Two quotes and two exercises that might help you lose the “wait” toward oneness in your marriage…

Hard to believe March 1st is tomorrow. That means the Sunday morning equipping focus for the Westpoint Church family moves on from the letter “E” to the letter “N” of the SENT emphasis – “NEIGHBORING.” This next teaching series is entitled “God became neighbor.” We will walk through four Scriptures in the Gospel of John as we consider the implications of God coming near to us. Looking forward to a special Easter season!!!

And here is the final Spouse Beach Diet weigh in! Even still, I hope you and your spouse will continue to give energy and effort to the diet and exercise of marriage together. To wrap up the month, consider the following two quotes and two questions together. Take some time on an upcoming date night or late night coffee at home to thoroughly discuss them. It may be just the workout you need to continue to lose the “wait” toward oneness and to go with God together on the intimate, beautiful intended mission of your marriage.

First quote…

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

QUESTION _ if the Gospel is not just something you trusted one day for conversion but everyday for abundant life in Christ, AND if the Gospel is something that is embodied more than just intellectually received, then how might you and your spouse need to center the Gospel more in your marriage? How is it absent from your relationship (in ways that you treat each other)? How would it be displayed to one another if Gospel was more central to your relationship?

Next quote…

“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

QUESTION _ How are love and truth playing a part in your relationship? How might one or the other be missing? HUSBANDS – is your wife certain that, like Christ, the one thing she will always be able to count on is your love and your presence? WIVES – is your husband encouraged and affirmed in the ways that you communicate your needs, or is he discouraged and torn down? How can love and truth draw you closer toward each other? And how, if applied, might it transform the way you communicate with each other?

Hope this is a meaningful and fruitful exercise, even if it is hard, even if it hurts. Please remember that difficult does NOT equal bad. Often, in fact, it equals becoming. In the context of marriage, often it equals becoming one.

Much love.

-jason

Cultivating Daily unto the Nations: one couple’s story of how they love the nations from right where they are…

My friends Chad and Cindy got wrecked by this transforming love of Jesus that compelled them to love neighbors and nations. They began to pray for specific, relational wisdom as to how they would could love the nations from where they are with their precious family. I asked them recently to answer a few questions that I thought would encourage the rest of us as we seek wisdom on cultivating daily unto the nations from right where we are.

Here are their responses:

:: you decided to use your everyday energy and resources to cultivate the near love of Jesus unto the nations, specifically to people in Ethiopia. Why did you do that?

Over several years, God gave us compassion for the children of Africa. From the child soldier in war ravaged Uganda, to the poorest of poor in Ethiopia, and to families to lack clean, safe water. Over time, that feeling of compassion and ever evolving understanding of the Gospel led us to action. Understanding (as best we could) the saving grace of Jesus Christ compels us to love our neighbor. For us, it’s a form of worship. We are so thankful for the blessings God has given us and want to share those blessings and the Gospel with those neighbors.

:: what have been some of the challenges along the way?

Some challenges were trying to discern between the general call to love the poor and the specific calling on our lives and how God wanted us to specifically respond. We strive to be faithful to God’s call. Also challenging is helping fellow Christians understand the need to love globally. Americans in particular need to look beyond our cities and our needs; we need to respond locally and globally. Ultimately, we know it is the Holy Spirit who must spur someone to act in love toward their neighbor.

::  what are two stories of fruit you have seen from what you have cultivated so far?

First, we were absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Advent Conspiracy in 2010. Many churches raised funds for a well at Chapa School in Awassa, Ethiopia. Many sites struggle for years to raise necessary funds and the Churches of West Orange did it in two months! The well was installed in June 2011 and I’ll always remember the absolute joy at the thought of what that clean, safe water will mean to that community.

Second, Chad and I felt compelled to raise money for Living Water International for more opportunities for clean water by running a half-marathon in January 2012. We set our goal for $1300, which would mean clean water for 13 families for an entire generation! We hit our goal and the funds went to the most needed places, particularly the Horn of Africa where there has been a horrible drought and famine. It felt wonderful to run for someone else! And drinking water at those water stops along the way of the race was very meaningful to me. I will never look at water in the same way again.

::  what would you suggest to someone wanting to get started in doing this themselves?

Just do it. Maybe God has been pushing you toward a particular action. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith with action. Some excellent books in understanding the need and how you can respond are:  Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt, Fast Living: How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty by Scott C. Todd, PhD., and Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller

:: any specific ways someone can support what you are doing right now?

We are always looking for people willing to sponsor children at Chapa School. Children’s HopeChest (hopechest.org) is the sponsoring organization and they have many needs. Also, Living Water International (water.cc) is an excellent organization that a person could support.

_______________________

Thanks Chad and Cindy. So grateful for you. You can read more about Chad and Cindy at the “Go and Do the Same” website, the name of the ministry they started to love the nations.

May we go and do the same.
-jason