The following list of ‘Five Essentials for a Lasting Relationship’ are taken from a booklet of that name that I give to every couple that I counsel or am about to marry. It is written by Pastor Ron Berrus of the Bible Baptist Church of Shiremanstown, PA who is a friend of mine.
Essential #1 Respect – demonstrated to your spouse through Listening. I Peter 2:17
Essential #2 Honesty – demonstrated to your spouse through Speaking. Ephesians 4:15
Essential #3 Commitment – demonstrated to your spouse through Serving. Micah 6:8
Essential #4 Acceptance – demonstrated to your spouse through Embracing. Romans 15:7
Essential #5 Forgiveness – demonstrated to your spouse through Praying. Ephesians 4:32
To read a full pdf copy of Pastor Berrus’ book click here: http://www.ronberrus.abwe.org/site_content/attachments/0000/1729/A_Booklet_Five_Essentials_Web_Ready_04_20_09.pdf
Having now completed ten years of the pastorate I have counseled countless couples going through various degrees of marriage difficulties. Having studied, read and prepared over these years has lead me to compile the following list of questions which I always use. This is a fluid list – I may add to it at any time. Perhaps these questions will bring value to any relationship well before one needs to meet with a counselor.
1) If my marriage was good tomorrow, how would I know?
2) What effort am I putting into my marriage to make it stronger?
3) In what ways do I complement my spouse?
4) Is your spouse aware of the needs you have and how to meet them?
5) Everyone knows what they would like to change in their spouse – but what would your spouse like for you to change?
6)What is the most recent positive thing you have done for your spouse?
7) What is the dream you had for your marriage and how does it relate to today? Was is realistic to begin with?
8) Do you understand God’s view of marriage? Genesis 2:18-25, Ephesians 5:23-33, Ephesians 5:22-33
A good review of these questions from time to time will help keep your marriage on track. Taking time to evaluate your marriage and your personal dedication to your spouse will go a long way towards spiritual success in your marriage.
Beginning with this post I will focus on issues that families and couples deal with. I will focus on some of the counseling advice and, more importantly, some of the Biblical advice we have as we face these issues.
As an introduction, here are 3 important facts to consider:
1) Satan is real and Satan wants to destroy your family. The Bible tells us that Satan is “a roaring lion seeking about whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). While there are plenty of issues that we deal with in the flesh that may hinder our marriage and our relationship with our children, we dare not forget that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). There is a spiritual and invisible ware going on for your home and for your marriage.
2) God wants your marriage and your home to be strong and healthy and He gives us the tools to make it work. As much as Satan wants to destroy your marriage -God wants your marriage to succeed. God uses marriage as a picture of His relationship to Israel in the Old Testament and His relationship to the church in the New Testament. God tells us that He is our Father and that we are His children. God uses the home as a clear picture of His relationship with us. It is no wonder that Satan wants to destroy the home and God wants to strengthen it. God gives us tools through His Holy Word and through His Holy Spirit (more on this in a later post).
3) Marriage is not a competition and training our children is not optional. We are not in a competition with our spouse. Too many couples are trying to ‘one-up’ each other. They need to get the last word in. They need the situations where they can say ‘I told you so’. The Bible tells us that we are one. The Word of God also commands us to ‘train up a child in the way he should go’ (Proverbs 22:6). Parents today are content to relinquish child rearing to church, school and community.
Our goal in the following posts is to follow God’s plan to having a strong home and a healthy marriage.
The struggle for churches in the beginning of the twenty-first century is how to reach the younger generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we move into a Post-modern world we are faced with new challenges. How do we reach our culture without being influenced by our culture?
The Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 1997. They are the younger generation and they are the largest generation since the Baby Boomers. They think different than Generation X, Baby Boomers or Builders. They have a post-modern philosophy (more about that in the next post). After much research and many surveys it appears that Millennials value: Sense of Community, Value of Opinion, Need to Participate and Finding something Genuine. In the case of religion we find that they like for church to feel like church. They are not turned off by stained glass, older hymns or sacred traditions.
So how can we relate to these Millennials today?
1) They value community and participation over a sense of individualism. We need to make them part of the group. We need to get them involved in our small groups, Bible studies or classes where they form relationships. We need to have specific outings or activities just for them. We need to give them a cause. They want to be part of a group with a name and job to do.
2) They want their opinion to be heard and to matter. We need to get Millennials onto committees or boards where they can influence the church with the knowledge they possess. Audio and Visual committees, Outreach committees, Marketing programs, Building committees, etc. We understand the value of wisdom on Deacon boards – but there are many other ways for MIllennials to participate.
3) They are attracted to something genuine and quickly see through something fabricated. We must stick to the Gospel and the importance of a changed life. We must teach and value the attributes of God. We must value the Word of God. If the Millennials are going to be part of a church, that church MUST stand for something or else they will find something else worth putting their time and support behind.
* I am convinced that the ‘feel good’ methods of church growth over the last thirty years will have no impact upon Millennials, in fact, it may just turn them off.