Saturday, April 29, 2006

More Thoughts on Wedding Day Modesty

I don't normally draw attention to comments posted on the site, but the following by a young lady named Juli who wrote in response to someone who disgreed with the previous post was particularly insightful. She writes,

Dear sister, your comment saddened me deeply. I can understand where you're coming from, as I too am a young woman who has dreamed of marriage for a long time. But by God's grace I've been learning that along with a healthy dream of marriage can come many selfish desires of my heart that must be distrusted. You said "A woman's wedding day, man, if there's one day in which she deserves to feel sexy and feminine and beautiful, it's that day." Now I believe in honoring brides, but the fact of the matter is that the day I am a bride, the only thing I "deserve" will still be hell and I will still be saved from it. Anytime we talk about what we "deserve" we are entering into dangerous territory. If I as a bride were to start off my WEDDING day with an attitude built around what I've dreamed of, what I deserve, what I am capable of deciding, and what I FEEL comfortable in, I should fear greatly for my MARRIAGE. Marriage is about the opposite of those things (how can I help my husband fulfill his dreams, how can I honor him, how can I cheerfully submit to his decisions, how can I offer him comfort?) and the beauty of the arrangement is that he will be striving to honor me in the same way. I so desire that someday my wedding will be a day celebrating not my body nor anything about me, but the God who has so graciously given me a husband with whom to become one. Sister, I humbly ask that you search your heart (how easily our hearts deceive us) and ask God to show you the truth (which very often He does through those in our church). It's not "about how I feel." It's about honoring the God who sent his Son to save us by obeying His command to "honor others above yourselves." I need to make protecting my brothers a priority higher than my own desires, not even on my wedding day, but especially on my wedding day: the day when a lifetime of striving for purity is being rewarded with the gift that I've been saving my body for all along. Wearing a pure and modest wedding gown IS celebrating my body in the God-intended way -- declaring to all what God's intention is for our sexuality. All for my husband! God will bless those brides who put their brothers above themselves. I know many women who can attest to that. And I know from talking to many of my brothers that they deeply appreciate women whose fashion philosophy is that Godliness of beautiful!

Thank you, Juli, for your love for the Savior and your deep desire to honor Him.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Modesty on Your Wedding Day

If tackling the topic of modesty weren't brave enough in and of itself, my sisters over at Girltalk have opened a much-needed conversation about modesty in wedding attire. No, men, your rented tuxedos and plastic shoes are not the source of temptation they're addressing. They're talking about dresses for the bridal party. Here's a portion of a quotation they share by pastor Todd Murray:

"In recent years, I have become increasingly grieved by the immodest dresses of both brides and bridesmaids at the weddings that I officiate. I have observed a number of young ladies in our fellowship who have dressed modestly all their lives appearing on their wedding day in extremely provocative dresses, exposing more of themselves than on any other day of their lives."
Ouch! I'm sad to say I've experienced the exact thing Todd describes at many weddings I've attended. It seems that formalwear is a category that has gone unevaluated by many. I hope the thoughts at Girltalk will help change this. If you're a bride-to-be or a parent of a future bride (particularly a dad) I hope you'll take the time to read the full post.

The Girltalk ladies wisely close by asking readers not to use their promotion of modest wedding gowns as an excuse for self-righteousness toward others. That's good counsel. We probably all have dear friends who have worn less-than-modest wedding dresses. And we shouldn't judge them. But neither should we let their past choice in attire keep us from encouraging and pursuing modesty in future Christian weddings.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wee Little Man

On April 9, I got to preach from Luke 19 on the story of Zacchaeus. This of course was a most appropriate passage for me to preach since I am a wee little man myself and Zacchaeus is the patron saint of short people!

You can hear the sermon here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fashion & Following the Savior

Just in time for warm weather fashion decisions, Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters are focusing on modesty this week at Girltalk. Make sure and check it out.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mohler on The Gospel of Judas

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Al Mohler's article on The Gospel of Judas:
"What are Christians to make of all this? The publication of The Gospel of Judas is a matter of genuine interest. After all, it is important for Christians to understand the context of early Christianity--a context in which the church was required to exercise tremendous discernment in confronting heretical teachings and rejecting spurious texts.

The scholarly research behind the publication of The Gospel of Judas appears to be sound and responsible. The codex manuscript was submitted to the most rigorous historical process in terms of dating, chemical composition, and similar questions. In the end, it appears that the document is most likely authentic, in terms of its origin from within a heretical sect in the third century.

Nevertheless, extravagant claims about the theological significance of The Gospel of Judas are unwarranted, ridiculous, and driven by those who themselves call for a reformulation of Christianity."
You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cinderella's Step Sister with the Fancy Coat

Okay, so you can tag this post as a little shameless bragging on my boy. But I'm not just sharing this because he got an answer right in Sunday school. I thought it was pretty funny. Janet, a dear lady in our church who was recently serving in Joshua Quinn's class emailed me the following:
Just wanted to let you know your son did a good job in assembly today. I began the time of drama with a little review and started by asking the question "Who knows who Joseph is?" One little girl raised her hand and said, "Joseph is one of Cinderella's step sisters" (I am not making this up). And you son said, "No, he is the one with the coat who gets thrown in a pit." I love this age group!
Evidently, there's a whole generation of Christian kids who have the wonderful world of Disney mixed in with their Bible knowledge. If you're looking for a good children's story Bible to read to your kids I really enjoy Catherine Vos's The Children's Story Bible.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Redemption Requires Self-Knowledge

In a recent sermon I quoted David Powlison from an article he wrote for the Fall 2005 Journal of Biblical Counseling. In the article Powlison notes that the change and redemption we all long for requires self-knowledge. “Diagnosis precedes cure,” he explains. He continues,
“But we humankind have a hard time with self-knowledge. [Our] pride spins webs of self-delusion. We usually put the best spin on ourselves. My opinions, my perspective, and my way of doing things seem intuitively plausible—if not the sum of all righteousness! Even when we get down on ourselves, we reserve the right of judgment. Have you ever noticed how a person with ‘low self-esteem’ reacts when someone else does the criticizing? Have you noticed how self-hatred so often correlates to failure to measure up to pride-generated standards for oneself? Self-pity is then a most delicious narcotic: It feels so good to feel so bad, because it’s all about me. Self-absorption erects an in impenetrable barrier to self-knowledge. To know myself as I truly am, I must come to know myself through the eyes of someone outside of myself—the God who searches and weighs every heart.”
If you're not familiar with Dr. Powlison and his insightful writing, I hope this whets your appetite. When I moved to Gaithersburg nine years ago one of the first things C.J. assigned me was Powlison's teaching series "How Can I Change?" C.J. told me that no one had taught him more about progressive santification than Powlison.

David Powlison edits The Journal of Biblical Counseling, counsels and teaches in the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation's School of Biblical Counseling. He also and teaches Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary.

If you'd like to learn more from Dr. Powlison, his book Seeing with New Eyes is a great place to start.

And if you're a pastor a subscription to the Journal of Biblical Counseling is mandatory.

And here's a wisdom-filled letter that Mr. Powlison wrote to C.J.'s son Chad on his thirteenth birthday. The ladies at Girltalk were kind enough to share it with the rest of us.

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