Ten Dating Tips

Yesterday in chapel at Cedarville University I preached through 1 Corinthians chapter 7. This chapter addresses more than just singleness, but since my audience included over 3,000 single University students, I focused my closing application on my audience and ended with ten dating tips. If you didn’t hear the full message it does provide some context on my thinking. I am interested in what you think. What would you add to or take away from the list below? Let me know in the comments section.

Ten Dating Tips[1]

  1. Don’t waste your singleness: If you have the gift of singleness, then don’t waste it by coveting someone else’s life. In fact, you have the trump card. I’m just being like Paul…and Jesus. Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 7 that in some situations it is better to be single. Even if your singleness is temporary, use it for God’s glory.
  2. If you have the desire to marry but not the opportunity, be content and trust God. Coveting is a sin. Too many people try too hard for the “ring by spring” and end up spending their single life longing for marriage and their married life longing to be single again. Be content and trust God no matter your circumstances.
  3. Do not have any type of romantic relationship with someone who is a non-Christian. You should not marry a non-Christian if you are a believer, which means you should not date a non-Christian.
  4. Do not pursue a serious relationship until you are ready to marry. That means spiritually and practically.  Have you repented of past sins, overcome serious struggles like pornography? Have you forgiven yourself and gotten over past sins? Whatever your baggage is, make sure that you are over it and then tell the other person early on.
  5. Do not expect marriage to fix you or make you happy. If you are miserable while single, then getting married will only make two miserable people. Marriage is part of God’s plan to make you holy not happy. So while I hope you find as much joy in marriage as I have, the ultimate goal is glorifying God and not idolizing marriage.
  6. Set your expectations appropriately. There is no Mr. Perfect so ladies lower your expectations of what marriage will be. Disney has set the standard too high, but at the same time, do not set them too low and settle or you will end up miserable. Guys, you are not marrying your mom. Don’t be a slob, and don’t play Xbox all day long anymore.
  7. He should initiate and she should respond. There is a blood stained cross and empty tomb that demonstrates we are worth the pursuit. If Jesus pursued His church and men should love their wife as Christ loved the church, then men should pursue. Men step up. Women, help us out. We are not that smart. Women, please place yourself in front of the right man like Ruth did Boaz. So don’t stay at home and pray or say you are married to Jesus.
  8. Don’t be superficial. Marriage is about more than appearance. Outside, inside, personality, intelligence, work ethic, sense of humor, financial wisdom, integrity, especially love for Jesus and primary theological issues all matter. Marry someone who will be a fit for every season of the life that awaits you together.
  9. Guard your heart. This means many things but especially no sexual contact until marriage. A guy will wait if he loves you. A guy will wait if he can spiritually lead you. If a guy won’t wait for you, then you will never know if he can control himself when he is traveling or working with someone else. Dump him immediately. If you are currently in a relationship where you are having sex, then you are not right with God and cannot hear correctly from the Holy Spirit. The best thing to do is repent, stop having sex, end the relationship, and seek the Lord for an extended period of time to determine His will for your future.
  10. Find someone that loves Jesus more than they love you. If they love Jesus more than you, then they will continue to grow spiritually and they will not divorce you for their own happiness because they realize that God hates divorce.


[1] This list comes from a brainstorming session with my wife. We are indebted to books we have read, sermons we have heard, and others who have posted on the internet. I don’t have a source to reference, but I am not claiming that these are original with us. They have resulted from years of thought and study of others. After all, there is nothing new under the sun.

 

Cedarville University: Founded on Faith

It’s been a little busy over the past few months so I apologize for my absence of writing. I am beginning to work it back into my schedule. For this post, I wanted to share something I wrote for my recent inauguration as president of Cedarville University. I am amazed at the godly legacy of Cedarville and thrilled to join the Cedarville Family. My prayer is that the future looks very similar to the past as we boldly stand for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Cedarville University: Founded on Faith

Cedarville College was founded on faith, preserved by prayer and supported through sacrifice. Throughout many difficult moments in its history, leaders at Cedarville believed in the University because its foundation was faith in Almighty God.

Consider William Renwick McChesney, who communicated in his 1915 inauguration address his hope for Cedarville College by stating, “that there may continue through the coming ages a Christian institution of higher learning in our midst to train our youth, enrich our nation, and make glad the church of Christ.”

Dr. Jurkat served Cedarville College for 56 years and was the only faculty member to serve under both Presbyterian and Baptist leadership. He commented, “There are many schools where young people can be trained in the completely technical vocations and trades, but Cedarville is one of the too few which always hopes to add the vital ingredients of spirit and character.”

