Real Marriage

This past weekend, Jon and I went to Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage Conference. (Mark Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington). We were super excited earlier this year when we found out that Pastor Mark's marriage conference was coming to Indy. He and his wife Grace wrote a book called Real Marriage that came out this past January (2012), and I have to say, out of every marriage book we've read, this is by far, the best one. They've been doing a conference tour across the U.S. and landed in Indianapolis last weekend. Their book reached #1 on NY Times best selling list. Pretty cool.

It was so neat to meet Mark and be able to tell him how his book, his honesty, and his wife's honesty, has been monumental in our life this year.
 So often, you find marriage books in which it sounds like the writer of the book has done everything right, never made any mistakes, and is living in happily ever after fairy-tale land. First of all, that's just not true. Second of all, it's extremely discouraging. Here's the deal... no one has sailed through marriage without trials and difficulties, not even pastors. But unfortunately, many pastors have not had enough courage to share where they've been and the honest road it took to be where they are. It is so encouraging when you find someone further down the road from you, who walked difficult paths, and came out looking more like Jesus on the other side. Those are the people we want to be around. Third of all, the church at large (meaning collective Bible believing, Christian churches), are often silent on the issues that marriages need to hear most about from a Biblical perspective. Probably because too often, they don't understand "Biblical perspective" and are tip-toeing around words like sex, only talking about it in code language, and trying to make things like Song of Solomon into something God didn't intended it to be. No, Song of Solomon is not allegorical teaching about God and the church. It's about the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife, and all the joy and freedom found in THAT relationship. And yes, that is IN the BIBLE!

All that to say, we are incredibly thankful for the church body and the pastors at Harvest Bible Chapel where we attend church. Our pastors and godly leaders do not at all fit into the category of "silent." They are genuine, heartfelt, and most of all, real. So thank you to our pastors and elders for the godly example of reality and walking out our faith that you display. Not only are they doing that, but they are encouraging the church body to do the same in each other's lives...to disciple.

For years, we have prayed for a godly couple to walk beside us in life, speaking into our marriage, and encouraging us to live out God's plan for families. God answered when he brought Joe and Julie Wendel into our lives. They have given so much of their time, energy, and love into seeing God's best for us. Having someone like them, one on one, and couple to couple, is one of the most invaluable blessings to a young and growing family. I've really never met anyone like them... who speak in love, who are loyal and steadfast, even when it's hard and painful, in pursuing us and God's best for us.

Joe and Julie went to the Real Marriage conference with us. The conference was Friday and Saturday and we all spent the night at a hotel, without children!! :) Yes! haha. So thankful we could share this weekend together.
So much of life hinges on the crucial decisions within a marriage and family. God didn't set up the church to wander around aimlessly and try to figure it out. He gave us His Word, the Holy Spirit, the church, and godly people to walk alongside us, to mentor us, to love us, to laugh with us, to grieve with us, and to rejoice with us.

Even now we pray, that one day, we can turn around and provide the same kind of discipleship to others.

"Oh the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person -- having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful friend will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." (Dinah Craik).

Here are some great sermon series by Mark Driscoll, totally worth your time. Load em' up on your iPod and listen on your way to work!
Real Marriage series
Song of Solomon- The Peasant Princess series

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