Monday, September 12, 2005


It seems like from my last post that marriage would be a hot topic to discuss, so I'm gonna discuss it. :o)

I mentioned only briefly what our sermon at church was about yesterday. At small group last night, we had our monthly meeting with our "mentor group" or group of older married couples. I have to tell you, this is my favorite life group ever. I love these older couples. There is so much we can learn from them (and do learn from them) and it's just so great to get to know some people that we ordinarily wouldn't have the chance to meet because we go to a different church service than most of them do. The group itself was different yesterday. We had a lot of visitors and even some New Orleans refugees, which translates to a very, very large amount of people crammed into a living room with babies screaming and adults trying to talk and listen to the story that these people were telling of being stranded in New Orleans. They were there for 10 days before they were rescued and able to leave the city. It was incredible.

After everyone left, though, was the best. Rick and I stayed after and talked with one of our elders and his wife. Among the many topics we talked about was the sermon we had heard that morning.

I wish it were up on Otter Creek's web site already. I would tell all of you to go download it now so we could all discuss it. But they are a little behind on getting the sermons up on the web site, so I'll have to do my best to recount what my interpretation of the sermon was. Those of you that were there can agree or disagree with me. Actually, please do. It would be nice to hear what everyone else got out of the sermon.

As I said before, Tim talked about how are marriages are the church's business. But even deeper than that, he said that he would no longer marry a believe to an unbeliever, or even a strong believer to someone whom he thought was a "wishy-washy Christian." He got some applause for these statements, and I also think it was very honorable of him to make those pledges. I interpreted that as Tim saying that he would do his best to no longer contribute to the fall of marriages in our church. But even that wasn't the point of his sermon.

He went on to talk about the path that a marriage takes before it fails. He thinks that the key in this break down is secrecy. I've talked before about how we need to start talking about our "shit" and I think this was the "pulpit-ized" way of saying that very thing. We have little problems that we push under the rug, thinking that we've either solved them or that they don't amount to anything, and that may be true if you take them one-for-one. But what happens when those things start to build up? You can only shove so many under the rug before you trip over the lumpy floor. These "small" issues have the capability to build resentment in a marriage, especially if one person feels as if they are the one always letting it go. And what have we done about this in our churches? We talk about marriage counselling and financial counselling and learning to communicate with one another...all of which are good things in their own right, but we have borrowed these good things from our culture. Tim espounded on the idea that what our churches are missing and forgetting about is the spiritual side of marriage. It's assumed that because we get married by a preacher in a church that the spiritual side is there, but that's not necessarily true. Just because you're Christian and you're married to another Christian doesn't mean it's a marriage that will glorify God. Wow! What a concept. Of course, this is his sermon in my words. I'm sure I have left a lot out or taken a different view of what he said than someone else that was there. I would love to hear all of your opinions-whether you were there or not.

Last night, Rick and I sat with our elder and his wife for 2 hours and talked with them about this. What does this mean for our church? How do we handle this? What do we do to put this into action instead of making it "just another sermon"....another good idea but an empty promise? I told the couple that, in all honesty, I don't know how to be a couple that glorifies God. I know how to do that as an individual, and I can honestly say that I believe I've seen some couples that I believe have a God-glorifying marriage, but I don't know how to do that myself. Does it make us a God-glorifying couple because we pray together? Because we study together? Because we freely discuss the Sunday sermon? I don't believe there is a "3-step method" that will teach a couple how to glorify God, but I would love it if there was some kind of mentoring program or class at our church so that we get an idea of how different couples do it.

Even unbelievers can have a "good marriage" with great communication and never get divorced, but why is it that the marriages in our churches have stopped there, too?


At 11:53 AM, Blogger Preston said...

I agree, Amanda, it was a fine lesson. I was sitting behind you in the balcony, by the way. I appreciated Tim talking about how with respect to many issues, marriage being but one, the culture in which we live has shaped our thinking more than Christ. He talked about cultural christianity and practical disbelief and the importance of authentic discipleship. Hard teaching, but honest and much needed.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Just checking in. I wanted to post on the pictures you took, but I didn't know if you would go back and read that one after this post. The pics were beautiful. I hope you have a wonderful week.


At 2:01 PM, Blogger Matt said...

P.S. If you head to my blog, you might notice that the subject sounds familiar. Well, I guess I was just inspired by your e-mail. Thanks for the question, and keep them coming.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I think that sermon is exactly what I need to hear, Amanda. I'll check the church website to see if it is on there.


At 7:25 AM, Blogger Phil said...

Amanda, I'm sorry to say that we didn't get it recorded. The computer that we use for recording got infected by a virus and it froze during the recording proces in both services.

I'm sick about it too, since that was a great sermon by Tim. I'm hoping he can put together a transcript of it.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Wow! Since I don't believe in coincidences -- wonder what is up with that computer virus? Sounds like that sermon desperately needs to be "out there". You pose some great questions, Amanda, about how to be a couple that glorifies God and if you ever come up with that 3-step method answer, please let me know!

In 2 months my husband and I will celebrate 13 years of marriage. After 10 years of being the "cute-as-a-button" couple, but simply coasting, then 2 years of steady decline that led to rock bottom last year, I think we are finally going somewhere. Growing together towards God's will for our marriages. But like everyone says it is a lot of work. The problem is, so few of us know what work to be doing!! I still don't, but I have a better idea than I did 5 years ago. I think our marriages are like our lives -- fully surrendered to God they are so much more full and abundant than left to our own devices.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Jana said...

Amanda - Tim's lesson was incredible. Very convicting to me and Brandon. I'm glad you and Rick got to chat about it at length at the Srygs. Those are the kinds of conversations you can have when you don't have a kid in tow! ;)

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

Yeah, it really meant a lot to me and Rick that they were so welcoming to us even after everyone else left. We just started chatting and, next thing we knew, it was 10:00. Good times.


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