Fighting Fair in Marriage – Part 2

If you are going to fight for your marriage, you have to learn to fight fair in marriage.  This is not an easy thing and takes years to master.  Married couples fight about money, sex, division of labor, communication and many other things.  But fighting fair is one of the keys to a lasting marriage.  Last week if you missed PART 1 of FIGHTING FAIR IN MARRIAGE, you can read it here.

“…The tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Proverbs 12:18

10 Ways To Fight Fair In Your Marriage – Part 2

6. Avoid Personal Attacks – Especially as you are younger in your marriage, you won’t know each other as well.  When you discover something about him that is, well, annoying, you have to determine not to attack his character.  One of the most hurtful things you can do is “label your spouse.”  Many of the labels our parents, teachers and friends gave us as children stick with us our whole lives.  These words and labels can control and damage our relationships. Your words should NEVER be a personal attack.  Instead, use phrases like, “Help me understand why…” and “When you do this, it’s hard for me…” Once you make it personal, there is no cool-headed conversation. An ounce of encouragement can go a long way.  Once you find yourself in a personal attack, back off and take a time-out.

7. Be Truthful, Then Trust – This sounds almost ridiculous but it is important to operate with correct information.  I have seen so many couples fight over jumping to assumptions that aren’t even true!  If you have a truth problem, your marriage can never grow in intimacy.  Among us there are those who have been jaded and betrayed, therefore it is harder for us to trust.  The foundation of marriage is built on trust.  I’m not saying being naive, but if your marriage is going to grow, you must learn to trust more.

8. Learn to Listen – I know, I know, this is comical right?  You expect me to listen when I am frustrated?  One thing that will grow your ability to disagree with civility is your ability to listen.  If you are always interrupting and always building your “case” while the other person is talking, you are acting like an emotional child.  When you listen it is important for your spouse to know you heard him or her.  PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING.  This is an exercise where one person talks at a time,  then the other person repeats back to make sure the message got delivered.  “What I heard you say was…”  If this is done, you both know you are communicating effectively.  It is important though that ONE PERSON TALKS at a time!  You can’t listen with your mouth flapping.  Then you switch roles and the other person listens and repeats back.

9. Don’t Win, Heal – You learn quickly in marriage “when you win, you lose.” You should not be about being right and being in control, but perfect love drives out fear.  Often times, people are afraid of losing, ANYTHING.  This includes arguments.  Look your spouse in the eye this week and say, I will never win another argument.  It might seem a bit extreme, but when the motives are wrong in fighting, there is NEVER a resolution, just a temporary break from the fight.  I have counseled more couples where it was evident two people wanted to win the argument.  Then when asked they had the audacity to accuse the other person of just wanting to win the argument.  If you happen to be married to someone who likes to fight, and enjoys confrontation, you will probably need to see a counselor ASAP!  

10. Pray Together Regularly – Want to fight less?  Then pray for and with one another.  Two people who pray together will find it harder to fight about stupid little things.  You learn to “let things go” and not be bitter and eventually grow in your spiritual intimacy with your spouse.  If you have never tried this, START!  You will be amazed at the level of intimacy that grows as Jesus becomes more the center of your marriage.

One last thought:  If you feel like you have tried everything to solve a problem, YOU MUST GET HELP from an outside source.  Maybe the most courageous thing you do this year is see a Christian counselor.  For help with resources in the Central New Jersey area, contact sandy@217church.com.

Mercer County Church Blog Home

This week at 217church, a Mercer County contemporary Christian church, we will learn from Song of Solomon the difficult art of fighting fair with our spouse. Do you fight fair?  Learn to fight fair and your marriage will grow in intimacy and strength.

Mercer County Church Blog Home

Fighting Fair in Marriage – Part 1

I have been married for over seventeen years and there is one thing I can promise you:  You will sin against your spouse.  Many engaged couples don’t like to hear this but once you exchange rings you know it is the truth!  Just because two people love Jesus it doesn’t mean they won’t sin against each other, and there is no such thing as happily ever after.  But there is hope as you learn to YIELD to your spouse and fight fair, NOT to win.  These next two weeks we will look at 10 ways to fight fair in your marriage.

