And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: Wayne Mack Maximum Impact

Wayne Mack. Living and Loving for God’s Glory. Phillipsburgh, P & R Publishing. 2010.  pp 301.


Wayne Mack has graduated Wheaton College (BA), The Philadelphia Seminary (Mdiv, Greek), and The Westminster Theological Seminary (Dmin-research project on marriage and family counseling).  He holds a position of being one of the charter members of NANC, the National Association of Nouthetic Counseling.  From 1958 through 1976 Mack served as a pastor.  Since 1976 he has consistently taught seminary level courses in biblical counseling. He has written over twenty books throughout his ministry including; Humility the Forgotten Virtue, Out of the Blues, and A Fight to the Death.[1]

Whereas many books help us in knowing what needs to be done in ministry, Wayne Mack’s Maximum Impact is more about telling us who we should be in ministry.  Though the book can be analytical at times, and does provide a few lists, it is most importantly a cache of wealth and wisdom to aid the counselor in remembrance to operate in love for the Lord and the counselee.  It serves well as a reminder that “without love, we are nothing.”


            Wayne Mack takes us through his tome as an exposition of 1 Corinthians 13.  Each aspect of love is exposited.  Additionally the remaining passages of the book of 1 Corinthians, are given as background to the main point, the application of real love.  We are reminded again and again that no matter what we do, if it is not out of a heart of love, we are working worthless works.   Mack reasons that: “Whatever unusual insight (knowledge) He may give to anyone is worthless unless the person possessing that knowledge dispenses it to others out of a real love for the people to whom he is ministering and, even more important, unless he does it because he is passionately in love with his God(17).”  Mack continues to set up the thrust of this book by stating: “…having a fruitful life and ministry is far more important for us to have lives that are permeated and motivated by real love than it is for us to be people who have great faith(17).”

            Mack does not diminish the role of faith in the believer, but rather addresses how love is a demonstration of faith by growing in the fruits of the Spirit.  Mack is agreeable when he shares how some serve out of duty, yet without love.  He relates how some people may give generously, but may do so without love.  Whatever our service may be within the church, if it is without love it is not sacrificial.  “Still further, Paul says that it is far more important for us to have lives that are permeated and motivated by real love than it is for us to be willing to suffer and even die and be martyrs for the cause of Christ (23).”

            Too often the “Love Chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13 is read in a mundane, “I have heard this before” way.   Mack seems to realize this tendency of some people to gloss over the text; therefore, he takes time to focus on each adverb of the Biblical truth set before us by Paul.  In his usual style, Mack  writes in a way that you enjoy, as if for the first time, the truths of scripture. With challenging questions throughout, we are tested and trained with great seriousness.  One case in point is when he writes: “You have to ask yourself, ‘Have I done what He wanted me to do?  Have I loved and served Him in the way He deserves to be served (29)?’   Further questions, such as those for self-evaluation in each chapter’s conclusion, are quite necessary in their context.  The author agreeably works through the necessity of taking thoughts of the mind and applying them as actions of the heart.

            Mack makes an analysis of each facet of love in application.  Several statements throughout the book are worth noting as they give the reader an axiom by which to gain valuable direction in discipleship.  Mack reveals: “kindness may be defined as ‘love in working clothes (47).’  ‘Envy consists of a disposition of dissatisfaction or dislike over the fact or thought that someone seems to be ahead of us or above us or superior to us in honor, position, respect, success, possessions, or effectiveness (69).’  When it comes to bragging, Mack divulges: “The problem with our self-glorying is the problem with all sin; it is a good thing made evil because it is used not for it’s right end but to seek a wrongful end (92).”  He goes on to note that real love does not try to impress people with a litany of conversational topics such as our knowledge, possessions, skills, and accomplishments.  Out of the more extensive list on page 95 comes a series of applicable  situations in which no one can escape innocent.  Mack is not trying to condemn in his book, he is merely pointing out the deep need Christians have to rethink the way in which they operate under the name of Christ.

