In Case You Didn’t Know…

It Really is all about Jesus. Which means, it’s not about you. This is a good thing.

The quicker you realize this, the quicker you will find freedom, rest, and peace.

 

Your life, is all about Jesus.

Your career, is all about Jesus.

Your relationships, are all about Jesus.

Your future, is all about Jesus.

Your dreams, goals, pursuits, are all about Jesus.

Your marriage, is all about Jesus.

Your parenting, is all about Jesus.

Your religious activity, is all about Jesus.

Your rescue and reconciliation, is all about Jesus.

Your good standing before a holy and righteous God, is all about Jesus.

Your need to accomplish nothing (nada, zilch, zero) to be accepted by God, is all about Jesus.

Your status as a blood bought saint (formerly, a hell-bound sinner), is all about Jesus.

 

I think you get it. It’s all about Jesus!

So live out of that today. You don’t need anything else to determine your worth, value, dignity, and identity.

You have been given every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3). There is nothing more that you need. You have it all.

Live within that reality today! It’s more freeing than you could ever even comprehend.

 

 

Glory Mongers

“Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.” – Acts 12:23

This is the fate that Herod suffered, upon delivering an oration in Acts 12 that led people to exclaim “The voice of a God, and not of a man.” Josephus called his exit “death by a thousand worms.” Now that would be a tough way to go out. Herod decided to not give God the glory and he paid the ultimate price for doing so. The judgment seems swift and harsh but the truth is, in one way or another, everyone who decides to be a glory monger will suffer the same fate as Herod.

God requires one thing from mankind: “To honor Him as God and to give thanks to Him.” But mankind is futile in our thinking and our foolish hearts are darkened. We actually talk ourselves into believing that we are wise, but instead we become fools, because we in turn exchange the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man (or just man himself). This is from Romans 1:21-23.

For this very reason, God gives us up to the lusts of our hearts, to dishonorable passions, and to a debased mind (Rom 1:24; 26; and 28). This is a fancy way of saying we have all (who fit into this category, which is all of us) received our death sentence just as Herod has.

Our default mode is to be glory mongers. We desire the glory. It’s why you put so much stock into what others think about you. It’s why you check Facebook 100 times a day. It’s why you don’t really ever let anyone see and know your messes. It’s why you are quick to take credit when you’ve accomplished something grand and even quicker to deflect and blame shift when you screw up.

Here is the honest truth. We need Jesus. We don’t need to be like him. Honestly, you and I can’t. We just need Him. I shouldn’t want the glory because I make for a terrible god. I’m super selfish and stingy. To be a glory monger means you want to play god. But just like Herd, you are a terrible god.

You see, Jesus is worthy of all the glory because He wasn’t about His own glory. He was about someone else’s: The Father’s. Even crazier is that he has also brought us into that glory which would make us partakers. Meaning, we get to be glorified one day. That is crazy. Those who want all the glory, who don’t deserve it, and who won’t get it on this earth are chosen by God to be partakers of glory, so He pays for our crime of being glory mongers, and then brings us into His glory as benefactors for us to experience it for eternity.

What. The. Heck.

Thoughts About Baptism As An Act Of Obedience

There is a lot said about obedience in Scripture. Paul begins his letter to the Roman church with obedience on his mind (“…to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations…” Rom 1:5). Preceding this statement is the qualifier in v3-4 (“Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace…”). Obedience is made possible through the grace of Jesus. But the point is that it IS possible. Now, this just isn’t any old run-of-the-mill obedience. It is obedience of FAITH. Because of the grace of Christ, we can live out a faithful obedience; one that draws us nearer to God and further from sin.

One of the greatest outward evidences of the grace of Jesus in the life of a person is baptism. For sure baptism displays the theology behind a person entering into a new life in Christ (“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Rom 6:4). But at the same time, baptism is an act of obedience. It is a person declaring, “Jesus has changed my life and I want many to know about it!”

So I guess  the question now should be, “What are you waiting for?“. Here’s the truth: Obedience reflects true conversion. Don’t get hung up on a person’s decision to “invite” Jesus into their heart. Watch and see what happens after the decision. If a person has been saved by the grace of Jesus, the automatic response will be obedience. Jesus’ brother, James, put it pretty bluntly: “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17). We don’t work for our salvation. We work from our salvation. Baptism illustrates this splendidly.

So what are you waiting for? And if you have been baptized, then you should be (by the grace of Christ) “bringing about the obedience of faith” in others. Yep, you need to be encouraging others to take this step of obedience as well.

