Monday, July 26, 2010

Deposits and Withdrawals

Willard Harley in his book His Needs, Her Needs says that relationships work just like a bank account where you make deposits and withdrawals. Deposits are pleasant and friendly interactions with others, like smiling and speaking words of encouragement. Withdrawals are angry and hurtful encounters with others, such as frowning, criticizing, and arguing. If you are making more deposits than withdrawals with an individual, you'll have an enjoyable relationship. But if you are making more withdrawals, your relationship with that person will eventually go bankrupt.

Jesus talked about deposits and withdrawals in Luke 6:27-28:
When people hate you (withdrawal), do good to them (deposit).
When people curse you (withdrawal), bless them (deposit).
When people mistreat you (withdrawal), pray for them (deposit).
In other words, respond in the opposite spirit.

To make a valid deposit in another person's account, it must be in a currency that's acceptable to the other person's bank. What you like to receive may not be what they like to receive. My wife's "relationship bank" likes to receive flowers as deposits. My bank, however, doesn't accept flowers. Since I'm a Texas A&M fan, my bank likes to receive Aggie sports paraphernalia as deposits. You get the idea. If you want to bless someone and build the relationship, give them something that they would like to receive.

You can turn a bad marriage into a good marriage by building up the account balance. Stop making so many withdrawals (fighting and arguing) and start making lots of deposits in your spouse's relationship bank (dating and having fun together).
To listen to the entire message on this topic go to and click on
"Relationships, Part 3, Do the Opposite."
Keep looking up!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who is in Your Dungeon?

Jesus told a parable about a king who forgave a slave of a $50 million debt (in today's dollars). It would take 4,500 lifetimes to pay off the debt, yet the merciful king let him off the hook! You would think that slave would be so grateful that he would forgive all his debtors as well. Not so with this guy. He went a fellow slave who owed him $15 in today's money. When the fellow slave could not repay the debt, the slave threw him into the dungeon (Matt. 18:23-30).

The $50 million debt represents our sin debt to God. When we plead for mercy, the Lord forgives the entire debt! But after we have been forgiven, the Lord expects us to forgive all our debtors as well. If we don't forgive others, we are like the slave who threw the fellow slave into the dungeon, except our dungeon is inside our souls. Everyone that you refuse to forgive is locked up in the dungeon of your soul.

Whenever you think about how they hurt you, you make a trip down the stairs into your dungeon. You pull out your whip and you start lashing the people chained to your walls, trying to make them pay for what they did to you. But every time you whip someone in your dungeon, you feel a sharp pain in your stomach. It's almost as if, instead of whipping them, you are whipping yourself on the inside.

The only way to get free of the torment is to release your prisoners. You need to make one more trip down the stairs. This time, instead of carrying a whip, you carry the key of forgiveness. You unlock their chains and watch them leave your dungeon. It's empty now. You can't explain it, but the sharp pain in your stomach is gone. And then you realize that it wasn't them you set free. It was you!
To hear the entire message on this topic, go to
"Relationships, Part 2, Who is in Your Dungeon?"
Keep setting others free,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lessons from Mountain Climbers

In October 2009, a 41-year-old man from Ireland fell to his death while scaling a mountain. Although it was risky to go off by himself, he apparently thought he wouldn't need help from anyone. He was wrong. He broke the number one rule of mountain climbing: "Don't go climbing alone."

In contrast, when a group of tourists went mountain climbing in Switzerland they all fastened themselves together to a line. As they were ascending one of climbers slipped. He would have fallen to his death on the rocks below but was saved because he was connected to a lifeline. The other people pulled him to safety.

After reading about these mountain climbers, it occurred to me that some Christians are like the man who went off by himself. They might watch evangelists on TV and listen to Christian radio, but they aren't connected to other believers through a relationship with them. Sooner or later they will fall and no one will be there to catch them.

However, other believers are like the team that was connected together with a lifeline. They spend time together in prayer and fellowship so that they know what's going on in each other's lives. If one of them falls, the others are there to hold the person up. That's why Hebrews 10:25 says to "not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some."

Sure, it's easier to just withdraw and not get involved in other's lives. But God didn't design you, or call you, to be independent. We are a part of Christ's body. We need each other. Which kind of mountain climber are you?