And God Made Them…Different…

Study Guide, February 11, 2018

Pastor Clay Olsen

So there was a guy that wanted to give his wife something special for her birthday which was coming up soon. As she was looking at her appearance in the mirror he asked her, “What would you like for your birthday?” And she said, “I’d like to be six again.”

So on her birthday he he got up early and made his wife a bowl of Fruit Loops. Then he took her to an amusement park where they rode all the rides. Five hours later, her stomach and head were all topsy turvey, but on they went to get a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Next , he took her to the movies and had popcorn, soda, and candy.When they finally got home she flopped on the couch and he asked her: “So, what was it like to be six again?” And she said: “I meant my dress size!”1

Test all assumptions first…before acting on them, right? As we share this special Sunday together as Brothers and Sisters in Christ we thought it would be helpful to explore some ways that God made us…well…different in design, yet with some same needs as well.

There’s an age old question that has been mulled over by theologians, scientists, sages, poets, and educators. And basically it’s this: ‘Why are women so strange and men so weird?’ Now the Bible doesn’t use these particular terms…this is more like those ‘self-evident’ truths that our Founding Fathers spoke about in the Declaration of Independence. I think they actually wanted to include a section in the Constitution about these differences between the brothers and the sisters in order to help establish a peaceful nation, but they had to cut it off somewhere.

But how remarkable of God to intentionally create men and women so different from one another and yet He also designed them to worship and work and serve harmoniously together. It’s both full of wonder and it’s wonderful at the same time.

So let’s explore: Have you noticed that men and women think differently? Basically men think ‘compartmentally’ and women think ‘globally’. Men tend to think in terms of one compartment at a time, and then mentally deal with one thing at a time. Whereas since women think globally, they tend to think in terms of things being interconnected, and then deal with many things at a time. And both of these tendencies have their advantages and disadvantages.

One common example of this distinction is seen in the ways men and women watch television. A guy can either watch a program or he can talk about other stuff. But he has trouble concentrating on doing both. Whereas a woman can both watch a program and talk about other stuff, and even have other projects going on at the same time and can concentrate on them all. It’s pretty remarkable. However, its also why guys love channel surfing, but women generally tend to hate channel surfing, because for the guys, he only sets his mind on just one channel at a time. When he clicks to the next one, that other one…he gone. But for the woman, it’s not gone at all…she is still processing the information from the last five channels…it’s all connected, and it can be a bit overwhelming.2

Even in conversations men tend to toss around one subject at a time, whereas women can easily juggle several subjects all at once. The down side of that for men is that it’s hard to be somewhere else other than the one place they mentally are at the time. And the down side of that for women is that it’s hard not to be everywhere at once. Women describe it as ‘cross-talk’ where their brain literally interrupts itself!

Men and women even talk differently. Men tend to be more ‘summary’ oriented, or getting to the bottom line of information. Whereas women tend to be more detail oriented and prefer to process the information that leads to the bottom line. No doubt, that is part of the explanation for a the difference in the amount of words that men and women use in a day…generally about 9,000 a day for men and 15,000 a day for women. Researchers even observed these differences in the play of young children, where the sounds from the little girls were nearly 100% verbal and the sounds from the little boys were about 40% verbal and around 60% just noises…grunts and making other sounds.3 It’s like Dr. James Dobson pointed out: “Boys love noise!”

But one reason it is helpful to understand this difference in communication styles between men and women is to then better understand and relate to each other in an understanding way. I’ve always found it interesting and even a bit humorous how the Apostle Peter put it in 1 Peter 3:7- “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way…” NASU It’s like: “Guys, you’ll never actually get there, but keep trying…trying to live with your wife in an understanding way.”

For an example: Men tend to be very informational in their communication and women tend to be very relational in their communication. Men use words for building information reports. Women use words for building relations and rapport. This relational strength in women was even evident in observing various responses in babies. The research noted that baby girls tended to smile more than baby boys. The baby girls responded more to the cries of other babies. And the baby girls gave greater attention to photos of faces.4 They were just very responsive to relational things.

