Last week under the heading of "Marriage Matters" I wrote to ask you all to be praying daily for our church's marriage conference. I wanted to follow up this week by saying
THANK YOU SO MUCH for faithfully praying! Not only did all the technical details work out (like live streaming, internet, tv, food, child care, etc.) but practical, biblical principles were taught and explained in such an amazing way that some couples at the conference who have been married for decades and been to dozens of marriage conferences said that this was the BEST marriage conference they had ever been to! I've only been to 4, but easily this was the best I've been to! And here's why: it was a conference about practical, biblical, principles dealing with
RELATIONSHIPS, not merely
MARRIAGES. It was truly 4 sessions of biblical counseling that apply to
EVERYONE, regardless of whether or not you are married. And oh how applicable, practical, and biblical these counseling sessions were! After
Friday night ended, after watching two of the four sessions, I told the group that I really wish we had had everyone in our church be a part of this conference. Though it was absolutely advertised as a marriage conference, and though there were specific applications made about marriage, it really was just a
relationship conference and
how to glorify God in your relationships.
The first session dealt with your expectations in relationships. We expect things to go better than they do because we forget:
- Our relationships exist in a broken world with sin, pressures, and fallenness
- You are a sinner in relationship with another sinner
- We have a Redeemer Who is powerful, faithful, and willing to work in relationships.
The second session dealt with why we fight, argue, and have conflict in relationships, and the biblical answer is very simple and yet incredibly profound: we fight for OUR kingdom not for God's Kingdom. We live to see our little kingdom of self be praised and worshiped, and every law that we make regarding our little kingdom be kept intentionally and perfectly by others. Think about how many times you've been angry, frustrated, or mad at someone this past week. Were any of those times you were angry moments of being angry because the other person had broken God's Law and was unrepentant OR because they broken your laws of your kingdom of self and you got angry? Oh that my kingdom of self would be completely destroyed and God's Kingdom be all that I live for!
The third session dealt with how to build trust in relationships. Trust is the soil in which good relationships grow. And you'd be surprised at what you are doing with words, actions, and attitudes, to break someone's trust in you and in your friendship.
The fourth session dealt with living out a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness. This session gave practical biblical help for what a Gospel-centered, grace-driven relationship looks like. We so often think of grace as overlooking wrongdoing, but that is not biblical. Grace exposes the wrong with kindness and humility. Grace greets sin with kindness not judgment. You cannot confess what you haven't grieved, and you can't grieved what you haven't seen, and you can't repent of that which you haven't confessed. Therefore, we need relationships in our lives to help us SEE SIN so that we can grieve, confess, and repent.
So, the conference was a conference on biblical counseling for relationships. It was
AMAZING. I tried every which way to show these in our small groups, but unfortunately, the license we purchased for our conference does not allow for it. But the good news is that you can still watch it on your own by purchasing an individual license. The license is $25 and allows you unlimited rewatching until the end of March. (For those of you who are single, grab a friend and split the cost of the individual license since it covers 1-2 viewers!) Lord-willing this conference will eventually come out on DVD and we can do it in small groups as a church, but until then, these individual licenses would be the best way to watch it. Since it was an actual conference at a church back east, each session contains announcements, worship through song, etc., THEN the actual teaching time. We as a group just fast forwarded to the teaching time which is usually about halfway through each session. So, I wanted to give you the link below so that if you have about 4 hours to give before the end of March (each teaching time is between 45 minutes to 1 hour, and there are 4 teaching times) you could grab the license and start watching right away. Many of the couples who went to the conference are already rewatching the sessions to cement these truths into their lives and their relationships.
My prayer for our church is that we would be a church filled with smooth, unified, Christ-centered relationships. Our kingdoms of self always stand in the way of that goal. But Jesus is powerful to destroy our selfishness and pride, faithful to continue the work He has begun in us, and willing every day through His Spirit to sanctify us, burn away sin, and make us look more like Him! The question is: are WE willing to do what it takes to let that work of grace powerfully change us from the inside out?
Praying for humble, selfless, brokenness in all of us as we pursue Christlikeness in our relationships, because