I’m going to share something with you in this blog that I’ve only been able to share with a small group of friends and with the deacons of our church, by the invitation from my friend and pastor, Ronnie Falvey.
Last November 2017, right after we launched in October a new ministry in our church called Family Ministry, I was sitting in our keeping room early one morning. I’d poured my coffee and it was time to pull out of my church bag a collection of Family Ministry @Home Enrollment cards. And as I looked over some information that had been gathered on these small grey and blue card stock cards, …
I just sat there and cried.
I sat on my sofa and with a pile of those cards spread out in front of me and my Bible to the side of me, I just cried and asked the Lord, “What now?”
What was the information on those cards that caused me to literally cry out to the Lord?
It was the names, the ages, the addresses, and the little bitty boxes that had been checked off by the person who had filled out the card. Yes, it was the boxes … micro-sized teeny tiny dark blue boxes … that’s what got me. I saw, in a list of areas of people’s lives where they were asking for help, check mark after check mark after check mark of one itsy-bitsy box that was labeled, “Difficulty in Marriage.” Over and over again, that one boxed was checked. Over and over again.
So, how can a check mark make me cry? It’s because they were checked by my family members. My faith family members. The names written in blue, black, green ink are real people with real feelings from real needs stemming from real longings. And it was with those real longings, that they checked a teeny tiny box asking for help. It may have just been a little check mark, but for me … while on that sofa early in the morning, it was my Lord saying this:
“I’m letting you know where My Bride needs Me most. Right here. Marriages.”
I was overwhelmed. Check marks are real. Real to God, real to me. So, I began to pray and ask the Lord,
“What is Your will? What do You want me to think? What do You want me to know? What now? What’s next?”
It was all about His agenda, not mine. I knew that if He allowed me to see just how many people in my faith family were asking for help in their marriage, I KNEW He would also allow me the honor of seeing His plans (one step at a time) from that day forward in just how to answer their requests. He is like that. It’s like Charles Spurgeon once said,
“Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom. If you may have everything by asking in His Name, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is.”
That is why my prayer is, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours and open my eyes to see the mission of Your heart.”
And so He did … and so He is … and everyone who is asking Him to see, He is opening their eyes to see.
But where did He start? He started at the one place He always starts when we ask for the mission of His heart, for the vision He wants us to grasp hold of. He started in His Word. He took me to Matthew 8; the encounter He had with a Roman centurion.
Let me back up – there is something you need to know before I share what the Lord wanted me to see…to understand about His plans in helping His Bride. When Jesus came out of the desert after having been tempted by Satan for 40 days, He went straight into Capernaum in the land of Cana, and performed His first miracle. Turning water into wine at a wedding. Then, it was time for Him to go to Jerusalem for Passover. While there, He gained more disciples and so a popularity contest developed among the Pharisees and religious leaders as to who was gaining more disciples, Jesus or John the Baptist. Jesus had no time for this. Even though He was there with a growing metropolis of a ministry, it was His Father’s business He was always about. So He left Jerusalem to go back to Capernaum. He passed through Samaria on His way, met a woman at a well, and an entire city was saved. Then, He entered back into Capernaum and went straight into the temple because it was the Sabbath. People who were there were amazed, saying He did not teach like the teachers of the law, but instead He taught as one with authority. So, let’s pick up there:
Verse 5 – “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
If a Jew entered into the home of a gentile, that made them, (according to Jewish law), defiled. So, that is why the centurion said he was not worthy to have him come. But what is so powerful is this – he said to Jesus “just say the word.” Say that out loud…Just say the word. Can you hear something so profound in that? He knew that all Jesus had to do was SPEAK, and what He said would be. He knew that this Jewish man, who had been teaching in the temple, had verbal authority that was so supernatural that all He needed to do was speak, and what He spoke would be done.
How did he know this? How in this world did he know he could walk right up to this Jewish man and ask for His verbal authority in healing his servant? How did he know this? It’s because when Jesus entered back into Capernaum, Scripture says He not only taught in the temple, but He healed people of MANY things … leprosy, demon possession, and many diseases, and He healed them all by the authority of His WORD. He said the word. The centurion knew this and he did something else quite incredible, too. Let’s keep reading….
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Think about that. Jesus. Jesus Christ was “amazed.” Some translations say He was “astonished.” The Message Bible says He was “taken a back.” Why? What was it that literally dropped the jaw of Jesus? It was what the centurion DID.
He believed in the authority of the Word of the Lord.
He showed that he believed when he said, “Just say the word…”.
He didn’t doubt it, not one iota. He believed his servant would be healed by his asking for help, and by Jesus’ saying the word.
How pure a faith. And how pleasing it is to the Lord when we believe Him to be Him. Oh, how I long to amaze Jesus like that! I would love to know that He looks at me and says, “Girl, your faith…it just amazes Me!” For Jesus to see my life and say, “I’m astonished by your belief!”
