing a priority and “cheating” something else.

By God’s grace, I’ve not reached a point of crisis, but I don’t want this blog to grow and consume more of my energy and thinking that should be devoted to my responsibilities as a husband, father, pastor, student and friend. Blogs are the future, they’re the new means of communication, they’re everything…yeah, so what. I’m choosing to cheat my blog so I don’t cheat the things that really matter to me.

So basically what this means is that, while we’ll still keep this blog, most of the posts will be informational and coming from Katherine and Jo. They’ll be posting news of interest about the church, about the books, about New Attitude, and sharing letters from readers. I will no longer try to answer people’s questions, even though I wish I could.

Thanks for understanding. And I hope you’ll consider these thoughts and evaluate your own email and online habits. My friends, there are relationships to deepen, there is Scripture to read, there is fresh air to breathe, there is tennis to play, there are children to laugh and play with, there are great books to read, there are conversations and discussions to be had. Cheat the email! Cheat the blogs! Cheat all our so-called productivity and light-speed communication so that the stuff of real life—the stuff that really matters to us—isn’t cheated.

See ya!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Right View of God's Good Gift

Someone recently wrote:

“I can't really find an appropriate section to post my comments so I'm putting them here... I was raised to believe in the importance of staying pure until marriage. I read all of your books on courtship and purity and through God's help avoided many pointless relationships and hurt. A few years ago I met the man God had for me, and after dating for 2 1/2 years, we got married just 2 months ago. Sounds like a great deal, except our relationship as man and wife is not so great. From all my study and years of fighting impurity, I now feel guilty and like it is wrong to be physically initmate with my own husband. My brain knows sex is supposed to be a beautiful thing in the confines of marriage, but fighting my feelings is hard. I am not sure how to deal with it. Have you encountered anyone else having this guilt issue?”

Josh Answers:

Thanks for your post. Rest assured that you are not the first person to struggle with something like this. And I don't want you to be discouraged. You're still a newlywed and issues related to sexual intimacy don't just "work perfectly" for a lot of couples. It takes time, patience and being conformed to godly, biblical thinking about sex. I am confident that God can and will help you walk through this.

I can't address this thoroughly here because of the public nature of this blog, but I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that for whatever reason, in your good desire to be pure you've adopted unbiblical attitudes and ways of thinking. I don't know what books you've read or what experiences you've had or what thoughts you've thought over the years, but they've added up to ways of thinking about sex that contradict the clear teaching of scripture. I don't say all this to condemn you but to give you hope. These wrong thoughts can be repented of, turned from and the truth can be embraced! The Holy Spirit wants to help you to change and to see sexual intimacy in marriage as a joyous, beautiful and pure thing.

Just remember this will be a process. It will take time. Just as a person who indulged in lust and fornication has to repent of wrong ways of thinking about sex you need your ideas of purity realigned with God’s.

I think this process will involve studying the Bible and good Christian books that can help you begin to understand what God’s word says about sex. You need to renew your mind in this area. This involves identifying specific lies you’ve believed and countering them with the truth of scripture. It involves giving thanks to God for the good gift of sexual intimacy in marriage. I also think it will involve open and honest communication with your husband. He needs to understand your struggles so that he can encourage you, pray for you and lead you in a right view of sex. I would encourage you to study together and pray together about this topic.

I'd like to mail you a copy of “Feminine Appeal” by Carolyn Mahaney. She has a chapter in her book that can help you. And for your husband, I want to send "Sex, Romance and the Glory of God” C.J. Mahaney. I might include a few extra articles as well. This will be a little late wedding gift from Shannon and I.

So please email your address to my assistant Katherine. If there’s anything other specifics on your circumstances that you want to include to help us counsel you can include that as well. It probably wouldn’t be best to try and use this blog as forum for communicating further on this topic. You write to: kreynolds@covlife.org.

