Gull Lake Q&A, Part 3
post date: July 6, 2009Discovering God’s Will for Your Life.
2. As you and your wife have progressed in your marriage, what have you done to grow in intimacy and commitment? To begin with, I asked Marlene about this to get some ideas. Someone suggested that was part of the answer, which I’m sure is true. Marriage is a duet, not a solo. It’s also a work in progress, not a finished product. And a good marriage, like a good symphony, has movements and melodies, with high notes and low notes, and an ever-changing tempo. Next month we celebrate our 35th anniversary by the grace of God. Looking back we’re both amazed at how we met and fell in love, how we survived so many difficult changes in our first couple of years, and how we’ve grown through it all. I don’t have formula for a lasting marriage, but if I did it would include respect, laughter, prayer, space to grow, godly mentors, a healthy sense of unpredictability, patience, and continual forgiveness. And what we usually call love, I call the commitment to stay married for the long haul based on our deep faith that God wants us to be together for life. See Love is Blind but Marriage is a Can Opener.
3. What suggestions do you have for raising non-passive kids? As parents of grown children, what are the most important things you feel you did with your children? Marlene and I don’t feel like experts in any way regarding child-rearing. When our three boys were growing up, we never played the “pastor’s kid” card and we tried never to let that be a burden to them. Because our boys were rambunctious, we told them that we prayed that if they did wrong, they would get caught. That prayer was answered on several occasions. We came to see that being consistent and keeping our word was very important to them. And we prayed this way–"Lord, raise up our sons to be strong warriors for Jesus Christ.”Sometimes we are too defensive in our prayers–"Lord, protect my children from temptation.” Nothing wrong with praying that way, but we ought to ask God to raise up our children to be strong in the Lord so that they can be world changers for Jesus Christ.
On a practical note, we tried to encourage our boys to be independent. We encouraged them to travel, to go on missions trips, to see the world, and all of them have done it. Travel is a tremendous broadening experience and an excellent form of education. And because we had a basement, we encouraged them to have their friends over any time. We always felt it was good to have “home field advantage” with our kids. So hardly a day passed without a group of guys upstairs or downstairs or both. It was loud, and we spent a lot on food, but it was worth it. See Mighty Oaks and Graceful Pillars.
4. What guidance to you have for a lay person who has been called to teach God’s Word? Starting in September I’m teaching a Bible study class for 250 women. Congratulations on your new opportunity. I think you’ll find this an exciting and stretching challenge. Here are a few suggestions: 1. Spend time listening to men and women you consider good Bible teachers. Via the Internet you can now listen (and watch) the greatest Bible teachers from the comfort of your own home. As you listen, ask yourself, “How is he doing that?” “How long did she spend on the introduction?” “What were the main points?” “How did she wrap up that lesson?” 2. Write down your lecture notes. Don’t wing it. Better to go to the podium the first few times with too much instead of too little. 3. Seek a simple and clear style. 4. Don’t mess around in your introduction. It’s hard to explain what I mean, but sometimes I hear speakers who are well-meaning but spend a long time fiddling around, talking about this and that, telling story after story, slowly meandering toward the topic. That drives people nuts. Get to the point as quickly as you can. 5. Don’t try to be a “great” teacher, whatever that is. In baseball terms, just get on base. You don’t have to hit home runs every time. 6. Pray that God will help you to teach his Word in a way that changes your own life. God bless you as you teach your class this fall!
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