5 Proofs That You Could Be a Functional Racist

Yesterday I preached from Acts 10:1-33 at Aletheia Church. This is the part of Acts where a non-Jew takes center stage and we see cultural and ethnic barriers shattered by the power of the gospel. Peter’s racism (whether it is intentional or unintentional, it’s racism) comes out in full force, especially in v14 where He tells the Lord “By no means, Lord…”, when he is commanded by God to stop viewing certain foods (really, people) as common or unclean.

In almost the very next moment, we see God’s transforming power bring Peter to obedience, as he invites three Gentile men into the place where he was staying and then, the very next day, he is on his way to Caesarea (a mostly Gentile town) to preach the gospel to a bunch of Gentiles. This was a massive moment in the narrative of Acts. Every possible barrier between Jew and Gentile is broken down by the loving grace and truth of the gospel.

This passage got me thinking about something. I think many of us set up our lives unintentionally (but maybe it is really intentional, especially when we start uncovering the idols of our hearts – i.e. comfort, safety, self-preservation, pride, control etc.) to completely barricade ourselves against anyone who may be different than us. Think about the people in your life. Most of them are probably very similar to you. Sure, they have different stories than you, but for the most part, they look like you, have the same interests that you have, and live similar lives to you. We aren’t comfortable with the alternative. So we set up our lives to avoid the people who are different than us. Call it what you want. I call it functional racism.

Here are 5 proofs that you could be a functional racist:

1. There is nobody in your life – that you are doing life with – who is different than you (culturally, ethnically speaking).

2. You don’t really go outside of your life box that often.

Most of us tend to position our lives in such a way (the neighborhoods we live in, the places we grocery shop, the parts of the city we visit) that don’t allow for us to even really ever interact with anyone who is different than us.

3. You don’t really look for opportunities to build relationships/friendships with people who are different than you.

Building relationships take work. Because of that, we tend to gravitate towards building them with those who are most like us because it takes the least amount of work.

4. We have convinced ourselves we are better than others who are not like us by believing the stigmas and stereotypes about people.

Come on, you know we are all guilty of this. It’s called self-righteousness. And it is toxic.

5. We make excuses why we aren’t doing life with people who are different than us (i.e. “I can’t help that everyone in my life looks like me and falls within the same socio-economic category that I do.”).

 

The bad news is that most of us are guilty of these things in one way, shape, or form. The good news is that the gospel of grace and peace is one that has shattered any and every barrier that our sinful hearts tend to create. We need to pray that God would grant us repentance with this matter and that our hearts would be changed by the power and love of Jesus, so that we can love Jesus more and love His created humans more, no matter who they are, and how unlike us they are.

The promise given all the way back in Is 49, that “His salvation may reach to the end of the earth”; and Ps 98, “The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.”, is being fulfilled. You see, the gospel knows no boundaries. It is not limited by geography, race, or culture. It doesn’t see those things as deterrents. Not only does it welcome them, it has overcome them in every sense of the word, allowing now for reconciliation to take place between man and God, and man and man. Praise Jesus for His undying love, mercy, and grace for people.

7 Things I’ve Learned About Raising A Son

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In honor of my first born son’s 7th birthday today, I thought it would be good to write down the 7 most significant lessons I’ve learned during the past 7 years.

1. The early years are by far the hardest.

Most of the feelings of despair, inadequacy, and failure as a father happen during the first 3 years of your son’s life. I remember at a men’s small group Bible study when Drew was about 6 month’s old (and he was still keeping us up all night long), I actually said, “Guys, pray for me. I am thinking about throwing my kid out a window.” They all laughed. I said “I’m serious!”

2. Discipline can and should be an opportunity for grace.

The key to discipline is consistency, truth, and grace. There is no grander opportunity to teach your son about his depravity and the consequences of his depravity than during discipline. Most dads swing between the balance of being too harsh (I’ve been here many times) and too lenient (little to no boundaries). There is also (more importantly) no greater opportunity to show your kids the gospel of Jesus than during discipline. Your son needs to to know when they are wrong. More importantly, they need to know who has taken their wrongs to the cross and died for them all.

