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Showing posts from July, 2009

Special Announcement

I concluded my marriage series last month. I am currently editing these 4 sermons so they can be podcast. Then all of my entries are going to be compiled into a ebook that you will be able to download for free. I am currently editing it and adding a couple of new entries. So with that said. If you would like for me to contact you when this ready, please email me at pastorruss@bellsouth.net - If you would rather have cd's as opposed to a podcast, please include a request. Thanks for reading and I pray that your relationships, marriages and families will al be blessed by God's presence and peace. Now on to August. My series for this month is entitled, "The Church According to Twitter." It is a series about making your relationship with Christ real, relevant and influential in the lives of the people that you know. If you have a twitter account you can find me at russ_jones.

Cute Couple

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This is Dave and Danielle. I've know Dave for 9 or so years. I've known Danielle for about 15 minutes. They are a couple and are proud to let you know it! Looking forward to seeing what life has in store for them. So remember you saw them here first!

Marriage and Character

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Character issues speak to a persons heart. What they are made of and how they operate. Most people don't understand that what you love and dislike about your spouse speaks to their character. Character is made up of our attributes that determines our moral and ethical actions and reactions. Flawed attitudes and values show up in flawed character. Now I know that some of you are thinking that I am going to be a little judgmental. Who am I to tell you what is flawed and what isn't? That has never been nor is my job. I believe that character issues are address by God through His Word (the Bible). The point of this blog entry is to help you realize that our struggles within family and marriage usually are not what we think they are. To many times I see spouses try to change their spouse. This is never going to happen. If you do get the person to change their actions or behavior, they will resent you for it - thus causing a bigger problem down the line. But what I se

Marriage and Goals

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What is your goal for your marriage? What do you think your marriage is suppose to look like? What expectations do you have for your marriage? What do you expect your spouse to do or not do? What does your spouse expect of you? If you haven't sit down with your spouse and spelled these things out, then you are assuming that they either already know or that will just do what you tell them without question. I doubt either one is going to work well. When your expectations for your marriage are being met, you will think that the marriage is good! Just like everything else in life, when our needs are met, we are happy. When your expectations are not met, the marriage is bad. When that happens there is usually a lot of finger pointing followed by the phrase, "If they would just . . . . " Well, you get the picture. So what do couples do? Nothing. Yes, there are people who have been married for years who cannot tell you what they expect from their marriage. Yea

Marriage and Competition

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Who in the world said that marriage is a competition? I kid you not, it can be the death of your marriage and relationships if you are not careful. Now I am not saying that having a competitive streak in you is bad. There is a time and place for it. But if you think that you have to compete with your spouse over something, you're missing the point. I've seen couples compete for their children's love and affection. Compete to see who is wrong and/or right. Compete for control of the family. I've seen them compete for which car they are going to purchase. So what is wrong with a little competition you ask? Some one has to lose! Throwing your spouse under a bus and then dancing a little jig over their dead carcass in celebration (metaphorically speaking) doesn't do a whole lot for the marriage. So what is going to happen. If one of you is competitive and the other isn't. A couple of things can happen here. Either the non-competitive spouse gets a competitive s

Marriage and Abuse

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Ok, this is a long one, but it's necessary. Abuse of any kind isn't acceptable in any relationship. However, it still happens everyday. Most people I know who have committed abuse did so out of anger. However, there are those who have deep emotional problems who need serious help and protection. When there are various kinds of abuses. For the purpose of this blog I am going to focus on neglect, physical, verbal, sexual and emotional abuse for a few moments. It is true that men do most of the physical abuse. Losing ones temper and punching someone isn't an option. Especially when that someone is a family member. (Yes, that includes the dog or cat.) When we don't have the skills to deal with our anger and the self control that should prevent us from loosing it - something bad is going to happen. The Bible was clear about this. Be angry and don't sin! It isn't a sin to be angry - it's a sin when we don't channel that passion appropriately f

Marriage and Sex

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Well this one ought to get a lot of traffic from Google. The whole topic of marriage and sex, within the context of the church, has been transformed within the last few years. What use to be taboo to talk about has now become necessary. Our oversexed culture has sold a bill of goods to us and our children that says sex is important if not the most important aspect of our lives. Now couples venture into pre-martial sex to see if they are "compatible" before marriage. In others words, if you don't perform well in bed, the marriage is off! The Bible has a lot to say about sex and marriage. Probably the most famous book on this subject is the Song of Solomon. It serves as a model of God's will for sex and marriage. We read about a couple from courtship to consummation. Here God's example serves as the correct example against a world that promotes the worldly extremes of homosexuality and denial of physical pleasures in order to achieve a high spiritual p

