Ask Me Anything: Advice for Marriage and Concerns in the Church Today

One of my favorite things to do is answer questions, and especially when I’ve got no idea what those questions will be. Today I’ve got two more short videos for you, both of which were shot at a recent Ask Me Anything event in London, England. The first is some advice for those about to get married while the second discusses what I think are the foremost concerns in the church today.

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What kind of advice would you give a person in your congregation who is about to get married?

Yes, man, I had somebody get in touch with me a little while ago and say, I’m about to get married, what are the top six books on marriage? My wife and I want to read six books on marriage. And I said, I’ll give you two books and I want you to get with people in your church.

Find married people, a wife who looks like she really loves her husband, a husband who looks like he really loves his wife, or even better a husband and wife who look like they really, really dig one another, even after many years of marriage, and just spend time with them.

So, find a couple of good books, you’ve got lots to choose from on marriage and read them, read them together, but man, get with people in your church. God gives us the church for that reason, so we can model Christian life, model godliness, model marriage to one another. And I think Christian couples should be honored and blessed if someone comes and says, we want to be like you, so can we spend time with you. That might cut hard against your Britishness, that might cut hard against your personality, but I think that’s well in play in the Christian life, in the Christian church. I mean, we are in community and it ought to be a way that you’re learning because books are great, but you don’t know that person, you don’t really know what’s going on, you don’t get to see the body language, you don’t get to see the look in his eye when she does something or when he does something. You know, all of that is instructive, you don’t get to see Tim Keller do family devotions, right. But you can do that, invite yourself over to someone’s house and stick around for an evening and see how they do family devotions, see how they discipline kids when they’re naughty, just be around them. See how they love one another, see how they relate. Really the other marriages in the church, that is your textbook. See how they apply God’s truth in particular circumstances.

I think one of the funny things you realize pretty quickly in marriage is that you think you’re normal, your marriage is normal and everyone else’s marriage is weird. You know, either they’re overbearing or they’re too casual or something, but you realize there’s this massive spectrum of normalcy in marriage. People relate very, very differently and that’s awesome, that’s part of the joy of it, is we can be ourselves and we can be a unique couple

What is your foremost concern for the church in the 21st century?

What is my foremost concern?  Yes, I tend to be a bit of a pessimist, so I have a number of concerns. But, I don’t know, I think this kind of varies just day by day and varies according to what I’ve seen and read recently, but, I just wonder if it’s complacency. If we as Christians have been very accustomed to doing well, to being able to be Christians and still have access to good careers and high positions and all these sorts of things and if that’s just made us grow complacent. If we’re not pursuing the Lord with a fervency that we ought, if we’re not evangelizing in the way God calls us to. If we’re not just really getting to know the Lord, we’re not arming ourselves with just mountains of God’s Word, getting it deep inside, praying fervently, fasting, just those disciplines that God calls us to. I just can’t help but see it in my town, in my church, in my life, just a general complacency, and I start to wonder, what will the Lord use to shake up that complacency, to give us that fervent spirit for His Word and for His truth. And, maybe it will be a time of persecution, or maybe it will be the sort of looming prospect of persecution that will motivate us again. And, you know you’re looking back at William Carey and just how unpopular what he was saying was at his time, yet I’m going to do it, this is what God’s called me to. And, to go back to many of those people who were willing to die for the faith. Would we be willing to die for the faith? Or are we just so accustomed to being able to be sort of lukewarm and still just coast along in the Christian life and never really be challenged? I don’t know, I fear that we are growing or have grown just a little bit too complacent, a little bit too comfortable.