 “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards.”  Song of Solomon 2:15

10 Ways To Fight Fair In Your Marriage

1. Confront with Respect – Are you afraid of confrontation?  Depending on your personality style and how you were raised, your home of origin, or difficult past experiences, you may perceive any conflict or confrontation as an emotionally crushing experience, and RUN at the first sight of confrontation.  You can change this pattern by choosing to confront with respect.  If you choose not to, this can lead to years and years of pain and eventually deep bitterness. Many of us first have to face our fear of confrontation and learn to respect.  People who don’t fight fair use words like, NEVER, ALWAYS and constantly threaten.  Cut down on the drama and show respect for your mate.  Lower your tone, use words of love and NEVER say words that devalue the character of your spouse.  After all, according to the bible, you are “one flesh.” Treat your body with respect.  According to 1 John 4:18, “perfect love casts out all fear.”  Love and respect enough and the fear of confrontation will subside.

2. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down – This sounds simple but is difficult to implement.  This means you have to communicate often.  This doesn’t mean you become religious about finding fault in your spouse, and become a constant complainer, but it does mean that you may actually learn to love the faults in your spouse.  Find time in the day to text, chat and communicate.  A little proactive communication can go a long way to stop the conflict from escalating.  If you put off the conversation too long, it will just explode later.

3. Right Time and The Right Place – Maybe you have heard the phrase, there is a time and place for everything.  This basically means, plan your times to communicate, this includes time to disagree and work things out.  Think ahead!  Many times we get in trouble because we have bad timing.  We fight hungry, we fight spontaneously, and we fight with limited time.  State exactly what is bothering you.  You have probably heard the saying, “time heals all wounds”.  This does not apply to conflicts in marriage.  Time actually can fester and open up old wounds. Remember, timing is everything.

4. Keep Short Accounts – Stick to the subject at hand. Keep it about today.  One of the common mistakes couples make is by eventually bringing up old wounds in a current conversation.  All of the sudden a disagreement about division of labor in the house turns into a one hour battle about a year ago when he said he would do something and dropped the ball.  If you can’t forgive your spouse, why should you expect Jesus to forgive you?  I didn’t say you should let someone take advantage of you, but you need to be willing to forgive.  You can tell how close you are in your relationship with Jesus by the amount of forgiveness you extend to your spouse.  When are you going to forgive her?

5. Your Spouse is Right – One of the hardest lessons to learn in marriage is perception is reality to my spouse.  Even when I don’t think I am being harsh or difficult, if my spouse perceives it, it’s true.  This is a point of humility in marriage.  Remember, you married her.  If you think he is being over-sensitive, you married him.  If you think he is difficult to talk to, you married him.  Marriage can make you more like Jesus than any other relationship I know of.  Learn to be wrong!  Swallow your pride and yield to you lover.  No matter what the argument is about–money, sex, time, work, if you want to grow in your marriage, you better start yielding.  If your spouse says you do, then it’s true. Believe your spouse.  They know you better than anyone.

This week at 217church we will learn from Song of Solomon the difficult art of negotiating and yielding to our spouse. Do you fight fair?  Learn to fight fair and your marriage will grow in intimacy and strength.  We will discover the next 5 next week.

 

My Prayer For You This Week

This morning, as I was thinking and praying through the first three weeks of our Song of Solomon Series my heart exploded for our 217church family. I know we are each experiencing this series on love, sex, and marriage from a different perspective and I know it isn’t easy.  As a matter of fact, for some of us, it is taking great courage to come and hear about these topics.  I know it hurts.  As much as I know it’s needed, I know it hurts.  I am humbled you are letting me walk through this series with you.  As I was praying this morning, I wanted to share some things I feel God is speaking to different groups of you and let you know how I am praying for all of you today.

 

 

How I Am Praying For You

#1 If You Are Divorced – My prayer is that you would sense the deep love and acceptance from Jesus, who in his last moments on the cross, chose a thief to be with him in eternity.  You are never beyond God’s grace and he forgives you.  You have asked forgiveness before in sincerity, and it is finished.  The guilt you feel is not from God.  May you rebuke the enemy as he accuses you and realize the power and confidence you have through Jesus.  “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26.   Although your spouse is not there, Jesus heals.  He heals!  If you are raising children, may you parent them with grace and understanding as you answer their difficult questions and have the joy of raising a Godly child parenting them well.