Marriage and Pride

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There is a difference between humility and being humbled. The first is by choice and the latter is usually force fed to you. I don't know anyone who really likes it, it just isn't our nature. But humility is a HUGE key to the success of any marriage. Pride can be a problem. First of all the Bible says that pride comes before the fall. How many times in our arrogance have we "stood our ground" only to be humiliated in the end for making a bad decision (and a big deal about it)? The Bible goes on to say that God hates pride. (And I use the word hate here correctly.) So now you're on God's bad side. Not smart. This kind of arrogance though isn't just being stubborn about something - it's about not giving God His place in your heart, marriage and home because you "know better." There is another kind of pride that shows it's ugly head when we determine that we are better, smarter, wiser or more experienced than our spouse. Then when we act

Marriage and God

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Yes, I have had people ask me, "What does God have to do with my marriage?" I can only imagine what the look on my face is at first as I think, "Are you kidding me?" But to be honest, the statement doesn't surprise me. We live in a world today that takes credit for what God has done. Evolution has replaced Creationism. Positive thinking has replaced prayer. Spirituality has replaced faith in Jesus and . . . well you get the picture. So it doesn't surprise me at all that culture takes credit for marriage. It is taught by some that the idea of marriage is part of evolutionary process. Others argue that the church and/or government made it popular as means to control people and their actions. Marriage and family are God's idea. Genesis 3, in the Garden of Eden, God says that it is good for a man to leave mom and dad and get married. God created us to exist within the bonds of marriage and family. The whole of the Bible supports the institutio

Marriage and Communication

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Communication is a big key to a marriage. Rarely do I deal with couples who just refuse to talk to each other. I do see a lot of couples who are talking to each other most of the time, but they don't seem to be getting anywhere. How can this be? Well there are a few reasons. Don't assume that just because you are speaking that the other person is understanding you. There is what you said, what you thought you said and what you really said. Then there is what they heard, what they thought they heard and what they really heard. Confusing? Now you are getting the picture. Conveying ones feelings and thoughts isn't as easy as one might think. We also assume that just because we each speak the same language, (In my case it's english.) That the other person understands everything we say the first time. Don't do that - we are not as good at this as we think. Here are a few things I learned over 20 years ago from Dr. Richard Dobbins. Doc is a professional psychologist and

Marriage and Life

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Some look upon marriage as the "ol ball and chain". Some see it as boring, dull and mundane. When we have a bad attitude towards marriage, we are also taking a bad attitude towards life. Let me explain. The Bible says that the the two shall become one. One what? It's a little hard for us to understand but when we married our spouse God no longer looked upon us as two people, but now as one unit. That doesn't mean that He doesn't understand your needs or desires as they apply to you. But His response to our needs will take into consideration what our spouse needs and desires also. As long as the two have each others best interests in mind at all times, then they can enjoy the fullness of God's blessings in their life. As far as marriage making life boring all I can say is, "What's wrong with you!!" The greatest adventures you will experience are the ones you share with those you love. If you get married but still want to hang out w

Sunday Evening Reflections

Having 96 in service today was awesome! Seeing Mira and Anthony was even more awesome! Laura, Steve, Mike and Tim did a awesome job making the Chicken Marsala. Tim was awesome doing his part of the wedding ceremony. Today was AWESOME!!

Marriage and Affairs

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Affairs are a devastating thing that happens to marriages. There are physical, emotional and even spiritual affairs. Affairs of the heart will destabilize your relationships, especially the one with your spouse. But let's understand affairs a little bit better before we conclude we know everything about them. What is an affair? Most people think that an affair is a dishonest relationship with someone other than your spouse. A relationship that has to be kept in secret. Usually there has to be an amount of deception used to keep others, (especially ones spouse) in the dark. This is true, but I would like to also offer the following. An affair can also be anything that either replaces and/or occupies a place in your heart that should be reserved exclusively for your spouse and family. There are physical affairs that are either one time or short time flings that at the time seem to be harmless relationships that end as quickly as they start. The problem is that the physical relati