I hope this helps you! Don’t lose heart. God is going to help you in this! He is so faithful and wants to see you enjoying his good gifts! Remember, you're only two months into marriage. Relax and rest in God's power to change your thinking to reflect his.

Since New Attitude: An Update on God's Grace

We just got this encouraging letter from a lady who God brought to NA04. This is an update of what has happened since...

Josh,

You may not remember me, but I gave my testimony at last years New Attitude Conference. I'm the girl that came alone and got "adopted" into a group from Covenant Fellowship Church. Well, I wanted to give you the year and a half update. After the conference, I kept in contact with the girls I met and they invited me to visit them last year during my spring break, which was March of 2004. Well, I spent the whole week seeing how Sovereign Grace does "church" and was blown away. I decided at the end of my week long visit that I had to move. So I started making the plans once I got home to Michigan. My parents thought I was joking, but they realized after praying about it, that I was serious and the Lord was actually calling me to move 750 miles away. I had always lived close to home, but my parents knew it was time for me to test my wings.

So I moved in July of 2004 and had previously decided that I would go on to grad school in PA. So I found a good seminary about 45 minutes from Covenant Fellowship and moved into the dorms (one of the girls that I met at New Attitude actually bought a one way ticket to Michigan a drove out to PA with me - and helped me move all my stuff in). The first Sunday I was there, I went to Grace Community Church, which is a plant from Covenant Fellowship - and was only about 2 miles down the road from my dorm room. I fell in love with the church and became a member last month. But that's not the highlight of the story (it's a close second only to this......) Do you remember when I said during my testimony that before the conference I had prayed that God would send me my husband, not that he would send me friends? Well, He actually did both. I moved into the dorms last July and met Mike very soon after that. We started dating very soon after that and got married very soon after that! A little crazy, but anyways :) We will be celebrating our 6 month wedding anniversary on August 12th. Marriage has been the most wonderfully difficult thing that I've ever done!!!

Mike also became a member of Grace Community Church in June, which was something he never would have expected. You see, Mike has a very traditional background (hands-by-your-side Presbyterian) but he immediately felt drawn to Sovereign Grace because of it's Reformed teaching and passionate worship. He even left his youth pastor position at another church to join the Sovereign Grace family. And we have both benefitted so much from our church family. We receive Gospel centered preaching every Sunday and are part of an amazing, amazing care group. We are blessed beyond anything we could have imagined!

Josh, I just wanted to tell what the Lord has done in such a short period of time. I went to New Attitude a little depressed I wasn't married yet. And little did I know that God was working behind the scenes to create a love story for me that was so romantic, so beautiful that it only could have been created by Divine hands. That conference caused me to visit a Sovereign Grace church, which caused me to move to a Sovereign Grace church, which caused me to pursue my Masters in Christian counseling at a seminary - where my husband-to-be was praying that God would send him a wife. Truly God is indescribable! What I thought was just a conference was actually a cornerstone that would impact the rest of my life! I had no idea it would be this good!

God bless,

Jamie

P.S. - Oh yeah, and Crissy the girl I met at New Attitude was the maid of honor in my wedding and she is my very best friend to this day!!!

--------

If you haven't heard we've restarted New Attitude. Stay tuned for details.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Real Life Courtship vs. Paint by Numbers Courtship

Here's a comment Gretchen posted:

"I'm nearly 22, and finally getting to put all the courtship theories to the test: I'm being courted by a man I've been in love with since I was 13. I'm finding that courtship in real life is so much more than you can read about in a book. I have had to be careful not to 'put God in a box' and think He will work the same way in my life as He did in all the other courtship stories I've read. But I'm so thankful for the encouragement I received from your books and others to wait for the man God made for me. A love story written by Him is the most beautiful ever..."

I thought this was 1) a cool story and 2) something many people I know walk through, namely, the realization that every relationship is different and there is no "paint by numbers" guide to courtship.