One thing to understand about this difference in communication styles is for both men and women to try to understand these tendencies in each other, especially in a like a married relationship. Men are to understand that in relating to their wife they will need to step up their communication since they know that their wife is not just looking for facts when she asks him how his day went. The Christian Comedian Tim Hawkins told of how different he and his wife are in this. She texted him to ask him how his day went and he texted back: “Fine.” And then he asked how hers was and he kept reading and reading and reading…and then he said that after he read it all he texted back one letter: ‘K’.

The point being for guys is to understand that by communicating perhaps further than you’re comfortable with you are actually deepening your rapport with your wife. And women are to understand that if their guy doesn’t give as many details as she would like it’s not because it’s anything against her or that there is something wrong…he might just feel like he’s pretty much out of words for that day. The real point is: try to understand more and more about about each other because even though we aren’t from different planets, Mars and Venus, we do tend to look at life from different ‘vantage points’, or from different view points.

But even though men and women are different biologically, they have similar needs spiritually. And it’s in recognizing these similar needs, as well as then responding to these similar needs that God’s amazing design for worshiping, serving, and working together for glory of God and the gain of one another happens. So let’s think about it.

See if you can point out some of these similar needs for men and women from what Moses said to the people in Deut 10:12-14- “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.” NASU

Does it surprise you to learn that God’s basic requirements are also our basic needs? Did you know that by creation we have a basic need to fear God and to walk in His ways; a basic need to love and serve Him, and a basic need to keep His commandments? This passage is not first about commandments; it’s about relationships. It points out that our fundamental need as a man or a woman is to fear God, follow His lead, love Him, serve Him, and keep His commandments, and do this together, in community, in cooperation, in mutual commitment. Oh, and by the way, as Moses points out, guess what another surprising thing is about all of God’s commandments? They are for our good! Keeping God’s commandments are not only good to do and the right thing to do for God’s sake, but also they are good for our sake and the right thing to do for our sake as well.

Do you think most people think of God’s commandments for life as being the very things that also meet their basic needs in life? Most people tend to think of God’s commandments as restrictions upon us rather than as blessings for us. But keeping God’s commandments are the best thing anyone can do for God, for others, and even for themselves. And so when it comes to relationships between men and women we see that keeping God at the very center of every relationship between men and women is the key to every good thing that can become of any such relationship. Now each of these things is a study in itself, but let’s just consider some summary points about how these relate to our similar needs.

‘Fear the Lord your God’. Did you know that the basic need for men and women is to fear God? And isn’t it amazing how when a man and a woman does fear God that it then also meets one of the basic needs of any relationship, which is stability and security in that relationship? When a man and a woman conducts their lives living in the fear of God, then they will live in such a way that says: “I am accountable to God and, as such, then also accountable to you. And since I am accountable to God I am going to try to relate to you and to treat you the way in which God would have me do so.” And this ‘sense of accountability’ then results in sense of stability and security in their relationship, which are both basic needs of any relationship.

When a spouse knows, or even a child knows, that you have first looked to God to get His permission of how you are going to talk to or going to treat them, it then gives them a great sense of stability and security and even a sense of safety, knowing that you are not going to act according to your own personal feelings and impulses, but rather you are going to act according to God’s permissions about how you are going to speak and act, because you fear God and you consider yourself accountable to God, and even to them, for how you treat them. Remember, the ‘fear of God’ is the beginning of wisdom for everything…especially in a relationship between a man and a woman.

