we love the Vols @ The Ridge

In the War of 1812, Governor Blount of Tennessee made an appeal for volunteers to join General Andrew Jackson in fighting the British.

Gen. Andrew Jackson and the "Tennessee Volunteers" in the Battle of New Orleans 1814

 A record number of citizens volunteered to serve and became the largest volunteer army from any state. They served valiantly under Gen. Jackson in the famous Battle of New Orleans in 1814-15, whuch ended the War of 1812. Again during the Mexican War, a record number of Tennesseans is said to have volunteered to serve this country. Thus Tennesse came to be known as the Volunteer state. In subsequent wars, Tennesseans have always volunteered in large numbers. While I wasn’t born in Tennessee, I grew up there. I have lived in four different places in the state (if you include where I went to college) for a total of 16 years. I have always considered this area “home”. I am proud to come from the Volunteer state. I am also proud to call Paulding County, GA my home and in particular to be a part of God’s Church @ The Ridge…which is a lot like Tennessee. How?

Well, when I say we love the Vols @ The Church @ The Ridge, I’m not talking about the University of Tennessee or the state itself. I’m talking about the same selfless attitude that is shown by so many of our people…our VOLUNTEERS. The heart and lifeblood of any church…and especially a young church like CATR…is its volunteer force. An army of Volunteers that God is using in the war for the souls of people in Paulding County and around the world!

Without our volunteers, there would be no one to carry out the majority of ministry that takes place @ The Ridge! There would be no music on Sundays…no RidgeKidz…no one to set up all of the things we need to do church in a portable setting…no one to greet people and make them feel welcome…no one to reach out to people in the community who need Jesus…no one to show hospitality to guests by serving a cup of coffee…no one to minister to students…no one to lead and teach in our small groups…no one to care for the needs of fellow Ridgers…no one to set up and greet people in the parking lot…no one to help make videos, graphics, run technical stuff in our worship gathering so that the Gospel is communicated better…no one to carry out all the work that it takes to do events that reach and minister to people in our area…no one to touch this community aith the love of Christ!

Volunteers give of their time, resources, talents, gifts, energy and even money to accomplish the mission that is given us by God…to “Impact Another Generation By Changing People’s Perspective.” SO, to all of you who are Vols @ The Ridge (no matter what school or sports team you support 🙂 ) …as your pastor, I want to say THANK YOU!!! You all are amazing and I love you all and appreciate you all…more than you can ever know! I am blessed to be a part of a group of people who understand that they are investing in something eternal. Please don’t ever lose site of that fact. God is using you and you are making a difference in people’s lives.

THIS SUNDAY WE WANT TO SAY A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR VOLS @ THE RIDGE! We’ll be having our Volunteer Appreciation Progressive Christmas Party Sunday evening from 5:30-8:30 pm. Each of your pastors will be hosting you in their homes over the course of the evening. It is just a small way that we can invite all of you into our homes and let you know how much you are loved and appreciated. SO if you have been a Volunteer @ The Ridge at anytime in 2010…whether it be an ongoing ministrty team or a short-term project or event…you are invited!  Here is the schedule for the evening. You can come at anytime between the indicated hours:

  • Pastor Jerry & Cheryl Davison’s will host the APPETIZERS between 5:30 and 6:30 PM.
    416 Clonts Rd, Douglasville, GA (off Sweetwater Church Rd)  Then the party will move to…
  •  Pastor Wendell & Emily Brewton’s for the MAIN COURSE  between 6:30 and 7:30 PM .
    263 Chandler Ridge Dr, Douglasville, GA (off Ridge Rd just East of Kroger)  Finally, the party will wind up at…
  • Pastor Steve & Kim Whipple’s house for DESSERT between 7:30 and 8:30 PM
    68 Brooke Ridge Trail, Douglasville, GA (in Ridge Brooke subdivision west of Austin MS) at 7:30 PM for dessert.

