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This Is Us - Marriage, Part 1

Today Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series, "This Is Us," looking at the important relationships in our lives.  Today he began two weeks of looking at marriage - but he promised that everyone will have something they can learn from.

(Oh, and before that, very appropriately, we sang songs about the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.  Whether or not we're getting love from other humans, God's love is faithful.)

He listed some ground rules first:

-- Listen for yourself.  (There's something for everyone, even if you're not in the very target audience.)

-- Do not compare.

We'll hear stories as illustrations.  Do not compare with yourself or with your spouse or kids.  That brings discouragement or false encouragement.

-- Use what you can.

Pray for the time when you can use more.

Then he began on Keys to Doing Marriage Better.  (We only got to two of the three in the time.)

Key #1 -- Keep your purpose before you.

This purpose is promoting our partner's spiritual and personal welfare.

We looked at Ephesians 5:25-29 -- "to make her holy" (spiritual promotion), "feed and care for her" (personal promotion).

We want to help our spouse be who God designed them to be.

Holding up an ideal picture of what we think marriage (or friendship) should be can diminish our spouse (or friend).  Don't let that hang over your marriage.  Instead, keep your purpose before you.

Promote your spouse personally.  Promote your spouse spiritually.

"Make her holy" -- unique and utterly set apart for the purposes God made her for.

In friendship, we need to be for one another.

Then Pastor Ed interviewed Deen and Althea Salami about promoting one another.

We must fight off the tendency to keep false purposes before us, such as to provide or to please or many others.  What false purposes tend to drive you?

Key #2 -- Be realistic about your happiness.

Many of us do not have what we hoped for.  But the joy is there.  Notice it!

Don't burden your marriage with an unrealistic picture.

Know your expectations.  Unrealizable expectations will kill a marriage.  Unknown expectations will damage it.

Reality clashes with our expectations, and the result is suffering.

Then for those who have been married longer, you may have settled and dialed back your happiness.

There's only one connection that can bear up under the weight of complete trust, and it's your connection with God.

God may not meet our expectations, but He meets our needs.  Psalm 20:7; Philippians 4:12-13

Repeated studies have shown that the biggest predictor of marital happiness is the level of individual happiness before marriage.  (It's not your spouse's fault!)

Happiness is not a byproduct of marriage.

Happiness is always, in some part, a choice. (James 1:2-3 -- "Consider it pure joy...")

Happiness in marriage is cyclical and seasonal.

Often happiness is a byproduct of nurturing a deep connection with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ed finished by reading an essay from Laura Munson about when her husband had a midlife crisis and she took the stance that she was not the root of her husband's problems.

[Laura Munson wrote a book about the experience and explored it in depth.  I read that book in 2010 and wrote a review of it.  I highly recommend the book if any part of that story resonates with you.]

Pastor Ed left us all with something to think about in our relationships and friendships.

Meandering to Missional

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On Sunday September 18th, Pastor Ed began a new sermon series, "Meandering to Missional."

"Meandering" means to follow a winding, circuitous path without meaning or purpose.  We are NOT meandering.  As a church we're moving purposefully.

Our lives are too important and too short to waste our time meandering.

"Meander" is often used in connection with a stream.  A river takes the path of least resistance.  When we take the path of least resistance, we meander, wandering around obstacles.

Push into personal missional living.

1)  We were made for a purpose!

Genesis 1:27-28; Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 2:10

We were purposed, ordained, missioned.  God prepared good works in advance for us to do.

Some of us need to remember.

This is not a dress rehearsal.  We weren't made just to make it to Friday.

Some of us need to surrender.

You were designed to surrender to God and find His plan for you.

2)  We, Gateway, were made for a purpose!

"church" -- Ecclesia -- "called out ones"

This is not just a casual thing.  When we gather together, that's the church.

We exist to be used by God to draw others into authentic Christian community.

If you're called here, you're called to mission.

It's not about us, it's about drawing others.  Jesus said, "Come to me, and I will make you fishers of men."  We're building a building for the people who aren't here yet.  We're not drawing others to be part of the club.

It's a contact sport!  We fight to stay purposeful.

We're pursuing one another and pursuing God.

Some enemies to missional living:

1)  Self-reliance

I'm connected to something bigger than me.  Ephesians 2:8-9  It's a gift of God.

2)  Laziness

Proverbs 10:4; 26:15

3)  Busyness

Psalm 46:10 -- "Be still and know that I am God."

Homework!

1)  Ask yourself:  "Am I in?"  Is Gateway the place God wants me to be?

If you're sure, we need to feel the weight of you.

You're not called to meander here.

2)  Take the next right step.

This will be different for different people.  Some forms it might take:

Join a small group, volunteer for a team, give, invite someone to dinner, try to get to church every other week.

Purpose produces passion.

Posted by Sondy Eklund with

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