#2 If You Are Single – My prayer is you would know that Jesus is with you.  He knows what it is like to be lonely and ostracized.  He understands your pain of wanting something and having to wait.  May you never sell out and settle for second best.  Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Jesus understands your feelings and your body belongs to God.  May you raise the standard in your expectations of a future spouse who will love you like you deserve to be loved.  If you are living together with someone who is not your spouse, may you be awakened in your error and may you receive grace from God and move out because you are a person of principle and a child of God.

#3 If You Are Married – My prayer is where there is healing needed you would understand and receive it.  For you who have struggled in your physical intimacy, may you be restored in your marriage.  May your covenant be renewed and may you return to and embrace the wife or the husband of your youth.  Where there has been cheating, may there be restoration, where there has been resentment and bitterness, may you receive peace, forgiveness and oneness with your spouse.  God believes in your marriage. It’s worth it, NEVER GIVE UP! “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6 

#4 If You Have Been Sexually Abused – The person who abused you stole from you and had no right to, but I pray you will forgive them.  There is healing and there is a pathway forward. Understand no one can ever steal the grace Jesus gives to you and He has the power to restore your mind and the way you think about your body. Know your body belongs to God, He values you and he loves you.

#5 If You Are In An Unhealthy Relationship – My prayer is you find your identity in Christ and not in another person.  May you stop trying to fill the gap in your life with other people and may you turn to Jesus.  May you be a person of courage and break up with that man, woman, boy or girl who is not God’s best for you.  May you be built up by those around you who would encourage you and pour into you more than they take from you.

#6 If You Are a High Schooler or Middle Schooler – Maybe you feel you have blown it and have already made a bad choice.  My prayer is you would know that no boy or girl defines your worth.  Jesus already defined your worth when he died on the cross and claimed everything about you as HIS!  This includes your body.  It belongs to God.  May everything you choose to do with it be a worship to God.  May you live Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore brothers, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

#7 You’ve Remained Pure Sexually – You have been given a gift.  May you remain steadfast in your commitment to your future spouse.  May you find the wife or husband that God has for you in his due time.  May you prepare for your wedding day by drawing close to God and learning to serve, sacrifice and live the Gospel everyday.  May you be blessed with a lifelong covenant help mate that you will serve and draw close to who will show you what it means to be like Jesus.

I love you all and want to remind you about our March 24th Vow Renewal Weekend.  We will be celebrating the marriage covenant and how God will remain faithful to us in our marriages.


Physical Intimacy and Marriage

In the beginning of the bible we see the first man, Adam.  God noticed something about him that to this day every man has to be thankful for, “it was not good for the man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18.  Being alone meant there was a part of him that was missing.  So God intervened.  He stepped in and did something for the man.  He put him to sleep because God deeply cared about him.  Then, you know the story, he fashioned out of the man something beautiful, unique, and obviously attractive and special to the man.  He created a WOMAN!  (All the husbands said, “Thank you Jesus”)  But Satan came in and immediately tried to destroy their covenant with God and their love for each other.  Because of original sin, so many couples struggle with their physical intimacy.  If you find yourself in a place as a husband and a wife where your sexual intimacy is struggling or non-existent, there is hope. 

“Marriage exists to make you holy before it exists to make you happy

Marriage is not designed for you to get everything you want, but to learn how to not get everything you want.  This goes totally against the narcissism we see in our sexualized culture. This post is designed to deepen your intimacy with your spouse, as well as give you hope for your physical intimacy with your spouse.  Some of you have given up on this area of your relationship, some of you are in a downward spiral, and still others are just really confused about sex and the different opportunities and challenges you may face. I know I have many single readers and I hope this will be an eye opener as to what physical intimacy in marriage might look like.  Let me encourage you by giving you three benefits we see in the book of Song of Solomon to deepen your sex life.  These are meant to encourage you as you learn to be a lover that serves your spouse.  My prayer for you is that God will intervene in a powerful way and use sex in your marriage to strengthen you in three powerful ways.

