Real Marriage Lynchburg, VA – Liberty University Recap

There is something special about seeing 6000 students worshipping and praising the Lord. In a world that is flush with college and high school students fist pumping along with Jersey Shore and wishing they were 16 and Pregnant, it is nice to know that there are still a plethora of young men and women who are not ashamed to fist pump for Christ.

The Lynchburg, Virginia leg of this tour was held at Liberty University and on Friday morning Mark Driscoll spoke at convocation. The Vines Center, their basketball arena, was packed with students and teachers ready to learn about Christ. Now I’ve been to Christian Universities before and I have to say that Liberty was indeed different. Instead of plunging necklines and short shorts with Uggs the girls were dressed modestly and seemed more concerned about each other than themselves. While I’m not suggesting that this school is perfect, none are, there was really a feeling of friendship between students and a willingness to serve. It was a real blessing to see this firsthand and how Christ’s involvement in our lives shapes us to be more like him.

During the afternoon I had the pleasure to go to an early dinner with a girl named Kelsey, her friend Tia and our Food for the Hungry representative Ashlee. We popped over to Moe’s for a quick bite of mexican food and conversation. What I learned during that meal was that Liberty University has a great discipleship program. There are small groups that every student is in and the campus is chock full of student leaders who obviously lead those small groups – and those student leaders have leaders and it makes for this amazing trickle-down accountability and spiritual growth that was evident in the students that we worked with.

Mark Driscoll started Friday morning’s convocation with the story of the Prodigal Son. It’s a story most of us have heard and can identify with on some level, but the core of the message is the same – it is Jesus, the Father, that changes us, that pursues us, that loves us despite our filth. I’ve heard Mark teach a number of these conferences and I’ve heard him via podcast many times, but it was a treat to get to see him teach live and I was blessed by his message.

When we finally got to the actual conference it was business as usual. People were lined up early to get in the doors and then they were lined up to get their books signed and to get pictures with Mark and Grace. None of this was surprising to us, but what was surprising is when Doug Hudson, the conference producer, asked “How many of you are from more than 3 hours away?” About 60% of the room raised their hands. Then he asked over 5 hours and he still got about 30% of the room to raise their hands. We often get a number of long distance travelers to these events but this one had the most by far.

Overall we enjoyed the Liberty University event and heard many testimonials of young couples whose lives were changed. It is always encouraging to see the Lord work in marriages and those changes begin in the heart.

Real Marriage Tour with Mark and Grace Driscoll - Marriage, Divorce Help

We like to take pictures at the tours, but we love seeing the event through the eyes of our attendees. Check out these great photos on our Facebook page that have been tagged with Real Marriage.

There is only one event left for Real Marriage 2012 and it is September 21st and 22nd in Indianapolis, IN. Get your tickets and make your travel plans today!

What others had to say…

We just attended the Real Marriage conference in Lynchburg this past weekend. Let me say what makes this so outstanding. It’s becuase first and foremost – what Pastor Mark did was preach the truth of the GOSPEL. The conference provided great insight on marriage from a Biblical standppoint and had lots of practical insights and tactics to use. But ULTIMATELY – it was so good becuase it was all based on the truth of the gospel –> that Jesus is not “an” answer….He is “THE” answer (to everything!).All of the teaching came from this premise.  Thank you Mark and Grace for brining the real truth of the Gospel in the contect of marriage. – Roger Boutin

Thanks Mark for speaking truth and from your heart. Thanks to Grace and your kids too! You guys are such a blessing. I am looking forward to a new and better friendship with my husband. Had a great time at Liberty!! – Helen Blocksom

We really enjoyed the conference. Our marriage is now on the track to being better not bitter. – Joanna Shields Whitaker

Special Thanks to Our Real Marriage Tour Sponsors!


Food for the Hungry BibleStudy Magazine vyrso 5 Love Languages
By |April 24th, 2012|Real Marriage, Weekly Devos|1 Comment

Real Marriage Tour – Anderson, SC – Recap

Dealing with Addiction

At each conference there seems to be some key element that is unique to each city that we visit and while the stories that we hear are often about emotional affairs, addictions to pornography or just the unwillingness to change, the central problem is always the same – people try to escape from their situations or change their lives by substituting something of this world for Jesus.