Look at the next thing: “Walk in all His ways and love Him”. Men and Women have another similar basic need, and it’s based upon the fact that they are basically both ‘Sheep’. That’s right…we all be sheep! And even though a person is either a ‘guy sheep’ or ‘girl sheep’ they still have the same need, and that is; ‘to follow’. ‘Following’ is what Sheep do! The question is: “Who are the Sheep going to follow? And if you haven’t figured out the answer to that question or if that answer is not the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, then no matter if you are a guy sheep or a girl sheep, then no matter where you are going in any relationship, know this: you are going astray. If you are not personally committed to following Jesus Christ and living life His way then no matter what else you are doing or where you are going in any relationship, you are going astray, because Sheep are either following the Shepherd or they are going astray. But when you do get that figured out, that your basic need is to follow your Shepherd and commit to then following your Shepherd, then you will also find that He will lead you not only in the paths of righteousness, but also in the paths that meet your needs as well those in relationship with you.

Similar needs: Did you know that loving God with all your heart and soul and mind is not only the greatest commandment, but also your greatest need, the greatest need of all men and women? Remember that song ‘Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places’? We could re-title that song with: ‘Looking for Love in all the Wrong People’. How is a Christian man and woman supposed to build a relationship anyway? Ps 127:1-2- “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.” NASU

A Biblical love relationship is never about two people; it’s about three people; a Christian man and Christian woman with the Lord at the very center. Any other attempt to build that relationship apart from keeping the Lord at the center is an exercise in ‘Vanity’!

A Christian marriage is often depicted as a circle…when in actuality it is a triangle, with the man and woman at the sides and Christ at the top. And that also depicts how blessed a couple is when they first seek to grow in their relationship with Christ; because the closer they get to Christ, the closer they then get to each other. It’s simply the way God designed it!

Just remember what we’ve discovered so far; that by focusing on these similar needs of men and women, that of worshiping and loving and serving God, that we will be much better able to then celebrate the differences between men and women and see how wonderfully God has designed our lives, not to compete against one another, but to complement one another.

      1. cleanjoke.com
      2. From a presentation at Steeling The Mind Conference by Dave Moore, Why Women are Weird and Men are a Mess
      3. Ibid
      4. Ibid

Study Guide (Draft form), February 11, 2018

Pastor Clay Olsen

So there was a guy that wanted to give his wife something special for her birthday which was coming up soon. As she was looking at her appearance in the mirror he asked her, “What would you like for your birthday?” And she said, “I’d like to be six again.”

So on her birthday he he got up early and made his wife a bowl of Fruit Loops. Then he took her to an amusement park where they rode all the rides. Five hours later, her stomach and head were all topsy turvey, but on they went to get a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Next , he took her to the movies and had popcorn, soda, and candy.When they finally got home she flopped on the couch and he asked her: “So, what was it like to be six again?” And she said: “I meant my dress size!”1

Test all assumptions first…before acting on them, right? As we share this special Sunday together as Brothers and Sisters in Christ we thought it would be helpful to explore some ways that God made us…well…different in design, yet with some same needs as well.

There’s an age old question that has been mulled over by theologians, scientists, sages, poets, and educators. And basically it’s this: ‘Why are women so strange and men so weird?’ Now the Bible doesn’t use these particular terms…this is more like those ‘self-evident’ truths that our Founding Fathers spoke about in the Declaration of Independence. I think they actually wanted to include a section in the Constitution about these differences between the brothers and the sisters in order to help establish a peaceful nation, but they had to cut it off somewhere.

But how remarkable of God to intentionally create men and women so different from one another and yet He also designed them to worship and work and serve harmoniously together. It’s both full of wonder and it’s wonderful at the same time.

So let’s explore: Have you noticed that men and women think differently? Basically men think ‘compartmentally’ and women think ‘globally’. Men tend to think in terms of one compartment at a time, and then mentally deal with one thing at a time. Whereas since women think globally, they tend to think in terms of things being interconnected, and then deal with many things at a time. And both of these tendencies have their advantages and disadvantages.