3. Lead out in repentance as often as you sin.

This was a game-changer in our home. In my spiritual blindness early on in my marriage and my son’s life, I was under the impression that I always needed to be right. And if I made a mistake, it was someone else’s fault, or, there was some justification for it. Nothing softens my son’s heart more than when I come to him and say “Daddy is sorry, Drew. Daddy needs Jesus just as much as you do. Daddy was wrong and he needs Jesus so that he can be forgiven and changed.” In my mind, nothing points my family to Jesus more in our home than when I own up to my sin and express my need for Jesus.

4. Don’t fit your son into the mold you think he needs to fit into.

I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t playing ball. So I thought that was the path Drew needed to be on. But Drew has always really been into things like cars and trucks, light sabers and swords, and superheroes and Lego’s. I had to come to grips with the fact that he may never even like sports and that is okay. Now, I must interject that all of a sudden, over the past 3 months, he has become a basketball fanatic. For a dad who played college basketball and who loves the sport to no end, this is grace upon grace for me haha. But seriously, let your kid have his own interests and make those interests your interests.

5. Tell your son every single day that your greatest desire for him is that he knows and loves Jesus.

I may go a day or two here and there, but this is one statement I am wearing out with my son(s). Drew is a great kid, who is super gifted, and super sweet. He is good at mostly everything he does. He is great looking (thanks to his mom). God opens doors for him. I can tell the grace of God is so much over his life. He will probably pretty much be able to go any direction he wants to in life. And what do I focus on? None of that stuff. I just bring it back to one statement. That’s it. If he knows and loves Jesus, everything else will work itself out, even if things end badly for him.

6. Pray for him and over him every single day.

My main prayer every night is that Drew would love Jesus with all of his heart, with all of his soul, with all of his mind, and with all of his strength. Why? Because Deut 6 tells me that I must teach my children how to do this very thing. The teaching begins with prayer. When I get to that portion in the prayer every night, because I’ve said it so many times, Drew and his little brother Asher pray it out loud with me and it makes me happy. Most of the time when I pray for my sons, I make sure my hands are on their heads or backs. This makes the moment that much more intimate.

7. Be his dad, not his best friend.

I want so badly for Drew to be my best friend as he gets older. If I’m going to be honest, sometimes I parent him as a friend rather than a son. He needs a dad, not another friend (he has plenty of those). God gave me him to be his dad first and foremost. What I’m learning is that we are becoming better friends as a result of me being hid dad first.

Happy Birthday Drew! I love you so much and am so blessed to be your daddy. You are a grace upon grace in my life.

10 Ways to Know Your Church is all About Jesus

1. His name is said a lot whenever the church is gathered.

If the pastor or the people aren’t saying the name “Jesus” early and often when there is any sort of gathering, all signs point to His lack of importance.

2. He is always celebrated.

If your church isn’t always celebrating who Jesus is and what He has done then He is just not that important to the church.

3. He is the main focus of every single sermon.

Churches tend to make man central (i.e. “3 steps to get your life back on track”). If Jesus is just a sub point or a side note in a sermon, He is, again, just not that important.

4. He is the main subject of the mission statement.

If Jesus isn’t driving your church’s mission statement, then He is not central to the mission of your church.

5. He is the main character of people’s stories of redemption.

This is something that has bothered me a lot lately. At times, when people talk about how they “came to Christ”, it’s all about someone else (which I get is a super important element, but the person who invites you to church did not atone for your sins; neither did you do anything to bring yourself to a point of “readiness” for Jesus to save you). If Jesus isn’t the main character of people’s “testimony” within the church, he probably is just a supporting actor at the church.

6. He is the hero.

If your church isn’t gushing over who Jesus is all of the time, then He might as well be the Robin to your Batman.

7. He is actually changing people’s lives within the church.

If nobody’s life is ever changing within a local church, that’s a pretty good sign that Jesus is nowhere to be found.

8. People will be saved by His grace and people will be baptized.

After all, Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost and to give His life a ransom for many (Mk 10:45). If your church never sees people saved by the grace of Jesus and if there are never any baptisms to serve as a public demonstration that He has done so, then Jesus is nowhere to be found. His mission is to save and He WILL use His church to accomplish this mission. That is a guarantee.

9. There will be more talk about changed lives than numbers, buildings, and dollars.

Listen: Numbers, buildings, and dollars are all good things because they reflect the grace of Jesus over the church. But they don’t and can’t ever atone for sin. Only Jesus can change lives. That should be our focus.

10. There is a sense of hope within the church.

Only Jesus can truly provide hope. And if your church just doesn’t have any hope, more than likely Jesus is not central. A church who is walking in the fear of the Lord (Jesus) and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, is a church that is primed and ready to face anything that may come her way. Glory to Christ for the hope He gives.