*Due to limited space in the homes, we cannot offer childcare. If you have teenage children who serve they are welcome to attend. Please RSVP on our website HERE. It also might be a good idea for some of you to meet together at Kroger and carpool so that we don’t overwhelm our neighborhoods with cars. 🙂

I can’t wait to hang out with you all Sunday evening and celebrate the Christmas Advent season…and also to celebrate all that God has done and is doing through you! We also have a special gift for each family…and some insider information that we want to tell you all FIRST about some exciting things that are coming in 2011! But you’ll only hear it first, if you come Sunday night!

We love the “Vols @ The Ridge”! Thanks to all of you and Merry Christmas! Keep on Re:Gifting what He’s given you!

you ever want to just quit?

I’m sure that all of us at one time or another just want to quit. Maybe its a job, maybe its a relationship, maybe its school, maybe its a project or a game. In ministry, that temptation can come often. My dad used to always say, “In ministry, never quit on Mondays.” It is usually in those times when we are tired, beat down, that the enemy comes with discouragement. The key thing to remember is that God is not a God of discouragement. Realize the source of that discouragement and know that you have a real enemy that wants nothing more than to render you ineffective for God’s Kingdom.

I have been in several seasons where I just wanted to quit and do something else. But no one ever said that ministry would be easy. Or for that matter, no one ever said that your marriage, job, parenting, school, life, would be easy. Sure it would be nice if there was always enough money, if everything went my way, if there was smooth sailing all the time. It would be a blast. But what is that old saying? “Smooth waters do not a skillful sailor make.

Right now I can think of many churches that are struggling. Finances are tough. People are not committed. Those who claim Christ are not following Him in faithful obedience. The enemy seems to be winning. Well, he may be if we allow discouragement to sideline us.

Last week the high school football team that my son plays for and for whom I am the chaplain, gave me some perspective on this. They were playing a team that was beating them pretty soundly at halftime. They could have come out the second half and given up and just gone through the motions til the clock ran out. But they didn’t. Down 34-7, these guys came out and drove the ball and scored. Then their next possession, they drove down inside the 10 and while they failed to score, they kept fighting. Throughout the remainder of the game, even when they had adversity…turnovers or penalties that brought back touchdowns…they didn’t quit. They could’ve…some individuals may have mentally done so, but overall, I was proud of these guys for playing hard til the last buzzer. They didn’t quit, even when it seemed like they should. No, they didn’t come back and win, but these guys showed me something. Winning in life and eternity isn’t about the score…its about the heart. Galatians 6:9 says…

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

So do you want to quit today? I’ll be honest, I’ve had those days…even recently. Yet I want to give all I have to the Lord…not my effort, not my works…but my heart. That’s what He desires most. If I give Him all my heart, then all my effort, works, desires, ministry, relationships, money, talents will become His as a grateful outflow of the Holy Spirit filling my heart first. HE will be producing all those things in me.

Church leader, Christian, mom, dad, husband, wife, college student, lay person, youth, give Him your heart first…all of it. Along with it will go all our our desires and self and pride.  If the final score on the scoreboard isn’t what you or the world deems a victory, so what? If you gave Him what He wants…YOU…then at the end of the day, you’ll hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Don’t quit. Humbly lay your heart before Him and press on! Know that you will reap a great harvest one day!

 12Not that I have alread obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14

Part 2: things God has taught me in 5 years of church planting

The one scripture passage that God has used in my life the most during the last 5 years is 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 …

27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.

I have said many times that I definitely fall into the “foolish & weak” categories. For some reason God has called me to lead this church. Since I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about what I’m doing, I’ll boast in Him for what He has done here these last 5 years. He has saved many people and done some amazing works in families, marriages and individual lives. We’ve seen Him draw people to Himself in ways that only He can do. If God can use me, He can use anyone!

I’ve learned that all the marketing, great ideas, cool series, awesome events, fantastic music, different styles, don’t really matter unless God is working in our midst. I have watched God do things that I didn’t understand…some of which I may never understand. I’ve seen Him move people on from here…and I didn’t really like it. Yet He is in charge, so we’ll trust Him. I have seen God take some very unlikely people and mold them into leaders. HE is the one working. If I’ll just join HIM in HIS work, then everything else will fall into place.

