Enjoying Real Marriage
The church where I am the main preaching pastor, Stone's Throw, is in the middle of a series called, "Real Marriage."  It is based off of the ideas in a book written by Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace Driscoll who are leading Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington.  Real Marriage received a lot of press and continues to minister to many people.  Our church has benefited greatly from "Real Marriage." 

I am not what some might call a "topical preacher."  It is not in my wheelhouse.  However, this is a topical series on a crucial topic for our culture--marriage, love, sex and friendship.  Each week I have had to pray over the material, search the Scriptures and apply them to specific topics.  I love to preach exegetically--meaning I like to preach the Bible by book, chapter and verse.  Real Marriage has been a real challenge to me in many ways but a great blessing in many more ways.  It is has been a real joy so far.  I knew that our church and our community needed to hear the message of "Real Marriage."  Marriage is based on the Gospel and is primarily a friendship between husband and wife.  This series has been such a blessing to me personally in my own marriage to my wife Laura and also a blessing as I have been able to watch as God transforms relationships into Gospel-centered relationships. 

As a result of Real Marriage I have been able to meet a ton of new people at Stone's Throw.  Some of those new people are now in the process of receiving marriage counseling and premarital counseling.  Others have joined Community Groups as they plug in further to the life and mission of Stone's Throw.  It has been humbling to watch as husbands have renewed their vows to their wives, wives have repented of deep-seeded sin, single people have adjusted their expectations, and long-time married people have ministered to and been ministered to many others in the church.  I believe that God is doing a mighty work at Stone's Throw Church. 

But what makes this series great is that it is about Jesus.  It is not a gimmick to grow the church.  It is not about "being relevant" or cool.  It is not about repackaging the Bible.  It is all about Jesus--plain and simple.  Jesus makes it possible for us to have a God-honoring marriage.  He brings healing where there was no hope.  He brings grace where there was only bitterness.  I know this because I have seen it personally.  My hope for the remainder of the series is that each person who hears the message will be able to see Jesus clearly. 

Even as I am writing, I am preparing the final message of the first half of the series, "Taking Out The Trash" where we will learn what it means to argue righteously.  The second half of the series will mostly take a look at sexuality within the context of marriage and why God created sex as a gift for marriage.  Yeah--I could use your prayer!  The Church has always been a little weird about sex.  I am hoping to change that a bit.  If you haven't been around or were thinking about checking out what God is doing at Stone's Throw--now is the time!

Today, I received a bunch of notes about the past couple of weeks of sermons.  I just wanted to express how thankful I am for such great material from the Driscoll's and Mars Hill Church, and how grateful I am for a church in Middletown, Delaware that is truly seeking to make the fame of Jesus known in their community.  I am enjoying this. 
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