May we all look for churches that are pointing people to Jesus and living and giving out the true hope that only Jesus provides. It truly is all about Him!

 

Dear Dads, This is How to Redeem Summer With Your Kids

Growing up, summer was always my favorite time of the year. Why? Because I didn’t have to go to school! Since I was at home a lot more, it provided many more opportunities for connecting with my dad. Now that I am a dad, I want to maximize these moments as much as I can, knowing that one day they will be gone.

  • Have a plan. This should involve moments that you have carved out of your schedule each week to spend with the kids. Before the beginning of each week, think through what these moments are going to look like. Here are a few ideas:
  1. One morning a week, take your kids out for breakfast. Breakfast is cheap (i.e. donuts). Mom gets a break. And you get some quality time with the kiddos.
  2. One afternoon a week, try to get off work a bit early and take your kids to the pool or beach. If neither are accessible, break out the hose and sprinkler.
  3. Push bed time back a bit a couple nights out of the week and do something fun (game night, late night swim, watching a movie, playing legos or dolls).
  4. Make sure you are doing the bed time routine every night. Mom has been chasing the crazies all day long. She will need a break. And this will give you a great opportunity to spiritually invest in the kiddos with some Scripture reading and prayer. And if you are tired after a long day of work, get over it. Mom is more tired than you are. That’s a fact!
  • Make sure whatever you do, you do it intentionally. Your plan doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it better be intentional. Otherwise you will not stick to it, or you will but not fully, and therefore not be engaged.
  • Prepare to make extra sacrifices. Since summer brings about a new routine for the family, you will probably have to pick up the slack a little bit more in areas that you didn’t have to during the school year.
  • Look for opportunities to chop it up with your kids. My kids will talk my ear off if I open up to that. Look for these opportunities and use them as teaching times. I am convinced that I have become a better communicator because I’ve had to learn how to really explain things to my kids. If you can explain things to a 3 year old, you can explain anything to anyone.
  • Bring your kids to work with you every once in a while (if your job allows that – I’m thinking of my good friend who works in a machine shop right now). Even though your kids may not particularly enjoy this the way you want them to (because it’s not  part of their rhythm), they will always remember it. Sometimes I will just bring the kids (all three of them) in my office and put a movie on.

            Actually, as I write this, it is 8:55am, on a work day. Mom is at a doctor’s appointment, and the kids – well, my boys at least – are watching a movie and loving just being near me while I work.

The added bonus of this again is that mom gets a break 😉

  • Find out what they really love doing and do a lot of that with them over the summer. On any given day, I can be found playing with baby dolls, legos, balls, pink blankets, and more legos.
  • Take More Breaks From the Work Rut Than Normal (if possible). Listen, you need to work. Because you need to provide for your family. But your kids will only be kids for so long. You will always be working, well into their adult years. Sadly, work is not going anywhere haha. But when possible, go into work a little late (early on another day to make it up) and come home early (and, again, stay late another day).

On that note, since I’ve worked most nights this week, I will take the rest of this day off (because God’s grace and the freedom of my job allows me to do so) and go swim with my kids.

  • Pray for the grace of Jesus to sustain you; to give you a love for your children (even when they are unlovable), to grant you strength to be gracious, merciful, slow to anger, sensitive to their feelings, not harsh, present, life-giving, passionate, energized, and most of all, the greatest bridge in your children’s lives between them and Jesus. Pray for that. God will answer it.

 

Nine Years Ago Today

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It is rare that you can look back nine years to the day into the past and remember exactly what you were doing. It comes a little easier when the day you are looking back upon is your wedding day. Right at this moment nine years ago, I was waking up with my eleven groomsmen (yep, I had eleven) at a Days Inn in Radford, Virginia. We were about to hit up some breakfast and a matinee showing of “S.W.A.T.” (starring Collin Farrell).

I remember the day being fun, relaxing, and full of anticipation. I was going to marry the beautiful, blonde-haired, brown-eyed (with a hint of green on the outer edges of the iris, if the lighting is just right), spunky, hard working, dedicated, loyal, faithful, bit of a temper having (haha) woman that had come into my life just 15 months earlier. To say that I was pumped would be the greatest understatement of my life.

I realize that nine years is not that long, but take my word for it when I say that these last nine years have felt more like twenty. Why? Because we have (in the words of Red in Shawshank Redemption) gotten busy living.