I’ve also learned that the old cliche “where God guides, God provides” is definitely true. Jehovah-Jireh has always provided for my and my family’s needs. This has always been an attribute of God that I have rested in. However, I have seen Him provide for this church, not in huge ways, but in small ways that are no less miraculous than the “big” ways that some planters  testify about. Most of our provision has been in small, faithful gifts of a few. We have not ever received those $50,000 or $100,000 checks in the mail. Yet God has provided from day one, with the “widow’s mite” type of support. Literally, I have had widows supporting us with $20 monthly gifts and at times much larger gifts. God has also provided through some unlikely heroes. I’ve had a former student in my student ministry who serves in the military send tithe checks to The Ridge. Amazing! Even in times of economic uncertainty, when the budget has had to be cut as much as 40%, God has provided…week to week…and funded the ministry of His church. Just like the Israelites in the wilderness, God has provided “manna” week to week and day to day. I praise Him for His faithfulness and provision! I am glad that we haven’t had the big bankroll of some church plants, because God has taught us total dependance on Him. That has definitely stretched my faith and prayer life.

5 years ago God planted a church…Lessons God has taught me part 1

The last Sunday in August of 2005, my wife and I met with a group of people who were interested in helping start a new church in South Paulding County in the Ridge Road community. There were several families there at that initial meeting. We shared vision and talked about what God had been doing in our lives to prepare us for this step of faith. One month later, we officially began. This Sunday marks the 5th anniversary of that initial Core Group gathering of The Church @ The Ridge. At that time, we simply had a name, some vision, and a few people, but God would do something significant.

There were 7 families, besides my own, and 3 single adults at that initial meeting. Of those, 3 families still remain @ The Ridge and are serving God faithfully here. Two of those singles got married to each other and went on to move to Savannah 2 years ago to help start our first daughter church. All in all not a bad percentage of them have stayed with us. Statistically 80% of people who help start a church are not there after three years. Well, we’ve done a little better than that, thanks to God. 🙂 Some of those who moved on, had said from the start that God had called them to help get this thing off the ground…which they did faithfully. I am thankful to those who sacrificed, gave, served, and worked so hard in those early days.

One thing I’ve learned is that if you count on people, even the best of them will eventually disappoint you. Heck I have even disappointed myself many times!  But if you trust God, no matter what people do, HE will build his church. This church planting thing is HIS. I have learned that I cannot build anything that will last. If I build the church, I am simply building an organization…one that will not stand. If Jesus builds it, nothing can stand against it. I simply need to be about lifting up the name of Jesus and letting HIM draw men to Himself.

I also learned that when Jesus said in Matthew 16:18,

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

…that city gates were made for defensive purposes. So when the gates of hell won’t prevail against the church, it stands to reason that the church is to be on offense. I’ve learned that we don’t need to be reactive, but proactive as the church. Boy, it is easy to fall into that reactive mode, though! Especially during these tough economic times we’ve experienced. We have gone through phases recently where it felt like it was all we could do to tread water. But God…is going to build HIS church. Jesus is the Head and we are HIS body. I’ve learned that on my best day, my best ideas are extremely anemic, weak, and pitiful compared with what Jesus, the Head, has in mind.

Since ancient times no one has heard,
       no ear has perceived,
       no eye has seen any God besides you,
       who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:20)

What are we afraid of? What do we really believe about God? He says that His church will stand. I’ve learned to not be afraid and to stay on offense…seeking His wisdom, being a wise steward, equipping the church through the Word, but moving forward. Pressing on.

So I’ve learned in this church planting venture to lift up Jesus and trust in Him and seek His wisdom more than I ever have before. Trust in God and not in people. What is interesting is that the middle verse in the entire Bible is found in Psalm 118:8 which says,

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

Maybe that’s the way we should all be living all along.

“we exist for God, God does not exist for us”

What a powerful statement! We think God is here for us…that He exists to save us, make us happy, take care of us, do things for us. NO… “we exist for God, God does not exist for us.” Mark Driscoll makes that statement in a powerful post on what it means to glorify God.

What does it mean to glorify God? How do we glorify Him? What if I don’t really want to? Why is it so important? We have a choice and in the end, it isn’t much of a choice really. Check out Driscoll’s words HERE. Read the whole thing…it’s worth it.