Three Benefits of Married Sex

1.  Provides Rest – The PLACE of rest is extremely important.  In Song of Solomon 1:14 there is a place referred to called Engedi.  “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.” David hid at this safe place from Saul when he threatened his very life.  When life is pursuing you and you feel like you can’t go on, find a place for love with your spouse and experience rest.  The world moves at a frenetic pace, yet intimacy was never meant to be on a “to-do list.”  When you are with your lover, it is to be a holy time set aside for you to experience each other in a way that benefits each other.  This always must be done in a way that serves the other.  This means that selfishness has no place in the bedroom or in any of your love-making sessions.  It is hard to find a place of rest if your spouse is demanding your bodyWhat does the place of Engedi look like for you?  This may seem like common sense but here are some suggestions to fashion a safe-place for physical intimacy between you and your spouse.

  • A lock on the door –  Got kids?  Well there you goIf you don’t have a lock then, men, drag yourself down to the hardware store and figure it out.
  • A relaxing environment-  Get rid of the clutter, ditch the bedroom TV and put away the pictures of your mother.  Replace all that with some sensuous things that calm and sooth you.  Music, soft blankets, softer lighting and scented candles are all things that can enhance your bedroom.  Maybe you should invest in some new bedroom sheets?  Whatever it is you do, be intentional about creating a restful place for your loving.

2.  Provides Refuge – The EMOTIONS of life can be draining and leave you asking the question, is there any end in sight?  Physical intimacy was created by God to provide a man and a woman a balance in their emotional health.  This is why Proverbs 5:18 says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth“.  That sounds pretty desirable to me.  Physical intimacy can heal and literally recharge your emotional batteries.  As a matter of fact, we know that one of  the top reasons couples get divorced is because of a lack of physical intimacy.  Where there is a withholding or a bitterness, there will be emotional strain.  This is NO excuse for getting a divorce, but an opportunity if you are willing to put in the hard work to experience the restoration power of the Gospel of Jesus in marriage in an incredibly powerful way.  Restoring physical intimacy in marriage may be the most difficult thing you have ever done, but take heart and remain true to your marriage vows.  God will honor you!  In a world that demands, demands, demands, physical intimacy can bring us a safe place of refuge where we learn to love and serve sacrificially, even in the bedroom.  Appreciation and unconditional acceptance should be marks of a refuge environment.

3.  Provides Refreshment – Sexual intimacy can offer you and your spouse a refreshment that is like no other relationship on earth.  God designed it that way.  Remember, it was not good for man to be alone, so refreshment is part of God’s plan for your married life.  One thing for those of you who are anticipating marriage:  Not every time you experience physical intimacy with your spouse is going to be a cloud nine experience, but they all can be refreshing!  Here are a few different types of sexual interactions that might help you be realistic going forward in your sexual intimacy:

  • The snack –  This is just what it sounds like.  It isn’t long and drawn out, but it has been referred to as a “quickie.”  (Wow, I can’t believe I just said that on my blog).  It is well, quick.  You won’t always have time to put on a big production, nor does ‘it’ have to be a big production.  But passion can flow between a husband and wife powerfully in a snack. You get it?  I thought so, enough said.
  • The meal – You get the analogy by now right?  This is just what it sounds like.  When you have a little more time, a place that you have set aside together, and you are both ready, you can share a meal together.
  • The feast – This feast my happen at different milestones in your relationship, birthdays, anniversaries or maybe no reason at all, just to plan a feast together.  Feasts are usually less frequent.  Just a heads up though for guys especially: You know how at Thanksgiving all the food is served at the table and it’s all “hot”?  IT TAKES A LOT OF PLANNING.  It is more like an orchestra production and less like a solo recording.  Catch my drift?  If you expect to have a feast every time you have sex, you will most likely be disappointed.  A lot of planning and diligent care to the DETAILS will communicate love and acceptance towards your spouse.

I know this is not an easy topic to talk about, and as a pastor, I know that some people don’t think I should be talking this honest and open.  But if we let the culture, and not the bible educate us and our children about sex, we are being ripped off!  God planned sex for us inside of the covenant of marriage for one man and one woman for one lifetime.  Let’s do it right!

