Doing Life Together

Sean Lowe, made famous by the reality television shows The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, was known as the Virgin Bachelor. But Lowe makes no apologies for his desire to wait until marriage to have sex with the woman he wanted to marry.

Recently, he spoke at Liberty University’s convocation and talked about how he challenged the lie that you have to sexually test out a partner before marriage in order to know if you have sexual compatibility.

A recent Gallup poll reported:

  • 80 percent of young unmarried Christians have had sex outside of marriage.
  • Two-thirds of unmarried Christians have been sexual active in the last year.
  • 42 percent of the 18-29 year olds in the 80 percent group are currently in sexual relationships.

Yet, despite these statistics, 76 percent of Christians still believe sex outside of marriage is wrong. Apparently, there is a wide disconnect between what we believe and what we actually do. Why is this and how can live what we believe?

1) Talk about sex in the church. Rather than pretending that pre-marital sex isn’t happening, we need conversations about how to resist temptation and deal with sexual brokenness. The pressures to conform, availability of pornography, and how we cope with living in a culture saturated with sex, need honest discussion with shared strategies to stay the course.

2) When you engage with media, be intentional. Does what you see line up with a biblical worldview? The constant exposure to promiscuity can desensitize us to the truth of God’s word.

3) Go to church. Attending church one day a week (which is what most people do) hardly competes with the daily onslaught of sexual messages, but it does provide a weekly centering and reminder.

4) Continue to read your Bible in order to renew your mind to God’s ways versus the cultural narrative. Sean was reading the Bible every day when he was on the show.

5) Pray with each other and put on the armor of God since it is a difficult struggle (Ephesians 6:10-18). We need each other to stay strong.

6) Share real stories of sexual promiscuity, e.g., sexually transmitted infections, the emotional fall out of sex outside of marriage, and the spiritual issues involved. Media focus on the physical act of sex, but people live with the emotional and spiritual fall out of sexually acting out. Those stories need to be shared as well. There is no real life glamour of promiscuity.

7) Value marriage. Waiting to have sex or being faithful in marriage are worth fighting for and need to be valued.

8) Examine the cohabitation data. Cohabitation leads to an increased chance of divorce, the very thing couples fear. The data doesn’t support the idea that hooking up prior to marriage, makes marriage better or prevents divorce.

9) Find friends who want to be accountable and will try to live what they believe. When you surround yourself with like-minded people, it is easier to encourage each other to resist temptation.

10) When it comes to sex, resisting temptation is best done by not putting oneself in a position of temptation. Identify the triggers that can leave you vulnerable and avoid those whenever possible.


griefHe sat in my office and told me his father died suddenly of a heart attack. There was no warning and he and his mom were heartbroken. 

She was crying as she talked about her 20 year marriage coming to an end. Her husband words, “I don’t love you and want out,” hit hard. 

He never saw it coming. For years, his trusted friend was his confidante. How could this lifelong friend betray him with a one-night stand with his girlfriend? 

Love, loss, tragedy, trauma…what helps in the healing process may surprise you.

A host of studies have shown that people who write about their trauma and difficult experiences heal better, They sleep better, feel better, do better academically, cope better, and are more positive.

Not everyone will go to someone to talk out a loss or trauma, but anyone can write. Writing helps you take your story of loss and make meaning of it. We open up and express our thoughts and feelings, especially when we need to allow grieving.

Expressing your feelings through writing helps organize your story and gives perspective. Writing releases your story and keeps it from being bottled up. Not talking or writing about difficult events can negatively impact your health.

So if you feel stuck and need to move along the healing process, add writing to your prayer and reading of God’s word. Try 15-20 minutes for a week or so. Write from your heart. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or sentence construction. No one has to see what you wrote and you can tear it up or delete it at some point if that is your desire.

Label your feelings, talk about how this event affects your life. Get it down on paper and see if writing is a little like taking good medicine. Then write out a few of God’s promises to you–ones that relate to your experience, e.g., God will never leave you, He will be with you through difficulty, He will give you wisdom, comfort, peace, etc.

Writing is therapeutic. Give it a try and see if it helps!


ID-100166885Money, money, money…The OJays sang about it, reminding us us what people will do for the love of money-steal from their mother, rob from their brother, lie, cheat and don’t care who they hurt or beat, etc.

In Matthew, Jesus tells us that you can’t love money and God. He chided the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees, and called them lovers of money in Luke 16:14. In 1 Timothy 6:10, we are warned that the LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of  evil. And Hebrews 13:5 tells us to keep our lives free of the LOVE of money and be content with what we have.

So, how are you doing when it comes to loving money? My pastor challenged me this past Sunday by asking these 4 questions.

Take the short quiz: Answer YES or NO

1) I frequently find my mind drifting to something I want to buy.

2) I feel jealous over what other people have when I don’t have it.

3) I often complain about what I do not have rather than focus on what I do have.

4) It is really difficult to give up something I want in order to give to something that will further God’s kingdom.

If you answer YES to any of the four items, search your heart and priorities. The love of money, not money itself, can block our relationship with God. It can become an idol, something we regularly see in our celebrity culture and have to guard against.

Stay balanced in your view of money. James tells us that every good thing and perfect gift comes from God. Thus, we are to be good stewards of the good gifts that God brings our way and not allow money to capture our hearts.

ID-10087460These days, parents seemed consumed with their children getting high test scores. The belief is that high test scores predicts academic success. But a new study suggests that parents should put their efforts elsewhere–in developing the personalities of their children.

With more concern about what leads to academic success, researchers continue to look at a number of factors that might contribute to positive educational outcomes. We know that it helps to be smart when it comes to success in life. But what else could be important for success?

A new study by Dr. Arthur Poropat from Griffith University’s School of Applied Psychology found that personality may be a better measure of success than intelligence. He looked at what is called the “Big Five” personality traits–extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience, in college students and compared these traits to their test scores and grades. Two of those traits, conscientiousness and openness to experience had the biggest influence on academic success.

This means that students who are willing to put in focused effort in their studies may have an advantage over being smart, as measured by intellectual tests.  Interestingly, if you look at previous studies, students who think they are smart often have declining performance in college because they stop trying so hard. But hard workers try more and do better.

Since we can’t train intellect, but we can train personality, this study points to the idea that more attention should be focused on helping our students have intellectual curiosity and a strong work ethic–two things we can train!

Personality, it appears, it not just an adjunct to intelligence, but a major player when we assess educational outcomes. Personality is associated with academic success. And of all the factors studied, Conscientiousness had the strongest association with academic success.

So parents, focus on teaching your children intellectual curiosity and strong work habits. Those two character traits will take them farther than intellect.







Source: Arthur E. Poropat. Other-rated personality and academic performance: Evidence and implications. Learning and Individual Differences, 2014; 34: 24 DOI: 10.1016/j.lindif.2014.05.013