RO Winterfest 2017 - Q&A

Q1

What if I’m single the rest of my life?

I get this question from time to time. When our focus is on what we’re afraid of missing, we tend to not move forward. Don’t let the “what if’s” of your life become anything more than just the hypothetical things they are. When they begin to instill fear in us and paralyze us they become more than hypothetical, they begin to make an impact in holding us back from progressing forward. Instead, focus on Christ and on the good plans he has for you. Remember, God is good, and He has a good plan for you. Aren’t you curious about His plan for you? Pursue Him and discover the adventure He has waiting for you. As you grow, you’ll find someone to join in that adventure with you. I know it may not “feel” like it sometimes, but the truth is that “feelings” have an IQ of zero. Don’t let those feelings make educated guesses for you, instead live out of your faith, and trust that God is good, and that He desires good for you.

Q2

How do you know you’re ready to date?

I would encourage you to be ready in a few areas. The Bible says that a man is to “separate from his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19:5) Where it says “joined to his wife” it doesn’t mean only physically. If you look at the verse you’ll see “joined to his wife” is a response to the “separate from his father and mother” part. There is a “separation” and a “joining” that must take place. I would encourage you to be ready in 4 areas – I know that other ministers (like all ministers do) would have more insight than I’m going to leave in this short answer, and I would encourage you to seek out the counsel of your local pastors & youth pastors as well.
 

Timing: 
Timing is important. Sometimes in your life it’s simply not the best time to pursue courting and eventually marriage. For example, let’s say you’re in school for the next 4 years in an intense program and you’ve already committed to not getting married within the next 4 years. Then, you happen to meet someone and it all works out and you want to get married. Well, now you have to wait for 4 years to do just that. In this scenario, if you succeed in finding someone you want to marry, you’ve successfully set yourself up for a long struggle – bad idea. If you’re not in the right timing for marriage, you’re not in the right timing for a relationship.

Physical/ Mental: 
If you’re in your early 20’s I think it’s a great time to pursue courting that will lead into marriage. This is because your brain finishes developing around 20-25, and the last part of your brain to develop is the frontal cortex which has to do with large decisions and critical analysis. I know what some might say “But I know people who were married in their late teens and it worked out.” To this I want to say 2 things. 1: You know them now, but you didn’t know them in their late teens when they got married. I would bet they were very different people and underwent some fairly difficult situations. Just because they made it to now doesn’t mean that everyone made it, or made it well for that matter. And 2: Being a couple in a Romanian Church in Romania back in the 60’s & 70’s isn’t the same as being a late teen couple today. Today couples are much more individualistic and private. Back in our parents’ generation young couples were constantly influenced, invested in, and raised by the entire community. This gave them a great advantage in growing healthy as they had a large group of like-minded people around them. They were also teachable as a young couple and allowed people to speak into their lives, which is in stark contrast to today's independent society. This is very different today due to living in a western society that has a completely different world view.

Spiritual: 
You should be ready for the spiritual responsibilities of marriage before you walk into marriage. Let me give you an example: If someone can’t manage their own personal prayer life and be disciplined in pursuing God, what makes them think we can lead another person into that area? Or invest spiritually into a household? Ask yourself, what do you typically do when you’re tempted now? When you’re tempted in marriage you probably won’t do any different. One thing couples often make the mistake of believing is that when they’re married everything will be different – including their lack of discipline. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if you have a messy room before you get married… you’ll have one after as well. I hope you understand, my goal isn’t to be negative, rather to help you have a realistic approach to marriage. My desire, as well as I’m assuming yours, is for all young people to be as prepared spiritually as they can be for marriage. I don’t want your marriage to be any more difficult than it has to be, and I don’t think God wants difficulty for His children either. So prepare for marriage, become spiritually healthy, become disciplined, and walk into marriage strong, confident, secure, and have great success! Some things you might want to in preparation are strengthening your walk with the Lord, reading different Christian books on marriage, seeking premarital counseling, finding a older Godly couple to talk to and ask advice from, etc.

Financial: 
This one is pretty simple - how are you going to afford a life on your own? What is the plan? I have a couple of items I would advise everyone to pursue depending on where they are in their financial status.
a. I’ve heard it said a lot of times “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.” The problem with that is that I know people who LOVE to do things that don’t make any money. If what you love to do makes money, then go 100% at it! If not, I’d encourage you to “Learn to love what is best for you, and do it well.” I don’t mean ‘trick your brain’ to be able to tolerate what’s in front of you,' I mean genuinely learn to love it. It’ll make your life much easier. For the things you love to do and don’t make money? Do them on the side, if they take off – then leave your job, if they don’t – you won’t starve!
b. There is a difference between a job and a career. If you have a job, it’ll be more difficult to be married and make ends meet, if you have a career – you’re golden. Don’t know what you want to do in life? Here’s a few questions that might help: 1. What do you currently love to do? Is there a job that will pay you to do that? 2. What opportunities do you have in front of you? (like what do your parents or relatives do and if you worked in their field you could easily start half way up the ladder instead of the bottom.) 3. Think of a company you could see yourself working for, and ask yourself what job in the company REALLY bothers you when people do it wrong? You’re usually bothered by lack of quality in an area that you’re passionate. It bothers me when people organize things poorly or communicate poorly, because these are 2 of my strengths. When you find your strengths or passions, find a job that relies on those.
c. How do you manage your money? If you haven’t yet, check out Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. It’s a GREAT program, I believe in it so much that we teach it at my church once a year. It’ll teach you all about how to budget, save money, pay off debt, plan for retirement, etc. All Biblically based – great program.