            When speaking on how love is not arrogant, Mack points out the Corinthians, “…acted as if they had generated their own abilities and therefore should be regarded differently from other people who may or may not have superior abilities (111).”  Mack teaches us the value of treating everyone equally.  This is a lesson that we may subtlety avoid, yet should take to heart.  Mack believes that such an attitude of the heart places us in the same danger that: “their arrogance was producing in them an attitude of self-sufficiency, complacency, spiritual indifference, spiritual pride, worldliness, compromise, and lack of zeal (112).”  Thus, Mack goes through each of the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians, outlining the residual entrapments to life that permeate the corresponding actions or thoughts.

            Page after page of Mack’s book offers insightful definitions of the biblical intent of each verse.  Properly following suit, a variety of concrete applications are illustrated.  Therefore, this book is quite advantageous to believers who want to make a maximum impact with the life God has given them.  Our world has too often shaped the church rather than the opposite.  Mack not only writes of the truth of scripture that we may glorify God,  he teaches that: “We should reflect on the fact that, according to 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, this is giving us another opportunity to develop the kind of love that will cause us to make a powerful impact on others in and out of our family for Christ (191).”  This is an agreeable tenant for the body of believers to rethink the purposes behind all ministries.  This appears to be a thread of responsibility that Mack finds in the scripture.  Several chapters hint at or directly conclude that one person’s sin affects the entire church.  This can be seen in the context of relating to others when Mack writes: “So when Paul says, ‘Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing [unrighteousness],’ he means that real love will not be glad in or take any joy in evil or unrighteousness of any kind (200).”  A further implied principal is that as believers who do love, we love for others to love.  True love for other believers will want to see them excel in the maximum impact that they are to have.  Stated in another way, if you are one who truly loves you will rejoice when others exceed your works of love for the glory of God.

            Throughout the book many assessments are made for the reader as to what the standard of love looks like.  Never are these held as legalistic mandates, for that would not incorporate love.  The truths behind real love are held before the reader as the revealed will of God for Christian living that is attainable by abiding in Christ.  Thus, love is a goal of great pursuit and enjoyment for those who are His.


Having read the book with great acceptance, this author agrees heartedly with Mack when he states…

“To pursue love means that you must want to be a loving person and you recognize love’s importance to yourself and others.  It means you are determined to show love even when it is hard to do.  In order to do this, you’ll have to spend some time considering just how to show love.  Pursuing love means that you are willing to discipline yourself to develop and manifest love.  Developing and sustaining this kind of love won’t come automatically or easy.  It will come as the result of a sustained, dedicated, and focused effort to follow the biblical directives delineated in this chapter.  It will be produced as we discipline ourselves for the purpose of acquiring the godly characteristic of love (1 Tim. 4:7) (287).”

There is a great value in this work. It has provided its readers with a reference point for all of ministry.  It humbly reminds us all to first have a love for God and to secondly put on the work clothes of love when dealing with others.  So impacting is this book, this author’s family is utilizing it for evening devotions.

[1] Many of these facts are taken from, accessed September 17, 2012.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What You Hear on Sunday Will be Relevant Throughout the Week

I have often found that attending my college classes greatly enhanced my understanding of the material, an accumulation of skills, and an acceptable test score.  Each lesson was designed to have an application that supported the following labs, homework, and lectures.

Obviously, the same is true of attending Sunday School and worship services.  I often try to remind everyone, “There will be a test, this week.”  Quite often, being “the teacher” has me taking the test also.  We frequently kid, “that if you desire the character of patience, you will have to go through an ordeal that requires patience.”  (I was thinking of this the other day as I stood in line at the local Stuff-Mart)

So last week, my lesson to learn was actually on the order and harmony of the family.  I had written a blog on the Robertsons, as seen on A&E’s Duck Dynasty.  I wrote that despite the differences within the home, they all worked together. 

So last week was a test for me.  After installing a door and finding it did not fit right, I had to come up with a plan B.  Then, in preparation for a getaway with my wife, we could not find a sitter for one of our children, as the original family took ill.  To further complicate things, upon returning from the getaway, the dishwasher needed to be replaced.  The two hour installation turned into three, and upon completion it ran like the Titanic. It leaked. 

Yet the real test was not getting everything to work right or be comfortable.  The real test was doing all these tasks with a right heart attitude.  Did I lose patience or pray?  Did I do my best and unto the glory of God?  Was I counting it all joy in various trials?  What things did I sincerely exhibit thankfulness in?  Did my kids see something redemptive in the experience that would draw them deeper in faith in Christ, or did I blow my witness?