Over the weekend in Anderson, South Carolina Matt & Lyndsey Weldon shared their story of marital problems and how Matt’s addiction to prescription drugs was affecting their marriage. At one time Matt said, “There is no drug that is shaped like Jesus…” What a simple and truthful phrase. For so many of us we struggle with the intense need for a quick “fix”. Instead of trusting in the Lord we become impatient and try to solve our problems ourselves. Matt said that he struggled with drug addiction for 6 to 7 years all the while keeping it a secret from his wife Lyndsey. I’m sure that this resonated with many people in the audience. How many of us have hidden secrets from the people we love out of fear? We’re afraid of being hurt, we are afraid of being rejected and often times we truly believe that we can overcome the problem on our own. Our pride keeps us from asking for help.

At the Real Marriage conference our desire is to share the hope and light that comes from trusting in Jesus Christ. Putting Christ first in your marriage is the first step in having a successful marriage, as well as overcoming any type of addiction. We hope Matt and Lyndsey Weldon’s story is inspirational to you and is something that you will share with others who may be dealing with similar issues.

NewSpring Praise Team

One of the highlights of this event was the NewSpring Praise and Worship Team. We always have great praise and worship at each event and it is one of my favorite parts of the weekend. NewSpring has an amazing lighting system and the music coupled with the lights created an amazing worship experience. I don’t think fancy lights and awesome instruments are a requirement for a great worship experience, but I will say that there is nothing wrong with making worship exciting and fun either!

NewSpring used a variety of song leaders and the talent level was so amazing. Everyone was so gifted and it was truly moving to see people with hands lifted high and just surrendering to Jesus and worshipping his holy name.

Real Questions with Pastor Mark and Grace Driscoll

At each conference we allow attendees to text in their questions. One of my favorite questions of this event was “My husband and I have naked Wednesday’s – is that a good day of the week or should we choose another day?” At the conference we have a lot of fun with very serious questions and some that are a little more light-hearted. I find that we often get a lot of the same questions and the answers are often the same as well: Communicate. Ask for help. Find a support group. Have Grace. And of course lots and lots of prayer.

Behind the Scenes

One of my favorite parts about working with the Real Marriage Tour is seeing what goes on behind the scenes. Each location has had such great hospitality and wonderful volunteers who set up the green room for Pastor Mark and Grace as well as those of us who fly in that work for the tour. What people might not realize is how much prayer and thought goes into every detail of this event and afterwards we always look back and we are amazed at how God works miracle after miracle. Our core goal at these events is that God be glorified and so we put him first in all things.

A Shout Out to Our Volunteers

As always these events could not be possible without the selflessness and the service from our many volunteers. We are loved on from the moment we arrive to the second we leave. At one point I asked where I could get some coffee and a volunteer said, “I’ll go get you some, how do you take it?” It may seem like a small gesture but when you add up all these acts of service over and over it becomes this overwhelming blessing and we could not be more grateful.

In the picture above you can see the volunteers in the NewSpring-Green volunteer shirts. Yovanna or “YaYa” as we affectionally called her kept us grounded and had things running smoothly and effortlessly even when you have a few hundred people trying to purchase books all at once.

In the center of all these wonderful volunteers is me (Eddie Renz @eddeaux), the guy who writes these recaps and is privileged to get to travel from Dallas to all of these events. My favorite part of traveling on this tour is meeting all of these wonderful people that I will one day spend eternity with. While at the tour I write updates on our Real Marriage Facebook and Twitter pages. It is really a blessing to get to have a job that allows me use my skills to do ministry and spread the word of Christ.

What Others Are Saying…

“So thankful I attended this Real Marriage Conference. It was amazing! NewSpring Anderson y’all rocked it out. I love my church!” – Christy Harris Moore

“I thank God for you both! My husband and I laughed all the way back to Charlotte about having “Naked Wednesdays” Who knows might give it shot? 😉 I can’t thank Grace enough for the verse the Holy Spirit gave me through her. I will pray for you guys and your marriage, family and ministry! God bless you both!” – Ashley Joy Penson

“Special Thanks to Jenimar and Brian for inviting us to this event ! Thanks to [Pastor] Mark and NewSpring church for doing this conference . Being Married 25 years this July . Personally lost track of my better half’s needs and some of mine . Due to the daily grind of trying to survive … Real Marriage Tour reminded me and gave me tools to grow Thank you and PRAISE GOD!!!!” – Andre Aubin

NewSpring Staff and Attendees

I’m a bit of a design nerd so I was excited to meet Joshua Blankenship who will be speaking at the Echo Conference this year and is the Design Director at NewSpring Church. Joshua is on the far right and next to him in the yellow hoodie is Delvin, the praise and worship leader that rocked it out on Friday and Saturday.

