Brody Holloway speaks at Red Oak Church in Andrews, NC, from chapter 7 in a study of 1 Corinthians. In this chapter, Paul lays out principles for a Godly marriage, how believers are to live Biblically in their singleness and how we are to function as a Church in those areas.
“…take … the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)
Well, it is Thanksgiving, and I feel the pressure, and a bit of an obligation, to write an appropriate, occasion-specific blog. I don’t think that is a bad thing; in fact, I think it is a really great thought. I mean, I am genuinely thankful that the Pilgrims came over to pave the way for religious freedom, and that Squanto taught them how to grow corn, and that they had a big feast to celebrate it. I am not being funny. I really love this particular holiday, and what it commemorates. I love the annual Holloway/Turkey Bowl (a brutally competitive gridiron war of the grittiest caliber. Lailee is cut from the same cloth as say… Clay Mathews?). If you think the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving is a traditional throw-down, you should see this. And the accompanying Holloway Basketball Classic (traditionally played after dark under the lights) is a men vs. women affair that often brings bloodshed. This is one competitive family! I love eating fresh venison tenderloin, biscuits and gravy for breakfast (Tuck supplied this year’s kill with a nice fat doe). And I can’t forget Little’s buttermilk pies. You have, no doubt, heard of them.
We spend the holiday in middle-Georgia (not to be confused with Middle-Earth), hanging out at the Williams farm. Little has cousins there who may be the most hospitable people I have ever met. It is not only a day, but a week that I look forward to every year.
This morning, though, my mind goes to Ephesians 6:17, and an attitude of thankfulness that God has not left me unarmed in the battle He has called me into. I can’t imagine trying to be a dad, lead a home, shepherd this family of redeemed sinners, pay the bills, pastor my wife, maintain sexual purity, pursue righteousness, guard my steps and ways, be faithful, and wage war on sin, without the gift of the weapon that is the Word of God.
I am so grateful that God not only arms me, but that He wields the sword of the Spirit within me. He dwells in me. He is for me. He destroyed death for me. He has crushed the enemy. He was tempted in every way yet never sinned. He provides for me what He demands and expects from me. I am thankful for that.
Life is war. Sin is relentless. Satan hates us. We are overwhelmingly armed. It really isn’t a fair fight. You just gotta pick up your weapons. But you don’t have to fight unarmed. I am TRULY thankful for that.
Brody Holloway teaches from chapter 8 in a study of the book of 1 Corinthians at Red Oak Church in Andrews. Paul teaches the Corinthians how we can be free in Christ and free of condemnation. How do we know what is right and wrong while living a life pleasing to the Lord?
“As a father, the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12b
I love being a father, but I also really love being a daddy. There is such a joy that comes from investing in my son and daughters. I think one of the most encouraging things I can do for my son is to enjoy him. I talk to young men all the time who know their father loves them, but he doesn’t necessarily enjoy them. There is a whole new element to a father’s love when it is accompanied with pleasure in the father-son relationship. This gives a son a completely different, elevated level of confidence.
Building confidence in my son is important to his development and understanding of who he is in Christ. God loves his sons, but he also takes pleasure in us. This completely legitimizes and affirms me.
One of the ways we do this is by teaching the ways of manhood. I often place the burden of being “man of the house” on my son, Tucker (Tuck), when I am traveling. I spend a good deal of time on the road, so I want him to be learning to carry the weight of responsibility that a man should carry. I will often look him in the eyes, put my hand on his shoulder and tell him, “You’ve got this. You’re in charge of personal security at the “Tajmaholloway” while I am gone. Shoot straight and be the man.” I will always grin at him and let him see that leaving him in charge gives me confidence, and delight. I affirm his masculinity — both the tender side and the rough side — to his sisters and mother. This is good for everybody.
Men, invest in your boys. Teach them all that matters. But enjoy them. Delight in them. That will affirm them like nothing else will.
For me and Tuck, we just spend tons of time together. Quantity of time screams delight. Give ‘em lots of it. And grin and laugh while you do it.
I am so grateful to live in a country with a democratic process. This is a huge blessing and just as big a responsibility. Yet even in that responsibility, I have complete confidence in the sovereignty of God in the appointment of governments and leaders.
Romans 13:1 says that God institutes leaders:
“…For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
Paul says this concerning governmental authorities. The most incredible thing to me is that he wrote this when the emperor Nero was in power. This man killed tens of thousands of Christians, yet Paul trusted firmly in the divine plan of God to somehow use even a narcissistic maniac to bring about his purpose for the Church. So God is in control of nations, and the United States is under God. From Washington to Lincoln and from Roosevelt to Obama, God remains sovereignly seated on the throne of heaven and is always working toward his kingdom. Like us, our leaders will answer to God.
