Reflections on 15 Years of Marriage


This week my wife and I are celebrating 15 years of wedded bliss. As I reflect upon the last 15 years here are a few thoughts:

1. A Strong Marriage is possible

Divorce seems more common than a lasting marriage. Having a happy marriage is possible. Not only is it possible, it is God’s will for our lives.

2. My wife is my best friend

The past 15 years I have had the privilege to be hand in hand with my best friend! We do not merely put up with each other, we enjoy being with one another.

3. A Strong Marriage is not easy

While we have a great marriage, it is not always easy. We have had our share of fights, but we love each other and make up!  We have faced tough times together as well. In the past 15 years we: struggled with infertility for 10 years, went into full-time ministry, moved 5 or 6 times, adopted Ainzley, endured church conflict, and faced the death of Lori’s grandfather and my father. Hard times can drive you apart, but they have brought us closer together.

4.  My wife has made me a better person

It is said that behind every great man there is an even greater woman. Lori (with God’s help) has made me into the man I am today.

5. God is good

Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”  I have found a good thing and indeed enjoy the favor of the Lord. I hope you can say the same.


A Wreck of a Marriage

God works in mysterious ways. A couple in my church just celebrated their anniversary. They have been married for over 12 years now. The way they met can only be described as a God thing. One day while driving, the future-bride  saw a dog in the road. Her response was to swerve and miss the dog. As a result, she drove down a ditch and into some pine trees. Along came a policeman to work the scene of the accident. They met and the rest is history. The policeman and the dog-swerving driver now live happily ever after! If the dog would have never been in the road, she would not have swerved. If she did not swerve, she would not have landed in the ditch. If she did not land in the ditch, she would not have needed assistance, and her hubby to be would not have showed up. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God works all things out for our good, even car wrecks! Whatever is happening in your life right now, hold on to hope. God is using it for your good and His glory. You may not see that right now. But, one day you will. This couple is blessed to have such a wonderful marriage. Where would they be without that wreck and the grace of God? By the way – the dog she swerved to miss could not be found. God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

Follow up on “A Serious Challenge”

Last week I issued a serious challenge. Ask three people [preferably total strangers] this question, “How can I pray for you?” For me, it was an amazing adventure. The first person I asked was a worker at Krispy Kreme. She responded she was having some emotional issues and almost began to cry. The second person, a Target employee, gave me her prayer requests. One of her requests was regarding her little girl. She pulled out her cell phone and showed me a picture of her daughter! The third was at the McDonald’s drive through. I asked her the question and she began sharing her struggles to work, raise a daughter, and go to school. My wife was with me on this encounter and was taken back at the girl’s response. This is what I have learned from the challenge. First of all, people want to be prayed for. No one rejected my offer. Now, someone will down the road, but that will not be the common response. Secondly, when you ask to pray for them, people begin to open up and share their life with you. They need to know someone cares for them. They want others to listen. I was reminded that workers I came across, at McDonalds, etc, are real people too. They need people to reach out and love them. Thirdly, this is a great way to share the Gospel with people. Each person let their guard down and shared with me. That is a great opportunity to tell them why you are praying for them and how God has changed your life. I am going to strive to do this on a more regular basis, whether I am at a drive-through, at Wal-Mart, or at the doctor’s office, for instance. People need Jesus. Show them you care for them by asking this simple question, “How can I pray for you?”

A Serious Challenge

I want to issue a serious challenge. This week ask three people, “How can I pray for you?” Don’t ask your spouse or children, though it is important to pray for them. Instead, ask three total strangers or three people you know are lost and/or unchurched. This type of question shows people you truly care about them and it may open doors to share the Gospel. When you see someone pumping gas, at Wal-Mart, or in your neighborhood, say “I am going to have a time of prayer in a little while. How can I pray for you?” This exercise will also help you look beyond yourself and make you more comfortable talking with others about God and the things of God. This time next week I am going to write about my three encounters. I hope you will take this challenge by seeking out and praying for three people as well.

Thriving amongst the Thorns

You can thrive amongst the thorns. Behind my yard there is some brush and overgrowth. It used to be filled with timber, but it was recently cut down. Now all that remains is poison ivy, weeds, and thorns. In the midst of the overgrowth pink flowers have emerged. The flowers are a beautiful sight. In the midst of such a horrific environment of brush, poison ivy, and thorns, God has given life to these flowers. You may be in the midst of a few thorns. People may be harassing you. Work may stink. Life in general has you down. Even in the midst of thorns, God has allowed these flowers to thrive. Even amongst the thorns of your life, God will allow you to thrive. Trust Him no matter what.