Here’s the 15 second version for you:

  • We have moved 5 times.
  • We have traveled to 5 different countries.
  • We have been pregnant 5 times.
  • We suffered through a miscarriage.
  • We buried our second born son at just 5 and a half weeks old.
  • We lost a house to defective drywall (and subsequently a lot of money).
  • We have been sued (for walking away from said house with defective drywall).
  • We have planted multiple churches.
  • We have started a business (well, Ashlee has, at least).
  • We have been on several road trips all up and down the east coast.
  • We have seen friends come and go.
  • We have seen family members come and go.
  • We have had more highs and lows than most married couples at nine years.

It certainly has been a roller coaster. And we haven’t always handled everything with grace. But Jesus continues to handle us with His grace. Through it all, I have come to a place where I love my wife more today than I ever have before. And I think she would say the same thing about me. Now that is grace!

Here are a few things I have learned about being a husband over the past nine years:

  1. Find out how she receives love. For so long, I tried to fit Ashlee into some type of mold, thinking that I would determine how she receives love the best. That didn’t work out really well.
  2. Don’t ever stop dating her. Somewhere between the one year anniversary and the 283 children that show up all of the sudden (seemingly), the whole dating bit actually becomes a job. Well, clock in on that job like it’s your second full time job.
  3. If you tell your wife you are going to do something, you better do it. She has a much better memory than you.
  4. Don’t try to over-spiritualize everything. As a pastor, this one is huge. I have Jesus-juked my wife so many times over the years. She sees right through it now and calls me out on it. She always needs truth, but it doesn’t always have to be communicated. Sometimes, she just needs me to listen and then (maybe) say a little prayer for her.
  5. If you have expectations of daily super spiritual moments with your wife, where you are reading the Word together for hours, and praying tongues of fire over one another, you’ll probably be let down. Lower the expectations, see the grace in your failure as a spiritual leader (because it actually helps to point her to Jesus more), and repent of your pride and self-righteousness. Start by devoting two times a week to some sort of spiritual cultivation within the marriage (just you and her). Ashlee and I read Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” on Mondays and then on Thursdays, we either watch a sermon, read Scripture, or read a topical book that is gospel-based.
  6. Make sure you always elevate her above your kids. This might seem like a no-brainer but it isn’t. There will be times when loving the kids feels more instinctive and natural then loving your spouse. She needs to know that she comes before the kids. And the kids need to know that mom comes before them.
  7. Don’t be so darn practical all the time. Most of my decisions are made out of practicality (even when it comes to a date night). This completely eliminates romance from the marriage.
  8. Be ready for her to change (a lot). Ashlee has changed and developed in so many ways over the years. For example, when I met her, her color choices for decoration were blue and green. Now, she loves everything white (and I am not over-exaggerating when I say, she LOVES white. Our house is very quickly turning into a showroom for all things white).
  9. Don’t expect her to love everything that you do. At first I didn’t embrace this very well. I wanted her to love Kobe Bryant as much as I did and for some reason she had no desire to don the Lakers #8 jersey  and watch every Laker game with me (Hmm, Go figure!).
  10. Know that only by the grace of Jesus can you truly love your wife as Christ loved the church. Desire this grace. Pray for this grace. Know this grace. Receive this grace.

Happy nine year Anniversary, Ashlee! I am undeserving of you. And you are the greatest grace in my life here on earth. I pray that I can love you the way Christ loves His church, in even greater depths, to even greater lengths more than I have the past nine years, in the next nine years.

Two Kingdoms, One King

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching from Acts 8:9-25. What jumps out of that passage is the idea of two kingdoms: The kingdom of man and the kingdom of God. And they are most definitely at odds with one another (aka they don’t coexist, my friends). A man named Simon is saying he “is the power of God” (because of his incredible magical feats) and is calling himself somebody great and has led the people in the city of Samaria to call him “Great“. But when people hear the good news from Phillip “about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,” they believe and are baptized. What is true here? That one kingdom is greater than the other, despite, the so-called “greatness” of the lesser kingdom. And there is one king. His name is Jesus. And His greatness is determined by His ability to be the solution for our greatest need. You see, the people of Samaria, although amazed by the magical powers and prowess of Simon, could not be rescued, forgiven, and delivered by his powers and prowess. Only Jesus and His gospel could accomplish that within the lives of these people. They knew this.