Regardless of who our leaders are at a given time in history, we do well to remember that Christ has called us into a Kingdom that is much greater than this one. Our task in this life, as aliens and sojourners, is to labor for the Gospel and for the future Kingdom. Let’s labor while there is time!
Yeah, we have a duty and obligation to vote and to be active in the legislative process. Our voices should be heard. Men have died for our right and our voice. But I believe it was Jesus Christ who once said to an earthly ruler who seemed in the moment to be “in charge:”
“My kingdom is not of this world…”
Let’s remained focused on the Gospel work and the Kingdom that is already, but not yet, and that will last forever. Our hope is not in man, or men, or elections or nations. Our hope is in The Lord.
One of the highlights of my week is taking my girls on dates. Each week, I try to take each of my daughters out for a little alone time. Kilby and I do breakfast on Mondays — coffee and cinnamon rolls — and then some quality time talking about life and the Gospel.
For Lailee, it is all about the ice cream! She prefers Party Time, but sometimes we head to McDonalds (I mean, a Reese’s McFlurry is hard to argue with). It doesn’t seem to really matter to them where we go, and it definitely doesn’t matter to me. It is really all about the time we spend together. Cell phone is off — no texting or talking, no distractions. They get my undivided attention.
In addition to our weekly dates, I try to end each day by spending a little time with each one of them — reflecting on the day while sitting on the side of their beds holding hands.
If I could instill in daddies the importance of honoring their daughters with their time — and lots of it — I would do it at most any cost. Daddies need to feel that kind of love that only a daddy can give. He needs to feel the kind of acceptance, value, honor and worth that only comes from him. This is the best way for him to see God. But so many fathers are not “daddies.” They are occupied or stressed or whatever you want to call it; but mainly just selfish. Such a little time and talk goes such a long way in the heart and confidence of a little girl. If we would do this, I think there would be a lot fewer girls who need to be needed in their formative years. We see the repercussions of this a lot at SWO.
Last night I looked at Lailee as she lay in bed, and I whispered, “I love being your daddy.” She smiled those big brown eyes shut and smiled herself to sleep. I think the ice cream is working.
Brody Holloway teaches from 1 Corinthians 5 on what it means for the Church to be conformed to Christ and not the world, and that it is Biblical standards to which the Church will be held accountable.
We had a great weekend hosting the 2012 SWO Marriage Retreat. We have been so excited to host this year’s event, knowing the great opportunity we have in challenging couples to biblical marriage. The event sold out, and we actually had to turn away dozens of couples who had been on a waiting list.
The thrust of the weekend was bringing our marriages into the lens of the Gospel. There seems to be such a trend in ministry right now to talk a lot about the Gospel, and I am excited about that. There is nothing in all of creation that is not impacted by the Gospel. There are books being written by prominent pastors, and there are conferences and ministries being named around that one word — “Gospel.” Even for our SWO13 summer camp, we are emphasizing and working around the theme of the Gospel and its centrality in all things. We’re excited!
But there is NO greater platform to display the love, grace and glory of Christ in the Gospel than the platform of biblical marriage. If we are to experience God-honoring marriages that reflect His covenantal love to us, then we must build marriages on the foundation of the Gospel.
We had a great time this weekend breaking down the Gospel-marriage relationship. Thanks to everyone who attended. Podcasts will be up soon at swoutfitters.com.
I was honored to speak at Kennesaw FBC’s Men’s Conference in Georgia this past weekend. From there, I had the privilege of speaking at the Eagle Pointe/Lifebridge churches’ Men’s Conference. Something that seems to keep coming up in these conferences — including the BE STRONG conference at SWO — is the fact that when we look in scripture, God demands MUCH from men. We also see that God always works first to lead us in that which he demands from us.
For instance, in the garden of Eden before Adam is ever created, God had already prepared the garden and given creation everything it needed to be sustained. God did not NEED Adam. Rather, Adam was given the opportunity to “work and keep” the garden. This was an opportunity to take an active role in the work of the Lord by tending the garden and providing for the wife God had given him. In doing this, Adam had the ultimate platform to reflect God’s glory through his obedience. But rather than fulfill God’s call for his marriage, Adam perverted it by NOT obeying all God had called him to do.
In marriage, and in singleness, God is always working to reveal and reflect His glory. He brings us into the work that He intends to do. In submitting to God, I have the opportunity to reflect the glory of God and to live out the Gospel in my marriage. The marriage relationship God has given to me is my “Eden.” I am called to “work and keep” it. God has already prepared and done the work. Do I strive to reflect that or do I pervert it with my own selfishness?
That’s a good question.