Marriage and Change

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Tina Turner is right: "What's love got to do with it?" When we first met the fireworks exploded, the planets aligned and the world became a better place. All we wanted to do was spend more time with our new love. Then one day we came to the conclusion that we couldn't live the rest of our life with them. So we asked them to marry us. That was 5, 10 or 20 years ago. So what happened? Now you can't wait to get away from each other. You need your "alone" time. They do things that drive you crazy? You wish they would change. The only fireworks you see now are the ones from the epic battles you two have. Why can't it be the way it was so many years ago? Why isn't it like it was when we first met? You love them, you just don't like them very much! Any of this familiar? Well there is a simple answer to this. One of the things you can count on in a marriage is change. Life has that effect on us and if we don't pay attention to the changes ha

Marriage and Success

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Being successful is sometimes a costly attribute of our lives if we are not careful. A successful career, a successful business even a successful family can require a great deal of our time and energy. Because we have only so much strength, time and energy we can only do so much. Jesus said, Luke 14:28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (NIV) This makes good sense doesn't it? But money isn't the only thing that you have to count. What about our time with our family or spouse? What about our emotional investment into our children's development or our spouses emotional needs. If you are going to be successful so you can provide for your families needs, have you taken to account all of their needs? Have you considered the most important needs that they require? What are you willing to give up and what are you willing not to sacrifice? Here are a few thing

Marriage and Money

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It is estimated that 80% of all divorces are caused by a lack of communication. Would you like to guess what they don't communicate about? Money! Money is a sensitive subject for many people because of it's necessity in our lives. It is true, money makes the world go 'round! Why is this a problem? Easy. If you have enough money - you're happy! If you have just enough money to make it from week to week - you're stressed. If you have more month than money - you panic! What to do?? Well here are a few things that you can do that will help. 1 - Sit down and talk about what needs to be done without blaming yourself or the other person for what has happened. Take responsibility together. WE did communicate therefore WE make a mistake. So what are WE going to do about it? 2 - Start using a zero balance budget immediately. This means you assign every dollar you are going to receive to it's rightful place. This will take about 3 or 4 months to get right. So don'

Marriage and Provision

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The old saying is, "The marriage that prayers together, stays together." Well I wish is was the simple. Prayer is an important and powerful part of a marriage, but it what are you praying for? Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV) This passage is located in a section of Matthew usually entitled, "Do Not Worry". But as I look a little close at this scripture I asked myself. What am I seeking for my family? A house? More money? A better education? These things on their own are not bad. But am I seeking a righteous future for my daughter. One that will keep her in right relationship with Him. Do I seek His Kingdom over my home. Do I pray and Jesus taught us to pray, "... not my will, but yours be done on earth as it is in heaven." Do I seek peace, hope and joy for my family? Do I seek wisdom and knowledge for them? Do I seek the power of the Holy Spirit over my

Roller Babies

Marriage and Fighting - The Rules On How To Fight Fair

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Couples have the occasional - spat. Then there is the heated "discussion". Then there is the epic war to end all wars that will be marked for all time. Otherwise known as, "The Fight!". I have seen couples who have almost divorced over a spat and regretfully, I have seen couples fight the epic battle on a daily basis and thought that this was normal. Fighting is a part of marriage. Couples are always learning how to live with each other. True, it should get easier over time - but two personalities, two opinions, two points of view eventually are going to disagree. Ask yourself this question, "Are you the same person you were 6 months ago? A year ago? 10 years ago?" Of course not. We all change over time. Life changes us and as a result our habits, actions, opinions, likes and dislikes will change too. In a marriage, we can never assume that everything is always going to be the same all the time. Fighting, all be it loud, is a form of co

Marriage and Dominance

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One of the most frustrating things for some married couples is who is going to be in charge. This, coupled with an occasional personality disorder or overbearing need to control is a recipe for disaster. Now on more than one occasion I have asked God, "Why did you put those two together? We you bored and needed some entertainment?" Who is going to be in charge? Here is the right answer. "We are!" Hold it pastor? The Bible says that the wife is to submit to the husband. That is correct. But remember Gen. 2 where it says that the two shall become as one. No where in Scripture does it say that the husband is the "lord" or "dictator" or the family. It says that he is responsible for the family and as such should be in charge. But when it comes to decision making and leading, he has a help mate! God created woman to be there to man be successful at what he does. Now here is the problem. If the man has ever done anything to abuse his

Marriage and Communication

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I love you in Bulgarian is "Obicham te" while I love you in Portuguese is "Amo-te". If you think that your spouse is speaking Bulgarian and they think you're speaking Portuguese when you try to talk to them, don't be surprised. Men and women have never spoke the same language. What does this have to do with the oneness of marriage and individuality? A lot!! When one person in a marriage insists that they be "heard" it is their responsibility to express themselves in such a way that their spouse can understand them. Some of you may be shouting "foul" right now. You think it is the spouses responsibility to understand you and your feelings. This is true, but that attitude by itself will separate you from your spouse and create a wall of individuality that is difficult to break down. Here is the key. If you are speaking, try to speak in such a way that your spouse understands you. Use contemporary analogies and examples to their everyday

