We want to answer marriage questions on Facebook Live!

Katie and I started using Facebook Live to answer marriage questions sent to us. Here are two sessions:

We’re striving for one live session each Thursday night at 7PM PST. After we finish, I upload each video to our Marriage God’s Way YouTube channel. Please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss any videos!

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre - answer marriage questionsI have to say this is much more in Katie’s comfort zone than mine. I like to plan things out in detail. By the time I preach a sermon, I like to have invested a lot of time polishing it. I wouldn’t mind the videos so much if they weren’t live. The inability to start over is particularly nerve-wracking, but this is the only way to participate with us. People can post thoughts, questions, contributions, etc in the comments section while we’re recording.

Below are the three most recent videos we’ve done. I’ll provide a brief explanation of each, so you can decide which to watch.

Marriage Tips from Marriage God’s Way 

Katie and I shared two tips from my book:

  1. Wives, embrace your husband’s leadership style, from Chapter Fourteen.
  2. Husbands, you get the wife you prepare for yourself, from Chapter Nine. Ephesians 5:26-27 says Christ “sanctifies and cleanses the church…that He might present her to Himself a glorious [bride]”. Christ gets the church He prepares for Himself, and since this is a marriage passage it contains the same application for husbands with their wives.

Continue reading “We want to answer marriage questions on Facebook Live!”

A Special Weekend Away

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After Doug Connell received our associate pastor position, but before he and his family moved to Woodland, his wife Jessica had the idea for the four of us to meet for breakfast together each week to pray, discuss how things were going, keep our friendship strong, etc. That sounded like a great idea, so we committed to it. We’re approaching their one-year anniversary at WCC and we haven’t met like that…at all. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to or didn’t think it was important, it’s just that twelve children between our families (including two babies), home-schooling, the number of church activities, having others over, etc. it ended up taking a backseat to these other activities and obligations. But last weekend we finally made it a priority!

We (the four of us, plus our babies Chloe and Luke) left Sunday after church for a beach house in Gearhart, OR and we returned Tuesday afternoon. Some wonderful people watched our kids allowing us to accomplish the three purposes we had:

  1. Discuss the past year.
  2. Plan for the future.
  3. Strengthen our relationships with each other. Pastor Doug and I are able to spend quite a bit of time together, and Katie and Jess have been able to spend quite a bit of time together, but I haven’t spent that much time with Jess and Pastor Doug hasn’t spent that much time with Katie…say nothing about the four of us spending time together.

Overall the trip was really fantastic. To give you an idea how much we enjoyed just being able to talk together in the middle of the first night a skunk sprayed the house. The smell was so bad I couldn’t fall back asleep, and the next day every room was filled with the smell. We had to put up with the stench the entire following day AND WE STILL DIDN’T LEAVE THE HOUSE! I don’t want to brag, but THAT is commitment! If our congregation ever wonders about the love “the entire pastoral staff” and our wives have for them, they can picture us sitting in the living room together, continuing to talk and pray even though we could barely breathe! I’m kidding…sort of :).

During each meal we took turns “sharing our stories”, which was nothing more than explaining our lives in detail, especially those parts we thought the others should know to be best familiar with us. Other times we prayed, read articles we wanted to discuss, and just talked…and talked. There were some very, very emotional, vulnerable times. At different points each of us cried sharing some of our most intimate memories, fears and feelings. It was a truly special time that exceeded what I hoped or expected. Although I felt like we were already close prior to the trip, we left even closer with a much better understanding of each other, and most importantly we left better able to serve the Lord and serve our wonderful congregation.

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Our 2014 trip to CA (and Katie’s b-day)

 

Our 2014 trip to CAI have to be a little more specific regarding which trip I’m referring to, since I have blog posts on our September 2013 trip to our hometown of Fall River Mills, CA, as well as Parts I and II of our December 2011 trip to Lemoore, CA.

Katie and I had a wonderful time. We visited many of our old friends as well as our previous church, Grace Baptist. We missed all of our Woodland friends and our church family – especially when looking at the pictures of the Harvest Party, but we really enjoyed the time of rest.