I got to talk to Delvin for a little while and hear about his passion for ministry AND he told me about a “Meat and Three” – which is apparently is a southern restaurant that serves your choice of meat and three really good homestyle vegetables as well as cornbread and rolls. After meeting this crew I thought I might have to leave my beloved Dallas and move to Anderson. They seem to be passionate about all the things I love: God, Design, Music and Food! If you have not had a chance to check out NewSpring’s website then I encourage you to do so and download some of the great teaching from Pastor Perry Noble.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

The Real Marriage Tour is sponsored by Logos Bible Software as well as Food for the Hungry, Bible Study Magazine,, The Resurgence, Vyrso, and 5 Love Languages.

We have had great success with our Food for the Hungry sponsorship of children. Our goal during this 7-City Tour is to have 600 children sponsored and we are half way to reaching that goal. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help a child then be sure and check out

For those of you who are not familiar with Logos Bible Software then you may not know that is is AMAZING. With Logos software you have quick access to thousands of books and references that will help enrich your Bible study and understanding of the word. It is a must-have for anyone who teaches the Bible. Some of the features of the Scholar’s Software package: 43 Bibles and Interlinears, 67 Commentaries, 24 Reference Books, 27 Bible Intro & Surveys, 29 Maps, Photos, Media, 26 Preaching & Teaching, 75 Ministry Resources, 38 Original Languages Grammars & Tools, …and 250+ other Resources!

If you have not had a chance to attend the conference you have two opportunities left so don’t wait, get your tickets today!

(Many of these photos were courtesy of Drew Delianides of NewSpring Church. Thanks Drew!)

By |March 26th, 2012|Real Marriage, Weekly Devos|2 Comments

Real Marriage Tour – San Diego Recap

“My Church will be served by me

…My wife will be loved by me.”

The Real Marriage Tour made it’s third stop in sunny San Diego, CA on February 24th and 25th and like the two previous stops it was a success. We do not measure our success by the number of tickets or books sold, but rather by the marriages that are impacted and the people who come to know Christ.

Over the weekend had 4 people accept Christ. Three women and 1 man courageously got up on stage and were led to faith by Pastor Mark. For us there is nothing more exciting than to see people receive Christ, we rejoice and praise the Lord for this blessing.

At every Real Marriage event we get tons of feedback from couples who have had their marriages strengthened, improved and healed.

Here are some comments that we have received:

“Just a note, my wife and I came to find a reason to not quit our 19 year marriage and you gave us some clear reasons to work things out and some easy ways to do it thank you so much.” Leon Pyatt

“What an amazing and refreshing time! So glad we attended and that we took so much away with us! I am excited to see how our marriage grows even stronger through these teachings and our stronger committment to God and his Word!” Sheila Pierce

“Wow, Mark just had all the men stand, look their spouse in the eye and vow to love them and lead their family in Christ and then pray over them. What a powerful moment to see a thousand men praying over their wives.” – Brenda Hagel

“What an awesome and powerful moment. To hear the whispers of the men praying over their wives was incredible” – Lisa Gardner


Real Marriage Community

What is really cool for us to see at Real Marriage events is the community of believers that come together for a common goal – glorifying Christ through life change. We love seeing people get excited about truth and their desire to learn and grow is contagious. At every event we see a wide range of people – singles, engaged, newlyweds, divorced, and even those that have been married for 35+ years showing us that it is never too early or too late to improve your relationship.

The RM team got to start the day off right with key staff team from The Rock Church at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern. Just another 70 degree day in San Diego staring at the water, the boats and eating some awesome fish tacos. We could all get used to this.

Then it was off to the church to get everything set up. The team from the Creative/Media department, facilities, and events staff were simply amazing. It is truly a God thing how Pastor Miles McPherson and the members of The Rock have been such great stewards of the building. They reach over 13,000 people in 5 services every Sunday and there just isn’t a whole lot of parking. The people are clearly proving that if you will preach the Bible with passion and relevancy and committed to reaching people in your city, not just being a holy huddle, they will come.

Worship led by Dustin Kensrue

Praise God from whom all blessings flow… Praise him all creatures here below… The sound of thousands singing praise filled the church as Dustin Kensure and his band from Mars Hill Orange County led worship. Each night and each morning of every conference is started and sometimes closed with worship. This time reminds me of the passage in Ezekiel 37:4 where the Spirit of the Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy over the dry bones… “Then he said to me, “4 Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Often when we enter into the a time of worship we are as dry as these bones… our hearts are dead, we are not ready to hear the Word, but praise and worship brings us back to life and prepares us to receive truth. It is another sweet time to participate with a group of believers singing songs to our creator.


Carlos and Sonia Roacho Vow Renewal

Saturday we ended the event with a renewing of vows and God lead us to Carlos and Sonia Roacho. WOW – God’s grace, power, love and mercy was so evident in their lives. The power of prayer that Sonia expressed as she prayed for Carlos over many years and how God has redeemed their individual lives and their marriage, simply remarkable.

