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
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 fh.org.
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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!)