We arrived on Tuesday, October 21st in the evening and returned on Tuesday the 28th. We’re stayed with our wonderful friends Dave and Naida, whom we stayed with for our 2011 trip as well. We met in 2005 when we attended Calvary Chapel. They visited WCC in June of 2012 and shared during Sunday School, and they’re planning on visiting again in a few months.

Prior to arriving, Dave and Naida asked if we wanted them to fill our schedule with meetings and visits, but we told them we’d be happy relaxing at their house spending time with each other and with them. They’re the kind of friends we can talk with for hours, and even when we haven’t seen each other for years it feels like no time has passed between us. Plus, one of the main purposes of the trip was rest and relaxation…although we still stayed pretty busy…

Like I said, we arrived on Tuesday evening. We spent the evening with Dave and Naida, unpacked, then went to bed.

Wednesday, Dave invited me to meet with him and one of the young men he’s been discipling. In the evening Dave and Naida’s daughter Danielle and husband Charlie (two of our good friends when we were in Lemoore) came over for dinner and spent the evening with us.

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Thursday, Dave invited me to meet with him and an atheist he’s been witnessing to each week. Our previous pastor, Joe Gruchacz (I began my ministry under him at Grace Baptist as a part-time youth pastor and then full-time associate pastor), scheduled a “Marriage Toolbox” in the evening, which he invited me to lead. It worked out wonderfully since I was able to use the material from our Marriage & Family Series at WCC. I asked Katie to look through my sermons and find the lessons she thought would make good “tools” for people to take with them.

We spent most of Friday relaxing at Dave and Naida’s, and in the afternoon we went to Pastor Joe’s house and spent the evening with him and his wife Janet. They took us to the Cheesecake Factory in Fresno, then we went back to their house and prayed together.

10325242_765315453504460_1857955430012611486_nSaturday, Katie and Naida attended a bridal shower and Dave and I spent the afternoon together. In the evening Dave and Naida put on an Open House for our friends from the area to come and hear about our ministry at WCC.

1801309_765881770114495_920414317427170050_oSunday I preached at Grace Baptist, again using material from the Marriage & Family Series…and again I asked Katie to choose the lessons she thought would be most valuable to everyone. After service, we went out to lunch with a small group of friends.

10623752_765881893447816_5623008548092812676_oThen Sunday afternoon and evening we visited our good friends Steve and Sylvia McCartha, who have really suffered since acquiring Lyme Disease, including not being able to leave their home at times because of Sylvia’s low white blood cell count.

Monday we had a really special morning with Dave and Naida. We spent hours after breakfast talking, and I feel like the Lord really guided and blessed our conversation. Then for our last day Katie and I spent our time together, going out to lunch and walking around the mall. In the evening we had dinner with Dave and Naida and our friends Barry and Pam came over too.

Tuesday morning we got up, had breakfast and headed to the airport. Katie’s father Rick picked us up at the airport, as he was staying at our house with Rhea, Ricky and Charis. My parents were visiting a timeshare and they’d taken Johnny with them. They said they were returning on Thursday, so while we were glad to be back and see our other kids, we were sad about not seeing Johnny (or my parents) for a few more days.

This also happened to be Katie’s birthday, and her sister Molly invited us over to their house in the evening. Molly and her husband DJ purchased a place right next to the church when they moved here a few months ago. Katie knew Molly was making her a cake for her birthday, but my parents surprised us by coming home from their timeshare early with Johnny. It ended up being a wonderful ending to a wonderful week.

photo 1Overall, I’m thankful for my parents and Katie’s parents watching the kids most of the time we were gone (a few other families watched the kids a couple nights and we’re thankful for them too), and I’m especially thankful for Dave and Naida’s hospitality and the love they showed us while we were with them. It was great to see old friends and our previous church, but whenever we’re away it makes us recognize what a gift we have in WCC as well.

What do I have to complain about?

What do I have to complain aboutHere’s the conversation between Katie and I one month ago when I told her I wanted to go back to the gym:

  • Katie: “You’re going to hurt yourself again.”
  • Me: “No, I’m not. I’m going to do things differently this time.”
  • Katie: “You say that every time.”
  • Me: “Yeah, but this time will be different.”
  • Katie: “You say that every time too.”

