Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sacrifice In Relationships

Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.” (Philippians 2:4)

In preparation for my current series on building healthy intimate relationships, one of our fellow East Cobb UMC members shared the following devotional with me from Joyce Meyer ministries (  Although the language is couched in terms of marriage, the principle of sacrifice certainly applies to any committed, intimate relationship. And this week as we’re discussing God’s plan for sexual intimacy, I believe it has special meaning, as well:

“Early in our marriage, God had to teach me that truly loving Dave meant that sometimes I would have to make sacrifices. Up until that point, I only wanted my way and was very much like the noisy gong mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is the highest form of maturity. It often requires a sacrificial gift. If love doesn't require some sort of sacrifice on our part, we probably don't really love the other person at all. If there is no sacrifice in our actions, we are most likely reacting to something nice they did for us, or simply pretending to be kind to gain some control over them.

It is important to understand that true love gives of itself. So our decisions should always have our spouse's interests at heart. When you do, you're giving of yourself.

God's desire is for husbands and wives to love each other sacrificially and unconditionally. This means you don't get your way all of the time. But the good news is, when a husband and wife sacrifice their selfish desires, they will have a triumphant marriage!”

             [--From Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional, cited the devotion for “Day 237 of 365” at
           , shared by an East Cobb UMC member]

My prayer as we continue our series Love, To Stay is that you will remember to both value and practice the spiritual discipline of sacrifice as you seek to build intimate relationships that can last a lifetime!  Never forget that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

10 Reasons God Created Eve

With the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being…” (Genesis 2:22)

     10. God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because He knew men would never ask for directions.
      9. God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote because men don't want to see what is on TV; they want to see what else is on TV.
      8. God knew that Adam would never buy a new fig leaf when the seat wore out and therefore would need Eve to get one for him.
      7. God knew that Adam would never make a doctor's appointment for himself.
      6. God knew that Adam would never remember which night was garbage night.
      5. God knew that if the world was to be populated there would have to someone to bear children because men would never be able to handle it.
      4. As Keeper of the Garden Adam would never remember where he put his tools.
      3. The Scripture account of creation indicates that Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.
      2. As the Bible says, "It is not good for man to be alone", he only ends up getting himself in trouble.
      And the NUMBER ONE reason...

      1. When God finished the creation of Adam he stepped back, scratched his head and said, "I can do better than that."

As we continue our series Love, To Stay, I hope you’ll remember to look for the blessings and for the value in the differences between men and women, instead of letting them simply be a source of frustration!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Love, To Stay... For Everyone

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

This weekend we’re beginning a new series called “Love, To Stay” (based on a book by Adam Hamilton of the same title) in which we’ll be exploring biblical perspectives on love, sex, grace and commitment in intimate human relationships, and what it takes to create and sustain healthy, meaningful intimate relationships across the course of a lifetime. 

And while I’ll be using marriage (the most sacred of all human relationships, and the metaphor God most commonly uses in the Bible to talk about his relationship to us) as the primary lens through which to talk about these issues, it’s important to know that this is not a series exclusively for married people, or even for those who want to get married in the future. Instead, both singles and married folks, young and old, those currently in committed relationships and those who’re not, can all benefit from this series.

If you’re single and never married, you’ll gain insights that can help you have successful intimate relationships in the future (whether you want to get married or not).  If you’re a widow and/or widower, not only can this series help you in your current friendships, but can encourage you to share the wisdom you learned in your marriage with those who need it in their own marriages today.

Those who are currently married will obviously benefit from the things we’ll be talking about, as well, whether you’ve been married for one year or 60!  In fact, one reason I felt led by God to share this series in the first place is the struggles shared with me in pastoral counseling by many married couples of all stages over the last few years from our congregation and community.

And finally, all people (singles and married alike) will gain insights from this series that can help enhance the friendships and family relationships they have in the present. 

So, you see, I’m designing this series with everyone in mind, regardless of your age, marriage status, or stage in life.  I pray that you will come expecting God to do wonderful things with and through you in your current and future intimate relationships, and that He will open your mind and heart to new ways that you can create love that stays and lasts a lifetime!

Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!

P.S.  As an added bonus to our married couples, please mark your calendars and watch the bulletin for two additional relationship-building opportunities we’ll be offering in conjunction with this series:

(1)  Love, To Stay Marriage Encounter” event (February 21-22): A Friday night-Saturday marriage enrichment seminar hosted by Rev. Jim Higgins.  Cost is $45/couple.  Pre-registration required.

(2) Personalized opportunities to renew your marriage vows:  look for upcoming dates in late February-early March for 30 minute renewal times hosted by Pastor Brian for you and your spouse to renew your vows.  Free, but reservation will be required.