Lead The Way

When I was in high school, we had quite a large youth choir at our church. Back in the day, youth choirs were the majority of most youth groups. If you were in the youth group, then you were in the choir. We had over 100 kids in that choir and we had a blast. We sang twice every Sunday (8:30am service and the traditional Sunday evening service). We rehearsed every Sunday afternoon too…and no one complained. It was just part of what we did. It was the center of our social group at the church. Every summer our youth choirs would go on mission trips. Now these weren’t the choir tours that some remember where you showed up at a church, sang a concert, got a supper provided, then a free place to stay. No. We did mission work in areas of the country where there were few churches. We did evangelistic concerts in parks and in prisons and schools, did Bible clubs in city parks and more. We saw churches established as a result of our efforts in those summers (we didn’t know we were part of church planting back in those days 🙂 ). Those were really times that I always looked forward to and which God used to shape me for ministry.

There was one song that our choir sang year after year in those days. It sort of became a theme song of our youth choir. The song was Ken Medema’s “Lead The Way.”  The tune and lyrics have never left me. As I have reflected on what God has done in my life…especially in recent years…and what I sense He is doing even now with His church, I am drawn back to these lyrics. They are almost like a psalm to me. David said in Psalm 143:10,

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

I want that to be my prayer. David repeatedly throughout the Psalms says “lead me”. We don’t want to be led usually, but I know that I need to be led. I need Jesus to take my hand and lead me on level ground, no matter what my mistakes have been, no matter what my fears are on what lies ahead. Every single day I need to simply trust Him, surrender my will to His and say, “Lord, I’m Yours. I’ll follow. Lead the way.” As you read these lyrics, think about where you are and where God wants to take you. What steps of obedience…big or small…is He asking you to take? What areas is He asking you to surrender and trust Him with? As a church leader, who is leading you?

Lead the Way   Ken Medema

 There’s no way, in this world,
That I can be everything
That love means for me to be
But as long as morning breaks another day
Lord I’m yours, I’ll follow, lead the way.

There’s no way in this world,
That I can do everything
That loves means for me to do
But as long as morning breaks another day
Lord I’m yours, I’ll follow, lead the way.

It’s no good to keep on cryin’ over past mistakes
And it’s no good to keep on worry’n about unlucky breaks
And it’s no good to keep on tryin’ to fix a yesterday
Today is here, it’s time to live, it’s time to grow
I dare not throw it away

 There’s no way in this world
I can relive all the times
That I took and did not give
But as long as morning breaks another day
Lord I’m yours, I’ll follow,
Lead the way.

Exponential

This week, our staff had a chance to go to the Exponential Conference in Orlando. We were very blessed to be able to attend this conference. It was very timely for our team, as we have had a pretty intense few weeks recently.

Conferences are usually, for me, a  mix of good information, inspirational messages and chalenges from God. This conference didn’t disappoint on all of those fronts. There were some great speakers and great workshop topics. Some of the highlights & challenging thoughts for me included these:

  • Numbers 22 – storyof Balaam and his donkey – “Sometimes God gets in your way.”… “it’s never about where you’re going, but its always about who you are becoming.” … “God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go…and He’s gonna get you there.” (Mark Batterson)
  • Isaiah 55 “What kind of church did the ‘Acts 2’ church set out to be? They didn’t know that they were an ‘Acts 2’ church.”  … “What did they have? – the teachings of Jesus; they were eyewitnesses to Jesus; they had the power of the Holy Spirit.”  …”We have the same things!” … “God’s words always accomplish what He sent them out to do. God’s words never fail their assignment.” (Louie Giglio)
  • Matthew 13 – “You’re never gonna make the Gospel so cool that everyone believes.” … “If no one’s bothered by the Gospel, you’re no longer preaching it.” … “You can’t do what you’ve been called to do.” (Matt Chandler)
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 – “We are transformed by beholding the Glory of the Lord.” (Chandler)
  • Genesis 12 – “How are we doing at being a blessing to the world?” … “A missional church is the people of God partnering with Him in His redemptive mission in the world.”  (Reggie McNeal)
  • Matthew 25 – “God desires to advance His Kingdom through our transformed and transforming lives and churches.” (Efrem Smith)
  • “As a pastor and church planter, you can’t ‘play the game.’ ” – in other words you can’t do everything; a leader must hand off and release people for ministry – “We must think as leaders of the church like a spiritual midwife…a midwife assists parents in the birth of their children; OBs deliver babies.” (Bill Easum)
  • “All I want to hear at the end of the day is ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’ ” (Francis Chan)

