Tag Archives: Marriage

Fight for a Big Marriage

“Marriages can so easily become introverted and indulgent. The couple spend most of their time with each other. Because marriage is a such good thing, this is often justified with fine-sounding Christian language.” Most of which is born out of the fear of all the failed marriages we experience around us.  “But introverted marriages eventually shrivel and they become small marriages with small horizons.” (Tim Chester: Gospel Centred Marriage, p20)

But that is not what God wants for your marriage. Your marriage is to be a picture of the relationship between God and his people. Between Christ and the church. Your marriage is not your own. You have been blessed in order to be a blessing to the world. God’s desire is that your marriage is big and full and rich and satisfying. And here is the paradox of grace, how do you get that rich, full and satisfying marriage? By hoarding it? By protecting it? By incessant me-time? Date Nights? Alone time? No you find the joy and the richness and wonder of God’s plan for marriage when you fling open the door of exclusivity and your marriage becomes a partnership of blessing and of grace.

Resist the urge to have a small marriage. Lots of good, well-meaning and Christian sounding advice will encourage it. You will find lots of reasons to justify it. But fight instead for a big marriage – a marriage of blessing, of grace. A marriage that is a beautiful reflection of our beautiful Saviour.

Give your lives away in the service of our Saviour. Share your bread with the hungry, your home with the hurting, your table with unlovely. Love deeply. Share generously. Dream big, kingdom sized dreams together. Create a home of rest and of restoration for a broken and hurting world. Risk everything for His mission. Share the gospel passionately. Wrestle with his Word. Value mission over materialism. People over programmes. Prayer and Rest over busyness. Serving over having. Have soft hearts. Live with contentment. Give generously and bless extravagantly.

The world and well-wishers will offer you all sorts of well-meaning advice but block your ears to the play-it-safers, block your ears to the middle-of-the-roaders, the keep-it-respectables and the play by the rulers Block your ears and run to embrace God’s bigger, greater and altogether more beautiful calling on your lives and your marriage. And then your marriage will be like that city on a hill, where the light cannot be hidden. It will point beyond itself to the wedding feast of the Lamb. It will be a bold and beautiful declaration in word and deed that it good to live under the reign of King Jesus.

Advertisements

Is your church plant gospel-centred?

If you are wondering what it could look like for a church to be gospel-centred this is a great post by Steve Timmis from the Acts 29 Western Europe blog.

“It takes the whole Bible to expound the gospel, so reducing it to three sentences is inadequate. But this summary provides a necessary reference point for considering the question of this post: Jesus, God’s promised Rescuer and Ruler, lived our life and died our death. He rose again in triumphant vindication as the first fruits of the age to come. He brings forgiven sinners together by the Holy Spirit to live as his people, under his gracious reign, as we point to and wait for the New Creation.

To be gospel-centred means that the gospel is not only to be the focal point but also that which sets and sustains the culture of our churches.

Our preaching must be the gospel, the whole gospel, and nothing but the gospel. We don’t preach moralism, sentimentalism, emotionalism, behaviourism, abstentionism, antinomianism or legalism. Whether we’re preaching from a podium or teaching in a living room, to whomever, wherever, whatever the issue – we preach the good news that is Christ.

Prayer and singing are opportunities to rehearse the gospel. It is through both that our affections are excited and we’re reorientated around the gospel, which renews, shapes and directs our hearts.

Don’t let business meetings get hi-jacked into being about protocol or procedure. Meeting times, Bible translations, instruments and coffee brands are all gospel issues.

If the gospel isn’t central, don’t be surprised when our youth jump ship. No matter how “sexy” our meetings, we can’t compete with the world’s sizzle. Youth ministry must faithfully bring the gospel to young people.

What will keep a couple together in 10 years’ time is not a compatibility test, but the gospel. Rehearse the gospel in your marriage preparation; massage it deep into the hearts of your men and women.

Train people in, with and for the gospel. The gospel enables them to disciple others, engage with non-Christians, answer critics, respond to hard questions and cope with disappointment & failure, joy & success.

In pastoral care, take people to the compelling truth of a God who, in Christ, justly forgives sinners. It tells me of my sin and of my Saviour. I no longer have to justify myself. Lying becomes unnecessary, forgiveness a reality, reconciliation a certainty.

Our mission is the gospel! We’re not here for our comfort or renown. The gospel is the unique contribution we make to a fallen world. So whatever other legitimate activities we support (relief, infrastructures, emergency aid), the gospel is that which sets us apart.

To be gospel-centred means that the gospel shapes and defines everything we are and do as God’s people. Which, like so many good and vital things, is a lot easier said than done. But, since when has ease of implementation ever been a necessary criterion.”