What’s Your Story?
At every conference I meet new people and what I find is that no matter where we are at in our lives, we all have a story. Our volunteer Steve told me about how he and his wife were walking miracles. His sweet wife Sharon a survivor of breast cancer and he lived through a heart attack that should have killed him. For Christians we do not see miracles as coincidence, serendipity or chance, we see them as intentional acts of God. Our challenges, our sickness, our pain are all tools that God uses to shape us into who he wants us to be.
Isha and Joseph, the couple that renewed their vows, have a story as well. If we could look back in time would we have known that God would use them to stand in front of over 3000 people humbly retelling their tale of marital pain? When people say “I do” and their is the cutting of cake and toasts we always wish them the best, but the reality is that marriage is difficult – and perhaps it is supposed to be. Difficulties and challenges are what help us to grow. Our weakness is what moves us closer to Christ.
When I watched Isha and James say their vows for the second time I cried along with them. It was so moving to see what God can do in people’s lives. How our brokenness can draw us closer together as believers and how it draws us closer to Christ.
Getting REAL with the Q&A
I think one of the best things about going to a Real Marriage conference is getting the opportunity to text in your questions. We get a lot of questions and we try to pull the ones that have common themes behind them so that many questions are actually answered by the same question. This week, we have the video of both days of Q&A so take a moment and watch them for yourself.
“If sex were just for fun, then why does it take such a toll? Maybe it’s because you don’t have sex with a body, you have sex with your soul…”
It doesn’t matter how many times I watch these poems by Jeff Bethke I am moved by them each time. He packs so much truth in just a few short minutes. God has truly blessed him with the ability to string together words in a creative way that penetrate straight to the heart of the matter. Obviously he was a hit at the conference and to talk to him you can see he is a young man who is delighted to be used by the Lord. One time when I went into the green room it was just Jeff, his girlfriend and their manager just chilling out and reading their Bibles. It was a blessing to see young people (All of them are under 25) spending time in the word. In all our ways we should be acknowledging God and he will direct our paths… it seems like Jeff is an example of that Proverb and it’s cool to see God bless his footsteps.
Here is the poem Jeff did on Saturday morning. It’s called “Sexual Healing”.
Thanks to Calvary Chapel and our Sponsors!
Of course all of our events would not be possible without our awesome host churches and sponsors. At each venue we have been blown away at how much God’s people are willing to serve and love on us. From the moment we arrived we had some amazing volunteers and staff unpacking boxes and setting stuff up – but their work began long before Friday night. It takes quite a bit of preparation to pull off an event smoothly when you have 3000 guests arriving and the team at Calvary Chapel made it seem like a breeze. Kimber, Curtis, Debbie, Anne, and so many others were not only great helpers but just to be a joy to serve alongside.
Also, for those of you that might want Joseph’s poem in writing, here it is…
Written and dedicated to my wife Isha James on our wedding day.
Gift wrapped by omnipotent hands,
proceed with the Gift-Givers critical plans
Why doesn’t everyone pray?
I never knew mine would be answered this way.
Finally found the last lost piece of the jigsaw puzzle,
Connected to how we fit when I hug you,
How my fingertips stick when I touch you.
You are a part of me,
Can’t stand to see you part from me.
Two physicals, one spiritual encasement,
Interwined like links on a chain, one breaks we get tighter.
Through trials we gain & remain,
Like masons, brick by brick,
We built the essence of God,
Step by step we manifest what is in our hearts.
If there is a heaven without you, I don’t want to go
How could it be heaven with half a soul gone? More than a mate is missing.
Even after the stars burn out,
Externally and universally you are my spouse.
You are my house and my home,
If you leave there is nowhere to roam.
To the presenter of this gift, I send up gratitude,
Through praise and sincerity, I say thank you to my LORD,
With a grateful gracious attitude for giving me the wife that I adore.
Written by Joseph James III