One common example of this distinction is seen in the ways men and women watch television. A guy can either watch a program or he can talk about other stuff. But he has trouble concentrating on doing both. Whereas a woman can both watch a program and talk about other stuff, and even have other projects going on at the same time and can concentrate on them all. It’s pretty remarkable. However, its also why guys love channel surfing, but women generally tend to hate channel surfing, because for the guys, he only sets his mind on just one channel at a time. When he clicks to the next one, that other one…he gone. But for the woman, it’s not gone at all…she is still processing the information from the last five channels…it’s all connected, and it can be a bit overwhelming.2

Even in conversations men tend to toss around one subject at a time, whereas women can easily juggle several subjects all at once. The down side of that for men is that it’s hard to be somewhere else other than the one place they mentally are at the time. And the down side of that for women is that it’s hard not to be everywhere at once. Women describe it as ‘cross-talk’ where their brain literally interrupts itself!

Men and women even talk differently. Men tend to be more ‘summary’ oriented, or getting to the bottom line of information. Whereas women tend to be more detail oriented and prefer to process the information that leads to the bottom line. No doubt, that is part of the explanation for a the difference in the amount of words that men and women use in a day…generally about 9,000 a day for men and 15,000 a day for women. Researchers even observed these differences in the play of young children, where the sounds from the little girls were nearly 100% verbal and the sounds from the little boys were about 40% verbal and around 60% just noises…grunts and making other sounds.3 It’s like Dr. James Dobson pointed out: “Boys love noise!”

But one reason it is helpful to understand this difference in communication styles between men and women is to then better understand and relate to each other in an understanding way. I’ve always found it interesting and even a bit humorous how the Apostle Peter put it in 1 Peter 3:7- “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way…” NASU It’s like: “Guys, you’ll never actually get there, but keep trying…trying to live with your wife in an understanding way.”

For an example: Men tend to be very informational in their communication and women tend to be very relational in their communication. Men use words for building information reports. Women use words for building relations and rapport. This relational strength in women was even evident in observing various responses in babies. The research noted that baby girls tended to smile more than baby boys. The baby girls responded more to the cries of other babies. And the baby girls gave greater attention to photos of faces.4 They were just very responsive to relational things.

One thing to understand about this difference in communication styles is for both men and women to try to understand these tendencies in each other, especially in a like a married relationship. Men are to understand that in relating to their wife they will need to step up their communication since they know that their wife is not just looking for facts when she asks him how his day went. The Christian Comedian Tim Hawkins told of how different he and his wife are in this. She texted him to ask him how his day went and he texted back: “Fine.” And then he asked how hers was and he kept reading and reading and reading…and then he said that after he read it all he texted back one letter: ‘K’.

The point being for guys is to understand that by communicating perhaps further than you’re comfortable with you are actually deepening your rapport with your wife. And women are to understand that if their guy doesn’t give as many details as she would like it’s not because it’s anything against her or that there is something wrong…he might just feel like he’s pretty much out of words for that day. The real point is: try to understand more and more about about each other because even though we aren’t from different planets, Mars and Venus, we do tend to look at life from different ‘vantage points’, or from different view points.

But even though men and women are different biologically, they have similar needs spiritually. And it’s in recognizing these similar needs, as well as then responding to these similar needs that God’s amazing design for worshiping, serving, and working together for glory of God and the gain of one another happens. So let’s think about it.

See if you can point out some of these similar needs for men and women from what Moses said to the people in Deut 10:12-14- “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.” NASU

Does it surprise you to learn that God’s basic requirements are also our basic needs? Did you know that by creation we have a basic need to fear God and to walk in His ways; a basic need to love and serve Him, and a basic need to keep His commandments? This passage is not first about commandments; it’s about relationships. It points out that our fundamental need as a man or a woman is to fear God, follow His lead, love Him, serve Him, and keep His commandments, and do this together, in community, in cooperation, in mutual commitment. Oh, and by the way, as Moses points out, guess what another surprising thing is about all of God’s commandments? They are for our good! Keeping God’s commandments are not only good to do and the right thing to do for God’s sake, but also they are good for our sake and the right thing to do for our sake as well.