I went back to the gym one month ago, and this past Wednesday I hurt my lower back so badly I could barely make it out of the gym. If the pain hadn’t subsided some by the evening I would’ve had to cancel the first night of our home fellowship. By the time I work up Thursday morning I couldn’t get out of bed, which is where I spent the whole day (and most of Friday). Katie was wonderful as you’d imagine, taking great care of me and – most graciously – not reminding me of how right she was and how wrong I was. I joked with her throughout the day saying things like:

  • “Why didn’t you tell me you thought I’d hurt myself again?”
  • “If you would’ve warned me this wouldn’t have happened.”
  • “I’m only in this situation because it’s so important to you to have a husband that works out” (something Katie couldn’t care less about).

The truth is I was feeling sorry for myself on Thursday. I had four messages to prepare/review this week, and trying to study and type on my back was difficult. While I wouldn’t compare my “trial” to the trials others have gone through or are going through, there were still some lessons I tried to learn, because I believe the Bible is clear that every trial is meant to be a time of learning:

  1. First, it happened to be September 11th. What right did I really have to complain about anything compared to what some people were going through as they remembered the past?
  2. Second, good health – including the lack of pain and just being able to get out of bed, move around and wrestle with my boys is a blessing I take for granted. Ricky and Johnny try to “fight” with me every day and I felt like the elderly person in Ecclesiastes 12:5 afraid of everything whenever they came near me.
  3. Third, Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” There’s wisdom associated with valuing our days and when you experience what feels like a completely wasted day, it makes you thankful for days you can be productive and spend your time profitably.

Katie's thoughts on the Ladies' Retreat…

Each week I write a letter to the church on the back of the bulletin. Then I take those letters and make them into a post for my blog. Yesterday my beautiful wife wrote the bulletin letter about her time at the Ladies’ Retreat earlier in the week. Here it is…

I just returned from our annual WCC Ladies’ Beach Retreat and it was such a blessing. I have never had so many sweet sisters in Christ surrounding me in my walk with the Lord before. While we were there the theme was Biblical Conflict Resolution. For the first bible study we discussed different personality types and how the body of Christ consists of different people, but we’re all called to live at peace with one another. Paul said, Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ (1 Cor 12:12). In the second bible study we discussed tips for resolving conflict biblically. Here are four of them:

  1. Think on Christ: He said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). People often don’t know they are offending us, so we should give them grace like Christ gives us grace.
  2. Learn to receive correction: Anyone who loves learning accepts correction, but a person who hates being corrected is stupid (Pro 12:1). Need I say more? 🙂
  3. Overlook offenses: It is his glory to overlook an offense (Pro 19:11). In other words, it’s for our own good to “get over it”. Be more like Teflon and less like Velcro.
  4. Talk to the person, not about the person: This might be one of the hardest to live out, but the bible is VERY clear: If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over (Matt 18:15). If the problem is big enough to talk about the person then it’s big enough to talk to the person.

Then we finished with verses on dealing with difficult people. That was the most enjoyable study for me, being the most practical of the whole retreat in my opinion.

The third study consisted of a series of Christian quotes about conflict. One of my favorites was: “Don’t equate peacemaking with peace-achieving. A peacemaker longs for peace, and works for peace, and sacrifices for peace. But the attainment of peace may not come.” Romans 12:18 is very important at this point: If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. That is the goal of a peacemaker: “Don’t let the rupture in the relationship be your fault.” Conflict is everywhere; it is inevitable. The question is, will we deal with it from a biblical standpoint or from a worldly one?

Lessons from Katie and the kids gone

When Katie and the kids left for our hometown of Fall River Mills, California this past week it was a lot harder than I thought. I’ll be flying out of Portland tonight (September 1st) to go see them and I can’t wait; this is the longest I’ve been away from them…which I know isn’t very long…which brings up what I’d like to discuss. Them being gone has made me think about a few things…

First, it’s helped me see that I’m pretty blessed by the availability I have to my family. When I say goodbye to them in the morning, I don’t say goodbye like most fathers do (for 9 hours or more); I say goodbye for an hour or two until they surprise me at the office or I walk home to see them. I can have most meals with them. If Katie’s having a rough time at home she’ll have me come home and help (i.e. spank one of the boys). Katie sends me coffee, smoothies, and love notes daily. Almost all the church’s activities involve my family. Whenever I go on visitations I bring my kids…sometimes even when I shouldn’t (like Linda Sprague’s retirement party: I knew something was wrong when I walked in and didn’t see any other kids, and it got worse when someone said, “I think your son just took a bite out of that cookie and put it back on the tray.”).