The first Baptist President, James T. Jeremiah, revealed his core beliefs about the institution when he described what it needed in a leader. “It is vitally important to keep our college clearly related to our churches . . . For this reason, the man with a pastor’s heart, in my opinion, can best serve the college in the office of president.”

These words adorning the hallways of Cedarville’s history not only reveal the foundation of the institution, but also provide a glimpse into the future. Cedarville University will continue to stand for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. We will teach the literal creation of an historic Adam and Eve, hold forth the truth and certainty of an inerrant Word of God, defend the exclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ, and exalt Jesus to the ends of the earth.

We will continue the Cedarville distinctives of having every staff and faculty member affirm our doctrinal statement and moral code; a Bible minor for every undergraduate student; chapel five days a week, and a biblical worldview integrated in every classroom. In closing, our prayer is the same as that of McChesney in 1915, “we pray not for lighter tasks but greater strength; not for conflicts to be shunned but for courage and wisdom to meet them.” Additionally, we pray for students who demonstrate academic excellence accompanied with a passion for the Great Commission determined to defend the faith upon which we have been founded.

Open Forum at Cedarville University

If you live near Cedarville University, then I invite you to attend an open forum on Wednesday, July 17 at 2:00 pm. The time and location has been chosen to make it convenient for faculty, staff, and summer students on campus to come. After consulting with several departments around campus, we determined that Wednesday was far enough removed from the business of the past weekend’s events or preparation for the next weekend’s events and that 10:00 am or 2:00 pm would be the optimal times. We have camps on campus almost every day throughout the summer and the chapel is being used that morning, so I landed on the 2:00 pm time slot.

I have been overwhelmed by the positive response already and the number of people who want to come. If you can’t make it to this one, I have intentions to do more. I wanted to make the first one convenient for those who live and work at Cedarville University on a daily basis. I realize that the majority of our students won’t be back until late August, but I didn’t want to wait that long to do my first open forum. This event will not be broadcast on the internet for two reasons. First, my target audience is on-campus faculty, staff, and summer students. I would pick a better time for an internet event. Second, it may prevent some from asking the tough questions that they really want to ask. Perhaps in the future, we will design one intended toward an internet audience where questions can be emailed, tweeted, or sent in via text message. I hope to have fun, an honest dialogue, and get to know one another better.

We have exciting days ahead of us as we continue to stand for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ at Cedarville University.

Greeting to the Students of Cedarville University

It is Friday, and my first week on the job is almost over. The only regret I have after week one is that I have not met enough students. That will change over time as they return to the campus. I love students, and I look forward to getting to know the students at Cedarville University. Here is a video I recently recorded to send to them. Some of you who have interest in the future direction of the University may want to watch it.

President White’s Greeting to Students

A letter to my son on his 2nd birthday

samuel

Son,

It seems like yesterday that we watched photos and videos of you on the screen in the doctor’s office. You know the doctors never thought we would have a biological child. It was truly a miracle the first time I held you in my arms. God formed you in the womb, and you still rub your eyes when you are tired the same way now that you did then. (view Samuel’s 3D sonogram) Your mom and I prayed that God would bless us with children, and He has done so through adoption with your sister, Rachel, and biologically with you. I have watched you grow and your personality flourish over these past two years. Words can neither express the joy that you bring to my heart nor the number of smiles you bring to my face. I want you to know that I will always be your biggest supporter and that my mission in life is to be a good earthly father shepherding your heart toward the heavenly Father. Continue reading

Multiple Services and Franchising McChurch

I had a conversation with a pastor last week. He said to me, “I’m not sure you would like my church. We have multiple services.�

My heart sank when I heard those words. I have listened to several of his sermons online, and he does a phenomenal job. His perception came from a book I co-wrote back in 2009 called Franchising McChurch: Feeding America’s Obsession with Easy Christianity, which attempted to critique the entertainment culture and consumer driven mentality in American Christianity while presenting some thoughts about newer methodologies and their potential theological impact. After reading some of the pages from the perspective of someone who does not know my heart, I can see why he might have come to that conclusion. Those close to me know that I love the local church, and I desire to help pastors think through difficult issues rather than add to their already heavy burden by merely throwing rocks at the stained glass windows. Continue reading

Theological truths for the “morning-after” the ruling by Korman

Morning-After-pillNo matter the results of Korman’s ruling on Plan B, the morning-after pill, we must teach theological truths to guide proper decision making. When it come to procreation, we must teach that children are a blessing from the Lord and that life begins from the moment of conception. Additionally, we should fear God more than any opinion of man, and recognize that the Gospel offers grace to cover any sin when making a multitude of other practical decisions. Let’s begin by reviewing the timeline:

  • December 2011: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, overruled the Food and Drug Administration, which blocked the sale of the morning-after pill to young girls without a prescription because of the lack of data to prove it was safe.
  • April 5, 2013: Judge Edward R. Korman ruled that the morning-after pill, Plan B One-Step, be made available over the counter to all ages.[1]
  • May 1, 2013: U.S. defends age limits and claims the judge did not have the authority to overrule the FDA. The FDA agreed to allow girls as young as 15 to buy the drug over the counter without a prescription.[2]
  • May 10, 2013:  Judge Korman refuses to drop his order allowing the morning-after pill for all ages but postponed the enforcement of his order until Monday, May 13. He called the appeal attempt politically motivated.[3]

Today, May 13th, we might find out the final verdict. Here are two items to keep in mind as this case develops. Continue reading

Your “WorldView” of Earth Day

earth-dayToday, April 22, 2013, many will celebrate Earth Day in an effort to bring attention to climate change and to reduce our carbon footprint.[1] The secular event serves as a good reminder about caring for the earth, but how you look at Earth Day will differ depending on your worldview.

If you have a biblical worldview, then you believe something similar to the following: 1) God created everything and gave mankind the command to exercise dominion over creation; 2) mankind fell, sinning against God and suffering the consequences of sin; 3) God sent his Son, Jesus, to redeem mankind through a substitutionary sacrifice on the cross paying the penalty of sin and conquering death through His resurrection; and 4) Jesus will return one day and eventually create a new heaven and a new earth.

From a biblical worldview, we take care of the earth as a matter of stewardship. God has given mankind the stewardship to exercise dominion, but part of that stewardship includes leaving the earth better than we found it for the next generation. We should not selfishly use resources for ourselves because that does not demonstrate a love for God and His creation or loving our neighbors as ourselves…even those neighbors in the next generation. Stewardship forms our primary motivation because we recognize that eventually a just God will judge us all. The eternal continuation of the earth, however, does not compel us because we believe that God will create a new heaven and a new earth one day.

If you have a secular worldview, then you believe something similar to the following: 1) the earth evolved over time resulting in mankind; 2) all reality and life centers on human beings; 3) as mankind gains knowledge and understanding humans can evolve to become better in each generation; 4) once a person dies who knows what happens; and 5) if humanity fails to care for the earth, then mankind will cease to exist.

From a secular worldview, mankind takes care of the earth to insure the continuation of the human race. If climate change continues, then eventually the earth will become uninhabitable and the human race will cease to exist. While there is a sense of stewardship, the primary motivation comes from an obligation to the human race to preserve mother earth for future generations. It is a responsibility not to God, but to humanity.

We see some from a biblical worldview who overlook the secular founding and support Earth Day while others critique it. Those who support Earth Day focus on a Christian’s stewardship of God’s creation. Those who reject Earth Day focus on the new heaven and new earth that will be created and a perceived human centered perspective in the secular movement.

I want you to recognize the opportunity to further the Gospel no matter what you think about Earth Day. Christians have both an obligation both to love God by demonstrating good stewardship of His creation, and an obligation to love others by sharing the Gospel message with them.  Conversations about Earth Day can lead to a Gospel conversation that includes Jesus’ death, resurrection, and future creation of a new earth day—an earth that won’t have problems with carbon footprints.


[1]“Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and organized by Denis Hayes in 1970.� http://www.earthday.org/frequently-asked-questions-0 and http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement

God Doesn’t Fit in Our Box

This week I have had several theological discussions. In some of these conversations, people wanted to understand everything about God. God used these conversations to remind me that He is infinite and that I am finite. I will never be able to comprehend the God that created the universe, sent Jesus born of a virgin, loved us so much that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, raised Jesus from the dead, and will restore His creation one day. Consider the following:

Isaiah 55:8-9:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Romans 11:33-34, “33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34  “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?â€�

1 Cor. 2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?…â€�

And who can forget God responding to Job in chapters 38 and following, 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”

Instead of trying so hard to make God fit into our box created by our own fallen and finite brains, we should worship the indescribable, infinite God revealed to us in Scripture. The God of Scripture won’t fit into our box, and if “a god” does fit into your box, then you have likely created an idol in your own mind. Let Scripture speak and rest in knowing that we serve an incomprehensibly great God.

Discussing our attempts to put God in a box reminded me of a video I produced a couple of years ago in an online Systematic Theology class. I am bringing it out of the archives. I hope you enjoy it. I call it Waffle Iron Theology.