If you feel like there is no hope, remember, a healthy marriage relationship will be built on forgiveness. Let this verse encourage you: 

“…forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13

Josh

Join us for our Song of Solomon series this week, THE MARRIAGE “When Boy Meets Girl” Series this Sunday at the AMC 24 in Hamilton, NJ 9:30am & 11:00am:

  • February 10 – The Marriage (What it means to be a servant lover)

To watch last weeks message at 217church about “The Wedding” Click Here

 

 

What Makes Marriage Work?

The other day I looked around the house and asked a simple question:  What can I do to make Summer’s life easier? (Summer is my wife)  She has an evening job three or four days a week, and as I looked around the house, it wasn’t that hard. The window coverings that had been torn down by either the dog or the four year old. The to do list on my phone that said, “printer for Summer.” The clothes in the laundry room seemed to scream out, “fold me!”  I have been married for 18 years now and one thing is for sure, a wedding and a marriage are two TOTALLY different things!  Anyone can plan a wedding, but a lifetime of marriage takes an INCREDIBLE amount of diligence and commitment.  It never ceases to amaze me how a couple will spend $25,000+ on their wedding and go into debt, (that is the average amount spent on weddings in New Jersey) and then be unwilling to see a counselor that may cost them a few hundred dollars, but could save their marriage.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 2:24

Don’t ever forget you are one with your husband or wife.  EVERYTHING you do affects them and EVERYTHING they do affects you.  Every decision and thought you have is a thought they are having.  Marriage is the one relationship by which we understand Jesus deeper than any other relationship, because it teaches us selflessness.  But what are some keys to practically make your marriage work?

5 Keys To Make Your Marriage Work

1.  Persistent Prayer – I meet very few couples who actually pray for and with each other consistently.  I remember dating Summer we would wake up at 6:00 AM and go into the chapel on our college campus and actually pray together.  (No, we didn’t use the time to make out!) A healthy prayer life together is the launch pad to selflessly approaching your spouse.  I am constantly thinking of ways I can help Summer and prayer often leads me to these moments of discovery about her.  The most important and meaningful text I get in a day is when she types these simple words and presses send, “Praying for you today.”

2.  Consistent Communication – Man I am terrible at this one!  I have improved, but I am naturally an inconsistent, incoherent, infrequent communicator.  Even writing these words is reminding me to set a time with Summer to talk about our calendar, vacation and just things I know she would like to connect about.  Here are some tactics that may help your communication.

  • Keep it down –  As you approach difficult topics to talk about, and you will have them, keep your voice tone in a range that communicates care and concern.  I feel bad when I see couples ripping each other apart with their words in public.  If you do that in public, what are you doing in private?  Man, that must be one intense fight! 
  • Keep it tactical – There are times when Summer and I have a “staff meeting.”  This is when we talk about all the details of the schedule of the coming weeks and months.  The appointments, work schedules, evening meetings, karate classes, baseball games etc.  Intuitively, we both despise these tactical meetings, but we do them because they help us get on the same page!
  • Keep it sensual – Words can soften a moment.  I don’t think Summer ever tires of hearing, “I love you” as long as it is backed with action.  Finding creative specific ways to tell your spouse how much you are in love with them as your friend and lover will bring new life in your marriage.

3.  Physical Passion – Sex is a good thing!  Sex is a God thing!  Making time for each other in the bedroom is and can be a launch pad to deeper intimacy in marriage.  Our Song of Solomon Series at 217church is 8 weeks of what the bible says about love, sex, and marriage.  The bible has plenty to say about the refreshment and healing offered through sexual relationship between a husband and a wife.  A great book to read together is “Intimacy Ignited“.  It specifically address the issue of sexual intimacy in marriage from a biblical perspective.

4.  Regular Rest –  Marriage works when you figure out how to build in breaks and take them together.  This will vary from season to season in your married life.  If you are young and married and have no kids, you usually have no excuse to not get away together!  If you have younger kids, this is going to be a challenge for you!  Learning how to take a sabbath together is one of the most important parts of marriage.  It reunites you in every way.  I always encourage the man to take the lead in planning these times initially. Book the hotel room, the reservation, the flight, etc!  Your bride will no doubt appreciate your effort and see it as an act of love.  Three types of sabbath:

  • The Spontaneous –  Call her for lunch, swing by and pick her up, surprise her with a morning coffee date, go into work an hour later.  Whatever it is, be CREATIVE! 
  • The Routine- This is date night, card night, whatever you love to do together!  Make it a ritual and let nothing get in the way of it.  Summer and I want to be known as the couple that is always seen on dates togehter.  Remember, YOUR CHILDREN ARE LEARNING MARRIAGE from you!
  • The Feast – This is when you getaway at least for a weekend together.  Do what you love, invest in each other, read books together.  Make a memory together.  One of my favorite weekend getaways together was when we rented a cabin in October in Sunriver, Oregon.  The place was empty.  We got massages and it was like the whole resort existed for us.  It was AWESOME!  We also read a book together and dreamed about our future.  That was almost 9 years ago and we talked about what we are doing now.