God doesn’t love you just the way you are…

You’ve heard it said many times. You’ve maybe said it yourself. “God loves you just the way you are.”  On Easter Sunday, I made the statement, “God doesn’t love you just the way you are...” Some people were troubled by that. Others were trying to figure out where I was going. Actually I heard Richard Blackaby make the same statement recently and I had to think about it too.

When we say “God loves you just the way you are,” I think we are making a statement that is incorrect. You see, we have for so long held on to grace that we give people a wrong impression of what it really is. Too often our version of grace is that God is gonna love us no matter what we do. I’ve thought that from time to time. When we put our faith in Jesus, everything is made new and we are forgiven, right? Well, yes. And it is amazing, but… That is not what is so amazing about grace. When we buy into that version of grace, I think we sell God short. We think that we can just go live however we want, because we are forgiven. “Everything is under the blood” we hear people say. We are under grace, not law. Right? The problem is we have churches FULL of people who think that they can put their faith in Jesus, get eternal “fire insurance” then continue to wallow in and live enslaved to the sins that Jesus gave His life to set us free from. The church is not living in victory because we have bought cheap grace. We somehow think we deserve some kind of grace form God…we don’t! He doesn’t love us just the way we are.

So the statement is more correctly said that “God doesn’t love you just the way you are…He loves you in spite of the way you are!” That is grace. We are ALL sinners by nature and by choice, living in rebellion to a Holy God who created us in His image to have a love relationship with Him. Yet we have chosen to turn our back on Him. We don’t deserve anything, but as Romans 5:8 says…

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Christ made restoration of that relationship possible, by what He did on the cross and when He rose from the dead! He paid for something we could never have deserved, because of sin.

We CAN come to Him JUST THE WAY WE ARE, but His unconditional love for us is in spite of us and our sin and our rebellion.  “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”( Psalm 86:15)  We like that verse. But we don’t like this one: The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. (Nahum 1:3) Our God is mighty and holy and can have nothing to do with sin. That is why Jesus had to come to pay a debt He didn’t owe…a debt we owed but couldn’t pay. But God does not love us just the way we are, rather He loves us in spite of the way we are. Here is how Peter puts it…

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

That’s the heart of God. That’s grace…amazing grace! He desires that everyone would come to Him.

Oh…one more thing. “God doesn’t love you just the way you are…He loves you in spite of the way you are…and He loves you too much to leave you that way.” He is in the transformation business. We are the bride of Christ and we should be allowing the Holy Spirit to get us ready for that glorious day when the Bridegroom will come to take us home. We should know that when God, through the Holy Spirit, is chipping away at the things in us that are not like His Son, it is because He loves us too much to leave us enslaved to and wallowing in the sin that He died for.

So, how is God transforming you by His grace? Are you letting Him or are you rebelling against Him?

Don’t say everything you think

I have been accused of this before. My wife says this to me sometimes too. I can be opinionated and sometimes too much so. What I am learning is that if it comes into my mind, I may not need to say it…at least not out loud and not right then.

This can be especially critical while preaching or teaching. Thoughts come into my head in the middle of teaching and I have to quickly discern if they are form the Holy Spirit or from me. Maybe I don’t need to say that, maybe I do. Maybe I don’t need to say it that way. maybe I need to say that, but not now. Maybe what I am thinking is true, but does it need to be said right then. I have said things on occasion that have been misunderstood. Here are a few statements that I’ve said that made people mad or they didn’t listen to the context. Maybe I shouldn’t have said them or shouldn’t have said them that way…or maybe I should have. 🙂