Every single day, we are presented with two kingdoms (three if you count the kingdom of darkness – “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” Col 1:13). We also every single day have the option to submit ourselves to either kingdom.

  • The one kingdom (the kingdom of man) is where we are the king and is where our idols are the source, object, and application of our worship.
  • The other kingdom (the kingdom of God) is where Jesus is KING, and where he is the source, object, and application of our worship.

This morning, Ashlee and I were doing our normal Monday morning sync up, where we read Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” and then pray for each other, and a wonderful thing happened. What we read spoke directly to this issue. Of course Spurgeon says it a whole lot better than I can, so here you go.

 

“I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.”
Ecclesiastes 10:7
Upstarts frequently usurp the highest places, while the truly great pine in obscurity. This is a riddle in providence whose solution will one day gladden the hearts of the upright; but it is so common a fact, that none of us should murmur if it should fall to our own lot. When our Lord was upon earth, although he is the Prince of the kings of the earth, yet he walked the footpath of weariness and service as the Servant of servants: what wonder is it if his followers, who are princes of the blood, should also be looked down upon as inferior and contemptible persons? The world is upside down, and therefore, the first are last and the last first. See how the servile sons of Satan lord it in the earth! What a high horse they ride! How they lift up their horn on high! Haman is in the court, while Mordecai sits in the gate; David wanders on the mountains, while Saul reigns in state; Elijah is complaining in the cave while Jezebel is boasting in the palace; yet who would wish to take the places of the proud rebels? and who, on the other hand, might not envy the despised saints? When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.
Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince, and make the members of the body instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and he therefore sets our powers and faculties in due rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties which link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement, but ask for grace that we may keep under our body and bring it into subjection. We were not new created to allow our passions to rule over us, but that we, as kings, may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Allow Jesus to define what greatness is. As Spurgeon said, “Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.”

Allow Jesus to rule and reign over your life today, no matter how “not-so-great” you may feel.

Heirs in the Grace of Life

1 Peter 3:7 says that men and women who have entered into the marriage covenant together are “heirs in the grace of life”.

There is no doubt that this is the season for weddings. At the church I pastor, we have had many of them recently, including the past 3 weeks (and more to come). Now I typically don’t enjoy weddings because of the cultural hoopla that surrounds them (the words excess, decadence, overkill, and vain extremism, come to mind). But as I get older, and as I’ve learned that wedding days give me a platform to lead people to Jesus (instead of making it about the bride and groom), I secretly am beginning to enjoy them (keep that on the down low, por favor).

You may be asking why I am beginning to enjoy weddings. Well, here you go…

  1. One of the greatest gifts from God (common grace – grace that God extends to all of humanity) is marriage. I get to live that gift out every day with my wonderful wife.
  2. One of the greatest gifts to the local church is seeing people come together within the community, under the marriage covenant, united in Christ, as followers of Christ.
  3. Weddings are one of the greatest evidences of fruit within the life of a local church.

(In fact, the amount of weddings a church may have in a given year can be used as a sort of metric to analyze the church’s growth. aka The more weddings, the more numerical growth you experience)

  • They are a celebration of life.
  • They are a celebration of God’s goodness.
  • They are celebration of God’s original design for the ultimate, intimate male and female relationship (see Genesis 2).
  • They are a celebration of hope (hope for a wonderful life together but even more profoundly, hope for a greater covenant that saves us from sin).
  • They are a celebration of growth (figuratively and literally speaking haha).
  • They are a celebration of sanctification (when people choose to marry, they are essentially saying – even if they don’t quite understand the full implication of this yet – “I’m ready to be further sanctified!”).
  • They are an opportunity to celebrate the grace of Jesus in the lives of individuals within the community.

How could this be so? Because two people are saying “I am choosing to enter into this covenant knowing full well that the person I am marrying is imperfect.” This is why marriage is a picture of the gospel. Jesus brings us into a covenant relationship with him knowing full well that we have failed Him and are going to fail Him again (many times). He chooses to love us even though we won’t love Him in return. He chooses to save us even though we don’t deserve His rescue. He chooses to be in relationship with him even though we make for terrible friends.

So for me, wedding days are not so much about the bride and groom. They are about Jesus. The reason why Peter can say that two people entering into a marriage covenant are “heirs in the grace of life” is because of Jesus and His love for humanity. And since I believe Jesus is the only hope for life and for marriages, then bring on the weddings. Heck, I might even be so inclined to say “the more the merrier!”. Well, let’s not get too crazy!