In the end, I did well, but there is room for improvement.  In the end I also found joy in the fact that this world is not my home.  The test came unexpectedly.  And they always do.  Thus as I write, I am thinking of the Lord’s Supper yesterday.  My mind wanders, how will the covenant of Christ play out in my life?  What will the test be and how do I plan to be ready?  How will I cherish the wine and the bread, the blood and the body, and the gospel message?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Duck Dynasty, Taking Back the Throne of Family Television?

Over the last several weeks our home has enjoyed a new television reality show, Duck Dynasty.  The program offers an inside look at the Robertson clan.  The family made its fortune in the outdoors sporting goods industry, specifically, inventing and manufacturing high quality duck calls.  The premise of the show is all about giving an inside look at a family that became wealthy, yet holds on to their “redneck roots”.  Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family is said to have turned down an NFL quarterback contract as it interfered with duck hunting season.  His college backup was none other than Terry Bradshaw.   All in all, the storyline supposes,” if a redneck could dream big and have all the resources they need, what would they do.”


It is that premise, out of curiosity, my attention was drawn to watch the first time.  What I found has me watching every episode, and for good reason. In a day of outrageous television, this show is quite the opposite.  You would expect outrageous behavior, and there is some: blowing up duck blinds, scaring a daughter’s boyfriend with intimidation, frog hunting at midnight on the country club golf course, and more.   However, the antics of the family, though a bit rough on the edges for most, are quite refreshing.  Whereas other “reality” shows are outrageous in their self-absorption, vulgarity, and over reaction to deadlines that do not matter at all, the Robertsons emphasize sticking to what is right, without compromise.  The underlying beauty of the show is that despite their differences they truly are in the habit of looking out for one another.


The family has an interesting dynamic. Everyone has a ZZ Top style beard that is, except for the ladies and the grand kids. Their rags to riches story starts with Phil inventing the calls, and his strong marriage to Miss Kay.  Often they espouse simple marriage advice.  All of it is positive.  All of it is practical.  Willie works as the CEO and thus in business matters has to be the boss of his own family.  I do not envy what he has to do.   Because this is a family business the stakes are high.  His brother Jase and he often trade roles of being the protagonist in different episodes.  Though competitive brothers, they often portray of maturity amongst differences in the end.  There are many more family members, we find uncle Si as most endearing.  He is a little out of the loop with technology and laws of the land, such as stating that its fine to do 55 in a 35 zone.  “35 is just a suggestion.”  Every family should have a Si among them.  For all his proverbial attempts at philosophy, you find a rare humility.  


Thus, it’s the people, who seem very down to earth (Though it is television) that have brought me to look forward to Wednesday nights after church.  Our family joins the Robertsons by way of technology for a look at principals not often found from television.  Not once have we heard anything offensive or any cursing.  Not once have we heard someone legitimately attempt to tear someone down.  The entire family shows honor and respect.  Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, and others take note. 


Television needs more families like the Robertsons.  Each episode ends with a prayer, yes a prayer, with the family gathered together around a table for a meal.  Our family would love to dine with them, but please, no frogs. Or squirrel. Or opossum. The parting words are usually narrated by Phil or Willie.  They sum up a family value that is illustrated by the previous 23 minute experience, often missing from not only television, but homes in America.  My family has been blessed by the Robertsons, because after every episode we find ourselves bonding, not through entertainment, but in discussing what we found right with the way they live.


Stay tuned:  I am working on another article, My Thoughts on 19 Kids and Counting.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Christian Life of a Wife/ The Wise Wife: Sermon Notes

Once again I have been asked to publish my speaking notes from the Sunday sermon.  These notes differ from the actual message.  That message can be found at:

Several Scriptures are pertinent to this topic, and this sermon is limited by time.
However there are three areas I desire to address today.

I. Your Husband is Your Ministry

II. Submission is Faith in God

III. Looking Good

 Remember, Paul uses these things as an illustration of the Church.  Thus we all need to heed and know our role.  For it is a grand blessing of God to be His bride. 