Q3

Can a boy have a hope chest?

Haha, I guess he can, can’t he? What would a boy put in one though? Hair product? Beard oil? Alongside the $30,000 in cash to pay for the wedding that is, lol.

Q4

4.    How do I end a relationship with someone of this world?

Easiest way is like a band aid - fast and with clear purpose. The longer you stay together, the harder it’ll be when you do inevitably break up. Don’t wait for your decisions to happen to you, or for life to provide the “perfect” window. What you can do is choose based on what’s right in front you, and not fantasize about a perfect scenario that in all likelihood will never come. Also, most importantly, you're trying to obey God and break up with a person who isn't a Christian (what I'm understanding by your question) so... why not talk to God about it? Ask Him to help you, He will definitely help you fulfill His will!

Q5

If you are interested in someone, how can you tell when you are ready to be in a SERIOUS relationship with them?

Check out Q.2 Above as far as timing goes. But your question also asks about moving into being “serious”. The truth is you’ll only be 100% ready to PURSUE the adventure of life together, you’ll never be 100% certain that everything will be perfect, and in fact, at times, it won’t be. The perfection you’re looking for isn’t perfection of outcome, it’s perfection of commitment. Outcome won’t be 100%, but commitment can be – and with perfect commitment what could possibly stand in the way between you and your future spouse pursuing a Godly life together?

Q6

When is the right time to begin dating?

See Q.2 above.

Q7

I know the Bible says “Obey your parents” and “whoever doesn’t love their brother doesn’t love God.” I’m not going to give any certain details. However, I can’t stand my brother or my dad. I boil when I hear them or see them. I wasn’t born with that “hate” if you wanna call it “hate” anyways. It’s getting in the way of my worship and my relationship with God. I don’t know what to do. They are unbearable. It’s hard because I live with them and there’s not much I can do.

If you have hate in your heart it will greatly hinder your relationship with God. I know you want to let go of the hate, but you won’t be able to until some things change. The part that seems to bother you about the hate is that it’s interfering with your worship – when what should be bothering you is that there is hate in the first place. It seems like you want to be rid of the hate without having to forgive – or at least with being able to forgive them on your own terms. You can’t let go of hate, until you forgive. And you can’t forgive, until you look at how much Christ has forgiven you. Consider this – think of all the things they do to you that drives you nuts, grab a piece of paper and write them down. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here. Go on. Stop reading and grab a piece of paper and a pen. Ok, now write a list of what they do that drives you nuts, do it now.……………. Ready? Ok, now look over that list and ask yourself about each item these 2 questions 1. “Do I, in some form or another, do this to God?” 2. “How does He treat me?” Treat others how God treats you, and expect to be treated by others, how you treat God. Seeing this will help you remember that “…Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)

I also want to say, because I don't know what has caused this "hate" between you and your family members, that ultimately regardless of the situation the hate is holding you captive. You're not free to be at peace until you give it to God. If there was abuse in the house and this is why there is that hate, you need to get help and talk to someone about it. I would encourage you to talk to a leader you can trust and at some point talk to a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Q8

I also have another question, is it possible to lose the Holy Spirit?

There are 2 thoughts on this usually – and they revolve around Calvinism and Arminianism. I am a Wesleyan Pentecostal which means I’m an Arminian – like most Pentecostals. I believe that you can lose your salvation as well as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. How does one lose it? I think by living in sin and rejecting God. Though, something I think everyone can agree on, is this: don’t focus on what you can or can’t lose, focus on drawing near to God. You know who can never lose the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Someone who’s constantly searching for and drawing near to God. If you were indifferent about your Christianity I would be much more concerned, but because you’re afraid of losing the Holy Spirit it says to me that God is a priority in your life. Don’t worry about what you may or may not have, instead focus on drawing near and the rest will fall into place.

Q9

How do you forgive a close friend that is now dating the girl you once loved?

First off let me just say, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. It must really suck. I would encourage you to take a few days to fast and pray and share EVERYTHING in your heart with the Lord. Often times we know how we "should" be, and we just begin acting that way. Acting healed isn’t being healed, all it does is prevent us from going to the healer. Talk to God about it, share all your pains, and surrender it to Him completely. He’ll heal your heart – He did mine. All in one instant He healed my broken heart. He can heal yours, and even repair your friendship.

Q10

When is the right time to start courting or begin a relationship?

See Q.2 above.