Marriage and Individuality

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This past Sunday I started my Marriage Series with a sermon about individuality. Individuality and marriage can either be a blessing to each other or a curse. Let me explain. When the marriage is all about your needs, your wants, your desires - then someone is getting left out in the cold. That isn't what marriage is all about. Do something your spouse likes to do and enjoy it with them through their eyes. Yes, to your personality it is boring or pointless. But that isn't why you do it. They joy you can gain is from watching them light up and experience this for themselves. Getting married has never, nor will it ever make you happy. People investing into each others lives with real love and hope foster an atmosphere of joy and peace - even in the midst of turmoil. We assume that when people fight that they hate or seriously dislike each other. That doesn't have to be so if the marriage is secure in it's foundation. Oh that doesn't mean you're not going to fi

What Am I Reading Right Now.

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- Leading on Empty by Wayne Corderio - No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy - 33 million people in the room by Juliette Powell - Confession of an Insignificant Pastor by Mark Elliott - Overcoming Procrastination by Neil Fiore - Skills for New Managers by Morey Stettner Now that I see all these titles together I have to tell you not to read to much into them. I spend a lot of time trying to keep some of this stuff happening to me.

Oh the drama!

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For those of you who know me, you can attest to the truth of the following statement. For everyone else, you're going to have to take my word for it - I don't like drama! I don't mean the profession of acting (Even though some actors really tick me off.) But the whole "drama" thing people put you through in order to make their point (or more likely they are trying to invoke some emotion so that you will agree with their point) really angers me. I'm not talking about dealing with real life and real pain. There are times that life just hits you between the eyes and it's real. What I am talking about is blowing things out or proportion for some selfish purpose. Now before you start your email to me follow along. I don't deny that I need someone in my life (which happens to be my wife) who is sensitive to the nuisances of emotions and feelings. I am not trying to bury my or anyone else's honest emotional needs. What I am saying is if one

What to do while the world falls apart.

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1) Ignore it - Matthew 24: 6 " ... but see to it that you are not alarmed." The end of the world is going to happen. Don't fret over what you see taking place. 2) Believe in The End - This works two ways. First of all believe that this world will come to a cataclysmic end (Revelation). Secondly believe the Jesus has a alternative ending for us, His followers. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 3) Understand why you are here - Most people live to meet their own needs. Jesus said that He would do that, we were here to fulfill His will. Acts 1:8 4) Reach this world with the Good News about Jesus - Before it is to late! John 9:4 5) Enjoy life NOW!! - Things such as hope, joy, love and so much more are for us now! I Cor. 13. Even in the midst of life's unfair deeds, Jesus is still Lord and we are still the children of God.

How Old Am I?

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So I'm reading yesterday how someone gives a 13 year old kid a Sony Walkman. Remember? The portable tape player you could take with you anywhere? They were the ipods of their day. Some of his comments were anticipated. "My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day," "He had told me it was big, but I hadn't realized he meant that big. It was the size of a small book." He took it on the bus and wore it to school where I guess he took some ribbing for it. He noted that it had a "hissy backtrack and odd warbly noises." But the next part is where I lost it. It took him threes days to figure out that there was music on the other side of the cassette. Aw come on! Three days? - He was disappointed that it only held a fraction of the music that his ipod did. (He's never seen my big box of cassette tapes I still have from the 80's). Then the kid notes, "Did my dad ... really ever think this was a credible piece of technolog

Morning People

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On rare occasion I like morning. More often than not, I despise the letters A.M. I am sure that there is some medical, DNA, scientific explanation for this - I really don't care, I still don't like it. However, 70% of people are morning people. They feel that they are the most productive between the hours of 5 - 11:59 A.M. Also, people who earn more than $70,000 a year typically are morning people. Hmmm. That last one got your attention didn't it? So why the rant? How much an hour are you worth? I didn't say how much you were getting paid, especially in this economy most people are not getting paid what they are worth. But how much are you worth and hour? $25, $50 a $100! Work like what you are worth and someday you can get paid what your are worth. I know, it doesn't seem fair, but let me rant on. I have seen people who worked like what they were worth, didn't get paid what they were worth, eventually get promoted to a job that did pay them wha