Ladies, your success is not based on your husband, but on your God.  Live accordingly.  For it is an honor to God to serve well, especially in difficult circumstances.

All these are done to the glory of God.

I.          Your Husband is your ministry
Genesis 2:24-25 One Flesh
1 Corinthians 11:3 The husband is the head of the wife
Ephesians 5:23
Proverbs 31:10-31 The priority is the household to aid the husband
2 Peter 1:3 Doing all with excellence
Ephesians 5:22 & 33 submit and respect, serving by building up your co-laborer


II. Submission
This idea has been perverted by the “women’s liberation movement”, and by unloving husbands who have manipulated it into a dirge of the covenant.

HUSBANDS- remove the plank in your own eye before going after her speck.  Remember the sermon on success?  The standard is from God, not the world.  Idolatry places us against God’s ways.  You yourself are in submission to God. Are you thus hypocritical or a man of character?

Ephesians 5:22 Submission is graceful acceptance of the husband’s care.
Your husband has a responsibility to God, how can he learn submissiveness if you do not have humble submission?  This of course is for those who desire for their husbands to take on a spiritual leader role and to honor God. 

The context is Ephesians 5:2, 15-17, 20-21

It is a submission to God issue.
Because your husband is your ministry, it is a key to success before God.

III.  Looking Good, Women’s Adornment

1 Peter 3:1-6
            Again submission comes up, it is working orderly with your husband.

Peter shows that it has a purpose in bringing others to Christ.

As I said weeks ago, we are to be peculiar people.  Your disposition to your husband will set you apart from other women.  It can give great glory to Christ.  Otherwise, claiming to be a Christian and yet grumbling, band mouthing, and showing disrespect puts you in the category of unchanged from the former ways.  The cross always changes us in sanctification.

  Beauty is not merely clothing, hair, and jewelry. Peter does not prohibit these things.
A pastor once said, if the barn needs paint, then pain it.

However, true godly beauty is the personality of the heart.  Really. 

Unfortunately, physical appearance is idolized today.  Magazines, TV shows, fitness programs, all turn appearance into an idol.

            Here is a point, the body is temporary, the eternal is the priority.  God has chosen to give us the bodies we have.  Yes we should care for them, but to the point that we are at our best for ministry.  That we live quality lives for the glory of God.  When you eat, eat sensibly.  Exercise too.  To fail to do these is to be slothful, and Proverbs says much about this character, it calls it sin.

But your character is key.  A ring of gold in a pigs snout is a disgraceful waste.  If you do not have the beauty of the heart they you may run the risk of being a bejeweled sow.  However, a woman of excellence is to be praised.

Do not look for praise for your shoes, hair, or figure; find it in “well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Thus, eat that chocolate to God’s glory.  Dine on pasta.  But also enjoy a salad and exercise regularly, all the while, renewing the mind- not conforming to the things of the world. For God wishes to bless you through sanctification. 

Husbands, help your wife to become the woman God intends for her to be.  She is your co-labored, your help-meet, your responsibility, together you both shall worship God in spirit and in truth.

Living the Christian Life: Biblical Marriage-A Redemptive Work of God.

These sermon notes correspond to the sermon at It is my hope that if you missed out on being here that day, or even if you were here, these would be a help to you.

As you are called to be the leader of the home, you are required to lead with love.  This is the absolute best method.  It is God’s way.  It is the way in which He has always led the church.

BTW: Husbands ought to seek to measure up to the qualifications of an elder, as this is a consummate design in leadership.  Those whom can lead their home can then lead in the church.

1 Peter 3:7
Genesis 2 & 3

 Husbands, how do you handle someone given to you as a helper, and who submits to you?  Do you successfully fulfill the office of leader, of working together, of loving as God commanded, and of being an example to others of the grace of God?  Do you honor the covenant you made on your wedding day?

These are weighty obligations.

Lets talk a moment about the ideal marriage vs. reality?
            Again, do not look at the world’s example, but remember as I preached, what is marriage and what is success in the biblical model?

Ephesians 5 is about imitating God.

Submitting to Christ, thus 22-33 is how that is played out.
Action words abound: love, gave up, in order to sanctify her (make pure),

            In order to have a wife of splendor: (all glory)

            Without spot or wrinkle that is without blemish or seam, holy as one.