5.  Selfless Serving – I have never met a couple who made it who gave fifty/fifty!  If you are reading this and are single and want your marriage to work, you better be all in 100%!  This means you get to do stuff that you don’t necessarily want to do, but you learn to love it because you will do anything for your spouse.  The bible actually says that husbands are supposed to lay down our lives for our wife!  That is pretty intense!  Try this one today men:  Take the thing she knows you “don’t like to do” and just do it!  I guarantee her response will be positive.  But don’t do it for the response, do it because she is more valuable to you than anything.  Likewise, the same goes for women.  Pick something that he absolutely loves and serve him in that way.

Josh

 

Josh is the lead pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ planted in 2010.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Grace Rogers School in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15.  Our new East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.

 

 

 

Hope For Your Family

I remember visiting my grandparent’s house every day after school growing up.  My brothers and I would walk to their house and we would get to spend a couple hours there before my father would come and pick us up.  Some of my earliest and favorite memories are of those times with my grandfather.  We would sit and talk about life and just be together.  I will never forget when I would walk in that house, with its old creaky screen door, he would always be there to listen to me.  As I was reflecting back this week on my family and the four generations I have known, my family is where it is today because of the covenant of the marriage relationship.  My parents, the link for me to my grandparents,  have been married for 43 years and counting.  They are still relying on Jesus for hope for their marriage, the backbone of any family. There is great hope for our families because of the covenant of marriage.

The covenant of marriage links generations together from old to young

How Do We Build Strong Families?  Choices.

Life is full of choices, actually endless choices.  What to wear, what to eat, where to live, what profession to embark upon, etc. What are the key choices that give hope to you and your family?

1.  Choose Jesus – Jesus must be at the center of your life if he is going to be at the center of your family.  Everyday you have the ability to choose or reject Jesus in your life.  It’s not just about if you say you believe in Jesus, but what do you live?  Who do you live?  How do you live?

  • Your words – One of the easiest ways to see if you serve Jesus is to evaluate the words you use.  Do you spend more time building each other up or tearing each other down?
  • Your actions – Do people serve you more, or do you spend more time serving others.  If your own interests are always put above the interests of others, you may have a problem.

Action:  Spend time getting to know Jesus today

2.  Choose Your Spouse – Your marriage is the most important relationship on earth you will have.   Some of us have made that choice already and some of us are about to, but regardless, today you can make the right choice!  Choose how you love.  Unfortunately for many of us, we had bad models of marriage and love.  Maybe you didn’t have a dad that loved you, or you never had a family to call your own.  It’s okay. through Jesus, we have the ability to start a new family tree!  It starts today! Choose someone who models the following:

  • Unconditional love- The more you are with someone, the more ideally you learn to love them for who they are, not who you want them to be.  Jesus sets an example for us through the unconditional love of the sacrifice of Himself on the cross.
  • A servant’s heart – There isn’t anything much worse than being around someone who always is demanding things.  If you can find a man or a woman who serves diligently and rigorously, you have 90% of the battle won.

Action:  Pray with or for your future spouse everyday

3.  Choose Your Church Family – God gave us the church to build each other up and encourage us along the difficult road of life.  The church is about relationships and together we celebrate weddings and baby dedications.  We weep with those who weep and celebrate great joy in the successes of others.  Every week we worship together and eat together.  We serve the community with all our heart and energy.  The church may be the single biggest untapped resource in the world today.  As a matter of fact, I can say that with confidence.