One time while talking about serving in your ministry, I said, “If you are a member or have been attending here [at The Ridge] for 6 months or a year and you are not serving in a ministry, you are dead weight.” Well, that is true, but maybe I shouldn’t have said it that way. Some people got mad about it, but really the ones who got mad mostly were the one’s who were not serving. Maybe I should have been more tactful…or not. 🙂

I said one time in speaking of having a passion for reaching the lost of our community, “It’s not that I don’t love the people inside the church, its that I love those who aren’t here yet more.” Well, maybe I should have said, “…I love the people who aren’t here yet just as much.” Maybe that would have been better. Boy that really ticked off some people. I was accused of not caring about the church. I was told that I was too focused on evangelism. (Go figure that, a preacher too focused on reaching the lost!) Well, the context of that statement was that we didn’t need to be so focused on ourselves and meeting the “needs & wants” of the people inside the church at the expense of neglecting what we are called to do: reach the lost. Could’ve said that better, but the truth of the context was there. I think that has been a problem for the church in the past. Yes we have to grow the Body in order for them to reach the lost. Absolutely. So we do try to do both of those things. The are both a part of the Great Commission.

One time I said, when talking about people who have actually said to me that they were leaving the church because they felt guilty because we always wanted them to serve somewhere, “I thought, ‘Fine. you can go be a burden to someone else.'” Then I said, “Oops. Did I say that out loud?” Well, you can imagine how that went down. Most people laughed it off. It was true, but maybe not tactful. I had a few people get mad about that one too. Probably should have just kept that thought to myself.

I could go on. I’m sure that if you are a pastor, leader, boss, teacher, coach, parent, son, daughter, you can relate. We all have thoughts about things and have voiced them shouldn’t. Maybe it was just how we said it. I will say this, if I have ever offended someone in the church because of a statement like this, please forgive me. Talk to me about something that I don’t communicate clearly…don’t get in my face, but talk to me, not about me. I never claimed to be the best communicator in the world. I blow it often. I’ve done it with my wife and my kids. I’ve done it with staff and friends. It’s easy to do, if we aren’t careful.

So if you have thoughts you need to express to someone, by all means do it…in the right setting and context. Honest communication is essential to healthy relationships. Pastor, if you have something to say that is from God, by all means say it. If you have an opinion, make sure it lines up with Scripture. If it doesn’t, then don’t say it.

The Bible has much to say about words and how we speak to one another. One verse I like in particular is Colossians 4:6:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Don’t always say what you are thinking…maybe sometimes it’s necessary, but not always. Someone’s probably not going to like the way I said this either! 🙂

Parents, students and singles must read…

My oldest daughter who is just a freshman in college, but whom God has given lots of wisdom, recently wrote something in her blog that, if you are single, a college student or a teenager OR ESPECIALLY if you are a parent of one of these, you should read HERE.

PARENTS, are you pushing or allowing your teenager to date too soon? Are you encouraging them to get into relationships that they should never even be considering at this point in their lives? I have seen too much of it over the years. It almost always leads to heartache, temptation, and failure…not to mention the money thrown away! 🙂 You have more wisdom than they do and we should teach them early what God’s standards are. It’s not too early to teach when they are young.

Einstein said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  I believe we in the church have encouraged insanity when it comes to dating. Here’s how: we try to attract one another and date (and encourage our kids to date) the way the world does, but because we are Christians, we expect the results to somehow be different. Doesn’t usually happen.

Listen to some wisdom from God’s Word in Song Of Solomon, a word which is repeated three times in this book:

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. (Song of Solomon 8:4)

I think too many times we as parents are encouraging (or at least allowing) our children to do just that and we unwittingly are leading them down a road that isn’t God’s plan.

I have always said something I heard Tommy Nelson teach once, “Dating is like the onramp to the Interstate. The Interstate is marriage. If you don’t intend to get on the Interstate, you better not go up that onramp” Too many kids are accelerating up an onramp that is designed to lead them somewhere they aren’t ready nor wanting to go. Thus they are crashing and burning as they go full speed up a ramp that leads them nowhere. There needs to be a change and the church should be leading the way, not buying in to the World’s methods of dating and attraction and expect we can get different results.

After reading the above verse, read some wisdom from one who is living that right now…one of whom I am particularly proud, because I see what God is doing in her life.