Do you think most people think of God’s commandments for life as being the very things that also meet their basic needs in life? Most people tend to think of God’s commandments as restrictions upon us rather than as blessings for us. But keeping God’s commandments are the best thing anyone can do for God, for others, and even for themselves. And so when it comes to relationships between men and women we see that keeping God at the very center of every relationship between men and women is the key to every good thing that can become of any such relationship. Now each of these things is a study in itself, but let’s just consider some summary points about how these relate to our similar needs.

‘Fear the Lord your God’. Did you know that the basic need for men and women is to fear God? And isn’t it amazing how when a man and a woman does fear God that it then also meets one of the basic needs of any relationship, which is stability and security in that relationship? When a man and a woman conducts their lives living in the fear of God, then they will live in such a way that says: “I am accountable to God and, as such, then also accountable to you. And since I am accountable to God I am going to try to relate to you and to treat you the way in which God would have me do so.” And this ‘sense of accountability’ then results in sense of stability and security in their relationship, which are both basic needs of any relationship.

When a spouse knows, or even a child knows, that you have first looked to God to get His permission of how you are going to talk to or going to treat them, it then gives them a great sense of stability and security and even a sense of safety, knowing that you are not going to act according to your own personal feelings and impulses, but rather you are going to act according to God’s permissions about how you are going to speak and act, because you fear God and you consider yourself accountable to God, and even to them, for how you treat them. Remember, the ‘fear of God’ is the beginning of wisdom for everything…especially in a relationship between a man and a woman.

Look at the next thing: “Walk in all His ways and love Him”. Men and Women have another similar basic need, and it’s based upon the fact that they are basically both ‘Sheep’. That’s right…we all be sheep! And even though a person is either a ‘guy sheep’ or ‘girl sheep’ they still have the same need, and that is; ‘to follow’. ‘Following’ is what Sheep do! The question is: “Who are the Sheep going to follow? And if you haven’t figured out the answer to that question or if that answer is not the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, then no matter if you are a guy sheep or a girl sheep, then no matter where you are going in any relationship, know this: you are going astray. If you are not personally committed to following Jesus Christ and living life His way then no matter what else you are doing or where you are going in any relationship, you are going astray, because Sheep are either following the Shepherd or they are going astray. But when you do get that figured out, that your basic need is to follow your Shepherd and commit to then following your Shepherd, then you will also find that He will lead you not only in the paths of righteousness, but also in the paths that meet your needs as well those in relationship with you.

Similar needs: Did you know that loving God with all your heart and soul and mind is not only the greatest commandment, but also your greatest need, the greatest need of all men and women? Remember that song ‘Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places’? We could re-title that song with: ‘Looking for Love in all the Wrong People’. How is a Christian man and woman supposed to build a relationship anyway? Ps 127:1-2- “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.” NASU

A Biblical love relationship is never about two people; it’s about three people; a Christian man and Christian woman with the Lord at the very center. Any other attempt to build that relationship apart from keeping the Lord at the center is an exercise in ‘Vanity’!

A Christian marriage is often depicted as a circle…when in actuality it is a triangle, with the man and woman at the sides and Christ at the top. And that also depicts how blessed a couple is when they first seek to grow in their relationship with Christ; because the closer they get to Christ, the closer they then get to each other. It’s simply the way God designed it!

Just remember what we’ve discovered so far; that by focusing on these similar needs of men and women, that of worshiping and loving and serving God, that we will be much better able to then celebrate the differences between men and women and see how wonderfully God has designed our lives, not to compete against one another, but to complement one another.

      1. cleanjoke.com
      2. From a presentation at Steeling The Mind Conference by Dave Moore, Why Women are Weird and Men are a Mess
      3. Ibid
      4. Ibid