A series of “And that’s when the fight started” jokes has been floating around the Internet. Allow me to share a few: • My wife walked into the den and asked “What’s on the TV?” I replied, “Dust.” And that’s when the fight started.

• I asked my wife, “Where do you want to go for our anniversary?”

It warmed my heart to see her face melt in sweet appreciation. “Somewhere I haven’t been in a long time,” she said.

So I suggested, “How about the kitchen?”

And that’s when the fight started.

• One year, a husband decided to buy his mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift. The next year, he didn’t buy her anything. When she asked why, he replied, “Well, you still haven’t used the gift I gave you last year!”

And that’s when the fight started.

• My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She said, “I want something shiny that goes from 0-150 in three seconds.” I bought her a scale.

And that’s when the fight started.

• When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her someplace expensive, so I took her to a gas station.

And that’s when the fight started.

Home used to be a sanctuary, a haven where one could retreat to find rest, understanding and acceptance. More and more, home is becoming a war zone. We have replaced “Home, Sweet, Home” signs with those that say, “Enter at your own Risk.” When I entered the ministry, hardly anyone came to talk to a staff member about family problems. Those who did were usually unchurched. Today, you have to take a number to get in the counseling line behind your fellow church members. Tension in the home is increasing. A recent George Barna survey found divorce rates among Christians significantly higher than among other faith groups and much higher than for atheists and agnostics.

Why isn’t the church of America making a difference?

For the past year or two, I’ve had the privilege of meeting, traveling and ministering with top corporate leaders across our nation. I spent three days listening to the heart of one business owner who has more than 10,000 employees. He wanted me to answer two questions. The first was, “Why doesn’t what happens on Sunday make a difference in my business on Monday?” He expected church to change people’s lives. He expected that the Word of God, the living two-edged sword of truth, would rearrange attitudes, habits and desires. Since he expected the church to make a difference in the lives of the families who worked for him, he expected the church to make a difference in the workplace. When he didn’t see this happen, he asked, “Why not?”

The second question he asked me was, “Why doesn’t the church recognize my ministry outside its four walls?” He shared that if you asked if he was a good Christian, the church would say, “Yes. He teaches a men’s Sunday School class and tithes.” Yet, this man has a ministry of traveling the world to give missionaries rest. He had recently returned from Chaing Mai, Thailand, where he brought in 300 missionaries and put them up in the finest hotel with no agenda except rest, all at his own expense. He wondered, “Why doesn’t the church see this as ministry, too?”

Would you let me speculate for a moment? First, the questions he asked were good ones. We seldom ask those nowadays. Our culture discourages us from asking anything that might make someone uncomfortable. In Luke 2, we see that Jesus knew how to ask good questions. If we ask a good question today, it seems . . . that’s when the fight starts.

My youngest son, an incredible communicator of the Gospel, told me the other day, “Dad, the narrow road is still narrow.” How can such wisdom come from a kid who sold free apartment guides in our neighborhood for 25 cents apiece? As usual, he was right. He was reflecting on Jesus’ words, “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Could it be that when the doors of our churches change from being narrow roads to open highways we lose the power to make a difference in peoples’ lives? Do I dare mention that perhaps this is why the light no longer shines and the salt has lost its savor?

And that’s when the fight started.