Tag Archives: Timothy Keller

When You Renew Your Wedding Vows, You May Just Learn a Thing or Two…

It’s not everyday you get a stellar idea.

It’s not everyday you share this idea with your preacher and he excitedly proclaims, “Let’s run with it!”

This was the brainchild of my friend Mary. She and her husband, Michael, were about to celebrate their tenth anniversary. They desired to renew their vows. Mary decided if they wanted to, perhaps other couples would as well.

She approached Jady Koch, minister of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church (www.stfrancisinthefields.org ) with the idea. Between the two of them, an entire conference, complete with speakers, vow renewal service, dinner, and dancing was born. Oh, and did I mention there was cake???

Wedding Cake

(Huge thanks go to Hope Thompson, Cake Creator Extraordinaire, who somehow survived teaching our boys invaluable lessons in Home Ec at Christian Academy of Louisville. You’re our hero, Hope!)

The First Annual Love and Marriage Project (L.A.M.P.) went off without a hitch on June 25th. John and I attended, along with about sixty others—one couple married less than a year, two couples married fifty-plus years! (We will celebrate our thirty-second anniversary on Bastille Day, July 14th, Lord willing.)

The conference portion was held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. We were blessed with two fabulous speakers: Marta and Rob McKinnon. (www.mckinnoncompany.com ) Marta is a marriage and family counselor, while Rob coaches CEO’s and their executive teams to be the best version of themselves possible. They’ve just celebrated their thirtieth anniversary.

marta and rob mckinnon

marta and rob

The sixteen-page handout we received is invaluable.(You can download it via St. Francis’ website. You can also listen to their three different talks by going to the website, clicking on “media”, then “sermons/classes”, then scroll down to 6/25/16.  Part 1 is Develop Deep Friendship, Part 2 is Manage Conflict and Part 3 is Grow with God. These are all three extremely beneficial.)

Marta and Rob gifted us with not only their experiences of their own marriage (They were quite candid!), but also with several excellent resources:

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All of the principles Marta and Rob taught us are Biblically based. We began with Scripture and then worked thru’ different practices and tools. I loved how they always referred to the Bible. Bravo.

Sprinkled throughout the handout are excellent quotes from various authors. My two favorites are:

#1 – “It’s my job to love and respect Billy. It’s God’s job to make him good.” Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth’s quote was in the section on remembering. We were asked to look back over the years of our marriages and to choose happy memories to relive. This came from the principle, “I accept you the way you are.”

Scripture for this is: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7

Romans 15 7

Any of you out there thinking you can change your spouse, think again. A few elbows were dug into some ribs on this teensy-weensy topic!!! The remembering practice helps you grow your fondness and appreciation for each other, giving your marriage a positive boost.

Likewise, when we worship the Lord, we’re remembering His goodness and mercy toward us. God’s faithfulness will keep us in awe every single time. What a sweet parallel.

Enter Tim Keller for my 2nd favorite quote: “The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” Allow that to soak in for a minute…and repeat… Powerful.

Marta and Rob credit the Lord with helping them thru’ their hard times. They reminded us of the triangle illustration which shows the husband and wife growing closer, the closer they grow their relationship to God.

husband wife god triangle

When asked, “What makes a Christian marriage distinct?” Marta and Rob agreed the Lord must be the center point of your marriage. “If He’s not at the center of your marriage, “ they warned, “…couples tend to look elsewhere for other people or other things to fill that void. That’s where real trouble can develop.”

One more of many pearls we gleaned is a petite three-letter word: “Bid…” This comes from the principle “I believe you are valuable.”

The Scripture for this is: “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

John 15 13

The practice is “Turning Toward One Another”.

“Bid” is defined as “the fundamental unit of emotional communication.” Rob and Marta said, “Every bid needs (and gets) a response. Good or bad…

For example, “Turning Toward” is when you answer your spouse whether it’s a simple “uh-huh” or a long response.

Turning Away” occurs when you’re pre-occupied, or ignoring, even interrupting your spouse. Novel idea:   Lifteth thou faceth uppeth from the cell phoneth.

Turning Against” is when you’re critical or demeaning. Obviously, this is not desirable!

Note: No response is still a response! To which you can utter, “Bid!” which should cue the silent one to wake up and smell the coffee.

I confess John said, “Bid” not once, not twice, but three times Saturday afternoon after the conference. Busted! A great tool, nonetheless…

Following the conference, we had free time in the afternoon until 4:30. Right at 4:30, John and I, along with all attendees, returned to St. Francis for a lovely church service complete with worship, sermon by Jady, communion, the reading of Scripture, and, drum roll: the renewing of our vows!