Jesus, Tiger Woods, and Coach K

It sounds like the start of a bad joke – Jesus, Tiger Woods, and Coach K. Coach K is the basketball coach at Duke. Last night he won yet another championship. He also coached the USA Olympic Men to win the Gold – pretty impressive. Tiger Woods is back into golf, trying to win the Masters this weekend, a highly revered golf tournament. He has won several before – pretty impressive. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We just celebrated His victory over the grave – pretty impressive. Each of these have one thing in common – VICTORY. Yet, in view of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, Coach K’s victories seem tiny. Tiger’s wins seem shallow as well. Why do we celebrate these men as much and not more than Jesus Christ? They provide entertainment. Jesus provides life. They are kings of their sports, Jesus is the King of Kings. Their victories are temporary, Jesus’ carries into eternity. When you think of Jesus, Tiger Woods, and Coach K there is no comparison, Jesus is head and shoulders above them. We can only hope and pray that Tiger and Coach K will bow the knee to Jesus. Let’s enjoy sports, but lets keep the right perspective. They are nothing in light of who Christ is.

Eating Stumps and Killing Sin

I just had a tree cut down, a massive red oak. Today, a guy came to “eat” the stump. Have you ever seen a stump being “eaten.”  He swept a powerful blade back and forth, chipping the stump to pieces. Eating the stump was costly, it left a mess, but it was well worth the end result. Instead of an ugly stump, I can utilize the ground. There is a spiritual principle in this. A few of us were able to cut down the tree. We had the manpower and equipment to do it. But, we had to call in a specialist to take out the stump, it was beyond our power. When it comes to sin, we are to cut away at it. We are to chop it down and knock it out of our lives. But, the stump remains. It is impossible for us to totally root out and demolish sin. The specialist, the Holy Spirit must come in and do His work. At times it is costly, it may leave a mess, but it is well worth the end result. What sins are you struggling with today? Do your part, but let God do His.

From Diapers to Dancing – Kate Gosselin

She went from diapers to dancing, from homelife to Hollywood. Kate Gosselin, the famous mother of 8, is now on Dancing with the Stars. Now people talk more about her new hair style than her parenting skills. I am never watched Dancing with the Stars, but I used to catch a glimpse of John and Kate plus 8. At first I admired this family, who seemed to have it all together. Love and devotion was front and center. Now the family is ripped apart, but Kate is now a star!!! Well, I certainly admired her more as a loving parent than as a dancing star. The world seems to worship Hollywood stars, but minimizes the value of motherhood and being a supportive wife. Of course, her husband had a hand in this as well, and someone may be able to be a mom and have a career in Hollywood, but I am reminded of Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Kate – stick with the diapers and forget about the dancing. In the end, God will not care about your fame and fortune, He will care if you truly followed Him, and if you were the mother you needed to be.

Put up a Fence

I am putting up a fence in my backyard. Fences are meant to keep things in [like dogs and kids] and keep things out [like stray dogs and other unwanted guests]. Have you put up a fence? I do not mean one in your yard. Have you put up a fence in your heart? You need to keep certain things in your heart [like God’s Word] and keep certain things out [like ungodly influences]. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” In other words, guard your heart. Put up a fence and keep the good things in and the bad things out. Do you have a fence around your heart? 


Dear Tiger Woods…

Tiger, I was once a fan. When you were on the back nine at Augusta, I cheered for you. When you smashed your opponents, I was thrilled. When you made bad shots, I was encouraged with my own game. You were a source of inspiration and awe. Tiger, I am no longer a fan. You are facing something far more serious than golf. Put down the putter. Drop the driver. Cancel your tournaments. You need to repent. You need Jesus. Money will not satisfy. Chasing women will not satisfy. Winning tournaments will not satisfy. Only Jesus can fill your every need. Be a real man and bow to Jesus. He alone can heal your marriage. He alone can restore your image. In the end, the only image that matters is your position before God. Tiger, I pray for your soul. I pray your marriage will make it. But, in the mean time, I will not be an admirer of one who has such low morals and loose living. Sorry Tiger.