Because the centurion believed, Jesus said this to him,
“Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
Jesus spoke with emotion in response to this one centurion’s belief. That’s why every translation shows an exclamation point after the word Go! He didn’t want a second to pass without pointing out that his servant’s healing came as the result of his belief. AND, his “asking” based on that belief. Asking for Jesus to just say the word. And it was after the Lord took me to these verses, that I not only understood more of His plans, His heart, and His intentions, but I began to understand my role in it all – to first believe.
I do believe.
And that is why since last November, I have been asking and asking for the Lord to lead me in how He sees the month of April within His local church, of First Baptist Madison. And He has faithfully been leading me to think His thoughts, and to be passionate about it all! He leads so faithfully, whispering the next step and the next step and the next step, and it’s made me pray:
“Don’t give me an ounce of glory. Not the smallest smidgin’, but YOU, Lord, get all the glory and after we have done all that You called us to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’” Luke 17:10.
I do believe that those who checked that little blue box, asking for helping, was also asking for healing – healing from emotional and relational suffering. Healing from real diseases that are trying to eat away and destroy the excellent fruit of His authority in their marriage. The disease of addiction, the disease of control and of uncontrolled anger, the disease of sarcasm, of pride, of materialism, of selfishness, of gluttony and greed, the disease of lust, of porn, of complacency, of mediocrity, and the disease of abiding and habitual sin. The disease of arguing, complaining, gossiping, and dividing.
I do believe this April, through the authority of His Word, the mission on God’s heart is to heal – to hold – and to give anchoring hope to marriages. I believe all He needs to do is say the Word, and it is. It will be. I believe God’s vision is for couples to look back to April 2018 and that will be THE month when the flaming spear of victory was claimed all because two people chose to …
believe on the authority of His Word, for the healing and future hope of their marriage.
There are so many people who are a part of the planning of the entire month of April! These are people who are praying for, planning out, and digging deep in their spiritual giftedness to do all they can in working with God in His mission. There is no way any of this could be carried out alone and I just love it that way! I am SO thankful for the teams of folks He has put together to pray fervently and to plan tirelessly for the “I Still Do” April focus! And that is why this April …
> The authority of His Word will be shared on Sunday mornings from our pastor, Dr. Ronnie Falvey, as he brings us messages all on marriage related issues on April 8th, 15th, and 22nd. Topics such as: Communication and Conflict Resolution, Roles in Marriage, What’s Love Got to Do With It, and more.
> The authority of His Word will be studied, discussed, and taken hold of in Sunday morning bible fellowship groups so other couples can discover just what the Bible has to say for their marriage. They get to learn and grow while having the encouragement of friends right along with them who are in similar seasons of life. Nothing compares with group bible study for personal application!
> The authority of His Word will be shared through Sunday night FamilyLife video-driven speakers: (click on their names to learn more about them!)
Crawford Loritts, and
> The authority of His Word in specific areas of marriage, will be talked about again on Sunday nights as couples come for “Date Night” – they will group together after the video to simply discuss more of what they just heard and how to apply it in their marriage. For 4 Sunday nights in April, (register here) there will be a wedding reception for everyone to enjoy the promise of “I Still Do,” providing plenty of delicious food and fun, plus loads of wonderful giveaways and just a very special night set aside and created to help couples simply … date. Date again.
> Wednesday nights, Ronnie Falvey will be bringing more messages from the authority of His Word in application from the book of Song of Solomon.
April 29, Dr. John Trent will be sharing in both morning services on Marriage. John Trent, president of StrongFamilies, is one of the nation’s most popular Christian speakers and authorities on marriage, parenting, and family. His ministry has helped thousands of people searching for biblical tools that will help strengthen their lives, hearts, and futures. John is also a best-selling and award winning author.
The details of this April’s FamilyLife , “I Still Do” are not just in the planning. But the real details of the “I Still Do” initiative is in the purpose. You execute plans, but you embrace purpose. The initiative is called, “I Still Do” because it’s easy saying, “I Do” at an altar while surrounded by loved ones, but it’s even more special to say, “I Still Do” when life comes at you both with twists and turns, dips and drops, and plenty of life challenges clawing at your devotion to … “still do.”
So you see … “I Still Do” didn’t start with paper and pen. It didn’t start with grabbing hold of what we hoped would be a good idea.
No, for our faith family, “I Still Do,” actually started with a teeny tiny box and a prayer.
See you in April!,
*****Sunday Night, “Date Night for Couples” has limited seating so please sign-up as quickly as you can.
*****There will be childcare and those helping with that need to also know as soon as possible how many to plan for. So, if you know you and your spouse would like to come to the Sunday Night Date Nights, then please sign up and we will be getting everything ready for you!
*****Click on the link below to sign up for Sunday Night “Date Night” – https://fbcmadison.ccbchurch.com/goto/forms/108/responses/new