Second, I’ve been thinking about the reality of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:32, 33 that married people have to be concerned about their spouses, but unmarried people can really focus on the Lord. With Katie and the kids gone I was sort of like an unmarried guy again, able to get a ton of work done. It made me hope the unmarried people appreciate all they can do for the Lord during their seasons of singleness. When they get married, and especially when they have children, these other obligations will take priority.

Third, I’ve been thinking about how valuable my wife is to me as a pastor. I didn’t consider how much she helps me…until she’s not here to help me. I bounce ideas off Katie and talk to her about almost everything. Whenever I teach she always gives me feedback. She reads every one of my bulletin letters ahead of time (including this one, which involved a recommendation to remove two paragraphs that were “over the top.” I don’t know what that means, but I took them out anyway). I always go over my sermons with her (sometimes a couple times), but this week I wasn’t able to, and it really bothered me and this week we went over it late Saturday night. Proverbs 18:22 He who find a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord and that’s definitely been the case for me.

Recognizing the World's Toughest Job on Mother's Day

Okay, looking at a few different lists on the Internet (with no lists completely agreeing with each other) I came up with the top 10 toughest jobs in the world: 1. Coal Miner, 2. US President, 3. Alaskan Crab Fisherman, 4. Mercenary, 5. Freelancer, 6. Calcutta Sewer Cleaner, 7. UN Negotiator, 8. Logger (hats off to Gary!), 9. Prison Warden, 10. Mountain Rescuer.

All the lists I looked at really frustrated me, because none of them got it right as far as listing the toughest job in the world. Everyone knows the toughest job in the world is being a pastor. I’m kidding! It’s being a mother. Seriously. You’re working from the moment you wake up until the moment you lie down…and if you have infants (or sometimes even non-infants) you’re not off at night. There literally is no vacation. The most you can hope for is the occasional break of a few hours. You’re always trying to balance a number of activities and responsibilities. You’re always trying to make sure your kids are safe from harm (including harm you might feel like inflicting on them when you want to lose it). Kids pull on you all day, and if you asked my wife she’d say her husband pulls on her too. Rhea told me, “Daddy, you could never be a mommy. It’s so hard.” And she was right.

Let me share something interesting with you about the Book of Isaiah. It’s like a miniature Bible in that the first 39 chapters (like the 39 books of the OT) are filled with judgment. Then Isaiah takes a dramatic turn (like the turn between the OT and NT) and the last 27 chapters (like the 27 books of the NT) declare a message of hope and comfort, with a clearer focus on the Messiah. When God wants to reveal His love and compassion for His people in those chapters, it’s no wonder He chose to compare Himself to a mother:

  • Isa 49:15 Can a mother forget her child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? Even if that were possible, I would not forget you!
  • Isaiah 66:12-13 Her children will be fed, carried in her arms, and held in her lap. I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.

God has given us many wonderful blessings in our lives, and mothers are definitely one of the greatest. If you’re blessed enough to have your mother in your life still, thank her!

This past Sunday’s sermon, Luke 3:7-9 Fruit Worthy of Repentance – Part I, can be found here.

Learning From Our Wives

There’s an interesting situation in this morning’s passage that I won’t be discussing during the sermon, but I’ve always found it particularly fascinating and as a result I would like to share some of my thoughts about it with you…

Right in the middle of Jesus’ trial, Pilate’s wife sends for him and says, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him” (Mat 27:19). Everyone knows Pilate; he goes down in history as one of, if not, the most tragic figures ever (with Judas). While I can’t say for sure what’s happening, it looks like God was mercifully trying to warn him through his wife. In Genesis 2:18 God said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him.” This verse means men need help and Pilate is the best example in Scripture of a man who should’ve used his wife’s help.

