I was super encouraged to find that so many Eastview couples heard my call to attend the Love and Respect conference in Peoria at Northwoods church Friday and Saturday. It was great to see you all there (I estimate over 100 from Eastview, but you can never trust a preacher's count:-) and great to have so many of our staff there (we took 15 staff and spouses to encourage strong Christian marriages). the traffic getting there the first night was bad and in my opinion the sessions were a bit long, but what Dr. Eggerichs (I think that's how you spell it - no matter) proposes is an awesome truth from God's Word.
The first part of this is that God "made them male and female". This is an astouding counter-cultural truth from God's word. The claim that we are not all alike, don't see things the same way and don't always agree! In a culture that (in the name of equality) is trying to tell us that men and women are all the same; this biblical truth stands - we aren't the same. Men and women see things differently, and are motivated differently, and speak differently.
He goes on to say that men are motivated by respect and that women are motivated by love. Now this seems very simplistic and I can't go into all of it here, but I'll tell you that I believe the good Dr. nailed Ephesians 5:22ff about Christian marriage. Men really need to be respected (and it's different than for women) and women really need to be loved (and it's different than for men). I can't go into detail in this blog, but here's my challenge (dare really - double dog dare ya): Men - go get a copy of "Love and Respect" (it's in our Harvest bookstore) and suggest to your wife that you read it together. Be a leader and do this. Men, pay attention to what this book says about how women respond. My wife and other women have told me that he pretty much is right on. Women - read this book with your husband - and pay attention to what it says about how men respond. Many men told me over the weekend that Dr. Eggerichs put into words what they've always felt, but could never express in words.
Finally, men (you can keep on reading if you're a woman, but this is for the guys) I'm renewed in my desire to be a real man that God can use. We have strength and courage and fight and leadership because God made us that way to lead in our homes and our church. May we not buy into a culture that tells us should become less aggressive and more sensitive - more like a woman. May we be strong like men (as the apostle says) and live out a life of truly loving our wives by being the strong Christian leaders He desires.
Two more things: 1. Yesterday's outpouring of toys for children in need this Christmas was over whelming. Way over last year's gifts. Don't forget to bring coats next week. 2. The baptism of an entire family yesterday in first service reminds me of the jailer and his family that were all baptized together in Acts 16. Jesus still changes lives.