Action:  Get in A small group (e-mail dan@217church.com)

My Conclusion Begin with the end in mind.  Some day I want to hold my grandchild’s hand because by God’s grace he has given us the hope of the world, Jesus.  Then someday, Jesus will hold my hand.  We choose to honor the covenant of marriage and the church is here for our benefit.  Let’s be the church that stands for the family.

Josh

Join us for our Song of Solomon, “When Boy Meets Girl” Series starting this Sunday at the AMC 24 in Hamilton, NJ 9:30am & 11:00am:

  • January 27 – The Date (A frank and honest look at dating in our culture)
  • February 3 – The Wedding (Examining what a healthy sexual relationship looks like)

 

 

It’s Getting Hot In Here

Ok, I have to admit, preaching through the Song of Solomon is not going to be easy.  There are some pretty hot and steamy passages that I’m sure you have never heard preached before.  But why is the church so afraid to talk about something that is ordained by God, planned for our benefit and given as a genuine expression of love between one man and one woman for a lifetime? I think the answer is simple.  We have chosen to let the culture say more about sex than the church does.  That is simply a shame.

After 3 years of ministry at 217church, we are ready to see marriages and families strengthened like never before! Starting January 27, we begin an eight-week series on one of the most overlooked books of the bible, Song of Solomon.  It is an ancient poetic book of the bible written by Solomon as an encouragement to us that sex, love and marriage are God ordained and he has a purpose for them.  We all know “when boy meets girl”, sparks fly and things happen!  But what does God’s think healthy sex, love and marriage should look like? I hope you choose to be in a small group during this season.

Our vision is that we would understand the Gospel of Jesus through this book of passionate affection and steamy love poems. We desire for God to heal us from our broken views of sex and marriage. We will see husbands and wives become more committed to each other and we will see our families strengthened because of a deep love and respect for one another!

 

How Will We Approach The Book?

 #1 The Stages of A Relationship Over the 8 weeks, we will be looking at the different stages of what happens “when boy meets girl.”  This amazing love story of Solomon and his young beautiful attractive bride will teach us much about how relationships work and don’t work.  Our culture has a broken view of how sex, love and marriage were meant to be. We will travel from the first date to the first kiss, from the wedding to negotiating the marriage, from handling conflict to getting away and taking a sabbath as couples. God is going to heal our past, meet us in the present and protect our future.

 #2 Appropriately with Modesty – Most of us get red in the face when the topic of sex and physical intimacy come up and the church has been silent for much too long on this beneficial, yet explicit book.  It is time for us to take a mature approach and see what God actually says about intimacy through Solomon.  We believe that All Scripture is Godbreathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) This means we won’t ignore what the bible says and we will teach it with great care.

#3 With Eyes Wide Open WARNING!  Mature Audiences only!  There will be three weeks specifically where we will ask for only a mature audience to be in the room.  This means the weekend message will not be appropriate for your elementary age student. This means teens and certain pre-teens will need to stay and learn about what the bible says about sex.  What your thirteen-year-old boy already knows about sex may surprise you.  We will do everything possible to use the appropriate amount of discretion but you will just have to trust me on this one as my 12-year-old daughter will be in the room!

The Sermon Schedule:

  • January 27th – The Date
  • February 3rd – The Wedding***
  • February 10th – The Marriage***
  • February 24th – The Negotiation
  • March 3rd – The Fight
  • March 10th – The Make Up
  • March 17th – The Getaway***
  • March 24th – The Family

 (***Indicates the material covered may not be appropriate for younger audiences)

 

Three Environments of Reinforcement

#1 Weekend Worship – You will not want to miss a weekend, as every Sunday at 9:30am and 11:00am we will worship collectively together.  The environment will be engaging, challenging and may take your marriage to a new height.

#2 Small Group Connection – We are asking each small group to meet for eight weeks.  Each group will get an 8 lesson DVD video curriculum and each person a small group field guide that will help guide them along the way.  We have some fun times planned for your small group with some great ideas for growth.  We want EVERYONE who calls 217church home to be in a small group.

#3 Individualized Application (Just For “teens/me/us” )-  At the end of the 8 weeks, no matter if you are a teenager, single, dating, shouldn’t be dating, married or divorced, you will have individualized action steps for your life.   Relationship are tough work, but the next generation of kids is depending on us to get this right, This is going to be a game changer!

 

Let’s see what happens when boy meets girl!

Josh