I had a group of singles from my church over to the house to talk about how relationships are working in Covenant Life. I'm planning a two-part series in November on how a church community can support singles in pursuing godly friendships and courtship. I wanted to hear the challenges these men and women were facing.

One thing I heard there is echoed by Gretchen. Sometimes people who are committed to honoring God in their relationships—who have turned their back on the "dating mindset" and who have read every book written on courtship—can start to assume that their knowledge about godly relationships can take the place of day by day faith in God as they walk out a real-life relationship. One man at the meeting told me that he thinks some people fall into a lazy approach where they want a book or some speaker to "tell them all the methods for godly relationships" so they can just check off the boxes. But no aspect of the Christian life, including godly relationships, works that way! We have to read and apply God's word, pray, trust God, question and search our hearts, seek godly counsel, pursue wisdom and then pray some more. It takes work. There's no autopilot switch. As Gretchen put it, we're not going to have the exact experience of our best friend, or a particular couple in our church or the author of a book.

Gretchen, I hope you'll post again and share more of your story. (For those who don't know, Gretchen has a website called Young Ladies Christian Fellowship that has kept New Attitude magazine alive online.) I'm sure many people would love to hear more about what God is teaching you. One girl commented on another thread that she'd love a place to discuss courtship with other like-minded women. This could be a chance to start one such conversation.

And then for everyone else, I'd love to hear your comments on this post or what your own experience has been.

Monday, August 08, 2005

New Title and Cover


Two days ago I received my first copy of the newly titled and repackaged "Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is)." I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I suppose for a lot of people it will be called "The Book Formerly Known as Not Even a Hint."

We decided to make this change because we had a lot of people telling us that they had no idea what the book was about.
It was also spurred on by the release of Max Lucado's book that featured the same "water look" as Not Even a Hint. We thought it would be good to change the cover art and in the process thought we might as well go all the way and change the title.

Not much has changed inside the book. I only adjusted the preface and then we added a section in the back called "Purity Download" that gives advice on sexual purity online.

So give me your honest opinion on the new title. Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Walmart gave us the thumbs down. They told the publisher they wouldn't sell it because it had "sex" in the title. Of course Walmart owns half the world so that was a little disconcerting. But then I learned that they never sold it with the old title anyway. So who cares?

Oh, and here's a blog review of the book (with it's old title) from a reader in Malaysia.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fighting for Holiness in Iraq


Several months ago we received a request for books from a Chaplain serving in Iraq. We sent boxes of CJ Mahaney's "The Cross Centered Life" and "Not Even a Hint." The following are from two different letters we got back. And we loved the picture they sent.

"On behalf of the chapel staff here at Multi-National Corps Iraq here at Camp Victory, we would like to thank you for your support of our troops. Your books were a blessing for all the men and women here serving in Iraq. We appreciate your dedication and support in helping us provide religious support for the troops."

"...the most popular book of all was the one about LUST by Joshua Harris, "Not Even a Hint." Amazing how many soldiers sailors & Marines have worn out the pages of this book. We ran out quicker of this book. They are so hungry for ANY advice on how to keep themselves pure, especially in this loose morals environment of war is hell ethose on the base camps. There has been a lot of "hooking up" and so many are tempted to follow that course of sin and try to walk with Christ too. So those who know that is wrong are very eager for the truth."

Please join us in praying for the men and women serving in Iraq and Afganistan. Pray not only for their physical well-being but for their spiritual health.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Covenant Life Sermons on Your iPod

Our church is now podcasting (aren't we so hip?) our Sunday messages. So now you can get our sermons on your iPod each week.

Visit the podcast page of the Covenant Life website to sign up.

Free Study Guide for "Stop Dating the Church"

Natalie asked: "I wanted to know if there was a good study guide out there for Stop Dating the Church? I wanted to lead a study on it at my college. I really enjoyed reading the book and it had a lot of impact on me. So I wanted to share with other college students this book."

Answer: Yes, we do have a study guide that you can download free. Hope it serves you!

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