Even tho’ Jady was preaching from the pulpit, his lovely wife, Liza, joined him as he led all of us thru’ our vows.  Several of us shed a few tears it was so beautiful and emotional. We closed by singing Holy, Holy, Holy.

Following the church service, we were blessed with a delicious dinner and dancing at Louisville Country Club.  One couple started the dancing before our meal was served! They’ve been married fifty-two years. They did the twist all the way down to the floor (I kept saying, “Oh my knees!”) They defined the bee’s knees.

This couple, David and Bobbie Welsh, were the first on the dance floor and could dance circles around us

This couple, David and Bobbie Welsh, were the first on the dance floor and could dance circles around us.

Following dinner, our melt-in-your-mouth lemon-flavored wedding cake was served for dessert. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire day and evening. It simply couldn’t have been any better.

Here are some of our fun-n-mighty-fine tablemates:

Line Dance

Pictured here is Mary Young and some others learning a line dance from our DJ

Michael and Mary Young

Michael and Mary Young

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Frank and Aletia Thompson

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Thanks again to Michael and Mary Young, Jady and Liza Koch, Marta and Rob McKinnon, the folks at St. Francis, and the great staff at Louisville Country Club. As many before us, including C.S. Lewis have said, “And a good time was had by all.”

Begin your research NOW on how you, too, can renew your vows. Don’t wait for a milestone, just do it!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

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Surviving the Season of Christmas – Part 1 of 4, The Sure Cure for a Bah Humbug Attitude

Greetings, friends! The below post is a reprise well-worth repeating to inspire you with an idea for this Christmas season.

It’ll help you cope with our culture’s craziness. It’ll help you survive this season of Christmas!

I’m thrilled to report this very fun tradition lives on….

Check it out:

Just wondering, now that Thanksgiving’s past and that Christmas décor’s been up since Halloween (in some stores that is, surely not in this household!), if you have a KICK in your step while shopping, or if you are SLIP-SLIDIN’-AWAY, Scrooge-like?

Grunge Scrooge With a Small Gift

Don’t even talk to me if you’re done with your Christmas shopping.  And don’t even look this way if you’ve shopped and wrapped.

Christmas isn’t happenin’ today, the way Jesus intended it to.  For that, I’m certain.  Every single year I try to think of ways to “taper down” on the gift-giving, think of the less fortunate, donate to new charities/ministries, and yet I still wind up looking more like Santa’s helper/enabler than a child of God.  Big sigh.Santa's Elf on Sign EdgeThe commercialization of Christmas makes me say “Bah humbug”…and I’m determined to NOT let it get the best of me. Lord, please help us  focus on you.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Praying Friends

So, now that the Christmas season’s officially “on”… no thanks to some poor souls opening up on Thanksgiving Day (really?), Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., I’d like to give you one prescription sure to bring a smile to your face, and a cure for any “Bah Humbug” attitudes trying to surface.

I am beyond blessed to have a very fun cousin.  Her name is Bonnie, and we in the family call her “Martha”, as in Stewart.  She’s one of those creative types:  she can whip up the most gorgeous bow you’ve ever seen. Friends now recognize them sayin’, “Now THAT’S a “Bonnie Bow”!!!

Bonnie will also try any new recipe.  She’ll paint a room an entirely new color when the mood strikes.  Furthermore, she will absolutely, positively, do anything for anyone, at any time, just for starters.

A few years ago, Bonnie came up with this fabulous idea…  She invited a group of our friends, a/k/a “the Butter Babes” over for a gift wrapping party.  Soup simmerin’ on the stove, Christmas music in the air, pool table covered as our wrapping station, and we move in for the day.

bigstock-Red-Green-Gold-and-Silver-W-12760646

What’s great about this is she sets the date way ahead of time (novel idea!) so we know when our deadline is…as in if you want to wrap a pretty package, you’d better have done some shopping and have packages in tow!

The five of us man our stations and the wrapping begins.  (Did I mention her endless supply of reams of paper and enough ribbon to extend to the moon?)  Oh, but the conversation around the table is the best.  You’re wondering if there’s a message here! Or what’s so spiritual about a wrapping party?

Well, you’ve got to know these Butter Babes.  These are some serious Bible study students and teachers.  These are some very close friends and mentors. These are some serious prayer warriors. They share meaningful Scripture. They share prayer requests. They share answered prayers.  They have lived a lot of life.  We laugh.  We cry.

