mexico


Part 2 of Contentious Wife Equals Terrible Life

The way I see it there are four basic categories of men:

Category 1:  Losers. These are the guys who have always been fascinated with themselves yet generally have low self-esteem.  If he thinks there is something better elsewhere then he is ready to walk. Basically this has been in the back of his mind since the beginning.  His marriage proposal could have gone like this, “Baby, I love you, I really do.  How about we spend an undetermined number of years together? Maybe we will even have some kids followed by a terrible stretch at which point I’ll upgrade to a younger better looking model and you can go look for an old sugar daddy.”

Well if you are in category 1, then there isn’t that much anyone can do for you until you realize what a pathetic loser you are and repent of your sin and selfishness and turn to Jesus.  (If you think that is harsh then you don’t understand that without being in Jesus and then living in the Spirit – we are ALL spiritual losers and that there is also no hope for the proud).   At that point you can leave Loserville, and work hard to put your marriage on the right track…since it never was on the right track.  If you’ve already passed the point of no return (divorced and at least one has remarried), then Jesus still offers forgiveness to you and you can take comfort in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Of course there are harsh realities that cannot be undone but with God there is comfort and a new day…think King David.

Category 2:  Passives.  If wife is happy than it is all good, and I’ll put up with whatever.  These guys are the guys where all but the few Category 4 guys and the wives who have it together think, “He’s a nice guy.  Look at all the nice things he does for his wife.”  But if you look a little closer you will notice that is about all he is.  He is a yes man.  Or should I say a, “yes maam” boy.  He will do anything to make his wife happy regardless of how wrong she is or how bad of an idea it is or how much debt there is or who else has to get stepped on in the process – as long as she is happy.  He really does care about her so he will cajole and console, but rarely if ever will he say, “No, honey. I hate to tell you this, but you are wrong.”  When he does it usually isn’t over anything that matters – just little stuff – so he can maintain his illusion of being more than a little boy in an adult body.  Most Christian men fall into this category so please think a little more before you just pass over it with, “Hey that’s kinda funny,” and “I’m glad it isn’t me thoughts.”  I hardly know any good men who will say they’ve never had a stay in Passiveville.  The decision you have to make is whether to be a reluctant visitor in moments of failure or a willing long-term resident.

If you are a category 2 guy, then man you really need to go to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and help.  Then you need to go to your wife and apologize at which point you will need to tell her that things are going to change and she might not like what some of that process looks like.  She may look at you like your crazy because she is going to need to SEE IT in your life.  Rhetoric is not going to save the day.  You will need to be humble.  We are not looking to trade pansies for brutes.  At this point you really need to find a category 4 guy to hang out with – SOMEBODY WHO IN LOVE WILL PUT THEIR FINGER IN YOUR CHEST AND TELL YOU WHAT IS UP!  A category 4 guy can be your best earthly ally in this deal – hey he knows what it takes and you can ask his wife to verify the results.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:7-10).

Next up – Category 3: Brutes and Category 4: godly men

chet-and-erika1If one day I have a little girl, I hope she is a lot like Erika!

Erika and I have become friends over my last few trips to Mexico.  She is now 11 years old.  Let me tell you that this girl has so much boldness in the faith.  She tells her classmates, kids she has just met, and even mothers about the love of God and their need for a Savior.  I have heard her share with great love for the people and passion for her God!

Often times I find that we make the excuse for not talking about God in our own culture and find it not so hard to share in a different culture where we don’t know the people.  Erika does not have this luxury…these are her people…and these are the only people she has the ability to tell.  I find strength in her story and example…even as I go out today and know that I will have opportunities to share the love of God with people.  I don’t want to let her down.  If she ever asked, I would want to be able to tell her that her tall friend from Georgia is just as bold in his own town as he is in her mountains.  May God help me because I am often silent when I should speak.  Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ…”
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As I share thoughts from our most recent trip to Mexico I need to let you know that I am not going to attempt a chronological order.  Also, if you are wondering what has happened to the study of Romans, don’t worry.  I’ll be picking back up this Sunday finishing chapter 3 and starting chapter 4.  Notes will be available early next week.

I was full of emotion as our bus driver (who knew maybe 5 words of English) had Phil Collins, “Oh, think twice” playing as we rolled back into Mexico City at the end of our most recent mission trip.  I was reminded of how much people need physical and spiritual help.  Imagine being born poor into a city of 22 million and trying to find your way.  “Oh, think twice!  It’s just another day for you and me in paradise.”  The week was amazing, and I hope to post more about it shortly.  Let’s continue to strive to love our neighbors…all 6.7 billion of them…those in far away places and the ones next door.

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James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

I have been desiring to write about this for almost a week now, but finding the right combination of time, words, and strength has been tough to come by.