Lets look at 1 Peter 3
      Men vs1-6 is for you to know how to help your wife.
      Her ministry goal is you- make it easy for her.

     V7       Husbands- love in an understanding way
      Show honor
      Weaker vessel- leading you to honor/fellow heir
      Help make her complete

NOTE: This is that your prayer life is to not be hindered
·         Prayer life of the husband is expected, obligatory, not an optional item.

 So, we are to live as examples of Christ
This glorifies God and brings us joy (success too)
So as Chrsit loves the church so you are to love your wife.

How you treat your wife shows the depth of your relationship with Christ.

This requires
·         Being a Christian
·         Humility, the denial of self
·         Actively leading the family in the ways of Christ
·         Sanctification and discipleship
·         Daily applying love

Living the Christian Life: Biblical Marriage-A Redemptive Work of God,: Sermon Notes


Once again I have been asked to publish my notes from the Sunday sermon.
These are the notes that I began with, however, as often happens, thae actual sermon will differ.
The link for this sermon is

Many of you may have heard in the past two weeks about a third century fragment of parchment that alludes to a conversation where Jesus mentions having a wife.

Even though this is poor scholarship, many are curious about this “fragment.”

However, I need to tell you, it is true that Jesus had a bride, she is called The Church.

Biblical marriage can be seen as a redemptive work of God, even before sin entered the world.  For marriage was God’s way of blessing Adam.

Marriage needs to operate in the context that it is God’s picture of the church relating to Him, thus it is extremely sacred.  As a matter of fact, When Ephesian 5 talks about marriage, Paul states that he is actually talking about the church.

First off, through a Fact Checker, I found this week that the statistics on ”Christian divorce” are not equal to the world.  Often this has been misrepresented. Protestant active conservative couples are 35% less likely to divorce.

 Biblical Marriage is redemptive, in it we have
·         Trials and failures
·         Love as the key
·         And a covenant to keep

With all of that, we can find a picture of God’s redemptive plan.

Genesis 2:1-25  It is not Good for Man to be Alone
Genesis 3:7-17 God created Adam. 
He is the only creation where God breathed life into him.
Work, Duties, responsibilities, all were for the Glory of God and before the fall.

V18     God makes a helper, fit for him,
            This is one that is beside him, notice the rib.  God does have an order, but the wife is to be a literal part of the life of the husband.
God also implies charges that Adam is to care for his wife Eve.  It will be a pleasurable union.

V18-24 initiates the covenant of marriage- all before sin.
Leave- obligations are involved in the marriage covenant
Hold Fast- is that there exists a covenant bond- not to be broken.  The Bible only grants divorce in two cases, and both of those are to be worked out if at all possible.
Become- an active verb of growing together. Much emphasis is lost here, but you need to know your verbs.  They are for action, men, do you want to be a man of action?  Do you want to be an action superhero?  Then be a man of marriage in redemptive action.
One Flesh- this is the goal. That there be a solidarity in the marriage, a total single commitment that together they are helping one another to the glory of God.  This is the natural state of marriage.

But sin messes things up.

So let’s Be redemptive
Ephesians 5
Chapter 5:1-21 is all about the reverent behavior we are to have before Christ.
It explicitly addresses conduct that we ourselves are responsible, and thus answerable, for.

Ephesians 5:22-33
V 32 says that this is referring to Christ and the church.  However, it is a fitting doctrine for marriage.
The idea is for Husbands to submit to Christ as you know to do/ and to not be hypocritical of your wife in the matter.

Submit- granting full acceptance-  The word actually is best rendered- be subject to, which implies order.

Thus, the husband is to be in proper order with his Lord to in order be able to lead his household.

Wives are to live in proper order of the covenant, but this does not mean that they are trash or to be treated without sincere love.

This section gives us many clues to the Redemptive Union a church has with it’s Lord, as well as a wife with her husband.

Action Verbs abound
·         Submit
·         Love
·         Sanctify
·         Cleanse
·         Present
·         Love
·         Nourish
·         Hold Fast
·         Become One
·         Love/respect

Christ has done all of these on the cross.  They are the pinnacle of redemption in our history.

Men are to sacrificially glorify God as they do likewise for their bride.