DSC_0020

One of my favorite verses depicting this friendship journey is found in Proverbs 27:17 which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)  It’s a huge blessing simply doing life with the help of dear friends who teach you to ultimately lean on the Lord.

Nary a  “Bah Humbug” erupts from this bunch. Nope, the Butter Babes would flat have a meltdown if such a phrase surfaced.  (Oh, I could have fun with that last phrase…)

Proverbs 27:7b says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  Refreshing it is to be surrounded by such sweet sisters.  No Scrooges allowed!

Let me show you one more favorite verse to go along with our prescription:  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. “

The “sure cure” for a Bah Humbug attitude can be found straight out of the three above phrases I’ve italicized:

Spur one another on:  This means we cheer each other on toward the finish line…as in our Heavenly Home.

Not giving up meeting together:  Keep regular gathering times with your friends.  How many times have you heard “friends are cheaper than therapy”?  It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.

I have another group of friends which includes a retired school teacher.  (Several actually, but one in particular is the glue that holds us together.)  Periodically, Jayne will shoot us an email with the tagline being:  “Random Dinner”.  She randomly picks a night and we show up to catch up.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Encouraging  one another This goes hand in hand with spurring one another on. All three of these are great fuels for fanning the flame of friendship.

Kelly Minters Nehemiah

Kelly Minter’s  Bible study on Nehemiah—A Heart That Can Break offers a PERFECT DEPICTION of what I’m attempting to recommend to you regarding friendship.  She opines*, “The world doesn’t need more wealth, strength, power, or skill as much as it desperately needs trustworthy people.  My heart is never more at rest, my soul never more at peace than when I am in the presence of a person of integrity.

I find relational serenity in never having to second-guess what the person really meant, not having to dodge gossip or duck drama.  When I have the assurance that a person’s word is true, motives pure, and intents just, I have found a rare treasure indeed.”

Look again at those two above paragraphs.  Did you see that cool phrase, “relational serenity”?  What a sanctuary! What a safe haven!!!

Whether it’s a wrapping party, or a lunch out somewhere, or a Starbucks rendez-vous, I pray you’ll set a date with some of your friends and sail cheerfully thru’ this Christmas season, in relational serenity, sans any “Bah Humbugs”.

Purposefully celebrate Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (KJV) Remember Christ’s Birthday.

Savor God’s gift.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said, “Let’s be forever grateful for the One whose birth changed everything.”  (Click here to see an interview with her…)

??????????????

‘Til next time!

(This December post is happily dedicated to my long-time friend, cousin-by-marriage-who’s-more-like-a-sister, partner-in-crime in shopping, encourager extraordinaire, Bonnie Johnson. May blessings be abundant to you and your sweet family this Christmas season!!!)

*Lest you think I toss out unique words frequently, this one, “opine,” was a new one to me. Can’t believe I haven’t discovered this word ’til now.  I’m practically a professional at offering my opinion!  May we all opine with tact.

I ran across it twice in two days in two different books!  Both worth recommending:  one by Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage:  Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God and the other by Robert J. Morgan called Angels—True Stories—What Angels Do For Us.

Tim KellerRobert J Morgan

 

 

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Filed under Family, Friends, Holidays

Sure Cure for a Bah Humbug Attitude…

Hello Friends!  Just wondering, now that Thanksgiving’s past and that Christmas décor’s been up since Halloween (in some stores that is, surely not in this household!), if you have a KICK in your step while shopping, or if you are SLIP-SLIDIN’-AWAY, Scrooge-like?

Grunge Scrooge With a Small Gift

Don’t even talk to me if you’re done with your Christmas shopping.  And don’t even look this way if you’ve shopped and wrapped.

Christmas isn’t happenin’ today, the way Jesus intended it to.  For that, I’m certain.  Every single year I try to think of ways to “taper down” on the gift-giving, think of the less fortunate, donate to new charities/ministries, and yet I still wind up looking more like Santa’s helper/enabler than a child of God.  Big sigh.Santa's Elf on Sign EdgeThe commercialization of Christmas makes me say “Bah humbug”…and I’m determined to NOT let it get the best of me. Lord, please help us to focus on you.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Praying Friends

So, now that the Christmas season’s officially “on”… no thanks to some poor souls opening up on Thanksgiving Day (really?), Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., I’d like to give you one prescription sure to bring a smile to your face, and a cure for any “Bah Humbug” attitudes trying to surface.

I am beyond blessed to have a very fun cousin.  Her name is Bonnie, but we in the family call her “Martha”, as in Stewart.  She’s one of those creative types:  she can whip up the most gorgeous bow you’ve ever seen. Friends now recognize them sayin’, “Now THAT’S a “Bonnie Bow”!!!