Last Thursday, I was having lunch with a good friend of mine at Doc Chey’s in downtown Athens.  I was enjoying our conversation and some spicy orange chicken.  I had my phone on vibrate as I normally do when I am having a conversation with someone.  (disclosure: I have a pet peave about incoming phone calls being more important than the current conversation between two face to face humans.)  The phone in my pocket rang once, it rang twice, a third time, and then a forth.  At that point, I had to say sorry man but something is going on here.  It turns out that Pepe in Mexico was trying to get a hold of me.  He had tried to call me first, but when I didn’t answer he made the smart move to start emailing and calling anyone else in Athens who may be able to track me down.  So still at the table I call down to Mexico, “Hola Pepe!”  He tells me that a lady had a baby the night before that she did not want, and would we want to adopt this baby little boy?  Wow, my heart lept, “I have to tell Claire!”

I called her office which is right downtown, but I was told she was at a meeting on campus.  So my friend and I go to the building she is in.  It turns out that she is in a meeting that happens once a year that has about 50 people in it…lots of UGA big shots.  I interrupt having come from ripping the gutters off my house and lunch – jeans and not showered.  Turns out she is on the other side of the room and I can’t find her so, “Claire, I need to speak to Claire.”  She hops up and comes outside giving me one of those, “Do you know what you just interrupted?  This had better be really important,” looks

I told her Pepe called about a little baby boy that could be ours.  She could not stand.  She just fell to her knees, crying with joy, weeping, heaving.  I kneeled down and held her and we prayed. It was beautiful.  The lights were on.  The cameras were rolling.  This was our moment.

Later, I got home and called Pepe again to find out more details.  The first words out of our mouth were, “Chet I’m really sorry.  She changed her mind.”   News like this feels like a punch in the stomach.  I felt bad for him to have share that news.  I felt worse for my wife and wondered how I would tell her.  I sat for a couple of minutes, prayed, asked God for help, and then made the call.  As soon as I say “hey.” She says, “Oh the ladies here are so great they have already decorated my office for me.”  I say, “Claire, can you get alone? I need to talk to you.”  She says, “No it’s okay go ahead, I think I know what that means.”

And the roller coaster continues with more twists, turns, loopty loops, and abrupt stops.  God’s grace is sufficient, and on the Rock of Jesus we stand.  It is anything but easy, our since of loss is at times very difficult to deal with.  But we are more determined than ever to see this through.  I am so thanful that even though she hurts, the Lord has given my wife a rare strength.  I am thanful for the many friends who love us and pray for us.  I am thankful beyond words for the compassion of my Savior, King, Priest, and Lord – Jesus Christ.  Regardless of our circumstances, we will praise Him!

In order to make it easier for those of you who didn’t get to see all the Mexico posts and wanted to read them, I’ve added a Mexico category.  So on the right hand side of the page you can just click the word “mexico” under categories and see all of them.

the flight home

I woke up wide awake at 3:50 AM, ten minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off.  I had time for a quick shower and had to finish packing.  Pepe drove me to the bus station and at 5:15 AM I was headed to Mexico.  The first hour I was wishing I had taken some travel medicine…the mountain roads were making me woozy.  But once things straightened out, I was fine.  It was good to sleep a couple of hours before getting to the airport. 

At the airport I met the President of Tennessee Temple University and his wife.  Once they found out what I do they began recruiting me for their online Master’s degree program.  Over the last few years I have thought about doing something like this several times.  The biggest considerations for me are how Christ and Bible centered, cost, quality of program, and amount of on-campus time required.  I haven’t been able to find the right combination yet, but it is worth another look.  

I began reading Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch on the way home, and I am greatly encouraged by it. For anyone who is searching to know the Biblical perspective on church government, this is a very good read. It is both scholarly and practical in its approach.

Of course it was wonderful to see my wife at the airport.  She had gotten a new haircut, which I like.  We had a nice conversation over a meal on our way home.  I’m very thankful for such a supportive wife. Though she missed me, she is willing to see me go again as the Lord leads.  To wrap up the day, I was greeted by a very happy furry friend – Daphney.  She was way too excited.  It was a long day of travel, but I wasn’t nearly as tired as I expected to be.  The only thing I didn’t welcome when I returned was the Georgia heat.  I had been used to a high of 75 degrees F, and a low of about 55 degrees F.  It was perfect.  As soon as I stepped out of the Atlanta airport the high temperature and high humidity confronted me.  If I only could have brought the weather with me – because we could sure you some of the rain too!

This ends my travel log for the trip.  I want to again thank all of you who have been praying and keeping up.  Please keep checking back, and I am looking forward to continuing to write.  You can use an RSS feed to automatically be notified of new content.

June 2, 2008 – Monday

You can see from the post entitled, “attack of the man thigh”, that Monday was a fun day.  We also had a nice couple of hours in the morning as we studied Matthew 7 and the end of John 17.  We had profitable questions and discussion.  Afterwards we ate pizza together in downtown Orizaba.  When you just drive from the church’s building down the main road toward the bus station, you don’t realize how large Orizaba is.  The city has about 120,000+ people in it.  Cordoba which isn’t far down the road has another 135,000+. So in the valley area there are over 300,000 people.  

After basketball, we had a time of good bye’s.  I walked back to Pepe’s house and got some work done on the computer.  We had a nice dinner with several people at the house and good conversation.  The day wrapped up around 11 PM, and I would be up in just a few hours to begin the journey back.  It was hard to believe that the week was gone so quickly.

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