If you’ve been in our church for very long, you’ve heard me talk about the ways Katie helps me: I go over my sermons with her, she’s the one who initially found WCC and said, “There’s this great church looking for a pastor!” After every Bible study or church event I ask her how she feels like it went. We regularly discuss our family, the church…just about everything. Sometimes I think submission is criticized because those who misunderstand it think it means a husband doesn’t listen to his wife. While there definitely are examples of men who listened to their wives when they shouldn’t have (Adam/Eve – Gen 3:17 Because you have heeded the voice of your wife and Ahab/Jezebel – 1 Kin 21:25 There was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil, because his wife stirred him up), husbands should see their wives as the most common avenue, second only to the Bible and the Holy Spirit, that God uses to help us. Many times the guy who silences his wife’s voice in his life silences the Lord’s voice in his life.

I’ve noticed that many times women have a sensitivity to spiritual issues that men lack. Perhaps that explains God’s assessment in creation: everything had been “good” (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) until 2:18 when the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone. The husband and wife becoming one flesh (2:24) seems to bring the completion or perfection God wanted.

This Sunday’s sermon, Matthew 27:15-26 A Disastrous Choice, can be found here.

God's Personal Love For Us

I talked to the leadership about my FMLA and I was going to take the full three months off, but Katie says we probably really only need two :).

Since Rhea was born I’ve called her Princess. When your Father is the King, you’re a princess. Well the other day I was holding Charis on my lap and Rhea was in front of me and we were having a nice little conversation about how great it is for her to have a little sister, but things changed when I called Charis “Princess.” Rhea said, “What did you just call her?”

I said, “’Princess.’ She’s also my Princess.”

Rhea said, “Daddy, are you going to love me as much now that Charis is born?”

I said, “Of course Rhea. You’re still my Princess too. I could never love you any less…in fact, I love you so much I can’t even imagine loving you more than I already do. And if God gives us more children, I’ll still love you just as much.”

I think one of the reasons people question God’s love for them is they say, “With billions of people, how could God really love me that much?” In a way, I think they sort of feel like Rhea. If you have more than one child though, you know your love for your first child isn’t diminished in the slightest when you have another child. You can ask people who have multiple children and they’ll tell you they loved their first child just as much after having other children. In a really interesting way I can’t explain, I actually feel like I love Rhea more after having Ricky, Johnny and Charis.

Now while we have the capacity to love, the Bible says God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is one of His communicable attributes (a fancy word for His attributes that are communicated to or shared with us); however, even though we can love, that’s far different from actually being love. God created us for His glory and honor, but He also created us, because as a God of love He wanted objects to set His love upon. What really fascinates me is since I love, but God is love, His love is stronger and truer than mine; therefore, the love I have for Charis, as strong as it feels to me, is still much less than the love God has for her because it would be impossible for a person who loves, to love as much as a God who is love.

Beards, Firewood and Our Sin Natures

So Thursday night Katie and I were at the table having dinner and I said, “Do you think I should grow a beard?” She said, “Why do you ask me that? You’re never going to grow a beard.” As you can see I have a beard today. I don’t think I look good with a beard and I don’t really like having one (something that’s probably obvious based on Katie’s response), but since my wife challenged my manhood, of course I had to grow one.

When the firewood in our carport starts to get low, Gary comes over with his truck to help me load up some more from the shed behind the church. Some of the pieces in the shed are big enough to be cut into four pieces, but for reasons I’ll never understand Gary will come with his chainsaw and only cut them into halves. You would think he’d know how to cut wood small enough to fit into our fireplace since he used to be a logger and especially since it’s the same fireplace he has in his house, but this is what he does and I’m convinced it’s his way of messing with me like when he locked me out of his house in the snow and I almost died.

Anyway, so I have these huge pieces of wood that require a tremendous amount of skill to get into the fireplace. Occasionally when I’m putting one of the pieces in Katie will say, “You’re not going to get that to fit.” I might pull a muscle or burst a vein in my forehead, but you can be sure that piece of wood is going in the fireplace.

I think this is what Paul was talking about in Romans 7:8 when he said “sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire.” He meant that when we’re told we can’t do something, it makes us want to do it: the commandment [produces] all manner of evil desire [in us].

  • Katie: “You’re not going to grow a beard.”
  • Romans 7:8 in action: “I’m going to grow the longest beard you’ve ever seen.”
  • Katie: “You’re not going to get that piece of wood in the fireplace.”
  • Rom 7:8 in action: “I don’t care if I have to hold one end of this piece of wood outside the fireplace as the other end slowly burns and I push it in over the next few hours, it’s going in there.”