Marriage is hard sometimes, and sometimes it is wonderful. When they are good, our marriages can be a place where we can experience grace, fulfilment, and peace; It is a place where we can display the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. It can also be a place where we see most clearly the sinfulness of human nature and the brokenness of our lives as human beings.
I am pleased to announce a new group marriage study based on the book, “You and Me Forever: Marriage in the Light of Eternity”, by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan. In it, we will explore God’s purpose for marriage and for us as individuals and we will look at how being eternity minded in our marriages can change the way we deal with one another.
But wait a second, I can just hear you saying, I barely have enough time to spend with my spouse, let alone to add more time to meet with other couples. No problem, this is a ‘Virtual Marriage Group,’ anyone who would like to participate will do so on their own. You do not even have to meet with the pastor unless you feel like there are some things you need to. We will all be going through the study at the same pace, to keep us all on track. Each week we will read one chapter, do the exercises in the book, watch a short video from the authors, and answer questions.
To read the book, you can buy a copy here or at your favorite bookstore/website (though proceeds from purchasing through the Chans’ website will go to their mission work). You may also notice that there is a FREE App for your smartphone which provides you with the full text to read (with integrated bonus videos), the audio version of the book read by the authors (for more auditory learners), and a way to pair the app with your spouse so you can share highlights and exercises.
The Video and coursework can be accessed through your RightNow account (If you do not have a RightNow Media account, find your invitation email and sign up, or send your email address to Aaron). The videos may be accessed through your mobile device, but the coursework will need to be accessed through a computer. You may enter answers in the coursework together or separately, but if you are entering them under the same account, make it clear who answers what (if they are different).
The schedule for the study will be as follows:
- Week of October 2nd: Introduction- The Secret to Happily Ever After and Chapter 1- Marriage Isn’t That Great: Marriage In Light of God’s Glory
- Week of October 9th: Chapter 2- Pursue the Perfect Marriage: Marriage in Light of the Gospel
- Week of October 16th: Chapter 3- Learn to Fight Well: Marriage in Light of Christ’s Example
- Week of October 23rd: Chapter 4- Don’t Waste Your Marriage: Marriage in Light of Our Mission
- Week of October 30th: Chapter 5- Is There Hope for Us?: Marriage in Light of God’s Promises
- Week of November 6th: Chapter 6- What’s Really Best for the Kids?: Parenting to the Glory of God
- Week of November 13: Chapter 7- The Amazing Race: Conclusion
Francis Chan is an awesome writer, he has a distinct gift for taking the implications of the gospel that we would rather ignore, and simply and profoundly applying it to our lives. He and Lisa have already stepped on my toes (or kicked me in the face) as I have been evaluating the book and series, and I am excited to see what else God has in store for this study. Word to the wise (and those who are panicking about their marriage) this book calls us to look at the eternal side of marriage, which means that we need to spend a little time (specifically the first two chapters) looking at our own relationship with the Creator and Redeemer of the world. Do not rush through this part, in fact, I highly encourage you to only read the one chapter assigned for each week (multiple times if possible), and not read ahead. You will only get out of this what you put into it, so take the time to read/listen/both, do the exercises, talk about them with your spouse, watch the video (together if possible), answer the questions honestly, and prayerfully ask for God to change you and your marriage for the better of his kingdom.
Grace to you and peace.