Thoughts in the Faith

Supplements for Marriage

Happy (Belated) Valentine’s Day, y’all! Vday got me thinking this year…

We take supplements for our bodies. We read and study hard for years to supplement our knowledge and our careers.

But how much time do you spend truly preparing for marriage? And once you’re in it, do you have any idea what you are doing at all?? Are you truly giving of yourself, or are you at least a LEEEEEETTLE bit selfish. Or a lot selfish.

Do you tell your significant other about all the things that he or she needs to improve on? Do you ever think about the things maybe YOU might need to improve on?

Recently at our church here in Columbus, our pastor embarked on a seven-week series on Marriage. This is how he begins…pointing out how very little we really DO to prepare for marriage, where just about every aspect of our life, from education to finances to pet ownership, is carefully planned out.

This series has been an incredible supplement to our marriage. About half way through, I think the hubster and I have already taken many, MANY lessons to heart. We are all human and we need HELP sometimes. We need guidance, mentorship, kind words, direction…and we should never be ashamed or embarrassed or scared to seek out what we need. I encourage you to watch this series, in your own time. Listen to the words and take notes. Read your notes back before bed, and pray for your marriage. Or read them when you wake up in the morning, instead of diving right into your to-do list or your work emails. I promise this will start to change your life.

Another wonderful tool I’ve been using in recent weeks is a book called, The Power of a Praying Wife. It is truly making many of the exact points as Pastor Kevin in his Marriage Sermon Series. While his sermons truly challenge and convict my heart in the best of ways, this book by Stormie Omartian focuses me on praying for my heart in our marriage, and for my husband on a daily basis. It is helping me build an even stronger foundation for our marriage.

download

It doesn’t matter if you feel like your marriage is perfect right now, or if you aren’t even married, or if you aren’t even THINKING about marriage. No matter what, we should each always be working to improve ourselves for the many relationships we have in our lives. Do you need a more open and loving heart towards your family? Your coworkers? Strangers? It doesn’t just have to be your spouse. Think about how you are spiritually supplementing your relationships. Think about what sorts of help you may need, and begin to seek them out.

Daily Notes, Thoughts in the Faith

No Longer Slaves

Every Lent, it seems that pastors everywhere try to come up with a new twist on the season, or a new approach to their sermons.  And every year, it’s generally the same: focusing on Jesus’ sacrifice and therefore we make a piddly sacrifice to symbolize The Big Sacrifice.  But last Sunday’s sermon made a point that stuck with me:

If we try to give up something we are a slave to, we are no longer slaves.  We may fail and get back up over and over again, yet it is a valiant effort to unbind our wrists.

He gave the example of a friend of his who gave up “lust” for Lent.  “How, may I ask, do you plan to do that?” he asked his friend.  And then the friend went on to list all the ways that lust manifests itself in his life–all the small, daily things that set him back.

So, I know that almost every year I give up sweets, and yeah it’s tough, and sometimes I fail, but does it really make a REAL difference in my life?  Do I feel like I am breaking free from something that has enslaved me?  No.  Absolutely not.

I’ve been spending time thinking about what really does rule my life sometimes, especially when I’m not paying attention to God.  The big rulers of my life?

Impatience and Worry.

They often come hand in hand.  I am impatient to know what’s happening next or when something will be completed, and so I begin to worry about the outcome.  Or I’m worried about something, and so I snap with impatience at the people I care about the most.  This deceiving duo rules my life more than I care to admit.

It will take some time–maybe most of my life–to sort out the many ways these forces manifest themselves in my daily life.  But becoming aware of it, and asking any of you to hold me accountable, is the first step to conquering it.  After all, what is there to be worried about if I really believe that God is in control of my life?  Not a thing.

Thoughts in the Faith

I’ve Been Megachurched.

Until last night, I had never been to a “Megachurch,” nor a Baptist church. So I figured, let’s kill two birds with one stone and try this new Tuesday-night “contemporary worship service” I’ve heard about.

I was overwhelmed. I have never seen anything like this–the church and parking lot combined were easily bigger than most city blocks, and there were police officers directing traffic in and out, as well as volunteers waving orange glow sticks around orange cones. The church itself was massive, though I only experienced a small part of it. I walked in and found a mass of people that was nearly impossible to maneuver through. The main conference room we were in was set up with a portion of round tables (including candle-lit centerpieces) and then rows and rows of chairs. I couldn’t see them well, as they were already full, but they were there. And as I made my way to a seat that a friend of a friend had graciously saved for me, I was speachless.

Between the traffic and the musician set up, it was clear I was entering a worship concert. The front of the room housed a stage with overly-energetic musicians, cool lighting, and a bright powerpoint screen with the lyrics. I glanced around and saw that most of the people there were college and twenty-something aged. Incredible.

Though floored by my initial intake, I took a moment to catch up with my thoughts. This was nothing like any church or youth group activity I had ever been to. A Tuesday night, and here are hundreds of young people, gathered for worship, fellowship, prayer, and teaching. And although my initial reaction was a bit negative, it slowly turned into one of awe. I may not love the structure of a church this huge, or of a worship concert with musicians smack-dab in the front of everyone, but all these gimmicks brought together literally hundreds of young people. And the pastor knew the audience he had.

The pastor’s sermon was aimed directly at our age group. Speaking of sex, love, and marriage had to have been difficult (he even warned us before he began), yet he tackled it more simply and straight forward than anyone else I’ve ever heard or anything else I’ve ever read on the subject. So gimmicks aside, a really important message was being delivered to people who really needed to hear it. Awesome.

It is so encouraging to know that God is working in so many lives. That even when we don’t hear Him, see Him, even believe in Him, He finds ways to show He’s working. Last night, He showed me a lot of people who have the same ups and downs as me, and are seeking answers. A lot of people who deal with tough stuff everyday. A lot of people who have really messed up backgrounds that have led them to where they are. And a lot of people who are aiming to live beautiful, full, and Godly lives.

I was pleasantly surprised to find so much inspiration, despite my steroptypes regarding a megachurch. Another lesson for me in judging things too soon.