Bonnie will also try any new recipe.  She’ll paint a room an entirely new color when the mood strikes.  Furthermore, she will absolutely, positively, do anything for anyone, at any time, just for starters.

A few years ago, Bonnie came up with this fabulous idea…  She invited a group of our friends, a/k/a “the Butter Babes” over for a gift wrapping party.  Soup simmerin’ on the stove, Christmas music in the air, pool table covered as our wrapping station, and we move in for the day.

bigstock-Red-Green-Gold-and-Silver-W-12760646

What’s great about this is she sets the date way ahead of time (novel idea!) so we know when our deadline is…as in if you want to wrap a pretty package, you’d better have done some shopping and have packages in tow!

The five of us man our stations and the wrapping begins.  (Did I mention her endless supply of reams of paper and enough ribbon to extend to the moon?)  Oh, but the conversation around the table is the best.  You’re wondering if there’s a message here! Or what’s so spiritual about a wrapping party?

Well, you’ve got to know these Butter Babes.  These are some serious Bible study students and teachers.  These are some very close friends and mentors. These are some serious prayer warriors. They share meaningful Scripture. They share prayer requests. They share answered prayers.  They have lived a lot of life.  We laugh.  We cry.

DSC_0020

One of my favorite verses depicting this friendship journey is found in Proverbs 27:17 which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)  It’s a huge blessing simply doing life with the help of dear friends who teach you to ultimately lean on the Lord.

Nary a  “Bah Humbug” erupts from this bunch. Nope, the Butter Babes would flat have a meltdown if such a phrase surfaced.  (Oh, I could have fun with that last phrase…)

Proverbs 27:7b says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  Refreshing it is to be surrounded by such sweet sisters.  No Scrooges allowed!

Let me show you one more favorite verse to go along with our prescription:  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. “

The “sure cure” for a Bah Humbug attitude can be found straight out of the three above phrases I’ve italicized:

Spur one another on:  This means we cheer each other on toward the finish line…as in our Heavenly Home.

Not giving up meeting together:  Keep regular gathering times with your friends.  How many times have you heard “friends are cheaper than therapy”?  It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.

I have another group of friends which includes a retired school teacher.  (Several actually, but one in particular is the glue that holds us together.)  Periodically, Jayne will shoot us an email with the tagline being:  “Random Dinner”.  She randomly picks a night and we show up to catch up.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Encouraging  one another:  This goes hand in hand with spurring one another on. All three of these are great fuels for fanning the flame of friendship.

Kelly Minters Nehemiah

Kelly Minter’s most recent Bible study on Nehemiah—A Heart That Can Break offers a PERFECT DEPICTION of what I’m attempting to recommend to you regarding friendship.  She opines*, “The world doesn’t need more wealth, strength, power, or skill as much as it desperately needs trustworthy people.  My heart is never more at rest, my soul never more at peace than when I am in the presence of a person of integrity.

I find relational serenity in never having to second-guess what the person really meant, not having to dodge gossip or duck drama.  When I have the assurance that a person’s word is true, motives pure, and intents just, I have found a rare treasure indeed.”

Look again at those two above paragraphs.  Did you see that cool phrase, “relational serenity”?  What a sanctuary! What a safe haven!!!

Whether it’s a wrapping party, or a lunch out somewhere, or a Starbucks rendez-vous, I pray you’ll set a date with some of your friends and sail cheerfully thru’ this Christmas season, in relational serenity, sans any “Bah Humbugs”.

Purposefully celebrate Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (KJV) Remember Christ’s Birthday.

Savor God’s gift.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said, “Let’s be forever grateful for the One whose birth changed everything.”  (Click here to see an interview with her…)

??????????????

‘Til next time!

(This December post is happily dedicated to my long-time friend, cousin-by-marriage-who’s-more-like-a-sister, partner-in-crime in shopping, encourager extraordinaire, Bonnie Johnson. May blessings be abundant to you and your sweet family this Christmas season!!!)

*Lest you think I toss out unique words frequently, this one, “opine,” was a new one to me. Can’t believe I haven’t discovered this word ’til now.  I’m practically a professional at offering my opinion!  May we all opine with tact.

I ran across it twice in two days in two different books!  Both worth recommending:  one by Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage:  Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God and the other by Robert J. Morgan called Angels—True Stories—What Angels Do For Us.

Tim KellerRobert J Morgan

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Filed under Friends, Holidays, Scripture