AUGUST 17, 2022

AUGUST 17, 2022

Dear Friends,
 
This weekend, Jimmy and Loraine Mosby will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  They have known each other since they were in grade school, but didn’t start to date until the late 1960’s, when they were both enrolled at Arkansas Baptist College.  They began their life together as husband and wife just weeks after Loraine graduated from Philander Smith College in the spring of 1972.
 
Looking back on their five decades of marriage, Loraine says “any couple who has a healthy marriage and has lasted 20, 30 or even 50 years did not stay happily married based off of luck.  They sacrificed.  They forgave.  They rebuilt trust when it was broken.  They kept dating each other.  They listened.  They apologized.  They got help when they were stuck.  They made time for each other.  They learned how to communicate.  They cared more about their marriage than their pride.”
 
When I read her comments to Mary Ann this week, I said “that’ll preach.”  Loraine sums it up pretty well.
 
When Mary Ann and I have met with couples who were preparing for marriage, I’ve often commented to them “this is going to be harder than you think.”  And Mary Ann has been quick to add “it’s going to be wonderful too.”  I’ve nodded and said “don’t forget the part about it being hard.” 
 
If you’ve been married for more than a minute or two, you’ve no doubt experienced both the hard and the wonderful.  The problems in marriage come when we compartmentalize the gospel and find ourselves thinking it has no real connection to marriage.
 
What’s the connection?  Let me see if I can pull it together for you. 
 
The gospel says that the mess we’ve made of our lives and our relationships is all because we’ve put self at the center of everything.  When two self-focused, self-centered people try to form a bond or a union, you shouldn’t be surprised when sparks fly.
 
And when sparks fly, there’s usually some damage done.  Hurts, wounds, scars.  Guilt and shame.  Barriers get built.  Protective walls.  We start to isolate.  We drift apart.
 
Again, the message of the gospel is that in spite of our rejection of Him and His purposes for our lives, God wants to fix what is broken in our lives.  It begins when we acknowledge our rejection of God, seek His forgiveness, turn away from our self-centered focus, turn toward Him, submit ourselves to Him and follow Him. 
 
But the gospel work God does in our lives doesn’t stop there.  He begins a beauty from ashes renovation project in each of us.  He is committed to a compete remake.  It takes time, and we have to keep showing up.  But He has promised not to quit on us until He completes the good work He has begun.
 
And it is as we are transformed from the inside out that our relationships begin to change.  We respond to other people differently.  We put their needs ahead of our own.  We begin to care more about how our relationship honors Him than we do about our momentary happiness. 
 
And like Loraine said, we learn how to listen to each other.  We sacrifice.  We apologize.  We forgive.  And when we need help, we reach out and get it.
 
Most of you know that I spent more than two decades working at FamilyLife and speaking around the country at Weekend To Remember marriage getaways.  Next month in Little Rock FamilyLife is hosting a Weekend To Remember event.  This week and next, couples can register and save 50% off the regular registration fee.  That means both of you can attend for $175.  And if that’s too much, there are scholarships available.  You can find out more about the event at www.weekendtoremember.com
 
I believe every marriage needs to regular, ongoing marriage maintenance.  If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a weekend to focus on one another and on your marriage, the Weekend to Remember is a great opportunity to invest in your relationship.  If you’ve never been to one, I’d encourage you to find a way to make it a priority.
 
Chad and Wendy Donley are on staff with FamilyLife, and they’d love to help you with any questions you might have about the Weekend to Remember.  You can reach out to them at forfamilies@sbcglobal.net
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Anyone hungry yet? If you can hold out to Sunday, you’re in luck.  In pot-luck!
  Don’t forget to bring a main dish or a side dish with you to church.  Yum.
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 Are your kids signed up for Awana?  I hope so.  We have vests and workbooks ordered.  And it all starts in two weeks!
    
If you have any questions about Awana, reach out to Laura White at the address above, or Commander Kendall (that has a nice ring to it, right?) at kendalljameswhite@gmail.com
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Guys, our First Tuesday get togethers are about to start back up.  But the first one is on the last Tuesday, not the First Tuesday this month.
 
Confused yet?
 
It’s pretty simple.  We’ll meet at church at 6:15 for Pizza, followed by our time this month with Dr. Robert Lewis, the former pastor at Fellowship Bible Church and the founder of Men’s Fraternity.  He’ll be talking about how we define and embrace a biblical understanding of masculinity and manhood. 
 
Whether you’ve been to a First Tuesday before or not, plan to join us.  If you’re coming for Pizza, show up at 6:15 and bring $5.  If you’re coming for the session, show up at 7:00.
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 Meanwhile, ladies, we have a special event planned for you too.  It’s the Fall Women’s Gathering event on Monday, September 12.
  
Then, the Fall Women’s Bible Study in the book of Proverbs will start on Monday night, September 19.
 
And…

Start planning now for the Fall Women’s Retreat (who couldn’t use a couple of nights away this fall…).
  Any questions about any of these activities, contact Jen Gurney.
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 If you have Middle School or High School students, they’ve probably already mentioned this to you – the First Friday Game Night for Students.
 
 
Contact Pastor Matt if you need more info.
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Since you surrendered your life to Christ, have you publicly declared your intent to follow Him by being baptized?  The Bible outlines a regular pattern in the New Testament, where those who made professions of faith in Christ made their faith public by obeying Jesus’ call to be baptized.  

On Sunday, September 18, we’ll be baptizing those who are coming forward in obedience to Christ.  If you have questions or are interested in being baptized, contact Pastor Matt or let us know at church.
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 This Sunday is a Gospel Zone Sunday
   
Meanwhile, the rest of us will be looking together at Psalm 85.  What happens when a person, or a church, or a nation drifts away from God?  It happened over and over again with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.  And if we’re honest, it’s happened over and over again in our lives as well.  Psalm 85 shows us how to cry out to God when we realize we’ve drifted away from Him.
 
See you in church.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob
 

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