As expected, Pastor Mark delivered strong Biblical teaching filled with truth designed to greatly improve marriages and once again, the vow renewal was an amazing display of the power, grace, and redemptive love of God for his people and marriages. The couple’s story of starting as an extramarital affair and having a child out of wedlock and later accepting Christ and becoming a strong, godly family was very powerful.

The weekend was uplifting, positive, and a time of healing, reconciliation, and great growth. God was definitely glorified!

Carlos’ Letter

First of all I would want to thank our Lord Jesus Christ for my marriage.
It was put in our heart for us to celebrate our 10th anniversary at this marriage conference, we had the opportunity to go anywhere this weekend but we wanted to celebrate and give thanks for all God has done in our marriage and we wanted to start with HIM!

4 years ago I accepted the Lord inches before separation, the guilt was then gone and the scales in my eyes were removed, my marriage was restored and now I want to keep the flame lit in our marriage constantly pray and re-instate why we were created and that is to be no longer alone forever on this earth.

Carlos’ Vows

you are the greatest wife and partner.
During these 10 years we have endured the biggest storms life can give us, I love u and promise:
To respect you
To keep hearing you
To be faithful
To protect you at all times
To be an excellent husband
To make sure our household serves the Lord
To keep the flame lit to matter the circumstances
Because you are my partner for always till our Lord calls us to to his heavenly kingdom.

I Love u more than ever and always will.

Sonia’s Letter / Vows

Today 10 years ago and after going thru good times and bad, sickness and health today I promise in as God as my witness be always be with you in good and bad, honor you and respect you.

Now that I know you wellI accept you with your faults and virtudes, love you all the days that are left in my life, I promise to be your help and your partner in Life.
And I want you to know that you are a great man of God , I thought my awaited fairy tale had eneded when I married you but in reality it started when JESUS came in and joined part of our marriage.

Food for the Hungry

We are extremely thankful for our Sponsors at the Real Marriage Tour and we are so pleased at the number of Children that have been sponsored at each of these events. However, there are over 75 still out and if you have one of these packets please fill out the included registration card and return it in the envelope provided before February 29th. After the 29th, they will need to go online to sponsor a child. If you have any questions please call the number on the back of the packets and the office will be more than happy to help. Thanks for your support!

Logos Bible Software

At each of our Real Marriage events we have booths setup for our Sponsors and there is always a flurry of activity at the Logos Bible Software table where there are special package prices for this amazing Bible Study software. We love Logos and are so thankful for them in all they do to spread the Word, but they also help make our events fun by sponsoring our Kindle Fire give away. At each event we have attendees post their picture on the Real Marriage Facebook wall and on Saturday we pick a winner. This week our winner’s were “Over the Top for Marriage” – Mario and Steph Torresday. Congratulations to this blessed couple!

A Word of Thanks

The team of staff and volunteers at The Rock was an amazing group of servant leaders who excel at expressing Jesus’ love. Most of the volunteers were couples who participated in the event while they were not working. Rock staff members Courtney, Michelle, and Valerie are skilled pros at large events and made for a terrific experience for event staff and participants


By |February 27th, 2012|Live Events, Real Marriage, Weekly Devos|1 Comment

Real Marriage Tour – Phoenix, AZ Recap

Sarah & Kevin Real Marriage Vow Renewal

“I unfortunately got addicted to pornography, online, dishonored my wife… I wanted her to be what was on the internet…” – Kevin

“I was very lonely… I wanted my best friend… I wanted someone to be interested in me… so I found that in someone else… ” – Sarah

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of a conference atmosphere. There are people excited to hear Mark Driscoll. There are lines of people waiting. There is anticipation and book signings, tweets and Facebook posts, and it’s wonderful – but what really matters, what really goes on beyond the big event atmosphere is life change. While this book and tour are packaged in a bright red cover with a cute bride and groom wedding cake topper, the issues that are dealt with on this tour are often dark, ugly and real. What may seem like a lost cause might be an opportunity for the Lord to do a great work in your life and then allow you to use what you have learned to minister to others – just as Kevin and Sarah are doing in this transparent telling of their own personal story.

Pastor Mark uses his years of experience to cut to the heart of a variety of issues that he covers in the book Real Marriage, but at the conferences he goes into further detail on other topics as well as taking questions from the audience. I’m always surprised by the boldness of what some people ask, but I like the spontaneity and the personal quality of each event as every city has it’s own culture and every church has it’s own subculture and so everyone has a different point of view and their own set of questions.

As a single man I’m always extremely thankful that I have the opportunity to learn from these conferences. While sometimes we hear what not to do we often aren’t told exactly why. Understanding the consequences of our actions as men is a great deterrent to making repeated mistakes or getting caught up in something that seems relatively harmless. I highly recommend the Real Marriage book to marrieds and singles and if you can, try to make one of these events, it will change your life and the way you look at relationships.

A special thanks to Kevin and Sarah for their willingness to share their heart and for the courage to stand up in front of thousands and tell us their story. We hope you find it as encouraging as we did. If you would like to read their written vows you can download them here: Kevin’s Vows & Sarah’s Vows

What Others Were Saying…

“Pastor Mark Driscoll knocked it out of the Park at Mission Community Church. When the tour comes to your town, I highly recommend you make it a priority. Lots of significant conversations happened all over our campus between couples. And five men gave their life to Christ Friday night. – Mark Connelly

“Just attended an amazing conference on marriage. WOW! Marriages are worth fighting for. My take away this weekend is my husband is my Best Friend. My relationship with Jesus must be first priority and prepares me for my relationship with my husband. It made me pause and remind myself that I must die to my self and serve others, in life and especially in my marriage. Humble servants have good marriages. Bitterness and selfishness destroys marriages. Forgiveness, humility and dying to myself will prosper my marriage. My husband and I can’t wait to dig deeper into Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage. Thanks Pastor Mark!” – Davida Monts de Oca

Photos from Real Marriage Phoenix, Arizona

We love getting great photos at the conferences and so if you have some that you want to share, post them on our Facebook wall or send them to Eddie Renz and he’ll post some of them here on this recap.

In this photo on the far left are our Kindle Winners Ty and Katelyn Kieser – courtesy of Logos Bible Software. We always pick a winner from someone who posts a great picture to our Real Marriage Facebook wall and we couldn’t resist this great picture of Ty and Katelyn. The two guys in the middle are Samson (on the right) and Mark who arrived the morning of the conference at 10 a.m. and got in line. Then, they slept in their truck through the night in the parking lot so they could get their front row seats. We love die hard fans and have a quick clip of them waiting in line.


Joe’s Farm Grill

For those of us who were coming in from out of town it seemed that the most recommended spot was Joe’s Farm Grill. While we were there I had no idea that it was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives but as a Food Network Foodie I was delighted to know that this is one more restaurant I can check off my list of Triple D stops. Doug and I had the Ahi Tuna burgers and sweet potato fries and I added an extra regular cheeseburger to my order as well. Working a conference really works up an appetite and so I was carb and protein loading for the day. As you can see from the video, these burgers weren’t little and while the food was fast, it tasted anything but.


We LOVE Our Volunteers

For Me (Eddie Renz) my favorite part of going on the conference other than what I learn is meeting new people. Every state has it’s own vibe and the people from Arizona were some of the most laid back, kind, servant-hearted people I have ever worked with. The team that helped construct this event were MACHINES. From the moment we started planning the conference until the very last box was taped up the staff and volunteers at Mission Community Church made our lives easier.

Hungry? Not once. Thirsty? How can I be when I’m constantly being waited on hand and foot as if I’m at a resort. There was not a single moment that I wanted for anything – even before I could think of what I needed it was already handled. It was amazing. I want to say a special thanks to Abby, Lissette, Kim, Lisa, Tim, and Josh who were the people that I worked closely with at the event. There were a myriad of hands involved in making this event run smoothly from the technical team to the janitorial staff. We sometimes overlook the details and forget to say “Thanks” to all the behind-the-scenes people, but we want to be sure and let all of our volunteers know that they are noticed and appreciated. We are supremely blessed to be involved with a much-needed ministry and our hearts are always over-joyed to work with others who share the same goal – glorifying Jesus Christ. We love you all in Phoenix and hope to see you again soon!

By |February 19th, 2012|Live Events, Real Marriage, Weekly Devos|4 Comments

Sex, Marriage & Fairy Tales

Marriage today is struggling. Divorces, adultery, misconceptions, etc are plaguing not only the marriage itself but products of those marriages (my generation and the next). My hope in this poem is to highlight the most frequent and problematic issues marriages face today while also pointing to Jesus as the ultimate healer, redeemer, and restorer of every marriage. Whether single or married, my intention would be that this poem would allow you to look more deeply to Jesus to either better your current marriage, or prepare for your future marriage.

Poem inspiration:

Book that inspired the poem:

Jeff’s INFO:

By |January 27th, 2012|Hub Thots, Real Marriage, Weekly Devos|2 Comments